Edguy – Monuments

Edguy’s Monuments does a pretty great job as far as compilations go. Not only does Edguy include an EP’s worth of new material, they also include a DVD of live performances, and a never before released track from their classic days when they weren’t the German hard rock superstars that they are today. Hardcore fans like myself will find many reasons to pick this thing up and new listeners will find this release a great starting place for Edguy. Monuments showcases the power metal/hard rock masters perfectly in currently forms and presents a unique chance to look back at the band’s impressive career.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Listen to Cryptodira’s “Integral” Cover of Cynic

Cynic are one of the greatest metal bands of our generation, regardless of their current status or one’s opinions of their latest releases. Perhaps one of the most decisive signs of that is how their tracks work both in their quiet, intimate version and the original epic ones. Thus, Re-traced in Air remains an immensely impressive album, perhaps one of the most impressive of its type (Opeth’s Damnation would be another one or Devin Townsend’s Unplugged). With their skill, Cynic birthed a plethora of progressive metal bands and can be credited as one of the progenitors of progressive metal in general. One such band, who have always worn their influences on their sleeves is Cryptodira. While we would LOVE to tell you that we have new material from these guys (“soon!”, the promise us), we do have a cover of Cynic’s “Integral” by the band. Check it out below.

88 – Streaming & Salt

Those of you who like controversial topics, we’ve got them this week! Jay-Z gaming the RIAA with Sprint to make his latest album go platinum, Spotify creating “fake music” to game their own algorithms for profit (read this article!), Soundcloud laying off 40% of their staff, and the all-female music festival in Sweden. These take up a good bit of our time. We also discuss metal though! The new Archspire song (we manage to make this controversial too), new music from Stargazer, Contaminated, and Blind Guardian’s new live album. Speaking of live, Eden went to Be Prog! My Friend and somehow thinks we care about his adventures there, so let’s listen to him talk about Leprous, Mike Portnoy playing Dream Theater songs with Haken, Anathema, Jethro Tull (lol), Devin Townsend, Animals as Leaders, etc. We then reflect on how well Vildhjarta’s Masstaden has aged. Finally we discuss something actually fun, a.k.a. Spider-Man: Homecoming! Also Ratchet & Clank, I guess. Enjoy!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 7/8/17

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.

87 – Honorary French

Eden is away colonializing, so we have fellow writer and regular substitute-Eden Ahmed back on this week! We have some really interesting discussions. We discuss how Jay-Z’s new album has a poor business model with its Tidal exclusivity. Funny thing is, in the day between the recording and release of this podcast, he managed to put his foot in his mouth and decided to release the album for free for non-Tidal subscribers! The salt during the episode is still interesting. We then discuss a questionable Hatebreed shirt, and the Nevermore stand-in Dead Season and their awesome new album Prophecies. Then we continue the deep segment on Devin Townsend, discussing Ziltoid, Deconstruction, Z2 and Transcendence. Spoilers: Ahmed is a MASSIVE Devin fan. Finally, we go into an extended freeform discussion about tunings in tech death which goes off the rails in many ways. Along the road we talk about the upcoming Wintersun album, the recently released Igorrr album, Andy McKee and more. Enjoy!

85 – Danish Bullshit

I’m back, and so is Eden, so we have a normal episode for once! And it’s a glorious trainwreck. We talk about new music, including Myrkur, The Arusha Accord, Akercocke, Leprous, Igorrr, Fractal Universe, ZETA, The Contortionist, The Faceless, and Queens of the Stone Age. Also, Gene Simmons of KISS trying to trademark the metal horns. We have an extended discussion on bands appropriating spiritualism and eastern philosophy and then do the first part of a deep segment on Devin Townsend. Specifically Strapping Young Lad and Devin Townsend Band. This one’s a wild ride, so enjoy!

Hey! Listen to Hugo Kant!

There are many genres out there who have a propensity for mediocrity. It’s not that the genre is bad. On the contrary, much of it is enjoyable. The issue is that not much goes beyond enjoyable, never quite scratching beneath the surface of the initial infatuation. Trip hop is one of those genres. Its essential qualities have their own, intrinsic allure: something about the rhythm schemes of hip hop merged with a chiller atmosphere just has its appeal. However, most of it has become routine, never doing anything interesting with the basic trip hop formula. Not Hugo Kant though who, reminding us of artists like Floex or even Devin Townsend’s Casualties of Cool in certain ways, blends guest vocalists, clever samples, a variety of instruments, and just an overall sense of cool into his trip hop. Get below for your first taste.

Today “We’re Holding On to Nothing” With Fortis Amor

With little to no information, I got my hands on Fortis Amor’s latest tracks. Who in god’s name is Fortis Amor? Good question! It’s exactly what I asked myself as I opened the email. Turns out, Fortis Amor is a pretty damn cool solo project dabbling in progressive metal and metalcore. I know! Usually those tags are enough for me to slam my laptop shut and have a strong drink. However, no such measures are needed here; Fortis Amor’s music manages to eschew most, if not all, of the pitfalls of the genre. Everything you’d associate with it is there: clean vocals alongside screaming which draws on Misery Signals, intricate leads and guitar trade offs, odd time signatures, the works.

Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon – The Heavy Blog Interview

Sometimes, I get to do really cool things as a music journalist. Sometimes, I get to do amazing things and this is one of them. Arjen Lucassen, AKA Ayreon, has been a musical hero of mine every since the first notes of The Human Equation played in my ears, right after I had purchased the album in Paris (I was there seeing Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. Good trip). It was a split earphone cable arrangement and I was listening to it with one of my best friends, who had insisted I get it. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed; vocal lines by some of the my favorite singers (James LaBrie, Devin Townsend, Mikael Akerfeldt, Devon Graves, to mention just a few) echoed in my ears, set to amazing, progressive instrumentation. An obsession was born; over the next few years, I bought every single Ayreon album I could get hold of and start following him fervently.