I have always liked what I refer to as “dungeon metal”. I have never seen anyone else refer to it as such, but when I listen to old Yngwie Malmsteen that is still what I think of. This type of music was huge in the late 80s and into the early 90s, but I hadn’t really heard a lot of it lately.
I happened to catch a Dragonforce video on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball (I thought they canceled that when grunge and hip hop pushed metal into the underground in the mid 90’s), and downloaded a couple of albums. Pretty good stuff. The guitarwork is excellent, the beat is fast, but the vocals are mixed so loud that they really take away from the song. In this type of music, the vocals are really irrelevant IMHO, the less you hear of them the better. This guy’s voice in particular sours me, it is just too … I dunno … happy maybe? Not looking for growling here, but it really shouldn’t sound the like the vocal track could be taken as is and laid over an Irish Spring commercial. Like I say, the music is awesome, and the vocals aren’t really that bad, but I can’t just sit and listen to it, mostly because of the vocals.
Last night I happened to hear a song by Symphony X on Sirius satellite radio, and was curious enough to look at some song samples from recent albums. This is exactly the kind of music I am talking about. The one I linked above is heavier than most of their stuff, but it sounds great. Probably a more representative song would be Paradise Lost (the vocals are mixed pretty heavy in that as well, but you get the idea). The music is awesome, and the vocals just add another layer to it. It could almost be classical music if you were to take away the distortion -which is pretty much what I am looking for.
I’m sure this isn’t the type of music for everyone, but if you really like the musical side of some of the great Metallica songs, particularly the instrumentals, you should check these guys out. They write excellent melodies and the songs flow smoothly. Not so overly loud as to be deafening (again, IMHO), but heavy enough to be rock. Sort of like an opera without the the falsetto vocals and done in English. Some songs are relaxing, some are invigorating, and I have yet to hear one that I just dislike.
And coming from me, that is something.