Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last weeks update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We randomly select two of the participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. Our inaugural post brought staff members Simon Handmaker and William France together to peruse each other’s tastes:
Earlier this year, it was announced that Swedish hardcore pioneers Refused had charged themselves with the seemingly insurmountable task of following up their iconic 1998 release, The Shape of Punk to Come. While the shock factor of such an announcement coming from a band that had proclaimed themselves “dead” seventeen years prior was somewhat diminished by the fact that they’d cropped back up on the radar through a series of reunion tours back in 2012, it was nonetheless met with mixed feelings of hype, anxiousness, and, perhaps most of all, curiosity. While it’s sometimes the case that bands that have died have died for a reason, and should, more often than not, stay dead, there was no doubt a certain amount of warranted speculation amongst fans as to how a modern day Refused record would sound. Now, with the June 29th release of the long-awaited follow-up Freedom, we have our answer. Head on over the jump to see why Freedom is not the glorious resurrection fans had hoped for.
Being heavy is a strange thing. It’s a quantifier that is entirely personal. There isn’t a proverbial definition of heaviness except that it simply portrays an aural intensity in the form of something ferocious, dark, abrasive or brooding. However, sometimes it’s simply the right breakdown or the right riff played at the right tempo. Whatever your definition of heavy is, it’s undeniable that Demonwomb is the 2015 poster child for the term.
Demonwomb is an Austrian quintet whose very existence is defined as nothing but punishing mid-tempo riffs to the tune of ruthless raspy shouts and classic 90’s thrash. There’s plenty here for fans of Black Breath, Ringworm and Baptists. You’ll find a refreshing and concise amount of headbangers throughout this debut. These guys aren’t just emulating a certain style of music and adhering to the genres rules either. There’s clearly talent on display here too. Head on over the jump for your first taste.
Just over a month ago, I attended Temples Festival in Bristol. The festival, in it’s second year, completely blew my mind. The alcohol helped, but the banter, atmosphere and performances from some of the heaviest acts in extreme music were primarily to blame for the blowing of said mind. I have not had that much fun listening to music, ever. If I could share another drink with every person I met, I would do so in a heartbeat.
Temples, if you didn’t know, is a completely independently run event. No sponsors or partners involved, it is a music festival for music enthusiasts and snobs like myself. Sludge, hardcore, grind and doom were all very well represented this year. On the final day of the festival, I got to sneak in a chat with the man in charge, Mr Francis Mace. We chatted about the origin of Temples itself, future lineups and of course, chicken shits (Eggs. Duh).
Three of progressive rock and metal’s best and brightest up-and-comers are teaming up for a run of dates across the Eastern and Midwest United States! Metal Blade signees Native Construct—who released their stellar debut Quiet World earlier this year—have announced The Proggest August Tour, featuring fellow Heavy Blog is Heavy friends and favorites Wings Denied, who released their own debut, Mirrors for a Prince [review], last year and Outrun the Sunlight, who also blessed us with Terrapin [review] in 2014. As its title implies, the tour kicks off in August and will take the three bands through the Eastern US, hitting markets from Vermont to Tennessee, and some of the Midwest with more dates to be announced very soon!
Get dates for this prog-worshiping tech trek after the jump.
It’s very well known that every band you enjoy has songs that define them. These songs may not necessarily be their best, but they are the most essential when trying to understand where they came from, and how they got to where they are now. This is the idea of our new feature series, “8-Track”. Here’s the basic premise, in a nutshell: We choose a band that we know has a storied history, and identify the eight songs that define their strengths as a band, musically, lyrically, and conceptually. This is not merely a “Favorite Songs of (Insert Band Here)” list, though for some writers, there will be overlap with the two. This list is meant to show anyone discovering the band songs that really speak volumes of how they are as a band, and songs that are essential to their development and evolution as a band. With that being said, our first band is Dream Theater!
As with the oceanic void of Earth’s murkiest depths to which their name alludes, Abyssal’s existence is steeped in a thick layer of mystery. Working in anonymity under the name G.D.C., the UK based mastermind behind Abyssal has been conjuring up some of the most dense, cavernous Incantation worship since sequential punishers Denouement (2012) and Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius (2013) invigorated the death metal underground. In the couple of years since G.D.C.’s debut, he has seemingly softened his affinity for the allure of anonymity, demonstrated by his penning a deal with Profound Lore and enlisting Finnish drummer Timo Häkkinen to record session percussion. The result of this consummation in Abyssal’s next chapter is Antikatastaseis, an immediate highlight in both the band’s discography and this year’s list of essential death metal offerings.
Veil of Maya are a band that are adored by metalheads for their off-kilter breakdowns, technical riffs and overall brutality. So, what happens when you throw clean vocals into that mix? Well, it would seem that many fans turned away from the band because of the addition, but it also seems like it has caused more people to talk about Veil of Maya than ever before. On the Raleigh, NC date of their Matriarch Tour, I sat down with guitarist Marc Okubo and drummer Sam Applebaum to get their thoughts on fan reactions to their new music, bringing old songs back into their setlist and how it feels to be lumped in with the djent crowd.
Welcome to Starter Kit, a new feature on Heavy Blog. The point of this feature is to expose you, dear reader, to a genre that you may not know much about, or may be interested in getting into but don’t know where to start. In it, one of us will be explaining a genre in brief, going into what it sounds like, common lyrical themes, and, most importantly, a few essential releases in the genre. The point is to get more people acquainted with various facets, sub-subgenres, and types of metal, offering an easy-to-digest listening experience and streamlined introductory guide.
So, a while ago we told you about a brilliant Australian band called Dumbsaint. These guys are unique not only in their dark, chilling post metal/rock but also in their fascinating connection to film: three of their albums (actually comprising one larger, sprawling narrative) were all accompanied by equally disturbing films. It appears as if the band are not planning to stop, tightening their media-splicing and talent. Their next album, Panorama, in ten pieces., will be accompanied by a synced, real time film spanning 60 minutes, adding further depth and imagery to what is already sounding like a gripping album. We’re proud to premier the first track off of this ambitious release by one of the most riveting sounds in post-anything today. Head on over the jump and make sure you’re not alone; the video is creepy as all hell.