Last year we ran a 5-part series listing 25 of our favorite albums from the first half of 2014 with the premise that 2014 was simply such an amazing year musically that we just had to talk about some of our favorites at the year’s mid-point and whittle down all the great releases to an impossible list of 25.
What fools were we.
2015, across the board, is truly turning out to be a banner year for music as a whole, but in particular the kind of music we cover here at Heavy Blog. Between old favorites putting out expected blockbuster releases, smaller bands making huge leaps to stake a claim for our attention, and new or obscure bands putting out releases out of left field that have completely caught us off-guard in the best way, it’s been nearly impossible to keep up with the output of superb music that 2015 has offered us thus far. We are now at the end of the sixth month of the year, and thus have decided to give this another try, albeit in a slightly different format.
Most of my favorite albums of the year thus far all role squarely within the stoner/doom/psychedelic genre, and once Ecstatic Vision release their debut album Sonic Praise, it seems I’ll have yet another to add to my list. Ecstatic Vision is the band that former A Life Once Lost guitarist Doug Sabolick started after ALOL disbanded, and though it’s quite a departure from the heavily Pantera-influenced groove metal style ALOL was known for, it’s no less awesome. The band has released the first cut from their forthcoming debut, entitled “Don’t Kill the Vibe,” and it’s totally trippy and totally awesome. Give it a spin after the jump.
Having just released the spectacular In Times [review, stream], Enslaved are just wrapping up a tour in support of the record with the mighty YOB and incredibly psychedelic Ecstatic Vision.
Grab these photos of the stop in Chicago at Thalia Hall, where the party man himself Andrew W.K. performed earlier this year.
For those who missed our last installment, we will now be regularly posting what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that doesn’t 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.
Anyone who doesn’t live under a proverbial rock knows that the biggest release in all music this week goes to the early release of Kendrick Lamar‘s hugely-anticipated follow-up to Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and unsurprisingly, K Dot found his way onto many of our lists this week. Also of note (and in an entirely different quadrant of the musical spectrum) this week was the release of Alkaloid‘s debut album The Malkuth Grimoire (read our review here if you haven’t already), which also landed in several of our staff’s lists.
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!
Head past the jump to see which records have been receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
Not a lot of bands get to their thirteenth album, and very few get there while still garnering respect. Fortunately, Enslaved are one such band. Most of their albums are very well received and their most recent two releases, Axioma Ethica Odini and RIITIIR are regarded as exemplars of the genre of progressive black metal. As such, their thirteenth album, In Times, has big shoes to fill. Unsurprisingly, Enslaved have done it again and created a great album. There’s a catch though, while the album is great on its own, as a follow-up to their previous excellent releases, it loses a bit of steam.
If you’ve got a pair of eyes and you read the blog, you know we’re pretty damn excited for the new Enslaved. Not without merit either, as they are one of the most innovative and exciting bands of recent years. After teasing us with a few track, the band are now streaming the entire album in full. Head on below the jump for the stream!
A quick search for the Rhône-Alpes region of France will point the inquisitive mind to the renowned peak of Mont Blanc, the world class vineyards around Lyon or the picturesque Lake Annecy; not towards a black/death metal band. Yet such is the variety of life in the modern age. Necrowretch is a black/death metal band hailing from the city of Valence in Rhône-Alpes region that, after seven years of existence, has released its second studio album under the name With Serpents Scourge. Not only does this album make absolutely no sense when considered within the big picture of its geographical surroundings, it also makes no sense in the big picture of where metal is in 2015 as an entire genre of music.
Oregon’s Yob has been crushing it on the road ever since the release of their monolithic mountain of doom metal, Clearing the Path to Ascend, last September. Now currently in-between touring Europe and beginning a full run of the US, guitarist/vocalist Mike Scheidt is at home on the west coast and doing a few sporadic solo shows. I got a chance to speak with Mike on the phone on February 18th about what he’s expecting out of their upcoming tour, never anticipating acclaim, how important it is to protect their art, and more.
It’s happening: the long awaited album from Enslaved, In Time, will be gracing our ears very soon. Our review will be posted soon as well but for now, you can get your first taste of the album with ‘Thurisaz Dreaming’, as the band have released a lyric video for it. Head on over the jump for the stream!
Norwegian progressive black metal wizards Enslaved are about to release their thirteenth album. Let that sink for a second. How many bands get to twelve albums, and how many of them have their best albums be their most recent ones? 2012’s RIITIIR was an instant classic, and the follow-up In Times sounds like it’s going to be just as impressive. Check the teaser out after the jump.