Another Heavy Metal Weekend
Danava - Enchanted Villain + Spell - Cruel Optimism (2023 / Hypnotic Heavy Metal)
Hello internet pals of music. Today we’re listening to a song each by two bands who are consistently stretching the genre boundaries of “heavy metal”.
This weekend is a real banger over here in the lovely, temporarily sunny-not gloomy, Pacific Northwest, as tonight I’m seeing Vancouver’s Spell play their newest album with their newest live members, then taking a little trip down the road tomorrow to see Danava play their new album, along with Swedish “adventure rock” band Hällas, who are playing their first North American tour.
That was a mouthful.
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Danava are inarguably one of the tightest and best live bands toiling away through the underground. They’ll never get close to the mainstream, which I’m sure suits them fine. They’ve been mining this field so long that there’s really no one who sounds remotely like them, or ever will. They are their own overblown force, masterfully held together by four elements, a perfect embodiment of the balance of chaos that the cosmos is. Danava are the dirt under progressive rock’s fingernails, amped up motorheads firing all pistons at once. This song is less spacey than their earlier albums, and less frenetic than their last. Definitely letting their doomier, dual guitar, heavy metal lead the way here.
Spell are, like Danava, in their own galactic swirl. Their sound is “heavy metal” (and I’m plugging the most traditionally metal song on this latest album) but by way of Blue Öyster Cult, Rush, Wishbone Ash and whatever else you want to pull from your collection of ragged 70s hard rock—all refined with a goth sensibility that gets people to mention In Solitude (but also, think the great Devil’s Blood). The bass sounds on this song are huge, and although they’re pulling and pushing all their progressive boundaries all over this album, they show they can kick down huge head banging riffs around the 2:20 mark.
This won’t make up for my not being able to make it back to my hometown for Hell’s Heroes festival next week, but whatever, at least I don’t have to get on a plane now.
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