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.
As is typical of these updates, there are numerous inclusions that have received the Heavy Blog seal of approval via a positive review. Leprous‘ The Congregation (review here), Sirens‘ Surge (review here), Lamb of God‘s VII: Sturm Und Drang (review here), Northlane‘s Node (review here), Hope Drone‘s Cloak of Ash (review here), We Lost the Sea‘s Departure Songs (review here), Between the Buried and Me‘s Coma Ecliptic (review here), Cattle Decapitation‘s Anthropocene Extinction (review here), August Burns Red‘s Found in Far Away Places (review here), Dreadnought‘s Bridging Realms (review here) and Khemmis‘ Absolution (review here) are all excellent albums from this year that are definitely worth your time. Due to Dr. Dre releasing his first album in sixteen years, it is no surprise that the album – Compton – appears among our hip-hop head heavy staff. Dre’s other two albums – The Chronic and 2001 – also appear this week, as well as two projects featuring MF DOOM (Bl_ck B_st_rds and Madvillainy) and Madlib (Madvillainy and Piñata), Kendrick Lamar‘s spectacular To Pimp a Butterfly and eminent producre Flying Lotus‘s excellent Cosmogramma and You’re Dead, all demonstrating our staff’s solid taste in the genre.
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.
Head past the jump to see which receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
Mathcore has one of the most glaring misnomers in modern music’s arbitrary and unhelpful genre game. Sure, there may be great degree of compositional analytics required in order to real the gnashing aural beast into a presentable exhibit. But from a strictly sonic perspective, there is not a single element of the genre that feels remotely calculated, as every raucous moment of a mathcore album batters the listener like an unsolvable problem rather than a manageable problem set. Minnesota natives The Crinn exhibit a clear drive to epitomize this on their latest record Shadow Breather, an album that places them handily within mathcore’s pantheon and presents one of the most jarring genre offerings in recent memory.
We’ve discussed Rosetta and their upcoming album before. Hell, we even did one of our new Visual Update posts on them about a month ago. However, at the time, there were very little details to go off of about the record. No album title, release date, or anything. Well, ladies and gents, we now have tons of info about it, and you can read all about it after the jump!
The fact that Pyramids were able to solicit the input of renaissance man Colin Marston and Blut Aus Nord mastermind Vindsval after having released only a debut (2008’s Pyramids) is an unquestionably impressive feat. Seven years later, the band have returned with their sophomore album A Northern Meadow, a release that continues the group’s genre agnosticism. Head past the jump to spin the record, which premiered over at Stereogum yesterday:
Melding an otherworldy blend of shoegaze, industrial, and black metal like no other band before them, Texas’ Pyramids croon through hazy dysphoric drones and Ambien-laced soundscapes that sound as if Altar of Plagues and Anathema collided in celebration of melancholia. I could pick more flowery language out of a thesaurus all day, but the fact of the matter is that Pyramids are a band you need to be hearing like five years ago.
Welcome to the fifth part in our ongoing series of Heavy Blog Is Heavy’s “Best Of” selections where we explore a genre of music and each of our dedicated authors picks a favorite album to share a personal experience with. After mixing things up a bit with the previous list, we’ve decided to return to a genre limitation. Remember, we’re interesting in limiting ourselves as much as possible by picking a narrow genre because we believe limitations breed creativity. This time, we’ve chosen to focus on another genre who’s definition is a bit hazy: progressive black metal.
Black metal is one of the most misrepresented and ill-understood sub-genres within the metal community and outside of it. These specific albums add even more chaos to the mix by taking the basic black metal sound and either adding new influences to it or mixing up the basic formula completely: from folk-infused conceptual albums to fearlessly brutal descents into madness, this sub-genre is both abrasive and unique, musically complex and furious. Hold on tight as we spiral into the frost-bitten embrace of these albums.
Another year has come and gone. Music was had and enjoyed by all. Some of it ruled. Some of it sucked. Some of it was okay. What follows is the opinion of one writer fortunate enough to broadcast his opinions on a site that cares about it.
So here you go.
BRING FORTH THE NUMERICALLY CATALOGED ORGANIZATION OF EXCEPTIONAL MUSICS.
01. Le toit du monde
02. An Ocean of Wisdom
03. Forgotten Arrows
04. Colored Sands
05. The Battle of Chamdo
06. Enemies of Compassion
07. Ember’s Voice
09. Reduced to Silence
[Season of Mist]
The original masters of technical death metal with eldritch, unsettling and innovative songwriting have finally come out with a new album after twelve years. The band had broken up due to the suicide of drummer Steve MacDonald. Several years later, Luc Lemay (founding member, guitarist, vocalist) reinvented the band in 2009 with an all-stars lineup consisting of himself, Colin Marston of Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, Krallice and several other amazing bands on bass, Kevin Hufnagel of Dysrhythmia on guitar, and John Longstreth of Origin fame on drums. Considering the legacy of the band and how well regarded their 1998 album Obscura is even to this date, making a new album that doesn’t disappoint fans after more than a decade of waiting is an extremely tall order to say the least. Yet here we have Colored Sands, Gorguts’s fifth album, and it’s clear that Gorguts are back again.
The art of the instrumental is a delicate one. Taking away the vocals is a surprisingly big step, whereas before there was a ‘wall’ that would divert the focus away from the instruments a little, now every note and flourish is on display at the forefront for all to see. But, whether they use that method to craft obscenely complicated displays of musical proficiency or build a soundscape with which to immerse the listener in, the challenge is always the same — keeping it interesting without the most human and instantly connective element present.
The rules were fairly simple:
- The track must be instrumental. No vocals, guest or otherwise.
- Must have been released in the last 10 years. To keep it simple, this basically means any album released between 2003 and 2013. This was done to rule out some of the more obvious contenders such as ‘Orion‘ and ‘Transylvania‘.
- Although I hate to be that guy, the band must be predominantly metal. This meant the omission of some important and influential bands that fell more under the post-rock banner such as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky.
So, with some collaboration with rest of Heavy Blog, here’s what I came up with:
The return of Gorguts is an exciting prospect for many, something that’s been on the hook for the last 12 years. After all, their album Obscura spawned a new breed of prog and tech death and even became the namesake for one of our favorite bands in death metal. Hint: It’s Obscura.