Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rock to Member Ratio


It seems that February has been an idle month! And while I wish I could say it was because I felt Dan's most-righteous post deserved some extra spotlight (it does!), mostly it's just been real busy around the bustling metropolis that is Scotts Valley.

Quick Side Note: Dan's last post had me spend more $$ on more albums than any other so far...that's some kinda record...

Well, let's get down to bidness;

Kim has long held that a band needs a good "Rock to Member Ratio" (RTMR); what good is your 16-member-half-orchestra-hipster-guitar-drum-circle if you can't at least lay out the mutherfucking jams once in awhile (looking in your direction, modern-day Godspeed!). Reflecting on this for some time now, I cannot find fault with her logic.

So, today will be an exploration of those that take full advantage of this ratio. The ol' Rock n Roll two piece. Consider this an appetizer as I will post later in the week also with some fresh jams (a lot of these today will probably be familiar to you guys).

First up is a recommendation from my dear friend in Brooklyn some time ago. Senior Osorio tipped me off to the Brothers Bird and I couldn't get enough. In short, TWEAK BIRD rules. Start with Reservations, then move to their self-titlted, then to Undercover Crops. You can get through all of these in about an hour (not much of an exaggeration). These two are like the sugar-cookies of the heavy rock world: melt in your mouth fast and can't stop eating....they are also surprisingly heavy at times.

Here's one off their latest:

Next up we've got an oldie, but a goodie. BLACK COBRA! Now, they have a few albums that I can't really recommend (Chronomega is not their best work, in my humble opinion), but they have a few albums that KILL (Bestial, Invernal, Feather and Stone)! Start to finish, Bestial hauls serious ass and the production is heavy as shit. Definitely my fav from them. Kris didn't believe me it was just two dudes at first. Let this be a lesson: Tuned down baritone guitar + bass amp = holy shit! Sounds like a cello on steroids.

Seeing these dudes open for Sleep during the latter's first reunion in SF on my Birthday a few years ago will go down as one of my favorite shows ever. It was also this show that was the catalyst for the birth of the aforementioned "RTMR", as Saviours played next with what seemed like 10 dudes on stage and couldn't rock 1/2 as hard (or as LOUD) as the Cobra.

Exhibit A:

The riff that starts around 1:30 is ALL TIME! Drummer Rafa Martinez also played bass in ACID KING for a bit too....

Let's end things with a bit of the new. As mentioned earlier on the Divide, EAGLE TWIN recently released a new album: The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale. Now, their first album was a bit of a let-down for me. It promised throat singing and winding, giant, bottom heavy riffs, but never felt like it hit the mark. I feel like they got it right the second time around; endless riffs, some clever timing here and there, moody as all get out, and above all, super heavy. These guys have literally blown up amps during live performances (you can hunt around to see footage of amps on fire at basement shows and such) with a setup similar to BLACK COBRA's.

 Now, I feel of all the three, EAGLE TWIN's needs to be taken as an album. Clear an hour and sit down with this one.

Let's recap: It seems we've learned that the trick to the RTMR is a baritone guitar (or at least a de-tuned, super-heavy-gauge-strings guitar), a bass amp and a drummer that's not afraid to lay it down and take the lead once in awhile.

Honorable mention, but not covered (I think you guys are already all over them):
SUNN 0)))))
MELVINS (I consider them to be really just Buzz and Dale...)

Who'd I Miss?

"Said to bring luck in Hunting, Rain-making and Love",

Oh and remember:


  1. Also, I think Olde Growth qualifies. And I would stand up for Beast in the Field although I realize that you were only partially interested. Frankly, I would also say Bongripper and Yob. I know that they have 4 and 3 members respectively but the RTMR remains astonishly high. I saw a local ~post-metal band last night with a embarassingly poor RTMR as is too often typical for the genre. They had 3 guitar players on stage and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why at least two of them were there. They also had a keyboard player who sounded nice and jazzy during setup but was just eye candy during performance. One of the guitar players had three pickups on his SG. I've never really got that, I'm officially adding another 1/2 member to the RTMR for the extraneous humbucker. The band was actually not bad but I feel like they have enough personnel to make up two not bad post-metal bands. Such a tragic waste.

  2. Ha! That's exactly what I'm talking about.

    I will stand behind Beast in the Field for sure. Totally forgot about those guys to be honest, but they are solid.

    Based on last year's Roadburn show, YOB live may have the greatest RTMR of all time...holy shit!


    PS Can't believe I forgot the Pony! When's the demo coming out?