Release Day Roundup – 12/15/17

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!

MMXVIII – Pelagic Record’s Fantastic Year And The Depths Yet To Come

We’ve had our eyes on Pelagic Records ever since the label was started around the post metal powerhouse that is The Ocean. Their mission seems to be the quality release of anything hovering around the post metal and rock monikers, extending their fingers into dark folk, electronic beats and more. While Pelagic has been doing great things over the years since their founding, 2017 seems to have been a true watershed for them. From stellar releases (with names like Lo!, Labirinto, LLNN, pg.lost and many more) to new signings (like Ancestors, one of my favorite doom bands of all time), Pelagic has been all over the map of the metal community. Nothing drives home their upwards momentum more than a compilation they themselves have released, in conjunction with Visions Magazine.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Jarun – Sporysz

In metal, there is no combination with more potential than that of black metal and prog. Something about this blend just tickles all the right spots. The monotonous, raw energy of black metal is balanced by the experimentation and variety that prog brings. Enter Jarun, a Polish band who have been doing exactly this since 2008. Sporysz is their third album, and it demonstrates a level of comfort and creativity only experienced veterans of the genres can demonstrate. Today, I’m very excited to bring you a stream of said album, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I…

Our Methodology For AOTY 2017

It’s non-trivial to compute a ranked list of best albums given the opinions of 31 different writers. We could go the lazy way and just have staff argue and editors decide what the AOTY is, but that’s unfair to everyone and is way too authoritarian. We could just have people pool votes, but that leads to way too many conflicts between albums with the same amount of votes (which editors need to resolve, which is unfair and upsets people), we could assign a particular value for each rank, have everyone rank their albums, and add up all the ranks. But that also has its own set of problems, and how do you set the values? As you can see, it’s non-trivial. Sure, you could just pick either of these schemes or anything else, but why do that when you can do something that is a lot more mathematically grounded? Since I’m essentially a statistician by trade (kind of), of course I’m going to try to do that. So here’s me explaining what I did, and sharing my code for anyone else interested in doing it the “””objectively correct””” way.

Heavy Blog Guest List – Caligula’s Horse’s Top 10 Albums of 2017

Editor’s note: Yes, it’s that time of the year again! While our own Album of the Year list is coming down the line, we have a ton of end of year content for you. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be exploring 2017 in various of ways: through curated summaries for specific genres, editorials on specific phenomena we found interesting and, of course, guest lists! To kick us off, we have Sam Vallen and Jim Grey of Caligula’s Horse. This is a special honor for me, since In Contact, their 2017 progressive metal opus, is my personal Album of the Year. It’s a magnificent…