Welcome to Jazz Club, where we might actually be on track this week! Actually, it’s true; we have a real topic and real albums to bring to your earballs, all about one of the most revolutionary (and highly criticized at the time) forms of jazz of all time, Jazz Fusion! A little note before we start, though: all three albums featured today have sizable contributions from guitarists. Although fusion includes more instrumentation beyond the guitar (for example, Mahavishnu Orchestra once included violinist Jon Luc Ponty), guitar was essentially the big focal point of the genre, as fusion is a blend (no duh) of a few genres with jazz, the biggest being rock music. (Of course, there are other jazz guitarists that aren’t fusion, such as Django Reinhardt, but this is a new sound we’re talking about.) So without further ado, let’s defuse a contentious – but rewarding – subgenre of jazz.
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.
Meshuggah need little introduction. Indeed, it’s not entirely unreasonable to say that at this point in time, shades of the Swedish five-piece’s work permeate the vast majority of modern metal acts in some way or another. The band’s complete and utter disregard for the traditional rhythmic playbook and unwavering focus in writing their own rulebook has rightfully earned them a reputation as one of the most (if not the most) influential bands in progressive metal history: and over two-and-a-half decades after their inception, they are showing no signs of slowing down.
We’re back to our normal setup! And just like many artists who make a comeback past their time, we’re hella edgy this week. Since we skipped a week, this week is all news and discussion surrounding recent events! Like what, you ask? Well, Meshuggah’s 25 year package, Sepultura working on their new album, Manowar’s calling it quits, some random Christian band going full /r/atheism, Bandcamp’s dig at Apple Music, Justin of Sikth being replaced by Joe of Aliases, Lee leaving After the Burial, Dragonforce releasing a “best of” album, Pain of Salvation remastering Remedy Lane. New music or teases thereof by: Periphery, Revocation, Whispered, Metallica, Last Chance To Reason, Whispered, Thank You Scientist, Starofash, Stam1na and Machine Head. The passing of Nick Menza of Megadeth. The end of Temples Festival. Finally, discussing this trendy “best of 2016 so far” list, some Apple Music playlist that tries way too hard, and Gojira’s upcoming album Magma.
Make sure you don’t cut yourself with the edge on this episode!
Making melodic progressive metal is hard. Progressive metal is already steeped deeply in melodic influences, which should be an easy starting point. However, dipping too much into these roots can lead your creation to move away from metal, losing its rough edge and sounding forced. So too with the other end: if you increase the heaviness and aggression, you often lose the progressive sense which was supposed to make your album interesting. Textures are the masters of this fine balancing act and one of the first bands to achieve it. No one has quite reached the same level of melodic dedication spliced with a progressive wildness that can erupt at any time. Well, no one except Binary Code.
The brainchild of Jesse Zuretti caught the community’s ear in 2009, with their debut Suspension of Disbelief, a refreshing take on what it means to record progressive metal today. That album was chock full of interesting ideas and compositions. However, in the seven years of (relative) silence, the scene has done quite a lot with itself: multiple Textures releases came and went in the interim and bands like A Sense of Gravity and Gods of Eden changed what we think and feel about the music and what it means. So, with Moonsblood coming out tomorrow, does Binary Code still have things to say or has the community outpaced their melodic, rich sound?
Surprise! This week we have an interview, with Chris of Schammasch, the Swiss avant-garde band we’ve been raving about for weeks. We get his perspective on art, avant-garde and meaning behind music. A great chat! Definitely listen to Triangle (here is a good place). Then we do our news round-up, new music from Hatebreed, Six Feet Under (why), Meshuggah, Setentia, Brujeria, The Levitation Hex and the DOOM OST. We talk about Agalloch’s disbanding, Rob Zombie’s being a Babymetal fan (and my short review of their live show), and we talk about Radiohead, Beyonce and Drake taking a stance against Spotify, and the big perspective of the streaming service wars. Then we talk about how album art reflects on the music, inspired by our conversation with Chris. We have an extensive cool people section this time, gushing over DOOM and talking about the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Enjoy!
We’re back with the fourth installment of our latest feature, The Soul Curator, and this time we’re taking a trip through the wilderness. Back in 2011 I hiked the entire Camino De Santiago in Spain over the course of five weeks, and it almost goes without saying that I was…
When it comes down to it, Gorguts are one of the most important bands in shaping both the current and future landscape of death metal, no questions asked. Since their breakup and subsequent reunion which was met with one of the best “comeback” metal albums of all time in Colored…
The fusion of electronic music and metal has been and always will be controversial. This problem stems from an imbalanced focus or a shallow appropriation; you have to do both genres justice, and placing synth arpeggios over breakdowns isn’t how you make compelling music. It takes a well-worn understanding of both genres to execute a worthwhile fusion, and it’s true that few have been able to demonstrate this knowledge and creativity. Of all the acts that have made an attempt to bridge metal and electronica, French musician Remi Gallego’s project The Algorithm may well be the one that makes the best case for the cause.
Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those…