Visual Rhetoric – May 2018

Friday, 8th June 2018

More and more, YouTube is growing as a talking point and viewed as a way for bands to get their music heard. While it may still sit as a travesty for audiophiles everywhere, there’s no denying its impact, particularly on the younger generation. As a site with generally older dogs writing, we do our best to keep up with the times. So this month we have checked out Aeternitas, American Standards (pictured above), Imperial Triumphant, Morbid Angel, Rage of Light, Saate, Seventh Wonder, and Skinless.

“The Experiment”
Tales of the Grotesque
Massacre Records

Half performance/half conceptual videos seem to be the norm these days in the metal realm. Deciding to set up the staging in more of a psych ward/ hospital context changes up the ‘warehouse’ or ‘castle’ themes, while the acting of the patient given various medicine/shock treatments appears intriguing against the modern symphonic metal style Aeternitas display through “The Experiment”. The male/female melodies keep the chorus top of mind, while the keyboard flourishes provide the orchestral pomp against the mid-tempo churning guitar foundation. Not sure about the gold-plated mannequins that surround the seven-piece outfit, but this is certainly an energetic number that sets the stage for the full-length that comes out in late June. – Matt Coe (Aeternitas on Facebook)

American Standards

A standalone single from American Standards, it’s clear the band is intent on pushing themselves forward with as much strength as possible. “Weep” is undeniably heavy and caustic – with emotive screams, massive breakdowns, and chaotic riffing littering the landscape. But there’s a darker and more withdrawn aspect to it as well, something the video is quite effective in capturing and enhancing. Gloomy from a lyrical standpoint, the main character epitomizes the feelings of being lost, and there’s some really great symbolism towards the end of the track to bring it further. Who says hardcore can’t have some deeper substance to it? – Kyle McGinn (American Standards on Facebook)

Imperial Triumphant
“Swarming Opulence”
Vile Luxury
Gilead Media/Throatruiner Records

Seemingly personifying the terrifying and avant-garde nature of the band itself, the video for “Swarming Opulence” is something that you won’t forget for some time. Having the look and feel of a noir film, it follows a few people on a seedy journey featuring sex, drugs, and murder in New York City. For all of it’s grotesque vibes, it’s hard to look away from. The way that everything is contrasting with extravagance also makes for some great comparisons. The video gets trippier as it progresses, with an impressive climax (complete with horns to up the stakes musically). Imperial Triumphant have really outdone themselves, both musically and visually. – Kyle McGinn (Imperial Triumphant on Facebook)

Morbid Angel
“Garden of Disdain”
Kingdoms Disdained
Silver Lining Music

Leave it to dark art master Nadar Sadek to create an utterly creepy video for Morbid Angel’s latest release. Using Sumerian belief systems, the viewer gets plenty of gore, space travel, and a bleak outlook on humanity. Some of which happens to be very direct, and some of which is quite subtle. Some of the visuals are quite terrifying in tone (and pleasantly right of Sadek’s alley), and as the band rightly touts, it hits the mark of being provocative and intriguing. A nice comparison to the song itself, and sure to draw some attention for the band due to the unique visual style. – Kyle McGinn (Morbid Angel on Facebook)

Rage of Light

Rage of Light is no stranger to covers, so this metal-ized version of Lady Gaga’s “Judas” should come as no surprise. Like the band’s previous pop cover of Aqua’s “Lollipop,” its also an equally fun video to watch. Lots of humor to soak in, with the facial expressions of the audience members as the metal takes over and vocalist Melissa Bonny gets in a few faces. The dance party at the end perfectly fits the mood of the song/cover, as Rage of Light knocks another one out of the park, musically and visually. No wonder Napalm Records was wise to add them to their roster just recently (after the release of this video). – Kyle McGinn (Rage of Light on Facebook)

“Sovereign Plea”
Rockshots Records

Featuring members of Binary Creed and Summoning Hate, Saate traverse a power/traditional metal landscape with modern touches in the drumming and tones for their second single “Sovereign Plea”. Expect a spirited, melodic lead break, high octane vocals, and this cultural underpinning throughout the riffs that make you think of Dream Theater and Evergrey as much as Sabaton or In Flames. The video rolls through a mixture of computerized footage with an eagle soaring over the landscape and black and white style battle-oriented sequences taking the people back centuries. An appropriate visual to musical matchup that should have listeners looking forward to the full-length from these Canadians when it hits the streets. – Matt Coe (Saate on Facebook)

Seventh Wonder
“Tiara’s Song”
Frontiers Records

The first single from the upcoming Tiara album due this fall, Seventh Wonder is the ‘other’ band for Kamelot vocalist Tommy Karevik that he’s been a part of since their second album Waiting in the Wings from 2006. “Tiara’s Song” keeps the band’s vibrant progressive metal style alive, serving up a bevy of technical intricacies during the longer instrumental section (including killer bass work from Andreas Blomqvist), and some church/choir aspects for an epic seven-minute journey. Fast cutting performance footage with spacey/computer-enhanced backgrounds shifts against slow-motion narrative sequences outdoors through cornfields, water, fire and various people portraying the different changing scenes and their effects. It’s a push and pull effort that properly takes multiple exposures to fully comprehend – which is fine, as the progressive metal world needs more Seventh Wonder material to consume as this is a tasty preview. – Matt Coe (Seventh Wonder on Facebook)

“Skull Session”
Relapse Records

If there was ever a video that personified a band, it has to be “Skull Session.” Taking the band’s sense of humor and tone, you can watch the antics as Skinless does their thing and torment a “hippie-type” that lives next door. The games seem to intensify until the old man has had enough and murders the band outright, albeit in a rather amusing and over the top way (watch for the subtle nod to the cover art to their debut album in there too). It’s got heavy riffs, beer, gore, and humor – everything you could ask for in a Skinless video. – Kyle McGinn (Skinless on Facebook)

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