What have you been listening to lately? My playlists have somehow become even more random of late — my curated playlists on Spotify are horrorshows, basically — but the one thing that I haven’t been listening to very much at all is metal. It’s weird! But other than some adjacent acts like Ghost and Alcest, I don’t think I’ve heard any actual “heavy metal” during the usual daily listening since last week. Call it luck of the draw, I guess, because I can’t think of the last time I would have passed on a good metal album, or even just good modern hard rock (it exists!).
All that being said, finally getting a chance to write about the latest from my girl Yajima Mai didn’t just bring the catharsis of blogging a post, but also finally getting to hear some heavy-ass metal too:
Getting into idol led me into all kinds of interesting musical spaces, but one of those that I most appreciate now is the value of melody in heavy music. The idol world doesn’t always do it well necessarily, but seeing how truly clean singing and a well-written hook can actually complement otherwise bone-crunching music brought a great revelation. Whereas before my interest started with thrash and moved in more extreme directions, I got a new appreciation for the work of people like Dio and Dickinson, and stopped thinking of melody just as groovy licks from Dimebag Darrell. Mai’s one of the best deliverers of that as far as I’m concerned, and though she isn’t idol herself per se, her overall body of work is so close and familiar that I always think it’s worth highlighting her.
Mai’s releasing an EP per month (I think still ongoing?); this one’s from Heretical Soul out next week.