The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

It is folly to try to judge a piece of art independently of the circumstances surrounding its conception. A lack of awareness of those circumstances is excusable, of course, but when it comes to The Faceless, that seems quite unlikely to be the case. The Californian technical/progressive death metal band, which is probably better described as Michael Keene’s project, have been through some troubles. They made one of the most important albums of the genre in 2008 with Planetary Duality, and ever since then listeners have been looking for them to make an album that’s equally impactful. 2012’s Autotheism, regardless of its quality, wasn’t what most people wanted in that sense. After yet another 4+ year gap, and many line-up changes, tour cancellations and other drama, the band, well, Michael Keene is back with his fourth album, In Becoming A Ghost. It’s his most somber and personal album for sure, but is it a good album? Partially.

Wave // Breaker – The G

The G, an “LA guy in Singapore,” burst onto the scene this year with his debut album Postcards from LA which the man himself describes as “a love letter to the California coast. I made it while I was preparing to leave, and wanted to express my feelings for the stretch of coast from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara—which has so much romance for me. It’s a deeply nostalgic record, which to me conveys warmth with maybe a touch of sadness.” His sophomore release, Cosmopolis, is very much attuned in the same way as it’s been touted as a “retro-futuristic road trip” since its release. “It’s still road music” The G declared. “So in that sense it is similar to Postcards. But it’s about the future, with all its promise and foreboding, and it’s about the romance of looking up to the stars and wondering what’s out there.” The G went on to elaborate, explaining that “I think it has a lot more emotional range than Postcards. So much synthwave is emotionally monotonic—like, “summer, summer, summer” or “dark, dark, dark.” Cosmopolis is a bit of both. There are upbeat songs, like “Arcology” or “Reunited,” and moody ones, like “Shadows in the Neon Rain” or “Stars That Fade.” I’m not always in the same mood, so why should my music be? I’d rather take listeners on a journey. A lot of my favorite albums take that approach, like 88:88.”

Street Sects – Rat Jacket

We’ve already vilified ourselves for missing Street Sects’s 2016 monster End Position, and if you haven’t heard it either, feel free to go spin the record now and share in our shame. The duo of multi-instrumentalist Shaun Ringsmuth and vocalist Leo Ashline came through with an exceptional dose of hyper-aggressive synth punk on End Position, making a bold statement in a genre defined by intensifying punk and its offshoots’ many disparate mannerisms. Not only was the album a debut that far exceeded the benchmark for a successful freshman full-length, it received well-deserved praise from the fickle beast that is the indie blogosphere. Perhaps the album’s success can be attributed to endorsement of well-respected “dark music” label The Flenser, or it could be due to the growing acceptance of heavy music as part of “normal” music consumption. However, there’s one undisputed factor for End Positions’s success, being the album’s undeniably impressive blend of industrial music and hardcore punk in a way that synth punk hasn’t seen done this well before. Seriously, if you haven’t heard this record, stop reading and go listen to it now; I won’t be offended, I promise.

Unmetal Monday – 7/24/2017

There’s a lot happening in the music world, and we here at Heavy Blog try our very best to keep up with it! Like the vast majority of heavy music fans, our tastes are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which covers noteworthy tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. This week, we’ll be highlighting a few albums and tracks that struck our fancy over the past few weeks. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 5/26/17

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.

Ulver – The Assassination of Julius Caesar

Art is less concerned with clear borders or delimitation. In fact, it thrives where uncertainty flourishes, giving us a wordless dictionary to help us understand, empathize, and connect with phenomena too nebulous for a direct approach. The artist (and this is no original thought, as reading any number of countless thinkers on aesthetics will show you) is more of a mediator than an explainer, someone who is able to speak both the odd un-language of art and the odd language of our daily lives. Ulver have always understood this. From their black metal roots, channeling the wild indifference of nature, and through their by-now countless transformations, they have served as a unique trumpet for the unintelligible and yet impossible to ignore intonations that flash ceaselessly across the skies of our culture.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 3/31/17

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.

Heavy Blog Primer – Our Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

Though it may seem like we talked ad naseum about how fucking spectacular 2016 was in terms of new music, the fact remains that we saw more fantastic albums drop than we could seemingly keep up with. But just when we thought our palates were satiated, here comes 2017 with an excellent early roster of release announcements, some we’ve expected for a while and others that came out of nowhere. The following is a surely incomplete list of all the albums worth craving as we ring in the new year. Some of these albums have been fully announced with pre-order links and all that jazz, while others are merely probable assumptions based on various updates on social media. Regardless, these are all phenomenal projects worth looking for in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to comment with some albums you’re anticipating so we can share in your excitement.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 12/15/16

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.