Heavy Blog’s Editors’ Picks: September 2016

Summer’s over, friends. Long days are disappearing, leaves are turning, and with it, the second big push for major releases this year is upon us. September into October tends to be a huge time release-wise, as it’s past the lead-up and meat of summer when people’s attentions are more scattered (or simply more interested in finding the best “summer jams”), and it’s still early enough that it gives listeners ample time to absorb and obsess over the music before everyone goes into end-of-year list mode. This September has certainly not been a disappointment in that regard. In particular, this past Friday, the 30th, was simply so jam-packed with incredible new releases across the musical spectrum that we specifically delayed compiling and publishing this post until after the weekend to allow our editors to wade through it all and revise our picks for the month. The albums highlighted here truly display the best of the best, both for the month and the year at large. Expect many of these albums to wind up either in our personal end-of-year lists or our aggregated staff list. 2016, you guys. What a time to be alive.

Break The “Skylines” – Let Oddland Show You How To Write A Progressive Track In 2016

So, what exactly do we look for in 2016 when we try and ascertain whether a progressive metal is worthy? We can gather up a list by seeing how “Skylines” avoids the most common pitfalls. First and foremost then is that bloated tendency I mentioned above. Too many tracks within progressive metal are simply further iterations on what we already know of a band’s sound. Unisons are arranged a bit differently but are still heavily relied on, ad infinitum, for example. However, perhaps the most egregious examples of this lie with vocalists; in progressive metal albums, the vocal variety which characterized earlier phases of the genre has all but disappeared. This is perhaps the fault of the great (yes, the great) James LaBrie and his somewhat monotone (yet still brilliant) work with Dream Theater. His cohesive style, which favors a certain emotional range over diversity, is everywhere.

Oddland – Origin

Oddland are a bit of an oddball (heh) in the gamut of progressive metal. Rising from the fertile grounds (for metal, at least) of Finland, they garnered quite a bit of hype with scene insiders. Their The Treachery of Senses (2012) was an interesting take on the darker, Tool influences that have been running strong through the scene for more than a decade now. However, with only one album and then a prolonged silence, fans and critics were unable to fully flesh out a firm idea of what the band was about; the album certainly sounded great, but what was the approach behind it all? Luckily, Origin marks 2016 as the year where the gaps in the Oddland tale are finally filled in. The album builds firmly on the strata of dark progressive but also gives us further insight into what Oddland want to bring to table, what they want to modulate and very within the scene.

42 – Philosopher’s Guide To The Galaxy

Yeah, this week’s dank number fact is pretty obvious. Also, finally we introduce “Bullshit Philosophy Corner” as an official segment! Oh, we also talk about metal. Stuff like Morbid Angel, The HAARP Machine, From First To Last (and Skrillex), Oddland, Opeth, Jinjer, Defeated Sanity, Carnifex, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Equipoise, Alcest and Cortexiphan. Also some dumb top 50 list. Then we do two topics, namely bands that “you had to be there/then to get”, and how fans fixate on members of bands who have passed away. Enjoy!

41 – Dogs Of Eden

You didn’t think that, once I discovered the secret of being lazy about these show notes, I’d go back to being not lazy, right? The structure of that sentence was abysmal. But I had a fun time trolling Eden this episode, and so did his new dog (RIP)! We talk about: Oddland, Disillusion, Alcest, ColdWorld, Native Construct, Babymetal, Devin Townsend, Departe, Brain Tentacles, Opeth, Orphaned Land, Infant Annihilator, Betraying the Martyrs, Inanimate Existence, Fountainhead, Anciients, Hannes Grossmann, Leander, Abnormality, Wintersun and Nader Sadek. Then, balls deep on Lamb of Dog! I mean, Lamb of God!

38 – We’re Not Even Trying

I actually enjoyed the “don’t really bother to put stuff in the description” format as it makes my life easier, but hey, I guess I can make an effort once a week. Just kidding, we have new music or related stuff from: Oddland, Orphaned Land, Mephistopheles, Jimmy Pitts and Equipoise, Imperium Dekadenz, Drudkh, Inquisition, Periphery, Gojira, Hadal Maw, Iron Maiden, Exotype, Ayreon. We talk about the split between Obscura and Tom Geldschlager getting heated (check out his new song by the way!), this interesting article on language in metal, Insomnium cancelling their show in Turkey, and the recent trend of sexual assaults at festivals. Then we do the long-awaited Balls Deep on In Flames, hence the episode title (it refers to the band, not us)!

Top 5 You May Have Missed… So Far

For whatever the reason may be, whenever I get round to making my end of year list, it seems the entirety of it is built up of well-established, well-known acts and the whole thing reads like a list of the most anticipated releases of the year. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I guess…

Oddland – The Treachery of Senses

ODDLAND The Treachery Of Senses 01. Above And Beyond 02. Flooding Light 03. In The Eyes Of The Mournuing 04. Aisle of Array 05. Past The Gates 06. Still The Spirit Stays 07. In Endless Endeavor 08. Sewers 09. Lines Of Silver Blood 10. Ire [4/30/12] [Century Media] Someone has…