Verbs are very useful when describing albums. Adjectives tend to slip faster into hyperbole and there’s something about the dynamics of doing that relates to music very well. So, when one turns to an album, it might serve to consider now what the album sounds like but what actions it calls to mind. With Steve Von Till‘s A Life Unto Itself, the semantic field is clear: scraping, digging, distilling, excavating. Reaching into some sort of core that has always been present in von Till’s illustrious career and bringing it to light.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere like most of you who read this site, then you’re no doubt enjoying the benefits of natural seasonal changes as the nightmare that was winter 2015 has given way to a beautiful spring. And if you’re in the southern hemisphere — particularly if you’re in Australia, as many of our readers are — you’re almost certainly feeling the relief of more tolerable temperatures as your summer has given way to fall and is quickly approaching winter. Either way, all over the world we’re entering the magical time of year known as Festival Season. Many of the biggest and best bands in the world (and leagues of smaller ones as well) are preparing to set out for various tours and huge outdoor festivals that will attract thousands upon thousands of individuals. The global festival circuit has become so huge and varied though that it can be nearly impossible to know where even to start if you’re looking to travel to one.
We’re here to help! Obviously there are far too many metal festivals around the world for us to provide anywhere near a comprehensive list, but we asked our staff to highlight a few festivals on 3 continents — North America, Europe, and Australia (apologies to the rest of the world as we only have so many staff members from different places). Check them all out below!
New Hampshire post-black metal outfit Vattnet Viskar are poised to release a 2015 highlight (and possibly their best work yet!) with their upcoming record Settler. A lot of post-black bands these days tend to be on the flowery side of the spectrum, but what makes Vattnet Viskar such a great act is that they really do feel like a solid meld of black metal and the type of expansive post-metal descended from the strings of Neurosis rather than anything in the vicinity of Alcest or Deafheaven. So in case you’re unfamiliar with the act, don’t judge them by their genre and the peculiar album artwork — which, by the way, was inspired by this photo of Christa McAuliffe, the schoolteacher who was killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Kinda changes things, yeah?
One of the most intriguing and unique singer-songwriters currently lurking in the underground, Chelsea Wolfe has a knack for conveying a slew of troubling emotions. Her ever-growing gothic folk can petrify the listener one moment and then induce tears with striking beauty the next. Now, a couple of years after her excellent album Pain Is Beauty and noteworthy collaboration with Russian Circles, an announcement of the songstress’ next album Abyss has arrived to bestow 2015 with a darker hue. Head past the jump to stream the album’s first single, “Iron Moon,” and check out the available information regarding the album.
The most common feedback we get from our readers about this site and why they continue to follow us (aside from our dashing good looks, obviously) is that they come to us to find out about bands new and old they might have otherwise never been introduced to. We pride ourselves on being able to act as a human music recommendation service to all of you, which is why we already have features like our very popular Listen To This! series of columns. When thinking about ways we could take this further though, we came upon the idea for this column. For Fans Of is essentially a distillation of this in its purest form.
The concept is simple. We take one very well-known and popular band that our writers and readers are fans of, and then we write about a small group of lesser-known bands that do similar things and who we think you all might like as well and give a listen to. So, for example, in this case we’ve chosen Converge (more on them in a second). These are not meant to be exhaustive lists, and it’s quite possible many of you will be already familiar with at least a few of these bands. But we hope that this serves as an appropriate jumping-off point for many of you and that you can find at least one new band you were not already listening to.
Recap: Neurosis‘s Steve Von Till is gearing up for a solo album, seeing release on May 12th. The last single released from it was heart shattering but it seems as if Von Till was only gently leading us into this devastating release. The latest release, ‘In Your Wings’, turns the pain dial up to 11, leaving our hearts bleeding and aching. Head on over the jump and, as always: bring tissues.
Italy’s premier sludge metal band, Ufomammut, have been one of the most prolific artists in the genre ever since they first came onto the scene in 1999. It’s hard to imagine that the band is actually about to release their ninth full-length album, yet here we are already. Following up their ambitious 2012 double album, Oro: Opus Primum and Oro: Opus Alter, band members Urlo, Vita and Poia have returned with a modest six-song, 46 minute outing that pummels just as much as it soars through the cosmos. Ecate, a name possibly derived from the Greek goddess of the underworld and witchcraft Hecate, is just as much a psychedelic journey as it is an auditory beating.
Many fans of the blog will doubtless know the name Scott Kelly. The mastermind behind not only Neurosis but countless collaborations and Neurot Recordings has recently announced that on March 24th, his wife Sarah woke up unable to walk or see. She was promptly admitted to a local medical center, but as of March 30th, doctors are still unable to make a diagnosis. Her eyesight has improved significantly, but she is still reportedly unable to walk.
You know this dance by now folks: this is Heavy Blog’s Best Of! This time, we’ll be tackling one of our favorite genres, doom! 2014 was an excellent year for this most-excellent sub-genre and you might know editor Eden Kupermintz (praise be onto him) has dubbed it as The Doom Revival™. However, we don’t limit our Best Of lists by time. Below you’ll find our own selections of what we consider to be some of the finest samples of doom out there.
Doom is a complex and varied genre to be sure. It contains both a penchant for the slow and feedback’d but also a devotion to emotional capacity and melancholy. Thus, you can find many things within it: crushing droning, sadness-lined guitar leads and abrasive vocals. We’ve tried to cover as many aspects of the sub-genre as we could, but obviously some things must have gotten through the cracks! So, as always, sound off below with anything we might have missed.
And remember: it’s OK to not like thing. Let’s get to it!
So, it appears that alongside my fabled Doom Revival™, we’re now enjoying an ancillary movement. After Windhand‘s Cottrell (review to come this week!) announced that she’ll be releasing a solo album, comes Neurosis‘s Steve Von Till with his own solo release. It appears he has decided to go in a similar path, relying on folk/blues guitars and his own magical voice. Head on over the jump to dive into his somber melodies.