Hey! Listen to Arteries!

Sometimes bands and promoters feel the need to cram their press-releases with ridiculous and nonsensical claims about being “counterculture mercenaries” who dish out “stomping alpha-wolf brutality”; how they are the “sonic equivalent of Christopher Nolan, David Fincher and John Carpenter making a Hammer Horror style movie together, set inside an…

Djent Was A Genre Full Of Great Debuts And Little Else

Djent had an explosive entrance into the world of heavy music, around the start of the decade. It was a truly exciting occurrence, with first-wave acts like Periphery, Animals As Leaders and Cloudkicker filtering the technically-driven progressive sound of acts like Meshuggah, Sikth, and those of the budding “Sumeriancore” movement, into something  altogether more accessible, while still retaining much of their forebears’ technical and progressive edge. Yet, like most new sub-genres, djent quickly devolved into pastiche and gave way to over saturation—perhaps a little bit quicker than most. Djent, it seems, has had a propperly ballistic trajectory, and—in 2017—as its momentum trails off, it’s hard to get excited about this once-promising phenomenon.

*prognotes – Slice the Cake’s Odyssey to the West: Part I

2016 has been a great year for our *prognotes feature, and here we are with yet another mammoth album to explore. Slice the Cake’s Odyssey to the West clocks in at a massive 77 minutes, and that’s without even looking at the 28 minute accompanying EP Odyssey to the Gallows which acts as a prologue. Today we’ll only be looking at the LP, so strap yourselves in because this is going to be a long one, and we’d best be getting started.

Hey! Listen to Ebonivory!

The EP format holds many challenges; it’s often a tempting escape for bands that mistake frequency of publication for quality. However, it also holds great potential for those who know how to wield it. Just like the 140 characters tweet, the shorter format of an EP often leads one to greater creativity, a distillation of force and purpose. When a good band releases an EP it can often give their music that necessary, final push into greatness. So it is with Ebonivory, a band whose sound is so emblematically Australian that you really don’t need me to geo-locate them. More than that, they also have a good album from 2015, The Only Constant. But, a year after it, they’ve released an EP titled Ebonivory II which completely transcends it, providing their music the focus and momentum it needed in order to truly transcend.

Sacred Geometry – Mapping Metal’s Connection With the New Age

A month or so ago, I wrote a post titled “The Occult in Modern Day Metal”. In it, underneath countless of apologies for the simplifications I was about to present the readers, I took a brief look at how the occult has lent words, images, ideas and themes to the metal genre. Charting three main movements, I attempted to offer an initial direction for asking questions, a jumping point for something much more extensive. Perhaps where I’d left the most gaps was with the last part; the post was getting long, the hours were getting late and the subject matter was growing more complex. This should come as no surprise to those versed in the source material itself (and my writing/sleeping habits, if we’re being honest). You see, that final part dealt with the New Age and its ties to progressive metal. The thing is, however, that New Age is one of the most loosely defined, scholarly debated and impossible to understand spiritual movements to have ever existed. It’s right up there with Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Swedenborg-ism (I swear that’s a real thing, you can Google it) and other obscure, esoteric belief systems.

*prognotes – Uneven Structure’s Februus

Have you seen/read The Fountain? If not, you really should. The movie (and the comic book) depict a greyscaled story of consciousness, birth, death and spirituality. It’s a sub-genre that’s existed on the fringes of science fiction ever since Philip K. Dick wrote Valis and perhaps even before, with the darkly eerie works of H.G. Wells. In any case, these tales draw on the concepts of self-realization, actualization and psychological distress while casting all of these onto a darkly astral landscape. The aesthetic is usually austere, with the colors being utilized to stress extreme moments of passion, realization and growth. From out of the blackness rise spires of color across fantastical palettes, symbolizing inner explosions and revelations.

This is exactly the type of aesthetic that informs, creates and makes possible Uneven Structure’s 2011 masterpiece, Februus. It’s an album which follows the birth and psychodrama of some sort of unspecified entity, from its first steps through adversity and, finally, to freedom and grace through power.

Fake It Until You Make It? Musical Authenticity and the Metal Musician

When in the studio, musicians always use some “tricks” to get a sound that isn’t necessarily as achievable in a live setting. This is a pretty commonly known fact. It’s not even a new thing. Since the 60s, bands have made music in the studio that doesn’t reflect the process of how they actually play in person. As technology develops, more methods become available to the artists to achieve a more “perfect” sound, if they choose to use them. In the 50s and before, bands recorded performances together, in a single run through. Then they started recording each instrument separately, then split up songs into parts, then replaced some instruments with digital substitutes, used corrective techniques (both for pitch and timing) and recently, started performing at a slower tempo then speeding it up. These are the realities of recording. Whether they’re acceptable or not is a hotly debated topic, and a recent even in the metal spheres brought the question to the forefront yet again. The 2016 Guitar Solo Contest, where guitarists were asked to perform over a track by John Browne of Monuments and submit a video of their recording, recently announced their winners. The prizes ranged from a Mayones guitar, Mesa amps, Bare Knuckle Pickups and more. Here’s where it gets complicated. One of the winners was a performance that was clearly heavily edited.

PREMIERE: John Browne’s Flux Conduct (Monuments) Explores The Art Of Balance On “Yang”

photo by patrick haberli Monuments guitarist John Browne is using the time between album cycles to branch out into solo territory in his new project John Browne’s Flux Conduct. Qatsi, the debut album, is a fourteen-track conceptual piece that tells its story through a series of instrumental movements that reflect…