Glassjaw – Material Control

Glassjaw has never really died. They’re like a phoenix, if said mythical flaming bird also suffered from an incredibly hectic demeanor and a haphazard attitude towards its own existence. Ever since kicking off the underground music scene of the early 00’s, Glassjaw continued to treat their career and musical progression like they did their by-now legendary live shows. Arms flailing, music appearing and then disappearing for undefined periods of time, submerged in the rumors of hiatus and demise only to resurface from time to time with a voice of thunder, Glassjaw has spent the last fifteen years basically being a nightmare for all but the most die hard of fans. But to be honest with you, it was worth it. It was worth having that name in the periphery of the scene but also, somehow, at its center, waiting for a reconciliation, for Glassjaw and the rumor of Glassjaw. It was worth it because, at the end of the process, we got Material Control.

Entheos – Dark Future

Progressive death metal outfit Entheos have had a productive three years, to say the least. 2015 saw their formation, shortly followed by the release of their debut EP Primal. 2016 saw the departure of founding guitarist Frank Costa and the introduction of their new guitarist, Malcolm Pugh. Frank had already recorded all of the rhythm guitars for the bands first full length album, so Malcolm came in and knocked out the lead guitars so that The Infinite Nothing could be unleashed upon the world. Only two months after the album’s release, the band announced the departure of Malcolm Pugh and in the same breath announced that former Scale the Summit guitarist Travis LeVrier would be taking his place in the band permanently. Now, in the latter half of 2017 we have received their second album, Dark Future, recorded in the early part of this year.

Meliorist – II

We’ve been exploring the borders around nu-prog for a while now; ever since the genre started generating interest, in the last five years or so, it has been apparent that the rotation rate within it would be high. This can be attributed to nu-prog being a genre which relies heavily…

Calligram – Askesis

Stop paying attention for a minute and a slew of underground acts with immense talent will pass by. There’s just a lot of music out there. Obviously. When Basick Records pulled the pin on Askesis, the label debut of multi-nation marauding powerhouse Calligram, they dug deep into the ground, wrenching…

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

After finally listening to Kingdoms Disdained, its clear that guitarist Trey Azagthoth’s deterioration as a songwriter has been a key, unaddressed factor that’s affected Morbid Angel’s recent output. While he may have written some of death metal’s greatest riffs during the band’s heyday, Kingdoms Disdained is the best case study thus far in terms of demonstrating Azagthoth’s slipping capability as the driving force of Morbid Angel’s sound. It was easy to overlook Heretic given how generally forgettable it was, and the predominant critiques of Illud Divinum Insanus revolved more around the band’s decision making than anything else. But now that Morbid Angel have entered into the perfect setup for a successful comeback, it’s difficult to overlook how complacent Azagthoth’s songwriting is across the entirety of Kingdoms Disdained. There’s no denying the album is an incomparable improvement over their industrial metal excursions, but it’s also difficult to avoid comparing the album’s aggressively average delivery with the milestone records that have preceded it in the band’s discography

Nullingroots – Into the Grey

It has been a fantastic year for black metal. Releases from all over the black metal spectrum have been hitting listeners left and right. From the return of legends like Wolves In the Throne Room to tripped out new comers in the vein of Asira, black metal has both reborn and brought back to its essentials in 2017. As deep winter descends and the year winds down to a close, the book of frostbitten sounds must remain open for just a little more as we induct Nullingroots among these great names. These guys have been active since 2014 and have always paddled in a type of post black metal that should be immediately accessible and appealing to fans of the classics; there’s something remaining here of the austere and depressing atoms of the genre, gilded with plenty of progressive and gaze-y influences.

The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

It is folly to try to judge a piece of art independently of the circumstances surrounding its conception. A lack of awareness of those circumstances is excusable, of course, but when it comes to The Faceless, that seems quite unlikely to be the case. The Californian technical/progressive death metal band, which is probably better described as Michael Keene’s project, have been through some troubles. They made one of the most important albums of the genre in 2008 with Planetary Duality, and ever since then listeners have been looking for them to make an album that’s equally impactful. 2012’s Autotheism, regardless of its quality, wasn’t what most people wanted in that sense. After yet another 4+ year gap, and many line-up changes, tour cancellations and other drama, the band, well, Michael Keene is back with his fourth album, In Becoming A Ghost. It’s his most somber and personal album for sure, but is it a good album? Partially.

The Body & Full Of Hell – Ascending A Mountain Of Heavy Light

Neither The Body nor Full Of Hell particularly need any introduction here: Heavy Blog has long traced the activity of the two bands separately due to both their talent and prolific nature (as well as their proclivity for splits and collaborative projects) and this culminated last year in our collective excitement for, and coverage…

Desolate Shrine – Deliverance from the Godless Void

There is often a mystique surrounding bands that take several years in between projects. Whether they deserve it or not, bands and artists who most often fall into this camp (the Tools and Sufjan Stevenses of the world) tend to be surrounded by hype simply for the fact that they have not released new material in a significant period of time. This isn’t to say that the material released cannot be quality, because it most certainly can be, but rather that there seems to be a strange thread in musical fandom that connects time elapsed between records to expected quality/increased hype. Finnish death metal maestros Desolate Shrine represent the exact opposite of this phenomenon. Having released four albums in just over six years, the band’s fans barely have enough time to absorb their last album before the release of their next project. This pace of material creation also comes with its own potential downsides, but none of them seem to apply to Desolate Shrine, who have topped their previous efforts with each new record, culminating in the crown jewel of their discography, this year’s Deliverance from the Godless Void. In the war of quality over quantity, Desolate Shrine seems to ask: why not both? What a novel proposition.