Thursday, January 14, 2010

Metal Video Roundup

My laptop is now seven years old. YouTube and other video sites are much younger. As a result, my lowly 866 mHz processor isn't optimized to handle streaming video. The frames flow by haltingly if at all; the audio stops intermittently; whatever degree of spontaneity there is in watching a whole series of Slayer videos right after you think of doing it is completely lost. There is a whole part of the heavy metal fan experience that I'm missing out on because of my faulty technology. Really it's no different than my lack of cable TV back in the heyday of MTV. Perhaps I'm lucky though -- might there be something purer about my relationship to the music I hear because I have no visual to accompany it?

Visual aesthetic is of paramount importance to most every subgenre of heavy metal. Maybe in this era where bands can slap together a decent video on the cheap and spread it like wildfire for free, making a video serves a similar purpose as playing live. There's no exchange of energy between band and audience in a video, of course, but the purpose is partly the same: prove that your band is more than just sound. Give the audience an opportunity to connect with you using a different sense.

Enjoy the following recent metal (or metallic) videos that were worth the painfully slow techno-slog.

Venerable death/black metal band Acheron and director Aaron Werner took the road more traveled on their first ever video in the band's 20+ year career. Band playing in studio + bald frontman with hot chick with apple + bald frontman with hot chick with snake = obvious metal video. Sez frontman Vincent Crowley: “The video is about embracing the life of being a Heathen. Many people struggle with what is wrong or right, good or evil. When they go against the norm, the guilt eats away at them. Heathens don’t have negative feeling about embracing their true nature. Temptation doesn’t weaken us because in the end we control it! Lots of the symbolism in the video shows just that.” It's a simple clip for a simple song about simple anti-religious notions. Two band members have no hair; the other two have a lot of it. The synchronized headbanging possibilities are endless! The song comes from Acheron's solid 2009 album The Final Conflict: Last Days of God, out last year on Ibex Moon.

Here's a video for the last song, "Final Breath," off Pelican's stately new album, What We All Come to Need (Southern Lord, 2009). Director Matt Santoro's slow-moving, gauzy imagery perfectly complement the song's repetitive atmospherics and the ghostly guest vocals of ex-Shiner singer Allen Epley. Total side note: I was listening to Shiner's final album The Egg a couple days ago and it still smokes any other rock album from that era. Talk about underappreciation!

Here's a goofy clip from Look What I Did, a cool post-punk/screamo four-piece out of Nashville. These dudes fuse tight vocal harmonies over a base of angular Dischord/DeSoto-style noise rock. "Fade to Daft" ain't that heavy, even within the Look What I Did canon. It's a creative tune though, and it makes me smile that the band members are comfortable wearing hoodies AND tying up their t-shirts all naughty-schoolgirl style. Look What I Did's new album Atlas Drugged is out on 2/9/10 via Modernist Movement Recordings. You can preorder the album for just $6.99 from Smartpunk right now!

Ah, Katatonia, you avatars of noble Swedish depression. You had me at the vomiting goth girl. The saran-wrapped body (very Twin Peaks, no?) is icing on the cake. The romance is a little suffocating in this video for "Day and Then the Shade," from Katatonia's late '09 Peaceville release, Night is the New Day. Quite a color palette though!

1 comment:

dschalek said...

The new full-length from Acheron is excellent, though. Crowley does have a presence, I'll give him that.