Heavy Rewind – 1987: The Year in Metal

Every once in a great while we have calendar years that see iconic releases across a range of styles. It is rare that we see this happen in just one particular style. 1987 was one such year, though, as the entire spectrum of heaviness saw iconic records drop like so many tears from the eyes of mainstream pop music stars that these albums would devour. At the time, it didn’t seem like this was any different of a year for music until fans started to take a look at their growing record collections and what would spin out from the influence of so many landmark albums.

Heavy Rewind: Lord Mantis // Death Mask

What exactly makes a good metal song or album? How does solid songwriting create a critically-acclaimed album? Some think that experimentation is the way to go, and with the recent rise in black and death metal acts that want to add different sounds—post-black metal, the new trend of “dissonant” death…

Heavy Rewind // Anthrax – Among the Living

It’s March of 1987. Anthrax has been around long enough to have released two other full-lengths that cemented the band as a fixture in the emerging thrash metal scene. The band had been in the studio recording after lengthy touring in support of Spreading the Disease. What was recorded and released would become one of their most iconic works. One which 30 years later they would be touring on once again to packed houses. That album would become a canonical work of, not just thrash, but all of heavy metal. Among the Living would go on to achieve Gold sales status in 1990 catapulting the band into the upper echelon of metal’s hierarchy and continues to find itself added to the collections of music fans today.

Heavy Rewind: Converge // Jane Doe

It’s no secret that a good many of us on the Heavy Blog staff enjoy Converge. Since 1990, these guys have been making some of the best hardcore out there, consistently pushing their genre forward in ways nobody could have imagined. Last Sunday (September 4) marked the fifteenth anniversary of the band’s seminal release Jane Doe; an album that is still regarded today as legendary and incredibly influential on the metalcore/hardcore scene, and I thought it apt to say a few words about this album.

Heavy Rewind – Opus Nocturne

In my previous two Heavy Rewinds, I covered bands in completely different realms of the Scandinavian extreme metal renaissance of the 1990’s. Lord Belial showed us what the black metal scene might have evolved into had it not fractured so quickly, and Merciless proved that progress doesn’t have to entail more extreme, aggressive music. But don’t tell that to the third installment of this unholy trinity of Heavy Rewinds. Marduk is in the business of blast beats and BPM, and was responsible for some of the most aggressive music around in 1994.

Heavy Rewind – The Sky Moves Sideways

It’s honestly a wonder that I haven’t written about this album sooner. It contains everything I love, both within its music and along its meta-narrative. The Sky Moves Sideways was released three time: once in Europe, once in America and once as a remaster. Each album contains different versions of a proto-drone track, versions which are unique to it and were produced using an original 40 minute recording of a live band. It contains Gavin Harrison with Porcupine Tree working on early material (on the re-master), one of my all time favorite musicians. And, most of all, it’s the turning point between Porcupine Tree as just Steven Wilson and their conception as a band. Thus, it contains the psychedelia of his earlier works while still being recognizable as an album. It has a strange accessibility to it alongside some truly weird and disconcerting elements.

Heavy Rewind – Merciless’s Unbound

It’s 1994, and the Scandinavian metal scene is buzzing with activity. But while most of the contemporaries of Merciless had spent the past few years expanding the boundaries of extreme metal, Merciless had gone the opposite direction entirely. In 1990, Merciless released their debut The Awakening, which was as heavy…