It’s difficult to affix a name to a genre. As soon as one is figured out, two more subgenres spring out from under it.
For example, “heavy metal” is an all-encompassing term for music that is harder and darker than your typical three-minute pop ditties. But beyond that are its ever-increasing subgenres: thrash, hair, glam, alt, nü, black, aggro, doom … the list goes on.
Straight out of Chapel Hill, N.C., the bands Caltrop and Black Skies have had their music described by critics as “sludge metal,” which mixes elements of doom metal and hardcore punk with a little bit of Southern rock, just for kicks.
Murat Dirlik, singer and bassist of Caltrop, however, wants to take this genre back to its roots.
“At its base, [our music] is organic,” Dirlik said. “It’s heavy, but I wouldn’t necessarily go as far as to call it metal. We put a lot of time into writing songs that range from brutal and heavy to pretty. We try to do beautiful things, we try to do harsh things, all in a way that melds together and makes musical sense.”
He said that when it comes together live, it’s a “good cleansing” and that audiences to Sunday’s show at The Conservatory will not be left unmoved.
“It’s emotional,” Dirlik said. “People have told us it’s better than spending money on a therapist.”
On the other hand, Kevin Clark, vocalist and guitarist for Black Skies, wants to create a new genre for his band’s sound: “Heavy not-metal.”
“Our music is heavier than some,” Clark said, but “in a different way, I guess — sort of psychedelic.”
Black Skies’ sound varies from song to song, according to him.
“In the writing process, I usually have an idea and work it out based on what I’m feeling,” Clark said. “Sometimes, they just kind of speak to you and through you, and you’re just a vehicle for the song.”
Speaking of vehicle, neither group has made it to Oklahoma before.
“It’s been somewhere we’ve been trying to play. We’re pretty excited to actually be able to do it this time,” said Clark, noting that Wednesday’s audience will be seeing Black Skies at their best. “Our goal with every show is to play as hard as we can, as well as we can.
“We believe in the songs we’re playing. We wouldn’t be out there driving across the country if we didn’t. We’re not gonna rely on any gimmicks or fog machines, light shows or things like that, to mask a lack of writing what we think are quality songs in a heavy vein. We’re gonna play good music. That’s our only goal.”