Tag Archive Aesop Rock

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 3/1/15


During his time as weekend editor here, one of the consistently most popular features Brian Shields would run was the What We’re Really Listening To column, which would ask either Heavy Blog staff or musicians to share the music they’ve been jamming the most recently. We’ve decided that it was too fun an idea to not continue, so we’re picking up where he left off. It should come as no surprise that we at HBIH are constantly listening to music, and as an effort to recommend as many quality tunes as possible, here is a glimpse into what has been dominating our playlists for the past week.

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.

Head past the jump to see which records have been receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:

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Farewell, 2013: Alkahest’s Top 20 Albums Of 2013


Here we are at the end of our fifth year at Heavy Blog. I remember at one point in high school (circa 2005-2006), I listened to Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for my Valentine and thought death metal was unmelodic noisey garbage that tried way too hard to be offensive. I even wrote a rant about the matter on my MySpace blog, which served as a precursor for Heavy Blog. Embarrassing, I know. So why talk about it now?

I feel like if you look back on every year-end list I’ve done for this site (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), you can see an evolution take place from metalcore kid just getting his feet wet in the online metal community to someone who I feel is more well-rounded and respective of all genres. You won’t just be catching prog and djent, I assure you. This list has more diversity, and likely includes the heaviest albums of any list I’ve done before. This blog has some depth in that regard, as you can chart the taste of our writers as they change over the years. I like to think that’s pretty neat, and it allows for this site to grow and change with the genre we all associate with so closely. Thankfully, music taste is fluid, and I’m glad that there’s more and more music available every year for us to enjoy.

2013 was an insane year. I graduated college, landed my first job from of my major, and started living on my own. With so much going on, you may have noticed a bit of a dip in content once summer rolled around. That wasn’t a coincidence. Even with a 8-4 job, I still try to keep Heavy Blog afloat, though I’ve considered stepping down or closing our doors on more than one occasion as the stress got a little hard to handle. Who knows what 2014 will hold, but I do know that 2013 was unforgettable. I can’t believe it’s almost over.

So without further ado, here’s an arbitrarily numbered list of awesome albums from 2013. Remember: it’s okay to not like thing.

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Farewell, 2012: Alkahest’s Top 15 Albums Of 2012


So it’s Wednesday at 3:43 AM the week these year-end retrospective lists are being published and I’m scrambling to edit my fellow writers’ contributions when I’ve barely even started mine. To be honest it hasn’t even quite settled in that 2012 is just about over. As I’m writing this, there’s about a week and a half left of the year, and it puzzles me. It feels like just a couple of months ago that I was doing this exact same thing for 2011, only this time I seem to be much busier and everything looks different. The site, wordpress, and even my staff group have all changed.

We’ve picked up a number of fresh faces this year that you’ve already seen these past few days, but you may have also noticed that a couple of people from last year are no longer with us. A lot of people have come and gone over these past three and a half years that I’ve been doing this Heavy Blog thing, and most of them sort of float around and hang out when they can. The most important ones that come to mind right now are Dan (Dormition) and Chris (Disinformasiya), both of whom were very instrumental and valuable in the growth of this site, and it was sad to see them part ways with us. Without them (Chris in particular), I might have not kept this thing going this far. I love both of those guys dearly, and you can keep up with them at The Monolith, which you should bookmark if you haven’t already. Ya jerk.

Like I’ve said, this year has been busy. I don’t talk about my personal life much here despite the fact that it’s my blog, but what better time to get all personal than a year-end retrospective? As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit more of a hands-off editor and the scheduling of posts have been a bit less rigid and frequent than they used to be. I’m at the tail end of my college career and I’m currently in and out of internships which have kept me busy and often away from Heavy Blog. Between classes, internships, my “actual” job, and this website, my hands are pretty full. You (and I, for sure) can thank Evan (Juular) for his help with editing since Chris’ departure as well as Damien, Noyan, Gunnar (DeusExMachina), Cody (Tentaclesworth), Spencer (Inhumed), Anthony (Alucard), Greg (Red Bruschetta), Atif (Dr. Killjoy), David (Riptide), Ridge (Deadite), Colin (Momento Mori), and Geoff (Denisovich) for sticking with me and making sure there’s enough content each week and that this site keeps going strong. Also a strong word up to Ben Robson who took over Heavy Blog recently and decided to stick around with us behind the scenes and Chris Collins, our resident photographer. These guys are awesome, and they manage to put a smile on my face every single day.

2013 promises to be even busier with my next internship, impending graduation, and career, but hopefully that doesn’t stop this site from growing and providing daily content that helps to promote and further our favorite genre of music. Thank all of you for sticking with us!

So with all these feels out of the way, here’s what most of you care about, my albums of the year:

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I Know It’s Not Remotely Metal, But Aesop Rock’s Skelethon Is Easily One Of The Best Albums Of 2012

When the online metal community is asked what their favorite albums of the year are thus far, one wouldn’t expect a hip-hop album to pop up anywhere. I, however, boast a current list of favorites that includes hip-hop artist Aesop Rock‘s latest opus Skelethon in the top five. As strange as it is, Aesop Rock is quite an outlier in my music library; he’s the only rapper that I consider myself an avid fan of, having jumped on the bandwagon as soon as I heard his previous effort in 2007’s None Shall Pass, one of my favorite non-metal albums ever.

Skelethon seems to do the impossible and improves on an already excellent foundation. What makes Aesop Rock stand out from his peers is his excellent vocabulary and complicated flow and wordplay. I know a lot of people (metal fans especially, it seems) write off the entire genre as ignorant and boastful, but Aesop Rock isn’t one to write songs about “hoes and rims” or whatever one would stereotypically expect from a mainstream/modern hip-hop album. Here’s a breakdown of some of the subject matter one would experience when listening to Skelethon:

  • A humorous guide to mummifying your dead cat on ‘Homemade Mummy’
  • An ode to Aesop’s favorite donut shop on ‘Fryerstarter’
  • A poem about a dog saving a drowning infant on ‘Ruby ’81’
  • Getting an awesome haircut and a lesson in motivation in ‘Racing Stripes’
  • A clever telling of a child’s refusal to eat his vegetables on ‘Grace’

See, Skelethon finally reaches an apex in Aesop Rock’s writing ability. His out-there verbosity meets legitimate storytelling, possibly a direct response to the criticism Aesop received, being accused of stringing together serial non-sequiters. While he has always spoken out against these criticisms of his enigmatic lyrics, there’s no denying that Skelethon makes a larger effort to take a narrative approach.

Open minded metal fans may find something of interest in Skelethon. At the very least, you might end up with a newfound appreciation for the possibilities of a genre you may have wholly discarded long ago.

Aesop Rock’s Skelethon is available now on Rhymesayers/Fifth Element. Give it a shot!

– JR