Psychosis has come out during a period when it seems the Cavalera name is more visible and relevant to the metal world than it has been in a long time. The iconic Max Cavalera appeared to have hit his post-Sepultura peak with the back-to-back release of Dark Ages (2005) and Inflikted (2008)—the later of which saw him reuniting with estranged brother Igor and the establishment of the Cavalera Conspiracy. From there, however, it seemed Cavalera senior was content to churn out a steady flow of serviceable yet largely unremarkable Soulfly records, while each of Cavalera Conspiracy’s subsequent releases—though certainly each embedded with their own distinct personality—failed to excite in the same manner as their masterful debut. Yet, beginning with 2014’s superb supergroup collaboration, Killer Be Killed, Max’s career looks to be, once again, on the upswing, and Psychosis only further supports such speculation.
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure…
The inevitable collision of expectation and reality when it comes to new music has its roots in the initial album description pitched to listeners. This is where the pervasive dilemma of hype is born; what’s said about an album on paper has to balance the desire to attract interest with…
As obsessive music fans, we have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with the constant onslaught of new music that crosses our paths on a weekly basis. By the time we sit down to compile our Release Day Roundup every Thursday, there’s a whole new slate of records that we need to tack onto our backlogs of new albums from weeks past, a list that remains replete throughout the year. This being the case, there are bound to be a handful of these albums that slip through the cracks, only to cross our paths months or years later and leave us wondering what possible reason we could have had to not listen to it sooner. While the time has passed to recommend these albums for your 2017 year end lists, we’ve decided to tweak our typical “Hey! Listen to…” series to launch Heavy Delinquency, which will allow us to talk about albums we slept on and make sure they receive the attention they deserve. Which brings us to Street Sects, the inspiration for this column and one of the greatest bands in modern synth punk.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.