What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 8/26/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Imperium Dekadenz – Dis Manibvs

Black metal is not currently, nor has it ever been, known for being easily digestible listening. Walls of sound do not engender such a quality; harsh, biting production and maximalist output defy the existence of such a trait. This isn’t to say bands within the blackened realm have never been known to play with such a concept – there are plenty of bands that bring a melodic or calmer approach to the genre – but few and far between are the black metal bands that actively encourage such a trait or let it define their music. Songs tend to be monochromatic in character, all furious sound and gnashing teeth, and little is explored in the way of accessibility or an inviting nature to those unacquainted with the genre’s tropes. As if specifically to shatter this statement, along comes the new album from German black metal veterans Imperium Dekadenz: Dis Manibvs is as close to the “easy listening” descriptor as any artist has yet to get.

Beyond the Veil: Seventh Chord of a Seventh Chord, or How Major Seventh Chords Work

Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those who don’t necessarily have a music theory background. After covering quite a few different scales here on Beyond the Veil, we’re going to shift gears a tad into the world of chord theory. Today’s topic, the major seventh chord, is something that is absolutely littered across all sorts of music, with its unique tonality making it a particularly effective tool for a musician.

Half-Life – Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth has been one of the most consistently excellent melodic death metal bands to come through the pipes in the last two decades. Over the years, they’ve honed and refined their sound from the raw death metal ferocity of Once Sent from the Golden Hall into a cleaner, more accessible melodic death metal sound. Their graduation away from raw brutality happened largely in landmark leaps at a few points in their career. Because of this, I’ve taken the liberty of dividing Amon Amarth’s career into three distinct sonic stages in order to more closely examine the Amon Amarth of yesterday and today.

Soul Curator // Writing Sci-Fi

Some may claim this to be all-too similar to a previous Soul Curator that I did on writing. And, yes, while the action this playlist is supposed to score is the same, I feel that writing science fiction is something completely different from the standard mode of writing. In a way, you need to make yourself leave Earth. You need to be able to break rules and then glue them back together again. The Albums To Write To Soul Curator included albums that (for me, at least) kept the mind focused and eliminated distraction; this, however, stands on different grounds. The key to writing great science fiction (or any imaginative fiction, for that matter), is to be able to tap into the fantastical parts of your mind. Whether you come up with something that is grounded more in reality or doesn’t adhere to anything this planet has heard of is completely up to you. And these are albums that can help you reach that mode of thinking.

Starter Kit: Real Emo™

What exactly is Real Emo™? To put it simply, Real Emo™ was a movement started by a select few hardcore bands located in or around DC in the early 80’s and continued on through the late 80’s/early 90’s. Around this time is when bands on the West Coast adopted the more experimental, melodic approach to hardcore punk music and began to lay many of the foundations for what would eventually become screamo. The music is often stylistically similar to early hardcore acts such as Minor Threat or The Bad Brains in that it is fast and passionate, but differs in the sense that the lyrics tend to be a bit more introspective and the overall sound far more melodic. With bands like Nation Of Ulysses and Moss Icon further experimentation became increasingly popular as well, adding many “spacier” elements as well as incorporating a bit of spoken word. Nation Of Ulysses even had a saxophone occasionally, something that later bands like Native Nod couldn’t help but pick up. And, interestingly enough, not a single had any “twinkly” guitar parts.

Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom

When I interviewed Ohio extreme metallers Skeletonwitch back in April, as they were winding their way across the country on the Decibel Tour alongside Abbath, Tribulation, and High On Fire, bassist Evan Linger briefly mentioned in regards to The Apothic Gloom, a release still shrouded in mystery but held aloft by the band and their label as a sea change in the Skeletonwitch sound – a combination of thrash, black metal and galloping death n’ roll – that it would totally ruin any preconceived notions of what a new Skeletonwitch release would sound like. With some certain creative gates now…