Progressive death metal outfit Entheos have had a productive three years, to say the least. 2015 saw their formation, shortly followed by the release of their debut EP Primal. 2016 saw the departure of founding guitarist Frank Costa and the introduction of their new guitarist, Malcolm Pugh. Frank had already recorded all of the rhythm guitars for the bands first full length album, so Malcolm came in and knocked out the lead guitars so that The Infinite Nothing could be unleashed upon the world. Only two months after the album’s release, the band announced the departure of Malcolm Pugh and in the same breath announced that former Scale the Summit guitarist Travis LeVrier would be taking his place in the band permanently. Now, in the latter half of 2017 we have received their second album, Dark Future, recorded in the early part of this year.
It’s easy to see why Winds of Plague are the butt of jokes in “internet metal circles”. As they rose to popularity during the most oversaturated era of deathcore, their imagery and lyrical content was mostly emblematic of all the tropes of the genre. Their most recognizable songs were aggressively simplistic thematically and musically. This reception is almost a shame, because Winds of Plague have always had a brilliant band hidden somewhere in that well of unrealized potential. The entirety of The Great Stone War, which was a progressive deathcore showcase, and tracks like “Angels of Debauchery” from their debut showcased the band’s more creative and clever aspects, but it’s also undeniable that the band brought this upon themselves with tracks like “Reloaded”. Regardless, there’s been a small contingent of fans wishing for a return to the more nuanced and epic sound that they often hinted at. After 4 years and a nearly-entirely-new lineup, the band returns with Blood of My Enemy, which doesn’t fully satisfy that craving, but is a massive step in the right direction for the band.
The word “savage” gets thrown around in conversations about extreme music a lot. Honestly, too much. Way too much. So much in fact that the word itself has begun to lose any and all meaning. You know the argument: If everything is savage, nothing is. Because pulling out the thesaurus…
We’re at a point where a hot shit, flavour of the month band can become old hat moments after they are touted as the next big thing. It’s so easy to lose track of who’s who, what’s hot and not and generally what the hell is happening in music and it’s always gonna be impossible to hear everything good out there. That’s where Heavy Blog, and others like us, come in. We have our core features focusing on specific genres—what’s up Grind My Gears fans?!—but today I’m lumping together bands who’s only similarity is their shared suffix. They’re all “core” in some form or another. To make things more digestible, I’ve even added a strapline for each, covering their sound in one fantastically humorous sentence. Please, enjoy and rock responsibly.
Only three albums into their career, the angry Aussies in Thy Art is Murder are a household name not only in deathcore, but extreme metal as a whole. The fourth album can be a tough place to be in for an established band, especially if your sophomore and junior releases are as good as Hate and Holy War. Though well-established and on the path to even more exposure and success, the band are still not immune to the possibility of dropping something that may not completely meet the expectations of their fans all over the globe and tainting their reputation of quality releases. Fortunately for those anticipating their senior album Dear Desolation, there is no disappointment to worry about. With this album, the band have dug their heels deeper into the dirt of what they do best and risen to the occasion by not only meeting the standards of previous albums but also setting new ones.
No, there hasn’t been a glitch somewhere in the Heavy Blog matrix. This is a review of a Rings of Saturn album in the year of our egg, 2017. The sci-fi loving deathcore darlings (ahem) release another blast of widdly diddly death metal full of sweeps, synths and other worldly references too obscure for this writer to care about looking up. Look, if they are going to be lazy enough to record each note at a time then you won’t catch me doing the hard work either. In the few short years since Lugal Ki En was released, the world of technically leaning death metal has spawned some outrageously talented acts; Archspire and Inanimate Existence are the golden boys of tech-death, leaving breakdowns and breeing behind. Do Rings of Saturn still belong in a world that belongs to bands like this? Can they save the world from the alien invasion of tech-death newcomvers?
For fifteen years The Acacia Strain have used brown noise breakdowns and violent lyrical images to win fans worldwide. Whether it’s viewed as dumb narcissism or tailor made nihilism, the music has been used as a weapon to destroy venues and listeners auditory health. Any consumer of extreme music who is aware of this band should be able to tell their sound apart from the droves of down tempo and beatdown acts that infest music today. But with a constant record-tour-record cycle that has seen them shed virtually all of their original members along the way, can they continue to impress at the same level? Do they wind their collective neck in and continue to please the fans or is their room for any form of evolution in their sound? Does anyone still want to hear this anyway? Gravebloom answers all three of these questions. It has The Acacia Strain at their most destructive, venom spitting best, taking cues from the colossal closing act of 2014’s Coma Witch and toying with a sound rooted in doom and gloom; making damn sure that people will pay attention to the world’s angriest band again.
What’s the difference between a good concept album and a shit one? Hard to say. Does it depend on the lyrical content? Thematic refrain and reprisal? Who knows. There’s even sneaky concept albums, the likes of which the layman listener wouldn’t even begin to fathom had intentions beyond riff, chorus, solo, repeat. The Cold Sun might be one of these; Loathe seem like a band bold enough to attempt such a thing on their debut full length. What isn’t up for debate is this – The Cold Sun is just about all filler. Twelve tracks. Six songs. Zero (or damn close to it) cares.
Like it or not, a whole bunch of the staff at Heavy Blog “grew up” on deathcore in the mid to late 2000’s. Some love to admit it and some loathe to—some didn’t listen to it at all because they were clearly more well-adjusted to life and stuff. With a decade of deathcore now (well and truly) behind us, it’s probably an appropriate time to look at some of the genre’s most notable releases in that time. As it’s 2017, let’s start with 2007 (well done, mathletes) and the first full length from California lyric shirt pioneers Suicide Silence. If your favourite deathcore release came out in 2006 then sorry, look elsewhere.
It’s never a great feeling to see a creative band struggle to find its identity. It’s even more painful when the band is so close to getting the formula right, but just can’t seem to put in the extra effort to connect the pieces. Perhaps Halfway Human is a more apt title than it initially sounds for Within the Ruins’s fifth album. Halfway to perfection, and entirely human with its flaws. Shining beacons of brilliance stuffed in between songs seemingly written in auto-pilot make this an enjoyable, yet disappointing experience.