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…
I would like to open this yearly review on a personal note: human understanding is incredibly limited in many ways. One of the most prominent ways is our perception of time; beyond any metaphysical assertions that might often “grace” metal lyrics, I’m not talking about any extra-dimensional ideas on the…
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.
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.
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!
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.
Editor’s note: welcome back to our Heavy Blog Guest List feature where we give some of the bands we covered (or just adored) in 2016 a chance to publish their own Top 10 Albums of 2016. This time around we have Cyborg Octopus, a band who produced one of the funnest and most well thought out progressive metal albums of the year. Their approach to differing influences, ideas and styles can definitely be seen reflected in their chosen Top 10, which is, once again, presented to you the reader completely unedited and untouched! If you’re interesting in the kind of music that a group with these far-flung tastes might make, check out their album below. Enjoy the list!
With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.
We wrote a pretty big check to ourselves when we closed off 2015. Publishing not only a list which proclaimed the triumph of 2015 but also a whole editorial dedicated to the idea of “The Golden Age of Metal”, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Like the rest of the music establishment which, in numerous places implicit and explicit, was apparently ready to join in the social lynching of 2016, we were well positioned to find it a sobering, dreadful, faith shattering year for music in general and metal specifically. Except it was nothing of the sort and we cannot stress our amazement at metal/music journalism’s reaction so far. 2016 was an absolutely fantastic year, building on the trend of solid and often groundbreaking releases from established acts and simply astounding, out of left field releases from virtually nameless bands. Sure, it had its disappointments for us from huge bands we had expected more from (although signs of their demise were certainly forthcoming) but, overall, it was a year which will surely be remembered in our circles as one of the best years for music in general.
I’m lazy so I’ll copy paste this from last week:
So we’re doing a two-part series on picking the podcast’s official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog’s list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We got down to about 45 last week until the cuts really start to hurt. This week we go down to 20, then to 10. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.