Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's Good Metal, Eh?

Keep Your Eye On Them!

Band: Among The Betrayed
Formed: 2012
Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Genre(s): Thrash Metal, Alternative Metal, Metalcore
Sounds Like: Shadows Fall, Chimaira, Killswitch Engage
Releases: 1 EP

Why you should check them out: This is a band that has seen a lot of success in a very short period of time. For only having been in existence for two years, and with only five total songs in their catalog, they've built a respectable fan base that often takes twice as long for bands to build. Since the release of their free EP "The Need To Make A Change" in June 2014, produced by Chris "Hollywood" Holmes who has worked with hard rock pioneers Korn in the past, their fanbase has grown almost exponentially, and people are starting to notice this hard-hitting Canadian quartet. The EP has gotten very positive reviews from underground music websites, praising the band's diversity, and their ability to seamlessly blend the ultra-heavy and ultra-melodic. Unlike many contemporary metal bands, vocalist Nikki Omen favors a raspy-clean vocal approach over harsh screaming, although he does make use of the latter style, most prominently in the song "Eraser," where the verses are screamed while the choruses are sung. Unlike bands like Chimaira, AtB uses screams more for effect in certain passages of songs rather than as the dominant vocal style, except in the example previously mentioned. The instrumentation deserves a mention as well for their ability to go for a full-speed-ahead thrash attack while keeping a strong emphasis on melody like in "Cold and Jaded," and for their ability to play more complex patterns like in "Save Me" and "Eraser." In fact, the only negative thing I have to say about the band is that they don't have enough songs! But, give them time. They've shown this early in their careers that they are more than competent, and with virtually no ceiling, who knows how far they'll climb on the metal ladder.
"Leading On Me"

"Save Me"


Monday, October 6, 2014

The Lighter Side

Top 5!
Because it's Monday and most of you are probably very angry today, we're going to mellow down a bit for this top 5, the category of which is Top 5 Power Ballads in Metal. Because ballads are far more common in rock, this top 5 is exclusively ballads by metal bands. 

5. Black Label Society - "In This River"

A tear-jerker in every sense of the word, this piano ballad contains Zakk Wylde's most emotional lyrics, which pay tribute to his childhood friend and legendary Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who was murdered onstage in 2004. The accompanying music video makes it impossible to keep a dry eye while hearing Zakk mourn the loss of one of his closest friends, and one of the greatest men to ever pick up a guitar. 

4. Skid Row - "18 And Life"

While Skid Row was certainly well known for their high-energy songs such as "Youth Gone Wild," "Slave To The Grind," and "Monkey Business," a completely different side of them can be seen in this song. Featuring some of Sebastian Bach's greatest singing, this ballad tells the story of an 18 year old boy named Ricky, who accidentally shot his friend while partying and was sentenced to life in prison. While definitely not heavy by their standards, this song became Skid Row's biggest hit immediately upon release.

3. Queensryche - "Silent Lucidity"

While Queensryche's claim to fame is undoubtedly their 1988 album, "Operation: Mindcrime," this song from the followup "Empire" is one of the band's most recognizable songs. This song is about the concept of lucid dreaming, and with the help a full orchestra creates almost an ethereal or "dream-like" atmosphere to accompany the theme. This song was nominated for a Grammy in 1992, and the music video won the MTV Viewers Choice Award, and deservedly so, because this song is a timeless classic in the world of music.

2. Pantera - "Cemetery Gates"

Now this is something that is very bizarre; mellow Pantera. While this song certainly feels out of place on an album with "Cowboys From Hell" and "Domination," that doesn't mean it isn't a killer song. Telling the story of the death of a young woman and her lover contemplating dying to rejoin her in the afterlife, this song shows off the immense versatility of the band and especially vocalist Phil Anselmo. It's not the first song people associate with Pantera, but it's still one of the greatest in their catalog for sure, and another timeless classic.

1. Metallica - "Fade To Black"

When it comes to great composition in metal, it's hard to beat Metallica's first 4 albums. This song is off of Metallica's sophomore album "Ride The Lightning," and was their first (and greatest) power ballad. Metallica's ballads are famous for starting off very mellow, and gradually ramping up intensity to all-out thrash, which is why I consider them the masters of metal power ballads. This song is from the point of view of a man committing suicide, speaking his thoughts in the final dark moments of his life. Metallica's early efforts are almost untouchable in the metal world, and this song is one of their greatest compositions ever.


That is The Foundry's choices for the Top 5 Power Ballads In Metal. These picks will not reflect everyone's opinion, so I encourage you to post your own Top 5 choices in the comments.