Ehnahre – The Marrow

Literature has been one of the foremost sources of inspiration for metal lyricism and composition alike, regardless of subgenre. The list of examples is significant—Ernest Hemingway and Cobalt, Georges Bataille and Deathspell Omega, H. P. Lovecraft and seemingly everyone, and so on. Drawing inspiration from a novel is a challenging but relatively structured undertaking; a plot can be interpreted into numerous sonic and lyrical directions but will always follow the same trajectory of its narrative. Poetry contrasts this process by its very nature, as its natural code of symbolic meaning and suggestive prose necessitates musical decoding drawn from a strictly thematic place. Even poems with a decipherable narrative are often told in a verbose, indirect manner that challenges metal lyricists and composers to write with a liberated hand, looking beyond the words on the page to a deeper understanding of the poem’s true meaning and mood. Agalloch’s interpretation of W. B. Yeats is a stellar example of this process being executed beautifully, as is the latest offering from Ehnahre, a Boston-based avant-garde metal collective who count Kay Dot alumni among their ranks. Their incredible four-part song cycle on The Marrow captures the essence of Theodore Roethke’s eponymous poem* through consuming landscapes of avant-garde death-doom that are as ridden with despair as the poet’s initial musing on whether or not life is worthwhile.

Kvlt Kolvmn // June 2017

Well, it’s been a minute, but we’re back with a vengeance for another installment of Kvlt Kolvmn! Hope you didn’t miss us too much. But hey, who am I kidding? Of course you did. You may notice a different, less handsome and syrupy voiced face attached to our beloved Kolvmn this month. I know, major disappointment. I will be assuming the writing of this column for a bit, but never fear! I will try my best to live up to Scott’s sterling reputation for excellent black metal picks. That’s why we’re here, and what I intend to deliver to your anxious ears. Because it has been a few months since our last installment, we’ll be covering releases from both this and last month that are worthy of mention. So buckle up and prepare yourself for some black metal madness!

Hey! Listen to Isaurian!

Metal newbies would have you think metal just started borrowing from shoegaze’s sounds a few years ago. While Deafhaven popularized the fusion in 2013, the genres have been bedfellows for quite a while. Jesu, as far back as 2004, brought the psychedelics of shoegaze together with abrasive industrial metal, a juxtaposition rarely touched upon by newer metalgaze bands who usually gravitate toward aesthetics of black metal and sludge metal. Brazil’s Isaurian brings a new vibe to industrial shoegaze metal (that’s a mouthful). Where Jesu went ugly and violent, Isaurian dials it back to a gothic melodicism.

Journey to the NOLA Swamps – The Birth of Sludge Metal

We’ve covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn’t lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What’s become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the “sludge factor” in different measures. While you won’t find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they’re all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.

Nine Inch Nails – Not The Actual Events

When Trent Reznor announced the release of the new Nine Inch Nails EP, Not The Actual Events, he described its sound as “impenetrable” and removed from his previous soundtrack work from longtime collaborator and now official bandmate Atticus Ross. This was a very enticing prospect, as Reznor and his revolving door of musicians have cultivated a project wherein anything is possible. Not knowing what to expect, the very short time waiting between the surprise announcement and finally hearing the release felt like ages for longtime Nine Inch Nails fans, particularly after a fairly underwhelming 2013 comeback record Hesitation Marks.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 11/18/16

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 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. 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.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 4/22/16

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 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. 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.

Best Of – One Man Bands

Going over the twelve entries we’ve selected as the cream of the musical loner crop, it’s amazing to see not only the variety of genres present, but the fact that such enormous, impactful music can come from a single individual. From guitar porn to one man black metal to a whole slew of electronic subgenres, these artists prove that “strength in numbers” may not apply to everyone. Because while this crew may not have been the most social group on the playground, they spent their alone time producing some of our favorite music and proving that collaboration isn’t a necessity for quality tunes. So without further ado, sit back and reminisce with us over our favorite one person projects, or enjoy discovering what any one of these twelve musicians has to offer. And of course, feel free to comment with further suggestions of exceptional musicians who handily do it all.