"Music is my life" is a cliche, so I'll refrain from saying it. Suffice it to say that my life has revolved significantly around music for a very long time.
Starting from high school I was one of those kids who had headphones on at every possible second. While not quite so anti-social anymore, I have worked as a developer for more than 10 years at this point, and have spent every work day of all of those listening to music while coding. And that's to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of miles driven, workouts worked, and dinners cooked while blasting tunes.
I've listened to a lot of music. Most music, at this point, sounds roughly the same, but occasionally a song grabs my ear, and even more occasionally entire albums do. Some of these albums have gone on to stand the test of time for me. And from this small set, there are some which you probably haven't heard of. Which is why we're here.
Here is a small selection of 5 albums which I think are excellent, but which ring absolutely zero bells for most people I run across.
(Disclaimer: some of these are by non-english-speaking bands. I don't know what the lyrics mean, and I've never looked them up.)
In high school I was obsessed with folk metal, and this album in particular has always held a special place in my heart. I distinctly remember hunting down each song individually on Limewire, trying to complete the set like it was some kind of magical puzzle.
The album has a certain peacefulness to it, even while it leans on the electric guitar through some sections. Shaman, the band, would later change their name to Korpiklaani, and became one of the leading faces of folk metal as a genre. While Korpiklaani leans more heavily on the metal side, their original incarnation here leans more towards the folk.
Shamániac is a very precious album to me, something I would be sad to lose. It represents an entire era of my music listening history, the first genre I listened to outside of the mainstream, and before I discovered electronic music. It was something I felt right at home with, despite not understanding the words or the culture or really anything about it; it just spoke to me.
I guess this might not be that unknown, the album has 400k views and apparently they were featured on Twin Peaks. But damn it's good. The whole album has a dark, groovy, neon vibe to it. It's catchy, it's moody, it's sexy, it's good in the background, it's good in the foreground, it's just good. Probably the best of this genre (that I've found).
I'm cheating here and putting two albums, because they should be heard back-to-back.
Mareridt (Youtube playlist)
Myrkur is a solo project led by Amalie Bruun, who does the vocals, guitar, piano, drums, etc... So it's safe to say there's a pretty singular vision at play here.
The first album, Folkensange, at first listen, appears to be a 100% folk album. Folk instruments, folk songs, folk theming.
The second album (which was actually released first), Mareridt, is a black metal album.
I bring in Myrkur in hopes of converting any "death metal" haters who are reading this. Listen to all of Folkensange. Feel the music, the atmosphere it evokes, the soft peacefulness of it. Then listen to Mareridt. This is the same mind, the same source. These are not incompatible, but rather different views of the same object. Same location, same atmosphere, different days.
In my opinion metal is always built upon the base of some other genre; there is no such thing as "pure" metal. What you might conceive of as pure metal is built upon rock & roll. Shaman (above) is built upon folk. Myrkur is also built upon folk, and yet the two are completely different in every way. This difference really comes out when you compare Folkensange to Shamániac, and then Folkensange to Mareridt, and realize the latter two are closer in spirit, despite being farther in sound.
This is what you're missing when you hear "death metal" and wonder "how can anyone listen to that noise?". You're not hearing the spirit that noise is founded on, the music under the noise. The "noise" is the taking that foundation to an extreme, so that it might be seen (heard) in a different light.
Psychedelic, poppy, groovy. Consider this a palette cleanser from the heavy Myrkur section. The song "Solution" in particular is an absolute banger, and everyone loves "Jumprope" (or they would, if they had ever heard it).
Full disclosure, I wrote this post mostly to have an excuse to spread the good word about the Icky Blossoms. I guess they've had a song or two featured in shows/movies here and there, but I don't think that does them justice.
(I'm also only now watching some of the music videos linked above. I dunno if it's because I have a preconceived image and idea of the music and the vibe, but I don't feel like the videos do them much justice either.)
This album is incredible. I've listened to it a million times. I'm listening to it right now. It's so good I don't really know what to say about it now that I'm here.
Just go listen to it. Sex to the Devil. Deep in the Throes. Babes. And everything in between.
If you don't find yourself grooving then there's probably not anything we could ever agree on.
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