Recommendations Ov Hell: Jimmy McNulty vs Boss the Ross


In which falsetto screams and “UGH!”s battle both weedles AND deedles.

Inspired by the great Toilet Ov Hell Record Swap series, I bring you “Recommendations Ov Hell.” While Record Swap is the equivalent of wandering through the woods with no map or guidance (listening to albums with no prior knowledge of the band), Recommendations Ov Hell is like a life raft going down a river. Using prior knowledge of preferred bands and genres, you recommend a starting point in Youtube for your partner to listen to and review. From there, they click on Youtube’s recommended songs on the side band and repeat the process four more times. This is all in an effort to discover new bands in your wheelhouse that you may not have discovered on your own.

One of my favorite people on the Toilet (and yours too) is Jimmy McNulty, and it is with great honor that I collaborated with him on today’s Rec ov Heck. During our discussion of this great meeting of the minds, he asked me to give him a song that might convince him of the greatness that is King Diamond, while I wanted to delve into the Proggy Death Metal he so loves. After sharing tales of both woe and happiness, we parted and went our separate paths.

Jimmy’s Assignment:

Here is the moment that Boss the Ross may convert me into a King Diamond fan or stay on course as a person who does not care for King Diamond. It all lies in the balance right now. Oh yeah, I’ve heard this before, I can predict that chorus. The voice, THE VOICE. This is what prevents me from enjoying King Diamond. I understand that he is immensely talented, but those high notes do not appeal to me one bit. And these riffs are really good. And the guitar solos are also really good. And every other voice he uses is great. But those highs, they’re killin’ me. It is going to take a lot more to sway me than this, so King Diamond remains a “flush” for me. I will never seek out more of his music on my own.

I know King Diamond was in Mercyful Fate, so I’m willing to give “Witches Dance” a shot. Starts out a little cheesy. And yuck, there are those vocals again. Those NWOBHM-style riffs are good, but the “other bands” do it so much better. That alone is why I don’t dig this: other bands do the music better… without the grating vocals! And it’s way too catchy. I do not enjoy a vocal hook that flows in a manner that a mainstream rock song might. I’m giving it credit for being super catchy but I not a fan when it sounds as if it is intended to rhyme like a children’s chant. (Smash Mouth’s “All Star” is the very definition of what I’m talking about.) Decent song, terrible vocals, next.

I don’t think I have ever heard a song by Venom. I would love to start here with “Nightmare.” Woah, this is way too spoopy for me! Must refrain from doing a 365-style video breakdown here. Oh no. I’m not hearing any redeeming values in this here. I really hope this was just taken from a particularly low point in their career (all bands have ‘em). This. video. is. cheesy. I imagine this to be a tongue-in-cheek song and video, like I imagine that one Immortal video to be. But heck, it sure is catchy. This isn’t horrible, I’m just presuming it disappointed fans of the band when it was released, no matter which year that was.

Oh hell yes, I’ve been wanting to hear the original version of “Circle of Tyrants” ever since I discovered it via Opeth’s cover a decade ago. I enjoy a few Celtic Frost and/or Triptykon songs, so I’m completely open-minded about this. Right off the bat, this is a yes. Yes all the way, everything about this is great. What have I been missing all my life?? This detective may have to do some future Discog Diving with this band! Oh and then the famous “UGH,” the icing on the cake. I am in love. Lastly:

I have little to no Candlemass experience, having only been recommended one album by them by another Disqus user around three years ago. I don’t hate them, nor am I a big fan of doom. Some convincing I shall require. But, as with most things, I am open to suggestion! This music is good, though. Though the riff is slow enough to put me to sleep, it IS enjoyable. What I’m trying to say is that doom isn’t bad, I just am never in the mood for it. It’s extremely rare for me to enjoy doom. Candlemass makes the cut though; this is an extremely solid jam. The catchiness isn’t as overbearing as in that King Diamond track. I would say that this level of theatricality is completely acceptable in my book, so it loses zero points for that. Killer guitar solo included. Friends, I may enjoy Candlemass enough to seek out future recommendations!

This “Recommendations ov Hell” turns out to be a great exercise for a heavy metal latecomer like myself. Come at me with a King Diamond song that you think will be guaranteed to change my mind. And definitely, share with me some good Celtic Frost!

Boss’s assignment:

Mr. Detective started me off with Abyssal‘s “Chrysalis” and my trip down prog death was initiated. What caught me first was the album art, a cave. Get ready for reverb! As the song started I was introduced to a very interesting mixture of mid-paced drumming, slow churning riffs and yes, you guessed it, reverb. This definitely has the feeling of its album cover. To my surprise, the song shifted after a few minutes in, to a passage of intricate drum fills and airy, atmospheric guitar riffs. This was really good! Staring at the album art while listening is very entrancing, to say the least. The song finishes with more heavy riffs that sink me lower into my chair; I feel like the artwork is moving and I might get sucked in.

Working my way down the suggestion bar I notice an array of oddly placed videos, so I hunted towards the bottom and found a band called Hacride. Alright, let’s go! Immediately my head commences to bobbing. This intro riff really bounces well, though it feels like it is taken out-of-place in the scope of an album. I may have to do some research on this one. “Act of God” is a serious groove trip, fans of Gojira (sorry that’s my default groove/prog/metal band) will certainly enjoy this. The singer is earnest in his delivery, and I would also be very interested to check out the lyrics. All that aside, the outro is what really sets the song off though: spaced-out guitar solos over some super heavy riffage. Couple that with the fading tinks on a piano and you have a winner.

Next from the suggested video bar is Gorod’s “State of Secret” which I initially clicked on because the album art intrigued me. What I found was a pretty decent prog death song. It starts out a little uninspired, and the vocalist reminds me a little too much of Corpsegrinder, but when the melodies kick in at 1:36 I was very surprised and glad to hear them. Unfortunately, they are over before I can sink my teeth in. Weedles ensue for a little while, but they don’t do much for me. HOWEVER, at 2:29 the band really make it awesome; the next ten seconds are the best part of the song. And then back to the deedles. The band plays with an interesting formula on this song and I really enjoy the slowed down, more melodic portions.

Once again, I am intrigued by the cover art and go with “A Problem Yet To Be Solved” by Anata. The intake of breath that starts the song felt misplaced. Until the song was over that is. “Problem” didn’t let up once; it was a full-force attack with sharp riffs and drums of surgical precision. Impressively enough, the band is able to intersperse some really exquisite grooves within this tech death assault, and to that I must really give them kudos. My biggest complaint is that I can just barely hear the octave lead at the 2:06 mark, which I had to replay a few times to distinguish it from the rest of the chaos. Those few seconds would’ve been excellently placed at the forefront and utilized throughout the song. I do realize though that this could be the youtube compression of quality.

At this point, I am seeing some Redman videos that are calling my name, so I will call it quits here while I’m ahead. In all, I listened to some fairly enjoyable tracks and will be checking out more of what Hacride has to offer. Thanks Jimmy!

And that is it! Pretty painless, and we both came out wiser than before. Does this kinda thing interest you? Want to give it a shot yourself? It’s easy, just hook up with a buddy, watch a few recommended videos, write something up, and submit it to the Toilet Ov Hell, subject: Recommendations Ov Hell. Be sure to include links to the songs.

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