No genre has experienced a more distinct shift in its cultural purpose than classical music. What was once the sole form of musical expression in Western culture has been largely relegated to specific roles in society. Modern classical certainly hasn’t lost any of its esteem, but in terms of popular…
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.
What better format to study the interesting duality between morality and knowledge than a massive post rock album, filled with nuance and subtlety? This is exactly what Ravena did in 2016 when they released Laocoön, an impressive foray into the realms of cinematic post rock and post metal. We spoke about them recently on the blog when I covered the Open Language post rock compilation (second part coming soon!). I had extolled their virtues there but I felt that their music warrants a post of its own and so, here we are!
There is no other band in the world like Boris. That’s not a judgement of quality or a statement of complete reverence towards this Japanese power trio, just a simple fact: there is absolutely no other band in this world with the wherewithal to do what Boris has done over the…
A formula for making Stone From the Sky: put your hand on the dial that says “Camel” and then slow it way down. OK, you went too far and now you’ve made Earth. Bring it back up a notch, just a little bit. Wait, whoa, you went too far and now we have Cambrian Explosion. Slow it down again just a tiny bit and there we go! Stone From the Sky are like stoner rock that’s passed out in a field of post rock poppies, intoxicating delays doing some very weird things to its perceptions of timing, tone, and delivery. Their album, aptly named Fuck the Sun, is all rolling hills and wide meadows, a sojourn in the diffused light of some other source of illumination.
We’ve covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn’t lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What’s become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the “sludge factor” in different measures. While you won’t find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they’re all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.
Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree piqued my interest from the moment I came across their Bandcamp page. Much of what first drew me to Earth’s masterpiece Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is present on BMHVT’s debut Medicine: an alluring cover, unique title and promises of an expansive, mesmerizing take on doom metal. It’s this last point that sweetened the deal like hemp-infused honey candy, and if you’re at all a fan of all things sludge and doom, you’d be wise to succumb to what this psychedelic dose of Medicine has to offer.
We like to joke around here pretty constantly that the amount of quality music out there in the world for us to consume and critique is magnitudes more than we can possibly manage, that we are drowning in a sea of music and are suffering mightily for it. We are all the “Why can’t I hold all these limes?” guy.
This week we have a super exciting guest! I’d try to slowroll it, but obviously from the episode title you can guess that it’s Herman Li of Dragonforce. We discuss a variety of topics, including the upcoming Dragonforce album Reaching Into Infinity, success, haters, creativity, Babymetal, video games and more. Herman was a great guest! Also Eden and I discuss some news after the interview. Chuck Berry’s passing and the way the coverage has handled his problematic legacy, a bunch of new music, and Earth’s Hibernaculum and Machine Head’s The Blackening turning 10 years old. The new music includes Somnium Vox, Bloodshot Dawn, Entheos (not that one), Witherfall, Northlane, Emmure, Gorod, Enslaved, Solstafir, Beyond Creation (kind of). We also continue last week’s discussion on how the mentality focusing on new music sometimes makes us overlook albums, in this case Metallica’s latest. In our cool people section we discuss Netflix’s Marvel’s Iron Fist and Better off Ted.
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.