I Started with the Stones & Ended on Death Metal

This metal album, released this year, by the Finnish melodic death metal band, I have been listening to for the last few weeks.

I was struck by the musical space and atmospheric instrumental treatments. I felt as though it started and finished in a similar place. The first track, which is an intro, The Burning, and the last, Cold, could have been cut from the same piece of musical cloth.

The 11 tracks are all relatively urgent, as metal tends to be, but there’s a certain undefinable beauty about the album. The main vocals, Jukka Pelkonen, is a classic death metal growl – quite pure, mixed with clean vocals. The vocals, guitars, synth and drums mix together in heavy slabs of sound. The album is even wistful at times (wistful, not so much of).

I’ve been listening to rock music since the late 60’s. I stayed the straight and narrow until the late 70’s, then jumped aboard punk. When Nirvana debuted with Bleach then Nevermind, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. That only lasted so long. Then a Twitter friend shoved me onto Devin Townsend – a Canadian genius guitarist with a metal bent but now off surveying other Projects.

I’m not really a person that rests on their back catalogue: I would rarely, if ever, go back and listen to Pink Floyd, Stones (Beatles are an exception), Springsteen, Led Zep, or any of the those big artists, or even the smaller bands and artists I filled my life with for decades.

Half way through last year I decided to look/listen to metal as an extension of rock. I started with Megadeth, then Metallica, and listened to as much as I could. Megadeth I liked for their irreverence and superlative song writing – Dave Mustaine, a funny, political animal. I much prefer his music over Metallica.

Early this year I fell into a Danish metal band, Raunchy – terrible name, very good band. Then I sailed off into metaland. As perhaps many metal fans find, I ended up in Scandinavia. With an Apple sub, I can explore, explore. My twitter friends send me tips that are always good, outstanding even.

I can’t go back to rock ‘n’ roll. Bands like this one, Dark Tranquility, Amon Amarth, Ghost Brigade, Enslaved, Insomnium, Skeletonwitch (US), etc. It’s an ever moving feast, and that’s what I think music appreciation should be.

I had to break down my music sensibilities to appreciate the Pistols, and I’ve done that, too for metal (It was nowhere near as hard as the Pistols).

If I had to recommend two bands: Dark Tranquility and Omnium Gatherum.