These posts are written by: Bill Fetty

Chill, Dummy and Listen to P.O.S.

A man who overcame a failing kidney. A performer who was just about to take his leap at the ring. A rapper who came back and said “fuck it, this is me”. All of these statements are true about Stef Alexander aka P.O.S. and the back-story of his struggles have been told over and over again (our abridged version is below) so in this edition of HLT we’re going to look at the curious case of Stef and how he got his mojo back by producing one of the best LPs of 2017.

PREMIERE: Enter A Massive Scar Era With “30 Years”

Today’s offering is from a band we’ve recently featured: Massive Scar Era. They’ve been born and raised in the Egyptian metal scene but now call Vancouver their home-base. With a production that highlights the range of vocalist, Cherine Amr, and that folds all of the manifest bits and pieces of the band together this is, perhaps, the most ‘complete’ they have sounded yet. We’re very excited to premiere the video for the title track from their latest release, 30 Years.

Hyborian – Hyborian Vol. I

Hyborian, out of Kansas City, MO, don’t sound like a new band needing more polish on their debut release, Hyborian Vol. I. I was given this album with the description of “Mastodon worship” and that isn’t that far off base. The band cite High on Fire and Crowbar as influences and you can definitely hear the former in the guitar tones. The reality, however, is this band lies somewhere in the very narrow valley of the above influences particularly on opening track, “As Above, So Below”. They are able to harness that same thrash-y malevolence and driving power as they raise the curtain on this effort.

Vasudeva – No Clearance

The ambient and lo-fi intro to the new Vasudeva record, No Clearance, gives way to a whirl of feedback before diving into the Minus the Bear-style instrumental rock of “Take Away”. It’s given to all of the positive aspects of the sort of danceable post-rock and at its outset avoids the pitfalls given to this. The clean production highlights agile guitar lines over the top of a very solid rhythm section. The track hints at the kind of soaring highs the band are capable of. The “Whatever, bye” at the end of the track is a nice touch.

Always Riled Up: Protest Music For A New Era, Part 3 – Interview with Cherine Amr of Massive Scar Era

Cherine Amr and her band, Massive Scar Era, have been highlighted a few times in major media outlets in recent years. Most of this coverage has focused on two events: the emergence of a female-fronted metal band in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring – a wave of protests and popular uprisings across the Middle East during 2011 – or the recent denial of entry to the United States this past month when they were expecting to make it to play at SXSW (more on the specifics of this event are below). The band’s music, as you’ll read, became sort of secondary to these current event-based stories.

Jared Grabb – Masters

One of the things that stands out immediately on Jared Grabb’s new album, Masters, is that it feels like someone playing in their living room (or yours). There’s an intimacy that a lot of singer-songwriters of this type don’t manage to pull off but here is Grabb repping Peoria, IL and the whole of the Midwestern heart and soul on his latest effort.

The Obsessed – Sacred

Some legendary bands are unpredictable and that plays into their mythos. Others are legendary precisely because the thunder they bring is such their own that the consistency with which they produce it is a marvel unto itself. The Obsessed are one of those latter bands. Oft-cited and highly influential, Wino and company have been bringing their brand of sludgy doom metal to eardrums for nearly 40 years. If there is an “American Motorhead” they would be it albeit less prodigious in terms of actual output.

Heavy Rewind // Anthrax – Among the Living

It’s March of 1987. Anthrax has been around long enough to have released two other full-lengths that cemented the band as a fixture in the emerging thrash metal scene. The band had been in the studio recording after lengthy touring in support of Spreading the Disease. What was recorded and released would become one of their most iconic works. One which 30 years later they would be touring on once again to packed houses. That album would become a canonical work of, not just thrash, but all of heavy metal. Among the Living would go on to achieve Gold sales status in 1990 catapulting the band into the upper echelon of metal’s hierarchy and continues to find itself added to the collections of music fans today.