EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Hear A Brand New Song From Veilburner!

I really enjoy some good symphonic elements and occult references in a band’s music. The former, especially, is a favorite of mine. Ever since I heard Metallica and Dream Theater and Dimmu Borgir use live orchestras in their music, I’ve been a fan of incorporating the element into a band’s studio music. That’s…

Break The “Skylines” – Let Oddland Show You How To Write A Progressive Track In 2016

So, what exactly do we look for in 2016 when we try and ascertain whether a progressive metal is worthy? We can gather up a list by seeing how “Skylines” avoids the most common pitfalls. First and foremost then is that bloated tendency I mentioned above. Too many tracks within progressive metal are simply further iterations on what we already know of a band’s sound. Unisons are arranged a bit differently but are still heavily relied on, ad infinitum, for example. However, perhaps the most egregious examples of this lie with vocalists; in progressive metal albums, the vocal variety which characterized earlier phases of the genre has all but disappeared. This is perhaps the fault of the great (yes, the great) James LaBrie and his somewhat monotone (yet still brilliant) work with Dream Theater. His cohesive style, which favors a certain emotional range over diversity, is everywhere.

On Extended Ranges and Low Tunings, 4 Years Later

A few years back, I wrote a piece on the negativity towards extended range guitars in metal. You can find that piece here. The extended range guitar, which is loosely defined as anything that has more strings/frets/range than your average 6-string-24-fret-standard-scale guitar. We all know the deal. Four years ago, with the peak of djent and generally a new strain of progressive metal, extended range guitars were emerging in the mainstream of metal. Of course, just like any other change in the metal scene, a large amount of people reacted rather negatively to this. There was a portion of the scene that embraced this, and that lead to a variety of creative and innovative bands like Native Construct (8 strings), Dissipate (9 strings), Coma Cluster Void (10 strings) and so many more. After these years, are people more accepting of the movement now? What changed? Let’s take a look at it.

Oddland – Origin

Oddland are a bit of an oddball (heh) in the gamut of progressive metal. Rising from the fertile grounds (for metal, at least) of Finland, they garnered quite a bit of hype with scene insiders. Their The Treachery of Senses (2012) was an interesting take on the darker, Tool influences that have been running strong through the scene for more than a decade now. However, with only one album and then a prolonged silence, fans and critics were unable to fully flesh out a firm idea of what the band was about; the album certainly sounded great, but what was the approach behind it all? Luckily, Origin marks 2016 as the year where the gaps in the Oddland tale are finally filled in. The album builds firmly on the strata of dark progressive but also gives us further insight into what Oddland want to bring to table, what they want to modulate and very within the scene.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 6/3/16

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.

Sacred Geometry – Mapping Metal’s Connection With the New Age

A month or so ago, I wrote a post titled “The Occult in Modern Day Metal”. In it, underneath countless of apologies for the simplifications I was about to present the readers, I took a brief look at how the occult has lent words, images, ideas and themes to the metal genre. Charting three main movements, I attempted to offer an initial direction for asking questions, a jumping point for something much more extensive. Perhaps where I’d left the most gaps was with the last part; the post was getting long, the hours were getting late and the subject matter was growing more complex. This should come as no surprise to those versed in the source material itself (and my writing/sleeping habits, if we’re being honest). You see, that final part dealt with the New Age and its ties to progressive metal. The thing is, however, that New Age is one of the most loosely defined, scholarly debated and impossible to understand spiritual movements to have ever existed. It’s right up there with Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Swedenborg-ism (I swear that’s a real thing, you can Google it) and other obscure, esoteric belief systems.