Say what you will about John Dyer Baizley’s artistry, either aural or visual, but it’s undeniable that the man has a very specific style that has remained consistent across his career. His visual work carries a very particular weight to it, courtesy of the thick, curvy linework and oily, saturated colors that define the album covers he’s done for bands across the years, including Skeletonwitch and Kvelertak, and his music, which takes the form of the sludge-metal-meets-alt-rock act Baroness, has a similarly weighty, melancholy, and deeply rich vibe to it.
Their new album, Purple, continuing in the “albums named for colors” trend they’ve had since their first record, Red, is going to be their most detailed album yet, if the new single, “Shock Me”, is any indication. Coming two and a half months after the first track from the upcoming full length, “Chlorine & Wine”, it displays a band that is locked in, comfortable in their identity and capabilities. The first song was very much a slow build into a soft, if energetic, conclusion; “Shock Me” starts out strong and maintains a consistent level of energy throughout, almost anthemic in nature and easy to nod along with.
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.
Numerous inclusions have received the Heavy Blog stamp of approval in one form or another. The Raven Autarchy‘s The Obscene Deliverance, Katatonia’s Sanctitude and The Crinn‘s Shadowbreather all received glowing reviews, and our pseudo-review of the excellent new collaboration between Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – Never were the way she was – saw editor Nick Cusworth gushing over his current album of the year. This coming week, expect reviews for And So I Watch From Afar‘s Heirs and Leprous‘ The Congregation, both of which appear in this update and are current Heavy Blog favorites for 2015. In the meantime, stream Heirs here and read our interview with Leprous frontman Einar Solberg here.
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 records have been receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
A recent discussion among Heavy Blog’s staff about The Children of the Night – the third offering from Swedish occultists Tribulation – was primarily composed of flattering comparisons that displayed the band’s preference of nostalgic fusion. An extensive list of references grew in the comments section to include comparisons to Celtic Frost circa To Mega Therion, Ghost playing blackened death metal, Judas Priest and Watain subtly synthesized, Kvelertak toning down their punk influences and Hail Spirit Noir straying from the avant-garde. At least one of these descriptions should whet the palate of any well-versed metal listener, and rightfully so: The Children of the Night is a solid slab of progressive, occult themed metal that capably blends black and death metal with traditional genre elements for a satisfying listen.
The most common feedback we get from our readers about this site and why they continue to follow us (aside from our dashing good looks, obviously) is that they come to us to find out about bands new and old they might have otherwise never been introduced to. We pride ourselves on being able to act as a human music recommendation service to all of you, which is why we already have features like our very popular Listen To This! series of columns. When thinking about ways we could take this further though, we came upon the idea for this column. For Fans Of is essentially a distillation of this in its purest form.
The concept is simple. We take one very well-known and popular band that our writers and readers are fans of, and then we write about a small group of lesser-known bands that do similar things and who we think you all might like as well and give a listen to. So, for example, in this case we’ve chosen Converge (more on them in a second). These are not meant to be exhaustive lists, and it’s quite possible many of you will be already familiar with at least a few of these bands. But we hope that this serves as an appropriate jumping-off point for many of you and that you can find at least one new band you were not already listening to.
Mastodon have announced the second leg of their U.S. headlining tour in support of their excellent new album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, which the Heavy Blog Staff decided was one of the best albums of the year so far. The tour will once again feature the mighty Gojira and the fun-as-hell Kvelertak as openers. The tour kicks off in mid-October on Boise, ID and will finish up in Atlanta, GA in early November. Click the jump for dates.
Currently on the road to promote their upcoming album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, the Atlanta foursome not to be trifled with, Mastodon, take the most eco-friendly (and heaviest) band in the world, Gojira, and the six-piece stranglehold from Norway, Kvelertak on tour with some of the most bone-crushing riffs to take the stage.
Please enjoy a note from our photographer and a slew of photos behind the cut!
The Sun’s Not Yellow, It’s Chicken
01. Kill Hicks
02. Will you be God’s art or Satan’s graffiti?
03. Evil prevails
04. Only Rain Man doesn’t change
06. Obi-Wan Chernobyl
07. From robot jobs to robot homes
08. Live fast, die.
09. Bong Aqua
10. Zombies never go out of style
11. Assmasters of reality
12. Nexus Diplomis
13. Segway to heaven
Digging into the backstory of Barren Womb, one might be intrigued by the bold statements of their biography. Here, they claim to “blend hardcore punk with elements of black metal, grindcore and country.” Hell’s teeth, that sure sounds like an exciting prospect. Having investigated further it appears that the “elements” are incredibly subtle ones and these Norwegian noiseniks don’t, in fact, sound like Black Breath butchering Lynyrd Skynyrd songs. Happily, their more general description of them being “a nasty swill of noisy punk” is bang on the money.
With Mastodon, Gojira, and Kvelertak showing up on Columbus, OH’s Rock on the Range Festival lineup for this summer, it was a no brainer that the groups could very likely be hitting the road together on a larger capacity. Finally, the rumors have been confirmed and a handful of tour dates have been announced.
Via Mastodon’s Facebook:
The tour kicks off April 28th in Seattle and criss-crosses the U.S. before culminating in a performance at the Rock On The Range Festival on May 18th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 7th.
Mastodon’s upcoming spring U.S. tour dates are as follows:
04/29 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
05/01 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
05/02 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theater
05/03 Las Vegas, NV House of Blues
05/07 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
05/08 Chicago, IL The Riviera Theater
05/09 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE
05/12 Buffalo, NY The Town Ballroom
05/13 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
Though the dates are a bit thin, the tour is definitely stellar. If Rock on the Range weren’t a week before Maryland Deathfest, I’d consider the trip. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to let this tour pass me by.
In other Mastodon news, the group shared the following update on their album sessions:
Hopefully the album release will coincide with this tour. Could use some of those Mastodon feel-good summer jams. More info on that when we get it.
Full disclosure: I really hate doing these lists. Actually, what I should say is I hate ordering these lists. Throughout the course of the year, these are the albums which have impacted me most, whether it be on an emotional level, intellectual level, or on a just plain enjoyment level. I really can’t say that I think any one of these albums is better than the other, because they’ve each played an equally important role on my impression of music in 2013.
I’ve been doing my best to prepare for this time of year by keeping a running list of albums I’ve enjoyed throughout the year, but unfortunately I can’t put 112 albums on my list. I’ll also admit that the publishing of year end lists on other metal media outlets has forced me to revisit a number of albums over the past few weeks, just to be sure there wasn’t an album I missed or didn’t quite “get”, and has also put an unspoken pressure on me to include albums that other prominent writers have deemed the best of the year. That being said, diversity (or is it variety?) is the spice of life, and one thing I need to realize is that we all as metal journalists have different tastes, and while there may be some overlap with the dreaded year-end lists, it’s not at all required. We are all individuals, our own entities, and one of the many beautiful things about music is the variety of interpretations and impacts it can have on each of us as individuals.
Inevitably, there will be a handful of readers who express their discontent with my list and every other Heavy Blog writers’ list in a threatening manner, and to those people I say: grow up. Make your own damn list, and enjoy it for yourself. I can guarantee you that I won’t agree with everything on your list, but I’m not going to think any less of you because we don’t share the same musical taste. Music is supposed to breed community, not hostility, and we should all just learn to appreciate each others’ individual tastes and have civil conversations about it, and perhaps in the process, experience some of the excitement of discovering a new band that tickles your musical fancy just right.
And thus ends my soapbox on the subject. Now, onto the list!
2013 has seen large growths in the, quite frankly, already sweaty regions of punk n’ roll, progressive metal and retro blues rock. Naturally, this has made me a very jolly fellow. You might be able to spot a few of the more impressive additions in my all-singing, all-dancing end of year list. Happy xmas to one and all!