Listen: it’s no secret (because we choose not to make it a secret) that a vast majority of the writers and editors here at Heavy Blog belong to the left side of the political map. There are exceptions and there is variety; “the left” is not some monolithic, featureless plateau…
I love it when the three carefully selected acts I throw in this column all have an overarching theme that I didn’t realise until the very last minute, forcing my hand and ultimately ensuring the introduction I had previously written gets fucked right into the sea. Projects built over the Internet with friends, new and old – hence the title, I’m sorry but there is not a real Grind Symphony, yet – the next few bands Grinding My Gears range from veterans raising their fists at the sky, electric pink violence, and a new act that might just have released my favourite ten minutes of music this year.
I promise this episode title isn’t about the podcast itself. I think this is one of the better episodes in a while, in fact! We discuss a bunch of new music, including Krisiun, Epica, Born of Osiris, Anaal Nathrakh, Daron Malakian and Scars on Broadway, and Erra. Then some happenings, like Kvelertak getting a new vocalist, Matt Tuck of Bullet For My Valentine and his terrible hot take, The Ocean (not to be confused with Oceano, Eden) working on a double album, Eden’s Alkaloid prognotes, and me meeting a fellow metal musician and discovering his awesome band Cartilage. Along the ride, we discuss how modern production is ruining death metal (I promise it’s not “old man yells at clouds”), the DC cinematic universe, and more. Also, we do cool people time with Enter the Gungeon and Middle Earth: Shadow of War DLC, and me waxing poetic about puzzle games, including The Spectrum Retreat, (The) Portal 1/2, The Talos Principle, The Witness, The Swapper and more. Enjoy!
Welcome to our first installment of Kvlt Kolvmn in the Year of Our Dark Lord 2018! We’ve missed you. Let’s talk about black metal. 2017 was not a watershed year for the subgenre like it was for death metal. While there were a number of quality releases throughout the year…
Happy Halloween, 2017, from your nefarious friends at Kvlt Kolvmn! Hard to imagine a better day for this column to land near, what with all the ghouls, spirits, demogorgons and Eleven’s traipsing around with their sugar receptacles and real world terror encroaching from every corner of this planet. God, what a miserable year in so many ways. Thankfully, that misery has not extended into the world of black metal, which continues to drop sensational releases month after month. October is no exception. This month saw the release of several exceptional albums that not only continued to solidify the importance of black metal’s existence as one of the premier subgenres within the metal universe, but also its ability to offer complex, fierce statement of countercultural urgency. That last component is important for one particular album that screams thoroughly against some of the prevailing philosophical dogma that runs rampant in the darkest corners of the subgenre. Despite the most truly reprehensible portions of its collective ranks, black metal can indeed speak the language of justice. But enough talk. Let’s metal.
What exactly qualifies as “metal” can be a contentious issue. As any dedicated listener knows, the label itself accounts for a wide spread of sub-genres—ranging from softer, more atmospherically-inclined fare such as post-black/gaze and folk metal; to the frantic, bombastic realms of speed and power metal; and onto the spasmodic worlds of math- and grindcore; and even the bleak, all-encompassing, sonic oppression of drone and funeral doom. Many of these sub-genres remain contentious, and what is considered metal, or even just heavy music can shift and change depending upon what circles you frequent. Then again, there are those bands who (for any number of reasons) simply ooze the ideal of heavy metal, no matter which way you look at them, so that their status as a nothing less than a fucking heavy metal band cannot be denied. The King is Blind are one of those bands.
How to navigate the sheer number of festivals now available for the metal fan? With the aim of helping you sort through this vast variety, we’ve compiled the following primer. It’s by no means extensive; it’s simply impossible to write about all of the festivals we would have liked to mention. We focused on those we’ll be attending and on those who have the most attractive setlists in our eyes. That being said, do feel free to share more great festivals with us in the comments and please enjoy this, our selection of festivals for 2017.
If a poster was created of famous devil-worshippers then Aleister Crowley’s face would no doubt be near the front and center. Despite not actually being a Satanist, Crowley’s “wicked’’ deeds placed him in league with the Dark Lord in the eye’s of the public back in his heyday. However, he was a practitioner of Thelema, a spiritual philosophy of self-empowerment that’s often lumped in with the glorification of evil much like Satanism has been throughout the years. And like old Beelzebub, Crowley and heavy metal fit together like a hand in glove, and his influence in heavy music can be traced all the way back to the genre’s earliest years.
So we’re doing a two-part series on picking the podcast’s official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog’s list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We get down to about 45 this week until the cuts really start to hurt. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.
As we mentioned in our previous installment, September and October are extremely busy times for major album releases. You can normally expect a good chunk of the albums near the top of people’s AOTY lists to come from these two months due to their late but not too late placement.…