Composing an album with the backdrop of other media is a daunting task. As we discussed earlier this year with our review of Ehnahre’s Theodore Roethke-referencing album The Marrow, it’s difficult to create music that accurately conveys the emotional context of the source material while also extrapolating enough to create a unique voice that can stand on its own. This is particularly true for albums that reference movies and similarly complex texts; whereas a novel or poem contains just text to decode, films contain several more elements that need to be interpreted, most challenging of which is the pre-existing music already linked to the visuals and script. In these types of situation, it’s a smarter bet to draw inspiration from a film while pursuing a larger thematic ideal, which is exactly how Bolt Gun succeed on their colossal, one-track album Man Is Wolf to Man. By drawing influence from a myriad of sources that bolster a stated pursuit—particularly Soviet and Ukrainian filmmaker/writer Konstantin Lopushansky’s dystopian film Posetitel Muzeya (Visitor of a Museum) as well as works by Soviet filmmakers/writers Andrei Tarkovsky and Krzysztof Kieślowski—the band realizes the grandiosity of this endeavor with an excellent display of thematic metal aimed at capturing the “existential horror of Stalinist Russia.”
The saxophone has become an increasingly en vogue addition to the extreme music formula. Ever since John Zorn bleated and honked over grindcore and avant-garde metal with Naked City and Painkiller, a growing crop of younger bands have demonstrated how to masterfully incorporate a jazz staple into heavier compositions. The sparsity of such bands should come…
The purpose of this feature has always been to highlight the synthwave scene and, up until now, it’s mostly been in the service of highlighting one particular act per installment. This has created quite a backlog as a result, due to the fact that there are just so many acts…
When TesseracT’s Daniel Tompkins decided to explore his own pet project by joining forces with Skyharbor’s Keshav Dhar and Randy Slaugh to create White Moth Black Butterfly, it began as a modest attempt to explore some ideas that diverged from the type of rock for which his main band is most known. 2013’s One Thousand Wings (here’s what we had to say about “Certainty” from that album) was a sonic departure, to be sure, but it still maintained something of a kinship with its flagship influences. As with anything that we’ve come to understand about Tompkins, he will expound upon ideas over time and so the re-emergence of this project in 2017 means we should expect a few new twists, turns, and embellishments on the sound he helped to create several years ago.
“Avant-garde” is arguably the most misused genre descriptor in modern metal. Whether in blog posts or comment sections, there’s always someone that’s heard a slightly off-kilter metal album and immediately slapped on the old “A-G” tag. That said, I’m not going to use Område as an example to parse out the differences between avant-garde, experimental and progressive metal (an article worth writing by someone who actually wants that to be their hill to die on). I’m actually here because of the French duo’s invigorating take on avant-garde metal—an approach that captures the essence of the genre in gorgeous, meticulous detail. Whereas bands like maudlin of the Well and Pan.Thy.Monium found success by thrusting death metal into avant-garde territory, Område excel by nailing down the core of avant-garde metal and renovating it’s structure with intricate furnishings and vibrant coats of paint. There may be no shortage of high-quality albums to recommend to metal fans flirting withe the avant-garde, but there are a sparse few that rival Nåde’s marriage of accessibility and bold artistry.
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the day’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!
Man, 2017, y’all. We realize that it’s kind of our m.o. to be proponents of the whole “Golden Age of Metal” narrative and be incredibly positive about the consistently great level of stuff that is being put out from pretty much every part of the musical spectrum, but it’s such an easy thing to do when we are so constantly bombarded with new material that utterly consumes our attention. Even in months where one of us might not have as many new albums that really impressed them, without doubt there will be another one who could barely keep up because of all the superb releases from genres they pay close attention to. This April has certainly been no different in that regard, and we have a whole slew of top-notch albums to recommend to you all.
One cannot talk about glitch music without at least giving German electronic project Oval a nod. Before becoming the solo project of Markus Popp (ending with 94 Diskont, strangely enough), Oval was infamous for their methodology—physically damaging CDs and destroying digital audio to extract the skips and distortions created, which were then used to create music. As a result, 94 Diskont is full of clicks and whirrs where said damage was created, and this album in particular is credited with being a pivotal release for glitch music.
For the last decade, Jute Gyte has been steadily pumping out albums, at least one per year, across various genres, from experimental black metal to ambient to power electronics. Known for this prolific nature, together with a tendency to reach as far into the ether for new sounds as possible and an…
At their cores, Desideratum and Below the House are linked; two sides of the same loss. Thom Wasluck has always channeled the entirety of himself into Planning for Burial, and on his Flenser debut with Desideratum, he manifested pure sorrow into a hazy blend of shoegaze and ambient drone metal. Yet, it’s on Below the House that Wasluck’s music truly morphs into “doomgaze,” as his songwriting has taken on a starkly more direct, cathartic approach to coping with life’s tribulations. Whereas Desideratum was an ode to internal suffering, Below the House is Wasluck’s outward diatribe against a callous world, unwavering in its cruelty but malleable to the glimmering hope lying beneath his lamentations.