Heavy Blog Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.

Endless Sacrifice – Suffering, Metal, and Identity Politics, Part 1

Even though parts of the metal community might like to imagine otherwise, metal is just another identity group, albeit a wide and varied one (contrary to what other groups might think of it). It has its own dress code(s), its own language, and its own system(s) of ideals. We’re here today to talk about a specific part of that system of ideals and the way in which it manifested through recent events in our community. This ideal is none other than the ideal of suffering, a turn of phrase which might sound weird at first. However, suffering has long been a method through which membership in a community has been signaled. From the very genesis of Christianity, through various moral systems and philosophies (Emanuel Kant comes to mind), and various manifestations in popular culture (such as wrestling for example), suffering and pain are often ultimate signs of belonging. Suffering can highly ritualized and contextualized, made to mean different things and communicate different ways of belonging.

55 – Patreon Shitshow feat. Riley of Allegaeon

So, you all may have seen the absolute unbridled rage against Allegaeon’s Patreon from last week. I thought this was pretty unfounded and ridiculous, so I invited Riley McShane of Allegaeon to talk about how he views this situation, and whether some of the accusations made in the articles are founded or not. We ended up having a great chat about the band’s situation and crowd funding. I recommend listening to this one, regardless of what you think about the situation! Then Eden and I talk about news and stuff. The new Metallica song, the new Shokran video, the upcoming Soen album, the new Thy Catafalque album, the new Disillusion video, the new… I got tired of going “the new X”. Instead, listen to this really dumb but amazing mashup of the Space Jam tune with the new Meshuggah album by Analog Staple. Oh, also, Dominic Forrest Lapointe joined First Fragment. Balance Interruption is an awesome saxed-up black metal thing. Alkaloid are on Season of Mist, officially making it the best label ever. Facebook added integration with some music services. Our underrated album of the week is Rad a Trest by !T.O.O.H! – I wrote about them years ago. Then we talk about how song order is a really hard thing to pick.

54 – On Strange Hoops

As you can tell, we talk about the new Mithras album.

Obviously, we talk about news. That is the established format of this podcast after all! We talk about the new Painted in Exile album (finally!), The Corelia kickstarter, the new Avenged Sevenfold album (that came out of nowhere), the new Korn album (yep), the Scale the Summit “breakup”, the Allegaeon Patreaon, Frontierer’s first live show and Arkona’s new old song. We also reflect back on things, like Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory turning 16 and our discussion on Slice the Cake from last week. We also mention a few other things, like a Guitar Hero chart of A Sense of Gravity’s Echo Chasers, and some shitty flute covers, including this excellent one of Dragonforce’s masterpiece. Then, our underrated album, which is Rishloo’s Living As Ghosts With Buildings As Teeth. Also, our cool people section covers some important topics! I promise!

51 – Grab Your Pitchforks, Drop Your Needles

The title is a dig, you say? Not at all! It’s not because this week our topic discussion revolves around how metalheads gravitate to specific genres outside of metal and how that’s influenced by metal journalism. Totally. Here, let’s talk about some new music, releases or news instead. We shitpost about stuff that came out recently, like stuff by Meshuggah, Allegaeon, Opeth (salt interview part 1, part 2, part 3), Disillusion, Metallica, Testament, Logan Mader’s Once Human, Dark Tranquillity, Protest the Hero, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more. Maybe. Then we talk about this “interesting” article about Reign in Blood turning 30, and highlight a few bands. Namely Starkill, Mammoth, Elarcos and Raptorbaby. And the week’s underrated release is Ønskediktet by Ørkenkjøtt! Enjoy! By the way, this is that article about Kendrick Lamar – “Why Did Everyone Claim to Enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’?”

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 10/7/16

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.

Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience

The proliferation of a metal band is a clear sign of its growing popularity, but it could also be a reason for apprehension regarding its music’s quality. On the other hand, one can consider the longevity of a given band as an indication of quality, but that would only cast a shadow of zealous snobbery and faux-refinement. Truth is, quality in music is more likely to be a function of countless random things including, but not limited to, personal taste. There are countless examples of bands exploding onto the international scene with superb debuts only to fizzle away later and become weaker shadows of themselves. On the other hand, there are bands who start off strong but are a work in progress in terms of finding their own sound and standing out from the hordes; Colorado’s Allegaeon is one fine example of the latter.

46 – The World Is A Danker Place Now

This week we have a set of surprise guests that we announced last week! I guess that’s not really a surprise, huh? It’s Eric and Drew from TABPxDSME, in other words The Aurora Borealis Project and Drewsif Stalin’s Musical Endeavors! We have a good old time trying to talk about their amazing upcoming album The World Is A Colder Place Now. Well, we try anyway. Since Drew and I are both invested in derailing as much as possible, it goes to different places. I had a great time! Then, we talk about the news of the week. What news of the week? Stuff like Misha of Periphery doing a song for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Heri Joensen of Tyr killing whales and defending his actions, Stereogum’s monthly metal roundup, You Bred Raptors playing to an empty venue, then new music or teases towards such by Departe, Saor, Destrage, System of a Down, Anaal Nathrakh, Anciients, Alcest, Negura Bunget, Hannes Grossmann, and Allegaeon. Eden gets pretty mad about the last one!

45 – An Apple A Day Keeps The Spotify Away

This week we’re joined by fellow editor Nick again! And as you can probably tell from the title, we talk about some streaming service drama! Specifically, the trainwreck that followed Frank Ocean’s new Apple Music exclusive album, the UMG salt that followed, and Spotify stirrings in relation to industry trends. But wait, there’s more industry drama! A former Victory Records employee wrote a huge expose talking about all the stuff that goes down in the label, confirming the suspicions of many. We then talk about SubRosa and their interview about the music they wrote in relation to the Mormon church’s treatment of LGBTQI individuals. We talk about a bunch of new music and music-related announcements as well. Including: poorly-realized analogies about post/weird-death metal involving Ulcerate, Coma Cluster Void, Car Bomb, Negura Bunget, Meshuggah, Mithras (and more Mithras), Allegaeon’s Rush cover, WRVTH being awesome, In Flames being terrible (seriously), Ninjaspy, Darkthrone, Emperor, Brujeria (and their tongue-in-cheek interview), Ion Dissonance, Leander Kills, The Dear Hunter and The Aurora Borealis Project x Drewsif Stalin’s Musical Endeavors. Finally, we talk about the passing of Tom Searle of Architects. Enjoy! (the episode, hopefully, not the terrible news)