Welcome to the first installment of Digging Deeper. In my constant and voracious search for unique and powerful music, I sometimes come across artists whom I wish received wider exposure. Alas, the airwaves are clogged with vapid irrelevance. That being the case, this could serve as a little oasis of discovery for folks who, like me, are utterly dissatisfied with the vast majority of (dare I say all) the artists riding the top of the popularity charts.
Without further ado, here are some interesting artists you may or may not have heard of.
This band hails from Portugal, and has been around since 2006. They classify themselves as Gothic Doom Metal, which I can’t disagree with. So far, they’ve released four full-length albums. Their music often incorporates a clean guitar playing nice chords or little figures over distorted riffs, giving the music a really unique atmosphere and texture. The vocals by Carmen Susana Simões are, of course, a highlight. But this band is much more than simply another “chick-fronted” outfit. The music is extremely well-crafted.
The band features the guitar and songwriting talents of Rune Eriksen of Mayhem. Which is quite interesting considering the rather marked differences between the music of Mayhem and Ava Inferi.
This orchestra formed in 2003 in Sweden. Well, they formed originally in 1501, if you consult their Facebook page. While the story is cute, the music is the real treat.
How do you describe their sound? Imagine Mr. Bungle mixed with Squirrel Nut Zippers, add a female operatic singer, and you’re in the ballpark. They have so far released three full-length albums and an EP.
Masterminded by Greek keyboardist Thanasis Lightbridge, this group utilizes a choir in lieu of a lead singer, which makes them very unique. I don’t claim to know every band in existence, but as far as I can tell, only Therion could be said to have utilized this concept before them. But, even Therion utilizes individual (“lead”) singers, while Dol Ammad focuses solely on the choir.
They categorize themselves as “electronic art metal.” I believe that’s an apt descriptor. In my humble opinion, Mr. Lightbridge has truly hit upon a magnificent formula, which yields music that’s both sublimely beautiful, and aggressively powerful. Truly a marvelous combination of elements.
And last but not least, a true oddity. I became aware of Scott Walker just a few days ago. I had been scouring the internet, listening to one artist after another, and being unimpressed, as usual. Then, I clicked on this:
My goodness! How magnificently odd and dark! At first, I’ll admit, I was a bit put off by the vocals. But, the music itself is so deliciously weird, that I now truly get it.
A multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Walker actually was a pop icon in the 1960’s. His work became increasingly experimental, to the point where his last three albums are often described with terms such as cathartic, terrifying, and difficult listening. At 69 years of age, Walker’s music has the fire and hunger of a mad creative genius at the peak of his powers.
I hope that you’ve at least found one of these artists interesting. It certainly took a lot of digging during several months to find just four artists that made me jump out of my chair. So, as you can see, it’s not a frequent occurrence.