Glassjaw – Material Control

Glassjaw has never really died. They’re like a phoenix, if said mythical flaming bird also suffered from an incredibly hectic demeanor and a haphazard attitude towards its own existence. Ever since kicking off the underground music scene of the early 00’s, Glassjaw continued to treat their career and musical progression like they did their by-now legendary live shows. Arms flailing, music appearing and then disappearing for undefined periods of time, submerged in the rumors of hiatus and demise only to resurface from time to time with a voice of thunder, Glassjaw has spent the last fifteen years basically being a nightmare for all but the most die hard of fans. But to be honest with you, it was worth it. It was worth having that name in the periphery of the scene but also, somehow, at its center, waiting for a reconciliation, for Glassjaw and the rumor of Glassjaw. It was worth it because, at the end of the process, we got Material Control.

Merkabah – Million Miles

The saxophone has become an increasingly en vogue addition to the extreme music formula. Ever since John Zorn bleated and honked over grindcore and avant-garde metal with Naked City and Painkiller, a growing crop of younger bands have demonstrated how to masterfully incorporate a jazz staple into heavier compositions. The sparsity of such bands should come…

Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun

There’s an undeniable joy in watching something that has been preparing to pounce for so long finally take the leap. Where there was once stillness in the air, there is now a sense of urgency and the feeling of excitement. We as listeners should be thankful that we are not the ones on the receiving end of this violent lunge. The hunter in this case is singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe, while the prey is the art she presents to the world. With her newest work, Hiss Spun, we not only see Chelsea in the moment of her victorious pounce, but we also have the great fortune of consuming her kill.

Tera Melos – Trash Generator

It is a well-documented phenomenon that most bands become more accessible and streamlined the longer their careers go on: focus on melody and rewarding song structures overwrite the desire for off-the-wall ridiculousness, and bands become more “mature,” a word we use in a tongue-in-cheek manner here at Heavy Blog to…

Hey! Listen to Part Chimp!

Comeback albums are in vogue this year, especially for rock music and its offshoots. At the Drive-In, Gorillaz and nearly every major shoegaze pioneer (The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Slowdive, etc.) have all resurfaced for returns-to-form or late-career flops, depending on whom you ask. The fact many of these bands had been laid to rest for decades certainly contributed to disappointment among some fans, as did the heightened expectations created by their pre-breakup classics. Part Chimp bucks the drawbacks of all these metrics with their hiatus-smashing record Iv, which provides and incredible delivery of the band’s signature blend of sludge-ridden noise rock and stoner metal. The band’s comfortable position in the underground and relatively short hiatus—they disbanded in 2011 and reunited last year—has allowed Iv to feel less like a comeback album and more like a reunion with a beloved friend, where good memories come flooding back and it feels as though everything is still in its right place.

Couch Slut – Contempt

Brooklyn’s Couch Slut is a band who is very deliberate when it comes to word choice. How else would you end up with that band name? It certainly doesn’t make finding them on Facebook easy. There’s never an autocomplete suggestion given for their name, even as you get to the second “U”. Zuckerberg & Co. would rather assume we’re trying to get to the personal page of Couch Slug (a seemingly inactive account) instead of insinuating that it’s users would actually seek out something with the word slut in it. It’s not rocket science. It’s an off-putting word. It’s an unsavory word. It makes people uncomfortable. I admittedly had a brief pause about liking their page because I’d imagined how this would come across my family’s newsfeed (sorry for any confusion, Aunt Mel!). So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Couch Slut create hideous music. They cover topics like substance abuse, sexual assault, and a shitshow of the other headfucking kinds of disrespect that humans endure from one another with the instrumentation to back it up.

’68 – Two Parts Viper

With time, Josh Scogin will be able to release music without it immediately being compared to his work in The Chariot. That time isn’t upon us yet, as fans of the Georgia legends still hanker for them, tearfully screaming “long live” at anyone and everyone within earshot. The second release from Scogin’s stripped down ’68 project should help these lost souls in finding new comforts, away from the mayhem and maelstrom that The Chariot offered. Two Parts Viper is one part Southern Americana, one part ex-The Chariot Josh Scogin and one part wonderfully over the top rock and roll. But 2014’s Humor And Sadness was made up of much and such the same measurements. Has the sound evolved enough for ’68 to finally become a stand alone entity?

Journey to the NOLA Swamps – The Birth of Sludge Metal

We’ve covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn’t lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What’s become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the “sludge factor” in different measures. While you won’t find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they’re all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.