What’s the difference between a good concept album and a shit one? Hard to say. Does it depend on the lyrical content? Thematic refrain and reprisal? Who knows. There’s even sneaky concept albums, the likes of which the layman listener wouldn’t even begin to fathom had intentions beyond riff, chorus, solo, repeat. The Cold Sun might be one of these; Loathe seem like a band bold enough to attempt such a thing on their debut full length. What isn’t up for debate is this – The Cold Sun is just about all filler. Twelve tracks. Six songs. Zero (or damn close to it) cares.
In 2012 Converge released their most recent full length, All We Love We Leave Behind. The album was a tremendous banger (for lack of a better word) from start to finish, highlighting all the greatest aspect of Converge’s sound in one gargantuan assault. It was a peak for the band, both emotionally and musically, and showed a more diverse and channelled Converge than ever previously heard before. Fans and critics alike praised the album, clamoring for more Converge, but were instead presented with about a billion re-releases. A growing curiosity over the future of new music began to arise in the face of a lack of news, and some (me) began to worry slightly about the future of the band.
Metal is a deeply saturated genre of music. The overwhelming glut of new albums that cross one’s path on a regular basis make it nearly impossible to absorb all of the new music being released. You can listen to hundreds of metal albums in a year and still kick yourself in the teeth for missing nearly every album on most metal publications’ year-end lists. Given this current state of affairs, it is not at all difficult to miss out on some really great music. Which is a shame, as well as the only logical explanation I have for why Swiss progressive metalcore aficionados Scars Divide aren’t absolutely annihilating the metal world right now.
In the spirit of Rick James, nostalgia is a helluva drug. Each of us has our poison. Movies from our childhood, specific foods, sights or smells that bring us back to a different, seemingly simpler time. Even our politics can (unfortunately) be influenced by our individual or collective sense of nostalgia. But this piece isn’t about that. Mainly, it’s about metalcore. Of all musical stylings, there is perhaps none that bring me back to my formative years of musical development more than this sub-genre. Though I do not find myself listening to metalcore very frequently in my current album rotation, I will occasionally stumble upon an album, single, or EP that scratches that nostalgia itch. Mirrors’ debut EP Fools Paradise does just that.
When analyzing art, it is important to keep both the artist’s experience in creating the art and the experience of the consumer absorbing the art in mind. Often times, an artist’s vision can be obscured by our view point and we can lose sight of what was meant to be gained from the experience. On the other side, regardless of what an artist’s intent may be, the consumer has every right to like or dislike something based on their own personal preference. There’s even the possibility that you can completely understand where the creator of art is coming from and appreciate their intent and artistic integrity, but think that the art itself isn’t something remotely enjoyable. In this middle ground of understanding and distaste for what is understood, we find the new self-titled Suicide Silence album nestled quite comfortably.
It’s necessary to start this review with a bit of a history lesson, because, frankly, I’m not really sure anybody who reads our blog has exactly kept up with Emmure’s turmoil as a band: at the very tail end of 2015, every instrumentalist in Emmure walked away from the band in…
This post probably seems way out of place among the many pieces I’ve written for Heavy Blog. But for anyone that knows me, bands like Emmure comprised the bulk of my high school listening, and I threw down hard during their set at Warped Tour 2010. That same year marked the peak of my adoration for “-core” music, though, as I started gravitating more towards the old school metal bands that my friend Mark would show me during lunch. My iPod started filling up with songs like “Dead but Dreaming” by Deicide rather than “Dead but Dreaming” by Carnifex, and before I knew it, I was another metal elitist scoffing at the very thought that Emmure used to be one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, I’ve matured quite a bit since then; not to the point where I’d write an “In Defense Of” post for Emmure, but enough to ignore any news updates about the band rather than leaving an unproductive shitpost in the comments section (“lol, binary code metal, amirite???”). And as I saw updates on their latest album Look at Yourself, it made me reminisce about my old listening habits and prompted me to revisit what used to be my favorite record of theirs: Felony. The result was the following nostalgia-ridden Stepping Stone for a band I view as both one of the worst and most important bands that defined the trajectory of my growth as a metal fan. It was my full intention going into this to be as objective and honest as possible, and I hope this will read as a fair critique of one of metal’s most polarizing bands.
Fight the Fight are still in the earliest stages of defining their own sound, despite many years of playing together under another moniker, but they’ve certainly nailed something here that is a combination of metal and emocore style punk (think At the Gates meets A Day to Remember). There are some really sweet melodic hooks in the choruses especially in the lead track.
As you may have noticed, over the past month or so we’ve been interviewing a series of Australian artists, and we’ll continue to bring those to you this month. Today we’re lucky enough to be joined by Andy Marsh, guitarist in Australian deathcore outfit Thy Art is Murder. The band have been making waves on the international scene for some time now and are one of Australia’s more successful exports. Vocalist CJ McMahon has recently reunited with the band and a new record is on the way, so we spoke to Andy about that, their split EP with Fit For An Autopsy and The Acacia Strain (available here), Australia and more. Enjoy!
grindcore faces yet another renaissance as it moves further into this new territory, driven by bands such as Ed Gein, Full of Hell, and Column of Heaven, where it is almost the most coveted form of artistic expression in extreme music. For these acts’ aesthetic, poetry and more weave into their frightening sonic assaults, marking a strikingly human approach to a genre that once sat so far out of boundaries it was almost untamable. And, finding their place in this new wave of artsy-fartsy (said with all the love in the world) grind band’s is Philadelphia’s own Die Choking, a band who prides themselves on their relentless blend of death metal, grindcore, and crust leanings.