Prior Art 4: Just the Tip

This post is part of my 3 week series that explores previous examples of blending of bluegrass and metal music.
I will be back in action June 13.

Some bands are aware that bluegrass is awesome, but they’re not entirely comfortable with it.  So maybe they decide to try it out, just for a second, just to see how it feels.

The result can be seen in the next couple examples, where bands have a bluegrass inspired intro but then pull out before it gets weird.

Every Time I Die may be one of my favorite bands ever. In this track, they open with a metal riff played on the banjo.  It’s fantastic, as well as the rest of the song. We don’t hear the banjo after the intro though, oh well.

The next song has a full blown bluegrass intro, but then they completely discard it at 0:40.  Nothing against the rest of the song, but another taste wouldn’t have hurt!  Still pretty awesome though.

Any other examples out there that I might have missed?


Prior Art 3: Trve Black

This post is part of my 3 week series that explores previous examples of blending of bluegrass and metal music.
I will be back in action June 13.

Of course, even the most extreme black metal bands have already explored bluegrass.  Is anything original these days??

(Also, in case you’re curious about the title of the post, “Trve Cvlt” is a term that black metal fans use for “True Cult.”)

The first video is from a band I’ve already shown you, Taake.  They play some pretty solid black metal, but in this track at around 3:20 something incredible happens.  I certainly wouldn’t call it bluegrass, but still, you don’t hear much banjo in Norwegian Black Metal these days.  Rad.

The next example comes from Panopticon.  This is some pretty lo-fi, ambient, black metal shit right here.  If you’re impatient, and have trouble appreciating art, the music begins at about 2:05 (so fast forward through all the boring crap.)  Vocals begin at 4:15.

At 11:15 (yes it’s 16 minutes long) we are introduced to some folky finger picking on acoustic instruments.  There is some definite bluegrass kicking in at 13:06 though.

The two styles aren’t really combined together, but it is indeed a single song with both black metal and bluegrass.  Bravo Panopticon!

Prior Art 2: Full Integration

This post is part of my 3 week series that explores previous examples of blending of bluegrass and metal music.
I will be back in action June 13.

Here are a couple good examples of bands fully embracing the banjo into their heavier brand of music. (As I mentioned before, I was inspired by this thread at No Clean Singing.)

The first example may not exactly be metal, but the band still does a great job integrating the banjo and country feel with some heavy electric guitars.

As the video setting implies, we’re talking more deep south than appalachia, but close enough.

The next example is from a band I’ve mentioned before: Maylene and the Sons of Disaster.  They’re a great southern metal band, and if you can’t enjoy the opening riffs, then you just suck.  Listen for the banjo around 0:30.

Also, word to the wise: if you’re playing heavy southern rock with a banjo, then you’d better be playing on a raft in a river.

Prior Art 1: Cover Bands (A)

This post is part of my 3 week series that explores previous examples of blending of bluegrass and metal music.
I will be back in action June 13.

The first time I mentioned mixing bluegrass and black metal, I was pointed to Slaughter of the Bluegrass (SOTB).  The band does bluegrass covers of songs from a wide variety of metal bands. Overall, they’re actually a pretty talented group.

In this video, someone actually played with the alignment enough to layer SOTB audio over the video of the original song they covered. In this case, the original video is from Amon Amarth, a Swedish Viking Metal band.  The result is pure awesomeness.

Of course, not even this idea was original.  Iron Horse was already a group that recorded entire tribute albums to artists such as Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, and… Modest Mouse?

Anyhow, here’s a track from their first effort, Fade to Bluegrass, released in 2003.

Prior Art Search

Tough news.  I must inform you that I will be away for the next 3 weeks, and must put Blood and Banjos on a hiatusDon’t panic though, I got some real treats lined up for you that will be automatically posted while I’m away!

So then, what is Prior Art? Well, one of the first things you do when you have a good idea/invention, is try to patent it.  In order to accomplish this, one must first do what is called a Prior Art Search.  This is a look into “all information that has been made available to the public in any form before a given date that might be relevant to a patent’s claims of originality.” (thanks wikipedia)

Blah blah blah.  I know this because I took a class on patent law. 
Who cares

patents usually have some killer art, as you can see here… also, keeping an amphibious rodent, for uh, domestic, you know…within the city…that ain’t legal either

What I’m getting at here is that in any case, it is important to look into what has been done before… especially if you’re going to go out there and say you have something fresh and original.

I have done just that.  With the help of some Redditors and the lovely folks over at No Clean Singing (a truly awesome site), I’ve compiled a few great examples that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

Make sure to check in periodically as I show you the true predecessors to Blood and Banjos.

Side note: because the realm of Folk Metal is vast indeed, I won’t be exploring it.  I will however post this video, because it’s awesome.  Yes, at 0:16, the bassist is playing with gloves on.

Track Assignments and More Banjo

Remember the track I posted under the title of First Blood?  Well, I think I’ve decided that this song will be perfect for Track 6.  (You can check it out by using the menu on the left side of this page.)

Track 6 is the song where the town discovers Abram’s crimes, and decides to take action.  The intense metal part in the middle will have to be where the town courier describes in detail what he has seen… should be good!

I sent a working file to Patrick to see what kind of banjo he could write to it.  This clip is done only on acoustic guitar, so from 0:28 to 1:07 you have to imagine the parts being played on electric guitars!

Here is what I got back from Patrick:

This has awesome potential, if you have the imagination! I hope you’re not getting tired of bad quality drafts though. I’m afraid we’ll be doing this for quite a while until we’re able to solidify songs.  Only then will we start to polish them.  Hang tight!

I have also decided to assign the song that I previously presented as A Bit of Southern Metal to Track 4.

This track has a certain intensity that will go well with Abram losing his mind.  I need to write an ending for it though…

continue to next post

Casting Results

Ok fine, we didn’t exactly have try-outs, but I have here the casting results for Blood and Banjos.

  • Abram, our lead character, will be played by Patrick.  He has a strong voice, a great scream, and also has some acting experience.  (He was the lead male part in pretty much every one of our high school musicals.)
  • Abram’s Wife, as mentioned previously, will be played by Nicole.  Nicole’s rich voice is going to perfect for the loving wife, and I just can’t wait to hear these two harmonize together!
  • The Lynch Mob Leader will be played by Dan, Patrick’s older brother.  Dan can have a great booming voice when he wants, perfect for rallying people together.  The confrontation between Abram and the mob leader will also have great chemistry coming from brothers!
  • The Town Courier will be me.  I’m not the best singer, but if I really work on a small part, I think I can make it sound decent.
  • Jesus/Satan will be Drew.  I think his voice and scream will be great for the part, and as we can see below, he’s no stranger to taking on this role.

that’s drew on the left. and yes, he has SATAN written backwards on his forehead…

I’ll of course have to enlist more people for gang vocals, and I think I’ll also want a chorus of female vocalists, lead by Amanda.  Let’s call them The Angels.  I think I know some people I could call up…

Side note: did you know that there are 9 orders of angels in Christianity?  I’ve seen Seraphim and Cherubim frequently referenced, but I’ve never heard of Orphanim, which “appear as a beryl-coloured wheel-within-a-wheel, their rims covered with hundreds of eyes.”  Weird.

continue to next post