It seems as if 2016 is a fantastic year for science fiction themed metal. From the gnarly, twisted tales of Vektor to the bombastic space opera of Khonsu, metal about science fiction is seemingly everywhere. Well, the time to draw up the data-tablet and add one more name before the year is done has arrived; Hollow Earth are set to release their Dead Planet on the 2nd of December and boy is it science fiction. It’s also a damn good album, offering a strange mix between metalcore and sludge, of all things. This seemingly paradoxical mix yields a uniquely aggressive album, channeling the different and often opposite timbers of the two genres into an impossible, astral beast.
Progressive stoner metal is in an interesting place right now. On one hand, there’s a slew of releases being published. Bands like Family, Warm, King Goat and, of course, Intronaut and Baroness are all bringing their on take on odd time signatures veiled in thick riffs and a waft of smoke. However, there are also appears to be a certain lethargy and repetitiveness which is inherent to the sub-genre as a whole. Something about the main type of dynamic between vocals, riffs and production is stagnant, going beyond signature and style and into the realms of repetition and imitation. It’s a good thing then that we have Barishi to break the mold. Their brand of progressive stoner metal takes plenty of risks and is the better for it; Blood From a Lion’s Mouth was released a couple of weeks and is a great indication of the possibilities of the genre.
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.
Continuing their onslaught in support of Purple [review], Baroness embarked on another 24-date leg for the latest record. Their full, rich sound graced the stage of Chicago’s Metro on August 21st, where we’ve previously seen the likes of Abbath [photos] and Devin Townsend Project [photos], offering a slight southern rock…
We haven’t talked about them frequently around here, but Brooklyn-based progressive stoner/sludge outfit FAMILY are a band any fan of the harder and heavier sounds of Mastodon or Baroness should really be listening to. We loved their most recent album Future History for its awesome mixture of killer riffs, triumphant energy, and tasteful injection of other, more diverse elements. Hands-down one of the best examples of that is “Precedent,” a behemoth of a track that clocks in at a little under 7 minutes and never lets go. I had a chance to work with them recently on a guitar playthrough for the track, and I’m pleased to be premiering it right here!
Something is a-buzzing within the progressive stoner community. We’re barely past the half way mark and the number of great albums released in the genre is steadily increasing. In light of such a process, the definitions of the genre are being challenged, as is only natural; in times of such rapid expansion is when sub-genres are born. From the slower, smoke-drenched Boss Keloid, through the more progressive oriented Illudium, right up to the all together hectic Tardive Dyskinesia, progressive stoner metal is beginning to splinter. However, just as important to this process is a clearly defined center, an essence from which the rest of these experimenters can draw. Where should one look for such a center? How do you even define it?
Luckily, the work of the righteous is often done by others and Lady Luck has mercifully rid us of our conundrum. Through the ways of the inbox, we have been presented with Family’s Future History and within it, we have found our center. The album contains everything that progressive stoner metal is doing today and does so in a lucid, well thought out and delivered manner. However, it never strays too far from the basic trappings of the definition. That’s what makes it so perfect for our needs. It represents a snapshot of a movement, a frozen moment that is immediately understandable to anyone versed in the ideas and sounds of the emerging mode.
Baroness returned to Vancouver playing at the famous Commodore Ballroom to play an amazing set covering their four albums. With each song came clever lighting that matched which album the song was from. Mostly being 2016’s Purple and pasts Green/Yellow. Purple is like a new train of thought for Baroness. You can feel with each song how they have grown and progressed as a band with a heightened level of technicality, groove, and melody. Which only seems natural to any fan who knows of the bands past. Their live show is no different. Every aspect of the production exceeded expectations. The setlist was well rounded and the stage presence of the band was top notch, but don’t take my word for it. The photos speak for themselves.
Joining Baroness for a mini-tour of the west coast was Heiress of Seattle who put on an intense and loud show that would appeal to any fan of Baroness’ earlier works. After seeing them live I honestly cant think of many bands that could have complimented Baroness better. Kudos to Heiress!
Given the huge cult followings of metal pioneers like Isis and Botch, it’s honestly quite puzzling why Sumac didn’t completely explode last year with their debut LP, The Deal. It felt like some of frontman Aaron Turner’s most inspired and chaotic material ever, constantly ebbing-and-flowing between angular/dissonant hardcore and pummeling…
Nothing beats some great sludge metal. Bands like Mastodon and Baroness always seem to scratch that itch for me, and I never get tired of jamming their stuff. It’s a very simple genre to get into, mostly because it’s filled with tons of bands with great riffs and heavy rhythm sections. Druids are a…
Norway’s Kvelertak experienced an explosive arrival to the metal scene in 2010 with the release of their universally acclaimed self-titled debut. Buzz spread almost overnight as their would-be niche black n’ roll experience found worldwide audiences and the attention of major label Roadrunner Records. The unabashedly catchy blend of black metal, hardcore punk, and cheesy classic rock riffs was a new experience to such a wide audience, and Kvelertak was quick to become a landmark album not just because of its novelty, but because of its genuinely exciting songs. So where are we now, six years and two albums later?