An Ode to Spring – Metal, Thematics and Politics

Since the vast majority of Heavy Blog contributors fall on the left side of the map (shocking, we know), focusing on the latter seems like the way to go. Criticizing the other side of the political map is easy enough; taking a hard look at your own camp is where things get tricky. Thus, let us turn our eyes on one of the most typical leftist refusals to engage: the retreat. There are few places in the cultural world where this retreat is more obvious than in music and, more specifically, in metal. Even more specifically, the current throes which are black metal is undergoing are even more lucrative for our needs. There, leftist retreat is alive and happening right now, both because of the virility of the claims on the other side (read: the amount of black metal that’s truly awful) and because the themes of black metal have already been declared by the larger, more abstract “left” as anathema in the past.

White Ward – Futility Report

Black metal is having a fantastic two years. Besides the sheer volume of great releases, the best tell-tale of this prolific outburst is the sheer variety of sub-genres actively contributing to the main genre. This year alone, we’ve seen more “straight-forward” contributions (like Orm’s excellent, self titled release), atmospheric releases (like Somnium Nox’s excellent Terra Inanis), and more avant-garde experimentation (like Dodecahedron’s death metal tinged kwintessens or netra’s weird Ingrats). To this latter category, of black metal blended with unusual influences, we can now add White Ward’s Futility Report, a third release from a relatively unknown band which should, hopefully, garner them more attention.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 8/12/16

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 withtapmusic.netthrough 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.

Hey! Listen to Oak Pantheon!

The only thing that might console us after we heard that Agalloch is no more, is the knowledge that they have had massive influences on many bands. Basically bringing folk black metal to the masses, their depressing and frigid hand rests on the shoulders of countless bands. These bands have picked up the mantle (get it?) of black metal sprinkled with quieter passages who set the soul and mind wandering. A paragon of this legacy is Oak Pantheon. The band, who have been around since 2011, create emotional, varied and fascinating black metal. The folk elements, combined at some points with almost melodic death metal, create a heady counterpoint to the heavier parts, a balancing act we’ve known to grow and love. However, unlike many bands now operating within the genre, they hold their own sound and don’t rely on tried and true formulas for strength.