Hey! Listen to The King is Blind!

What exactly qualifies as “metal” can be a contentious issue. As any dedicated listener knows, the label itself accounts for a wide spread of sub-genres—ranging from softer, more atmospherically-inclined fare such as post-black/gaze and folk metal; to the frantic, bombastic realms of speed and power metal; and onto the spasmodic worlds of math- and grindcore; and even the bleak, all-encompassing, sonic oppression of drone and funeral doom. Many of these sub-genres remain contentious, and what is considered metal, or even just heavy music can shift and change depending upon what circles you frequent. Then again, there are those bands who (for any number of reasons) simply ooze the ideal of heavy metal, no matter which way you look at them, so that their status as a nothing less than a fucking heavy metal band cannot be denied. The King is Blind are one of those bands.

Hey! Listen to Gregorio Franco!

When one thinks about synthwave they more often than not conjure up images of neon landscapes made up of transparent grids, sunsets, beaches, palm trees, fast cars and anything else that may fit into such an aesthetic. That said, one does not tend to think about upside down crosses, demons, serial killers and an overall sense of evil in turn. However, for every genre that has ever existed there lies a much darker side, a subgenre which turns things on their head and produces a much more heavier sound in response. For synthwave that would be darkwave or darksynth, either seem to be interchangeable for the most part, with well-known acts such as Carpenter Brut, GosT, Perturbator, and Dance with the Dead carrying the torch. Of course, for every well-known act, there are those who are scratching, clawing and going through hell to be noticed, many of whom were influenced by those already leading that proverbial charge.

Gregorio Franco is one of those dark souls of the synth and, if what he’s produced thus far is any indication, he is not only one to keep an ear to the ground on but one to keep an eye out for as well.

Expulsion – Nightmare Future

Ever been in a real fight? A knock-down, drag-out brawl where chairs are launched, punches are thrown, and elbows are swung? Yeah, me either. Let’s be real, when a bunch of drunk dudes decide they want to start a fight for no reason whatsoever my first reaction is typically “check, please…”. There’s a part of me that wants to get into the thick of it, though. That primal, untapped portion of my psyche that not-so-secretly desires to feel the force of a fist slamming into my jaw, and my own bone-splintering retort. But I generally like my face (and most others’ faces as well), so seeing my handsome visage brutally disfigured over a disagreement regarding whose football team is the unequivocal and absolute best seems a bit silly. Thanks to our infernal overlords that we have grindcore and death metal to give wannabe brawlers such as myself a much less painful and infinitely more enjoyable release! Expulsion is the latest death/grind band to cross my ears and allay those violent urges, and with their debut album Nightmare Future they create a violent dystopia harsh and brutal enough to slake even the most fervent extreme metal fan’s bloodlust.

Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him

A whole host of good oceanic adjectives come to mind when trying to describe Vallenfyre’s sound, like “roiling,” “crashing,” “deep,” or “furious.” Although these UK extreme metal stalwarts don’t play music particularly themed towards deep bodies of water in the same way as, say, The Ocean, their sound burbles and hisses in a similar manner to some forgotten Cambrian trench, oozing and rushing in various degrees through briny swill and hot gas. Fear Those Who Fear Him, the third outing from Vallenfyre, doesn’t do much to change this – no big stylistic shift in trajectory has occurred in the three years since Splinters – but hey, when you’ve got a formula that routinely kicks this much ass, is there any reason to mess with it?

Cut Up – Wherever They May Rot

Sweden has quite the reputation for crusty, gruff death metal. Familiar legends like Entombed and Dismember are eternally inscribed in the brains of metalheads but they might not be as well acquainted with Vomitory, a band with a string of brutal, gory minor classics in the 1990s. Before breaking up 2011, Vomitory was signed to Metal Blade Records, so they aren’t exactly unsung heroes. Nonetheless, they are certainly still overshadowed by their more famous fellow countrymen. Two long time members of Vomitory, drummer Tobias Gustafsson and bassist/vocalist Erik Rundqvist, returned in 2015 with a new project, Cut Up, who are now releasing their sophomore album.

Henry Kane – Den Förstörda Människans Rike

Like gin and tonic or sunny days and the beach, crust and death are the perfect pairing. The glorious bludgeoning of death metal and overdriven, fuzzy crust makes short work of anyone uneducated in the mires of extreme music; novices may start and stop with Entombed, more shame on them. Henry Kane, a project headed by members of Wombbath, make even shorter work of those unwilling to get a bit of nasty dick crust in their jeans. Den Förstörda Människans Rike might compare to certain records with a certain guitar pedal sound, in that it sounds familiar in tone and feel, but not necessarily in terms of actual content.

52 – Wow, It’s Been A Year

We’re a year old now! So, we just do news like regular, then some opinion time. Also, bullshit philosophy time is back! Topics: Anthony Fantano on Meshugggah, Vader, Entombed, Red Fang, Car Bomb, Issues, Trivium, In Flames, Thrawsunblat, Ophidius, Avenged Sevenfold. This Metalsucks article on punk and comedy, then this thing about a certain luthier who is too good for pop music. Underrated album of the week: VOLA – Inamazes. Then we talk about why we got rid of review scores here at the blog. Enjoy!

Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation

There is simply no denying the power and intensity of Swedish death metal. It’s been one of the main influences for bands the world over ever since groups like Entombed, Dismember and At the Gates first came onto the scene in the early 90s, and their reach hasn’t slowed down…

Brian Izzi of Trap Them // The Heavy Blog Is Heavy Interview

Brian Izzi is the guitarist of the legendary hardcore outfit Trap Them, who through the years have decimated fans with such great releases as 2011’s Darker Handcraft and 2014’s Blissfucker. Their latest album Crown Feral is due out on September 23 on Prosthetic Records. So, you’re in Boston, and Ryan [McKenney, vocalist] is in Seattle; how does…