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great music you might not have heard before: metal in english, danish, french and german.

December 12, 2014

Metal Music = Musique Metal (French.. I don’t know how to type an accent over the “e” in metal).

Metal Music = Metal-Musik (German.. what no umlauts? Same translation in Danish ..? ) I used google translate.. sometimes the translations from that application aren’t even close, but I did my best.

I’m American, and don’t know any other languages well, so why am I listening to metal in French and German and other languages?

Good question!

Once in awhile I like to browse around for rather good music I have not heard yet, or even heard of. It usually takes me quite a bit of time to find bands I’ll like that I hadn’t encountered before. Sometimes I just get frustrated, but other times my efforts are rewarded.

I am very selective about what music I listen to. Most pop music I find terribly loathsome, except for Lorde. Almost all her music is great. It’s amazing she ever became famous. People who make incredible music don’t tend to become famous these days. But this post is not about Lorde, just wanted to mention her.

Most music I listen to.. if it is mainstream, it is not current, but goes back usually at least a decade, or many decades, or even centuries.

A lot of the music I listen to has been made by bands I discovered while volunteering as a radio DJ at a college station from 1994-2000. (91.9 FM KCSS, in Turlock, CA, in case you are wondering. They are still on the air, and can be found online). The bands I’ve found since then that I’d not previously heard of, I’ve found online.

Many of the bands, artists etc. that I like best are from Europe. I hadn’t planned this.. just how it worked out.

A few of my favorites from the ’90’s: Bjork (Iceland), Hooverphonic (Belgium) Massive Attack and Portishead (England). These aren’t metal bands though.

The metal bands from Europe that I’ve found in the past and still enjoy: Opeth (Sweden), Amon Amarth (Sweden), Dark Tranquility (Sweden.. what’s with Sweden?) Volbeat (Denmark), Children of Bodom (Finland), Lacuna Coil (Italy), and more recently, Sisare (Finland) and Prospekt (spelled with a “k” on purpose.. England).

There’s only one American metal band I’ve found within these past few years that I really like a lot: Scale the Summit.

And one American metal band that has one song I quite like. This band is called Liturgy.

Ah heck, I might as well post one or more videos for each. I was just going to concentrate on the newest metal bands I’ve found that I like, Alcest and Falkbenbach.. I’ll get to them in a bit

By the way, none of these bands are hardcore satanic. I’m not into that stuff.

Right then..

Death Metal – deep growls.. cookie monster vocals.

Black Metal – banshee shrieks.

Prog metal – clean vocals, long epic songs, incredible musical intricacy, generally use keyboards.

Bands that are part of the other two genres occasionally use keyboards, and musicians that make music in any of all three genres tend to be amazing.

Opeth.. the singer performs death metal (cookie monster vocals) better than anyone else, in my opinion, but also has a great voice for clean singing. Opeth does death metal, prog metal and some softer songs. Here’s my favorite Opeth track. It’s one of their most mellow.

And here’s a much heavier track, featuring both well.. grunting and growling.. and clean vocals.. and then back to the growling..

Amon Amarth (just death metal vocals, no clean singing that I am aware of):

Dark Tranquility (death metal.. actually.. I haven’t been listening to this band lately, but used to a lot).

Volbeat (lots of fun.. sometimes they play punk, sometimes metal, throwing in a bit of country even). Michael Poulsen is one of my favorite rock vocalists.

Children of Bodom (Death metal or black metal? The singer’s voice is somewhere in between. According to Wikipedia.. “melodic death metal.” Ok then. Lake Bodom in Finland was the site of a mysterious triple homicide in 1960).

Lacuna Coil.. prog metal? Hard to define this band.

This one is a fantastic cover of a Depeche Mode classic. The video is amateur-shot, and the audio quality isn’t great, but the energy sure is!

Sisare – prog metal. Not that energetic, more moody, but good. Especially this song:

I can’t find any live videos of this band, as yet, but here’s their full debut album:

Prospekt (awesome!! British prog metal.. one of the most incredible bands I’ve heard in years. I bought the download for their whole album, “The Colorless Sunrise.” Very heavy but clear vocals).

This one is audio only:

And the two American band on the list.. first, a phenomenal instrumental band.. Scale the Summit (from Texas).

Hardly any live videos of this band on youtube, and sound quality isn’t good on any I’ve found, so I’ll post demo videos.. these are the actual guys from the band.

And the band Liturgy, from Brooklyn, NY. This band does sport an inverted cross, but they also have one right-side up. I don’t think they are into satanism.

The band has caused some controversy. Why? Because, despite their intense black metal sound, the band refuses to look scary. The singer can shriek with the best of them, but looks like a little girlie-man.

Anyway.. this song and video is really intense!! These guys sound like they are from Scandinavia!

Alright then.. now for metal in French!

The band.. Alcest. I looked up that word on google translate.. couldn’t get an English translation.

I so far have only bought a download of the album “Écailles de Lune (English: Moon Scales)” – Wikipedia.

This band is unusual in several ways. As you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve watched the above videos, the European bands all sing in English, or mostly in English.. Volbeat throws in some Danish. Alcest sings some in English, but more in French.. or at least, that is what I have heard so far.

This band is also interesting because they blend black metal with shoegaze rock.

Shoegaze.. what’s that?

From Wikipedia (if you use Wikipedia a lot like I do, please consider donating a few bucks, or whatever your currency is).

“Shoegazing (also known as shoegaze) is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s by bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, and Ride. It lasted there until the mid-1990s, with a critical pinnacle reached from 1990–91 and a new zenith achieved again from resurgence in the early 2010s. The British music press—particularly NME and Melody Maker—named this style “shoegazing” because the musicians in these bands stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, hence the idea that they were gazing at their shoes.[1][2] The heavy use of effects pedals also contributed to the image of performers looking down at their feet during concerts.

The shoegazing sound is typified by significant use of guitar effects, and indistinguishable vocal melodies that blend into the creative noise of the guitars.[1]”

Ok.. so.. shoegaze blended with black metal.. let’s check that out! First two videos are audio-only. The first one is more shoegaze, and the second one is more black metal.

And a video with two acoustic tracks:

And back to metal.

Next, travel with me to Germany for a visit with Falkenbach.

Falkenbach means “falconbrook” in English.

This band is basically one dude: “Vratyas Vakyas  (real name Markus Tummers) is the only full-time member of the folk/black/viking metal band Falkenbach. The phrase Vratyas Vakyas can be translated as ‘the searching wanderer.'” – Wikipedia.

Not only does this guy sing in German, but also in English, Latin, and Old Norse. He blends metal with German folk music.

So far, I’ve just found audio-only and fan videos of Falkenbach.

This one gets crazy.. black metal for a bit in the second half.

This is a fan video featuring vikings!

You might be wondering why I listen to bands that don’t sing in English. One reason is that some bands that sing in English I can’t understand sometimes anyway. All that shrieking and growling. I have no idea what the lyrics are.. might as well be in German or French or Old Norse.

Secondly.. it’s the music that matters most to me.. the sound, not the lyrics. Thirdly, I sometimes like the sound of other languages besides English. I like variety.

Thanks for taking this musical journey with me! I hope you have found some music and bands you’ve not heard before, but now really enjoy!!

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