As is the case every year we do this, the exact makeup and composition of the fine (and not so fine) people who build our ranks here at Heavy Blog shifts and changes with every passing year. In a way it’s inevitable that over time you might see the general…
Those of us music lovers who purchase and collect physical media understand the thrill of the hunt. Be it digging through crates, scoring a deal on that grail on Discogs, or getting in on the pre-order before the limited edition variant sells out, the rush of broadening the collection is one of the most fulfilling things about consuming music for much of the Heavy Blog staff. Fear of missing out (FOMO) is also a huge driving force due to the limited nature of many releases, and collectively, we tend to spend way too much money for the sake of getting in while the getting’s good. However, funds are not always in supply, and we often spend our free time adding out-of-press releases to our Discogs wantlist or staring longingly at /r/vinyl and /r/heavyvinyl in hopes of catching a contact buzz.
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 week’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!
Tristan Shone’s industrial doom project Author & Punisher is easily one of the most unique acts on the current landscape of extreme music; while many acts proudly identify as a “one-man band,” Shone’s array of handmade instruments and impeccable limb independence allows him to weave songs together by himself without relying on backtracks to get the job done, borrowing musical cues from the likes of Neurosis, Godflesh, and Helmet in the process. Leaning heavily into drone and doom on initial releases, Shone’s musical palette and production know-how have broadened the dynamic considerably.
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.
As anyone who has been following us for a while likely knows, I shot and edited a lot of live shows last year. To be frank, these are not easy to produce. Filming multicam videos of these concerts by myself is exhausting and often stressful, and editing them is a pretty significant time-suck. I’m not saying this as a “woe is me” type of thing because even though I do these for you all completely for free and they’re a lot of work, I get to see amazing bands perform for free, and I love doing this kind of work. I’m saying this though to give a little background into where I am currently as a freelance video producer/editor who has become much busier over the course of the past year. I’m not shooting as many shows these days for the reasons I just stated, but also because last year I wound up shooting so much that I couldn’t actually keep up with it all and edit everything I got.
Look on Spotify, and you’ll see a billion and a half playlists dedicated for study help and productivity and the like. (Approximately one billion and a half; no more, no less.) And that’s great and all that some people have found music that works for them, but I’ve never been able to focus with classical music or smooth jazz or any of that “calming” stuff. It’s about balance for me, between something too distracting and too calm. I, like many other modern humans, can get diverted to other things pretty easily. But to make something boring to distract one track of your mind while leaving another one to work doesn’t really pan out well. I need something that figuratively tackles that other part of my mind that wants to go and look on Facebook and pins it there. The following list contains a few albums that I like to listen to for this very purpose. And trust me, these have worked; I’ve written an innumerable amount literary analysis just to these albums alone.
The sort-of-recent trend in metal has been trying to disgust and terrify listeners with sonic bombardment. Full of Hell and The Body already made that noticeable enough with their collaboration One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache (nicely reviewed by our own Simon Handmaker), and Author & Punisher did something close to this (albeit with a heavy industrial influence) with last year’s Melk En Honing. Today, however, I’d like to bring to the table a band that is arguably a forerunner of the “grosscore” sound that we love today: Wolf Eyes.
Going over the twelve entries we’ve selected as the cream of the musical loner crop, it’s amazing to see not only the variety of genres present, but the fact that such enormous, impactful music can come from a single individual. From guitar porn to one man black metal to a whole slew of electronic subgenres, these artists prove that “strength in numbers” may not apply to everyone. Because while this crew may not have been the most social group on the playground, they spent their alone time producing some of our favorite music and proving that collaboration isn’t a necessity for quality tunes. So without further ado, sit back and reminisce with us over our favorite one person projects, or enjoy discovering what any one of these twelve musicians has to offer. And of course, feel free to comment with further suggestions of exceptional musicians who handily do it all.
I’ll say it: it’s tough to find good industrial metal nowadays. However, there are albums that still kick some major ass in the industrial gamut. Sterilizer is yet another one man industrial project headed by musician/artist Brandon Duncan. Unlike a lot of other one-person groups, however, Sterilizer manages to capture both the visual and audible sound we expect when we hear the term industrial metal, almost perfectly straddling the fence between electronic and metal music.