Looking for heavy, fast instrumental music
July 5, 2014 9:08 AM   Subscribe

I like listening to heavy, fast music while writing but recently I find I am unable to do so if the songs have words (or at least words that I can follow). I am looking for rock/metal/industrial/post-whatever that has drums and guitars, but is either instrumental (like Mogwai), or with vocals that are not comprehensible (like ISIS) or buried (like Sub Rosa).

Bands that work for me as writing music include The Heads, Baroness, Nadja, Sunn O, Dirty Three, Jesu, Earth, Conan, Explosions in the Sky, Black Boned Angel and Loop. I'm looking for bands similar to this.

I've been trying classical also, so suggestions in that vein which are likely to work for a metalhead are also welcome, or music from other genres with a strong rhythm but no words.
posted by Grinder to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Well, if you like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai, definitely try Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

On the metal side, maybe Pelican or Red Sparowes or The Fucking Champs.
posted by chbrooks at 9:17 AM on July 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I wonder if you would like Welsh surf rock band Y Niwl?

(Gruff Rhys: "Y Niwl live in the mountains and they're the world's highest altitude post-surf band.")
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 9:29 AM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Fantomas is generally pretty light on lyrics, particularly the self-titled album and Suspended Animation.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:40 AM on July 5, 2014

I'd recommend Liquid Tension Experiment, Don Caballero, and Animals as Leaders.
posted by cribcage at 9:50 AM on July 5, 2014

Check out Rodrigo y Gabriela.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:03 AM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for something a little noisier, I'd recommend checking out Lightning Bolt and Black Dice.
posted by Gino_Felino at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mogwai have shades of My Bloody Valentine about them. I've listened to Loveless a couple of hundred times and could only tell you maybe three lines of the lyrics, so it might work for you under the incomprehensible words clause.
posted by peteyjlawson at 10:29 AM on July 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Assuming you don't understand (I think) Latin, E.S. Posthumous has some good stuff.

Also, Apocalyptica sometimes features guest vocalists, but the core band is just cello and percussion. They started out doing purely instrumental covers of Metallica songs, so you might like their early work better.

A similar but less prolific band is Break of Reality, also just cello and percussion. (Can you tell that I like the cello?)

And here's a long-shot suggestion, but it fits your criteria of "strong rhythm" and "work for a metalhead": Contra is a New England folk dance where the choreography makes certain demands of the music, so a lot of the music that gets used for contra ends up being purely instrumental pieces with a strong rhythm around 110-130 bpm. For example, Calliope House, or David's Jig.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:06 AM on July 5, 2014

All 5 Metallica instrumentals:

(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth
The Call Of Ktulu
To Live Is To Die
Suicide and Redemption

Lots of Dream Theater songs. For example:

A Change of Seasons
Overture 1928
The Dance of Eternity
posted by 3FLryan at 11:23 AM on July 5, 2014

Two acts I regularly use to achieve beast mode when I'm coding:
Russian Circles are like a more metal Mogwai
Deafheaven is like Death Metal Slowdive, lyrics are wonderfully unintelligible.
posted by yorick at 11:41 AM on July 5, 2014

i like a lot of the same music as you do for getting work done, especially earth. i also like:

electric wizard

posted by iahtl at 12:40 PM on July 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

also, not heavy/sludgey, but droney and repetitive and minimalistic is
dawn of midi

dawn of midi took some cues from composers like steve reich, who i think you'd also like.
posted by iahtl at 12:43 PM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Turing Machine.
posted by jpe at 1:25 PM on July 5, 2014

Definitely (seconding) Pelican, Red Sparowes and especially Russian Circles.
posted by wrok at 1:36 PM on July 5, 2014

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:32 PM on July 5, 2014

Triad by T00L
posted by Cuspidx at 3:21 PM on July 5, 2014

this whole thread is so relevant to my interests... thanks all. (i'm wearing a dawn of midi t-shirt right now, actually :^))

i'll add cloudkicker (FPP here) to the list.
posted by raihan_ at 4:13 PM on July 5, 2014

Caspar Brötzmann
Denison/Kimball Trio
early Marnie Stern
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:02 PM on July 5, 2014

Japanese bands! You can't be distracted if you can't understand the words.


Maximum the Hormone.
posted by googly at 5:37 PM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Russian Circles was going to be my suggestion. In addition to everyone else's suggestions, I'll throw in This Will Destroy You, MONO, and post-Sleep Al Cisneros project Om, as well as (moving laterally from post-rock to Detroit space rock) Windy & Carl and Flying Saucer Attack (which are not heavy/fast, but are gorgeous and instrumental).
posted by snarkout at 7:32 PM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bandcamp is your friend...

-- Cloudkicker (eg. Portmanteau)

-- sleepmakeswaves (eg. US EP)

-- And So I Watch You From Afar (eg. And So I Watch You From Afar)

-- Buckethead (eg. Look Up There)

Also, one track from Kopius Few to whet your appetite for film-score(-style) music:
  • The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard)
  • 300 (Tyler Bates)
are faster things, but these soar at times too:
  • Passchendaele (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek)
  • The Stoning of Soraya M (John Debney)
if you want to follow up on the last part of your plea!

Oh, and all of Battlestar Galactica by Bear McCreary (but maybe start with Season 3).
posted by manyon at 5:20 AM on July 6, 2014

There are some great suggestions up above. I'll also add that Keelhaul, who have several albums out on Hydrahead, the label owned by Isis frontman Aaron Turner, is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by The Michael The at 6:07 AM on July 6, 2014

Response by poster: Great, thanks - some familiar stuff here (GY!BE for example) but also lots of new bands to check out. Good thing my music account is about to refresh.
posted by Grinder at 10:59 AM on July 6, 2014

http://www.music-map.com/ is always a good for "I like artist X, what else might I like?" Their page for Mogwai turns up a lot of the suggestions so far. I don't think anyone's suggested Tortoise yet. 65daysofstatic are worth checking out too. Boom Bip might be more electronic than you're looking for, but I like them.
posted by Horselover Fat at 5:11 PM on July 6, 2014

Check this thread if you haven't already. I think there's some overlap.

The Venture Bros. - The Music of JG Thirlwell
Front Line Assembly - AirMech
posted by the big lizard at 6:51 PM on July 6, 2014

posted by camneely at 8:34 PM on July 7, 2014

Sounds like you want Bongripper!!!
posted by johnnybeggs at 10:21 PM on July 7, 2014

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