The title is pretty self-explanatory- there are many unappreciated bands out there in the world of “Heavy music” (Metal, Metalcore, Djent, Hardcore, etc.). Society now accepts that good music is popular with a celebrity/idol, and a catchy beat to be considered brilliant, great, or acceptable; especially if it is on the radio. There are actual musicians who work day in and day out, bending their minds and limbs to create a beautiful piece of music, only to be discredited by society and slapped with a genre label. I have taken it upon myself to list a couple of bands that deserve to be appraised for their efforts and brilliance.
Animals As Leaders is a three piece instrumental metal band consisting of two guitarists and a drummer. Both guitarists use 8-string guitars, which are in drop E tuning. Alternate tuning is used by the guitarists when they jam out individually in their spare time, but drop E is the main tuning for Animals As Leaders. An assumption people have towards heavy music is that everything must be brutal or, well, constantly heavy. Animals As Leaders music contains moments of awesome, drop-kicking breakdowns, but they focus on the flow of the song as a whole. Using tapping, pinch harmonics, palm-muting, and hand-crippling power chords, Animals As Leaders creates a sense of euphoria throughout each song. They erase the stereotype of making breakdowns the best part of a metal song, and introduce a more “sophisticated” approach to writing heavy music.
Volumes is a Progressive Metal or Djent band consisting of one guitarist, bassist, drummer, and two (yes two) vocalists. The guitarist plays in drop G# tuning with a six string guitar while the bassist uses a five string bass. Not too technical. However, most of the band members come from hip-hop backgrounds and have incorporated this into their writing technique. Using repetitive riffs and “beatdown” drumming (steady beat with emphasis on the kick drum), Volumes creates a similar sensation when compared to listening to a heavy rap song. The difference between Volumes and every other generic/repetitive band is that they use alternating melodies between guitars, Djent (palm-muting with high gain distortion on guitars) styled playing, and the vocalists compliment each other’s screams. A typical metal band will have one screamer and one singer, but Volumes’ vocalists both scream and both sing. With stage presence like rappers and lyrics like philosophers, these vocalists help establish a unique foundation for Volumes. So, Volumes’ music may sound simple, but when you break it down- they are very clever and passionate about every song they create.
Last but certainly not least, Chelsea Grin. This Metal-core band consists of three guitarists, one drummer, bassist, and vocalist. Starting out, Chelsea Grin was mainly a Death Metal band. When “screamo” and Scene bands started to become accepted in society, Chelsea Grin developed a huge fan base, but then they changed their sound in an attempt to be post-hardcore. With this change, their album “My Damnation” was released and many fans hated it (including myself). After losing most of their fans, Chelsea Grin took on a new approach. They are not quite death metal due to lack of squealing, blast beats, etc. However, they are not like other Scene bands that have clean sing-alongs or breakdowns about violent acts towards an ex-girlfriend. Chelsea Grin is now considered to be Metal Core, but the way they write their songs is unlike other Metal Core bands. Their newest album “Ashes to Ashes” reinforces the fact that they are here to stay, and here to pump you up. With philosophical ideas in their song “Clockwork” and Melodic transitions between sing-along beatdowns and breakdowns in “Letters”, Chelsea Grin has made a strong comeback, and instilled some hope in me that legends never die.
After reading this, I hope you consider what these artists and many others go through when trying to express themselves through music. Please take the time to really listen and analyze a band’s content before passing judgement on them. I would rather have you listen to Chelsea Grin, break down their songs’ meanings and structures, and hate them than to totally dismiss this “screamo” band and listen to “A Milli” by Lil’ Wayne because the bass slaps. Once again, please, truly listen to a band and give them the appreciation they deserve.
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