These posts are written by: Jimmy Rowe

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.

Dodecahedron – Kwintessens

It seems to come up every time a new record pops up within the niche that Gorguts, Portal, and Deathspell Omega built; there’s not much room left in the sphere of dissonant, atmospheric, and abstract extreme metal due to the limitations of the style. Murk chords and blastbeats can only carry a record for so long (as we’ve seen with first casualty Plebeian Grandstand), and the novelty is wearing thin. Bands such as Ulcerate and Sunless thrive on the death metal end of the spectrum by offering depth and creative riffing, but black metal has yet to have much success in challenging Deathspell’s monolithic reach. Dutch black metallers Dodecahedron are the best bet at carrying the torch into new territory, whose debut five years ago came (from seemingly) out of nowhere and quickly reached cult status. The group, who has significant ties to prog-fusion group Exivious, takes a more overtly progressive and technical approach to the sound, and therefore, into further extremities.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Without Waves – Us Against

Bands with a multifaceted sound and diverse playbooks tend to leave lasting impressions around these parts. Faith No More. The Dillinger Escape Plan. Devin Townsend. Deftones. Each song from these acts is different, which allows for a dynamic listening experience across the breadth of an album, and in turn, incentivizes multiple spins.

Heavy Buys: ISIS – Wavering Radiant [2017 Repress // Yellow/Clear Splatter]

Seminal post-metal band Isis have lived on very favorably in their postmortem years despite sharing their name with the most hated organization in the world. Their disbandment left a perfect legacy in a discography free of blemishes, and while their 2009 swan song Wavering Radiant was their most accessible release and fared lighter with its extended use of clean singing and Tool-esque instrumental passages, it’s still highly regarded as a masterpiece and genre classic — a classic that for the last 6 years remained unobtainable to many fans who missed the early stages of the vinyl revival.

Get Horizontal Tonight To This New GRAND LORD HIGH MASTER Banger, “Flexxx”

The observant among you may find something familiar about LA’s up and coming hardcore firebrands Grand Lord High Master and their new song “Flexxx”; it actually made its debut over the holiday season as a part of our annual Heavy Comp Is Heavy compilation. In case you missed it, we’ve got its “official” premiere today before the album’s release this spring. Truthfully, “Flexxx” is a song so nice, we just had to debut it twice.

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events

When Trent Reznor announced the release of the new Nine Inch Nails EP, Not The Actual Events, he described its sound as “impenetrable” and removed from his previous soundtrack work from longtime collaborator and now official bandmate Atticus Ross. This was a very enticing prospect, as Reznor and his revolving door of musicians have cultivated a project wherein anything is possible. Not knowing what to expect, the very short time waiting between the surprise announcement and finally hearing the release felt like ages for longtime Nine Inch Nails fans, particularly after a fairly underwhelming 2013 comeback record Hesitation Marks.

Heavy Buys: Jimmy’s Holiday Haul

In case you haven’t noticed, there are two Jimmys (Jimmies?) that are a part of the Heavy Blog family, and while I’m the dude who started this site back in 2009, I’m not the Jimmy who started the Heavy Buys column. However, this Christmas season was incredibly fruitful, with a myriad of prepaid visa gift cards and sales going on that created a perfect storm for collection expansion. I took the opportunity to upgrade my current setup to something only slightly less casual (but still incredibly entry level) and expand the collection to pick up five records that I had been meaning to purchase from the previous year.

EXCLUSIVE: Caricature Premieres New Video For “Man Of Science”

Massachusetts prog metal band Caricature — who you may remember as the band who previously dedicated an entire half hour epic to a special feline friend this year — have just released their new EP Unborn earlier this month. Featuring past and present members of Heavy Blog favorites System Divide, Binary Code, and Last Chance To Reason, it’s a melodic groove-minded record for fans of acts such as Gojira, Periphery, and Devin Townsend Project. Expect propulsive songwriting and a plethora of soaring, memorable choruses.