I write because I have things to say that my voice just can’t convey. I seek an audience other than the one in front of me at any given time and I hope to find others who are looking for someone with my personality. Blogging is quite possibly the best way to approach said speaking because it is limited to no one and will eventually find the people who want to read it at one point or another. I am an artist with a set of beliefs that I think are worth sharing because they may help someone else find their voice or get through their day a little easier as a result of my words.
I believe in the power of music. Oh, don’t look so disenchanted. I don’t think of music as some sort of Disney wizardry that will right all of the wrongs in the world. No. Music is like Love. It has all of the power that you could possibly give it and it is amazing not only because of the good in humanity, but despite all of the horrors and atrocities that plague every inch of this earth. Music is just the vehicle for change that I choose to utilize in order to understand my fellow man. I was once powerless, afraid of everyone and everything around me. Music has given me so much because it gave me a voice. Whether it is through my lyrics or just my writing of riffs, I get to display the way that I look at the world and ultimately how it affects me.
Practicing has given me discipline. Of all the efforts in my life, playing an instrument has taught me just how much time I have to spend in order to reach the level of talent that I desire. I believe in the 10,000 hours theory and I am of the belief that I will reach that mark as soon as I can. In life you get out of it what you put into it. Music has also taken away that feeling of wanting the week to be over faster so that I can just live in the weekend. Now I cherish every day because any free time is an excuse to hone my craft to an even higher level than it was the day before. I wish that I could help anyone else find their forte, their art, their place of happiness. If I could then said people would be able to enrich their lives in a whole new way.
This is just a positive rant, but hey. It is how I feel.
Last night I went to Ziggy’s to see Periphery, The Contortionist, and Intervals. It was the greatest concert that I have ever been to. Intervals was really good. I was surprised that they did not have a bass player. They had Pro Tools running on a computer which leads me to believe that they had a recording of a bass player. They played a Jackson Chris Broderick model, a couple of Paul Reed Smiths, and an Ernie Ball Music Man. They were great and really fun to watch.
The Contortionist was amazing. They are one of those bands that have the perfect balance of dynamics and aggression. They played Ibanez 7 string guitars and their tone was amazing. Their singer was fantastic and one of a kind. He had this way of moving slowly during the clean parts and letting loose during the brutal guitar riffs. They played a mix from their entire catalogue. It was probably five or six songs. They played Language from their newest album and I didn’t realize how awesome it was hearing it in its entirety until hearing it live. Their drummer and keyboardist sounded great. They finished on Flourish from their first album.
Periphery was absolutely perfect. They played a lot of songs from their first album. They also played much of Periphery II, but not any songs from Clear. By the time that they played I was at the very front. I was standing behind one girl but that was still close enough to shake Mark’s hand and play his guitar during a couple of breakdowns. I was so close to Mark every time that he would stand on his riser. The whole band had so much energy. Spencer was the perfect front man. They had so many cool guitars. Jake had his cool Ibanez signature models. Misha played a mix of Jacksons, Strandbergs, and Aristedes guitars. Nolly had his amazing DIngwall basses. Mark had the coolest guitars. He played a Mayones 8 string, a Mayones 7 string, a PRS Se 7 string, and a custom PRS six string. They were all beautiful. It really inspired me to know that my PRS is good enough of a guitar that Mark would use one himself even in a live setting.I swear that the bass was perfect the entire show. Matt had his Mapex drum kit with the Periphery II cover on the bass drum. He was set up in a Showbread format with only a kick drum, snare, floor tom, and cymbals. Matt played a drum solo as the crowd chanted for an encore. Apparently the band played a new song from their album and gave a lesson to people who signed up for a workshop on Bandhappy.com. I would have gone to that had I known about it, but I have no regrets. I even bought a t-shirt and a couple of guitar picks. During the song in the encore, Mark used my hand to do a harmonic slide on his PRS 7 string and it was amazing. He played a three way game of Rock Paper Scissors with me and another fan and we both drew scissors. I understand why they use the Axe Fx II’s for their live shows because their tone was perfect. They a great sound guy because I could hear every note that each member played. I took a lot of videos and pictures from last night. I will probably sit down and watch them sometime today. I even got to say hi to Blake Richardson from Between the Buried and Me after the show. Overall it was a great night and I am so excited that I got to go.
Language is a fantastic marriage of ethereal cleans, brutal riffs, and brand new sounds that make up their latest effort to create a really strong album from start to finish. The Contortionist have really gone in a newer direction, but it pays off if you are willing to give it a change. After hearing the two singles: “Language I” and “Primordial Sound” I was expecting for a really abstract album with nearly all guitars playing on the clean channel. While there is more clean guitar with long delay than Exoplanet or Intrinsic, Language comes with heavy riffs that we have come to expect from The Contortionist. Language I champions the ethereal and ambient clean passages that are used by nearly all progressive metal bands. While most of their peers use these passages as breaks from brutal onslaughts of guitar riffs, Language I sees The Contortionist writing the songs based on the emotions and mood of the songs themselves.
If you were a big fan of Intrinsic, then chances are that you will really like Language. With Intrinsic, The Contortionist moved in a more progressive direction with even more ambience and dynamics than their first album, Exoplanet. Personally I thought that Exoplanet was among the strongest albums that I have heard in the past few years, but I guess that all artists need to evolve. The riffs that come up towards the middle of Language are just as brutal as you could imagine coming from the Contortionist. In fact, the songs in the middle are my favorite because they serve as something of a climax for the entire experience. Because of this the album feels like the listener goes on a sort of journey instead of just ten or so songs being placed together. By the time you get around to “Ebb and Flow” and “Parable,” you are put in a great finale to this piece of art that the Djent masters have created. I think that the end is probably the strongest part of the album. Honestly I love it all.
I would highly recommend this album to anyone who considers themselves a real Contortionist fan. That is, if you liked both Exoplanet and Intrinsic, you will probably love this album. However, if you thought that The Contortionist didn’t live up to your expectations with their second album Language is probably not for you.
I started a band. I managed to meet someone on Craigslist who I didn’t regret jamming with. I met with another guitarist who is in to the same music as me and sees eye to eye on many of the same goals. He also wants to play Prog Rock/Metal. He has been playing for twelve years and I thought that we would be a little more unmatched in the skill department. I am glad that I was wrong. He can play faster and has a much better ear than me. However, he doesn’t seem to mind in the least. In fact he is supportive and encouraging. Also great is his optimism about writing songs and playing in the future. We have really good chemistry which is probably the most important factor in finding a writing partner. At this point we are learning a lot of Opeth and Porcupine Tree songs, but we will manage to expand our repertoire before long. He is really into Korn and Disturbed both of which I would be more than stoked to cover. I hope that we can jam with some other members before too long.
We are both interested in making Progressive Music that draws from a wide range of influences and captures a vast array of themes, emotions, and experiences. We haven’t entirely looked at getting new members quite yet, but it is only a matter of time before we get this train rolling. My friend is in the right headspace. He doesn’t have some lofty ambition of “making it” or signing a record deal before we have even played a show. We are also entering the third week of our endeavor. We are sounding better and better with each practice.
I am really excited to see where this will go and I believe that this could be something truly special.