Progressive Metal At Its Very Best – The Arbitrary

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If you are like me, you think “The Big Easy”, Mardi Gras, Cajun food, Tulane or Katrina when New Orleans is mentioned, right? Well, it is also considered the birthplace of Jazz, in all of its wonderful variants. Horns, tubas, upright bass, snare drums, accordions; often played in the streets as part of a festival or parade. Sue me. I love it all (mostly traditional Bop and Hard Bop). You get my point. But, you ask yourself, this is a Metal site, correct? This is where things go a little sideways, because there is a new name in Progressive Metal that was born and bred in this same city at the end of the Mississippi River. Hold on tight because, The Arbitrary is about to change your perception of New Orleans music.

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Virtuosity Defined – Raiju

Illustration by Chasing Photons

Illustration by Chasing Photons

According to Wikipedia:

Raijū (雷獣,”thunder animal” or “thunder beast”) is a legendary creature from Japanese mythology. Its body is composed of lightning and may be in the shape of a cat, fox, weasel, or wolf. The form of a white and blue wolf (or even a wolf wrapped in lightning) is also common. It may also fly about as a ball of lightning (in fact, the creature may be an attempt to explain the phenomenon of lightning). Its cry sounds like thunder.

Raiju is the companion of Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning. While the beast is generally calm and harmless, during thunderstorms it becomes agitated and leaps about in trees, fields, and even buildings (trees that have been struck by lightning are said to have been scratched by Raiju’s claws).

Another of Raiju’s peculiar behaviors is sleeping in human navels. This prompts Raijin to shoot lightning arrows at Raiju to wake the creature up, and thus harms the person in whose belly the demon is resting. Superstitious people therefore often sleep on their stomachs during bad weather, but other legends say that Raiju will only hide in the navels of people who sleep outdoors.

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Huge Progressive Power: Order of Nine

Alright. I goofed again, but in a good way. Our current State of the Art is spotlighting bands from Maine. In my early search I mistakenly thought Order of Nine was from Maine, when, in fact they are from Pittsburgh, PA. Simply put: they are way too damned good not to cover, so here you go!

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