Heavy Blog’s Top 25 Albums of 2018 (So Far)

Midpoint. Half in, half out. Shadow. A divide. Balance. The semantic milieu surrounding stuff that’s divided 50/50 is incredibly rich; it opens some of the greatest cultural creations of all time (“Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a forest dark” – Dante’s The Inferno) and…

Silence Lies Fear – Shadows of the Wasteland

The inbox provideth; all hail the mighty inbox! Today’s album was submitted to us by a reader and for that, we are grateful. Silence Lies Fear make the kind of melodic, technical death metal that’s been all the rage in the recent few years. Heralded by bands like Bloodshot Dawn, the style also seeped into other corners of the metal genre, spawning unique iterations on the sound. The most famous of which is (for better or for worse) Fallujah’s The Flesh Prevails. Shadows of the Wasteland draws from both of these albums for inspiration, producing the kind of epic, inherently melodic but still technically impressive death metal which you’d expect from their mix. But in a genre which is seeing immense proliferation, do Silence Lies Fear manage to make their own claim, carving out a space for themselves?

118 – Blame Eden Somehow

The last time I didn’t put links to news stories in the description was over a year ago, let’s see if people will still leave passionate comments asking for the links back again. No, this is totally not an attempt to bait people into increasing our facebook engagement. Anyway, this week we talk about Spotify’s legal woes as outlined by The Verge, their upcoming IPO, and their launch in Israel, which Eden is not very happy with. Also Sigur Ros’s tax-evasion-but-not-actually story. Then when we start talking about Misha of Periphery’s recent comments about how Periphery alone doesn’t make enough money to be sustainable and Ultimate Guitar’s clickbait headline about it, it turns into a full on discussion about music as business. Then we talk about Fallujah’s teaser, the new Rings of Nihil album, and the upcoming Alkaloid album, and the passing of Wormed’s drummer. Then cool people time with Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Star Trek: Discovery, and Netflix’s Disney’s Marvel’s The Punisher. Enjoy!

Rivers Of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name

How bands find balance in the spectrum of emotion can be interesting to observe. Many choose to narrowly focus on a narrow band of this space of possibilities, emphasizing heaviness, anger, misanthropy. Especially, given the nature of death metal, it’seasy to pigeonhole a group like Rivers of Nihil into that niche. To be fair, they’ve flexed their muscles before. Even on their debut, The Conscious Seed of Light, they’ve aimed for something a bit more. In Monarchy they really shot high with these ambitions, yet it didn’t always land. The Pennsylvanian quintet have been tweaking the formula for years now, but it’s always felt like they didn’t have the depth to fully achieve the sound they wanted. Where Owls Know My Name changes that in a magnificent way. This is a complex, intricate, beautiful album that not only plays with the paradigm shift Fallujah introduced to the genre years ago, but goes even further beyond that. All the while being uncompromisingly heavy and intense. If this sounds too good to be true, well time to strap in.

Kardashev – The Almanac

Some artists/bands are known for being able to make music that sounds huge. “Huge” in this case referring to music that has an awe-inspiring presence, as if it is either being performed in perfect sync on stages surrounding you in every direction or as if you were in a sphere of sound that encases your whole body. Music like this has a way of giving your ears a sense of depth instead of it being as cut and dry as left, right and center channel. With their last album, Peripety, the self-proclaimed Deathgaze group Kardashev showed that they wanted entrance into this particular section of the musical lexicon. With the release of their new EP The Almanac, they prove that they not only deserve to be included in this group, but placed close to the front of those who lead it.

Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward. Counter intuitive, yes. But as I’ve progressed through life I’ve found this to be true. Perhaps related to a career, where one has to go back to the drawing board to re-learn concepts long forgotten from some slept-through college lecture. Or in one’s personal life, where sometimes rehashing old wounds is the only way to progress past them. Music often falls into this same trajectory. Sometimes the alteration of sound works against a band rather than for them. While I am an enormous proponent of progression and change in music, how a band decides to engage in new musical and thematic concepts matters. Some do it right (Artificial Brain, Ingurgitating Oblivion), while some do not (latter-day Metallica, Morbid Angel). Yes, the parenthetical suggestions used to prove my point here are infinitely debatable, but I would make the argument that not all of these bands’ forays into uncharted territory worked in their favor. So it’s nice to see a band keep to their progressive trajectory, but pull from their back catalog elements that make their sound more enjoyable. Inanimate Existence are one of those bands, and with Underneath a Melting Sky have further perfected their sound by staying adventurous while simultaneously plundering the most essential elements of their past records.

89 – Wall Chicken

You thought last week was salty? Try this week. Of course, we discuss the new Stray From The Path song and the reaction to it. Then Matt Skiba of Blink 182 and his witchcraft he inflicted upon Fyre Festival. Then Soundcloud’s imminent failure, and Chance the Rapper’s attempt at stalling that. Then Pandora’s closing up shop in AU and NZ. Then the traffic accident that lead to the death of Adrenaline Mob bassist David Zablidowsky. Wintersun’s Forest Seasons shenanigans never end. Fallujah vocalist Alex Hoffman left the band. Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach and his inane rant. Then some actual new music. New Cannabis Corpse track, and Sol Invicto going all members-club-only. Finally, we bring back the Rose FUNOral debacle. Also, we discuss Netflix’s Castlevania and Glow. Enjoy!

Iapetus – The Long Road Home

Long Island based Iapetus provide us with a left of field lesson in what ambition bridled by talent can create. Their 2017 self-release (which is, and always will be, completely free) The Long Road Home is an ambitious album which spans progressive death metal, neo-folk and progressive metal. It insists, even unto the brink of failure, to go where the vision of the two artists takes it rather than where convention would dictate it should go. As mentioned, during this process it comes dangerously close to overreaching its boundaries and even faintly grazes the markings of overwrought artistry. But for those willing to brave those extremes of wild, self indulgent and un-tethered self expression lies an album full of great musical moments.