50 – Back Off Track

Eden’s back! This means we get to talk about stuff like Tidal, other streaming services, this article about Opeth (which gets us pretty salty), the breakup of Bolt Thrower, Portnoy playing the 12 step suite he wrote for Dream Theater, inconsistencies in promos labels send to us, then new music or news from bands like Dark Tranquillity, Downfall of Gaia, Oathbreaker, Alcest, Metallica, A Sense of Gravity, the DOOM OST by Mick Gordon, Plini, Watchtower, Riverside, Pain of Salvation, Mithridatic and Venom Prison. Finally we talk about Elvenking’s underrated The Pagan Manifesto. Enjoy!

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.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 7/15/16

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 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.

35 – Selling Out

We did it! We finally sold out. How? Find out here. In the meantime, we have some news and discussions. Whitechapel’s new album is streaming, Opeth and In Flames sign to Nuclear Blast (with the latter announcing a new album), we listened to and opined on the upcoming Pain of Salvation rerelease and Black Crown Initiate album, new music from Volumes and Brain Drill, Pyrexia’s vocalist killing people, Joey Jordison’s explanation of why he left Slipknot, new album announcement by Sahg, tour news including Pyrrhon, Plebeian Grandstand, Skrillex and Guns and Roses. Then we do a balls deep on Gojira, and also talk about the reception to Eden’s review of Magma and a general discussion about the state of the podcast. Enjoy!

Winterhorde – Maestro

Extreme metal is a sub-genre that has grown considerably over the past ten to fifteen years. A multitude of albums released by endlessly ambitious bands from all over the world keeps pushing the limits of what metal can absorb while remaining engaging, creative and somehow even heavier. This much competition is very exciting for fans, but it also means that most of the tricks have already been pulled by one band or another. Winterhorde is a band from northern Israel that exists deep in the extreme realm of metal, and is one that sounds very comfortable in its own skin. They swiftly switch from genre to another without any overworked transitions and they make the whole journey sound smooth and natural. That is quite the challenge from the technical standpoint which requires a lot of dexterity from each member. Therein lies the essence of progress, where the music continuously evolves throughout an album’s span without coming off as a collection of scattered ideas.

The Jazz Club Vol. 3 – GoGo Penguin, Portico Quartet, and Other Man Made Objects

When Scott and I started up The Jazz Club the better part of a year ago, we had intended to make this a monthly feature that would give us and other Heavy Blog staff members a forum to discuss music from all over the jazz spectrum, both new and old. Given the fact that we only got through two articles and the last one was from July 2015, clearly we have fallen well short of that goal. But now we’re back, and we’re more determined than ever to make this a regular monthly column. For our comeback piece, we’ve chosen another recent release that’s attracted a surprising amount of crossover and mainstream appeal, acoustic piano trio GoGo Penguin’s Man Made Object. Along the way we also discuss a couple of other groups who have been blending groove-heavy jazz with electronic elements and influences, Portico Quartet and Skalpel. Scott and I were joined by fellow editor Eden for this one, and our conversation definitely ran a bit on the long side, but we’ve decided to keep it largely intact as we really enjoyed where it went. We hope you enjoy it, too!

Heavy Rewind – Riverside’s Out Of Myself

Death comes for us all; this is a lesson that 2016 seems intent on teaching us. The latest to fall victim to this brutal curriculum is Riverside‘s Piotr Grudziński, a truly gifted guitarist who had his own unique timbre and voice within one of the most important progressive metal/rock bands of the 2000’s. In his memory, and because Riverside is such an important band, we’ve decided to do something different: instead of writing a post focusing on the band’s career but, perhaps, missing out on the depth and power of their earlier releases, we’ll be releasing three Heavy Rewind posts, each one dedicated to one of those albums. We’ll work our way up chronologically, beginning with the first, Out of Myself and ending with the last, Rapid Eye Movement. While these posts won’t focus on the lyrics, there’s no denying the strong conceptual nature of these albums and so, perforce, we shall delay a bit on their concepts. On a more personal note, these albums were essential for me when growing up and when expanding my tastes beyond the original bands that had started me on music. Rest well, Piotr. Your voice will not be forgotten.

Heavy Rewind – Entropia

Some albums fracture: their own fame is somehow forgotten among listeners and even experts but their legacy can be found in countless acts that come after them. Whether it’s their approach to their specific genre, actual sounds and moments from the album or a method of production, the basis elements of what made up the album get recycled, reused, resurrected. This can create an interesting disparity between how important the album is and how much people know it or even still play it, so long after it came out. Entropia is one of those albums. Not only did it launch one of the longest careers in progressive metal, namely that of Pain of Salvation, it also broke numerous limits and forged a vision of what progressive metal could be, way back when in 1997.