For a genre comprised ENTIRELY of outsiders, it should be apparent that there is some pretty out-there stuff in the metal world. Here are some of my favorite metal musicians who are so weird they don't even fit into THAT scene...
Lots of bands consider themselves 'progressive metal.' In fact, the term gets bandied about a little too regularly with groups like Mastadon and Opeth trying their best to add Rush-like elements to heavy metal. So, something like Trifixion's lone 1995 album 'Abschurfungepoch' REALLY shows you how experimental metal music can be.
Though the foundation of the group's sound lies in death metal, elements of jazz, ambient electronic, and even acoustic folk pop up seemingly at random. Some tracks, like 'Cold Heaven' feature almost exclusively clean vocals over bizarre musical arrangements, and others, like 'Immortal,' have just as guttural vocals as Death or Atheist.
But, no song is straight death metal. The aforementioned 'Immortal' breaks off into pop-rock and later a chaotic atonal section. Some songs, like the titular track, even have hints at industrial metal, which makes sense as nowadays a couple members are playing in industrial bands. However, throughout the whole disc, there's an atmosphere of nightmares.
I guess my problem with 'prog-metal' is that it usually sounds like what it is: Dudes who listen to too much Rush trying to use what they learned in school band and music theory classes. Basically, it's usually pretty lame. Trifixion sounds like they really want to mess with your head. There is nothing remotely uplifting on this album, and it plays like the auditory equivalent of a Dario Argento film (although maybe that's because both are from Italy.) Regardless, song titles like 'You Breed' and 'Fear Is All That I See' give you an indication of the mood throughout.
Worth a listen if you like that early 90's tech-y sound that Death, Atheist and Cynic popularized...but don't like the watered-down modern day equivalents.
Photo by Tim Parkinson.