Hey! Listen to Lethal Shöck!

Lethal Shöck are a speed/thrash metal band that sound exactly like you’d hope a band called Lethal Shöck would sound. One glance at the album art (an undead, Eddie-inspired figure shocking a skeleton with his guitar) should eliminate any preconceptions of subtlety. Although Evil Aggressor is Lethal Shöck’s debut album,…

Harsh Vocals: A History

Perhaps the most definitive element of metal is the growling, shrieking, rasping, inhuman snarls we call harsh vocals. Certainly, there are genres of metal that don’t use harsh vocals, and they’re no less “metal” for it. But a full-throated death growl, rumbling and ominous, erupting from a cranked pair of…

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 12/15/16

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.

Spellcaster – Night Hides the World

2016 is shaping up to be a treasure trove for the traditional metal style. Bands like Sumerlands or Spiritus Mortus are tapping back into their metal roots and dredging forth intensely moving albums that more than succeed at holding a light to the greats of yesteryear. However, perhaps the most successful of these 2016 excursions is Spellcaster’s Night Hides the World, an album steeped not only in the aural trappings of traditional metal but also in the iconic aesthetics that have always accompanied the style. One needs only look at their video for the title track from the album to appreciate the level of dedication these Portlanders have for the aesthetic: aviator goggles, wolves crying at the moon, absurdly over the top solo gestures, leather jackets and much more combine to create that Iron Maiden circa the late 80’s feeling, channeling that over the top, rock star swagger that had captured an entire generation during the time.

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Once upon a funeral moon, Darkthrone was a band cloaked in mystery and steeped in intrigue. They rarely gave interviews except for a select few underground fanzines, were never seen photographed aside from album layouts, and never played live. They were the personification of “kvlt”; a band feared and revered for their complete abandonment of the self-described “silly, trendy death metal” style and full embrace of the aesthetics and sound of minimalist black metal. Taking cues from Burzum and pioneers like Celtic Frost, Venom, and Bathory, they endeavored to set the underground ablaze with the most raw and primitive black metal to possibly be generated by a shoddy basement recording. The results are well documented history.

Mantar – Ode to the Flame

Most music fans have a section of their digital and/or physical library dedicated to boisterous background music; albums that digest quickly and provide instantaneous satisfaction. The inverse of spinning Tangerine Dream after popping melatonin, these albums provide the sonic stimulus of the body without necessitating the involvement of the mind. German sludge duo…

Abbath – Abbath

If this is all we as metal fans get out of the Immortal dispute, then this is more than acceptable olive branch. While the album certainly could have been enhanced with the natural chemistry that Abbath had with his former band, it still feels like the most well-rounded album that he’s released since 2003’s masterpiece, Sons of Northern Darkness. It’s got a great mixture of rawness, accessibility, brutality and cheese, and is 2016’s first essential release for all fans of extreme metal. A must have for fans of unending grimness.