Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Happy 4/20 errbody
Well, it's that time once again: Pot Day, 4/20, Hitler's birthday, the anniversary of the Columbine shootings (if you wanna be a downer); it goes by many names, but we all know the deal by now. Not that any of us really need an excuse to smoke weed, but whether you do or not it's April 20th once again, and that means pretty much anyone who tokes is doing so right now or will be shortly, and we all know that good music and good weed go hand in hand. So in order to get into the holiday spirit a bit, I'm going to give you guys a brief list of some of my personal favorite songs to play when I get blazed, and not just metal. There will be plenty of that as well, don't worry, but I will admit I have a few guilty pleasures outside of the genre, and being stoned is usually my excuse for listening to them so it works out nicely. So without further ado, here's a small compilation of some of my personal favorite stoner jamz.
Cynic- "The Space For This"
This is a pretty obvious choice for most stoner metalheads, but that's because it really is the perfect fit. The general spaciness (no pun intended) of the music, combined with Paul Masvidal's hypnotic singing (the only person aside from The Faceless' Michael Keene to pull off the vocoder without sounding cheap) make for an experience that is both exhilarating and soothing at the same time. The song itself also appears to be heavily influenced by Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth, in which he emphasizes the importance of transcending and ultimately overcoming the ego-based state of consciousness. In case that went over your head, in layman's terms it means that the song is about trying to be a better, less self-absorbed person and eventually succeeding. So now you see why it's a great high song; it's trippy but calm and has a very positive message.
Sarah Brightman ft. Chris Thompson- "How Can Heaven Love Me"
Warning: the above video is not metal at all, if you don't like slightly campy Nineties pop rock (or opera singers) then you might wanna take a pass on this one. No one will blame you. But for the rest of you, this is a song from Ms. Sarah Brightman, a renowned opera singer from Britain. You probably know her better from her duet with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli "Time To Say Goodbye", unless you, y'know, don't listen to that sort of thing. I mean I don't, but I still know that song. You may also remember her as Blind Mag from the rock opera gorefest Repo: The Genetic Opera from a few years ago; if you haven't watched it yet definitely check it out. But I digress. This song has a lot working against it, but something about it touches my well-known soft spot for good melodies, and no one can deny that this lady is an absolutely phenomenal singer. There are parts in this song where she hits higher notes than even a woman should be able to, and the rest of her singing is beautiful too. As suggested by the title, the song has a sort of underlying theme of melancholy and sadness throughout; they're looking around at all the atrocities that people have committed over the years and continue to do to this day, and are basically weeping for the future. As cheesy as it is, I can't help but love it. Plus some of the lyrics sound like they were taken right out of a black metal song ("We fight with the gods for our dreams. When paradise falls, eternity screams"). Y'see, even world-famous opera singers can be misanthropic.
Animals As Leades- "CAFO"
Now THIS on the other hand, this is something that you can show to your friends and not get laughed at for weeks over. The last couple songs have been the kind that one would listen to when they're trying to mellow out, but Animals As Leaders are the kind of band that you go to to trip the fuck out, and the "CAFO" video hits the nail on the head in that regard. If the crazy lighting effects don't get you, then the relentlessly spastic and jazzy music definitely will. Tosin Abasi's guitarwork is extremely hard to describe, simply because he's literally all over the fucking place. His virtuosic songwriting style rivals the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Michaelangelo Battio, and in my opinion tops them in terms of diversity. The motherfucker literally plays whatever the hell he wants, and it seems like he changes his mind every few seconds. The other two members are exceptionally talented as well, including drummer Navene Koperweis, who also writes and plays all the music for the tech death dynamic duo Fleshwrought. Although to be honest, Navene's drumming sounds a bit reserved here, because Animals As Leaders is pretty much Tosin's brain child and he'll always be the main focus; but that's okay, because that just means Navene can do the same thing with Fleshwrought. Put this on about five or ten minutes after you hit the bong so that your high can peak and this song can achieve its maximum effect. I would also advise that you stay seated while you do so.
Short Bus Pile Up- "Ball Peen Beating"
And you thought I wasn't going to put up any death metal songs, didn't you? Don't worry, I still have testicles, and I still love me some brutality when I'm baked. This whole album from these Virginia natives is great, but this song in particular just has the most infectious, simple-but-effective beats to it that make you want to stomp your feet in time like a dumbass, and that's what usually ends up happening when I listen to this song. I always describe it as Six Feet Under on steroids, especially because of that obvious death 'n' roll riff in the beginning. They have plenty of other great songs, and a lot of them are heavier than this one, but "Ball Peen Beating" has the best groove of any Short Bus song that I've ever heard; I defy anyone to listen to the opening riff and not bob your head along to it.
Decrepit Birth- "(A Departure of the Sun) Ignite the Tesla Coil"
It's pretty fitting that Decrepit Birth would be one of my favorite high bands, given their stoner reputation. Matt Sotelo's superb composition is captivating when he gets into it, and the guitar harmony at the two-minute mark still gives me the chills; it's absolutely massive, it sounds like it should be in a movie where some giant Chthulu-like leviathan is rising up out of the ocean to lay waste to everything. As with the Animals As Leaders video, this is a song that should be enjoyed while heavily medicated, not just a leisurely listen to chill out. Not to say the song's no good while sober; quite the contrary, I'm just saying that THC will enhance the experience by ten-fold easily. Decrepit Birth are one of the few tech death bands out there that are definitely technical but still have a definitive, contagious energy to them. For example, the riff that starts at 4:20 (go figure) sounds very ominous and eerie, and it keeps looping and repeating, sounding more ominous as it continues and the synthesizer comes in later in the background, and then about a minute later they immediately transition into a new riff, finally breaking the incredible tension that they spent almost a quarter of the song building up. The music has a very plausible atmosphere, and that's what lets Decrepit Birth stand head and shoulders above their peers.
Skies Over Bethany- "O Come Emmanuel"
I can already tell I'm going to catch a world of shit for this, but fuck it, if I can put Sarah Brightman up then I can put one metalcore song. You guys may or may not remember this song from my Christmas post, and I know I said I wouldn't do it again, but I can't deny that this song gets to me. Everything else this band has done is typical yawn-worthy, cookie-cutter Christian metalcore, but they really came out of left field with their remake of this timeless Christmas carol. There are still a fair amount of breakdowns and uninspiring mid-range growls and screams, but the clean singing and general feel of the song are very powerful to say the least. This guy doesn't just sing the lyrics, he fucking belts them and nails the notes every time. Honestly, the singing is what carries the whole song, because everything else is just background noise to keep the beat going, but the singing is good enough that I don't really notice or care. And while I dislike breakdowns just as much as any of you, I will admit the final breakdown of the song works well with the piano run going on under it. Check it out and see what you think, no one here will get butthurt over anyone not liking a Christian metalcore song posted in an anti-hardcore blog.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed- "Agorapocalypse Now"
And now for something COMPLETELY different. This song may actually be "Timelord Zero (Chronovore)", because that's how it's listed in my iTunes, but YouTube says otherwise. Either way, this song is nothing short of sheer chaos, and that's exactly why it's so great. It may not be very chill or melodic or trippy, but it's still a great song to listen to when you're ripped, because the passion that these guys (and gal) put into the music is downright contagious. It's the kind of song that begs to be heard live, with both the band and the crowd going apeshit and throwing their middle fingers up in the air to no one or nothing in particular. The trade-off of Jay Randall's Slayer-esque shouting and Katherine Katz's throat tearing shrieks is grating but works perfectly with the aesthetic of the music, resulting in a crushing display of anti-industry, anti-establishment, anti-fucking-everything music that blurs the line between grindcore, death metal and thrash. My suggestion for this song is to hit at least two bongs with a few friends beforehand, then blast it and start a mosh pit with each other. Just make sure you do it somewhere either outside or away from breakable items like dishes, glasses or expensive furniture; be considerate with your moshing, guys.
Well that's that, there are plenty more songs that I could put up, but you get the gist of it by now. My other guilty pleasures include random individual songs from Steve Miller, Metallica, Motley Crue, Breaking Benjamin and others, and if you catch me listening to any of these it's a safe bet that it's because I got high, because I got high, because I got hiiiiiiiiiiigh. Speaking of which, I'm gonna go enjoy my 4/20 elsewhere, so have a great night everyone, smoke one for me. Be good to each other.