Sunday Sesh – Mercurial Moods

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Hail, friends. As some of you may be aware, I’ve been on vacation for over a week now. In fact, by the time you read this, I’ll be on the road back home to return to reality. This Sunday Sesh, then, is born from a conversation I had yesterday with our own inimitable Leif Bearikson over some beers and weird bar music. As the two of us, both on time off, sat at a lakeside bar and discussed metal, politics, and getting older, we noted that both of us have been in a doom mood this year. That isn’t to say that I no longer have interest in the metal I love; in fact, I’m probably still more likely to click play on something avant-garde or experimental on Toilet Tuesday than I am a random doom metal link, but for a decent chunk of 2016, I’ve found myself returning over and over again to many doom and devotional albums. Undoubtedly many of you also experience these mood swings in the metal you primarily enjoy. Today we’re hashing that out.

Before we dive into the meat of the conversation here, I’d like to offer this little demo to sate your earthirst and to bring you up to speed with my current mood. This demo, the preview from an upcoming release from Chant of the Goddess, has the perfect tone and crushing warmth for some summertime doom.

There, now that we’re on the same level, allow me a moment to conjecture about these metal moods. In 2015, I found myself listening primarily to black metal of varying hues and shades. There was something about the scabrous extremity that just resonated with me. Maybe it was a sort of violent inner rebellion against the state of the world, but something just clicked with me. The year before, as I was finishing a tumultuous period of intense academic work, it was dissonant death metal that most resonated with my mind. In the shifting, seething rhythms and unexpected riffs, I found a counterpoint for how stressed and frustrated I felt.

Fast forward to this year, I find myself most drawn to the cyclical patterns and dark ambiance of doom and devotional metal. Bands like Blood of the Black Owl and Hipoxia, with their recursive riffs and mantra-esque chants, have resonated with me for more than even old favorites like Gorguts (though I have by no means forgotten the face of my dissonant fathers). In seeking an explanation for this change in mood, I have postulated three possible catalysts:

1). I know that a period of great upheaval as my wife and I change cities and uproot our lives in the city I’ve lived in for the last ten years is right around the corner, so perhaps I’m subconsciously seeking music that is more predictable and, in some ways, grounded.

2). The state of the world seems to be rapidly deteriorating as the spiral’s oscillations become even more distended, so perhaps I’m subconsciously seeking music that is more cyclical as a form of reassurance that all the chaos in the pendulum swing must eventually level out.

3). I’ve also been drawn to horror movies and frightening literature this year, so perhaps I’m subconsciously seeking music that proffers the same sort of thrill and terror that acts as a counterbalance to the mundane predictability of a salary job and day-in-day-out monotony.

In truth, my reason for enjoying doom more of late could be a mixture of all three reasons and even more opposing ideals. It may seem strange to seek doom both for predictability and adrenaline-spiking, but our tastes are so often predicated on a bizarre milieu of prevailing paradigms, personal experience, emotional state, external relationships, etc. that it can be hard to cite merely one cause for a particular humor. It is therefore not a willful act of cognitive dissonance to embrace one particular genre over another for seemingly conflicting reasons if the ultimate impetus that sets the boulder rolling is a combination of all the forces, external and internal, surrounding you.

Undoubtedly, you too have felt this shift in moods. I’ve noticed it in the comments both here and in the Facebook group. Raw black metal for one season may yield to crust punk in another, or post metal for one stage of life may be usurped by death metal in the next. Assuredly, your own reasons for your changing moods are as complex as my own, but perhaps you could set form a hypothesis if you reflected a bit. Doing so may even prove the validity of your own taste, as good art, the art that resonates and reflects, should cause us to look inward and ponder where we are and why we do what we do.

So tell me, what are you listening to now, and why are you listening to it?

(Photo VIA)

  • Lacertilian

    I attributed the amount of black metal I (and many others) consumed last year to be a function of the sheer abundance of quality BM released last year.

    This year has been heavy on killer death metal, so I’ve found myself in that sort of mood. Hearing a great new album in a particular style seems to compel me to dust off some old classics of that style.

    Although, one thing I’ve noticed during the last 2 years is that I missed a veratible shitload of stuff in 2014 that I’ve spent essentially 2 years digging through and catching up on.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    i pretty much just #stayblack because …
    https://pics.onsizzle.com/Facebook-e2e878.png

  • Been on a huge chaotic hardcore kick lately, particularly with Botch influenced type bands. The reason behind that is because I started digging into discographies of bands that I’ve heard a few albums from, but never got around to checking the rest. I started with The Chariot, then His Hero Is Gone and I’ll be going through Norma Jean’s albums I haven’t heard next.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      How are you liking The Chariot? I had a friend in High School that got me into them, they were his favorite band.

      • Definitely enjoying them. I like all the odd time signatures they play in, the noisy guitar work and always liked Josh’s vocals from the early NJ stuff.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Right on. I’m not overly familiar with other bands in that particular style, but I always enjoyed the music I heard from The Chariot.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I’ve been listening to a lot of Gaza lately.

      • I think I listen to a Gaza album at least once a month. Flawless discography.

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          I was going through a YouTube powerviolence kick a little bit ago but it seems to have passed, lol. Fun while it lasted.

          • I got to see Weekend Nachos on their farewell tour back in May with Gets Worse and The Afternoon Gentleman. That was a fun evening of PV.

  • Howard Dean

    “…though I have by no means forgotten the face of my dissonant fathers.”

    I think they send you west for that, gunslinger.

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Been grimming it up a bit over the weekend, after a nice long binge of The Birthday Party, Tash, Jesus Lizard, and Hour Of Penance. And got into these guys last night:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwCtXQMWeUM

    No particular reason, though, just decided to switch it up from my usual power metal and synthpop. My mood’s still chipper and squishy as usual.

  • Howard Dean

    I’ve been really into three very different types of music so far this year: 1. black metal that’s mixed with or influenced by punk/oi/RAC; 2. third world slam and goregrind (what I affectionately refer to as “ESL death metal”); and 3. hard rock/heavy metal that was really popular a few years ago but that I avoided because I was only listening to war metal and brutal death metal at the time.

    I haven’t noticed any patterns to my listening, and I can’t identify any correlation between my preferences this year and with events in my personal life or in the world at large. I mostly just dig the way this stuff sounds aka it’s scratching the right itch at the moment.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      THIRD WORLD SLAM

      ILOLD

      • Howard Dean

        Dude, ESL/third world slam is like meth to me. I may not always be proud of it and may hide it from others, but once the gurgles, squeals, sex/murder samples, and slams kick in, I’m just that big stupid guy in front of the local 7-11 with his shirt off, grinding what’s left of his teeth and swinging his fists at the cops as they try to taze him.

      • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

        Backed up toilet vocals from places that don’t have toilets?

    • Dude, you hear that Last Days of Humanity is releasing a bunch of new shit this year?

      “Press release:
      The last couple day we have been flooded with questions about gigs and offers to do split cd’s/ep’s/LP’s/ etc, etc.
      Two releases are comming up, One split with FUBAR, that will be released om mcd and 10″ by Haunted Hotel Records and on a 9″ (special european edition) by Fatass Records The second one will be a split with Meatal Ulcer, a mcd will be done by Rotten Roll Rex and the vinyl version by Fatass Records. Exact release date’s of the releases we don’t have at this time, everything is recorded and artwork is in the making. Those tracks are recorded back in 2006 during the Putrefaction In Progress era and were mastered and provided with vocals in 2016. Unreleased new tracks. At this time LDOH is only a two man band (Hans and Rogier) and only exists in studio. We have teamed up with Bas and Paul from FUBAR to record a full lenght late 2016 or early 2017. After that we will see how things turn out. We don’t have any other tracks that we can use for other releases. Sorry we are fucking lazy bastards of wich only the music is fast, not the writing process.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1_xeKT6q8Y

      • Howard Dean

        YES. What will more suffocatingly brutal and harsh, the new LDoH stuff or the new Intolitarian? To borrow one of your famous quotes: Either way, it’s “time to die.”

        • Ugh! That new Intolitarian is going to be so savage. Can’t wait for it. most of all… I can’t wait to see them live in September! Time to Die indeed!!!

          Speaking of black metal that’s mixed with or influenced by punk/oi/RAC, have you listened to Shitfucker at all? I think you’d enjoy them. Also, you may like Nuke. Same singer for Shitfucker is in Nuke.

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, I’m big on Shitfucker. “Suck Cocks in Hell” has been in heavy rotation for me lately. I need to get more familiar with Nuke.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      I feel like black metal + crust/punk/whatever is rarely done right, but when it is done well the results are spectacular, i.e. Krieg’s Transient.

      • I agree, it’s a difficult mix. There are not a lot of blackened crust bands that I do enjoy. I’d say Reaper from Chicago are one of the better bands. They keeps it raw and primitive.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9btyIAQl-98

        • Edward/Breegrodamus™

          Ever listen to Villains that were out on NWN! ? They kinda had that sleazy blackened black & roll thing going on.

          That band Raspberry Bulbs came out a couple of years ago and blog press stated they were a punk / black metal mixture but I think it was because black metal was trendy on blogs at the time, I never really heard the black metal aspect of it outside of some vocals they sounded like a garage rock band (not bad by any means, just not accurately identified in my opinion).

          P.S. that Reaper song is short and sweet.

          • Abradolf Lincler
          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            I’m going out to get a greasy diner breakfast in a second BB – will have to revisit!

          • Abradolf Lincler

            already got myself a biscuit. lmk ed

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Biscuits & gravy is so my jam lately, fuck. I’m gonna get them today with a side of sausage.

          • more beer

            My favorite breakfast. But I like to throw some scrambled eggs with green chile into the mix.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            My usual breakfast is a Newport Red and at least a pot of coffee.

          • more beer

            Today I had beer for breakfast! That’s another favorite

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Hair Of The Dog breakfast, I take it?

          • more beer

            Yea but I was actually feeling pretty good this morning. So it was more just there is beer left drink it.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Lol, same here when that happens. Settles my stomach down a bit, and helps with any hangover. The fact that I even get hangovers anymore is sort of a good thing, oddly enough.

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo
          • Abradolf Lincler

            you live in the south, you should respect the biscuit

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            And butter. Tons and tons of butter per square inch of food.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            sorry our food tastes better

          • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

            Southern food’s actually pretty popular back on the South Side. There were at least 7 different Southern food/breakfast joints in my neighborhood (which is only about 3 miles by 3 miles), and a ton of them scattered throughout the rest of the area. Lol, I grew up with Southern food when I was living in the KY/Cinci area, so I’m more than familiar with it.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            born and raised in nc. eating my food will make you strong, then die.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Loits is vastly underrated.

      • Howard Dean

        Not huge on any Krieg, but I agree: when done right, the black metal and punk combo is formidable. It misses more often than it hits, though. I’m more into the “black metal mixed with football hooligan Oi!” variety, but that’s a rare breed.

        • Zeke

          While it might not have been overt, a lot of the old second wave Norwegian bm had punk mixed in. In high school a lot of my friends were punks and they kind of dug nightside eclipse, Transylvanian hunger, etc a lot more than the brutal death metal stuff I’d play around them

          • Howard Dean

            Indeed. The punk influence was more apparent in some bands, like Ildjarn. Primitive, simple, punky.

          • Zeke

            which album should I check out?

          • Howard Dean

            For Ildjarn? I’d recommend either the S/T debut or Strength & Anger. Both albums are very raw, very primitive, and very polarizing.

          • Zeke

            strength & anger it is

          • Zeke

            whoa! that’s too gnarly for me. I guess i’m becoming a normy

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, it’s pretty gnarly. Probably the rawest and most primitive of the more prominent second wave stuff.

          • Zeke

            The guitars just sounded like unintelligible pounding. God, I’m starting to sound like my parents

        • more beer

          I Saw a black metal band Friday night that screamed “Oi!” repetitively during one song. It really didn’t work that well.

          • Howard Dean

            Hahaha, what band was that?

          • more beer

            I can’t remember they were a local band. That I hadn’t heard of before.

    • brokensnow

      Just melodeath, 90s alt, and whatever BCI, Ne Obliviascaras are considered.

    • Dubbbz

      Sometimes scratching an itch is all it takes.

  • Hope the vay-kay was good bro. Travel safe.

    Yeah, it’s funny how certain times of the year change you musical mood. I’m all over the goddamn place with my musical taste as of lately. One day I’ll be in the mood for some grim blackness and the next I’ll be getting down and crusty with some Anti Cimex. This summer it’s been a very grindy and punky for olde Tyree. I’d say this has been my most played album of this year though for me.

    http://i.imgur.com/aZicm8w.jpg

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Nice, you got a copy of it!

      Also, your new name Hahahahahaha!!!!

      • Hell yes man, Caligari Records has been draining my wallet as of lately. Dubya will roll his eyes at this statement, but I love me some cassettes! Cheap and shitty, haha!

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa

          Solid, I’ve purchased some cassettes as well, though probably not as many as you. HA!

    • Abradolf Lincler

      i didnt know you lived on an amish farm tyree

    • more beer

      Thanks for turning me on to that. It has gotten a lot of play.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    I have been contemplating a similar circumstance within myself as well. For the last few years I was constantly listening to DOOM, exploring new and old artists alike and reveling in the slow, churning thick sounds brought forth. However, around February or March, my listening habits started to change. I felt a call towards SPEED. And I found this in the sounds of Black(I’ve listened to more Black Metal this year than I ever have), Speed and Traditional Metal. That is not to say I shunned all other styles. The classics and other new releases have been spun a plenty, but Traditional Metal is what I’m always coming back to. The huge riffs, the sing a long choruses, the imagery, the “epicness”, the speed. That is what I feel right now. In short, STEEL.

    On the other hand, this year has seen my delve into Dungeon Synth. At times epic and powerful, at other times gloomy and atmospheric. Something about it really clicked with me, perhaps a break from the Speed, perhaps a distant call from a time long gone.

    To sum it all up, I guess I’m just a nerd.

    • tertius_decimus

      Does fast music take out the negative energy out of your system?

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Yeah, I would consent to that point.

        • tertius_decimus

          I’ve asked that question to few other metalheads who knows what’s like to be in depression and they all cosigned to answer “Yes, big time”.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Heavy Metal has always made me feel better. Throughout my life with this music it has always been there. Overall I am a fairly positive person and Heavy Metal just multiplies that part of me. I can listen to the deepest, darkest tunes, but if I like it I have a smile on my face.

          • tertius_decimus

            It’s a pleasure to read and pity I can’t have such a positive view. Always admired this attitude in people.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            I’m sorry to hear that, my dude.

          • tertius_decimus

            Though, not decisive, but important reason why I liked Dormant Ordeal’s new album that Lacertilian reviewed recently so much is because this type of death metal (very intense, with sharp, quality sound) takes away hunks of crap out of the mind. Nothing does this job better than beloved Decapitated’s “Organic Hallucinosis”. “We Had It Coming” is very, very close to that. And since Decapitated changed their style, it’s a pleasure there are bands that continue to emphasize on what was a thing in mid-period of Decapitated discography.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            It’s good that you are finding solace in music man. I enjoyed that Dormant Ordeal album as well. I love being able to get lost in an album and basically shut the rest of the world of for 45 minutes at a time.

          • tertius_decimus

            Cosigned!

  • tertius_decimus

    Mostly Saturnus and Japanese band Mono, especially “You Are There” album. The reason behind it isn’t in any way an original one: it simply chimes with what’s inside currently. As a most whiny person in ToH (yep, I do realize how silly I look, writing these flushable thoughts), I’m, actually, not in depression. I was in depression and know how horrible that disease is: you can feel okay physically, testosterone may literally squirt out of your earholes, but you can’t force yourself to do a thing or two and that doesn’t change in a long run. Having no interest in anything and no will to find a way out of that craphole, having no motivation and seeing no success, no will to succeed in anything, including simple everyday tasks that normal people do automatically, even don’t bother to notice, led me to a state when I could enter bakery store and fail to order fucking piece of bread due to aphasia. “Give me, please, that sort (name one) of white bread.” — simple, right? 3 year old child can do this. I couldn’t. The first thing I did to change for better is to exclude funeral doom from the playlist so completely that even to this day, 5 years after defeating the depression I still refuse to listen what once was one of my favorite music genres.

    So, no, these days I experience an anxiety caused by constant cognitive dissonance. It’s not a depression by any stretch of definition. But as soon as something so emotionally powerful as depressive music reaches my eardrums, the brain rings alarm: DON’T FUCKING LISTEN! I’ve set a bar below which I refuse to descend, so at that lowest level I still tolerate to sits Danish band Saturnus. Mono is somewhere near it, however Mono’s emphasis is still on the better ending of things, it’s brings hope and home warmness like the warm distant house light on the horizon you’re walking to through the deep snow through the long winter evening. And to sum this up, remember the imperative by Netherland’s band Phelbotomized: never lose hope.

  • Edward/Breegrodamus™

    The last week I’ve been mostly listening to new stuff: new Psalm Zero (possible AOTY contender, most metal bands don’t write songs that good), new Caina, new Inter Arma last night, still the new Moonknight, still last year’s Wounds III as an outlier to that trend. Haven’t really settled into a handful of specific genres lately, just listening to whatever I feel like old or new. It’s been awesome.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I have still been listening to a lot of metal, and rock of the sorrowful kind, even more so than usually. But there have been less and less great stuff for me and I’ve been sliding toward ‘easier’ and faster stuff than say, a year ago.
    In truth I’ve also constatntly decresed the amount of metal I listen to.

    I can’t say I’d know the reasons as to why, as there were no notable events to sway me one eay or another in my personal life when the transition began, and the state of the world has generally never had such an impact on me.

    But it seems that everytime someone has released a great non-metal album, like Eevil Stöö, Tähtiportti, Death Grips, Lasten Hautausmaa or Swans, they’ve made me want to spin a metal record even less. So basically I listen to a lot of the aforementioned, electronic dance-pop and older prog in addition to (moody) metal.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      Poser.

    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      You had me at Swans, Bear God.

      • Hans Müller

        “You had me at the very last thing you mentioned” doesn’t sound nearly as romantic.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I’m listening to a lot of funk and synthpop from the 80s. Also RIP Alan Vega.

    • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

      Loves me some 80’s synthpop! Not as much as the newer synthpop out there, though.

      Some 80’s:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NppUKxeLNXI

      Some 90’s:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aReNmB4vbk

    • Ayreonaut

      If there is one genre I can not get into its that…. I am a huge rush fan, but I do not like their 80s stuff at all. I am also a huge Allman bros fan… But their 80s album sucks.. I just can’t get over the cheesiness of synth pop, and this is coming from a guy nor afraid of cheesy music.

      • Janitor Jim Duggan

        I love Rush and the Allmans. I also hate the two albums the Allmans released in the early 80s

  • JWEG

    My metal comfort zone consists mostly of two distinct types, one at a high subgenre level, the other more nuanced. You’ve read both from me before. One’s doom and its various and varied subgenres. The other is one level more specific – atmospheric black metal, leaning either toward post-black (Skagos) or progressive-black (With the End in Mind, Hive, Ishmael), and pretty much sold if it can legitimately claim to be Cascadian.

    On the former, before the Toilet ov Hell I didn’t really explore some doom subgenres that cross with other metal (and punk) subgenres like Death-Doom and Sludge to which this blog introduced me. When certain moods strike me those are where I’ll gravitate.

    – Retro Doom and Proggy Doom if I’m in a positive mood and want to maintain it
    – Sludge & Death/Doom if I’m just angry at stuff and need an outlet
    – Funeral Doom if I’m too cheery and need a come down, or feeling gloomy and want to revel in it for a while

    Although sometimes I’ll switch it up deliberately.

    On the latter (atmospheric black metal), I rarely if ever step out into other black metal subgenres (unless you count “blackened” forms of death or doom, which I won’t for the purposes of this narrative). But when I do it’s either toward the more progressive (Borknagar) or that which closely parallels doom anyway (Primordial). I’m not sure any particular thing is mood-associated, apart from the latter that falls under the same reasons for doom.

    Also, I discovered Tech Death and “Weird” Death metal before TovH but I definitely credit the blog (and Jack Bauer and Spear’s influence) in exploring both more thoroughly. Both are definitely for listening to when I’m either already in a positive mood or want to be in one.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Borknagar and Primordial mentioned. Both are top5-level goodness.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    I also forgot another thing I’ve been listening to. I’ve been listening to a lot of southern rock and country rock such as Blackfoot and Poco.

  • Stockhausen

    Doom mood backwards is doom mood. Check mate, atheists.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Number 234,587 of things Stockhausen knows.

      • Howard Dean

        Fuck off with your job, wench. We ain’t got no candy for you. Noooooooo candy.

    • Hans Müller

      It’s a palindrome yo.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    condolences to any cops’ families today

    • more beer

      The world is fucked!

  • Ayreonaut

    For some reason, the past year has drawn me very far into loving southern/hard rock. I can’t get enough of this stuff, Mountain, skynyrd, Molly hatchet, stevie ray, Allman bros, etc etc.. Also been listening to a lot of thrash as usual, and newer death metal stuff that doesn’t classify itself as technical. I am love it or absolutely hate it with tech death. For some reason I haven’t been listening to nearly as much punk lately though. It’s odd how tastes ebb and flow.

  • Incontinent Gorilla Rodeo

    Thinking about grabbing this one, which will be the first CD I’ve bought in quite a while (simply because the digital downloads I’ve found for it are kinda meh quality wise. It’s Jesus Lizard’s even grimier band before they became Jesus Lizard).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvM9xJjgHgI

    One of those rare times I wish I actually had an record player.