The Reticent’s Chris Hathcock: What I’m Listening ToSaturday, 24th September 2016
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
Being a fan of this nature-focused Norwegian black/folk/progressive metal band for almost two decades, I have always love the tranquil and philosophical aspects of their lyrics met with the epic and expansive feel of their music. Oystein Brun’s song writing continues to transport me to mist covered mountains and surging rivers with this year’s offering, Winter Thrice.
Personally, I love the incredible combination of Vintersorg and ICS Vortex trading vocals. Their contrasting styles and timbres make for a wonderfully dynamic vocal experience. The harmonies are rich and grandiose with each of the vocalists playing to their strengths without stepping on one another’s toes. Though I will admit, I would have loved even more of Vortex’s operatic vocals. A cool bonus for long time fans is this the first Borknagar album to feature all three of its vocalists in one place. Original vocalist Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver) joined in for lead vocals on the album’s title track which was a treat for long time fans like me that still spin The Olden Domain from time to time. This an album that gets better with subsequent listens. The musicianship and songwriting take me on that epic journey through landscapes far and wide each time I listen to it.
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Probably an odd choice for a metal head but this is one of the greatest records of all time in my opinion. To me, it represents the truest sense of expression as Miles famously recorded this album in two sessions and gave his band no rehearsals and little information about the tunes out side of some scales and a sketch of melody. Out of thin air, there at that very moment, they crafted such incredibly soulful and honest music.
The tunes have an effortless groove to them but they also rise and fall keeping things constantly engaging. For me, it is Miles’ improvised solos that steal the show. Again, I use the word effortless. What makes his solos so arresting for me is that they are in absolutely no hurry. He embraces space and subtlety where so many other artists (jazz and metal soloists alike) go for solely virtuosity. There is a melancholy in so many of his notes that resonates to your very soul. The notes chosen for the improvs are so deliberate yet spontaneous. If there is any musician whom I would seek to emulate as a soloist, it would be Miles Davis. Though I will never be able to craft some so amazing, unique, and soulful as Kind of Blue.
The Reticent’s On The Eve Of A Goodbye will be released October 5 on Heaven & Hell Records.