If you’re in the northern hemisphere like most of you who read this site, then you’re no doubt enjoying the benefits of natural seasonal changes as the nightmare that was winter 2015 has given way to a beautiful spring. And if you’re in the southern hemisphere — particularly if you’re in Australia, as many of our readers are — you’re almost certainly feeling the relief of more tolerable temperatures as your summer has given way to fall and is quickly approaching winter. Either way, all over the world we’re entering the magical time of year known as Festival Season. Many of the biggest and best bands in the world (and leagues of smaller ones as well) are preparing to set out for various tours and huge outdoor festivals that will attract thousands upon thousands of individuals. The global festival circuit has become so huge and varied though that it can be nearly impossible to know where even to start if you’re looking to travel to one.
We’re here to help! Obviously there are far too many metal festivals around the world for us to provide anywhere near a comprehensive list, but we asked our staff to highlight a few festivals on 3 continents — North America, Europe, and Australia (apologies to the rest of the world as we only have so many staff members from different places). Check them all out below!
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.
Kendrick Lamar‘s universally acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly has persisted as a regular inclusion in some of our staff’s rotations, and will likely remain that way throughout the rest of the year. Another repeat addition is Leprous‘ upcoming album The Congregation, a record that many members of our staff have been highly anticipating since its announcement earlier this year. It is safe to assume that a review of The Congregation is imminent, but in the mean time, check out our review of Byzantine‘s new offering To Release is to Resolve, another album included in this update. Finally, this update has several albums from the artists featured on this year’s installment of the Decibel Magazine, which includes At the Gates, Converge, Pallbearer and Vallenfyre and will be running until April 12th. This lineup makes attendance almost mandatory, so check the remaining dates here to see how far you will have to trek in order to attend this exceptional tour.
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:
January started the year out with a lot of promise, with new releases from Indian, Alcest, and Periphery gaining quite a bit of attention around these parts. However, what floored us the most in the first four weeks of 2014 was the first-ever proper release from Chicago newcomers Warforged. Essence of the Land is an odyssey exploring death metal, black metal, and progressive metal influences that stunned a large number of the staff group. Opeth comes to mind with the band’s dynamic use of keyboards and acoustic guitars as cinematic gateways between stretches of technical riffing and powerfully melodic brutality, or perhaps Between the Buried and Me’s penchant for epic-length songwriting and weaving a larger picture over multiple tracks.
Essence Of The Land tells the twisted tale of a dread-inducing and brooding swamp and the unknown horrors that lie beneath its surface, making it one of those surprising death metal albums where the lyrics actually add a lot of atmosphere and weight to music. So much so, in fact, that the video accompaniment that provides visuals for ¾ of the EP contains the lyrics throughout, alongside footage of the band tearing through earth-shattering riffs.
At the heart of it, Warforged’s sound presents an assortment of progressive death metal influences that still manages to sound fresh and exciting, despite dredging the very bottom of the swampy sludge they strive to recreate. And honestly, what better way to start a new year than with a new band that are reinvigorating even one of the most well-trodden of sounds?
We spoke with the entirety of Warforged to not only get a look into the creation of one of 2014’s best releases, but to get a glimpse at what’s in store for the band’s future.
It’s as cold as Satan’s balls in London at the moment, and to compound the issue my heating is on the blink, I have a splitting headache, and I have one more day of work this week. FirstWorldProblems, I know.
Never mind all that though, because 2012 – year of the epic reform – has thrown up another gem in the news that Kentish post-metal outfit Bossk are reforming.
Who…? WHO?! I’LL BLOODY TELL YOU WHO!
Bossk were another one of last decade’s British metal rising stars who parted ways far too soon, releasing two phenomenal EPs and a live DVD (.1, .2 and .3 respectively) and having one of the most atmospheric live shows on the scene. The first time I saw them, supporting Envy no less, one guy in the audience just lay down in front of the stage and chilled. It was fantastic.
They also played with the likes of The Ocean, Cult Of Luna, Doomriders, Baroness and Torche in their time, to name but a few, and now they’re back. Speaking via their website, they revealed that “The time has come for the five of us to perform together again.” It’s been more than four years now, but it seems the draw of the music has called them back. I actually wrote a eulogy to the band a couple of years ago, and it appears my musical wishes are all coming true this year.
They’ll be starting off slowly, but will be recording a session with Daniel Carter of Radio 1 at the famous Maida Vale studios – including a new song – and playing at least two shows this year.
Drummer Tom Begley was in the equally tasty The Mire for a time, but it seems he’s now itching to get back to some Star Wars-related business. Sexy. In the meantime, feast your ears on this and get excited:
Stay grim, my friends.
I mirror the sentiments made by The World’s Most Interesting Man In The World; black metal isn’t really my thing. I do dabble though, and one of my favorite black metal bands at the moment is Deafheaven. Earlier this year, they released their demo, which you can purchase right here for 10 cents (or more, if you’re not a terrible person.)
With the demo sounding good, my eyes have been on them for news of a proper full length debut. It wasn’t too long after they blew up online that they were picked up by Jacob Bannon’s label Deathwish Inc and announced their debut album for 2011!
Here’s the short version of the press release, which describes the band’s sound and gives some detail on the upcoming album:
Deafheaven are a genre defying aggressive band from San Francisco, CA. Their hybrid musical approach is outright stunning. A melding of epic Post Rock leanings (Envy, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) with experimental Black Metal (Xasthur, Weakling, Leviathan), and classic era “Screamo” (Orchid, Crimson Curse) into something never successfully experienced before.
Deafheaven will soon enter the studio to record their new album titled “Roads to Judah” with Jack Shirley (Funeral Diner, Loma Prieta). This highly anticipated album will be released on Deathwish in 2011.
Did you get that? Roads to Judah will be out on Deathwish Inc. in early 2011! Keep up with Deafheaven on Facebook for news and updates.
Hemingway: may or may not have been a robot.
So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society. Like serving me burgers.
Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.
This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.
Welcome to November! It’s about that time of year when the high-street shops start putting up their decorations, so in that spirit: jingle bells – it’s Pushmeunder!
Disclaimer: there’s usually a picture here. These guys were so underground I don’t even have a picture of them…
02. Last Hours of Eternity
03. Rain Clouds Running in a Holy Night
04. Pieces of the Moon I Weaved
05. Light and Solitude
06. Dreams Coming To An End
08. Worn Heels and the Hands We Hold
09. A Hint and the Incapacity
10. A Breath Clad in Happiness
11. 0 and 1
12. Your Hand
[Rock Action | 09/22/10]
Despite the vast distances than span their respective homelands, both physically and culturally, there is a strong tie between Japanese screamo afficionados Envy and Scotland’s own instrumental rock emperors Mogwai – and it’s not just the fact that they’re signed to the same label.
Despite their humble beginnings as a fairly straight-up hardcore band – all be it with their atmospheric leanings already formed – Envy have taken their softer side and run with it.
02. The Seeker
06. With our Hands
07. Grand Annihilation
12. Full Moon Night
[Independent | 10/25/10]
Hayato Imanishi doesn’t like being pigeon-holed. Cyclamen‘s EP catalog prior to the debut album Senjyu featured SikTh-inspired djenty metalcore thrown alongside Envy-like post-rock ambiance and melodies, often through the course of the same song. While this “post-djent” styling is still a player on Senjyu, things are not how you would expect. If you come into Senjyu expecting some sort of SikTh revival, you’re going to be disappointed. Senjyu is a diverse and dynamic album which pulls musical elements across multiple genres, and if you’re an open-minded rock and metal fan, this should definitely provide for an interesting experience.
I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever mentioned Envy on here before, but since I’m too lazy to check, I’m treating this like the first time.
Envy are a Japanese post-rock/screamo band, and they are pretty wonderful. I discovered them through Cyclamen‘s Hayato Imanishi, who praises them and wears their influence on his sleeve. And rightly so; their music feels like an exhilarating rush of fresh air.
Envy have an album coming out soon called Recitation coming out next month that I’m looking forward to. In promoting their new album, The New Review tells me that Envy are giving away an mp3 of their song, “A Breath Clad In Happiness” for free. You can stream and download the track below.
Recitation is due out October 12th on Temporary Residence. Keep an eye out!