Nick's Picks: Round 5Posted 08/26/2009 06:24AM by Nicholas Fritz as Nick's Picks
Welcome to the fifth round of Nick’s Picks.
Every few weeks I’ll be choosing a music-related topic and compiling a top-ten list for that category. Since I haven’t heard every song by every band ever, this is not a “best of” list so please keep that in mind while reading it. These articles are meant to be fun and incite discussion, so feel free to add your own lists in the comments section, as well as any other topics you’d like to see covered in the feature.
Going with a similar theme as my last article, Ten Favorite Copycats, this time around I’ll be discussing ten bands I wish would be copied more often. The majority of these bands aren’t around anymore, but I constantly return to their albums because I can’t find any suitable substitutes. Please add any suggestions for similar bands in the comment section, as well as your own picks for this topic. Enjoy!
10. Minus the Bear
Minus the Bear is a band that took years to grow on me but now I can’t get enough of them. Dave Knudson’s unique approach to playing the guitar really brings this band to life and separates them from the rest of the indie rock bands out there, just like it did for Botch in the hardcore scene. The polyphony throughout their songs creates an almost hypnotizing effect that never really lets up on all their albums, an achievement few bands can match.
9. Bear vs. Shark
Looking back to the Decoy archives, I’m anticipating this to be an unpopular choice; however, I still believe in giving credit where credit is due and Bear vs. Shark deserves boatloads for their second release, Terrorhawk. Not only is the album’s name badass, but it is a monster with 15 tracks of exceptional post-hardcore/rock/punk whatever you what to call it. Although there are some bands that are in the same vein of as Bear vs. Shark, I haven’t encountered any that capture the same energy or can keep my attention for more than a few songs.
8. What Wishes Can’t Mend
Insomniac Diaries was WWCM’s only full length, but what a release it was. The songs on here sound like they could be the soundtrack to a gruesome horror movie; the bellowing vocals and downtuned guitars created an ominous atmosphere that was unique to metalcore at the time. The band still had a knack for melodic parts too on songs like “Lavender,” but the violent, creative breakdowns are what really set this band apart from the rest of the Poison the Well wannabes at that time.
For lack of a better term, Drowningman started off playing mathcore but as the band progressed, they began to transition into more of a math-rock band, which is most evident on Still Loves You. Although the band took a turn for the worse later on in their career, everything before and including Still Loves You was pretty incredible and not really seen in the genre at the time. There weren’t too many bands combining heavy off time riffs mixed with post-rock singing parts, and if there were, they weren’t doing it nearly as well as Drowningman.
6. Twelve Tribes
I love this band but I’ll be the first to admit that Instruments and As Feathers to Flowers… were rough around the edges; however, Twelve Tribes still caught my interest because they were attempting to do something different with metalcore. The Rebirth of Tragedy really put the band on the map, even though it was more hard rock than metalcore, and the album still retained the band’s unique approach to music in general. Midwest Pandemic followed two years later and once again Twelve Tribes modified their sound, this time going back to their metalcore roots. The band’s dedication to being different definitely didn’t help them pay the bills but it garnered respect from their fans and hopefully more bands will follow their lead.
5. Rage Against the Machine
Sure, there have been plenty of bands that combine rap and rock music, and RATM wasn’t the first to do it, but they didn’t use it as gimmick like many of their peers. Zack de la Rocha’s vocal approach fit perfectly for portraying the band’s political messages. It’s hard to believe they only released three albums of original material because of the impact they had on society in the 90’s and their music is still a huge inspiration to band’s today. Even though the Tom Morello has Street Sweeper Social Club and Zach de la Rocha has One Day as a Lion, neither project comes close to making the musical magic for which RATM became known.
It seems like people either love or hate this band, and you can put me in the love category. Self-Help was impressive, but the constant barrage of fast, heavy riffage was a bit much to swallow for some; that’s okay though, since it only served as a teaser for what was to come with the band’s second offering, Cult Fiction. I feel like many people overlooked this release and didn’t give it a chance, which is a shame because the band really stepped it up the second time around. Similar to Scarlet’s Cult Classic, Cult Fiction had touches of NIN-inspired industrial music, mixed with haunting guitar melodies, and maniacal vocals, which resulted in a truly unique experience for the genre.
3. Cave In
Is there anyone that doesn’t like Cave In? I haven’t met too many people that don’t enjoy at least one of their albums; some people prefer the more aggressive version of the band as seen on Until Year Heart Stops, some like the space-rock stylings on Jupiter, while others want a mixture of the two like on Perfect Pitch Black. Regardless of how you prefer your Cave In, few bands have been able to successfully pull off the massive genre jumps they’ve performed, and the band consistently puts out top-notch albums regardless of the style of music they’re playing.
2. This Day Forward
This Day Forward went from being a decent melodic metalcore band to a post-hardcore giant over the course of four releases, leaving a lasting impression with their masterpiece In Response, and forever making their fans wonder what they would have done next with their music. The combination of Mike Shaw’s raspy vocals and Vadim Traver’s creative melodies are still unmatched to this day, resulting in an ever increasing longing for this duo to reunite for another project.
1. Nine Inch Nails
In my previous article, I called Innerpartysystem a Nine Inch Nails copycat, and have since taken that statement back after thinking about it some more. No band has come close to capturing the musical delights composed by Trent Reznor, and there doesn’t really seem to be too many bands even attempting it. With Nine Inch Nails on an indefinite hiatus, I’m hoping another band steps up to the plate and can deliver some stellar rock/electronica tunes to fill the coming void after NIN is officially gone.