Battle of the Bands: Experimental

Posted 03/30/2011 11:06AM by Zach Roth as Article
03/30/2011 11:06AM

If it isn’t already apparent from my other three Battle of the Bands features, I am a sucker for bands doing it differently. I’m hopeful that the Experimental category will not disappoint. Too many bands tag themselves as experimental, but their bio reads, “So we play metal, right? Well guess what? Are you sitting down? We play metal that has keyboards in it!” I mean, yeah, that was experimental as hell a half-decade ago. Nowadays it’s about as experimental as mixing vinegar and baking soda.

As for the top bands in the experimental category, we’ve already seen Sailing with Ghosts and Schmegma, so I’ll fill-in with some bands I think are worthy. I’m hoping for crazy diversity. Don’t let me down, Experimental!

From Under the Heavens (Metal / Experimental)



That’s some classy watermarking, Mr. Band-Photographer. From Under the Heavens kick off my experimental binge with a nauseating wave of disappointment. They’re not bad, they’re just barely different enough to differentiate themselves from other metal bands, let alone different enough to be even barely classed as experimental. And y’know what? I’ve had enough metal. If I run across another Metal / Experimental band, if they aren’t creating miniature stable black holes with their breakdowns, I am skipping them. LOOK WHAT YOU DID FROM UNDER THE HEAVENS.

The Promethean Labyrinth (Experimental / Metal)



…Oh come on! What did I just say?! I mean, I guess Experimental / Metal isn’t Metal / Experimental. Fine. What the The Promethean Labyrinth lack in polish, and music and vocals that are generally pleasing to the ears, they make up in actually being experimental. There’s a lot of potential in these busy, lo-fi recordings, and I’d definitely be curious to hear what these guys sound like in a year’s time.

Like Beasts (Experimental / Screamo)



I don’t have any silly turns-of-a-phrase for this band. Straight-up, Like Beasts are outstanding. They give me a heavy Defeater vibe, with a little bit of Life in Your Way’s penchant for ambience. The lyrics are earnest and literate, and the music is well-crafted and real. Melodic hardcore at its finest. I’ve been looping the two songs they have up for about a half an hour.

The August Name (Rock / Experimental)



The August Name make me think The Receiving End of Sirens, or maybe Blueprints for the Black Market-era Anberlin—driving rock songs mixed with silky-smooth post-hardcore. Get ready for an obscure name-drop, but the vocals also have a real Slow Coming Day sort of feel. Overall, it's a nice trifecta of melodic rock references. These guys write tunes that are genuinely interesting, which is more than I can say for a lot of bands I've heard in this competition so far (and bigger ones that I've been reviewing this year). Also, "Eleven Minutes" has a little cello, and neither I nor Bill Cosby argue with cello. Or was that... oh, nevermind.

Scarecrows for Hire (Screamo / Experimental)



Really? This band has over four thousand votes? In case you can’t read it (you can’t, I shrunk the hell out of that image), that young man’s guitar reads: “Mean people suck.” He’s right, I do suck, but so do Scarecrows for Hire, and I don’t care if that’s mean and sucky of me to say. The lyrics are Pierce the Veil-bad, the vocals are locked into sour notes, and the instrumentation is sloppy and bland. Granted, this band is young, but they’ve got a lot of growing to do.

I, Apparatus (Screamo / Experimental)



I’m going to give I, Apparatus a solid “good.” They blend metalcore with hardcore and throw in some noodly guitar work—kinda like heavier Manipulator-era The Fall of Troy, y’know, except with good production. They pack a lot of diversity into the two songs they have on their page. And if we’re doing straight genre-to-genre comparisons, they blow Scarecrows for Hire away like a thousand-foot wall of jet turbines.

Only at Night (Rock / Experimental)



Now we’re getting into experimental territory! Only at Night are some bizarre amalgamation of Voltaire and the B-52s—macabre, electro lounge music. If no drugs were used in the writing of these songs, I will be genuinely shocked. Points for being different, but, to quote some of their lyrics, “avoid the insanity parade.”

Ocean Lies Ahead! (Experimental / Screamo)



The clean vocals are the best part about this affront to all that is good in this world, and they come courtesy of Saul Castillo of Emerson Grey. Emerson Grey have about 3,000 less votes, somehow. Go check them out instead.

Evelynn (Metal / Experimental)



Evelynn only have one song up, but they’ve got surprisingly good production values. The only reason I’m including them is because their lead singer hits higher notes than the castrated lovechild of Anthony Green and Michael Jagmin. That’s impressive.

Crimes Against Broadway (Alternative / Experimental)



Crimes Against Broadway also have only one proper song up, but I’m giving them the Zach Roth Golden Thumbs-Up of Approval. They play Emarosa-influenced post-hardcore with sky-high vocals. I mean, not Evelynn high, of course, but vocalist Chad Miranda has a pretty respectable set of pipes.

Modern American Theatre (Indie / Experimental)



A refreshing change of pace from all this damn screaming, Modern American Theatre are a divine combination of Maps & Atlases and Paramore, and I can’t recommend them more highly. Their particular brand of cheery indie has some serious musical chops backing it up. I’ve actually bought their album already (the entirety of which you can listen to on their page), and you should too. Listen to “Out for Blood” and tell me that track isn’t a thick slice of awesome. You won’t.

And that about wraps up my foray into the experimental category. While it’s nice that the aggressive genres are burgeoning, I’m kind of disappointed in how much they monopolize this category. A good majority of bands on the first four pages are either metal or screamo / experimental (with very little that sets them apart from each other). And if not, they are “rock” or “alternative” and are instead varying degrees of post-hardcore. I guess I was just hoping for more bands like Modern American Theatre; instead, this is basically Battle of the Bands: Metal II. Oh well, I’ve still got about eight thousand bands to go!

Alright, class. Homework for tonight is to listen to Like Beasts and Modern American Theatre. The August Name, Crimes Against Broadway, and I, Apparatus are pretty good too, so they’ll be optional extra credit. Hit the books!

Comments

Dylan Newell
03/30/2011
11:47AM
Age: 24
Location
Illinois

i'll def check out some of these

last.fm/user/tragedyl0ve
twitter.com/1000cleverlines
1000cleverlines.tumblr.com

Zach Roth
03/30/2011
11:51AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Major props for The Promethean Labyrinth's promo pic. The black dude has a little white mustache on his finger. Adorable. haha

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

xcube
03/31/2011
11:46PM
Age: 30
Location
LA

I hope you do a review on Alternative bands. There is a couple good ones like Bodybox, Melia, and Dreamkiller

Zach Roth
04/01/2011
09:12AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

I was going to get around to that eventually, but I'll do it next, since you asked. And I'll be sure to check out those three.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

jacquelinestarr
08/27/2011
05:49PM
Personally i think it's a pretty fucked up thing to simply shit all over one band.Scarecrows For Hire got the votes because they are good and deserved every single one of those votes. In fact I personally think they are amazing and very talented "young" guys! Yes, every band has room to grow, including them.
jacquelinestarr
08/27/2011
05:51PM
ohhhh and one more thing... you might be a little tone deaf they sound nothing like Pierce The Veil, so there shouldn't be a comparison made between them. that is all, good day.
Zach Roth
08/27/2011
06:41PM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Personally, I approached them as a jaded listener paging through literally hundreds of bands, and expecting quality out of a top-voted band. And I got "Carving Corpses." It was awful, and revisiting now, it's still awful. However, listening to "Pistol Whipping is Fun Hobby for Me," they seem to have legitimately gotten better since I've written this. So good for them!

Did they end up getting a spot on Warped?

And not to be pedantic, but I didn't say they sounded like PTV. However, they list PTV as one of their two influences. Just sayin.

Thanks for reading, even if I did offend you.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

jacquelinestarr
08/27/2011
08:29PM
Well thank god that was clarified... because yes, i took much offense to it. The demos were rough bad quality and the band has improved significantly with instruments as well as vocals. I mean you have to remember everyone starts somewhere. No, they didn't, but should have got a spot. So I list Gerard Way as one of my influences, everyone is different. Having an Influence can mean a number of things, you like their music, you enjoy their lyrics, or the person inspired you to start writing music or playing. Not exactly that you have to carry the same lyric style as them Lmfao! your silly.
jacquelinestarr
08/27/2011
08:31PM
and no problem. For the other reviews you did a swell job of explaining.
Mike Duchnowsky
08/27/2011
11:20PM
Age: 29
Location
West Haven, CT

I don't know who this "zach" guy thinks he is but the scarecrows are amazing! and

Zach Roth
It's devil-worshiping music and I hate it.

Fuckings Greatest Hits: 2013 |2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

I'll take no gold miss,
I'll take no silver
I'll take those sweet lips,
And I'll deliver.

Rick Gebhardt
08/28/2011
04:46PM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota

Ummm, yeah, you were being generous, Zach. That Scarecrows band is friggin' horrible. Sorry if it hurts anyone's feelings, but I have to be honest with you... 

Find me EVERYWHERE:




jacquelinestarr
08/28/2011
08:31PM

Hey Rick Gebhardt you can SUCK IT!

jacquelinestarr
08/28/2011
08:32PM

Mike Duchnowsky your the man! lol

Rick Gebhardt
08/29/2011
05:34AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota
jacquelinestarr

Hey Rick Gebhardt you can SUCK IT!

Find me EVERYWHERE:




Zach Roth
08/29/2011
06:12AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

Bill Lohr
08/29/2011
06:20AM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA

What just happened ?  Is Zach arguing with a 15 yr old girl? Figures. 

Zach Roth
08/29/2011
10:00AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Bill-

See above image, add "what Bill thinks" to the text.

--Zach

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

jacquelinestarr
08/30/2011
08:46PM

lol Rick your like 30 fucking years old.. why on earth would this type of music interest you in the first place, your too old for this shit. It's actually pretty funny.You should be doing something more productive with your time instead of "arguing with a 15 year old girl". lol and Bill Lohr i'm 21 years old and we aren't arguing, were merely conversating over our views and opinions of a band.

Rick Gebhardt
08/31/2011
05:44AM
Age: 33
Location
Minnesota

"conversating"

Just because you're young and stupid doesn't mean you can make up words.  And how does age dictate listening tastes? Are you saying that because I've heard so many better bands in my many days on this planet I should just accept that young people are ok with shitty bands because they haven't heard good bands yet? In that case, I should try HARDER to get young people to ignore the garbage that's out there and point them to truly transformational artists. 

But I guess you're right, what's the point of talking with young people since they obviously don't care anyways.

Find me EVERYWHERE:




Bill Lohr
08/31/2011
08:07AM
Age: 30
Location
Lehigh Valley, PA

This chick's grammar and spelling abilities are enough for me to hate the band. That's what happens when your fans are dummies... you fail. 

jacquelinestarr
09/02/2011
06:33PM

oh pardon me, "conversing". People argue all the time whether or not that is a word.Yet you understand what i was referring too! Age does dictate taste, it's not like my mother and father are the slightest bit intrigued with the newer genres of music.It doesn't matter what you've heard, nor what is "good music" to you, nobody really cares what a middle-aged man has to say, your ship sailed ages ago and regardless you can't like every band, but it doesn't make it okay for you to call any band shitty.Why don't you start a band and stand in the same shoes, so you would understand what it feels like.Nobody is forcing you to like them, but not a single person on this planet enjoys to belittled by your ignorant mouth. oh and Bill Lohr tell that to all the 15 year old black veil brides fans.. lol yeah that's why your not famous.

Mike Duchnowsky
09/02/2011
07:01PM
Age: 29
Location
West Haven, CT

Just to clarify this, that band "Scarecrows For Hire" are fucking awful. Its apparent that their fans are abortion babies who've survived death. My only real question here is, how is 30 middle aged? That seems like something a 15 year old would state. Where are the parents?

Fuckings Greatest Hits: 2013 |2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

I'll take no gold miss,
I'll take no silver
I'll take those sweet lips,
And I'll deliver.

Zach Roth
09/02/2011
07:09PM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

I'm conflicted, because I was trying to be polite and now this a gangbang, but you're all defending my honor. 

You make me feel like smiling.

Just like that.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

jacquelinestarr
09/03/2011
11:18PM

My god your a pack of morons!I hope you all choke on a french fry! i'm out.

Mike Duchnowsky
09/04/2011
11:43AM
Age: 29
Location
West Haven, CT

Welcome to Decoymusic bitch!

Fuckings Greatest Hits: 2013 |2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

I'll take no gold miss,
I'll take no silver
I'll take those sweet lips,
And I'll deliver.