Cynic are one of the greatest metal bands of our generation, regardless of their current status or one’s opinions of their latest releases. Perhaps one of the most decisive signs of that is how their tracks work both in their quiet, intimate version and the original epic ones. Thus, Re-traced in Air remains an immensely impressive album, perhaps one of the most impressive of its type (Opeth’s Damnation would be another one or Devin Townsend’s Unplugged). With their skill, Cynic birthed a plethora of progressive metal bands and can be credited as one of the progenitors of progressive metal in general. One such band, who have always worn their influences on their sleeves is Cryptodira. While we would LOVE to tell you that we have new material from these guys (“soon!”, the promise us), we do have a cover of Cynic’s “Integral” by the band. Check it out below.
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.
It’s no secret that I love stoner metal, especially in its more progressive varieties. Something about the mixture of synths and the distortion or perhaps the imagery often surrounding these albums just draws me to them like a moth to the flame (not the Metallica song in this case). That’s why, when I was faced with Kylver’s cover art and description for The Island, I was instantly drawn in. Those pink monoliths, the track lengths, the promise of instrumental and progressive stoner rock; everything was promising. Happily, that promise was more than capitalized upon by the album itself, as it provided me with expanse sonic soundscapes filled with interesting ideas and musical phrases. Head on down below for your first listen and then we’ll chat.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We…
There’s a particular appeal to progressive death metal. Combining the ferocity of death metal with the more introspective and calculated approach of prog is inherently intriguing. Not a lot of bands attempt this, and many who do end up on the wrong side of boring. Repetition of elements and motifs, extended passages and slowing down death metal don’t necessarily make it progressive. That’s why when a band is able to find a good formula and distinguish their sound, they deserve recognition. Enter Sentient Ignition. This young Californian band has made a very compelling statement with their debut release Enthroned In Gray, and demonstrated that they understand exactly what mixture of ingredients will lead them to success.
Editor’s Note: the below post was written by one Greg Greenberg, friend of the blog and dedicated musician. We are proud to give such an insightful piece a platform, as it discusses on issues which should bother all denizens of the modern “West”. Death, as metal teaches us, is to be…
Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those who…
How does one incorporate elements of poppier, more upbeat music into metal’s mix and perhaps even its external themes like album art, lyrics and delivery?
While many bands have taken a pass at this question, none of have solved it quite as well as Ninjaspy. In 2013, the Canadian band released their short (and excellent) debut EP, coupling it with a home-brewed, Ninja themed comics that elaborated on and worked together with the album (NOTE: we’ll not be referencing the obvious similarities between Ninjaspy and a certain Australian band who shan’t be named. A simple look at a timeline will give you all the facts you need). Their music incorporated elements of reggae and surf right into heavier influences from hardcore and modern metal. The result drew comparisons to System of a Down, SikTh, Limp Bizkit and others.
Sometimes, I get to do really cool things as a music journalist. Sometimes, I get to do amazing things and this is one of them. Arjen Lucassen, AKA Ayreon, has been a musical hero of mine every since the first notes of The Human Equation played in my ears, right after I had purchased the album in Paris (I was there seeing Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. Good trip). It was a split earphone cable arrangement and I was listening to it with one of my best friends, who had insisted I get it. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed; vocal lines by some of the my favorite singers (James LaBrie, Devin Townsend, Mikael Akerfeldt, Devon Graves, to mention just a few) echoed in my ears, set to amazing, progressive instrumentation. An obsession was born; over the next few years, I bought every single Ayreon album I could get hold of and start following him fervently.
Long Island based Iapetus provide us with a left of field lesson in what ambition bridled by talent can create. Their 2017 self-release (which is, and always will be, completely free) The Long Road Home is an ambitious album which spans progressive death metal, neo-folk and progressive metal. It insists, even unto the brink of failure, to go where the vision of the two artists takes it rather than where convention would dictate it should go. As mentioned, during this process it comes dangerously close to overreaching its boundaries and even faintly grazes the markings of overwrought artistry. But for those willing to brave those extremes of wild, self indulgent and un-tethered self expression lies an album full of great musical moments.