Yesterday I mentioned that the new Celeste album Animale(s)was on my list of albums I missed from 2013 that I needed to catch up on. Time is scarce these days; this year, I graduated with my bachelors degrees in Psychology & Social Work, and in turn, started my first job out of university. Suddenly working a 40-hour a week job really put a dent in my listening habits, so there’s a bunch that I missed. I assume many of you have the same problem between work, relationships, and possibly children, so today I thought I’d reach out to you folks and get a glimpse of things that you missed but are curious about as well as share feedback and recommendations.
Recently, Team Rock Radio, a UK based digital radio station that is actually surprisingly good, talked to Trivium guitarist Matt Heafy to get his thoughts on the current state of metal — definitely a question that doesn’t really a non-controversial answer. While plenty of Heavy Blog are fans of the band, I’ve never quite managed to get into them, but I can respect what they do and Heafy is definitely in a unique position to give his view on the subject. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were still around in ten to fifteen years, but this time headlining the Wacken’s and the Download’s of the world.
This year, we’ve been busy trying to come up with an idea for Heavy Blog merch. At the end of the day, we wanted to sell high quality shirts with professionally done designs that will fit in comfortably with the other music-related merch in your wardrobe That’s not too much to ask for, right? We didn’t think so, anyway. Now, our end result is in sight.
As most of you may know, this past Saturday was Record Store Day, an industry holiday created to boost sales for independent record stores by releasing limited exclusive records to physical shops across the world. I took part in Record Store Day, and here’s what I was able to come up with.
Grisly Amputation must be a fairly hyped-about band judging by how often I’ve seen the pastel-colored artwork for their new album Cannibalistic Tendencies across different sites and social networks. I’ve slept on the band for some time because the artwork and name brought to mind that weird deathcore/goregrind scene on MySpace bands from 2006 or so. That whole bright and colorful aesthetic seemingly ironically juxtaposed against gore and brutality just sort of raises red flags for me.
But hey, apparently it gets the job done. I finally caved after I had decided that I’ve seen the album art one too many times, and as it turns out the band are pretty much your archetypal brutal gore-obsessed deathgrind band. The music is created in good fun and all, but every track from Cannibalistic Tendencies starts out with a sample from some cheesy horror film — a few of them being overly long — before ripping into some decent deathgrind plagued by hit-or-miss vocals and terrible production. Perhaps it’s just not my genre and it’s a niche formula that I don’t quite get. I want to enjoy them, and I think I’m right on the cusp of seeing Cannibalistic Tendencies grow on me.
I was talking to a fellow contributor and we were talking about the relationship we have with our audience and that got me thinking about you guys! So let this be grounds for introduction! Tell us about yourself and if you come here daily/often! What are your favourite bands and who is your favourite contributor? Any particular posts or features you like?
Also, I want this to be a formal introduction to some of our contributors that have joined our ranks in the past couple of months. So in an effort to give us all more in common, we participated in picking 50 albums that we would take to the grave with us. So check them out! Also feel free to make one for yourself and post them in the comments!
Remember, this post is about you and we want as much input as we can get! So if you’ve been visiting for years in silence, or just stop by once in a while, now is your chance to come out of the shadows and learn about us!
Production styles seem to stir up significant differences of opinion amongst metal fans. Of course, every band and album has its own somewhat unique flavor, but I’d like to discuss the two biggest opposite extremes in metal production: sludginess and gloss. Let’s take a look at some tunes that exemplify how these sonic qualities can influence the listener’s enjoyment of metal.
This track from YOB’sAtma is a great example of how lo-fi production can give doom metal a murky, evil vibe. It feels like a mud monster opening its foul jaws, or something. I think that this kind of sloshy production works wonders for slow, churning music like doom metal. Clean production can work in the style, but the grinding, primal production YOB employ is usually more to my taste when I’m on a doom metal kick.
Many black metal purists swear by “cold” production, but I feel that fuzziness just gets in the way of the frantic music on records like Transylvanian Hunger. For the most part, I’ve always felt black metal lends itself moreso to the crisper, cleaner sounds explored by bands like Immortal and Emperor on their more recent material. So sue me!
There’s a template to starting a metal band. It’s not set in stone, but when it comes down it, that core combination of guitar, bass, drums and vocals have given some of the greatest metal even known so it’s no wonder that 90% of bands fall back that format. It’s tried and tested, it ain’t broke and it doesn’t really need fixing and it’s probably even fair to assume that many future classics will continue to revolve around those same basic ingredients.
Thankfully though, there’s also a considerable number of bands more interested in blurring the lines and adding their own twist to the standard line-up. It’s not a new idea, hell even Black Sabbath‘s debut contained a harmonica solo — not really a huge leap from their blues background but looking back on it today it definitely seems out of the ordinary. Worth nothing as well that with the advent of cheaper and cheaper electrical equipment, the keyboard was embraced quite quickly, no surprise really when a lot of those original ‘proto-metal’ bands made similar use of the organ but it still hasn’t quite made the leap from ‘optional’ to ‘necessary’ yet.
We’ve grown and been through a lot the past three years since Heavy Blog started back in 2009. We’ve got over 3k likes on Facebook (which you should definitely give a Like!) and we snatch a respectable 5-6k page views per day and rising, so we’d like to say thank you to those who come, read what we have to say, and discuss with us in the comments. Obviously, we’re not done growing yet, and we’d like to know what you would like to see out of us!
Tired of the white text on black background and want us to make a change? Want more news and less blog-esque editorialization? More formal tone? More informal tone? A wider spectrum of musical interest? A new feature or function you’d like to see? Let us know what you want or what you’d change about the site and we’ll seriously consider your opinions! After all, you dudes are the readers, so your thoughts are highly regarded. It can even be negative criticism, so long as it’s constructive. We can’t fix issues unless we know about them, so here’s your chance!
Also, feel free to ask us anything. Curious about the goings on behind the scenes? Hell, just ask and we’ll be open and honest with you!
Unfortunately, no amount of griping is going to stop us from bumming Devin Townsend and BTBAM every week. You’re just gonna have to live with it. And yes, This Week Is Heavy is coming back next week.
We here at HBIH pride ourselves on being up to date and in the know about most things progressive in the scene of rock and metal; it’s kind of our go to thing, if you hadn’t noticed. Sure, we spend time on other genres and things of a metal nature, but our main niche is progressive metal/rock.
Recently, Rolling Stone magazine conducted an online poll, asking their readership what they thought was the greatest prog rock album of all time.And after tallying the results — people still ‘tally’ right?? — the undisputed winner was Dream Theater’s 1999 album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. Here are the full results:
1. Dream Theater: Metropolos Part 2: Scenes From a Memory (1999) 2. Rush: 2112 (1976) 3. Yes: Close to the Edge (1972) 4. Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) 5. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) 6. King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (1969) 7. Genesis: Selling England by the Pound (1973) 8. Rush: Hemispheres (1978) 9. King Crimson: Red (1974) 10. Rush: Moving Pictures (1981)
Alright, well sure the album is gooood, but is it really the pinnacle of progressive rock? And what about metal? Don’t you think bands like Mastodon, Between The Buried and Me, and Cynic deserve to be on a list like this? Sure it’s all opinions, and it basically boils down to a popularity contest, but I’m still curious, what do our readers believe are the best prog rock/metal albums of all time? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments. And let’s keep it clean, alright?