There are few genres in music that better simulate the chaos, malice, and militancy of war than metal. In particular,…
These posts are written by: Jonathan Adams
There’s a lot happening in the music world, and we here at Heavy Blog try our very best to keep up with it! Like the vast majority of heavy music fans, our tastes are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was once again warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which covers noteworthy news, tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. This week, we’ll be highlighting several albums that struck our fancy over the past few weeks. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:
Hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, death dealers Persecutory don’t make music for the weak. Their debut album, Towards the Ultimate Extinction, is the audio equivalent of having your skin peeled from your bones over forty-two grueling and relentlessly crushing minutes. Sound like your cup of tea? You’re in luck, as we are proud to bring to your emaciated earholes an exclusive premier of this black hole of a record.
Tombs have always been a band of interesting mixtures. Combining several different types of metallic goodness (black, doom, post-metal, etc.), as well as various musicians coming in and out for seemingly each new project, the band has become borderline impossible to categorize, very rarely sit still long enough to revel in whatever iteration they currently exist in. This is often an indication of discord and listlessness in a band, but Tombs have seemed to make it work. Particularly with their previous album, Savage Gold, the band seemed to be firing on all cylinders. It was a cohesive, consistently bludgeoning and artfully structured album that ended up being one of my favorites of 2014. With their latest record, The Grand Annihilation, Tombs seeks to replicate many of the aspects that made Savage Gold such a rousing success. They accomplish this feat with potent (albeit somewhat mixed) results.
Goatwhore might be the most metal band name in existence. I have a hard time imagining anyone hearing that name spoken in conversation and reacting in any other fashion outside of “oh, that must be a metal band. I’m leaving this conversation. What a bunch of nerds.” Sucks to be them, because they’re obviously missing out on some premium content. Straddling the worlds of death, black, and occult-oriented metal, Goatwhore are as difficult to categorize in this subgenre obsessed musical circle as they are to stop listening to. With musical output that is in equal measure intimidating, playful, heavy, and (dare I say it) fun, Goatwhore have carved for themselves a unique and immensely enjoyable niche in the world of metal. Vengeful Ascension does little to dispel this notion, as the band have here released another excellent album to add to an already solid discography.
The road to fame in music is as infamous as it is elusive. Every year, solid debut releases come and…
Welcome once again to Death’s Door. Wipe your feet, yada yada. Ugh. Your eternal servant of Death is tired. Why is this, you don’t ask? I’ll tell you anyway, you miserable tourists (which reminds me, no flash photography). You see, I have recently come into possession of a hellhound of the most diabolical bent. He is a dark, menacing beast who consumes rations from my stores at will, has chewed all of the bone furniture to bits, and howls like the demon he is far into the eternal night that consumes us all. Observe his ferocity:
In case you were somehow unaware, there are a few of us here at Heavy Blog who enjoy some good science fiction. Especially when it pertains to metal, which praise be to our space-based overlords is becoming a staple theme particularly within the modern black and death metal scenes. In this regard, last year presented a veritable smorgasbord of great albums. Bands like Vektor, Khonsu, Mithras, and Wormed created vast sonic landscapes which fans of all things extreme and heavy could giddily bang their heads to while simultaneously scratching their collective sci-fi itch. It was a glorious moment for metal geekdom. Thankfully, the era of the sci-fi metal epic continues in 2017. Exhibit A: Progenie Terrestre Pura and their latest record, oltreLuna.
I catch Matt Calvert, founder and boss-in-chief at Dark Descent Records, as he is visiting friends in Southern California. He’s a busy man, and the road trip he is on has thus far been extensive. Decibel events. Metal merchandise swap meets. Calvert’s travel schedule is borderline relentless. It’s snowing on a blustery and damp evening in Colorado, where we both call home, so as Matt steps away from his buddies to talk with me we take a few moments to chat about the weather. It’s that weird, yet oddly socially standard way to start a conversation. To be honest, this emphasis on small talk is partly the result of my own nervous state. Being an ultimate fan boy of his label’s consistently excellent output, talking with Matt is the equivalent for me of a film buff sitting down for coffee with Martin Scorsese. He’s just that good, and needless to say jitters abound. Regardless, I’m looking forward to his insight on a particular topic of interest that few in the metal world have a clearer perspective on: small, independent labels and their impact on metal as a whole.
Eliot’s The Waste Land is a masterpiece of poetry. It is stark, vast, singular, and dreadful. At once immediate and unknowable, it is a tale of desolation, decay, and death told in hallucinatory fragments. Poetry is often like this. So also is music. Though, obviously, not all of it. Most popular music pushes back against this concept by creating sounds that are pleasant and accessible, though they may not always leave a very lasting impression. It isn’t intended to confuse or disturb. Instead, it thrives on its lack of offensiveness, opening itself to the widest swath of listeners that it can for maximum outreach and effect. This is not an inherently bad thing, by any stretch. Accessible music is no less valuable because of its ease of approach. But there are times when music almost ceases to feel like music at all, but instead a shattered mirror reflecting musical impressions rather than solid, knowable forms. This is music that digs itself deep into the subconscious with its unrelenting strangeness, leaving the listener exposed to sounds that give no shelter, no relief. Gravetemple falls squarely in this most peculiar of musical spaces, and Impassable Fears begs the listener to abide in this space of abject peculiarity. It is as frustratingly obtuse and unsettling as it is sonically rapturous. Like Eliot, it creates a strange noise, and is all the more wonderful for it.