Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Thrust Demos

Chicago metal has a strange and not-too-storied history, despite delivering some of the greatest and most influential bands of many metal sub-genres. Anyone who knows anything counts Trouble, Master and Cianide among their favorites. Those who have dug into Paul Speckmann's history give Death Strike & War Cry the respect they deserve on archivist metal blogs. Zoetrope put together some pretty impressive crossover thrash. However, Chicago is currently known for a lot of dumb bands that mistake "experimentation" for creativity, but in the 80s, Chicago was doing it right.

Thrust exists in that nebulous area in the early 80s before thrash metal was a codified genre. This has all kinds of melodic NWOBHM riffs, but is quite a bit more aggressive than even the first two Maiden records. Vocals are bizarrely sing-song in a way that portends the strangeness of Vio-Lence. Each of these songs is a riff fest that traces melodies through linear runs, galloping power chords, and more melodic rock chord progressions. "Speed metal" became something really foolish and cheesy at some point, but these demos showcase what the genre was capable of becoming.

Thrust Demo II

*Thanks to Scott from Cianide for sending these over and letting me post them.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fenriz Collection: 1996-2004

Inspired by my interview with Fenriz of Darkthrone, I put together of all the tracks from Darkthrone's "middle period" that were penned by Fenriz. After Panzerfaust, Darkthrone entered something of a mid-career lull. While many fans stick to some iteration of the first five records, these Moonfog albums should not be ignored. Part of the reason for the creative downturn is the shifting of much of the songwriting duties from Fenriz to Nocturno Culto. Not that Nocturno doesn't have his moments, ("Rust" from Hate Them) but many of his compositions drag and his melodic sensibility is just a little bit too obvious sometimes, especially given the volume of bands out there tremolo-picking various minor chords.

During this period, Fenriz shifted his composition style away from the hypnotic tremolo-picked melodies that defined Transilvanian Hunger into a much more punkish interpretation of his oft-cited influences: Bathory, Celtic Frost & Hellhammer. This stuff isn't "black metal" in the 90s interpretation of the term that Darkthrone helped create. This is regressive 80s metal. Every Fenriz riff has its own sense of conflict and resolution within itself, and, while strumming patterns are often primitive and repetitive, the melodies create a sense of rhythm.

Some of Darkthrone's middle albums can seem disorganized and boring, but, presenting only Fenriz's tracks creates a much more focused vision. If you haven't paid attention to this stuff before, you're in for a huge treat.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fenriz Interview

I interviewed one of the main riffmasters of all time over at Invisible Oranges: