September is National Piano Month and as you would expect, MPH brought the Mosh Pit Hell into the #MorePianoHappening realm. The Pianoforte is a keyboard chordaphone derived from the clavichord by harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori sometime during the early 1700s and transcends genres from classical to contemporary with surprising ease.
Personally, I’m both intrigued and frustrated by keyboard instruments, especially the piano. The nature of it’s diversity and complexity can be inspiring but it’s in that diversity and complexity that it also draws its frustration as both a player and sometimes a listener. As a performer, it’s the one instrumental type I found most difficult to master as I could never quite get my fingers to separate their movements (yet, I can type surprisingly well).
For the metal community, the same issue occurs. Some metalheads love what well timed keyboards can bring to a piece, be it the depth of a Hammond or the palette of the Moog or the emotion of a Steinway it is intriguing. Other metalheads despise it as being unnecessary and blasphemous to incorporate any kind of keyboard as it it hearkens to some kind of synthpop wimpiness and not the grand scale of its classical enterprise.
Although I would love for a set as diverse as thrash, prog, death, black and classic metal to change every metalhead’s mind I know it won’t. In making my best attempt though MPH on KAOS Radio Austin traversed all those generes and a few extra sub-genres all for good measure showcasing the diversity of the metal keyboard… …from pure piano that leads some tracks like Porcupine Tree to moody synth work layered in the background of others like Alcest, from organs driving the riffs for Deep Purple to programmed orchestration driving it for Dimmu Borgir to keys playing for of a support role like the piano in Paradise Lost it all has its place. Most of the bands are known, for better or worse, in using keyboards as part of their identity which is why I selected them. I can’t say there was a particular rhyme or reason to how I laid out the show, I just started jotting down names and making circles and lines until enough bands were connected to one another that they looked like proper length sets. I knew about four, or five, tracks that I was structuring around and the rest just kind of fell into place the way you hear it.
But, of course, I omitted a few obvious ones too, from the industrial tinge of KMFDM to the goth-n-pop of Type O Negative to the ethereal of Indica and so many others. Since the festivities are a month long perhaps there will be a second installment of the show to touch on so much of what I missed.
Strongly bash the volume button on your machine and softly sit back and get ready to enjoy #MorePianoHappening!
Deep Purple “Space Truckin” Machine Head
Karkaos “Blood, Sweat & Tears” Empire (2014 #NewMusic)
Children of Bodom “Hatebreeder” HBR
Dreamshade “Miles Away”
Soilwork “Spectrum of Eternity” the Living Infinite (2013)
Still Remains “Cain” Ceasing to Breathe (2013)
alcest “la Nuit” Shelter (2014 #NewMusic)
Porcupine Tree “Lazarus” Deadwing
Dream Theater “the spirit caries on” Scenes from a Memory
Savatage “When the Crowds” Gutter Ballet
Paradise Lost “Hallowed land” Draconian Times
Agalloch “Veils Beyond Dimension” the Serpent (2014 #NewMusic)
Miseration “the Mirroring Shadow” tMS
Emperor “the Prophet” Prometheus
Dimmu Borgir “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse” Death Cult
Amorphis “Black Winter Day” Tales from the Thousand Lakes
Anacrusis “Brotherhood” Screams & Whispers
Bleeding Through “Our enemies” Portrait of a Goddess
Scar Symmetry “Timewave Zero” Holographic Universe
Trial of Tears “the Desperation Corridors” Bloodstained Endurance
Dark Tranquility “Monochromatic Stains” Damage Done
Fear Factory “Replica” Demanufacture
Faith No More “Underwater Love” the Real Thing