Binary Code – Moonsblood

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?

30 – Crowns Of Symbolical Meaning feat. Chris of Schammasch

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!

The Algorithm – Brute Force

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.

Best Of – One Man Bands

Going over the twelve entries we’ve selected as the cream of the musical loner crop, it’s amazing to see not only the variety of genres present, but the fact that such enormous, impactful music can come from a single individual. From guitar porn to one man black metal to a whole slew of electronic subgenres, these artists prove that “strength in numbers” may not apply to everyone. Because while this crew may not have been the most social group on the playground, they spent their alone time producing some of our favorite music and proving that collaboration isn’t a necessity for quality tunes. So without further ado, sit back and reminisce with us over our favorite one person projects, or enjoy discovering what any one of these twelve musicians has to offer. And of course, feel free to comment with further suggestions of exceptional musicians who handily do it all.

18 – Engage The Riff Machine

Episode 18! This week we get pretty rambly and political, so warning! Opinions contained within! Including those on subjects like Kanye West, new Fallujah, new Wormed (see below), Eagles of Death Metal on gun control, Leprous’s crowdfunder, The Grammys, and Skuggsja. We also discuss the sudden passing of Riverside guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, Greg Puciato’s take on …And Justice For All, new music by The Odious and more. We finally get to talk about the techno thrash phenomenon of the early 90s, then discuss avant-garde metal, and go balls deep on Lamb of God! Enjoy!

Progress, Erase, Improve? The Case For Progressive Death Metal

My fingers itch to start this article with yet another semi-apologetic defense of the use of sub-genres but I’ll resist that urge. By now, I’m sure most of you are aware of the way I approach such things and why I find them useful. If you’re not, head on over to my Taxonomy of Progressive Metal piece to get a good idea. Funnily enough (or not) we start here as well from Progressive Metal; in this case, we’re going to take a look at a vanishing category, a branch in the extensive history of the genre that, somehow, disappeared. That category is progressive death, a style which first flourished in the mid 90’s but was then swept away in favor of both revisionism and the laziness that permeates most human interactions. Instead of retaining its clearly distinct and unique attributes and standing out as another pillar within metal, it was somehow sublimated, swallowed into a category with which it had a few conjoining points, consumed like in a weird osmosis.