North – Light the Way

In the wake of The Ocean’s highly successful Pelagial, a new strain of post metal was born, one which flirts with the antics of stoner and doom. Feeding off the latter of that seminal 2012 album, this style of music utilizes delay-ridden techniques in conjunction with fuzzy feedback and hoarse vocals to create its emotional impact, blending both atmosphere and visceral assaults. North, fresh off the tour with Intronaut and the aforementioned band (a tour being wrapped up next month), belong to the lower end of such a style. Their Light the Way attempts a blend of more ephemeral guitar lines that might echo So Hideous or Junius and feedback drenched chords that belong on a Earthship or Lo! album, or any of the sister projects that make up The Ocean Collective.

But does it work? Yes and no: every track, on its own, is a solid and well thought out unit, expertly weaving between the two styles. However, something about the album structure doesn’t click and the tracks tend to blend together. It takes several listens to tell them apart and, even then, one finds himself drifting into a a sea of sameness as lead after fuzzy riff crashes down upon him. Let’s start with the good however.

Midgard Calling: The Role of Norse Culture in Metal

Metal has, sadly, played a distinct and central role in this conflation of ideas between “viking” and “norse”. By endlessly drawing from a single pool of images to describe these historical people, the same pool available to all of popular culture, it has reinforced, elaborated and cemented the image of the Norse as the ironclad marauder. The viking, in actuality a probably destitute and desperate person pushed from the liminal spaces of their society, forced to risk their life in order to sustain themselves, is depicted as a blood-hungry savage, intent on killing. In reality, vikings prefered quick sojourns on land with as much loot as possible while minimizing combat. Regardless, metal has chosen to view them as some omnipresent, ever threatening and efficient mercenary force, intent on as much damage as possible while holding a certain aloof and superior view towards mainland Europeans, hunting them like dogs. Fortunately, not all hope is lost. There exist several artists and bands within metal and its adjacent genres that work not only to represent Norse culture correctly but also to disseminate it to people around the world. These acts draw on the myriad atmospheres, influences and themes found in Norse texts to create a different image.

PHOTOS: Mega Ran & Professor Shyguy, Metroid Metal, GRIMECRAFT, Professor Shyguy—February 18th, 2016 @ MAGFest XIV, National Harbor, MD

What’s this? Another year? That’s right—another MAGFest! Welcome to 2016 where we have the pleasure of bringing you more photographs from the fan-funded Music and Games Festival that takes place at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Maryland. This first set of sets brings you photographs from the first day…

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Watch BAILER’s Debut Music Video “The Binding”

Finishing up this week of exclusive, brain bashing content is a music video that has the potential to cause seizures and fits of guitar smashing rage. Seriously, there are hefty flashing images in this one so don’t say we didn’t warn you! On to the show. Ireland’s BAILER are already well established as a must see act in their homeland and with tunes like this, it’s crystal clear why their hype train is chugging along so sweetly. Don’t fuck about, jump over the tracks and check this beast of a debut on the double.

Half Life – Tool

Tool is a band that has a special place in every metal fan’s heart. Now, that place varies, depending on the fan—some people wear their respect for the band on their sleeves (quite literally in many cases), while others view Tool as just another pretentious “experimental” band, completely overrated, with…