Rings of Saturn – Ultu Ulla

No, there hasn’t been a glitch somewhere in the Heavy Blog matrix. This is a review of a Rings of Saturn album in the year of our egg, 2017. The sci-fi loving deathcore darlings (ahem) release another blast of widdly diddly death metal full of sweeps, synths and other worldly references too obscure for this writer to care about looking up. Look, if they are going to be lazy enough to record each note at a time then you won’t catch me doing the hard work either. In the few short years since Lugal Ki En was released, the world of technically leaning death metal has spawned some outrageously talented acts; Archspire and Inanimate Existence are the golden boys of tech-death, leaving breakdowns and breeing behind. Do Rings of Saturn still belong in a world that belongs to bands like this? Can they save the world from the alien invasion of tech-death newcomvers?

Release Day Roundup – 7/14/17

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!

Decapitated – Anticult

Anticult’s lead singles are both textbook examples of how late career albums tend to bisect veteran bands’ fan bases. On the more vocal side are evergreen Decapitated fans who tolerate just about anything a band does while aggressively dismissing any dissenting opinions; to quote directly from the comments: “Hate all the people comparing those tracks to the “old” Decap. Fuck, its a new constellation with a switched style, so get over it and enjoy or leave.” Then there are traditional Decapitated fans, at whom these types of comments are directed. In their view, everything since Carnival is Forever has embodied the steady decline of an integral architect of modern tech death, and fans who’ve embraced the band’s last few records are doing so solely because of the name attached to music they’d be otherwise indifferent about.  

The Acacia Strain – Gravebloom

For fifteen years The Acacia Strain have used brown noise breakdowns and violent lyrical images to win fans worldwide. Whether it’s viewed as dumb narcissism or tailor made nihilism, the music has been used as a weapon to destroy venues and listeners auditory health. Any consumer of extreme music who is aware of this band should be able to tell their sound apart from the droves of down tempo and beatdown acts that infest music today. But with a constant record-tour-record cycle that has seen them shed virtually all of their original members along the way, can they continue to impress at the same level? Do they wind their collective neck in and continue to please the fans or is their room for any form of evolution in their sound? Does anyone still want to hear this anyway? Gravebloom answers all three of these questions. It has The Acacia Strain at their most destructive, venom spitting best, taking cues from the colossal closing act of 2014’s Coma Witch and toying with a sound rooted in doom and gloom; making damn sure that people will pay attention to the world’s angriest band again.

Grind My Tears: Portrayal of Guilt

It is in this new generation of emotionally charged, horrendously heavy music where we find Portrayal of Guilt. The band, hailing from Texas, does not play in the more direct style of thrash and emo, however. Instead they opt to play a far more brutal combination, blending the hectic, crazed pace of screamo with harsh black metal. It is a frightening combination, one that draws on the emotional torment inherent in both genres, and mixes them together into a truly pained form of musical catharsis. Add to that a little bit of 90’s metalcore in the vein of Coalesce and Converge, and you have one truly hectic blend of music.

Hey! Listen to Borders!

Another day, another metalcore recommendation from the fertile grounds of the United Kingdom. This scene has no shortage of solid metalcore acts, but in a genre filled with dime-a-dozen chopped up pseudo-djenters, it can be a bit difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Borders, hailing from Lincoln, are definitely on the right side of the metalcore coin. Approaching the music with a fresh intensity that a lot of metalcore seems to be shying away from, their new EP Diagnosed adds a fresh jolt of heavy energy to the genre, and makes them stand out as a band worth paying attention to.

Loathe – The Cold Sun

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.

Wear Your Wounds – WYW

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.