I should probably just stop apologizing for the huge gaps between getting these live videos out. To be perfectly honest, I’ve had to take a bit of a break from shooting shows for Heavy Blog the past month or so for a number of reasons (all of the work that my duties as an editor here of late required have certainly contributed). Nonetheless, I feel bad that I haven’t been able to get the shows I’ve already shot out in a much more timely manner. This one in particular. Progressive instrumental darlings The Fine Constant and groovy rock up-and-comers Maid Myriad came through Brooklyn this past April as a part of their “Woven In Haste” tour that Heavy Blog gladly sponsored. You can view both of their sets in full after the jump!
In case you’ve been living under a rock, weed is now legal in Colorado, making it a fitting environment for the creation of Denver-based stoner/doom act Khemmis’ debut album Absolution. Doom metal seems like a dime a dozen these days, making it increasingly difficult for budding doom bands to stand out. Fortunately, Khemmis doesn’t have this issue. Taking a page from the many tomes of doom metal, Khemmis seamlessly splice the solid backbeat and accessibility of NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden, the sorrowful melodies of breakout doom contemporaries Pallbearer and the fuzzed-out, almighty riffs of YOB, creating a potent strain of sludgy doom that’s wholly pure and is near-perfectly represented on Absolution.
Once upon a time, in the past of the blog, there was a series planned to be called *prognotes. The idea was to delve into a progressive metal album, known for their intricate lyrics and concept albums. This idea was never fully realized. The run it had was fantastic: analyzing the intricate works of Between the Buried and Me, Coheed and Cambria and Obscura, it was fascinating and insightful glance into some of our favorite bands and the amount of time they spent on their writing.
So we’re bringing it back! We have a few albums lined up but we’ll be starting with what is perhaps the best progressive album to come out this year: Arcane‘s Known/Learned. Written by the incomparable Jim Grey (Caligula’s Horse), it’s a wide ranging concept album the touches on issues of war, memory, family and time. We hope you enjoy reading our analysis of it; please feel free to sound off below with your own thoughts and recommendations for the next installements. Strap on your best time-travelling attire and let’s get going!
We Lost The Sea are an absolutely fantastic band from Australia who originally played a style of post-rock and post-metal that was fantastic. Now, however, they’re getting ready to release a new album, but this time being instrumental, and even more heavily post-rock influenced than ever before. This is due to their lead singer, Chris Torpy, committing suicide two years ago, to the shock of fans around the world. The band obviously was a different beast with him, and are still grieving over the loss of their friend. Our hearts still go out to all the friends and family of the band, and especially Chris’ family. Now, the band have released a new single, entitled ‘A Gallant Gentleman’, and have a video accompanying it below.
Last Friday, with relatively little fanfare, The Dear Hunter premiered the official video for the lead single of Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, “A Night on the Town.” I’ve already given my effusive thoughts on the track, but if for some reason you have yet to hear it, now is an excellent time. Perhaps unsurprisingly though given how these things go these days, the video is referred to as a “lyric video,” and technically that’s exactly what it is. It consists primarily of still images and kinetic typography. Once you see it though you’ll understand why that label and its associated baggage (more on that shortly) doesn’t really hold up, as well as why, in spite of the criticisms the genre often (rightly) garners, you can expect many more of these types of videos in the future.
Cult of Luna in all their acclaim as one of the greatest touring bands in not only post-metal, but for metal at large (this is an indisputable fact), rarely manage to touch down in North America for an extended stay. Even after slimming down their lineup to five members over the years, I would have to imagine that orchestrating travel, accommodations, and time off work for the entire band often ends up being more trouble than it’s worth. Sure, the band has at this point attained a “legendary” status as a critically-acclaimed band that contributed to the genre as an art form, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not like the act are a household name yet. And it’s a shame.
Easily the most unsuspecting release from Relapse this year, the debut album from Ecstatic Vision does not sit well alongside releases from Gruesome or Maruta. It sits somewhere above them, not quite on top of them, more somewhere in the planes between metal and psychedelic euphoria. Sonic Praise is definitely one of the more interesting debuts of the year, especially considering the abundance of extreme metal releases that have made this year so entertaining thus far. Contained within is less than an hour of music that belongs in places the human eye cannot see. Want to know how to induce a psychedelic state without dropping acid? Read on.
Rosetta are held in extremely high regard around these parts. Ever since the mid 2000s the band has been releasing absolutely stunning metal music, leading all the way up to their newest LP, Quintessential Ephemera, which garnered praise from all directions. Aside from adding another guitarist, the band has remained one consistent line up and has continued to pump out great music like clockwork, playing shows the world over. A few days before the album dropped, I got the chance to speak with the guitar duo of Matt Weed and Eric Jernigan, the latter of which is a fresh face to the band, to talk about the state of post-metal, the album itself, and how adding a second guitarist really helped the band grow.
Metal does not exist in a vacuum. Unlike what many people would like to believe, there is not much which is inherently radical about metal. Sure, it prefers an aesthetic, both in music and visual representations, which was once outside the norm but a lot has changed since the 80’s-90’s. While the shock value of those non-musical aesthetic choices was greater in those times, it’s not as if metal invented or revolutionized those artistic styles in anyway: gore and goth, dark industrial and body horror were genres long before metal adopted them for its self expression. And while it’s true that metal is and was a unique and distinct musical classification, a hegemony within it has been around for years. The image of a style which etches rebellion on its flag, constantly pushing the aural limits and redefining what is considered music, is relevant for a tiny, tiny fraction of the bands within it. Most bands, most music in general, conforms to accepted boundaries and takes little risks; metal is no different.
Let’s get something out there: that’s perfectly fine. This is not intended as a criticism but as a preface to our main question for this editorial: if metal is mostly conservative, in an amount that is more or less similar to other musical genres, where does the fascination with authenticity stem from? Non-metal music and styles have their share of discourse and interest in being authentic as well (just think of the 90’s rap feuds) but no where does this obsession reach the heights that it does in metal. The distinctions between “true” and “poser”, “kvlt” or “hardcore”, “true death metal” and the likes can be found everywhere. Being non-authentic is the insult one can levy against another member of the metal community. But why? If we say that there isn’t any inherent radicalism, that metal is no more revolutionary than any other genre, how then can we explain this phenomena? We will attempt to answer this question by looking at a recent case that is a bit more subtle than a YouTube comment calling Periphery “poseurs”[sic].
A Light Within are a band from Kansas City who have a very strange ear. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what type of music they play, and it’s not a bad thing. Their combination of post-rock, progressive metal, and a little bit of ambient music really makes them a great band to listen to no matter what mood you’re in. With the band getting ready to release a new EP, they’re extremely excited and ready for you all to hear it, and what better way than with an exclusive full album stream?! Check it out!