31 – Therein Lies The Beauty

Yay, I get to talk about one of my favorite bands with this week’s BALLS DEEP. It’s Dark Tranquillity, with two Ls! We got a bunch of news this week, including new material and announcements from Periphery (new album teaser), Devin Townsend Project (terrible new album artwork), Rings of Saturn (signed to Nuclear Blast), The Official Zakk Wylde “Emjoi” Set (why), Rage Against The Machine (more like Prophets of Rage), Insomnium (cool concept album), Between the Buried and Me (they’re mature now), Black Crown Initiate (grab Wes Hauch), Gojira (cool new song), WRVTH (live studio video), NAILS (should have spelled it NVILS to be cool (then it looks kind of like ANVILS (what happens when a band with a V in their name try to do the V-ification, like ANVILS–>VNVILS, that looks pretty weird (though it has that self-aware stupid quality to it that some bands seem to love (yes I’m intentionally dragging out these parantheses (wake me up inside)))))). We also discuss the passing of Adrian Guerra of Bell Witch, and briefly gibe our thoughts on the new Hatebreed which we both ended up listening to. Then the balls deep! Also, we talk about some cool stuff in the cool people section.

Hey! Listen To Element Of Chaos!

Much like their Italian peers in Destrage, Rome’s Element of Chaos is quirky as hell and completely unafraid to shift genres at the drop of a hat, all while maintaining a constant heavy edge. Though the band formed in 2007, they’ve flown under my radar until the band just released A New Dawn, an impressive and interesting take on prog-metal, metalcore, and even full-on video game music thanks to the album’s absurdly bombastic keyboard performances. The bulk of their sound is rooted in the chuggy riffing that’s come to be synonymous with so many modern prog bands, but there are also plenty of moments that harken to new-age Between the Buried and Me and Mr. Bungle as well, particularly one of the album’s most interesting and visceral moments, “Mutant Circus Manifesto.” With plenty of unbridled fury and cyclonic keyboard work that’d make bands like Last Chance to Reason and HORSE the Band nod their heads in approval, this is definitely some new metal to keep your eyes on.

Hey! Listen To Aionios!

Roughly two weeks ago, I saw Intronaut live for the fourth time. As always, their show did not disappoint. However, Scale The Summit did not play my date, so instead I found out there would be some local bands on the bill as the openers before North and Intronaut went on. One of…

Cyborg Octopus – Learning To Breathe

Every year there’s this one progressive metal band that suddenly delivers this completely fresh sound and changes the perception of what the genre can do. Last year it was Native Construct, before that A Sense Of Gravity, then Persefone, 2012 had Gods of Eden, and 2011 had The Odious. These bands all have a common narrative in that they both paid great respect to the core sound that is commonly associated with the label, but they also pushed it with creative influences and blended genres into their mix seamlessly. Cyborg Octopus are poised to do the same for 2016, and their debut Learning to Breathe is a brilliant exploration of styles and songwriting that delivers on several levels.

Progress, Erase, Improve? The Case For Progressive Death Metal

My fingers itch to start this article with yet another semi-apologetic defense of the use of sub-genres but I’ll resist that urge. By now, I’m sure most of you are aware of the way I approach such things and why I find them useful. If you’re not, head on over to my Taxonomy of Progressive Metal piece to get a good idea. Funnily enough (or not) we start here as well from Progressive Metal; in this case, we’re going to take a look at a vanishing category, a branch in the extensive history of the genre that, somehow, disappeared. That category is progressive death, a style which first flourished in the mid 90’s but was then swept away in favor of both revisionism and the laziness that permeates most human interactions. Instead of retaining its clearly distinct and unique attributes and standing out as another pillar within metal, it was somehow sublimated, swallowed into a category with which it had a few conjoining points, consumed like in a weird osmosis.

Beyond the Veil: A Match Made in Seven, or Progressive Metal’s Affair With 7/8

Welcome to “Beyond the Veil”! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those who don’t necessarily have a music theory background.