Few bands in the modern prog scene are as controversial as The Contortionist. Despite their growing success, the ongoing transition in sound from trailblazers of progressive deathcore to settling into a niche of post-rock and prog influenced alt metal has proven to be divisive among their otherwise dedicated fanbase. Although there were clear and deliberate steps away from deathcore between their celebrated debut Exoplanet and its well-received follow-up Intrinsic, the true turning point for The Contortionist came in 2014’s Language, and it’s no wonder given the lineup overhaul that occurred at that time. Vocalist and keyboard player Jonathan Carpenter and bassist Chris Tilley amicably left following the Intrinsic touring cycle for personal reasons, with the band picking up Last Chance To Reason’s Michael Lessard (vocals), ex-Scale The Summit’s Jordan Eberhardt (bass), and keyboardist Eric Guenther. With the band now half-consisting of new members and a trajectory towards prog already heavily hinted at, it’s no wonder that Language wound up being such a departure.
Here at Heavy Blog, we’ve been quite vocally critical of musical crowdfunding. More often than not, the campaigns seem to stretch into infinity, forever unfulfilled. However, the basic concepts of fan supporting their beloved artists directly is one which we find highly appealing, seeing as how we’re fans who’d love to do that as well. Thus, it’s always refreshing to see an example of a crowdfunding campaign done right and, what’s more, one which produces an incredible album. Such is the case with sleepmakeswaves and their latest release, Made of Breath Only. This marvelous piece of high tempo post rock, bursting with the joie de vivre we’ve come to expect from these Australians, was successfully made possible by fans of the band (this writer included) and feels inherently made for them.
Bands with a multifaceted sound and diverse playbooks tend to leave lasting impressions around these parts. Faith No More. The Dillinger Escape Plan. Devin Townsend. Deftones. Each song from these acts is different, which allows for a dynamic listening experience across the breadth of an album, and in turn, incentivizes multiple spins.
Tangled Thoughts of Leaving is one of the most interesting post metal bands out there. From the far reaches of Perth in Australia’s wild west, their heavily improvised and experimental sound draws from sounds as diverse as jazz, drone, prog and much more. A very difficult band to categorise, their…
In 2015 we told you that Chaos Divine had the goods, and today we’re lucky enough to speak with them. Starting off as something of a melodic death metal band, Chaos Divine have gradually evolved into the progressive/alternative rock sound which Australia has become famed for. We speak with them about their fantastic 2015 release Colliding Skies, their experiences with crowd funding, the Australian scene, what it’s like being a band from the isolated west coast of the country and, of course, eggs.
Today we’re joined by none other than Michael Gagen, guitarist extraordinaire at bands you may have heard of, like hazards of swimming naked and (ex-) Arcane, and bands you’ve probably never heard of, like Echotide, agrammeofsoma and more. We don’t know which of those bands you’ve heard of, but we…
Third albums. What a goddamn mystery. We’ve spoken about the unique challenge posed by them before on the blog but there’s never been any concise solution offered to their peculiar problem. Should bands double down on their established sound and “dig deeper” (like TesseracT’s Polaris for example) or throw everything to the wind and experiment wildly with their sound (like Karnivool’s Asymmetry for instance)? Both options entice with their advantages but both also hold pitfalls. Too often, bands simply don’t choose and try to walk a golden, middle round. This “secret” third option is extremely difficult to pull off but also hedges the band’s bets, since failing it carries less hazards. At worst, it leaves an album a little bit forgettable. Otherwise, this third choice skirts many of the potential disasters of the other two options. This “best worst case scenario” is exactly what Soen’s third release embodies.
The EP format holds many challenges; it’s often a tempting escape for bands that mistake frequency of publication for quality. However, it also holds great potential for those who know how to wield it. Just like the 140 characters tweet, the shorter format of an EP often leads one to greater creativity, a distillation of force and purpose. When a good band releases an EP it can often give their music that necessary, final push into greatness. So it is with Ebonivory, a band whose sound is so emblematically Australian that you really don’t need me to geo-locate them. More than that, they also have a good album from 2015, The Only Constant. But, a year after it, they’ve released an EP titled Ebonivory II which completely transcends it, providing their music the focus and momentum it needed in order to truly transcend.
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.
Since their inception, Tesseract haven’t been averse to revisiting older works and manipulating them into a more contemporary framework. They’ve been redoing grooves, experimenting with acoustic versions of old songs, and always trying to further distance themselves from the djent scene that they helped propel five years ago. With their most recent full-length, 2015’s Polaris, the band showed that they were straying even further from their metal roots. There were still plenty of moments that’ll open up pits the world over, but Tesseract could almost be argued as a progressive/alternative rock band at this point. Now looking at Errai, an EP with four reworked Polaris tracks, it’s evident that Tesseract are arguably at their best when they’re at their most distant.