Avant-garde Metal

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Avant-garde metal, experimental metal, or art metal is a subgenre of heavy metal music characterised by the use of innovative, avant-garde elements, large-scale experimentation, and the use of non-standard sounds, instruments, and song structures.

The term avant-garde metal refers to bands and musicians who "incorporate new and innovative elements in metal, who break conventions, tear down walls, violate borders." The genre has also been described as "the art of creating deep and strange atmospheres by experimenting with new instruments and sounds, strange vocals, unconventional song structures, rhythms and harmonies, unusual lyrics or uncommon artwork" or alternatively, "progressive, psychedelic, surrealistic, phantasmagoric, expressionistic, dissonant or extravagant interpretations of extreme metal."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avant-garde_metal

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Progressive Metal):
  • siLLy puPPy
  • DippoMagoo
  • Sisslith
  • adg211288


avant-garde metal top albums

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KAYO DOT Hubardo Album Cover Hubardo
KAYO DOT
4.50 | 23 ratings
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SIGH Imaginary Sonicscape Album Cover Imaginary Sonicscape
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ARCTURUS The Sham Mirrors Album Cover The Sham Mirrors
ARCTURUS
4.31 | 60 ratings
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KAYO DOT Choirs Of The Eye Album Cover Choirs Of The Eye
KAYO DOT
4.26 | 61 ratings
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SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM Of Natural History Album Cover Of Natural History
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4.23 | 40 ratings
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SHINING Blackjazz Album Cover Blackjazz
SHINING
4.24 | 27 ratings
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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Leaving Your Body Map Album Cover Leaving Your Body Map
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SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM Grand Opening and Closing Album Cover Grand Opening and Closing
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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath Album Cover Bath
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DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious Album Cover Sing Along Songs for the Damned & Delirious
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SHINING Grindstone Album Cover Grindstone
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avant-garde metal Music Reviews

HTETHTHEMETH Best Worst Case Scenario

Album · 2016 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
This bizarre Romanian avant-metal act from Brașov has its roots in a brainstorming philosophical conversation that took place as far back in 1999 when Lao Kreegan revealed to his friend Jamm Klirk a series of dreams he had been having which inspired him to create a musical project. In this dream a fallen angel came to Kreegan and revealed himself as the unpronounceable HTETHTHMETH and had a tale to tell that would make its way into the new project which was supposed to be titled “Moldy Walls With Joints” however after a few years of floating around ideas and compiling musical chops to accompany such an album, it seems Kreegan was the one with the passion to carry through with Klirk dropping out of the project. Undeterred Kreegan carried on and slowly pieced together a band that would be named after the fallen angel who inspired it all to begin with.

Throughout the 2010s HTETHTHEMETH developed its ideas and released its first three songs on a split album with The Bipolar Disorder and then releasing one of those tracks “Light Lies” as a single the following year. The year 2013 finally found the stable lineup of Robert Cotoros (guitar), Lucian Popa (guitar), Vlad Andrei Onescu (keyboards), Koldr (bass) and Costea Codrut (drums) with Kreegan handling the vocals. The band’s sole album release would emerge in 2016 as BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO which found the band in full theatrical mode with a musical style that was loosely based on gothic metal but incorporated a wide variety of metal styles including death, thrash, classic heavy, alternative and even a bit of bluesy 70s hard rock amongst others. Add to that moments of Romanian folk music, classical, bossa nova, progressive rock and even some strange exotica and what you end up with is Romania’s answer to Slovenia’s Devil Doll.

BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO features three distinct Acts broken down into a total of 15 tracks. The album is quite lengthy and just misses a 76-minute playing time. A concept album which narrates a guy looking for the perfect woman and ultimately fails and turns to the dark side in the form of hate as HTETHTHEMETH however for the most part these sorts of nebulous concepts don’t really grab me as i’m more engaged in the music itself which is a wild ride through treacherous turf throughout the album’s three acts and myriad tracks. Honestly i don’t find that the acts themselves are rather distinguishable from one another and musically speaking the album doesn’t really convey the story at hand although it does represent the strangeness of how dreams usually don’t logically and cohesively translate into a reality situation as musical motifs just sort of morph into others with no rhyme or reason however the album does maintain a melodic connective flow which at least makes it accessible.

An inserting idea for sure but HTETHTHEMETH seems to have bitten off more than it can chew with a monstrously epic tale that is supposed to narrate a tale delivered by the fallen angel in his dreams. This album seriously sounds like it’s trying to emulate Devil Doll however Lao Kreegan is no Mr Doctor and lacks both the charisma and the vocal octave range to pull it off. Likewise there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how the music is supposed to evoke the storyline and even when the concept is totally ignored simply sounds like a haphazard journey through various musical motifs and corny cadences that simply don’t always work together. There are lots of great individual tracks on here especially the more metallic moments that merge with progressive rock but some of the non-metal tracks can sound a bit ridiculous! It’s a decent album to check out but hardly something that holds up with repeated listening sessions. Sometimes disjointed can serve a purpose but in the case of BEST WORST CASE SCENARIO it sort of loses all effects. A better vocalist could’ve animated this to another level though.

RAINER LANDFERMANN Mehr Licht

EP · 2023 · Avant-garde Metal
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UMUR
"Mehr Licht" is an EP release by German artist Rainer Landfermann. The EP was independently released in June 2023. It´s the follow-up release to Landfermann´s debut full-length studio album "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit" from June 2019. As there have been no new releases from Pavor (Landfermann´s technical/progressive death metal act) since 2003, it´s not that project he has spend the last four years working on, but there´s of course been the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed down a lot of artists. My impression of Landfermann is however more that he only releases something when he truly feels for it.

Stylistically the two tracks on the EP pretty much continue the avant-garde black/death metal sound of the preceding album release. So it´s still German language lyrics performed by a psychotic sounding and tortured screaming vocalist, and some very unconventional songwriting, which includes eerie keyboards (but also more uplifting parts, although this is pretty much a shrouded in darkness and pain type of release), fusion influenced bass playing, black/death metal brutality, and an overall high level of technical playing. This is neither better nor worse than the material featured on "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit", but if you enjoyed the album I can highly recommend investigating this EP too. It´s just as weird and eclectic. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

RAINER LANDFERMANN Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit

Album · 2019 · Avant-garde Metal
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UMUR
"Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit" is the debut full-length studio album by German artist Rainer Landfermann. The album was independently released in June 2019. Landfermann is known as the bassist of German technical/progressive death metal act Pavor and for performing vocals on Bethlehem´s 1996 album "Dictius Te Necare". He created his solo project in 2018 and released the Vertieft single the same year. Landfermann has enlisted a few of his Pavor bandmates to perform drums and guitars, while his brother Robert Landfermann performs double bass on five out of the ten tracks featured on the 40:16 minutes long album.

The material on "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit" is an avant-garde/progressive black/death metal style, featuring the fusion influenced bass playing of Landfermann but even more importantly his ultra expressive, hysterical, and extreme vocals. Think Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) when he is in his most lunatic/schizophenic mood and think how that would sound over the course of a full album, and you´re halfway there (Diamanda Galás is another valid reference). I will say right away that the tortured quality of the vocals on this album are so extreme and over the top (not to mention that they are in German and deal with various heavy topics like darkness, pain and personal issues), that they are very much an aquired taste. They are arguably very well performed though and quite varied too, which can also be said about the instrumental part of the music.

While the music features both black metal and death metal elements, I´d say those are just elements of the overall avant-garde music style of "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit", which quite often doesn´t feature any metal elements at all. So this is a pretty dynamic release with tracks like "Kunstvoll" and "Schneller als Sehnsucht, Größer als Eins" featuring a brutal black/death metal style, while other tracks are odd, minimalistic, and experimental songs featuring the screaming tortured vocals of Landfermann (the almost lounge jazzy "Ursprüngliches" is probably the best example of that). Another effective feature of the album is how Landfermann uses choirs for atmosphere enhancing effects. When the choirs occur they provide the music with something a little melodic to hold on to amidst the chaotic darkness of tortured screaming vocals, unconventional song structures, and experimental weirdness.

Although "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit" is a self-produced affair, Landfermann has managed to produce a well sounding release. The sound production actually helps the otherwise challening and difficult music to become more accessible. I understand those who can´t listen to the extremely expressive and tortured screaming vocals without feeling that they are hurting their ears and who therefore won´t be able to appreciate "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit", but if you evaluate this album a bit more objectively it´s quite the unique and daring release. Although I´ve mentioned some influences above, and they should give you a good idea of the weirdness level here, this really is one of those albums you have to listen to yourself, to form an opinion about. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

RAINER LANDFERMANN Vertieft

Single · 2018 · Avant-garde Metal
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UMUR
"Vertieft" is a one-track digital single release by German artist Rainer Landfermann. The single was independently released in June 2018. It´s the first (and as it turned out only) single from the forthcoming "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit" full-length studio album, which was released in June 2019. All instruments and vocals (with German lyrics) on the track are performed by Landfermann, while the drums are performed by his Pavor bandmate Michael Pelkowsky.

"Vertieft" sounds like Rammstein crashed into a technical fusion influenced black/death metal band with a psychotic lead vocalist in front. Landfermann´s screaming tortured vocals are deranged, while his deeper register singing/talking has a goth flavor to them. The track is incredibly well performed and it´s audible that Landfermann is not just your average Joe musician and composer. This is a highly unique song. The sound production is professional and suits the song too, so upon conclusion "Vertieft" is a promising first glimpse of what the fans could expect on "Mein Wort in deiner Dunkelheit". A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

MIND MOLD Mind Mold

Album · 2017 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
The Calgary based MIND MOLD is the darkened bleak creation of Robert LaChance (guitarist of Canadian dark grind devastators WAKE), Will Bjorndahl, and Ryan Kennedy (of Calgary-based avantgarde grind anomaly Seminary) who together released this sole EP in 2017 and then returned to the spawning fertile hellish ground from whence they came.

Although a mere 21 minutes in length with only five caustic tracks to sample, MIND MOLD’s self-titled concoction courtesy of the Sentient Ruin Laboratories follows the modern trend of heavy downtuned dissonance guitar chords accompanied by anguished screams of pain and sludgy post-metal drifting processions that conjure up the most menacing of atmospheres and blackened doom metal fortified with thick noise walls of reverb and sustained feedback.

A trudging journey through the bleakest musical expressions possible, MIND MOLD’s self-affirming companions to be a blender’s worth of various extreme noise / hardcore / metal bands such as Neurosis, Red Harvest, Blut Aus Nord, Today Is The Day, Rorschach, Jesu/Godflesh, and Swans existing in a torturous harmony is actually the most accurate description anyone could possible come up with although i’d add the spidery guitar chords are more out of the Deathspell Omega camp.

In the end MIND MOLD sinks to a depressive new level of skronky pasty-metal style sludge that is really hard to categorize by normal standards. The corrosive creepy crawl of the bantering din is akin to a shoegaze act fornicating with a vitriolic disso-death band like Ad Nauseam, Ulcerate or Pyrrhon only slowed down to a snail’s pace of funeral doom metal with bands like Esoteric and Evoken coming to mind. Overall a grotesque mutilating journey of the soul into the darkest recesses of the musical gutter but delivered in a way that makes it all feel so good.

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