The Link-Up Spell: Which are your favorite non-metal acts and influences from metal musicians?


When metal is injected by other musical influences, we all win.

You already know the standards. The sinister trichords, the double pedaling commanding fast drums, the plucked four string bass and the obscure vocalizations. If we can narrow the metal genre into a common behavior, those can be some patrons to tailor this musical flag. Take for example the legendary Black Sabbath beginnings, their iconic debut laid down multiple foundations to this monolith to ignore their ghastly shadow.

Tony Iommi’s insanely dark riffing was toe-to-toe with folk and blues, so since the very beginning, metal music was probably meant to get influenced by other vacant planets.

Of course, this obsession with the left hand, with liberty and the evocative side of life was a cornerstone for some people since the end of the 60’s. But, the status quo and the rigidity formed the right path too, and the numerous subgenres spawned from this foul beast chained movements and artists on rigid paradigms.

Paradoxically, I always saw metal as a rabid black dog wanting to be unleashed, that sometimes bite his own lash and, broken, bleeding, escapes from time to time to enchant or kill. I bring this spiritual representation to our humble forum because this duality can be contemplated every week on all the content we share with you all. The Old Ways of metal refuses to die and the New Ways of metal keep spawning. We embrace them all, but from time to time we find these are two polar opposites and, as everything in the human experience, innovation is always (and should be) the rarest.

For some gifted musicians, metal, as most of every genre conceived, is a restrictive box of thoughts to play with at the time of composition and arrangements. What made metal “metal” is both a blessing and a curse, based on this argumentation. But, some musicians in the genre proved since the early years of infancy that the genre can also be a very malleable one. In their extremity, a lot of clever composers mixed the distortion and the metal attitude with foreign styles, even to the outcry of some conservative groups that pushed to repeat aesthetic patterns.

Like some of our fellow readers, I developed my musical taste thanks to following and paying close attention to the little details of certain authors. When I started into more extreme music, Michael Amott, from Arch Enemy, served as an ambassador of different sound palettes for me to enjoy with his side-project Spiritual Beggars. As I already wrote about this guitarist in a previous article, Amott’s influences from classic rock and early metal opened new horizons to me, like it happened with Scorpions, Candlemass, Trouble or Dio to name a few of a huge list. The carefully planned melodic aspect of the albums I listened from that time still survives on my constant playlists, and that unexpected aspect of his work made me realize there could be other disparate influences.

Then, with Death and Cynic this aspect was way more accentuated. These progressive combos went from metal to so many disparate genres that this diversity introduced me to technical death metal, fusion music, jazz, post-rock, ambient and old-school prog in equal parts. Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert incursion into their alternative rock outfit Aeon Spoke developed my taste into more stripped down music. Meanwhile, the Pestilence album Spheres and the Atheist record Elements were in huge rotations, two great pieces that let me enjoy new and mysterious moods or lyrical contents, completely different to the traditional fantastic lettering.

With that, many more artists went to my rotation that developed different side-projects away from metal that I continuously celebrate; the cross-pollination between metal and many different genres is a celebration of music that opens the path to new listeners towards our dark halls. Enslaved, Ihsahn, Opeth, Dan Swâno, Leprous or Neurosis are some of the names we have discussed in this blog that explored new genres and succeeded by bringing novelties on their other projects, meanwhile helping listeners and fans to enjoy other facets of art and life.

We also tend to laugh a little at people like David Vincent (A.K.A. Vncle Morbid) or Nergal (A.K.A. the guy with the big head from Behemoth), but that is the completely opposite today.

My stance with the Toilet ov Hell since the first months made me realize we have so much to discover and I am so grateful to share different genres and music every week over here along with our writer panel and our faithful community. These years completely changed some of my points of view of music, and even life. When art is served to your being nearly on daily basis, there is a constant transform of, at least, a tiny piece of our existence.

So, this opinion piece is for you, my friend. Which metal artists opened your mind to non-metal goodness? Which are your favorite side-projects from metal musicians? I am more than eager to read your responses at the comments to get new names and styles to enjoy.

Photo cover: VÌA


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