These posts are written by: Jimmy Rowe

The Anatomy Of: Dallas Toler-Wade (Narcotic Wasteland, Ex-Nile)

If you’re into extreme metal in any capacity, the name Dallas Toler-Wade may no doubt ring a few bells. You may best know him from his two-decade tenure as vocalist and guitarist for seminal death metal band Nile before his departure earlier this year. Now, his project Narcotic Wasteland —  whose self-titled debut album dropped in 2014 — is back as a full-time unit rounded out by drummer Phil Cancilla (Hank 3), guitarist Edwin Rhone, and bassist Chris Dupre.

As the group are gearing up for the release of sophomore album Delirium Tremens (due October 13th through Megaforce), Dallas himself was kind enough to give us a rundown of the most influential bands and albums that shaped his growth as a music fan and as a musician. Get a look into The Anatomy Of Dallas Toler-Wade’s musical development below. 

PREMIERE: Mathcore Project The Sound That Ends Creation Tackles Political Apathy In “This Is Your Brain On Propaganda”

Anyone else remember the good ol’ days of mathcore and grindcore on Myspace circa 2008? Chaotic hardcore, grindcore, and deathcore blended in a menagerie of inaccessible weirdness. The Dillinger Escape Plan, Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Psyopus, See You Next Tuesday, and The Number Twelve Looks Like You were among some of the highlights. They just don’t make metal like that much anymore, and what’s troubling is that only one of those five bands will be active come 2017 — No. 12 — and they’ve broken up once before already.

The Contortionist – Clairvoyant

Few bands in the modern prog scene are as controversial as The Contortionist. Despite their growing success, the ongoing transition in sound from trailblazers of progressive deathcore to settling into a niche of post-rock and prog influenced alt metal has proven to be divisive among their otherwise dedicated fanbase. Although there were clear and deliberate steps away from deathcore between their celebrated debut Exoplanet and its well-received follow-up Intrinsic, the true turning point for The Contortionist came in 2014’s Language, and it’s no wonder given the lineup overhaul that occurred at that time. Vocalist and keyboard player Jonathan Carpenter and bassist Chris Tilley amicably left following the Intrinsic touring cycle for personal reasons, with the band picking up Last Chance To Reason’s Michael Lessard (vocals), ex-Scale The Summit’s Jordan Eberhardt (bass), and keyboardist Eric Guenther. With the band now half-consisting of new members and a trajectory towards prog already heavily hinted at, it’s no wonder that Language wound up being such a departure.

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?