March is Metal Month and who better to explain and explore that vast and ever-changing world than Metalhead, journalist, musician and DJ, Dom Lawson. Over the next five Mondays Dom will be bringing us 31 Flavours of the world’s best heavy music and explaining who's on there and why. Over to you, Mr L…
Say what you like about metal…seriously, go ahead. It’s not going anywhere. What it is doing, contrary to mainstream misconceptions, is constantly expanding and evolving, veering off on intriguing tangents and plunging deeper into the unknown dark.
Metal’s strongest characteristic is its ability to be simultaneously forward-thinking and firmly rooted in the past. As a metal fan you can have the old, the new, the gleefully retro and the ferociously cutting edge. Metal is so diverse and so fertile that a lot of its fans spend a lot of time arguing about exactly what metal really is… And although that can be draining to witness, it also reflects the intensity and passion that continues to attract so many people to worship at the altar of heavy music.
I’m delighted to say that March is officially Metal Month, which means a welcome opportunity to shine a light on some of my current favourite bands and to give both the committed and curious a snapshot of how metal has been mutating over the last few years. These playlists are, as we metalheads are inclined to say, seriously f—ing heavy - but hopefully they will also offer enlightenment. Either way, horns up!
Gojira - The Gift Of Guilt (2012, The All Blacks)
Saviours of the once-mocked French metal scene, Gojira are simply one of the most acclaimed metal bands on the planet - and rightly so. This monstrous epic from 2012’s L'Enfant Sauvage contains ALL THE RIFFS.
Killswitch Engage – All We Have (2013, Roadrunner)
One of the most influential metal bands of this millennium, Killswitch Engage kick-started the 21st century metalcore explosion but, tellingly, remain the genre’s standard bearers and untouchable overlords. Massive tunes guaranteed.
Carcass – Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System (Nuclear Blast, 2013)
These legendary UK death metallers released their first album in 17 years last year. Most comebacks are ultimately anticlimactic, but this one was an outright triumph. A truly seminal band at the height of their powers.
Iron Maiden – Isle Of Avalon (EMI, 2010)
Even bigger today than they were in their mid-to-late 80s heyday, Iron Maiden are the most loved metal band on Earth by a mile. Now more overtly prog-influenced, the British legends are as vital and heavy as they ever were.
Shrapnel – The Watchers (Candlelight, 2013)
In many ways, thrash metal represents the truest encapsulation of what metal is all about and why it endures regardless of mainstream interest or acceptance. Fast, furious, precise and destructive: Shrapnel thrash like maniacs.
Evergrey – Frozen (Steamhammer, 2011)
The great unsung heroes of modern Swedish metal, Evergrey are masters of epic melody, soulful melancholy and state-of-the-art riffing. In a parallel universe somewhere, they are superstars. In this one, they’re just fantastic.
Upon A Burning Body – Sin City (Sumerian Records, 2012)There is a huge buzz surrounding this Texan quintet, their infectious blend of nose-flattening extremity and party-friendly grooves proving an undeniable hit with a new generation of metalheads. Plus, they dress like gangsters and name their songs after great movies. Vast success seems a mere formality.
Metal Month will continue next Monday… Follow to this playlist to be the first to see Dom’s next 31 Flavors of Metal Picks!