The Source: January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nephelium: A Little Something for My Death Metal Fans Out There

A series of unfortunate events have left today’s metal scene almost completely watered down and irrelevant. New bands arising today turn up as mere ‘copycats’ of pre-existing movements or money hungry posers who grew up in Beverly Hills buying their way  into stardom. It is due to this heavy metal ‘slump’ that many of us metal heads are re-focusing our attention on traditional metal standards and more ‘pure’ forms of metal. This is an exciting trend for metal classicists out there because we’re seeing a resurgence of older more experienced bands producing material that is not only new and fresh, but raw and can only be described as ‘metal at its core.’

I want to direct your attention to a specific band I’ve stumbled upon recently thanks to some friends in the Toronto scene, and that is of course, Nephelium. Nephelium first made their marks on the metal world back in the 90s when they participated as a major factor in the emerging metal movement in the Middle East. Hailing from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nephelium’s back-story is enough to intrigue any metal fan. However, I am not easily impressed by demographic (or I guess geographic in this case) miracles and upheavals unless there is something concrete to admire in the music. Well…it turns out Nephelium’s music is literally a chunk of concrete slammed into your ears. Okay, that was corny and cheap…allow me to make up for it. Nephelium’s music is the perfect synthesis of excessively brutal death metal, sludgy riffs and vocals, and a surprising sense of music and instrumental virtuosity. They have more recently relocated to Toronto, Canada in order to reach new audiences with their merciless message, and while personnel changes are a challenge for any band, Nephelium is back stronger than ever!!!

I’ve given you a little bit of background, only so I can tell you about Nephelium’s upcoming release “Coils of Entropy.” The album will be released on February 7th and judging by the reviews that it’s getting it is going to do just fine. Positive reviews are rolling in by the masses from the likes of and even members of the almighty King Diamond. I have been lucky enough to have heard the new 6-track album and all I can say is that I’m impressed. I am not afraid to admit that I am NOT an expert on death metal and I might even be overlooking some of the subtle splash points on the album, but what I can tell you is that this album does exactly what I would want a death metal album to do. Right out the gates with “Burial Ground” I felt as though I was struck in the balls with the raw obtrusiveness of Thor’s hammer!!! The second track “Merciless Annihilation” is a six minute masterpiece that, to me, sums up the purpose and core competencies of Nephelium. Thick crunchy riffs that give way to muddy grind beats combine with Devlin Anderson’s growling vocals to create an overwhelmingly intense musical experience.

Without boring you with technical details I can only praise the real musicianship that is displayed in all the album’s songs. A lot of metal bands today tend to forget about the groove and the melodic aspects of the guitar in favor of 100% thrashing riffs. Now, don’t get me wrong, the tempo and mood of the music is hard, heavy and fast all the way, but if you really listen to the intricate notes being played you will understand the appeal of this Arabian death metal quintet. I also want to point out the powerful high pitched scream delivered in the last minute of “Malediction.” Something about that was just fucking epic! As a casual listener of Death Metal I love the album and believe that Nephelium certainly has a place to shine in the metal industry.

I encourage everyone to check out their music and get to know Nephelium at the following sites:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

POLL: Vote for "Who is the greatest dubstep artist?"

What? Where? When? and Who the fuck is Dubstep?

Is Dubstep a genre? a sub genre? a cultural phenomena? a lifestyle? a dance?

I suppose the answer to these questions would depend on who you ask, but in my personal opinion Dubstep is NOT a new genre, but a cultural re-imagining of electronic music and its impact on youthful rebellions and belief systems. This might sound a bit over-analyzed and academically exhaustive and is haha. My explanation is first based on the obvious fact that electronic music is NOTHING NEW!!! It has been around for decades and even when narrowing the spectrum to 'high-intensity', 'bass heavy' , 'dance' music...we're talking 90s alternative bands like The Prodigy. So I refuse to recognize it as a new genre but I will admit that there is something fresh about the Dubstep movement. I believe this 'fresh' or 'exciting' vibe stems from the combination of the dynamic range of sounds possible in electronic music and the youthful rebellion embodied in the scene. for more information on my perception of this movement feel free to check out my article here:

Alright, now that I have completely alienated my audience with by dejecting Dubstep as a genre and going on to even justify my outlandish claim it is time to get to my point. 

Who is the greatest Dubstep artist around?

I propose this question because I want to understand the elements of music and/or artistry that are regarded as special or remarkable in the eyes of the general population. So through some basic understanding of who is popular as well as some web research (cough cough Wikipedia cough) I've gathered a reasonable list of artists who could possibly hold the throne. Regardless of whether or not these artists represent a group, band, DJ, or anything else, please do not let that affect your vote. 

I simply want to know which entity represents the greatest achievements a midst the Dubstep phenomena. Combine your knowledge of each artists catalog, live performance, popularity, record sales, word-of-mouth, etc. Also, I am NOT a Dubstep expert and admit that I may even be completely ass backwards in all of my judgments so please feel free to leave your comments below! Also, if you want to do your own research or need a quick refresher on the artists you can simply click their names below to go to their respective websites.
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Here are the following candidates that I have nominated for this pole:

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Skrillex: Bangarang EP, Voltage LP, and RE:Generation Film

Keeping up with the dubstep world has become overwhelming these days with millions of Djs trying to make a name for themselves and of course the massive amount of  electronic adaptation attempts by traditional artists and established stars. However, if there is only one DJ that you keep up with in 2012 than it might as well be Skrillex.

So what has the prince of dubstep been up to?

Released: December 23rd, 2011

If you haven't heard it yet than you must be walking around with your fingers stuck in your fuckin ears because the seven songs that make up Skrillex's fourth EP release are bangin! Surely you've heard the title track "Bangarang" as it has made its way onto nearly every radio playlist in the country and even got some love on the billboard charts (who the fuck checks billboard these days?). 

As you have surely figured out, I am a huge Skrillex fan! So, it is no surprise that I love the new tracks, and while I've enjoyed the live teasers and leaked clips of the recent past, this crisp clean studio recording is the best way to embrace the tunes. The name of the game for this album is definitely 'exploration.' For old school fans of Skrillex (uhhh like 2 years old??) there is certainly a lot to get excited about. In fact, the first track on the album, "Right In" relishes in what I would declare Skrillex's core competencies: Diluted vocal atmospheres laying over top building electro-house until a brief pause and.....DROP! Lather, Rinse, Repeat. 

The album takes a sharp turn into experimentation starting on "Bangarang" and really takes off into the unknown after that. "Bangarang" is exactly what the dubstep world asked for. A mainstream radio hit that is accessible to the masses and still unique and intriguing enough to appeal to the die-hard, more technical fans of Skrillex and electronic music in general. This track also introduces us to some samples of Sirah, an up and coming female rap/pop talent from Los Angeles. Sirah truly shines on "Kyoto" where she is able to lay down some full bars and present her ambitious delivery style. 


My favorite song from the EP, and by far the most experimental, is "Breakn' a Sweat" featuring the surviving members of The Doors, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore. The track is part of a project knows as Re: Generation. The idea was to take modern DJs/producers/artists and attempt to mix their creative styles with those from entirely different genres and time periods. Skrillex of course, is Sonny Moore who used to front the post-hardcore band  From First to Last. Because of this experience with traditional song writing and structure Skrillex has become a master of collaboration with notable recordings with metal band Korn. Manzarek and Moore hit it off immediately and all interviewers and insiders point to a very smooth and effective collaboration. sounds like it! The track opens up with an eastern cultured keyboard riff by Manzarek and when the drums roll in it instantly becomes very dance-able. Great start....then.....Krieger's wandering guitar is warped into the mix and soon enough you're eyes light up by the surprising sound of the almighty Jim Morrison as he is sampled in. Now, the only thing missing from this epic concoction is thhhhh---DROP!!! 

One of the best examples of two genres, and furthermore two distant time periods, collaborating together to create something amazing. It is certainly an electronic song, but Manzarek's keyboards and Krieger's guitar licks are admirable for their acclimation and breadth. I think even Jim Morrison wouldn't mind putting his name on this one.

"I like to say this is the first new Doors track of the 21st century," Ray Manzarek tells Rolling Stone

"Breakn' a Sweat" from Re:Generation

Banagarang gets an A+ from me and The Source and I encourage all of you (electronic fans AND electronic haters) to buy this album (yes...with money and everything) and open your mind to experience new musical horizons.

I also wanted to allude to the upcoming LP Voltage. It was talked about heavily a few months ago but it appears to have lost some steam recently. I wonder if Voltage sort of morphed and dwarfed its way in being Bangarang. Perhaps the rumors of A-list collaborations like Pretty Lights and Nero are holding up the creative process. Maybe he is just taking his time in order to make sure his first full length cut is a fuckin banger! Or the more likely chance that Hollywood politics (Holla-tics!) are slowing down the release of the records just to figure out more ways to make money off the deal. Either way I'll be on the look out!

Until next time friends!