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.
The clear highlight from this week’s update is New Bermuda, an album that almost everyone at Heavy Blog has listened to at least a song from since it began streaming at NPR. Considering how divisive Deafheaven is, we decided to capture that by allowing staff voices from both sides of the fence to be showcased in our review of New Bermuda. While both reviews are well-written and argued, they differ starkly in tone, with Ryan praising the album as a triumph (here) and Simon arguing that the album does a passable job at an already established sound (here). Check out both reviews and let us know what verdict New Bermuda most deserves.
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.
Head past the jump to see which receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
How does one harness the power to improve oneself from a flawed starting point? This bootstrap question plagues the mind of millions of people every day. “Plague” is the right word here; there exists little doubt that mental illness, specifically depression, is one of the great ills of modern existence. And so, we are faced every day with the question: how do we take what we have, which is often flawed and weak, and build a better future from it? As in a lot of things, music can show us a way. In fact, it can show us many different ways: diving deep into the sadness and delving what can be found there, turning to rage to combat it, expressing it in an attempt to abjure it and many more possible answers. However, this piece is most concerned with what can be broadly spoken of as a more “effective” way and that is transformation.
Transformation is a tricky subject: we all know that change is an inherent part of life but we also recognize that a lot of things remain the same. Indeed, have you ever seen something change so completely you can no longer recognize it for what it was? That’s a rare thing. Therefore, when we speak of transformation we’re not talking about a complete change, where every single part of something morphs, mutates and becomes completely different. We are instead referring to re-exploration, a re-understanding of things and how you thought they are while keeping hold of certain foundations and vectors of thought.
So, what does this have to do with music? That depends on what sort of music we’re talking about or, more specifically, which band. To be sure, there is a host of bands out there that don’t change one iota over the years (and sometimes, rarely, that’s a good thing). But, if we focus on an example of a band that has transformed, that has changed what and who they are while still keeping hold to what made them fundamentally themselves, we can learn a great deal. The quintessential example, the most successful, moving and downright awe-inspiring example of such a transformation, is Anathema. By diving deep into how, why and when they changed, we can get more intimate with this idea of reforming ourselves, of changing while staying the same. On a personal note, let me say before we begin that I speak from experience: Anathema touched the core of me in a time in my life when everything seemed lost. They taught me how to move, breathe and change while still staying who I am and was. I invite you now to a glimpse of that, an exploration of what makes the transformation of Anathema so relevant and powerful in our lives. Maybe they can help you too.
Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here, and go on ahead below to get Singled Out!
I’ve been hyping up the upcoming release Concerto For Double Moon by The Pneumatic Transit for months now, and its release is finally just a couple weeks away. What better way to celebrate than to host a brand new track from the record? I couldn’t think of any other way to celebrate! You can check it out below!
After losing one of their core members, Caspian were left with a choice: they either hang it up and call it a day, or move on and begin the healing process. While the band chose the latter, I’m sure they thought of option A at least for a while. Coming off their successful Waking Season LP released a few years ago, many people wondered what kind of music the band would bring us. Would they go lighter? Would they get heavier? Would they make tears well up in your eyes and ponder what the true meaning of heartbreak is? Caspian has managed to capture all these things and more on their new record, and it sits as their best work to date, surpassing their last few records with miles between them.
As Oceans is a hard hitting metal band, hailing from Boone, North Carolina. Their intensity drives their fans to madness in the pit. Mosh pits, walls of death, circle pits, headbanging, and crowd surfing are the norm. One might describe their music as progressive death metal and with influences such as Lamb Of God and Meshuggah, their music will undoubtedly come at you like a freight train. Their latest concert at the Maywood received a great turnout from the local metal fans and good times were indeed had.
If As Oceans’ bassist looks familiar, you may know him as Heavy Blog’s own Kit Brown! Make sure to check out their tunes on Bandcamp and like them on Facebook!
Check out the pictures below, courtesy of guest photographer Brian Krahe!
Fans of cosmic-minded sludge and doom a la Cult of Luna and Minsk take heed: Swedish post-metal acolytes Moloken may be relatively unknown as they approach the release of their third full-length record All Is Left To See, but they’re beginning to pick up steam as a stand-out act to watch in the 2015 best-of contest. All Is Left To See promises to be the glorious oasis at the tail-end of a year surprisingly and relatively light on outstanding sludge and post-metal.
Take the record’s opening track “Subliminal Hymns” — the bite-sized headbanger is relatively simple and doesn’t cover much ground in its three-minute runtime, but it certainly hints at the greater kaleidoscopic nature of the record with the depth of atmosphere that bleeds from its grizzly sludge riffs. “Subliminal” is right; sometimes the darkest things are those which are only implied. Thirsty yet? Stream “Subliminal Hymns” after the jump.
iamthemorning are a progressive act combining neo-classical influences with acoustic and chamber style music. You may remember that we reviewed their album, Belighted, last year. Though not for everyone, iamthemorning certainly have their audience in those who desire grand-sounding music, as if from a vivid dream.
Here’s your chance to be part of something greater, however! iamthemorning are ready to release a live album at the end of November! Titled From the House of Arts, this live session was recorded during the Belighted release concert in Moscow, Russia on October 31st, 2014 (undoubtedly the spookiest day of that year).
To get a taste of what you’re backing, check out the video below!
Drone metal is perhaps the metal subgenre that most necessitates a Starter Kit for curious listeners. While skeptics/detractors may acknowledge the talent of most metal subgenres while criticizing the music, most people who encounter the seemingly never-ending wall of distortion and repetition that is drone metal often question if what they are being “subjected” to is even music at all. Well, as is insinuated by the existence of this post, we not only affirm the validity of drone metal as a form of music, but actively wish to widen the subgenres fanbase as much as possible.
As may be seen through our four high-quality entry points in the sub-genre, drone metal begins with a basic concept and ends up in an infinite number of places, all emotionally complex and defined by the listener. Drone metal transports the listener into the endless void of the beyond where the artists presents music devoid of innate meaning but sprawling with open-ended marks that the listener must form into a completed canvas of their own design. It is a sonic journey mimicked by no other genre, and we invite you to take the trek with us.
Once again, I’m back with another exclusive premiere! This time around, we’re headed down under to Australia, where a number of new awesome metal acts have begun to take shape. One such act goes by the name Gvrlls, and they play some really heavy hardcore music. It still retains a bit of that signature Aussie vibe to it, however. Today, we’re proud to be hosting an exclusive stream of the new EP, entitled Protect Us From The Ones We Love. Check it out below!