Here on Half-Life, we go through a band’s discography and see where they stand today compared to where they started. Pallbearer is one of metal’s rising stars and their progression has been so fun to watch. Every record has its own identity and set of surprises. To take on this project, I enlisted the assistance of my talented colleagues, Jordan Jerabek and Bill Fetty. We hope you enjoy!
Let’s state facts: Clrvynt’s preface to “The Director of ‘Maryland Deathfest: The Movie’:’Metal is the Fucking Worst'” (this is literally how the post’s title was formatted by the way, I didn’t change it) is bullshit. Running an article filled with borderline/not-really-borderline-at-all misogyny, homophobia, and very palpable hatred for a huge swath of the community you’re part of is a terrible thing to do. However, if you’ve already decided to do that, don’t cop out by writing a six-line preface nominally denouncing the opinions contained therein. At least own the fact that you’re giving shitty opinions a stage and have some honesty.
Last year, my interest was piqued by a surprise release from Woodsplitter, an instrumental solo project from Ben McLeod, guitar player of one of my favorite “new” bands, Nashville’s All Them Witches. Inflamed examines metal guitar through a variety of lenses: post, prog, death, stoner, doom, and even krautrock; showcasing an impressive variety and a refined level of comfort as each track seems to pare down to the core of what makes these sounds appeal to so many. His newest venture, Egyptian Overload explores an even wider swath of sounds and textures, plus the addition of saxophone. I asked Ben a few questions about the project, the rawness of his latest record, and future plans.
Man, 2017, y’all. We realize that it’s kind of our m.o. to be proponents of the whole “Golden Age of Metal” narrative and be incredibly positive about the consistently great level of stuff that is being put out from pretty much every part of the musical spectrum, but it’s such an easy thing to do when we are so constantly bombarded with new material that utterly consumes our attention. Even in months where one of us might not have as many new albums that really impressed them, without doubt there will be another one who could barely keep up because of all the superb releases from genres they pay close attention to. This April has certainly been no different in that regard, and we have a whole slew of top-notch albums to recommend to you all.
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.
Welcome back to our interview with Flesh of the Stars! For those just seeing this for the first time, we ran the first part, which focused on their new record Anhilla, on Friday. This time around, we’re gonna be discussing Matt’s obsession with synthesizers and electric pianos, and the band’s thoughts on the…
I’ve been on a post black metal binge right now and let me tell you, I regret absolutely nothing. The stylistic fringes are doing some great things right now, perhaps feeding off of the general momentum black metal seems to have in 2017. As part of this slew of new bands, UK based Asira have carved something of their own niche within my rotation. I’ve seen black metal tinged with almost everything but progressive rock is a new one for me. That’s exactly what Efference does though: into the dream-y tremolo riffs and weighty blastbeats, it injects raw, treble focused solos that best belong on a Led Zeppelin album. Alongside, it also includes clean vocals and ambient sections which remind one of King Crimson or Yes. Yeah, I know, right? Head on below for your listen
Rough week! We have some news to discuss, and Ben of Hadal Maw to interview, but technical issues keep getting in the way. Also, bonus points if you can tell me what artist the episode title is referencing. Beyond having a neat conversation with Ben about the Australian scene and his writing process, we discuss some news with Eden, mainly new music from No Sin Evades His Gaze, Ulsect, The Acacia Strain, Artificial Brain, Alpha Brutal, Orm and Slugdge. Also Violet Cold got signed, maybe? Enjoy.
It seems to come up every time a new record pops up within the niche that Gorguts, Portal, and Deathspell Omega built; there’s not much room left in the sphere of dissonant, atmospheric, and abstract extreme metal due to the limitations of the style. Murk chords and blastbeats can only carry a record for so long (as we’ve seen with first casualty Plebeian Grandstand), and the novelty is wearing thin. Bands such as Ulcerate and Sunless thrive on the death metal end of the spectrum by offering depth and creative riffing, but black metal has yet to have much success in challenging Deathspell’s monolithic reach. Dutch black metallers Dodecahedron are the best bet at carrying the torch into new territory, whose debut five years ago came (from seemingly) out of nowhere and quickly reached cult status. The group, who has significant ties to prog-fusion group Exivious, takes a more overtly progressive and technical approach to the sound, and therefore, into further extremities.
“Blackgaze” is now a thing. It’s been confirmed. Just don’t use Deafheaven as the only example. Any new genre needs new blood to keep the momentum high and, though they may not sit perfectly within the designated safety lines, Ruetz are the blackened torch bearers this slightly kooky movement needs. Blackened hardcore when the hardcore needs to be blackened and post-gaze enough to keep the indie kids tapping brown leather shoes to the beat, debut salvo Melanoma stares at it’s trotters long enough to be a gaze. Thankfully, the gaze is short lived and the fun parts move firmly to front of stage.