Zvi – Deer Pink

Sometimes music critics can benefit from adhering to the notion that “form follows function.” It’s an abstract use of the bauhaus principle, but one which feels especially relevant in the modern music landscape. We often slather genre tags on scenes and artists that are growing more and more stylistically agnostic,…

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Dreadnought – Emergence

We are truly fortunate. It has not even been two years and Denver based Dreadnought have decided to grace us, yet again, with an album. This writer is especially fortunate since your memories of my previous Dreadnought review should be fresh enough. Naturally, Emergence sits at what is currently the…

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Vaura – Sables

Of all the musical periods that have risen back into prominence, the ’80s have arguably enjoyed the most success back in the spotlight. Sure, we’re also seeing an influx of influence from ’60s/’70s singer-songwriters in modern folk, pop and rock, as well as some echoes of grunge resurfacing from the…

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Stern – Missive: Sister Ships

One of the greatest traits of the underground music community is its deeply collaborative nature. A journey into one artist’s discography will often illuminate connections to other like-minded artists, which initiates the insatiable quest to devour yet another intriguing discography. Such is the case with Stern, which likely attracted attention due to its…

Ehnahre – The Marrow

Literature has been one of the foremost sources of inspiration for metal lyricism and composition alike, regardless of subgenre. The list of examples is significant—Ernest Hemingway and Cobalt, Georges Bataille and Deathspell Omega, H. P. Lovecraft and seemingly everyone, and so on. Drawing inspiration from a novel is a challenging but relatively structured undertaking; a plot can be interpreted into numerous sonic and lyrical directions but will always follow the same trajectory of its narrative. Poetry contrasts this process by its very nature, as its natural code of symbolic meaning and suggestive prose necessitates musical decoding drawn from a strictly thematic place. Even poems with a decipherable narrative are often told in a verbose, indirect manner that challenges metal lyricists and composers to write with a liberated hand, looking beyond the words on the page to a deeper understanding of the poem’s true meaning and mood. Agalloch’s interpretation of W. B. Yeats is a stellar example of this process being executed beautifully, as is the latest offering from Ehnahre, a Boston-based avant-garde metal collective who count Kay Dot alumni among their ranks. Their incredible four-part song cycle on The Marrow captures the essence of Theodore Roethke’s eponymous poem* through consuming landscapes of avant-garde death-doom that are as ridden with despair as the poet’s initial musing on whether or not life is worthwhile.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 5/26/17

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.

Toby Driver – Madonnawhore

On Madonnawhore, his latest solo effort, Driver embraces this image, creating an album of touching ballads which draw on the dreamy, art rock/pop themes that have become part of his staple sound. Interspersed with plenty of medieval references, the album also seems very much aware of its origins and historical context. The result is a rich and immersive album that sees the spotlight shift towards Driver’s delivery and emotional range, as befits any collection of ballads. This emotional fluency is best exemplified by “Avignon”, a touching track that hits deep right at the album’s beginning. Avignon itself was the city in which the Avignon Papacy was housed during the conflict between the French Crown and the Roman Papacy. It’s a city, located as it is on the south of France, that evokes heady themes of citrus, faint heat, spring and also erudite resistance, schism, affluence and opulence.

Pallbearer’s Live Show Is Everything But Heartless

It’s finally not as cold here in New York. I’ve been here for almost a month now and the weather hasn’t been to kind. Last time I left a Brooklyn based show, it was Clipping., the wind was blowing cold off the Atlantic and snow was in the air. This Saturday, it was thankfully less punishing and there was a sense of elation in the air post show. Or maybe it was just me, my heart so full of the sets I had just seen. Pallbearer, Marissa Nadler and Kayo Dot all reminded me, in their own way, why I love seeing music played live and why I love, even with the amount of genres I listen to, the darker sides of music. All three sets were more than just proficient; they had a musician’s touch, an earnest and powerful conviction in self expression and its strength.