EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Sunless – “Gathering at the Skull’s Eye”

I couldn’t be more excited to premiere a track from the upcoming full-length from Minneapolis-based avant-garde death metallers Sunless. Urraca (out February 24th) is a Gorguts-ian psychedelic death metal trip that will impress with their technical proficiency as much as their ability to craft attention-grabbing and captivating songs. Engineered by Adam Tucker and mixed/mastered by Colin Marston, this record is a simple remedy for the aforementioned yuck production. Even at their most dissonant, everything locks together nicely without any one thing sounding like it’s dripping with sonic highlighter.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 2/3/17

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.

Samskaras — Asunder

As has been discussed on the podcast twice now, the French Canadian death metal scene has continued to be unbelievably innovative and prolific for over two decades now. Propped up by a roster of key musicians who often have multiple projects to their respective names, it goes without saying that the scene has birthed entirely new approaches to tech death. Just last year, we were treated to stellar releases from both long-established acts (Gorguts) and equally excellent debut albums (First Fragment) — but it appears the scene insists on being the gift that keeps on giving well into 2017 as well.

Enter Samskaras, a two piece featuring multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Eric Burnet of Derelict alongside drummer Alexandre Dupras of Unhuman. At its core — as one might expect — the debut EP Asunder is built on the same fundamentals underlying most of the French Canadian scene, both in its approach to technicality as well as its sense of melody.

Heavy Vanguard Episode 9: Krzysztof Penderecki // “Threnody To The Victims Of Hiroshima”

Normally, Heavy Vanguard has been about the album format, and giving significant releases of that size some much-needed attention. Today, however, we’re slightly tweaking that formula and instead covering a single composition: “Threnody To The Victims Of Hiroshima” by legendary (at least in modern classical circles) Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. For…

The Metal Industry’s Top 30 Albums Of 2016

Last year I took it upon myself not only to organize and compile our own staff’s AOTY list, but to take things one insane step further and compile a bunch of lists from major metal or metal-covering publications and websites into one MEGA AOTY list to rule them all. Eden and I then analyzed the list and made some (mostly snarky) comments about the metal journalism industry and how they approach these sorts of things. Though I still 100% stand by what we wrote there and the conclusions we drew from it, I was really interested in seeing how well some of them would stand up to another year to use as a data point. Thankfully, this year I had a lot of help in all of our list-making efforts thanks to fellow editor Noyan, who put a ton of work into coming up with the method we ended up using to aggregate our lists (if you haven’t already, you should absolutely read his post delving into the nitty-gritty of that methodology) and then did the actual number-crunching.

Heavy Blog Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

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.

Heavy Blog’s Top 50 Albums Of 2016

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.