Write more tunes, develop a new skill, learn fifty new languages, write a bunch of books, lose weight, do some yoga as the sun rises, meditate as the sun sets, bake bread, paint pictures, vlog every living moment of your days….
Lockdown ambitions are easy to chat breeze about, but much harder to actually achieve. Sure, we got more time than we’ve ever had. But free time under the dark cloak of a pandemic, plummeting economic conditions and not really knowing what day it is any more? It’s not particularly conducive to milking the creative most of our socially distanced 2020….
…. Listening to heavy metal, however, is certainly conducive to releasing the tension, frustration and angriness of this weird era. A root style for many who’ve come into the genre, the uncompromised energy, dynamics and sonics of metal have always been a neat parallel for the heavier, more extreme side of bass music, and right now seems like a fitting time to acquaint/re-acquaint ourselves with it.
For one, we have more time.
For two, we’re not heading to any raves any time soon.
For three, we’re pretty pissed off about point two and nothing complements a pissed off mood quite like metal.
For four, Pythius has released his first new material since his album Descend almost two years ago… And, as always, there’s at least a hint of metal energy and attitude coded deep in the EP across the four tracks.
We picked up the Black Sun Empire collaboration, but each of the four tracks slams with the Utrecht artist’s signature frazzled fusion, especially Watch Me. A collab with fellow old school metal head Redpill, it’s the ultimate combo of metal tension and weight, neuro energy and dancefloor rawness and seems a good enough reason as any to ask Pythius for his favourite metal albums. We weren’t disappointed with his picks…
Sepultura – Chaos A.D. (1993)
“A true metal classic! I love the way Igor Cavalera uses percussion heavily on this album and how Max’s voice just tears through everything! It has just the right amount of catchiness/hook while still not being cheesy. Just listen to Refuse/Resist twice and you can sing along to the chorus! Their riffs have definitely subconsciously inspired the way I write riffs and what I look for while trying to get a vibe across in my music.”
Strapping Young Lad – Alien (2005)
“This piece of organized chaos in musical form absolutely blew my socks off when I came across it many years ago. Just the sheer wall of sound where it opens with Imperial to the slightly(!) more accessible track Love? and to the drawn out and atmospheric sounds of Thalamus; it’s a bundle of maximum energy music that’s written so well. And also Gene Hoglan is a beast of a drummer. MAN that guy can play! I think the fullness of their sounds and the way it kind of tickles your eardrums in the right spots has always stuck with me, and has definitely influenced the choices I make in shaping the sound of my own music.”
Emperor – Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk (1997)
“I fell in love with this the moment I heard this amazing album. The insanely well done combination of the cold dark black metal atmosphere with the more symphonic keyboard elements, it works so well that it’s just baffling. Riding from frantic blast beat/guitar tremolo riffs to almost sing-along parts like in Thus Spake The Nightspirit, this album takes you on a total rollercoaster. Atmosphere is very important in this genre and this band absolutely nailed it.”
Hatebreed – Perseverance (2002)
“One of the first metal/hardcore punk albums I had when I was like 12 years old. I was blown away by the sheer brutality of it all. I still love this album to this day as it’s a testament to efficient music; it’s not too complicated, just the right amount of easy to remember riffs and lyrics and (really pissed off) vibes. It’s all quite hooky too, for example one of their later tracks Destroy Everything you can play at any metal show and everyone will know it, without even actively listening to the band. Amazing! Their shows are vibes too, I lost my shit every time I saw them play live, no shame!”
Machine Head – The Blackening (2007)
“THESE RIFFS, THIS ENERGY. Jesus. It was very hard for me to pick a favourite Machine Head album but, after a long internal debate (and possibly the toss of a coin), The Blackening was the choice. I love how this band have all the same drive in their riffs, it just goes on like a steam engine on full power! Robb Flynn’s voice over it complements it so much as well. It’s all so raw and full of energy. This kind of energy is something I try to put in my music as well, you need that drive!”
Shining – V. Halmstad (2007)
“There is something about this album that still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. You can almost taste the ambiance of the music when you listen to it. The riffs are amazing on this album, it’s a bit groovy, chunky but the vibe of the music is still absolutely unsettling. I love how it captures anxiety and frustration in music, it’s almost kind of therapeutic really.”
Rammstein – Live Aus Berlin (1999)
“This is a live album, where they basically perform almost all of the best songs off their first two albums. I listened so much to this album when I was younger. Their fusion of industrial electronic music with metal is flawless and no one has ever come close in my opinion. I think this has definitely inspired my own preference for synth sounds. Being battered with acid riffs on a daily basis from a young age has left its mark! Also the way their riffs sound has influenced how I write riffs too, for example the flow of the riff from my track Kepler with Black Sun Empire is basically a guitar riff played with a synth (at least that’s what I tried to achieve when I wrote it).”