Two days ago I came across this thread doing a Google search looking for new music. I cannot thank everyone whose made lists enough. I filled my iTunes with all kinds of stuff i normally would have never known about. I enjoyed the math rock list for sure, but I couldn't help but be reminded of a genre that was once but not so much so now, near and dear to my heart... Math Metal. As stated I don't really keep up with it or listen to it too often anymore, but I do feel it's worth people knowing about for sure. As far as metal goes I find these bands have and probably still do make the most interesting, complex, and sophisticated form of it. For that reason I wanted to get some names out and I hope if you haven't had the chance to hear any of them enlighten you to some serious musicianship. Also this is my first damn post on the board! Nothing like hitting the ground running right? I'd like input on my choices for sure.. as I've said i haven't kept up much so if there are any new "classic" albums in the genre i wouldn't know... these are the best places to start though.
Math Metal/Math core as defined by Wikipedia. "Mathcore is a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore. It has its roots in bands such as Converge, Botch, and the Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. Both math rock and mathcore make use of unusual time signatures.
Yawn. It's like reading a text book in school, and not a very good one at that. This fails to mention math metal bands being hugely influenced by jazz. This shows up most pronounced in the drumming. It also fails to mention the widely used tactic of "sweep picking" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweep_picking). Also fails to take note of the lyrics. Math metal is assuredly not known for its lyrics or anything to do with vocals really; however, most math metal does have some pretty interesting things going on beneath the vocal surface. There is often a very tongue in cheek mentality with math metal lyrics and song titles. This creates an interesting dichotomy with the ultra aggressiveness of the music. They do also tend to skew a tad violent and aggressive, but it is metal after all. I know this is still a kind of shotty description of math metal but I'm ready to let the music speak for itself!
Into the Moat - The Design
Ultra aggressive, highly technical math metal. Not to much needs to be said about these guys, they don't really innovate the genre much, they just make impressive music within it. You will notice many of the common themes in math metal used throughout, complex time signatures, jazz influenced drumming, sweep picking. One slightly different feel is their use of a lower vocal sound.
Lye By Mistake - Arrangements for Fulminating Vective
Easily the most jazz influenced band on here. Yes even though Candiria has actual jazz parts, Lye By Mistake incorporate fairly traditional parts as well and I feel jazz influences the heavier parts more so than any other tech band as well. The best sweep picking I have ever witnessed. I'm unsure if this band is still going and touring, if so do yourself a favor and go see them. It's amazing watching everyone's jaws drop to floor the second the guitar starts into it. They are moderately experimental as well as far as the usage of some glitch noise electronics and vocal effects.
Red Chord - Fused Together In Revolving Doors
When it comes to this band I feel the need to at least mention the tapdance of metal genre naming. This album in my eyes is completely Math Metal.. others disagree.. when it came out a new genre definition was being thrown around "Deathcore". Death metal combined with hardcore for lack of me wanting to go into it further. Red Chord I feel went much more into that direction with their subsequent releases; however, Fused Together is firmly rooted in ridiculous time signatures, jazz inspired drumming, aggressive time changes, the whole shebang. They skew towards death metal in the vocal department and there highly effective use of chugging parts and harmonics. This album is really really really heavy.. it uses a deeper crunchier guitar tone as well, which aligns itself more towards death metal as well.
Converge - Jane Doe
I almost feel unable to do a write up for this.. I will be honest i never got much into Converge. I think it's because I was always told how they were the best and I had to love them. Of course being the free thinker i was then, I didn't give it much of a chance out spite i guess. I am aware though that Converge helped pave the way for this genre almost as much as Dillinger.. and this is the album where they truly for the math metal feel more so than the rest. I'm sorry i don't have more to say... just know this is a critical album and band for this and other metal/hardcore genres.
Candiria - The Process of Self Development
Some may not consider them math metal, I obviously do. They have other more polished albums in the same vein as this as well, maybe even better albums (300 percent density), but I'm going with The Process because it is hailed as the classic Candiria album. They belong on the list I think because of there use of jazz and time signatures. They are highly influenced by jazz, so much so that they have actual straight traditional jazz breaks in their songs. The song structure they used for a while was made up of "chapters" they did not have choruses or verses per say, they broke songs up into separate chapters. The transitions among these chapters are where the technical use of time signature and stop start changes appear most obvious. If all that going on wasn't enough they also blend in hip hop to the mix, again so much so that they have a straight hip hop song on here too. They have since gone on to become a much more pop oriented band.. it's disappointing to say the least.
Psyopus - Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
Perhaps the most technical out of all the bands on here. That statement says a lot! They pull out all the tricks as far as time signature usage goes, I cannot even fathom figuring it all out. The sweep picks on display don't even make sense when really thought about. This album is very tongue and cheek lyrically, but also smart about it. The vocals seem to be what holds many people back from enjoying them as much as they should. If you can get past the vocals, you will be rewarded with some of the most awe inspiring guitar acrobatics you will hear anywhere.
Meshuggah- Destroy Erase Improve
Like Botch, Meshuggah are their own beast in many ways. They are considered math metal because of their incredible technical use of time signatures and polyrythms. To some the music just sounds strange and off, but you are unsure why. Meshuggah won't necessarily wow you off the bat like Calculating Infinity or Our Puzzling Encounters Considered. They are widely conspired one of the most technically proficient bands in metal. I prefer this album over the maybe more praised Chaosphere, perhaps mostly due to my love of the song posted. It is the perfect example of Meshuggah being amazing on all levels of heavy music. From those opening notes you just feel like you want to punch faces.. and the breakdown.. ohhh the breakdown... ok sorry to get off track.. but seriously.. it's the perfect breakdown!
Botch - We Are the Romans
This band has a much different take on the math metal sound than many of the post Calculating Infinity bands listed here. Botch were very technical, using delay effects and atypical time signatures throughout the album to create complex aggressive music;however, they didn't start and stop and go off on sweeping tangents like most math metal bands. Botch had groove, and humor. They were also very adept at writing hooks, not a typical thing thrown around math metal circles. The lyrics and song titles much smarter than most people would think from this genre. The album has an overwhelmingly epic feel in scope and technicality. One of the most classic metal/hardcore releases, perhaps ever. Probably even more appreciated now than when it came out. When it's finished you feel as if you've been in a battle and indeed "Manned the Ramparts". They died so your band doesn't have to.
Dillinger Escape Plan - Calculating Infinity
This album is the ultimate representation of "Math Metal" When the term is used one automatically thinks of and compares whatever they are talking about to this album. Calculating Infinity is the Sgt. Pepper of math metal. Other bands were making fast aggressive technical metal before this album, including Dillinger themselves but on this one it all came together perfectly. The jazz influences, sweep picking, the dissonant guitar sounds, the tongue in cheek yet intelligent and brutal lyrics, and of course the atypical time signatures and immediate start and stop shifts of songs. If you don't like this you do not like math metal.
bonus clip.. they used to be the most insane band to see live.. ive heard its not the same anymore but even so.. if you have the chance go..