Death’s Door 2017 // Death Metal’s Year in Review

Welcome to the final installment of Death’s Door in the Year of Our Nefarious Overlord 2017! Wipe your feet on the mat, remove that stupid holiday-induced smile from your face, and prepare yourself for ultimate year-end audio brutalization. Because, quite frankly, 2017 was one of the best years for death metal in decades. A bold statement indeed, and thankfully one with plenty of data in the form of amazing records to back it up. The overwhelming number of releases in this dirtiest of metal subgenres, coupled with the breadth of quality releases in each of the branches of the death metal tree, all accumulate to create one of the most impressive lists of death metal albums in a given year since the early 1990s. 2017 presented us with exceptional records at such an alarming clip that it was often a full-time task to keep track of them. Death metal this year was in equal measure mind-numbingly technical, socially forward-thinking, compositionally adventurous, and reverent of the past, generating albums that displayed with full clarity all that makes this music the metal behemoth that it is. What a time to be alive. In our final segment of Death’s Door for the year, we will be highlighting the trends and movements within death metal that we found to be the most significant, as well as our own personal top 15 death metal records on the year. Prepare yourself. Madness awaits.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 8/18/17

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.

Incantation – Profane Nexus

Metal has an abiding relationship with physical and geographical spaces. From the rolling cascades of the Pacific Northwest to the dense, foreboding forests of Norther Europe, metal has long championed music that not only exists in a specific physical place but is often consumed by it. Think the ice cold tremolo knives of Norwegian black metal, or perhaps the gentler wanderings of folk metal from across the globe, or the oppressively heavy and moderately paced trudging of Bayou sludge. To these ears, these are sounds that are intended to transport and project us into a physical space that often adds further distinction to the thematic and lyrical themes of the music. The same could be said of the music of Incantation, but opposed to feeling like the American East Coast from whence the band originates, the death metal legends have composed music for decades that feels as if it is slowly emerging from a deep, hellish cave. It is reverberating, dripping filth bathed in oppressive guitar work, echoing and cavernous vocals, and a seething, roaring rhythm section that feels like an earthquake. It is a sound shrouded in slow, creeping, all-consuming darkness that feels viscerally physical, and Incantation have molded and transformed this beastly noise into something close to perfection.

Death’s Door – July 2017

Welcome to our latest edition of Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat, etc. There’s a lot to discuss this month, though frankly, I had my doubts at certain points about whether or not there would be. You see, July tends to be a musical doldrums for yours truly, with lots of leftover releases that didn’t make it into the prime Spring and early Summer release calendar clogging streaming services with mundane/barely serviceable drivel. Obviously, this makes for some not-so-great listening experiences. Thankfully, July pulled through regardless, delivering unto us another fantastic batch of death metal releases that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of 2017. So much so, in fact, that we are foregoing our new tracks section to focus exclusively on the great records released this month. So prepare yourself for some good stuff and thank your lucky stars, because hell hath no fury like a month without good death metal.

Decibel’s Toxic Nostalgia – Exploring the Magazine’s Narrow View of Modern Death Metal

The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy.  Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear—we and Decibel (“America’s only monthly extreme music magazine”) agree that 2017 has been an exceptional year for death metal. Jonathan has highlighted countless fantastic death metal albums this…

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 7/8/17

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.

Editors’ Picks: June 2017

I’ve been meditating on why we even started Editors’ Picks; the concept itself seems odd. It’s a remnant of old journalistic structure, where the editor in a publication was this authoritative and prestigious figure, cloaked in years of experience and insight. That’s hardly the case anymore, in Heavy Blog and outside of it, as Internet structures break down the gates between individuals and editorial privileges.  And that’s why it’s a good thing we have this column; it enables the unique voices which have broken through to the editorial body of the blog to speak outside of consensus.

Release Day Roundup – 6/30/17

Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the day’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!

Origin – Unparalleled Universe

The past decade and a half has spawned a death metal olympics of sorts, becoming a competitive sport as drummers fight for the speed throne and guitarists fight to keep up. Origin completely changed the game with 2002’s Informas Infinitas Inhumanitas, forcing bands and especially drummers around the world back to the rehearsal room to practice tedious rudimentary endurance exercises. Despite their technical prowess, the band injected crafty and effective songwriting which only improved over the span of the four albums leading up to now. Unparalleled Universe is an exploratory affair that sees the band continue to reach beyond their carefully carved niche just enough to keep things interesting.

83 – Max Phelps Of Exist

In case the title wasn’t clue enough, this week we have Max Phelps of Exist, Defeated Sanity and Death to All (also ex-Cynic) as our guest! We discuss his creative process, touring with Gorguts, and of course, the upcoming Exist album So True, So Bound, which comes out this week! We also discuss new music from Origin, Bloodshot Dawn, Rings of Saturn, Vintersorg and more! We also discuss Fredrik Thordendal’s hiatus(?) from Meshuggah and Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry replacing him. Finally, we talk about how Spotify artist payments have been decreasing despite their financial growth. Enjoy!