An Ode to Spring – Metal, Thematics and Politics

Since the vast majority of Heavy Blog contributors fall on the left side of the map (shocking, we know), focusing on the latter seems like the way to go. Criticizing the other side of the political map is easy enough; taking a hard look at your own camp is where things get tricky. Thus, let us turn our eyes on one of the most typical leftist refusals to engage: the retreat. There are few places in the cultural world where this retreat is more obvious than in music and, more specifically, in metal. Even more specifically, the current throes which are black metal is undergoing are even more lucrative for our needs. There, leftist retreat is alive and happening right now, both because of the virility of the claims on the other side (read: the amount of black metal that’s truly awful) and because the themes of black metal have already been declared by the larger, more abstract “left” as anathema in the past.

Malady – Toinen Toista

At the beginning of this year (fuck, it’s almost April), we told you about Malady, a treasure trove of progressive rock hailing from the criminally overlooked Finnish music scene. Their first, self titled release, was a somber take on the progressive rock formula, mostly emphasizing the feeling of loss and wanderlust that…

Love Letter – Playing Prog Rock Fucking Loud

You know the part: the drums, thick and resonating, pick up pace, the bass licks in anticipation of the crescendo and all of a sudden the synths are there, Hammond goodness washing over the soaring guitar parts as the vocals explode into a high note. This structure of “ensemble buildup”, where the entire band join forces to form the climax of a track, is a staple of many genres but progressive rock has always been the best at it. King Crimson’s “Starless”, Yes’s “Heart of the Sunrise”, Wishbone Ash’s “Warrior” (containing one of the world’s most famous and most forgotten solos), Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and many, many other tracks and albums come to mind. Even younger bands operating today and paying homage to the style (like Malady, Wobbler, Witchcraft and more) adopt the prominence of the climax and full band collaboration.

Hey! Listen to Malady!

Who has the arrogance to accurately trace the proliferation of genres? Who has the hubris needed to claim that they have accurately described the narrative surrounding even one style of music? Apparently, a lot of people as music journalism is obsessed with “understanding” (read, limiting) genres and telling us their…