MONARCH! – The Heavy Blog is Heavy Interview

Writing a standout doom metal album is a difficult task nowadays. This isn’t due to an overall lack of quality within the genre’s modern progenitors, but because of the antithesis; more and more excellent doom metal albums seem to enter the running for our year ends lists with each passing year. MONARCH! (Monarch from here on out) has never struggled with this  endeavor over the course of their 15-year career, particularly when it comes to their recent output with the eminent Profound Lore Records. Yet, while Sabbracadaver was certainly a doom highlight in 2014, Never Forever sees the band returning this year with their most colossal and grandiose album to date, presenting a masterful synthesis of drone metal with doom’s more macabre characteristics. We sat down with the band to discuss the process of writing their latest epic, as well as a handful of other topics related to their past, present and future within the shifting landscape of modern doom. 

Hey! Listen to For Giants!

OK, I really dropped the ball on this one; I’ve been listening to For Giants for almost two years now but it took an email from the band to get me to write about them. My bad! Worse than that, why would I do such a thing to such a great band when I’ve been lauding very familiar acts in the recent few months? For Giants traffic in the same kind of positive, sugar-coated progressive music as Bodhi or Jon Poulin; what you might call “actually good nu-prog”. Luckily, timing is my savior yet again, as the band have released a new album, Big Sky, just last month, allowing me to talk about them in their proper context. Let’s get to it!

All The Heavy Lifting – Your Heavy Blog Playlist

Lo’ and behold, All the Heavy Lifting is here to save the day. First off, the name: it’s just cool. We don’t even particularly like that track (not many of us are fans of The Hunter, though some to less…extravagant degrees than others). Secondly, this is a Spotify playlist which will take the place of the space dedicated to the Editors’ Picks playlist. If you don’t know where that is, scroll down and look to the left, under the popular posts. Thirdly, this list will be updated every two weeks with selections made by the staff members themselves, two per staff member. It won’t have the names of those who picked them though and there are no restrictions, genre or chronological. Each staff member can simply pick two tracks and they go on the list.

Connecting the Dots // The Dillinger Escape Plan

It’s been a while, but we’re back, so welcome to another edition of Connecting the Dots, and today we will be focusing on mathcore masterminds The Dillinger Escape Plan! Whilst they’re soon going to be shutting up shop (R.I.P), we can remain eternally grateful to the incredible records they’ve released during their two-decade career, their vicious live performances, and the incredible other musical projects they leave in their wake. Without further ado, let’s dive into the amazing projects these musicians have been a part of.

Love Letter // Sepultura – Roots

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to catch Max and Igor Cavalera playing Sepultura’s iconic 1996 record Roots in full, as part of their twentieth anniversary “Return to Roots” world tour. The brothers were backed up by Max’s cohorts in Soulfly, Marc Rizzo and Tony Campos (now of Fear…

Stargazer – Tui La

Think of Caligula’s Horse or Vildhjarta, two extreme ends of the same phenomenon. They each stretch the limits of what the genre does in opposite directions: one towards the melodic side and one towards the heavier side. Now to these annals we can add Stargazer; while their album Tui La, which sees release on August 18th via Famined Records, is not their first piece of music released, it is their first full length album. It is chock full with the kind of formula we described above, a djent-y approach to progressive metal which blends chugs, technical riffs, off kilter vocal work and an overall progressive structure. However, unlike the bands mentioned above (and perhaps most similarly like Uneven Structure), Stargazer refuse to sacrifice either side of the formula, instead preferring to wield both approaches at the same time.

Thank You For Not Smoking: Variations on a Stoner Doom Theme

As a genre, stoner doom has some fairly definitive characteristics: slowed-down tempos, rumbling low-end bass and rhythm, a focus on mountainous, hypnotic riffs, and a certain intangible haze cast over it all, creating a psychedelic-glazed listening experience. But perhaps most importantly, stoner metal worships at the altar of marijuana. Proudly wearing its influence on its sleeve (and name), stoner metal varyingly employs marijuana as a muse, a political rallying cause, an artistic aesthetic, and generally as the raison d’etre for the (sub)genre as a whole. From the smoke-filled cough intro in Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to Sleep’s epic journey to Jerusalem to Dopelord carrying the genre’s torch in one hand and a bong in the other, stoner doom is fundamentally and un-apologetically intertwined with marijuana. And yet, as firm of a grip as the green leaf has on the genre, there are contingents within the stoner doom scene that don’t embrace weed with the same fervor as their counterparts. Indeed, as counter-intuitive as it seems, examples abound of bands in the stoner doom realm that either explicitly or implicitly eschew the very association with marijuana that the scene largely views as a prerequisite.

Post Rock Post: A Thousand Arms Are Back With “Open Language Vol.II”

A while ago on the blog, we were acquainted with a label/printer/collective called A Thousand Arms. We heard of them via a compilation they released, containing post rock tracks from all over the world. That was then; this is now. Since that time, they’ve released another compilation, much heavier and more oriented towards post and black metal, collaborated with us to create our first run of blog t-shirts (more on that, hopefully, very soon) and geared up work with this year’s Dunk! Festival. Now, never seeming to rest for too long, A Thousand Arms have released Open Language Vol.II. The first part focuses on post-rock bands exclusively from the US, while the second brings you tracks and bands from all over the world. We thought we’d give you a little primer for this insane amount of free music. Oh yeah, didn’t we mention? It’s all completely free!