These posts are written by: Joshua Bulleid

Polaris – The Mortal Coil

Australian metalcore scene has been in a bit of a sorry state these last couple of years. The once burgeoning scene that gave us the likes of Parkway Drive, I Killed the Prom Queen and The Amity Affliction (when they were still good), has produced markedly less world class acts over the past half-decade or so. Maybe it’s just because I got older, but contemporary pack-leaders Northlane and In Hearts Wake—while fine for what they are—seem to lack the spark and excitement of those bands who emerged in the genre’s heyday during the mid-to-late 2000s. Maybe it’s also because the local scene has seen a pivot toward the more extreme realms of deathcore, with bands like Thy Art is Murder and Aversions Crown proving the country’s most remarkable exports of the modern era. Yet The Mortal Coil only goes to show that there’s still plenty of mileage left in the supposedly well-worn Aussie metalcore tank.

Hey! Listen to The King is Blind!

What exactly qualifies as “metal” can be a contentious issue. As any dedicated listener knows, the label itself accounts for a wide spread of sub-genres—ranging from softer, more atmospherically-inclined fare such as post-black/gaze and folk metal; to the frantic, bombastic realms of speed and power metal; and onto the spasmodic worlds of math- and grindcore; and even the bleak, all-encompassing, sonic oppression of drone and funeral doom. Many of these sub-genres remain contentious, and what is considered metal, or even just heavy music can shift and change depending upon what circles you frequent. Then again, there are those bands who (for any number of reasons) simply ooze the ideal of heavy metal, no matter which way you look at them, so that their status as a nothing less than a fucking heavy metal band cannot be denied. The King is Blind are one of those bands.

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down

Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former “antichrist superstar,” leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled “Say10” and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.

Dispatches from the Port Phillip Bay Area – Into the Pit of Australian Thrash Metal

Due to the way we’ve decided to divide up the time zones, correspondence with an international audience from the humble southern continent of Australia often feels akin to looking into the past. Yet, despite this perceived futurism, Australian culture often trails its American and European counterparts by some distance. So it is that, while the northern thrash revival has come and (more-or-less) gone, the Australian metal scene is currently experiencing the biggest genre boom it has undergone since thrash metal originally emerged in the mid ‘80s. Back then, we brought our own quality acts to the fold, most notably in the form(s) of Mortal Sin and Hobbs Angel of Death, and the Allegiance in the ’90s. Yet, while the style had effectively remained dormant since then, the last five-to-ten years have seen an explosion in the amount of world-class thrash metal bands to have emerged from these southern shores.

Cradle of Filth – The Seductiveness of Decay

Despite having made a fairly triumphant return to form with their last album, 2015’s Hammer of the Witches, Cradle of Filth seemed to be doing everything in their power to quash that momentum in the lead up to to their twelfth full-length offering, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. The album’s hokey artwork only added to the off-putting nature brought on by its clunky title, and the two uninspiring singles and the seemingly rushed and seemingly un-selfawarely camp videos that accompanied them did little to drum up confidence in the forthcoming record. Add to that the release of Carach Angren’s similarly-themed Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten—released earlier in the year to widespread acclaim and popularity—and it really looked like the Brits had painted themselves into a corner from which there was little hope of return. Fans of the band needn’t have worried, however, for Cryptoriana is yet another surprisingly solid entry into one of the most consistent catalogues in the history of extreme metal.

Hey! Listen To Polaris!

Sydney’s Polaris have quickly become one of Australian’s most promising acts. The melodic metalcore crew certainly aren’t reinventing any wheels, but the sheer vigour and precision songwriting they bring to those templates previously laid down by the likes of Architects and Periphery render them entirely refreshing nonetheless. The band have just announced their debut, full-length album, The Mortal Coil, which is set to be released in November, and if the two singles they’ve release off the album so far are anything to go by, it’s going to be an absolute rager.