There are few things in the world of music — for musicians, critics, and fans alike — that are as much equal parts necessary and frustrating to the point of being counterproductive as genre labels. We use them because they form a convenient shorthand, a way to categorize and file away the seemingly endless list of bands we come across. By agreeing upon certain sets of musical characteristics and features, we cobble together groups of musicians and bands together as our collective musical Dewey Decimal System as a way to help ourselves and help each other when discussing these bands and offering comparisons and recommendations. And the truth is, much of the time the system does work. Just have a peek at our Starter Kit series to see the system in action, even for the most obscure and sub-genre-y of sub-genres.
Ultimately these attempts to file and label every sound are arbitrary and reductive though, and the fact is that most of the time the artists and bands themselves have little to no say in how they become defined. Such is the case with So Hideous, who I will refrain from labeling with any one specific genre or micro-genre label here. Since arriving on the scene in 2008 (back when they were going by So Hideous, My Love), the band, fronted by composer/guitarist/keyboardist Brandon Cruz and his brother Chris (vocals/bass) have largely struggled to rise above the boxes listeners and critics alike have decided to place them in based on the zeitgeist of the day. Are they a post-metal band who employ blackened vocals and orchestral flourishes (drawing comparisons to the likes of ISIS early on when post-metal was a more driving force in the metal world)? Are they a symphonic metal band who are taking a more modern blackened death approach to the symphonic power metal sound of yore? Or are they really a black metal band who utilize elements of shoegaze and post-rock to cast spots of brightness to accentuate the shadows?
Earlier this year, Epica was all set to tour the US in support of their latest record, The Quantum Enigma [review]. After unfortunately being cancelled on by Machine Head due to complications with their record release, the Netherlands’ foremost symphonic power metal band struck out on their own as a headliner with Switzerland’s folk metal outfit Eluveitie and metalcore Canucks The Agonist.
Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, Epica frontwoman Simone Simons had to return home in a rush and the band did not perform any of their scheduled shows on the tour. Luckily, Eluveitie and The Agonist were stalwart enough to carry on and put on some powerful performances that were quite a bit longer than if three bands were performing.
Solid sets from both The Agonist, now sporting Vicky Psarakis as their leading lady, and Eluveitie, who outdid themselves from the last time they were in the Chicago area. The Agonist’s lighting situation, however, left something to be desired as there were nothing but red lights coming from the front, washing out a lot of our images. Eluveitie’s lighting was choice, though, which produced some very lovely photos! Check them out below!
Like the grand majority of modern metal fans, our tastes here at Heavy Blog are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which will cover noteworthy news, tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:
In case you didn’t see the news, So Hideous are now streaming their new sophomore album, Laurestine, in its entirety over at All Music. You should absolutely head over there and listen to it as soon as you possibly can because it’s great, and also because we’ve got a couple of So Hideous-related items of our own today. Our review will be going up shortly, but first, you can now watch the entirety of our filmed live set from over the summer. We already premiered the videos for “Yesteryear” and “Relinquish,” and now you can hear second and fourth tracks “Hereafter” and “The Keepsake” along with it. Check out this brilliant set after the jump!
At some point in life, everyone eventually catches themselves staring dramatically out the window of a vehicle onto tranquil, gray skies and wondering what it would be like if there life had been a movie. These are times of quiet reflection, as they think of all who have come and gone, those who they have hurt, and those who they have been hurt by. But of course, no movie is ever worthwhile without a powerful score to back it, and if you have found yourself doing this, and think you may eventually do it again, then it is of the utmost importance that Loma Prieta’s newest album, Self Portrait, be your stellar new soundtrack.
October 7th, 2015, Amityville Music Hall had the pleasure of hosting yet another big band in the tiny venue. Suicide Silence (who are currently on tour with Korn) played a one-off show for us Long Island people, and whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny that their performance is incredibly tight, and even fun. Opening the show was local hardcore band Detriment, and they are a band who are slowly but surely making waves in the hardcore scene. Catch them on tour with Purgatory this coming January. Following was Eridian, a local progressive deathcore band. Like Detriment, they, too have been making waves here in the music scene we have. If you’re into heavy breakdowns and blast beats, it is encouraged that you check them out. Finally, Suicide Silence took the stage and put on an explosive performance. The crowd was moving, people were getting hit, noses were getting broken, and a lot of crowdsurfing ensued. Seeing big bands in smaller venues is always a lot of fun. Check out the pictures below!
Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s 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. This week’s post brought staff members Eden Kupermintz and Mark Valentino together to peruse each other’s tastes:
Ah yes, Australia! It’s been what, exactly five minutes since we last told you about them? OK, let’s do it again. This time, we have Moon. Who are Moon? I literally don’t know, since it seems like they haven’t existed until the beginning of this month. Boy, am I glad they exist now as their sound and overall vibe is exactly what I was missing this Friday.
Citing sleepmakeswaves and Black Sabbath as influences, these guys grabbed my attention from the get go. The order was tall: take the experimentation of post rock and combine it with the power, directness and intensity of rock n’ roll. I was skeptical right up to when I clicked play and then all my doubts vanish. Join me below the jump, why don’t you?