Heid – Alba

A relatively unknown band from Spain, Heid aren’t apologetic about the style of metal they play. Their press emails, drafted by the band themselves, proudly declare their self definition. And for good reason; they don’t only make excellent music which draws on folk instrumentation and composition but they also infuse their music with Iberian mythology, a flavor of paganism not often witnessed in metal. These two elements combine to create Alba, a moving and catchy album which offers entrance into a rich world of myth which we (as in, Western culture) don’t often stop to consider.

59 – AOTY 2016 Deliberations, Part 1: Vape In

So we’re doing a two-part series on picking the podcast’s official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog’s list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We get down to about 45 this week until the cuts really start to hurt. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.

Witchery – In His Infernal Majesty’s Service

Blackened thrash veterans Witchery are back, once again with significant line-up changes. These changes, thankfully, embellish the ethos which have made the band, in all their previous installments, vital in their respective field throughout the years. With new vocalist Angus Norder and drummer Christofer Barkensjö now in the fold, In His Infernal Majesty’s Service marks a new chapter in the band’s career, a chapter which sounds as ferocious, angry and evil as ever. It’s business as usual for the Scandinavians, and the horror-themed occultisms coupled with copious amounts of thrashing are all present and accounted for. No pretenses. No nonsense.

In Defense of End-of-Year Lists

It’s the week following Thanksgiving in America, which means two things: one, everyone is being inundated with the sights, sounds, and manic anxieties of peak-holiday season, and two, music fans are similarly being flooded with waves of end-of-year lists from major publications and friends alike. More than any other artistic medium – perhaps due to the overwhelming scope of options out there and relative ease of accessibility – list-making has become a well-trodden tradition in music journalism, one that has only proliferated further in the age of social media, listicles, and clickbait.

The Difficulties of Album of the Year

Here we are, at the end of another year. Critics and bloggers internet-wide (including yours truly) are struggling to put together top 20, top 50, top 100, top 10,000 lists of best albums. And it’s kind of a lot of work. It doesn’t seem like it would be; after all, we’re simply talking about listening to a ton of records and choosing your favorite. To reduce the process to its most basic level, there are really only two responses for a listener, blogger or no, to have to an album.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 12/2/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Aenaon – Hypnosophy

When looking through a tag in music curation services, encountering “avant-garde black metal” means clicking play will either result in something incredible or terrible. Few artists have the combination of self-irreverence, self-respect, sense of the fundamentals and how to think outside of them to be able to pull off the latter. As if that’s not enough, take a black metal band, add a saxophone, power metal-esque clean singing, a blues/jazz tint – does it sound potentially disastrous already? Several bands this year alone have attempted this formula and failed. Well, good news is, the Greek masterminds Aenaon have totally nailed it with Hypnosophy.

Heavy Blog’s Editors’ Picks: November 2016

Contrary to what many other sites and publications would have you believe, 2016 is, in fact, still not over yet. So while the first major wave of year-end lists has hit us this week, we’re here to tell you that there are still a bunch of recently-released albums that you seriously need to consider before settling on your own favorites for the year. It’s certainly true that by the time November rolls around the pace of high-profile and superb albums tends to drop off, especially compared to the September/October rush. There was some truly great music that came out this past month though, and the fact that all of it and any music released next month will be automatically disqualified by default from most end-of-year lists is both annoying and completely shitty for those bands. You’ll hear us talking about the problems and merits of end-of-year listmaking plenty in the coming days and weeks, but for now let’s just give a moment to some bands who will inevitably be shafted and discounted by far too many.