The Path To Musical Evolution 1.1.0: A Mish-Mash Of Sorts Pt. 2


3 May 2009, 19:23

DISCLAIMER: The following text is probably rife with errors and bad taste.

Of course, one can not expect a fan of a musical style to always start with the originator's of a genre. As such, I've also been delving into these fellows and what they've since become. Some weeks ago I discovered 's Mysticum, one of the oldest originators of the style. Sadly, I find myself biased - I only seem to enjoy In the Streams of Inferno. It is partially at fault for my inability to truly love the rest of their work as well, as nothing seems to top it's ferocity. Similarly, people have such an issue with Godflesh. Their debut album Streetcleaner seems to be untoppable to many of their detractors. I admit that I love Streetcleaner much more than Slavestate, for example. But is it our nature to merely try and dwell on what we liked best rather than accepting something new? The two albums sound nothing alike, so why judge them the same? Rather than looking at compositional aspects of both, they seem to only bother pointing out that the album isn't crushingly heavy.

Still, is a difficult genre to do right, and even more difficult to even define to the non-listener. To some it's monotonous riffing that goes nowhere, to others it's one riff played for an entire song. Some define it as metal mixed with and other electronic genres, but does that mean Noism's ridiculously technical near-cacophonic brand of mixed with are industrial metal? Hardly. Finally, there is the most pure definition of industrial metal - actual metal fused with actual sampling of sounds of various clangings, bangings, speeches and so forth.

The problem, however, is that music is difficult to merge with metal. Alien Deviant Circus do a fairly good job of it, but the majority of their industrial side is within a rhythmic and often violently focused mentality rather than straying into a wider variety of sounds. Still, while an industrial bludgeoning akin to the Woods of Belial's bone breakingly heavy Deimos XIII is always welcome, some may be looking for more variation. Hungary's Vortex are the closest I've ever really seen to a fully industrialized black metal band, but they suffer from a lack of proper speed.

Because of the difficulty of merging these styles, most artists would probably opt for the much more meldable genres of . Who's to say that it's a bad thing? I for one love a catchy keyboard melody that isn't disgustingly faux-symphonic. That often works perfectly with some works - again, one of my old mainstays Void (UK) are masters of this. Songs like Zero Signal Pattern and Posthuman are nothing short of perfect.

Still, even with the more maleable forms of industrial metal, there are those who struggle. The Republic is hardly a place you'd expect atmospheric industrial black metal to come from, but for Gorgonea Prima it's done surprisingly well for a fledgeling band in their first year of activity. Still, there's evidence that the band aren't quite used to their sound yet. The odd keyboard section feels out of place, or a riff won't quite work with the atmosphere, or the vocalist's organic voice won't suit the mechanical riff structure of a certain part. Still, they show promise.

On the other hand, 's Godkiller struggle, fumble, and fail. Modern production values, an almost guitar tone and riffs reminiscent of Cradle of Filth's less admirable moments clash with grade symphonics (that is, before the game's sound overhaul anyway) and destroy whatever atmosphere The End of the World was supposed to have. And all in the name of being "industrial metal"? Surely there are better things to do with a one-man black metal band (Furze or Mütiilation ring a bell?).

On the other hand, whereas once had it's place in another band's sound, freaks Thy Catafalque have since evolved to an electronica bathed metal sound, blasted with wonderful keyboard melodies and a wide variety of riffing styles. Absolutely delicious material, from the folky black metal beauty of Fehérlófia to the destructive spacey skull-bashing of Csillagkohó, this band know what they're doing and know how to do it well. Recent italian avant-garde newcomers Blackdrone Inc. are also somewhat of note. Though still in their first stages, their peculiar style of riffing backed by even more peculiar waves of shifting sound and mechanical, computer-chip like aesthetic is something that I'd like to see expanded on in the future and built into a real juggernaut.

So what does it come down to when classifying industrial metal, or indeed any style of music? Is there meant to be one specific sound within the genre, or can it lead to several different forms? Obviously it can. Does that mean all styles of it are good, or that all of them are bad? Neither. It merely relies on the person playing it to mould it into the right form to make it good. Though is reviled by many, Sweden's Machinery have recently been recieving much positive attention -- and with good reason. Their latest album The Passing is quite different from the usual groove formula, but can still be qualified as groove. A rather nice example of how the scene is still relevant. The emphasis should not be on genre, but rather on how the genre is being used. Whether it be through catchy simplicity or a myriad of subtleties, there are many paths to take. Evolution is necessary, as is taking influence from the past. All angles have a way to be appreciated, and hopefully some people can treat them as such.


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