These posts are written by: Jimmy Rowe

Xanthochroid – Of Erthe and Axen: Act I

To the uninitiated, it may appear that on the surface, the field of cinematic and symphonic metal is thinning. Following Wintersun’s embarrassing crowdfunding flop that was The Forest Seasons, an album¬†through which¬†Jari Maenpaa and Co. mishandled and squandered the good graces of fans of the sound by releasing an admittedly inferior album to the one that was promised for half a decade ago, it might not be immediately obvious who would pick up the mantle of epic prog/power/black/folk/whatever. The sound of Wintersun is highly ambitious, after all, and it could be forgiven if it was assumed by some that the breadth of scope offered (or promised, anyway) by Wintersun was unique to them.

The Anatomy Of: In The Presence of Wolves

As incredible as the tour was, the pairing of Coheed and Cambria and Between the Buried and Me in 2013 had caused a bit of head scratching. Certainly, the Vinn Diagram of audiences on that trek had quite a bit of overlap given both acts’ prog leanings and love of conceptual universes, but you could really feel the divide in the room between fans of either band.

Chances are, if you’re on this website in the first place, you’d likely find yourself in the center of that Vinn Diagram because you know that catchy post-hardcore and technically-minded prog metal compliment each other well. And if that is indeed the case, then you’re going to love Philadelphia’s In The Presence of Wolves.

Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me — The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview [Part Two]

Back in March, I spent the better part of an hour speaking with Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs to discuss his myriad of projects and his development as a musician and evolution as a bass player. The first half of our talk was published last week, wherein we discussed collecting vinyl, the prog aesthetic, and the records that inspired him to first pick up a guitar — and eventually, bass and keyboards. In this second half of our interview, we discuss his new project Nova Collective and its place in the genre of jazz fusion. We also discuss the process of revisiting their modern classic Colors, and where the band goes from here.

Dan Briggs of Between the Buried and Me – The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview [Part One]

Over the years, we’ve watched North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me climb the ranks from metalcore weirdos struggling to find a place in the metal scene to prog metal masters with a legion of rabid fans and achieving worldwide headliner status. Through a series of critically-acclaimed opuses, a scene had formed itself around Between the Buried and Me as trailblazers of a new branch of modern progressive music, and one might argue that the biggest splash from the group came from their 2007 opus Colors, which turns 10 this year(!!!).

Uneven Structure – La Partition

Let’s get the superlatives out of the way right now: Uneven Structure’s debut album Februus is the greatest album to come out of the djent movement. There are contenders, for sure. Masstaden. One. Periphery. Each album was groundbreaking in its own right and contributed great things to the genre, but when examine progressive songwriting abilities, emotional content, scope of dynamic, and overall ambition, Februus rose above the rest. Needless to say, this provides a bit of a challenge for the French prog unit; some bands that find themselves wedged into a niche fail to find much light trying to claw out from behind the shadows cast by a monolithic debut. Factor in lineup changes and nearly six years between records, the hype and anticipation built for their sophomore full-length might seem insurmountable. Can lightening strike twice, or can Februus’ power be attributed to a fluke of being in the right place at the right time?

PREMIERE: Uneven Structure Bare “Crystal Teeth” In New Video

It’s been nearly six years since we were absolutely floored by Uneven Structure’s debut album Februus. It was a perfect storm of ambition, atmosphere, and emotional/conceptual depth that made it tower above the array of djent records that dropped in the early 2010’s. Depending on who you ask, it may be the best record that has ever come out of that scene.

The follow up La Partition is no slouch, either.

Mastodon – Emperor of Sand

Once incapable of fault as a household name in the world of metal, Mastodon have seen a lot of scrutiny following their 2009 prog opus Crack The Skye. It was an immediate critical hit and the general consensus was that it was an instant classic. Indeed, Crack the Skye still holds up and hasn’t aged much at all, but it did prove to be a turning point in the band’s career. The sludge metal pioneers slowed down, reigned in the technical showmanship, and started writing more straightforward rock songs in their own style and aesthetic. Crack The Skye’s followups The Hunter and Once More Round The Sun were by no means terrible, critically panned slogs, but the fanbase became divided over the clear stylistic evolution happening.