Indie Rapidfire Roundup – La Sera, Nicolas Jaar & Preoccupations

With Heavy Blog having changed the kind of content we publish and how we publish it, we’ve decided to retire our recurring Unmetal Monday column in favor of more ongoing/mercurial coverage of unmetal genres like indie rock, alternative, EDM, and more. One of the side effects of this is that we no longer had a central place to write about new music and albums from these kinds of artists/bands in a more informal way – things we might want to talk about but not necessarily in long-form. In light of that and our tradition of combining certain metal releases into groups to form “Rapidfire Reviews,” we’ve established this semi-regular column to take three recent or upcoming releases from the world of “indie” in the pejorative sense and offer some quick takes on them. In our latest Indie Rapidfire Roundup, contributor Mike McMahan and editors Nick Cusworth and Scott Murphy offer their thoughts on three very different, yet all well-anticipated albums: La Sera’s Queens, Nicolas Jaar’s Sirens and Preoccupations self-titled debut.

Hashshashin – nihsahshsaH

The word hashasin is linked to the popular emergence of the term assassin, and this group of killers is believed to have been formed during the Crusades. While the group’s convoluted history is beyond the scope of an album review, the takeaway is that the sect’s secretive leader is believed to have drugged potential followers with hashish before convincing them to kill. In addition to being pretty damn metal, these two elements provide something of a metaphor for the sound of Hashshashin, a self-described “psychedelic droneprog” outfit from Australia. It’s helpful that the band described themselves, as this is not the easiest music to characterize.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: Coma Cluster Void Think “Everything Is Meant To Kill Us”

Honestly, Coma Cluster Void are fucking terrifying. Utilizing 10 string guitars to create a mind-blasting sonic landscape of avant-garde death metal, Mind Cemeteries became my pick for album of August out of nowhere. When they contacted us wanting to premiere a video, I was simultaneously stoked and nervous. What does a Coma Cluster Void music video look like? Well, it looks exactly like how it sounds. Claustrophobic and dark shots of the band playing barely out of reach, juxtaposed against someone having a mental breakdown. Yep, these visuals accurately convey how “Everything Is Meant To Kill Us” sounds. Coma Cluster Void…

Break Out Your Corpsepainted Hymnal with Zeal and Ardor

Back when I was an undergrad, I came across the term “bricolage” while reading Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style for one of my communication theory classes. Though he was specifically using the term to analyze punk fashion, the term has a broad meaning covering virtually all forms of art. The concept is simple – bricolage is created by the combination of autonomous objects or practices from disparate contexts to form something with new meaning and style. Creativity is at the core of bricolage, and in my view, musicians that take this approach often produce music that’s at the very least interesting and occasionally quite brilliant. All of this pseudo-intellectual rambling is a product of me discovering Zeal and Ardor’s phenomenal new album Devil is Fine, the project of producer Manuel Gagneux and an excellent example of what bricolage is and why it can produce fantastic results. Frankly, I don’t know what made Gagneux want to combine black metal and black spirituals, but I’m wicked fucking glad he did.

52 – Wow, It’s Been A Year

We’re a year old now! So, we just do news like regular, then some opinion time. Also, bullshit philosophy time is back! Topics: Anthony Fantano on Meshugggah, Vader, Entombed, Red Fang, Car Bomb, Issues, Trivium, In Flames, Thrawsunblat, Ophidius, Avenged Sevenfold. This Metalsucks article on punk and comedy, then this thing about a certain luthier who is too good for pop music. Underrated album of the week: VOLA – Inamazes. Then we talk about why we got rid of review scores here at the blog. Enjoy!

Itzamna – Chascade

When we say “multi-instrumentalist”, what do we mean? Certainly, at the basic level of the term, there is the technicality and skill involved in mastering and playing multiple instruments. However, composition and songwriting are also large aspects of the phenomenon described by the term “multi-instrumentalist”. We expect a kind of eclectic approach mingled with a far-flung direction, a tone and voice that would single out the “multi-instrumental” artist in our minds as a discrete, musical unit.

Clément Belio’s career, so far, has both cemented and called into doubt the “multi-instrumentalist” label. His album from 2014, Contrast, was more of an experiment in homage, in variance around familiar themes. It was brilliant, to say the least, but perhaps lacked that innately emotive spark that would cement his direction and musical interest. Thus, we waited with baited breaths for his next release, not quite sure of what to expect. Would the next release continue the line which Contrast sketched out? Would it even be metal, when you take into consideration Belio’s extensive, musical education and background?

Wormrot – Voices

There’s nothing more satisfying than one random grind track coming on shuffle, straight out of left field. It snaps in with a screech of sound and a barrage of elements that disappear into the ether shortly after. What does one do after baring witness to just one flash of heaven? Play some more. Henceforth, all who skip to “that grind album” are going to slide down onto W for Wormrot or V for Voices because A) This album grinds B) This album innovates C) This album won’t be beaten.

*prognotes — Clipping’s Splendor & Misery, Part I: All Black Everything

If there’s something you’d like to take away from my time writing for the blog, soon to be three years, it is this: no music exists in a void. Even the most extreme of releases or the most isolated of works are influenced by and, in turn, influence other works of art. History, then, is a tool that all journalists, whether music or otherwise, should often utilize. Without the ability to understand a creation’s context, in a meaningful way beyond “hey, this sounds like that!”, reviews and editorials are doomed to be sterile, sentenced to remain shallow and cut off from…