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.
It’s a good time to be a progressive metal fan. We’ve already mentioned the momentum that seems to be possessing the sub-community, leading to many a masterful release in the past few years. However, the true mark of a scene in bloom is new artists; veterans reiterating on their craft, even if they reinvent themselves while doing so, isn’t quite enough. After all, Haken or Caligula’s Horse aren’t exactly new comers anymore; is there a next generation that might good on the promise of the past few years? How about Slyde? While Back Again isn’t their debut release, it’s an impressive step forward/return to form for these Canadian bright-eyed musicians and stands to solidify their name is one of the more promising ventures in the increasingly prolific progressive metal scene.
Some albums wear their hearts on their sleeve. Their influences and themes are displayed for all to see, proudly showing their heritage and their direction. Kepler Ten’s Delta-V is such an album (and Kepler Ten appear to be such a band). From their name to the album’s art, Kepler Ten are achingly truthful about where they come from. The font chosen, the image, the hard science fiction album name all scream classical progressive metal/rock in the vein of Rush, Dream Theater, Ayreon and more. And you know what? That’s exactly what Delta-V; it’s the tropes of progressive rock played incredibly straight, with an almost childish glee in the craft. And it totally, 100% works, for a given definition of “works”. Are you looking for jaw-dropping technically or crushing heaviness? Look elsewhere. But do you have an open road that needs travelling, a chair that you simply must dance in or a starry sky into which to gaze? Then Delta-V is the album for you.
It’s no secret by now that I have a sweet tooth when it comes to my progressive metal. There’s something so freeing in complex music which manages to blend its pretenses with honest, almost naive, joy. Last year, we got the beautiful Affinity from Haken, as perfect an example of the style as we’re likely to get. Luckily, there are other bands operating within these parameters, making music that’s interesting to listen to but also fun. Case in point: Kepler Ten and their upcoming Delta-V, which we’ll be reviewing in…four hours? For now, we have an exclusive premiere of the first track on the album and one of the best examples of why I love the record. Head on down below to check it out!
Metal and science fiction clash along various cultural axes. Their marriage begins with tone; both have a penchant for the wildly grandiose and imaginative personas, for personality writ large across a vast canvas. The juxtaposition continues along more “meta” lines, with both being adopted (or perhaps relegated to) the “geek”…
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. Brutai, after having released their debut album Born, are set to rock the mainstream prog world…
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. Binary Code have had an eventful 2016, to say the least. After releasing their first full-length in 7 years, the impressive Moonsblood, the band hit the road across North America for much of the rest of the year with fellow prog-heads Leprous and Earthside. In spite of all of that though, Binary Code founder and guitarist Jesse Zuretti found plenty of time to stay on top of the goings-on in metal and elsewhere this year and eagerly wrote up his top ten metal and non-metal albums for us, which you can find after the jump!
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.