There’s no dearth of bands inspired by the likes of Motorhead or the Obsessed but many miss the mark when trying too hard to emulate their forebears rather than putting their own aggressive stomp on the tried and true sound. This particular blend of blues-y, groove-laden metal often stays too long in its own lane, rarely straying from the formula to stretch and add enough of a band’s individual identity, but when a band is able to take this style and bend it to *their* will is where we get something unique.
Metalcore wasn’t always the poppy, hair-flipping, Jonas Brothers-ass affair that it turned into during the early to mid 2000s. Metal and punk have always had an interesting dynamic and when the two cross over it has almost always resulted in compelling music. Black Flag showed their love for Black Sabbath on My War and the first thrash records of the early 80s are seriously indebted to hardcore punk and crust punk. In the 1990s, metalcore was one of the many punk-metal amalgams thriving. It combined the sludgy, downtuned, groovy metal of the day with the politics, angst, and breakdowns of hardcore punk. One of the originators of this fusion, Integrity, gained their popularity off their highly influential debut album, Those Who Fear Tomorrow, a thundering record that still holds up today. Unlike many of the bands in that early metalcore scene, Integrity hasn’t gone away since their legendary early release. On the contrary, the band is still firmly plugged into the current metal-punk world and makes some of the most interesting metalcore available. Their newest album, Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume, continues their long streak of successes.
Hyborian, out of Kansas City, MO, don’t sound like a new band needing more polish on their debut release, Hyborian Vol. I. I was given this album with the description of “Mastodon worship” and that isn’t that far off base. The band cite High on Fire and Crowbar as influences and you can definitely hear the former in the guitar tones. The reality, however, is this band lies somewhere in the very narrow valley of the above influences particularly on opening track, “As Above, So Below”. They are able to harness that same thrash-y malevolence and driving power as they raise the curtain on this effort.
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.
The observant among you may find something familiar about LA’s up and coming hardcore firebrands Grand Lord High Master and their new song “Flexxx”; it actually made its debut over the holiday season as a part of our annual Heavy Comp Is Heavy compilation. In case you missed it, we’ve got its “official” premiere today before the album’s release this spring. Truthfully, “Flexxx” is a song so nice, we just had to debut it twice.
Denver’s Khemmis materialized as quickly and supernaturally as the panel van wizard-style illustrations that grace their album art. Absolution, their impressive debut album from the not-so-distant 2015, bubbled up as a critical favorite, garnering attention from publications large and small – no small feat for an upstart band in an already populated scene. Taking nods from old-school progenitors like Candlemass and Thin Lizzy, Khemmis carry diverse classic vibes into the modern era, zeroing in on a more alloyed kind of retro revival than peers like Pallbearer or The Sword. Somehow, in wizard-like fashion, they’ve quickly conjured their follow-up, Hunted, a record that polishes the ideas presented on Absolution, but ultimately feels like an all-too-familiar sequel.
While some subgenres of heavy music seem to fit better and have more of an impact on the listener during certain times of the year, there’s simply never a bad or inopportune time to throw on some sludge metal and envelop oneself in a sea of fuzz. Even though bands have been tipping their hats to the likes of Tony Iommi and Matt Pike for decades now, it almost always feels refreshing to hear a band casting aside their proclivities for dense orchestration and simply just rocking the fuck out. That’s where Florida’s Junior Bruce comes in.
No, not Warmonger; today’s band is Woe Monger, a new sludgy hardcore band out of Vancouver whose demo was released on Bandcamp just last week.
A lot of the bands I usually like to highlight during a Hey! Listen To article are bands that haven’t made a lot of headway into the mainstream, but nonetheless have a few albums under their belt. Of course there are always exceptions to that latter rule, like my support of Ukranian thrash band Hellcome or the folk metal outfit that I refuse to shut up about, Goatspsalm, and, in this entry, Turkey’s Mammoths on Giants.