Concept albums are tough; most of them end up feeling really bloated, the ideas taking too much space from the music or the “gravitas” with which they are delivered leeching away a lot of the fun. That’s why it’s super important that bands don’t take themselves too seriously, either directly in the music or in the “meta” of it, like videos, cover art or the general aesthetic of the band. A good example is Canadian weirdos (a word we use with a heap of affection) Bird Problems. Their upcoming album, Tar, is a concept album revolving around a virus reminiscent of the zombie inducing one in works like Resident Evil. However, this virus’s effects are under debate: do they actually include people turning into zombies or are they just aesthetic?
In 2015 Native Construct’s fantastic debut Quiet World took the community by storm. We at HeavyBlog loved it so much that we placed it at #3 in our Top 50 albums of 2015. It truly was a great album, flush with brilliantly executed genre-transitions, vibrant compositions, a grandiose concept, technically accomplished playing and a flair for originality. If you loved that sound as much as we did and you’re aching for something similar, then look no further than Others By No One’s debut EP Book 1: Dr. Breacher. Check it out below!
Metal and science fiction clash along various cultural axes. Their marriage begins with tone; both have a penchant for the wildly grandiose and imaginative personas, for personality writ large across a vast canvas. The juxtaposition continues along more “meta” lines, with both being adopted (or perhaps relegated to) the “geek”…
It’s the week following Thanksgiving in America, which means two things: one, everyone is being inundated with the sights, sounds, and manic anxieties of peak-holiday season, and two, music fans are similarly being flooded with waves of end-of-year lists from major publications and friends alike. More than any other artistic medium – perhaps due to the overwhelming scope of options out there and relative ease of accessibility – list-making has become a well-trodden tradition in music journalism, one that has only proliferated further in the age of social media, listicles, and clickbait.
We make much ado about cohesion over here at Heavy Blog; it’s a quality that often separates good albums from great one, as well-made music transcends tracks and becomes an album. However, whether it wasn’t possible due to lack of ability or to the circumstances surrounding an album’s release, it’s possible to have great albums without it. Take Painted in Exile’s long awaited album, The Ordeal. It is a progressive metalcore release in a style that has fallen out of fashion in the years we have been waiting for it, calling back to the heyday of Between the Buried and Me’s Colors and The Great Misdirect. Unlike those albums, however, The Ordeal is more far-ranging, almost scattered in its approach to variation and growth throughout the release. The result is a challenging and borderline confusing album which, somehow, still manages to be endearing and moving.
Just a few days ago, Eden extolled the virtues of Los Angeles-based Mammoth’s upcoming album Deviations, talking at length about how the three-piece beautifully melds progressive rock with jazz fusion in a thrilling, exuberant fashion. Although any old band might let that blend speak for itself, Mammoth inject their sound with a healthy helping of sheer…
A few years back, I wrote a piece on the negativity towards extended range guitars in metal. You can find that piece here. The extended range guitar, which is loosely defined as anything that has more strings/frets/range than your average 6-string-24-fret-standard-scale guitar. We all know the deal. Four years ago, with the peak of djent and generally a new strain of progressive metal, extended range guitars were emerging in the mainstream of metal. Of course, just like any other change in the metal scene, a large amount of people reacted rather negatively to this. There was a portion of the scene that embraced this, and that lead to a variety of creative and innovative bands like Native Construct (8 strings), Dissipate (9 strings), Coma Cluster Void (10 strings) and so many more. After these years, are people more accepting of the movement now? What changed? Let’s take a look at it.
Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those who don’t necessarily have a music theory background. After covering quite a few different scales here on Beyond the Veil, we’re going to shift gears a tad into the world of chord theory. Today’s topic, the major seventh chord, is something that is absolutely littered across all sorts of music, with its unique tonality making it a particularly effective tool for a musician.
Meta-title! How metal of me to be very meta on a metal podcast that’s also pretty meta. This week we have a bunch of news. Either new releases, singles, teasers or whatever from: Inanimate Existence, Darkthrone, Wardruna, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sinsaenum, Lamb of God, Voivod, Shokran, Dark Tranquillity, Thy Catafalque, Fit for An Autopsy, The Agonist, Disillusion, Exotype, Native Construct and Serpentine Dominion. Also an analysis of how global metal is, Pelagic Records’s starter kit, and a top 10 list of bands from Norway. While on the topic of top 10 lists, we do an impromptu “Top 10 songs that have the desired effect every time”. Or as Eden calls it, “Evergreen songs” or something. Whatever. Then we have our bullshit philosophy corner on Hegelian dialectics and the early metal scene! Finally, we talk about No Man’s Sky in the cool people section. Whew!
You didn’t think that, once I discovered the secret of being lazy about these show notes, I’d go back to being not lazy, right? The structure of that sentence was abysmal. But I had a fun time trolling Eden this episode, and so did his new dog (RIP)! We talk about: Oddland, Disillusion, Alcest, ColdWorld, Native Construct, Babymetal, Devin Townsend, Departe, Brain Tentacles, Opeth, Orphaned Land, Infant Annihilator, Betraying the Martyrs, Inanimate Existence, Fountainhead, Anciients, Hannes Grossmann, Leander, Abnormality, Wintersun and Nader Sadek. Then, balls deep on Lamb of Dog! I mean, Lamb of God!