If you’re in the northern hemisphere like most of you who read this site, then you’re no doubt enjoying the benefits of natural seasonal changes as the nightmare that was winter 2015 has given way to a beautiful spring. And if you’re in the southern hemisphere — particularly if you’re in Australia, as many of our readers are — you’re almost certainly feeling the relief of more tolerable temperatures as your summer has given way to fall and is quickly approaching winter. Either way, all over the world we’re entering the magical time of year known as Festival Season. Many of the biggest and best bands in the world (and leagues of smaller ones as well) are preparing to set out for various tours and huge outdoor festivals that will attract thousands upon thousands of individuals. The global festival circuit has become so huge and varied though that it can be nearly impossible to know where even to start if you’re looking to travel to one.
We’re here to help! Obviously there are far too many metal festivals around the world for us to provide anywhere near a comprehensive list, but we asked our staff to highlight a few festivals on 3 continents — North America, Europe, and Australia (apologies to the rest of the world as we only have so many staff members from different places). Check them all out below!
New Hampshire post-black metal outfit Vattnet Viskar are poised to release a 2015 highlight (and possibly their best work yet!) with their upcoming record Settler. A lot of post-black bands these days tend to be on the flowery side of the spectrum, but what makes Vattnet Viskar such a great act is that they really do feel like a solid meld of black metal and the type of expansive post-metal descended from the strings of Neurosis rather than anything in the vicinity of Alcest or Deafheaven. So in case you’re unfamiliar with the act, don’t judge them by their genre and the peculiar album artwork — which, by the way, was inspired by this photo of Christa McAuliffe, the schoolteacher who was killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Kinda changes things, yeah?
Early last month post-black metal outfit Vattnet Viskar announced their sophomore album, Settler, with few details attached. Since then we’ve received new information in drips and drabs. The artwork you see above is the cover art, and if it looks a bit cheesy and strange and other words not normally associated with good (particularly for a band as heavy as VV), well, there’s at least a pretty good reason for that. Settler is purportedly about Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from Vattnet guitarist Chris Alfieri’s hometown of Concord, NH. McAuliffe was selected by NASA to ride up in the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986 — yes, that Challenger. The cover art is based off of an old photograph of McAuliffe prior to the launch. So it’s got that going for it.
More importantly, Vattnet have released the first single to the new album, which is the title track “Settler.” Listen to it after the jump!
Much to the chagrin of black metal purists, 2015 will (probably) contain releases from the genre’s two greatest “antagonists.” Yet, unless Deafheaven’s slated third offering is absolutely abysmal, The Ark Work will effortlessly restore Liturgy as the most reviled act in…well, whatever genre the band is nestled within at this point. For saying that The Ark Work is “not truly black metal” is more so factual than accusative, something that front man – and pretension connoisseur – Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has acknowledged. Currently, the essential question concerning Liturgy is whether they are misguidedly earnest in their message or attempting to troll “transcending” music intellectuals and seething metal purists alike. But quite frankly, whether the answer is the former or the latter, The Ark Work is too shoddy for it to matter either way.
If you’re still kickin’ yourself for passing up the nearest stop on the string of shows that was St. Catharines hardcore band Alexisonfire’s farewell tour back in 2012, we’ve got some pretty great news for you. If you’re among those who justified dishing out a little extra cash for a prized ticket to one of these dates, ‘cause hey, “it’s the last tour they’ll ever play!”, we’ve got some less than great news for you. Yesterday, not three years after calling ‘er quits, the band announced a reunion tour set to take place at a string of festivals over the course of summer 2015. Head on over the jump for the full details!
On paper, the idea of “blackened dreampop” is an alarming prospect that is sure to raise ire and eyebrows alike, sickening the staunchest of purists along the way. Acts within the post-black metal school of thought have been pulling pages from new wave for years now, but few acts dare to combine the gritty visceral nature of black metal with blatantly accessible (and at times, major key) melodies and lush synthesizers. Enigmatic experimental three-piece An Autumn For Crippled Children have been hinting at and toying with these influences in various degrees for some time along the black metal periphery, finally biting the bullet with 2013’s try not to destroy everything you love (and even more so with its remix EP) by pushing the emphasis in favor of keyboards over guitars.
During his time as weekend editor here, one of the consistently most popular features Brian Shields would run was the What We’re Really Listening To column, which would ask either Heavy Blog staff or musicians to share the music they’ve been jamming the most recently. We’ve decided that it was too fun an idea to not continue, so we’re picking up where he left off. It should come as no surprise that we at HBIH are constantly listening to music, and as an effort to recommend as many quality tunes as possible, here is a glimpse into what has been dominating our playlists for the past week.
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.
Head past the jump to see which records have been receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
The enigmatic An Autumn For Crippled Children are one of our favorite independent acts in general, let alone within the realm of black metal. The synth-abusing avant garde trio manage to make waves solely on word of mouth alone, because if they have a publicist, they aren’t doing their job properly. Two years after blowing Deafheaven‘s Sunbather out of the water for best post-black metal record of 2013 with try not to destroy everything you love (it’s true; fight me), the group are back again with The Long Goodbye, to be released next week! How are we just now hearing about this?!
Sannhet, an instrumental blackened post-metal act from NYC, released their debut album, Known Flood, in February of 2013. Now, they’re ready to premiere the title track from their next foray, Revisionist. Sannhet’s brand of powerful and dark instrumentation colors the usual sludge elements of post-metal with dreamy, shoegazy black metal metal riffing that gives the guitars a huge amount of room to explore and meander through the lush soundscapes. Imagine a somber, wandering mix of Deafheaven and Russian Circles, and you hit the mark pretty perfectly with their sound.
Atmospheric and post-black metal is all the rage these days and while it has shown some signs of slowing down, there are bands still operating under the genre’s admittedly all-encompassing umbrella and creating some highly interesting and artful music. Seattle-based experimental act Addaura is one such band that is getting attention lately as the group’s latest three-track release …and the lamps expire. is getting quite a bit of love through Bandcamp — at least 150 people paid the minimum $1 price tag, which is a feat in and of itself for a band so relatively unheard of. On first listen, it’s abundantly clear why the act is getting so much support.