These posts are written by: Jordan Jerabek

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Sunless – “Gathering at the Skull’s Eye”

I couldn’t be more excited to premiere a track from the upcoming full-length from Minneapolis-based avant-garde death metallers Sunless. Urraca (out February 24th) is a Gorguts-ian psychedelic death metal trip that will impress with their technical proficiency as much as their ability to craft attention-grabbing and captivating songs. Engineered by Adam Tucker and mixed/mastered by Colin Marston, this record is a simple remedy for the aforementioned yuck production. Even at their most dissonant, everything locks together nicely without any one thing sounding like it’s dripping with sonic highlighter.

Black Anvil – As Was

On previous albums, Black Anvil’s blackened thrash always seemed to fall into a state of limbo. Triumvirate hit the black-thrash-for-the-masses nail on the head, but for what little progressive tendencies they exhibited (to be honest, this is definitely more Metallica-level progressivism than it is Dream Theater), it lacked the dynamism to make it truly interesting. They might as well have gone the route of a band like Skeletonwitch and cut the fat entirely in favor of a more lean and mean approach. In comparison, Hail Death felt like an overcompensation. More Watain-like in terms of progressive arrangements, the experimentation was worthwhile, but the record was hampered by too many forgettable moments, leading to inflated songs that felt like they were long for the sake of being long. While both albums are still damn good in their own right, it felt like the band had yet to find the balance that would showcase them at their best. As Was mostly reconciles this imbalance, and also brings some interesting new elements into the fold.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – Playlist Swap – 1/13/16

Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We randomly select two of the participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. This week’s post has Scott and Jordan duking it out again, in what will surely be a battle for the ages:

Every Time I Die – Low Teens

After so much time (let’s be honest, 20 years is a long time for a rock band), our expectations for a band change. On one end of the spectrum you have bands like Metallica, suffering from intense overreaction (both good and bad) with every release since ReLoad. On the other, bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan consistently release quality material, but fans and critics lull into indifference because it’s business as usual. In this writer’s opinion, Every Time I Die have been cruising on this end of the spectrum for the entirety of this decade, and that’s just fine; but admittedly, there’s a point where this par for the course becomes a bore. Buffalo’s finest already have one of the most consistent discographies of any modern hardcore band, and they appear to have done it all, and most importantly, done it on their own terms. From humble punk rock beginnings, to mild enough success to warrant touring with Ozzfest, to Guitar Hero pseudo-stardom, to a sort of reinventing of their own sound, to refining that sound with “wild experiments” and “throwback” sounds, what’s left for a band to do?

Hey! Listen to House of Lightning!

House of Lightning are back. Where were they? Who knows? Who cares? What’s really important is that they’re back with a new full-length since their 2014 debut, Lightworker. Consisting of members from Torche, Wrong, and Floor, these dudes don’t mess with Frankenstein-esque genre experiments or tomfoolery. Instead, they invest their talents into the piss-and-vinegar energy of an in-your-face blend of metal, rock, and punk.

Khemmis – Hunted

Denver’s Khemmis materialized as quickly and supernaturally as the panel van wizard-style illustrations that grace their album art. Absolution, their impressive debut album from the not-so-distant 2015, bubbled up as a critical favorite, garnering attention from publications large and small – no small feat for an upstart band in an already populated scene. Taking nods from old-school progenitors like Candlemass and Thin Lizzy, Khemmis carry diverse classic vibes into the modern era, zeroing in on a more alloyed kind of retro revival than peers like Pallbearer or The Sword. Somehow, in wizard-like fashion, they’ve quickly conjured their follow-up, Hunted, a record that polishes the ideas presented on Absolution, but ultimately feels like an all-too-familiar sequel.