I still remember when I listened to KVELERTAK for the first time. I was at an album pre-listening for Evocation’s album “Apocalyptic” in Hamburg’s Bambi Galore and talked to their promoter. We had some time left, so he told me about this album he was listening to, lately, of an unknown band and everybody who listened to it instantly loved it. He turned on the boxes and played the album and – bam! – it hit me, too. I personally would describe their style as punk black metal, because it’s pretty weird. The drums are so fast, the vocals, too, but the guitars are rocky and slow. I showed the album to people who don’t like this kind of music at all and told them just to listen to the guitars. And suddenly, they started to like it! So KVELERTAK became an example for me whenever I wanted to show that vocals can be a rhythmic ‘instrument’ and the guitar is responsible for the melody. I really loved the discrepancy between the fast drums and the slow guitars and I really enjoyed seeing them live.
But after their selt-titled debut album, they were gone suddenly. They released another album called ‘Meir’, which I listened to but didn’t really like. The band was just not able to repeat such a blast that ‘Kvelertak’ was. I wrote a review for the album, but after that, I didn’t listen again, I have to admit. When I started listening to Spotify, I found out they have a third album out called ‘Nattesferd’, but I only listened once and knew that KVELERTAK somehow lost the special ‘ingredient’ that made their debut so special. The music’s elements didn’t change, but it doesn’t work together anymore like before. So after only one album, I had to say, the band lost it’s appeal for me. And not only for me – other people who loved the very first album didn’t get along with the new stuff, neither.
Special styles of music
I started thinking about the phenomenon and realized quickly that bands who are really successful are known for more than one album. So I had to think about less famous bands and albums I really, really like. One of them I can mention here is SLAVES TO FASHION. I got to know them during my years at powermetal.de and met the guys in person twice. Really cool people and they produced a very good progressive rock album called “Artistic differences”. I listened to that album a lot, because it enlightened my mood and I love the lyrics. I sang along to the songs in my car very often – but they didn’t release a second album since then.
I know that all of them have day jobs and the band is more or less a hobby for them. But they produced a music video for their song ‘Mrs. Hero’ and made some fans around Europe. They parted ways with their singer and presented a new one later, but I’m still waiting for a new LP. Also because the singer sounds interesting!
Another example is a band that changed my view how metal has to sound: BLOOD STAIN CHILD with their album “Epsilon”. The Japanese released albums before and after this one, but I think they were not before and not after that album successful in Europe. I sometimes listen to their older and newer stuff, but there is no album that convinced me like “Epsilon”. The band mixes metal, techno and whatever comes to their mind, but the older albums are kind of traditional and the stuff they released later was to electronical for me. So “Epsilon” is the one and only album for me. Whenever people ask me for interesting band advice, I mention BLOOD STAIN CHILD with the addition that only this album is really good.
Speaking about Japan, everybody knows BABYMETAL. When they appeared, it was something different, something new for us. Their self-titled debut was successful and many people listened to it and visited their concerts. I think, the latest is still the case, but with “Metal Resistance”, the second album, the spell was gone. I still celebrate and have to say that ‘Megitsune’ is one of the best songs I ever listened to, because it has everything a good metal song needs (speed, heaviness, drama, guitar, traditional influences of the band’s country, a great vocalist)! But there is no song on the successor that I’d they is a blast.
Melodic death metal! And some black…
A band that won the Wacken Metal Battle award and released their debut album through them is my next example. The album is perfect. Nothing more to say about it. And the second album the band released years later is also good – but it took me months to even find out they released one. I found them accidently because of a cooperation with Anneke van Giersbergen but I don’t think, many people still know their name: THE FADING. Goosebumps instantly appear on my skin when I start listening to “In sin we’ll find salvation”. The album is melodic death metal at it’s best and I’m surprised the CD is still alive, because I listened to it for ages. But, yes, the new album ‘Till life do us part” wasn’t promoted very well and when you are the successor to one of the greatest albums on earth, you can only fail. Still a good album, nothing to say about that, but I love the debut much more.
Some of you might know the band NORTHER or at least their singer Petri Lindroos, who also is a part of Ensiferum. The band is not active anymore, but they had the highlight of their career with their album “N”. I remember the song ‘We rock’ was most popular, even though the band said that it’s ironic – they are a metal band, not a rock band. Petri left the band because of Ensiferum and NORTHER tried it with another vocalist and an album called “Circle unbroken”, but it wasn’t the same niveau anymore and so they quit.
I knew STORMLORD before, because I was looking for a symphonic black metal band. Some of their songs were interesting, but when “Mare Nostrum” came out, I knew I found one of the best songs I will ever listen to in my life when I listened to the title track. The whole album is a masterpiece on it’s own and the only thing the band could have done better is putting the title track to the end. Now, the album starts with the best song that casts a long shadow. Five years later, they released “Hesperia”, which wasn’t that bad, but to be honest, I don’t remember much of that one.
I think, I could go on like this forever. I have to mention the band DREAMSHADE, because their album “What silence hides” was so good! They had two albums after that one, which are both great, but a different music style. “What silence hides” was 100% melodic death metal and the band was kind of innocent. Now I would describe them as metalcore and grown-up. If you like fluffy keyboards, give them a chance!
Some bands maybe only have one album wonders for me, because I listened to one of their outputs a lot without paying attention to the rest – maybe because I didn’t really like it or just didn’t look for it: TRACEDAWN – “Tracedawn” (but, well, “Ego anthem” is good, too, but not that successful, I think), DARK AGE – “Acedia”, ETERNAL TEARS OF SORROW – “Children of the dark waters”, PAIN – “You only live twice”, OMNIUM GATHERUM – “Spirits and August light”, STREAM OF PASSION – “Darker Days”, DEADLOCK – “Hybris”, MOONSPELL – “Night eternal” (these are albums I listened to a lot – of course, there are bands I only know one album from, but I didn’t celebrate that albums much).
Are there bands you really like but only know one album or only listen to one of their albums a lot? Let us know!