Persefone are no newcomers to metal, but they do stand in the shadow of their previous release, The Spiritual Migration. This album, lauded by many (including us) as a masterpiece of modern progressive metal, completely destroys any but two or three other releases in its own genre. It was, and remains, fresh, surprising, intimately familiar and yet, somehow, irreverent at the same time. Therefore, when the band announced a crowdfunding campaign for its follow up last year, titled Aathma, breaths were held across the community. Can Persefone achieve one of the two options above? That is, can they either recreate something close to The Spiritual Migration or, failing that, depart from that monumental creation into something just as good?
This episode is just too good. Seriously, just listen to it. What does it contain? Edgy cultural/political jokes, a history of black metal and racism, an extended cool people section shitposting on philosophers like Kant, and much more. I’ll just tag some of the relevant bands here for SEO purposes, and the left is at your own peril. Abandon all hope, we who enter here. Warbringer, Suicide Silence, As I Lay Dying, Dream Theater, Overkill, Nidingr feat Myrkur, Sikth, Megadeth, Angra, Killswitch Engage. There you go.
There’s nothing quite like a metal show. The palpitating thrum of bass, explosive blasts of percussion, the crackling sea of people united by music — it’s beautiful, life-affirming, and brutal. Although live recordings will inevitably fail to stack up to the real thing, they allow us to experience singular moments…
Some albums wear their hearts on their sleeve. Their influences and themes are displayed for all to see, proudly showing their heritage and their direction. Kepler Ten’s Delta-V is such an album (and Kepler Ten appear to be such a band). From their name to the album’s art, Kepler Ten are achingly truthful about where they come from. The font chosen, the image, the hard science fiction album name all scream classical progressive metal/rock in the vein of Rush, Dream Theater, Ayreon and more. And you know what? That’s exactly what Delta-V; it’s the tropes of progressive rock played incredibly straight, with an almost childish glee in the craft. And it totally, 100% works, for a given definition of “works”. Are you looking for jaw-dropping technically or crushing heaviness? Look elsewhere. But do you have an open road that needs travelling, a chair that you simply must dance in or a starry sky into which to gaze? Then Delta-V is the album for you.
Metal and science fiction clash along various cultural axes. Their marriage begins with tone; both have a penchant for the wildly grandiose and imaginative personas, for personality writ large across a vast canvas. The juxtaposition continues along more “meta” lines, with both being adopted (or perhaps relegated to) the “geek”…
One of the things I love about having the opportunity to review albums is checking out bands that are just gaining a foothold beyond their local scene. Greensboro, NC metalheads, Undrask, are one of those bands I probably wouldn’t have learned about if not for having a copy of this album slid over to me by the Heavy Blog editors—but I’m glad it did.
Editor’s note: welcome back to our Heavy Blog Guest List feature where we give some of the bands we covered (or just adored) in 2016 a chance to publish their own Top 10 Albums of 2016. Today, we have A Sense of Gravity, a band whose praises we’ve sung relentlessly over the last two years or so. Fresh off their release of the brilliant “Atrament”, we’ve invited these Seattle locals to share with us what albums moved them in 2016. Below is their unedited list!
Ok. News time. New stuff from Pain of Salvation, Metallica, Cyclamen, Benighted, August Burns Red, Protest the Hero. Shining are doing a Patreon, Dream Theater an Images and Words tour. Blood Music are going legit. The piracy/community site What.cd is dead. Keep of Kalessin are involved in a pyramid scheme somehow? The Faceless’s debut Akeldama is 10 years old. And there’s this AMAZING avant-garde black metal thing, Hypnosophy by Aenaon. Real cool. Enjoy! Also read our editorial on edginess.
We make much ado about cohesion over here at Heavy Blog; it’s a quality that often separates good albums from great one, as well-made music transcends tracks and becomes an album. However, whether it wasn’t possible due to lack of ability or to the circumstances surrounding an album’s release, it’s possible to have great albums without it. Take Painted in Exile’s long awaited album, The Ordeal. It is a progressive metalcore release in a style that has fallen out of fashion in the years we have been waiting for it, calling back to the heyday of Between the Buried and Me’s Colors and The Great Misdirect. Unlike those albums, however, The Ordeal is more far-ranging, almost scattered in its approach to variation and growth throughout the release. The result is a challenging and borderline confusing album which, somehow, still manages to be endearing and moving.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place…