...we lost a legend.Lemmy Kilmister died. He was 70. His death came just days after his 70th birthday; a few months after Motörhead released their 22nd album Bad Magic; and a few years since the eponymous documentary about him cemented Motörhead's place in pop culture as the metal band non-metalheads love (and never actually listen to, I'm guessing).
Not that I listen to Motörhead that regularly myself. Honestly speaking, the last album I heard all the way through was Kiss of Death from nearly a decade ago (and the last Motörhead album I loved all the way through was Hammered from a few years before that).
That aside, it's impossible to overestimate Lemmy's importance to heavy metal (even as the man himself was quick to diminish metal's importance to him). Certainly, every louder/faster/rawer sub-genre of metal owes its existence to Motörhead. Thrash wouldn't exist without them; their influence is all over the first Venom and Bathory albums, and Hetfield cribbed both Lemmy's delivery and his mutton chops. Even on the other side of the aisle, there's no shortage of punk and hardcore bands who will disparage metal and praise Motörhead in the same sentence.
Just as it's impossible to overestimate the man's importance, it's equally impossible to quantify what his loss means to the metal world. Certainly, in the last few decades the genre has gotten increasingly more niche, and too much attention - positive and negative - are lavished on bands that quickly appear on the scene and just as quickly disappear. True OGs are hard to find, and we've been losing them with frightening regularity in recent years. RIP, Lemmy: You were a reliable truth in a world of falsehood.
...Slayer released their first album without Jeff Hanneman.the band's most iconic material.
Repentless isn't a bad album. In style and quality, it's probably the most consistent album that Slayer have made since their last truly great one, 1990's Seasons In The Abyss. Though it lacks the highs of Slayer's Eighties heyday, there's none of the awkward groove metal moments that made Diabolus In Musica and God Hates Us All such uncomfortable listens. Frankly speaking, it's better than any late period album from an aging metal band has any right to be. With the band (well, Tom Araya) hinting for years that they're nearing the end, anyone who's ever taken a deep breath and yelled "SLAAAAAAAYEEEEEEERRRRRGH!" should skip the nit-picking and just enjoy them for as long as that's still possible.
HIGHLIGHTS: Repentless, Implode, Piano Wire
...20 years had passed since I joined the Campaign for Musical Destruction
a shirt that proclaimed the band was on a "Campaign for Musical Destruction" (thanks/apologies to Lärm). Not long after I bought the Fear Emptiness Despair album. My life was never the same; neither was my relationship with my neighbours.
Despite its more experimental bend, the album isn't wanting for all-out grind moments. With its target in mind - multinational corporations, natch - the band skewers corporate greed lyrically as much as they push themselves creativity. The band that invented grindcore three decades ago still aims to break new ground; if only their peers were so daring.
20 years since I joined the campaign; here's to the next 20.
HIGHLIGHTS: Smash A Single Digit, Cesspits, Hierarchies, One-eyed
...I finally saw the Ghost everyone was talking aboutone of the highlights of the fest that year, Ghost's quick ascent up the metal ladder seemed buoyed more by the mystery surrounding the band's identities (and their nifty costumes) than the actual music. What little I heard of Infestissumam did little to impress me and I quickly wrote the band off as a flash in the pan. So I'm as surprised as anyone by how much I enjoyed their latest album: Meliora is the best batch of songs the Nameless Ghouls have written, aided by an expansive production by pop producer Klas Åhlund. By moving on from slow spooky occult rock to incorporating a Queen-like grandeur, Ghost finally lived up to the hype; getting on Stephen Colbert's show was a nice touch as well.
HIGHLIGHTS: From The Pinnacle to the Pit, Mummy Dust, He Is, Absolution
...Nadiwrath made me clutch grapefruits, hail Satan
HIGHLIGHTS: Inner Commitment, No Pity For Your Kind, Breathless We Stand Upon Apocalypse
...Abyssal raised the bar for one-man death metal bands
HIGHLIGHTS: The Cornucopian, Veil Of Transcendence, Delere Auctorem Rerum Ut Universum Infinitum Noscas
...Krisiun kicked out the jams.here, a little more epic there. On Forged In Fury, they've streamlined their sound to focus on single note-riffs over percussive rhythms - not dissimilar from what Sepultura did on Chaos A.D., but with enough pure speed for it to be recognizably Krisiun. Over the course of the last decade, this band has shown that they've got a lot more up their sleeves than they're ever given credit for.
HIGHLIGHTS: Scars Of The Hatred, Ways of Barbarism, Timeless Starvation
...Hate Eternal made Morbid Angel irrelevant. [more so.]
HIGHLIGHTS: Locust Swarm, Infernus, Zealot: Crusader Of War
...Old school death metal became interesting again when converted to VHSManiac Cop. I expected so little, and you still disappointed.] Their debut, Hi Fi Horror, encapsulates my yearly Halloween movie marathons: Barebones production value, chock full of schlock, and horny teens meeting grisly deaths at the hands of monsters (and sometimes killbots).
HIGHLIGHTS: Fornicating in the Furniture Store, The Tastiest Chili in Texas, Hairspray and Bloodspray
...everything went black, and then prog.
I'd even argue that black metal is the most progressive sub-genre in metal, a space where no vocal performance is too outlandish, no outside influence too distant to assimilate, and no display of guitar supremacy too ostentatious. Maybe it's a natural reaction to the reversion the genre experienced in the last few years, where bands were celebrated for simply copying older, better bands and any kind of deviation was frowned upon. We seem to be on the verge of a fresh burst of creativity in metal, with bands beginning to lose their fear of trying new things and being themselves; and the bands leading the charge are the ones who never had that fear.