Hi. Buck Edwards here. I’m your NoC Music Editor. Normally, as longtime readers know, I fill this space with all sorts of clever writing about upcoming shows, but frankly, I don’t feel like doing that this issue. I’m pretty down on music, as it turns out. It’s only temporary—don’t worry!—but right now I’m just not in the mood.
What happened is that my favorite Scandinavian progressive/goth/melodic death metal band, Sweden’s Opeth, just released a new album, Heritage, that frankly isn’t very good. Not only is it not very good, it isn’t even metal. Like, at all. Instead, it’s seventies-style progressive rock, in the vein of King Crimson, or Camel. One song sounds just like Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.
I didn’t want Camel. I don’t own any Camel, and I only own In the Court of the Crimson King because it’s one of those albums that’s forever turning up on various “greatest rock records” lists. And the only Rainbow I owned was on cassette, and I threw out all my cassettes years ago. I haven’t replaced it. I don’t really like progressive rock.
So the whole thing is disappointing. I’ll be in Louisville the night before this issue hits the newsstands for Opeth’s show at Expo Five, but I’m not excited about it, because they’re playing mostly stuff off Heritage, and a few non-metal songs from earlier records.
My buddy Ron, a fellow metalhead, had this to say in an email exchange:
“Their primary purpose was to write an album devoid of metal, and it shows. Their primary drive was for it to be a not-metal album rather than a good one. Maybe they get better at it (there are a large number of bands—bands that I actively listen to—that became immeasurably better once they abandoned metal: Anathema (essentially founded Doom Metal in the early ’90s); Ulver (Black Metal icons, even long after their black metal days); to a much lesser extent Katatonia (more Doom Metal pioneers), but I don’t know. They’re going to have to do a shitload better than Heritage to prove to me they can fundamentally change their music and not drop anything as a result.”
Look, I know you don’t care about any of this, but it’s something I needed to get off my chest. I’d looked forward to this new for months. And it comes out and it’s not what I wanted at all. Not at all. So I can’t muster any enthusiasm for much of anything right now. I know bands don’t owe their audiences anything, and they can do what they want, but still…
Anyway, here are a few upcoming shows that are truly going to be great, but since my world right now is gray and grim, I’ll let other people, including new music writer Andrew Hibpshman and the bands themselves, tell you about them.
Monday, October 3
Green Lantern; 497 W. Third. 10 P.M.
When I was growing up, I started to listen to truly heavy music: bands that were opposed to the “metal” of the time, what was known as “hair metal.” This isn’t to take anything away from bands such as Motley Crüe, Poison and Warrant, but those bands were all about looking pretty and getting girls, and not so much about the heavy music they were supposed to be playing. Skid Row gets a pass because they’re just awesome, but the point remains: other bands were much heavier and more real to me, bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, pre-Black Album Metallica, Megadeth and Motörhead.
So I was happy to see that on October 3, Gypsyhawk, a band from Pasadena that brings back the fire of my old favorites will be gracing the stage of the Green Lantern. They are in the middle of a national tour, bringing their brand of refreshing hard-as-steel madness to the polluted soundscape that is modern music. Gypsyhawk tears into its audience with guitar work that brings back the feeling of classic Maiden, with a sound similar to Thin Lizzy, Motörhead, and even newer bands such as Valiant Thor. Gypsyhawk’s driving beats and harmonized guitars help us to remember the beginnings of metal and heavy rock.
They’ve just signed with well-known metal label Metal Blade after playing the California area for years. If you’d like to hear their ear-blistering craft you can check them out at gypsyhawk.bandcamp.com for a quick listen, or to download one of their records. If you’re into the old-school sound of metal and hard rock, you’ll kick yourself for not attending this show.
Wednesday, October 5
Red Barn Radio; The Performance Hall at ArtsPlace, 161 North Mill Street. 7 P.M.
Casey, Laura, Tyler, and Ishi are The Bloodroots Barter. Born out of dry county-winter doldrums in their Southeastern Kentucky home of Hyden, the foursome spent the last year concocting their unique “voodoo grass” sound. They play mostly original music (with collaboration from all members) with a high energy and extremely visual performance. Artists like Tom Waits, Devil Makes Three, Michael Hurley, Neko Case, Bobby Osborne, and John Fahey influence them.
The Bloodroots Barter concentrates on visual art and dynamic performance while keeping an anti–genre attitude toward their music. Art and design needs are met through collaboration with artists met through their experience as well as doing a majority themselves. Living and traveling in a veggie-oil school bus, they promote a conscientious approach to touring as well.
Saturday, October 8
Frank Rocket with The Royal Batfangs and Rebel Riot Revue
Cosmic Charlie’s; 388 Woodland. 10 P.M.
Masked surf rock, burlesque girls…
This Band was banded in outer space for not knowing the difference between a hawk & a handsaw!
—The Royal Batfangs Facebook page
We put the ASS in Bluegrass!
—Rebel Riot Revue Facebook page