Author: Jeff Wagner

For the second time in a matter of months, your intrepid hosts find themselves in the frosty arms of Trondheim, Norway, this time to investigate the world of the frustratingly private Albino Slug. Known to few but adored by those who do, Albino Slug’s legacy...

I don't do rankings anymore. With albums changing meaning and gravity over time, sometimes with each listen, it's futile to restrict them to a ranking.This year, lots of veterans caught my attention, and that's likely because many younger bands I hear are caught in a...

Bust out the Purell and take a healthy dose of penicillin because the whores are back in town. On this special -- and occasionally-recurring -- episode of Radical Research, we stroll alongside a pornographic buffet of sumptuous synthesizer vibrations. For this globetrotting, sweaty-browed sojourn,...

For the 45th episode of Radical Research, we continue our trek north, this time landing in Trondheim, Norway, where we take a close look at the vast and fascinating discography of Manes. Well-respected in black metal circles for their personal and visionary approach to the...

Boy, do we love us some Isten. Issues of the Finnish fanzine such as "Twin Sister" and "Madchen" are triumphs of underground literature. Its editor, Mikko Mattila, is a bit of a hero to us, and we have always appreciated and related to his love...

When Uranus falls, once and for all, in the cosmic background will be heard the humming, buzzing sound of a tragically-overlooked group of travelers. Formed in 1988 in Turku, Finland, Xysma waged a decade-long war against expectation and small-mindedness. With phantasm-like stealth, the band moved...

After recording two mind-bending and defiant albums -- pieced together, ever so precariously, with the bacterial molecules of metal, ska, contemporary music, free jazz, musique concrete, tango, imaginary soundtracks, and the music of the Middle East -- Mr. Bungle returned to the table in 1999...

Departing from the tractor-beam blasphemy of their seminal first four albums, Bergen, Norway’s Gorgoroth offer a more panoramic approach to (a career in) evil on their daring fifth missive, Incipit Satan. IC absorbs influences from death industrial, morbid rock and roll, and melodic death metal,...

Greetings from the nativity. This podcast began as an examination of the vast and nebulous frontier of Norwegian post-black metal. In that spirit, episode 39 of Radical Research probes the tentacles of the In the Woods...

The hosts of Radical Research have been listening intently to Kayo Dot's music since before it was known as Kayo Dot. The emergence of Boston collective Maudlin of the Well fired our imaginations in the late '90s, offering an American answer to early My Dying...

Toby Driver’s path to the present has been circuitous and inscrutable, which is to say, in keeping with music he has written over the last 25 years. His work in Maudlin of the Well, Kayo Dot, and as a solo artist has encompassed metal, chamber...

Writing about Devil Doll is like skating about horticulture. Led by the deeply enigmatic Mr. Doctor, and purposely shrouded in the thickest mystery, Devil Doll’s music disappoints even the keenest taxonomist. Experimenting with metal, classical, and progressive rock, Mr. Doctor and his revolving cast of...

Melvins’ career -- a vast, still-expanding 36-year odyssey across the full spectrum of heavy and experimental sound -- is marked by goalposts, some triumphant, some deviant. On this episode of Radical Research, we train a critical eye on 2002’s bellwether, the curiously-named Hostile Ambient Takeover....

The so-called “Canterbury scene” was an adventurous musical movement of time and place, bonded tightly by shared influences and an incestuous genealogy. This episode, we climb our favorite limbs from the Canterbury tree, including but not limited to Caravan, National Health, Egg and Quiet Sun....

It began with suffering and ended with screams (and whispers). St. Louis' radically-progressive Anacrusis never enjoyed the recognition they so deserved, but popular neglect did little to temper their potent vision. A product not only of the ‘80s thrash scene but also of the fertile...

Men Behaving Badly: Trashed Productions What is music if not sound? In episode 28, we discussed the mathematical properties that have shaped some of rock and metal’s most extraordinary albums. In episode 33 of Radical Research, we expand our investigation into the controversial, often divisive,...

In less than 10 years’ time, Michigan’s maddest scientists, Thought Industry, built a five-album discography that drew upon every available atom and protein in the rock and metal corpora. From the mutated post-thrash of its debut, Songs for Insects, to the melancholy, cosmic vistas of...

Crawling out of Manchester to work strange machinations on the English psych-pop era of the late 1960s, Peter Hammill and Van Der Graaf Generator’s sonic architecture was a mirror to that decade’s creative promise and a murder of its utopian ideals. They documented their deeds...

Under the guidance of bassist Ralf Hubert, Mekong Delta’s initial phase featured a revolving door lineup of Euro-metal luminaries. Adopting pseudonyms and lurking unseen in shadows, Mekong plied a brand of progressive metal that drew inspiration from composers such as Modest Mussorgsky, Aram Khachaturian and...

As Pythagoras mused, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” So too is there magical energy in the shapely contours of the most mathematical rock music. In this episode of Radical Research, we trace...

A Skeptic’s Universe is what happens when student becomes master. Spiral Architect’s school years were spent in obscurity, honing their craft, learning their lessons, keeping their noses to the grindstone. In 1998 they began work on their master’s thesis, and in early 2000, upon publication,...

Angular, adventurous, and apocalyptic in nearly equal shares, few bands scratch the collective itches of Radical Research like Victoria, British Columbia’s Nomeansno. From their punky beginnings to the nuanced terror of their mature work, Nomeansno trafficked some of the most dangerous and dexterous rock music...

Pytten’s Chamber Music: Black Metal in Grieghallen As the ground began to swell in early ‘90s Norway, a shadowy figure known to metal fans only as “Pytten” (ne Eirik Hundvin) ensconced himself in Bergen’s Grieghallen Studio and began to document the work of the country’s Young Turks....

On the verge of the release of his fifth solo album, Flowers at the Scene, Tim Bowness, an art rock luminary himself, sent his thoughts on "art rock" to Radical Research, as a response to episode #23, "What the Hell is Art Rock?" Here's what...

This game originates from one Jeff plays semi-regularly with our pal Tim Hammond, where CD-Rs fly back and forth between the Boros (States and Greens), and one has to puzzle out the other's mystery tracks. It's been an effective way to both discover new stuff...

The possibly despicable term “art rock” is where pop, prog & rock meet, with a generous layer of quirk embedded throughout. Art rock is pop without restraint, prog with good table manners, rock stretching its creative fibers beyond the norm. And yet, gray areas...

Meet the creatures Plotkin & Dubin, instigators of some of the most beguiling music ever beamed to Earth from a  New Jersey-shaped quasar. Like the guy in the petri dish on the Musical Dimensions… album cover, your puzzled Radical Research hosts consider the bizarre landscape...

From the dark past, in the light of freezing moons and through funeral fog, Mayhem reappeared in 1997, under cover of night and to relatively little fanfare. Wolf’s Lair Abyss, the band’s first release since 1994’s epochal De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, reveals a fiercer, future-forward...

Goodbye clarity, hello obfuscation… Norway’s other post-black metal duo, perhaps dwelling deeper in obscure shadows than Solefald… we hail Fleurety’s dedication to the dark arts and… which craft? All the ones that bring metal to the most precarious of left-field edges. So bizarre that it...

From a kernel to a cosmos. Over the course of a decade and beyond, Germany's Grobschnitt twisted and bent and stretched a piece of sound that would be known as "Solar Music." An alchemical collision of Prog, Krautrock, psychedelia, and uncanny theater, "Solar Music" represents...

The second in an occasional series of brief ambushes. With this mini-episode, we ponder and marvel at similarities between a certain few musical passages. Prompted by our previous episode on Afflicted, we compare/contrast moments of uncanny similarity, one of which is too close for comfort....

Prolific for a brief few years, with curious beginnings and a mostly ignored ending, Afflicted’s supernova burned brightly at its peak. That peak, Prodigal Sun, is the essential cornerstone of Afflicted’s output and is explored in depth here. Psychedelic, transcendent left-field death metal lunacy from...

Few things in life get the hosts of Radical Research as excited as the squishy, otherworldly sounds of the analog synthesizer. For our 16th episode, a special detour from our typical musings, we sort through the decades in search of some of the deepest, wildest,...

We don't always listen to music, or write about listening to music, or talk about listening to music. We sometimes read about listening to music. R. Murray Schafer's 'The Soundscape' isn't simply about listening to music, but it is all about listening. Schafer takes the...

1993 represents for Radical Research a fecund year in the development of heavy metal, a tidal surge driven by forces of alchemy, science, and creative bloodshed. To substantiate this notion, we offer for your consideration a list of that year's best and brightest albums. The...

Had Leif Endling disbanded Candlemass after 1989’s Tales of Creation, he would have given enough to place his band in the halls of metal infamy. But the bassist pressed on, enduring lineup shifts, label hassles, and changing times, to eventually arrive in the late ‘90s...

There are no happy accidents or lucky mistakes in Rick Rubin productions. The legendary producer knows exactly what he wants and how to get the leanest, meanest performances from each artist he works with. In our examples, he wielded a decisive guiding hand in helping...

This is hardly the most illuminating, penetrating interview. Our discussion was a bit rushed, as I remember, because the Restless Records publicist only allowed 30 minutes for my little fanzine. Grateful for the opportunity, yes, but I wasn’t able to focus and dig in. Oh...

For our 12th installment, your intrepid hosts sift through time and dust in search of Orange County's Mind Over Four. Bridging an unknown gulf between cutting edge alternative rock and hyperkinetic tech/prog metal, Mind Over Four was poised for a breakthrough to the mainstream. But...

Death metal is very weird musick. It’s the rupturing and restructuring of musical tradition. At its best it offers otherworldly, phantasmagoric deliverance. We begin this episode hearing Carbonized in its embryonic stages as an exemplar of the peculiar Swedish death metal substrata, but in short...

The 10th installment of the Radical Research odyssey pries into the amorphous body of work that has been known to your hosts privately as "Ginncore." Based around a loosely-connected confederacy of artists -- mostly American and mostly active during the difficult-to-define ‘00s -- Ginncore has...

Join us on an extended tour through the curious world of Norway's Beyond Dawn. For thirteen years, Beyond Dawn occupied a shadowy, distorted universe of their own making. Rather than scowl at the moon, Beyond Dawn chased phantoms through pitiless cityscapes and fairytale grottos in...

Band in the Trees: Among the Ruins of Die Kreuzen Episode 6 of Radical Research finds your intrepid hosts deep-diving into the discography of Milwaukee's cult heroes, Die Kreuzen. Over the span of a decade, Die Kreuzen created four records that propose a hostile challenge to...

Radical Research 5.5 is the first in an occasional series of brief ambushes. Super-trivial stuff that’s too fun, weird and/or interesting to ignore, but undeserving of a full episode. For Radical Research diehards only! Music cited in order of appearance: Nuclear Death - “A Dark Country” (Carrion...

Ten blasts of springtime joy before the scorch of summer. This is the Radical Research strain of fusion, corralling some of the baddest asses within the larger prog/jazz/fusion/rock heliosphere. From NYC giants Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, we veer into decidedly deadly territory through...

Episode 4 of Radical Research explores the surreal work of Austrian metalunatics, Disharmonic Orchestra.* Our conversation exposes the psychic tensions and psychedelic grottos of this extraordinary band, one whose music was ignored largely during its heyday and continues, for the most part, to be bereft...