overground scene


Is this where I came from? #3 My Bloody Valentine and Psychotic Waltz

In previous installments of the “Is this where I came from”  series of posts, I have addressed the influence of British heavy metal on Swedish death metal and German power metal. In an effort to seek more obscure influences across genres rather than the more obvious ones within the same genre (for example, how the main riff off Iron Maiden‘s “The Wickerman” is exactly the same as Judas Priest‘s “Running wild“) I will go out on a limb in this post, so to speak. In this the third installment I hypothesise the possible influence of an alternative rock band from Dublin, Ireland (My Bloody Valentine) on a progressive metal band from San Diego, California (Psychotic Waltz).

My Bloody Valentine – Soft as snow (but warm inside) (1988)

My Bloody ValentineMy Bloody Valentine is a band that pioneered the shoegazing genre. The first time I heard about them was through Napalm Death; MBV is one of the bands that Barney usually mentions, alongside the Swans, when he accounts for the more atmospheric influences of Napalm Death. MBV’s first album, Isn’t anything, is the only one I have heard from them and is quite amazing. An old school garage/rock ‘n’ roll spirit hides behind a veil of melancholy and uncanny noise and dissonance. “Soft as snow” is the opening song of the album.

Psychotic Waltz – Lovestone blind (1994)

psychotic“Lovestone blind” comes from Psychotic Waltz‘s third album, Mosquito (1994). In this album, the complex orchestrations and instrumentation used in the previous ones were to a large extent abandoned in favor of a more stripped down and direct sound akin to the, at the time, burgeoning grunge sound of the early 1990s. Indeed, harmonic progressions that remind of Nirvana, The Fluid, or Soundgarden, and so on, can be found here and there throughout this album. It is probably my least favorite PW album, although songs like “Haze One”, “Mosquito”, and “Cold” are all-time favorites. One of the less obvious influences of PW however, I think comes from My Bloody Valentine. “Lovestone blind” is mainly built around grunge-y dissonant harmonic progressions and an equally abrasive chorus. However, three minutes into the song, the band goes into a slow atmospheric part. During this slow part, Lackey starts singing the final verse, “now they look into the eyes of a silver screen can of lies…”. The harmony and feel of this passage is very similar to the melody of “Soft as snow”.

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