Soul Curator // Winter Albums

For most New Englanders, winter is pinnacle of all that is horrible and tedious about living in the Northeast—it’s full of dark days, cold weather, abundant strains of the flu, and more shoveling-related back injuries than you can count. To be fair, though, I actually like it. I adore the…

The Metal Industry’s Top 30 Albums Of 2016

Last year I took it upon myself not only to organize and compile our own staff’s AOTY list, but to take things one insane step further and compile a bunch of lists from major metal or metal-covering publications and websites into one MEGA AOTY list to rule them all. Eden and I then analyzed the list and made some (mostly snarky) comments about the metal journalism industry and how they approach these sorts of things. Though I still 100% stand by what we wrote there and the conclusions we drew from it, I was really interested in seeing how well some of them would stand up to another year to use as a data point. Thankfully, this year I had a lot of help in all of our list-making efforts thanks to fellow editor Noyan, who put a ton of work into coming up with the method we ended up using to aggregate our lists (if you haven’t already, you should absolutely read his post delving into the nitty-gritty of that methodology) and then did the actual number-crunching.

Listen As Season of Mist and Roman Sayenko Dig Deep Into the Folk Roots of Black Metal

Season of Mist teamed up in 2014 with Drudkh frontman Roman Sayenko to remedy the implicitness of folk tradition within black metal. Together, they gave us an underrated gem of an album called One and All, Together, for Home. It is nothing else but a collaboration album spanning various traditions, sounds and histories to shine a light on some of the folk music that acts as fuel for black metal. The roster includes the aforementioned Primordial, but also Haive, Winterfylleth, Kampfar and more. Together, they’ve compiled an album made up of a rich tapestry of styles, from true-to-source renditions of ancient songs to more metal oriented interpretations of said melodies. The guidelines for the contributing acts seem to have fast and loose and thus, the album features varied and disparate approaches, lending it a strong sense of personal, creative identity.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 12/2/16

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.

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Once upon a funeral moon, Darkthrone was a band cloaked in mystery and steeped in intrigue. They rarely gave interviews except for a select few underground fanzines, were never seen photographed aside from album layouts, and never played live. They were the personification of “kvlt”; a band feared and revered for their complete abandonment of the self-described “silly, trendy death metal” style and full embrace of the aesthetics and sound of minimalist black metal. Taking cues from Burzum and pioneers like Celtic Frost, Venom, and Bathory, they endeavored to set the underground ablaze with the most raw and primitive black metal to possibly be generated by a shoddy basement recording. The results are well documented history.

Oathbreaker – Rheia

As Fenriz (of Darkthrone/now political fame) once said, the line between black and crust was inevitably erased with the release of His Hero Is Gone’s monumental album “Monuments To Thieves”. At first this blurring of genres was subtle as artists found success in one another’s respective scenes. Then, as artists like Fall Of Efrafra and Nux Vomica began to emerge with the turn of the century what was once truly a line in the sand was fully erased. Black metal bands swarmed to crust stylings in force and vica-versa. Soon a whole new generation of artists had emerged and it became standard that no black metal album was complete with out a d-beat and no crust album without a black metal riff. It was during these years that West Flander’s/Belgium’s Oathbreaker began to find their footing with an abrasive, but often heavily melodic, blend of post hardcore, hardcore, and black metal. Like many of their peers at the time they leaned heavily into the more crust/hardcore oriented territory of their sound, but with Rheia Oathbreaker finally breaks free of this constraint, bringing their influences full circle to create an intoxicating, dynamic album.

47 – Might As Well Call Us SeasonOfMistCast

Yeah, we love pretty much everything on Season of Mist. So what? This week we talk about new music from Thy Catafalque, Brain Drill, Opeth, Snowy Shaw, SHOKRAN (teaser here), Noctem, Victor Wooten’s new band Octavision, Oxiplegatz, Exotype, Sleep Token, Hannes Grossmann, and Watchtower. Then we go over some news, like Darkthrone’s Fenriz getting elected for city council, Persefone announcing a new album, Sikth reissuing Death of a Dead Day, and Enslaved announcing a rarities collection. Then we discuss two albums that have been on our minds: Insomnium’s Winter’s Gate, and Misery Index’s The Killing Gods. We introduce our new segment, “Underrated release highlight of the week” – this week we talk about Arkona’s Yav. Finally, we talk about our process for discovering and ingesting new music. Enjoy! Also cool people time has some cool stuff.

45 – An Apple A Day Keeps The Spotify Away

This week we’re joined by fellow editor Nick again! And as you can probably tell from the title, we talk about some streaming service drama! Specifically, the trainwreck that followed Frank Ocean’s new Apple Music exclusive album, the UMG salt that followed, and Spotify stirrings in relation to industry trends. But wait, there’s more industry drama! A former Victory Records employee wrote a huge expose talking about all the stuff that goes down in the label, confirming the suspicions of many. We then talk about SubRosa and their interview about the music they wrote in relation to the Mormon church’s treatment of LGBTQI individuals. We talk about a bunch of new music and music-related announcements as well. Including: poorly-realized analogies about post/weird-death metal involving Ulcerate, Coma Cluster Void, Car Bomb, Negura Bunget, Meshuggah, Mithras (and more Mithras), Allegaeon’s Rush cover, WRVTH being awesome, In Flames being terrible (seriously), Ninjaspy, Darkthrone, Emperor, Brujeria (and their tongue-in-cheek interview), Ion Dissonance, Leander Kills, The Dear Hunter and The Aurora Borealis Project x Drewsif Stalin’s Musical Endeavors. Finally, we talk about the passing of Tom Searle of Architects. Enjoy! (the episode, hopefully, not the terrible news)

Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith

Black metal has always been one of heavy music’s most simultaneously expressive and self-limiting subgenres. It’s probably why a huge portion of former bands have either disbanded after only a few releases or simply abandoned the aesthetic completely. At this point in the genre’s history, it’s honestly pretty rare to…