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Unearthing The Metal Underground: More Of The Genre Blending And Trend Ignoring Scene

Although there may be stagnation in many areas of the heavy music scene, particularly at the most visible and mainstream levels, such is not the case with a swath of metal’s underground sector.

Sure, there are dime a dozen bands that all sound the same and use the exact same breakdown of low growls and clean singing (you know which ones I’m talking about – they like to call themselves “melodic hardcore” or “post-something or other”). There are even plenty of groups that claim they transcend genre or don’t care about sub-genre tags because “music is music” - and this is frequently a warning sign what you are about to hear will suck, hard, and very likely be a copy of something else that was just as lame.

But if you skim off that top layer of bafflingly-popular gunk, there are bands to be found that genuinely ignore borders between styles and let a wide range of genres seep into each other, creating unique and interesting sounds.

In previous Unearthing columns we’ve looked at a few metal bands that blend different genres or ignore metal trends as well as experimental or avant-garde acts, and today we’ll unearth three more outfits in those categories. These are musicians that don’t mind getting some prog in their death metal or some black metal in their electronica, and they’ll even play with mainstream elements while still hitting the extreme notes without skipping a beat.

Blutmond

This Swiss avant-garde outfit has three full-length releases under its belt, with the new album “The Revolution is Dead!” (review coming soon) just dropping last month through Code666 Records. Despite the title’s claim, the metal revolution certainly isn’t dead, as Blutmond plays with just about everything that can be found in the musician’s toolkit: black metal collides with saxophone, female vocals, and even some goth and industrial elements.

As a statement from the band itself recently said, the latest album is “a roller coaster of mindfucked hate songs full of love and lots of lost dreams.” This is a group worth checking out for fans of Oblomov, Furia, or black metal bands that all around don’t give a good goddamn about remaining “trve” or “kvlt.” Four tracks from “The Revolution is Dead!” can be heard through the player below.

Naïve

France’s Naïve isn’t nearly as extreme as Blutmond, but it keeps an underlying heaviness and all-around darkness brought forth with a hodgepodge of rock, electronic, and even trip hop sounds. After releasing previous album “The End,” the band now has a new release out titled “Illuminatis.” See if this blend of mainstream and extreme strikes your fancy by checking out the full “The End” album below, or listen to tracks over at MySpace.

The band also describes itself by saying: “Three persons. Three tormented souls. Three happy souls. Three desperate souls. Violence and combat, contemplation and sadness, junction between the ocean and the sky: Mox (Le Minus, Kalevala), Drums and electro, Jouch (Agora Fidelio, Phantom Status) Guitar, Voice and electro, and Rico (ex-Mary Slut) Bass. No limit. From Metal to Synthetic music, from violins to Trip-hop. Melody is a leitmotiv, Rhythm is fuel. Let's be Naïve, once”


Ne Obliviscaris

To finish off this week’s Unearthing installment we’ll explore Australian act Ne Obliviscaris, which has had many underground fans chomping at the bit while awaiting that anticipated full-length debut. They finally got their wish this year, as the group hooked up with Code666 for the release of “Portal of I” (reviewed here).

Now Code666 definitely has its share of amazing music, but Ne Obliviscaris is one of those acts that makes you wonder just what the hell the bigger metal labels are thinking by not scooping something like this up post-haste. The new album was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren however, so it seems not everyone is ignoring the potential of these progstatic extreme death metallers.

The album features Opeth-length tracks that breach 11 and 12 minutes in length, and while there are clean vocals in addition to the death growls, the album has much more of a raw and underground feel than that staple of the prog scene. There are plenty of stringed instruments used in unexpected ways that don’t create the feel of a fully symphonic band, and the overall sound is a bit like a less cleanly produced but more extreme To-Mera or Mayan. A sampling of songs from the album are available in the player below, and more info can be found on Facebook.

These are but three of the many bands in the metal underground who break down the walls between styles and create unique compositions that keep the scene alive. Let us know what you think of these picks in the comments below, and be sure to recommend any avant-garde or genre-blending bands you love. Check back in next week as we continue to unearth more of the metal underground.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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