It’s been a while since we’ve written one of these columns, and that’s not because we dislike them. Past a certain point it starts to become more difficult to find important bands representing or making waves in a certain genre or sub-genre and finding a group of similar or tangentially-related bands to recommend. Up to this point though we haven’t really written one of these posts as essentially a response or plea to listeners. Sometimes bands who execute a certain style or sound garner a lot of critical and popular praise to the point of being credited with some sort of innovation or something radically different from anything else out there when the reality is far from that. It’s rarely the fault of the bands themselves though as they don’t give themselves that kind of credit, but once in a while it’s important for someone to politely correct consensus thinking and offer a little more context, and that is exactly what we’re going to do here and now with the debut album from metal/jazz fusion band Nova Collective.
Likely one of the most enjoyable albums of the year, The Mute Gods’ Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth is brimming with melody from front to back, with outstanding keyboard arrangements and gorgeous bass licks. This album pays more direct tribute to 80s prog, an era that is maligned but provided some of the giants of the genre (Yes, Rush and Genesis) with some of their biggest hits and served to introduce the MTV generation to some of the most talented musicians on the planet. Tonally, Tardigrades is most like Yes’s 90125 and even has a sort of synthesized new age feel that marked the band’s collaboration with later soundtrack wunderkind Trevor Rabin.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We…
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!