Fountainhead – Reverse Engineering

We sometimes ask ourselves, what does it mean to make good progressive metal or, put more broadly, to make good progressive music? One way of looking at it is to take bands like Opeth or Enslaved, where we determine the way they meld crushingly heavy extreme metal with beautifully mellow…

Ringworm – Snake Church

When comparing music to movies, it is often stated that metal is most comparable to horror. Both rely heavily on the realm of shock value, drawing in adrenaline junkies who wish to be subjected to the truly uncomfortable. And of course, there are your slow burn horror movies and metal bands that like to create an atmosphere to fuel your terror. Then there are those who do not care much for the long lasting scare so much as they do about the initial impact. These are the slasher movies of each genre, movies that revel in their ability to cause as much gore and destruction as possible in their allotted hour and a half time slot. At the center of all these slasher movies is the unstoppable juggernaut of a villain who every viewer secretly roots for as they disembody teenagers who simply want to camp and have promiscuous sex.

Harakiri For The Sky – III: Trauma

To be frank, atmospheric black metal is a genre that’s really, really easy to get right. Throw some folksy, naturalist guitar leads over tremolo chords and blast beats, slow it down for a meditative clean section every now and then, let the vocals act as more of a percussive guide to the music’s flow than anything else, and boom: you’ve got atmospheric black metal a la Weakling, Wolves in the Throne Room, Saor, and countless others. Conversely, it’s also a genre with a lot of forgettable bands; everyone is so focused on creating such a specific sound that experimentation gets thrown to the wayside in favor of the old paint-by-numbers experience.

Sianvar – Stay Lost

Sianvar are a supergroup of sorts. The band is a collaborative project between members of Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, Stolas and Hail the Sun. All of these groups turn out consistently solid material, yet when the band released their debut EP, something was amiss. The music was okay, but it didn’t feel like the pieces…

Family – Future History

Something is a-buzzing within the progressive stoner community. We’re barely past the half way mark and the number of great albums released in the genre is steadily increasing. In light of such a process, the definitions of the genre are being challenged, as is only natural; in times of such rapid expansion is when sub-genres are born. From the slower, smoke-drenched Boss Keloid, through the more progressive oriented Illudium, right up to the all together hectic Tardive Dyskinesia, progressive stoner metal is beginning to splinter. However, just as important to this process is a clearly defined center, an essence from which the rest of these experimenters can draw. Where should one look for such a center? How do you even define it?

Luckily, the work of the righteous is often done by others and Lady Luck has mercifully rid us of our conundrum. Through the ways of the inbox, we have been presented with Family’s Future History and within it, we have found our center. The album contains everything that progressive stoner metal is doing today and does so in a lucid, well thought out and delivered manner. However, it never strays too far from the basic trappings of the definition. That’s what makes it so perfect for our needs. It represents a snapshot of a movement, a frozen moment that is immediately understandable to anyone versed in the ideas and sounds of the emerging mode.

Gone Is Gone – Gone Is Gone

Gone Is Gone is a new supergroup featuring Troy Sanders (Mastodon, Killer Be Killed) on bass and lead vocals, Troy Van Leeuwen (Queens of the Stone Age, ex-A Perfect Circle) on guitar, Tony Hajjar (At the Drive-In, Sparta) on drums and film/video game composer Mike Zarin on keyboards and programming.…

Oracles – Miserycorde

For anyone aware of System Divide, their splitting up was probably devastating news. The formula combining a watered down version of Aborted with female vocals worked very well, but the band had to part ways with singer Miri due to her and co-vocalist Sven’s divorce. As such, System Divide was more. Enter Sanna Salou of Dimlight and Mendel Bij de Leij. It’s no secret that Mendel joining Aborted gave the band a breath of fresh air and carried them to the next level, and with Sanna being drafted to replace Miri, System Divide was reborn as Oracles. With Mendel’s playing and Sanna’s dramatic range, System Divide 2.0 is much more than its predecessor, surpassing even Aborted. Unsurprisingly, their debut album Miserycorde is nothing short of awesome.

Infinite Density – Recollapse of the Universe

Another month, another Ne Obliviscaris side project. Just a few short months after Vipassi released their amazing debut EP Śūnyatā, multi-instrumentalist Brendan Brown, best known as the bass player in the aforementioned bands, has put the finishing touches on the debut LP of his solo project Infinite Density. A staggering nine years in the making, this album saw Brown compose and track each instrument. As mentioned in his initial album announcement, one reason for the length of time taken in releasing this record is because Brown has spent much of that time honing his guitar skills to a level where he could actually play the songs he had written. That moment is finally upon us as he enlists Ben Boyle (Hadal Maw, A Million Dead Birds Laughing, Vipassi) on vocals to release a technical death metal album in the vein of acclaimed acts such as Wormed and Inanimate Existence.

Revocation – Great Is Our Sin

There’s really something to be said for the insane level of consistency that Revocation has been able to keep going. While they still feel like a relatively fresh band in the grand scheme of death and thrash metal alike, they’re also about to release their sixth LP. In a relatively small frame…