Third albums. What a goddamn mystery. We’ve spoken about the unique challenge posed by them before on the blog but there’s never been any concise solution offered to their peculiar problem. Should bands double down on their established sound and “dig deeper” (like TesseracT’s Polaris for example) or throw everything to the wind and experiment wildly with their sound (like Karnivool’s Asymmetry for instance)? Both options entice with their advantages but both also hold pitfalls. Too often, bands simply don’t choose and try to walk a golden, middle round. This “secret” third option is extremely difficult to pull off but also hedges the band’s bets, since failing it carries less hazards. At worst, it leaves an album a little bit forgettable. Otherwise, this third choice skirts many of the potential disasters of the other two options. This “best worst case scenario” is exactly what Soen’s third release embodies.
These posts are written by: Eden Kupermintz
Throwing around genre combinations with black metal is all the rage today. From the gospel black metal of Zeal & Ardor to the countless avant-garde bands claiming black metal pedigree, the genre seems to be the suffix du jour for the metal community. Naturally, backlash is building towards this tendency, with purists demanding to see extensive influences in these creations before they “approve” (even if only to themselves) of the different branchings and permutations of the “esteemed” black metal genre. However, the influences which sometimes inform these descriptors don’t always have to be overt; black metal spliced with different genres doesn’t have to have blatant markings of intermingling. Sometimes, like in Glorior Belli’s case, the crux lies in the tone.
Good lord, I can’t even believe I’m writing these words. Almost two years ago, I wrote about Psykup for the blog. We’re talking about a band that mixes Mr.Bungle, SikTh and The Dillinger Escape Plan into one messy, irreverent, and extremely violent version of chaos. When I wrote about them back then, I believed it was posthumously; they had been quiet for years and there was no sign they were coming back. Well, now they have! Out of nowhere, Psykup have released a new track and announced an upcoming album, Ctrl + Alt + Fuck. And you bet your ass the track is amazing as well. Head on down below to listen to it, pick your jaw up from the floor and then we’ll talk.
A few weeks ago, we reviewed a unique album; The Empire Never Ended by Twinesuns is an evocative and darkly looming drone album, a sort of mix between Earth and a faint, urban nightmare. Melding loud guitars, rich synths and voluminous static, The Empire Never Ended is a distinct and special work of drone metal. It’s also quite good which is why we’re very happy to be premiering “System Regained” off of said album. The track perfectly encapsulates the tensions and textures of the release, containing several layers of instruments which border the line between “thundering” and “insidious”. Head on down below and make sure to adjust your volume accordingly; you don’t want to be blowing out any windows or driving passersby insane.
The figure of the auteur is one which we’ve discussed on the blog multiple times. More than just an artist figure, the auteur represents a willpower which motivates an entire project, stamping their name (for good or for bad) on an album, a discography or any other form of art. It also represents a site of unprecedented danger, as arrogance, egotism and a simple lack of inspiration hover on the edges of creativity and look for a way in, looking for a way to twist art into navel-gazing self congratulation. Pain of Salvation have been skirting with these ephemeral lines between artistic impetus and artistic extravagance for years now, ever since Daniel Gildenlöw closed ranks around his vision and aesthetic. The previous three albums (and, one might argue, perhaps four) were mostly about his vision and his expression. Thus, the latest release by the band is suspect; is In the Passing Light of Day, especially when considering the circumstances of Gildenlöw’s life (and near death), able to skirt away from the abyss of artistic self congratulation and produce something more?
Way before Rush were progressive rock darlings, helping to usher in the genre’s golden age, they released their first, self titled album. Rush is much more a rock n’ roll affair, albeit one which includes all the hallmarks of Rush in nascent form. It’s comprised more of riffs and groove, heavily relying on Geddy Lee’s vocals than future albums will. The self titled album is often forgotten but there’s something about Lee’s voice over thick guitars that is very rare to find. Strangely enough, a band called Lo-Pan, releasing an EP this year called In Tensions, scratch that itch and then some, doubling down with Torche influences on the rest of the instruments.
Doom’s 2016 revival was a glorious success, both in popular acclaim and game-avid, technical circles. Its soundtrack, a marvelous, metallic creation by Mick Gordon, was a big part of its success. hy metal though? What about the game’s story, mechanics and design creates such an affinity for metal music in general and the specific kind of metal utilized on the soundtrack (namely extremely percussive, 8 string guitars, dark, electronic ambiance and larger than life production)? More than that, how does metal facilitate Doom in creating an atmosphere, a unique visual and aural signature that is then translated into vibe, strong delivery of emotions to the player and narrative?
Neil Fallon (Clutch) needs little introduction. Not only is he an amazing vocalist but his lyricism is unparalleled in its mythology and world building power. He seems blessed with a true midas touch as far as side-projects go, with every track he features one (like the guest spot on HARK’s previous album) turning to gold. What happens when you put him together with three other experienced musicians in a heavy metal band inspired by Iron Maiden and H.P Lovecraft? Dunsmuir happens and excellence happens. Dave Bone (The Company Band), Brad Davis (Fu Munchu) and Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Heaven & Hell) joined forces with Fallon to make this beast comes alive and alive it is.
Metal and science fiction clash along various cultural axes. Their marriage begins with tone; both have a penchant for the…
Earthside remind us of what finesse in progressive metal looks like. Their 2015 A Dream in Static was a perfect exercise in sincerity and musical integrity, revolving on varied vocal guest spots, sprawling compositions and flawless execution. Needless to say, it’s truly a superb album. Thus, we’ll take any reminder we can get of it, especially if that reminder comes in the form of an astonishingly excellent video from the always excellent Erez Bader (Silent Flight Productions). In charge of excellent music videos for The Dear Hunter (“Gloria”), Thomas Giles (“Devotion”) and Wings Denied (“Catalyst”), Bader is a singular producer in the music video industry (and beyond). Together with Earthside’s powerful lyrics, assisted by one Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT), he has produced a convincing and striking music video, steeped in its own myth and symbolical meaning.