Being a music critic, journalist and/or blogger can be quite a thankless task at times, particularly when it comes to reviewing albums. A while back we ran a piece on some of the most aggravating comments a writer can receive on their reviews, but that article didn’t touch upon related…
Welcome to the final installment of Death’s Door in the Year of Our Nefarious Overlord 2017! Wipe your feet on the mat, remove that stupid holiday-induced smile from your face, and prepare yourself for ultimate year-end audio brutalization. Because, quite frankly, 2017 was one of the best years for death metal in decades. A bold statement indeed, and thankfully one with plenty of data in the form of amazing records to back it up. The overwhelming number of releases in this dirtiest of metal subgenres, coupled with the breadth of quality releases in each of the branches of the death metal tree, all accumulate to create one of the most impressive lists of death metal albums in a given year since the early 1990s. 2017 presented us with exceptional records at such an alarming clip that it was often a full-time task to keep track of them. Death metal this year was in equal measure mind-numbingly technical, socially forward-thinking, compositionally adventurous, and reverent of the past, generating albums that displayed with full clarity all that makes this music the metal behemoth that it is. What a time to be alive. In our final segment of Death’s Door for the year, we will be highlighting the trends and movements within death metal that we found to be the most significant, as well as our own personal top 15 death metal records on the year. Prepare yourself. Madness awaits.
Earlier in the week Eden introduced us to fun-loving Canadian weirdos Bird Problems, and I couldn’t help but think that Australia must have something of the sort. Enter Triple Kill, relative newcomers to the heavy metal scene in Melbourne. The quintet play straight up heavy metal, with drummer Connor O’Keane listing some of their key influences as “Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Lamb of God and Pantera”. Add to this mixture of power metal and groove some distinct characteristics from both thrash and melodic death metal and you have yourself Triple Kill’s core sound. However, things don’t just stop at the music. Triple Kill have quickly made a name for themselves for producing some fantastic, hilarious videos. But hey, don’t take my word for it, check out the band’s introductory video below:
In the 2000s, metal went through a strange phase. Scandinavian high octane melodeath bands found a shared passion for melody, hooks, and flashy guitar work with power metal bands as well new lyrical inspiration from folklore. Overnight, it seems metal spawned a whole scene with a new pool of clichés (well, sort of new) to exploit. Folk metal was nothing new at the time but there was a huge rebranding of it and every label was jumping on board. New bands popped up every year, some great and some boring as hell. One of these bands, Ensiferum, unfortunately introduced heavy metal’s most notorious edging expert, Jari Mäenpää, into the world. Jari left in 2004 to focus on Wintersun, but Ensiferum has continued its steady output of quality music since his departure. Their new album, Two Paths, continues their streak.
Polish melodic death metal outfit, In Twilight’s Embrace, are experts at finding the balance between black metal’s raw, foreboding aesthetic and death metal’s clear cut maximalism. Their last full length, 2015’s The Grim Muse, had some excellent riffage with a thin varnish of mystery and darkness. The band seems to be toying with the same sort of atmospheric melodic death metal as contemporaries Insomnium and Be’lakor but with the sinister undertones of black metal nihilists like Mgla. It’s a timeless sound that echoes of melodeath’s earliest Gothenburg demos and yet still finds resonance with today’s modern metal listeners.
Heavy Blog Is Heavy now has the honor of premiere a video for their newest track, “As Future Evaporates”, a righteous anthem with a beautifully shot video.
Sometimes you put on a record and the music cascading into your head gives you a jolt straight up your spine. That opening salvo is everything you want, pushing all the right buttons and getting your blood pumping, your heart racing, and your mind zeroed in on nothing but the music. Pure, unadulterated sound that fills you with elation, an exuberance you can barely contain. I have been overcome by this sensation many times as a music listener. It’s that uncommon state of absolute and unashamed excitement for what comes next. Unfortunately, what actually comes next doesn’t always live up to that initial rush, either by sheer sugar rush effect or simply because the remaining tracks on the album aren’t up to the standards set by the opening track. What it comes down to is that many albums are good, but few are great. It is a truth that music lovers have to accept every time that damned opening track teases us into blind, all-encompassing hope that the rest of the album will live up to the soaring heights of those first few, precious moments. Cormorant’s new album Diaspora gave me this feeling I just described. But in those first few incredible moments, I couldn’t help wondering whether this reaction would persist. What resulted over the next hour was a thoroughly remarkable journey that I have relived and revisited many times since then. TL;DR: This album is profoundly good.
Welcome to Voices of the Void, a new column on Heavy Blog is Heavy! On this segment, I will be diving into the vocal profiles of metal and rock’s most skilled voice performers. The world of heavy music has a wide range of vocal styles and talent from hard rock…
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the day’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!
There’s clearly some brilliance hidden somewhere in Wintersun. It’s not trivial to make concept albums with long songs and multi-layered instrumentation. To even attempt such a feat takes a certain degree of ambition and courage. Even when an attempt like this fails, it’s hard to fault a band for trying. Hard, but not impossible. It can be made especially easy when the band act arrogantly and set themselves up for failure. Positioning an album as “this is not the amazing album we promised, but something inherently and intentionally inferior to tide you over” is just not an attractive proposition for fans. Even setting that aside, if the music was good enough, that could erase all bad will. If it is good, that is. And it isn’t.
Long Island based Iapetus provide us with a left of field lesson in what ambition bridled by talent can create. Their 2017 self-release (which is, and always will be, completely free) The Long Road Home is an ambitious album which spans progressive death metal, neo-folk and progressive metal. It insists, even unto the brink of failure, to go where the vision of the two artists takes it rather than where convention would dictate it should go. As mentioned, during this process it comes dangerously close to overreaching its boundaries and even faintly grazes the markings of overwrought artistry. But for those willing to brave those extremes of wild, self indulgent and un-tethered self expression lies an album full of great musical moments.