The progressive metal that Stellar Circuits play is in the vein of acts such as Tesseract and Karnivool: atmospheric, expansive, punchily produced, often moving at a sombre mid-tempo. If you’ve been following them since their 2015 self-titled debut, you’ll note that they used to go with a leaner sound, with less emphasis…
Thornhill are a young band aiming, and succeeding, in striking that precarious balance between throwback and their own unique sound, producing an enjoyable EP titled Butterfly. This is basically djent a la Northlane, early Karnivool or TesseracT, by which we mean progressive metal with emphasis on melody, soaring mostly-clean vocals and the thick, and the metallic tone on the guitars which gave the genre its name. You’ll find nothing that will shock you on this album but it’s really well made, from production to songwriting to execution, tapping into the stores of thrilling groove that, at the end of the day, created one of the most popular modern metal genres.
Ukraine’s Blame might only be in their infancy, but that hasn’t stopped them from releasing one of the most impressive slabs of punishing, grove-driven technical death metal in recent memory. Almanac is the second of two EPs which constitute the band’s entire discography to date, although it comes off like…
Australian metalcore scene has been in a bit of a sorry state these last couple of years. The once burgeoning scene that gave us the likes of Parkway Drive, I Killed the Prom Queen and The Amity Affliction (when they were still good), has produced markedly less world class acts over the past half-decade or so. Maybe it’s just because I got older, but contemporary pack-leaders Northlane and In Hearts Wake—while fine for what they are—seem to lack the spark and excitement of those bands who emerged in the genre’s heyday during the mid-to-late 2000s. Maybe it’s also because the local scene has seen a pivot toward the more extreme realms of deathcore, with bands like Thy Art is Murder and Aversions Crown proving the country’s most remarkable exports of the modern era. Yet The Mortal Coil only goes to show that there’s still plenty of mileage left in the supposedly well-worn Aussie metalcore tank.
We’re a wee country, Scotland. We like to think we’re world beaters at anything we try our hand at. Doesn’t matter whether it’s football, politics or metal, it’s not in our people’s nature to half ass anything. Last week we got to hear brand new music from one of the country’s more elusive acts and today, we give you the brand new, still warm to the touch it’s that hot off the press music video from Serenity Came Calling. Newbies should head over the jump for crushing yet silky tones a la Northlane and bruising metalcore a la Wage War. No half measures.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been on a progressive metalcore kick as of late. Having a very particular and rarely reached sweet spot when it comes to metalcore, 2017 has proven a welcome surprise for the subgenre as several releases have been able to find that rarified zone technical skill, engaging songwriting, and total headbang-ability. So here we are, back at it again with another effective salvo of metalcore jams, this time from Southampton, UK metalcore destroyers Deference. Their second EP, False Awakening, incorporates many of the elements that make metalcore great, and points to a very promising future for the young quintet.
This week we have a super exciting guest! I’d try to slowroll it, but obviously from the episode title you can guess that it’s Herman Li of Dragonforce. We discuss a variety of topics, including the upcoming Dragonforce album Reaching Into Infinity, success, haters, creativity, Babymetal, video games and more. Herman was a great guest! Also Eden and I discuss some news after the interview. Chuck Berry’s passing and the way the coverage has handled his problematic legacy, a bunch of new music, and Earth’s Hibernaculum and Machine Head’s The Blackening turning 10 years old. The new music includes Somnium Vox, Bloodshot Dawn, Entheos (not that one), Witherfall, Northlane, Emmure, Gorod, Enslaved, Solstafir, Beyond Creation (kind of). We also continue last week’s discussion on how the mentality focusing on new music sometimes makes us overlook albums, in this case Metallica’s latest. In our cool people section we discuss Netflix’s Marvel’s Iron Fist and Better off Ted.
Metal is a deeply saturated genre of music. The overwhelming glut of new albums that cross one’s path on a regular basis make it nearly impossible to absorb all of the new music being released. You can listen to hundreds of metal albums in a year and still kick yourself in the teeth for missing nearly every album on most metal publications’ year-end lists. Given this current state of affairs, it is not at all difficult to miss out on some really great music. Which is a shame, as well as the only logical explanation I have for why Swiss progressive metalcore aficionados Scars Divide aren’t absolutely annihilating the metal world right now.
In the spirit of Rick James, nostalgia is a helluva drug. Each of us has our poison. Movies from our childhood, specific foods, sights or smells that bring us back to a different, seemingly simpler time. Even our politics can (unfortunately) be influenced by our individual or collective sense of nostalgia. But this piece isn’t about that. Mainly, it’s about metalcore. Of all musical stylings, there is perhaps none that bring me back to my formative years of musical development more than this sub-genre. Though I do not find myself listening to metalcore very frequently in my current album rotation, I will occasionally stumble upon an album, single, or EP that scratches that nostalgia itch. Mirrors’ debut EP Fools Paradise does just that.
As you may have noticed, over the past month or so we’ve been interviewing a series of Australian artists, and we’ll continue to bring those to you this month. Today we’re lucky enough to be joined by Andy Marsh, guitarist in Australian deathcore outfit Thy Art is Murder. The band have been making waves on the international scene for some time now and are one of Australia’s more successful exports. Vocalist CJ McMahon has recently reunited with the band and a new record is on the way, so we spoke to Andy about that, their split EP with Fit For An Autopsy and The Acacia Strain (available here), Australia and more. Enjoy!