Esprit D’Air – Leviathan
When you think of virtuoso rock musicians, your mind’s eye may still create an image of a kid stuck inside their bedroom practising incessantly in an attempt to learn Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption. While those people, no doubt exist still, I assure you (I get stuck on the dive-bombs, by the way), the new breed of rock aces is not really interested in noodling.
Instead, they’re passionate about production and learning techniques so that they can apply them in an almost mathematical manner. Many of these, usually, young players create metalcore music or a variety of it. They’re still, quite often, locked inside their bedrooms, but this time it’s by choice. Modern technology allows them to replicate most of the benefits of a state of the art studio, without forcing them to leave their house.
Leviathan by popular metal band Esprit D’Air is the kind of song that reveals that new level of proficiency available to hard-working music geeks. The video to the song also perfectly exemplifies how art can be created nowadays. Whereas in the 1980s a band like Candlemass would have had to settle for having their friends to film them running around the forest in order to satisfy their fantasy-geek needs, things can be a little different now. The video to Leviathan indulges the band’s passion for dark anime with well-styled, nicely-shot visuals. The music production to the dramatic single is just as glitzy.
AnimalJam – Transcendence (January 2nd)
AnimalJam is a good snapshot of what’s been going on in heavy guitar music in the last decades, in case you’ve missed it. Sure, this is not the only game in town, but for the most part “the core” genres have captured the imagination of youngsters looking to play rock music.
Whereas hardcore was fast, loose, and for all its qualities, usually put less emphasis on recording quality, post-hardcore is a different approach. Singers usually have an arsenal of screams from which to choose and can even prove themselves when delivering it cleanly. The drum sound doesn’t exactly swing, but interesting, complex rhythms are at the heart of these tunes nonetheless. The guitarists are a new kind of virtuoso, interested more in layered complex arpeggios orchestrated carefully with the help of DAWs, rather than playing face-melting tapping-solos.
Transcendence features many of these hard to earn traits. It’s tidy yet heavy. It’s esoteric, yet humorous, something that seems to define the personality of many of the musicians approaching this kind of music. It’s heavy music for a highly digitalized world where the space between computer-generated reality and actual reality has blurred forever.