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.
For whatever indescribable and terrible reason, Sumac’s catastrophic and incendiary debut album The Deal didn’t make our year-end list, but rest assured that it’s one of the finest pieces of post/sludge/whatever-else-that’s-slow metal to come out in the past five years. Now after just a year since this incredible new group dropped a complete bomb in the form of six tracks, they’ve returned with another hour of Aaron Turner & Co’s most punishing and musically-demanding material yet. It won’t be out until June, but just know that What One Becomes is a hulking monstrosity of an album featuring some of the most lumbering and burdensome material any of Sumac’s three musicians have ever been involved with. I got a chance to chat with Aaron Turner, a man of many talents and bands alike, this past Monday about the future of Sumac, what inspires his writing process, and getting to the bottom of knowing whether Old Man Gloom will always trick us. Check it out below!
The demand of a reviewer to come to an album with no preconceived notions is absurd. As humans, there’s no possible way for us to approach an album with a completely clean slate; we’ll always have our prejudices, expectations and ideas about how an album will sound like. The true demand from a good music journalist (and any journalist, if we’re being honest) is mental flexibility. The ability to discard preconceived notions in the face of the facts of the album is where true integrity lies; if you’re too possessive about them, you won’t be able to properly appreciate the works of art that you are faced with. More than that, these preconceived notions are useful tools, enabling us to relate and understand our fans, who have the same ideas and expectations. Thus, we need to learn how to connect and channel them, making sure that the tools don’t become the masters.
What in heaven’s name does this have to do with Perturbator? Well, this is where things get personal. You see, I had always liked Perturbator’s music but felt, at the same time, that there was more potential to be tapped. Dangerous Days is a great album but one which, I feel, could have been a fantastic album if more variation had been added into the breakneck rhythm’s. Lying dormant beneath the furious dedication to darkwave barrages, crouched in wait below the thrumming, never-ending, neon-tinged tracks, I could feel some sort of future flowering waiting for space to breathe. To be sure, there are plenty of ambient tracks on there but they felt tacked on, an afterthought rather than a true, organic part of the album. Sure, “Minuit” and “Hard Wired” existed but they were somehow lacking, not fully realized in their deviance.
There have been a few recent HLT articles I’ve done about bands that sort of take the metal aesthetic and reshape it in really cool and funky ways. Forndom and Goatpsalm both take a folky approach to metal, and then add a sort of mysticism to it that sounds like some pagan sacrifice in the woods of Scandinavia.
Mirrors For Psychic Warfare—the side project of Neurosis frontman Scott Kelly and frequent collaborator Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea, ex-Nachtmystium)—does something similar to the latter artists, in that their sound very much relies on buildup of sound using a sparse amount of instrumentation and a slow but steady beat, much like a Neurosis album.
Often, when faced with modern art, people comment that it simply seems like paint thrown against the canvas, a form of art with no definitive shape, and therefore not emotionally connecting as there is no solid idea of what exactly it is. Much the same, in many ways, is Bossk. The band blends a wide range of genres, mixing post rock, post hardcore, and post metal into a sound that comes off as beautiful, immersive sonic landscapes, drawing the listener in, while still challenging them and making it difficult to truly settle into the record all at once. There is no defined groove to Bossk’s sound, no strict formula to follow, and the songs reflect this, peacocks spreading their plumage for the world to see. All of this is exactly what makes their newest offering, Audio Noir, so very enticing, as they expand on their mad descent into a maelstrom of different genres while still extending a hand out to fans of acts such as Neurosis and Sigur Rós.
WELL HELLO THERE. It’s been a pretty goddamn long time since I’ve written one of these posts up, almost embarrassingly so. To be fair, the last concert videos I posted here of Neurosis and Sumac were some of my favorites I’ve done, so if I were to leave you all with something to hold you over, I could’ve done far worse. The truth of the matter though is that for a number of reasons (mostly beginning and ending with making a living as a freelancer), I just don’t have the time like I did even a year ago to dedicate to producing these kind of high-quality concert videos on a consistent basis. But even though my output has slowed down considerably, I am as determined as ever to create interesting and awesome content for everyone to enjoy, which is why I’m so pleased to be finally launching these couple of videos today of Long Island’s eclectic, energetic, and amazing Moon Tooth!
By now, most listeners of extreme music should at least by somewhat familiar with the name Merzbow. Japan’s foremost peddler of harsh noise and experimental soundscapes is nothing if not prolific, boasting a discography containing both numerous solo works as well as his collaborations with a myriad of artists, both…
Post metal/atmospheric metal has an annoyingly ubiquitous sort of feel these days, doesn’t it? It seems as though every Friday we see yet another release of a band following in the footsteps of a Isis or Deafhaven, and more and more these releases continue to disappoint me, either through ad nauseam repeitition with little progression, or just uninspired songwriting. But I am here to say that although these releases won’t stop for a few more, there do exist some really good, post metal bands, although they’re very underground. In this case, I refer to Cranial and their debut EP Dead Ends, released by Germany’s Moment of Collapse Records.
Welcome to our third and final part of our notes on Mastodon’s Crack the Skye. For any who have just joined us, or if you’re looking for a refresher, don’t hesitate to check out part I and part II from last week. We ended part II having just looked at “The Czar”, and that near 11-minute epic is followed by the magnificent “The Ghost of Karelia.”
When it comes to experiencing new music, two things are certain: you can never judge a book by its cover, nor should you ever trust what the artists themselves say about their music until you’ve heard it for yourself. Underling — a Bay Area supergroup featuring members of Fallujah, Arkaik, and Battlecross — are proof enough of both of these rules, as their debut album Bloodworship looks like and is marketed as an atmospheric black metal record. Coming from a group of established death metal musicians, this should be somewhat of a departure on paper at the very least. However, when considering the record’s scope as a whole, Bloodworship is a far cry from the distant reverberations of Wolves in the Throne Room. It’s actually much more than that.