These posts are written by: Joe Whitenton

Voices of The Void: Quorthon

Black metal is one of metal’s most mysterious and plentiful subgenres. It finds new ways to reinvent itself every few years and seems to be sprouting out of every country nowadays. Though the genre seems ubiquitous today, it didn’t start out that way. A handful of bands in the early 80’s started all the tropes that metalheads are so fond of today. While the genre’s Satanic imagery, punk and thrash influence, or ethereal nature can’t be solely credited to a single artist, one aspect can: the vocals. Black metal’s classic screeches were the invention of one Satanic Satanic teenager in 1984.

Orden Ogan – Gunmen

Orden Ogan has made an extremely enjoyable power metal record with Gunmen. Like fellow power metal acts Unleash The Archers and Witherfall earlier this year, the band manages to make their respect for the genre’s past clear while still finding new sounds to play with. Originally a small-time act in the folk metal boom of the mid-2000s, Sebastian Levermann, the mastermind and frontman of the group, has worked to make the act one of the most unique and fresh voices in the current power metal scene. There’s so much to talk about here not least of which is Levermann’s talent for writing choruses with lots of huge choirs. Just listen to the opening title track.

Enfold Darkness – The Adversary Omnipotent

In 2009, shredtastic metal was the name of the game in metal. Between the huge boom in technical death metal, the rising progressive deathcore bands, and the old prog guard releasing some of their best material, it was a great time for guitar wankery. Buried under the popularity of huge albums like Cosmogenesis, Oracles, and The Great Misdirect, was a little blackened tech death album by a band from Nashville: Our Cursed Rapture by Enfold Darkness. Finding a unique niche in their black metal influenced music, Enfold Darkness turned some serious heads with their debut. Unfortunately, their momentum was lost and they ended up not following up their minor underground success until this year with The Adversary Omnipotent.

Bro Country is NOT the new Hair Metal

Some might say hair metal died in the 90s when Nirvana disrupted the rock industry. Yet, all of hair metal’s celebration of excess and sexism, musical dilution, and market oversaturation is present in today’s mainstream country scene. The factory seems to have just moved from the Sunset Strip to Nashville. It’s massive appeal to young listeners has created a divide in the country music scene not unlike the divide in the metal scene in the 80s. On one side industry titans argue that Bro Country is just the music of the times and that old people are just whining about being left behind. On the other side, more “authentic” artists are rising under the banner of “real country.” This is all quickly acessible on Wikipedia and Saving Country Music in more depth. But is Bro Country really just the second coming of Hair Metal? Or does Hair Metal deserve a little more credit?

Edguy – Monuments

Edguy’s Monuments does a pretty great job as far as compilations go. Not only does Edguy include an EP’s worth of new material, they also include a DVD of live performances, and a never before released track from their classic days when they weren’t the German hard rock superstars that they are today. Hardcore fans like myself will find many reasons to pick this thing up and new listeners will find this release a great starting place for Edguy. Monuments showcases the power metal/hard rock masters perfectly in currently forms and presents a unique chance to look back at the band’s impressive career.

Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume

Metalcore wasn’t always the poppy, hair-flipping, Jonas Brothers-ass affair that it turned into during the early to mid 2000s. Metal and punk have always had an interesting dynamic and when the two cross over it has almost always resulted in compelling music. Black Flag showed their love for Black Sabbath on My War and the first thrash records of the early 80s are seriously indebted to hardcore punk and crust punk. In the 1990s, metalcore was one of the many punk-metal amalgams thriving. It combined the sludgy, downtuned, groovy metal of the day with the politics, angst, and breakdowns of hardcore punk. One of the originators of this fusion, Integrity, gained their popularity off their highly influential debut album, Those Who Fear Tomorrow, a thundering record that still holds up today. Unlike many of the bands in that early metalcore scene, Integrity hasn’t gone away since their legendary early release. On the contrary, the band is still firmly plugged into the current metal-punk world and makes some of the most interesting metalcore available. Their newest album, Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume, continues their long streak of successes.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Icaria Are “Transcendent”

Icaria remembers to have fun and, thus, we are fortunate to have an exclusive stream of their upcoming debut album, Transcendent, here on Heavy Blog Is Heavy. This five-piece progressive metal outfit from Atlanta packs a serious punch with their flashy compositions, tight production, and relentless intensity. The band sounds like a cross between Periphery on their most recent poppier albums, Coheed and Cambria, and just a hint of shreddy power metal. It’s an absolute blast. There’s nothing mind-bending here and nothing that will change the face of progressive metal but that is not a bad thing. Icaria is making thoroughly enjoyable metal that has a lot of pop appeal but still maintains its musical integrity and complexity.