Blues Traveler's career has been one that can easily be divided into two halves. Starting out, they were a through-and-through rock band that managed to score critical and chart success. They did what they did, and scored a multi-platinum album and hit singles. After that, their career took a turn, and they fell back into the underground, despite trying to recapture that chart success. It's a bit ironic, but the Blues Traveler that didn't care about being popular scored massive success, and the Blues Traveler that tried to write hits fell off the radar.
I am by no means a movie buff, but one of the things I recognize about movies, especially those in the horror genre, is that the music plays a bigger role in setting the mood than most casual viewers will ever notice. There are the glaring examples like “Psycho” that everyone can see, but the feeling of terror that great horror movies evoke can't come from disemboweled corpses alone. The music connect the images to the emotional center of our brain, and it is the music that makes the obviously fake scenes we watch feel like something far more real.
I've noticed a trend in power metal recently, where the genre is getting fractured in a way that does no one any favors. On the one hand, there is a group of bands that are taking power metal in a darker, heavier, more modern direction. While I like some of these bands, they largely suck the fun out of the music, which is one of the things that makes power metal special when done well. On the other hand, there is another group of bands that has taken the term 'flower metal' to heart, and sucked all of the heaviness out of the music, which only serves to make it sound weak
It has always struck me as a bit insulting that when you consider the roles of women in guitar-driven bands, they are either treated as curiosities, or they are the eye-candy representatives of something other than what you're listening to. The majority of female singers in this kind of music get broken down into two camps; the pop stars who never found their big break, or the classical singers who are used to make metal seem more dignified.
Ever since the death of 'real' rock and roll, and the rise of modern rock as we know it, there have been a few bands that have tried to resurrect the style and spirit of Guns N Roses, who are probably the last pure rock band to ever hold the status as the biggest band in the world. The problem with almost all of these is that they either hold too close to the template to be of any artistic note, or they completely forget about the rich diversity Guns was able to showcase in their short career. Doing sleazy rock and roll is easy, but none of the bands that found success did it ex
Metal has evolved in too many directions to count, but a hallmark of many of its offshoots is an increased propensity for technical virtuosity. In every sub-genre, as time goes on, there has been a focus on heightening the difficulty of the music, because there is a misguided belief (that I'm assuming was propelled by Guitar Hero) that the amount of finger-twisting riffs in a song has an impact on the quality of the music. I can't recall how often I've heard people who are fans of technical music criticizing other music for the basic fact that it wasn't hard to play.
In my mind, when I think of twisted darkness, I don't turn to the frozen north. While extreme metal has for so long been driven by the sensibilities of that geography, the real heart of artistic darkness rests in the Gothic nature of the Victorians. They were the ones who built real monoliths to the dark side, who could see the beauty that came from looking at the worst we're capable of. It's a bit disappointing, therefore, that extreme metal has not often reflected that influence.
Putting aside my role as a music critic for a moment, one of the things that bothers me as a an of music, and someone who has dabbled in it myself, is the lack of productivity so many bands these days show. It is frustrating to no end when a band puts out a record (good or bad), and you know you have to wait four to five years for the next bite of the apple. Somehow, we have conditioned ourselves to expect professional musicians to write the equivalent of one song ever three to four months, without it being an outrage.
When we last heard from Enslaved, they were pushing forward with their blend of progressive and black metal, making a mixture of sounds that shouldn't work together sound unlike anything else. It was still a bit of a messy record, and I was far from in love with it, but Enslaved appeared to me to be one of the few bands in extreme metal that was doing something legitimately extreme; pushing beyond the assumed confines of the genre to explore what else lay beyond the horizon.
There is an old story in the worlds of physics and metaphysics (very different things, by the way) about a confrontation between a scientist and what we will call a layperson. They were debating the origin of the universe, when she proposes that the world sits atop the back of a giant turtle. The scientist asks the obvious question, what is below the turtle? She scoffs, as the the question is ridiculous. The answer, she says, is another turtle. In fact, it's turtles all the way down.