Dead Empires – Designed to Disappear

The passion that drives progressive metal, especially extreme progressive metal, has to be a multicolored and multilayered thing. Otherwise, progressive metal just falls into the trap of “more variation = more good” and that’s easily disprovable; just because you’ve approach a single theme from several different directions that doesn’t necessarily mean that your album will be interesting. Instead, great progressive metal bands focus on getting across several different atmospheres and vibes on one album, changing both the destination and delivery point to create interest. Consider Opeth’s blend of anger and sadness on My Arms, Your Hearse or Howling Sycamore’s excellent and recent foray into both hallucination and internal power. These kind of varied intonations is what Dead Empires went for with Designed to Disappear and they mostly pull it off.

Death’s Door 2017 // Death Metal’s Year in Review

Welcome to the final installment of Death’s Door in the Year of Our Nefarious Overlord 2017! Wipe your feet on the mat, remove that stupid holiday-induced smile from your face, and prepare yourself for ultimate year-end audio brutalization. Because, quite frankly, 2017 was one of the best years for death metal in decades. A bold statement indeed, and thankfully one with plenty of data in the form of amazing records to back it up. The overwhelming number of releases in this dirtiest of metal subgenres, coupled with the breadth of quality releases in each of the branches of the death metal tree, all accumulate to create one of the most impressive lists of death metal albums in a given year since the early 1990s. 2017 presented us with exceptional records at such an alarming clip that it was often a full-time task to keep track of them. Death metal this year was in equal measure mind-numbingly technical, socially forward-thinking, compositionally adventurous, and reverent of the past, generating albums that displayed with full clarity all that makes this music the metal behemoth that it is. What a time to be alive. In our final segment of Death’s Door for the year, we will be highlighting the trends and movements within death metal that we found to be the most significant, as well as our own personal top 15 death metal records on the year. Prepare yourself. Madness awaits.

Heavy Blog Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

Our staff has shifted quite a bit since we posted our first aggregate AOTY list back in 2014. From refocusing our content to implementing The Brooklyn Plan™ to publishing our 2017 AOTY list, our roster of contributors has fluctuated substantially in terms of numbers and genre preferences. This ebb and flow…

The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

It is folly to try to judge a piece of art independently of the circumstances surrounding its conception. A lack of awareness of those circumstances is excusable, of course, but when it comes to The Faceless, that seems quite unlikely to be the case. The Californian technical/progressive death metal band, which is probably better described as Michael Keene’s project, have been through some troubles. They made one of the most important albums of the genre in 2008 with Planetary Duality, and ever since then listeners have been looking for them to make an album that’s equally impactful. 2012’s Autotheism, regardless of its quality, wasn’t what most people wanted in that sense. After yet another 4+ year gap, and many line-up changes, tour cancellations and other drama, the band, well, Michael Keene is back with his fourth album, In Becoming A Ghost. It’s his most somber and personal album for sure, but is it a good album? Partially.

Death’s Door – September 2017

Welcome to Death’s Door! Wipe your feet on the mat. Don’t want any oil getting on the floor. Yes, you heard me correctly. Oil. OIL. Everywhere. I remember a time when Hell was just covered in blood, now we’ve got these god-forsaken machines running around everywhere. Oh, but they don’t have SOULS they said. Tell that to my hellhound. All dogs do indeed go somewhere, and it isn’t always to the pearly gates. Anyhoo, technical death metal is king of the castle in 2017, and there isn’t much we can do about it. Sentient robots, alien lifeforms, and all that jazz. What a year it’s been, and frankly the amount of amazing music still to be heard troubles me. I don’t have time for this. I have shit to do. But here we are, discussing another ferocious month of death metal insanity. Grab a bone chair and make yourself a Bloody Mary (she won’t mind), there’s some good stuff to cover.

Editors’ Picks – September 2017

At this point, it must seem like we’re long past beating a dead horse when it comes to using this space atop our Editors’ Picks column to reiterate the mantra of “there’s just too much music!” But as we’re sure many of you have noticed, the amount of new music we face on a weekly basis far outpaces the time needed to digest it all, something we were reminded of yet again when it came to facing the onslaught that was September. Not only did the month have five Friday release days instead of the usual four, each of those official marker points for new music seemed to attract an enormous quantity and quality of releases from all corners of the music landscape. When we (The Editors) finally pared down our playlists and picked our personal recommendations for the month, we found ourselves with perhaps the longest list of album suggestions we’ve ever presented to our fine readers. Among these are albums from artists both old and new that hail from nearly every genre we all listen to on  regular basis. This being the case, let’s not waste any more time and instead get to digging through the gold pile that was September.