Chuck Schuldiner Project

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Black Black, The Unconditional Love, Bangladeafy, and Vulture Shit at the Tiger Lounge

There is something strangely satisfying about going to some fun little basement spot in Williamsburgh to celebrate the 64th birthday of a universally beloved rock star. Last night I got to see four great bands that showed me the power of the New York underground - a scene that I had missed out on in my excitement at being in the heart of the global metal scene. And so this DIY spot captured my heart last night as I spent time talking with all sorts of psyched out underground dudes and dudettes who were simply glad to be alive.

First up was The Black Black - one of those bands who simply get the fundamental power of stripped back and reliable rock and roll. With a surprisingly talented drummer and some rather distinct guitar work these guys carried on the grand tradition of basement rock. There music was potent with melodic lines leaping out and the twin vocalist approach being exploited in the grandest possible way. There is something strangely reassuring about what The Black Black do - perhaps in the way that it speaks to the fundamental power of rock and roll and reminds us that the music we love will never die. The Black Black get the glory of the genre and watching them tear it up was a wonderful start to the evening.

The Unconditional Love are one of those two pieces who you can never seem to find any information about on the internet but that you can't help but love. Sure the PA was fucking up on them and the mixing wasn't quite where it could have been - but in a weird way that didn't matter. Their modern grunge sound captured the perpetual strife of the millennial generation. There is a very real sadness to what they do that is strangely cleansing and hard to ignore. It's impossible to put into words what a band like The Unconditional Love do but I know I like it. Midway through their set the band members swapped instruments and then suddenly swapped back - I don't know what that has to say about the human condition and maybe I'm just hung over - but in a weird way I found that wonderfully poetic.

Finally the hour had come for the band I had come out to see - the triumphant Bangladeafy. This bass and drum two piece is redefining what it means to be a technical metal band and they are ridiculously inspiring to watch. The bands frontman Jon has a unique technical attack that emphasizes tapping and it gives his bass playing a wholly unique timbre. The playing scatters itself all over the place with weird time signatures defining the music and leaving listeners trying to scrape together the beautiful fragments of the music. Bangladeafy are the real deal and soon will become impossible to ignore. Their new material sounded even better than the two albums worth of classics they've already pounded out - simply put - this may be the most exciting band on the New York underground scene right now.

The evening closed out with Vulture Shit who have a surprising cult popularity that led to a great vibe in the wonderfully intimate Tiger Lounge. Forty-odd people crammed into a tiny ass room singing along to some deranged three piece punk band makes for some great rock and roll memories. Vulture Shit put together an admirable set with a powerful encore that left every screaming along. These guys are raw and wonderfully fun - their unique line up (bass, drum and vocals) giving them a distinct approach - nevertheless they weren't afraid to show the influence of older punk bands - leading to a set that had a nice mix of old and new - a perfect finale to an evening of madness.

Now I'm preparing myself to go see a highly exclusive classical music event and realizing that in some ways it's all the same - New York City punk and Beethoven is all part of the same Western canon and with the way things are going you best not forget it. These bands all speak to the fundamental nature of the nation - and while yeah - Sting wasn't there, he might as well have been. A rad soiree all around - this is not the kind of thing you can ignore, underground music might just be ready to boil over.

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Amberian Dawn - Innuendo

Amberian Dawn have always fascinated me as one of the best symphonic metal bands out there. While a lot of these white woman wailing bands leave me bored, these guys have always been able to prove themselves to be top notch musicians and songwriters. Now that the band has come to terms with their new singer Paivi Virkkunen they are back with their second record in as many years - proving that they may very well be on the verge of new life - ready to rise forth - better, and catchier, than ever before!

The point being Innuendo has all of the bombast that we have come to associate with this band. Toss in some potent vocal lines and even more impressive vocal acrobatics. The riffs are tight as ever and the neoclassical riffing is delicious. While Amberian Dawn certainly are very flashy that's a part of the appeal. The arrangements are perhaps their best yet on Innuendo, the epic soundscapes on tracks like Ladyhawk create a sense of musical depth that is far superior to anything the band has done previously and leaves me begging for more. The fact of the matter is that Amberian Dawn may very well be the new lords of symphonic metal.

Amberian Dawn have managed to crack the code of symphonic metal and create something that sounds epic but still has depth and is actually worth listening too. Whereas many imitators create mediocre fascsimiles Amberian Dawn are the real fucking deal. They've managed to drive a javelin into my jaded heart and prove to me for once and for all that symphonic metal is more than just a trend but actually a genre that can rise up and mean something to the greater metal canon. This is symphonic metal at its finest and should not be ignored.

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Friday, October 2, 2015


There is a profound artistry to symphonic metal, and as much as jaded people like me like to poke fun at it, it's hard to deny that the folks in these bands are top notch musicians and songwriters. Selene get the inherent beauty that symphonic metal can have and guide their music ship wonderfully - rarely subdued but never over the top. Instead striking a nice and potent balance that is sure to attract all symphonic metal fans. The deeper you delve into what they do, the more you realize that Selene are the kind of metal band that the common man can get in too. They're epic, loud, but rarely alienating, instead drawing the whole world into their arms and guiding you forth with powerful choruses and a sense of rock and roll majesty that few of their peers can match. With every solo landing precisely on point and every harmony guiding the band ever further along it is impossible not to be charmed by Selene's sublime musical triumph.

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Draconian - Sovran

Draconian is a surprisingly tastefully done doom/symphonic/death metal/whatever band who have rapidly managed to capture my heart with their epic dirges and powerful vocal melodies. With a nice mix of growls and female cleans alongside a terrifying organ sound there is something strangely satisfying about what the band do on their latest full length - the almighty Sovran. The deeper you delve int other bands distinctive sound the mire you realize hat these uys are top notch musicians and composers with a potent vision.

While yes - here and there moments of modern metal sneak in, the majority of the record is powerful and filled with deep emotions. From the initial trudge on the album opener Heavy Lies The Crown it is immediately clear that on Sovran Draconian have been able to pull together a truly powerful sound. The sense of artistry behind the music is perpetually palatable and helps to give a wonderful braininess to the entire record. Though a lot of these tracks skew long the epic themes the band has chosen to embrace make it seem appropriate and never leave the listener bored but instead stunned by the iconoclastic and refreshing presentation of the music.

The fact of the matter is that doom metal is a pretty fucking crowded scene right now and Draconian have found a simple way to twist it and make it exciting. When you find out the band has been around for 21 years it makes sense that their sound is so mature, no younger band could really invoke something this powerful. Diverse and refreshing Draconian's time has come to take up their role as one of the lords of a scene that God forgot. The only question now is can you take the madness onto your own shoulders?

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vile Insignia

Life is weird - I should know, my life is especially weird. The point being - there is also hope within the blackness, but to find it we need to full submerse ourselves in the triumphant dark That is exactly what Vile Insignia have been able to accomplish on their latest full length Bestial Invocation blazing black metal fury for the masses. There is something strangely comforting about how this band tear the listener apart and hold them in thrall to the power of the riff. Bleak and over the top the sublime darkness invoked by these Canadians is triumphant. The Great White North has birthed all sorts of wondrous black metal lately and Vile Insignia is one of the latest and greatest additions to the horde. Frostbitten and wonderfully tortured Bestial Invocation will help you to carry on despite the utter misery of reality. Instead you look into the brave new world and realize that these dudes understand the wondrous power of a genre God forgot and not to headbang would be a sin.

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