Yay, this week there’s stuff! Some good, some bad! New As I Lay Dying (ugh), Babymetal, Dol Ammad, this cool Russian band Sunless Rise, the Perturbator school shooting shitshow, The Lion’s Daughter, Contrarian, Bridge Burner, Leprous, Uada, Suotana. Then, cool people stuff with Hereditary, Beacon 23, Sisyphean, Yoku’s Island Express. Enjoy!
Hollywood Burns’ Invaders lands in a weird and in-between place within the discussion on the plight of retro/synth wave (I’m just going to use synthwave from now on, you know what I mean). It’s an album that suffers from its structure, for some reason making the odd decision of placing its best tracks on its second half. On one hand, we can understand the decision; the first five tracks should be very familiar to anyone who’s up to date with the scene. “Scherzo No. 5 in Death Minor” for example channels the by now familiar horror/occult vibes of artists like Carpenter Brut while its predecessor, “Black Saucers”, rings of most artists being released on Blood Music today (on which label this record was also released). Which is not to say they’re bad tracks. The former especially has some really good ideas and cool line synths. But they’re pretty regular stock within the context of the scene around Hollywood Burns; they don’t really leave their mark on the listener. This cannot be said for what happens further down the line however.
Our staff has shifted quite a bit since we posted our first aggregate AOTY list back in 2014. From refocusing our content to implementing The Brooklyn Plan™ to publishing our 2017 AOTY list, our roster of contributors has fluctuated substantially in terms of numbers and genre preferences. This ebb and flow…
When Wave // Breaker was initially conceived as an ongoing series it was pitched as being a way to highlight acts within the synthwave scene through a mixture of interviews, reviews, research, and commentary. Of course, as with any scene, the artists and the music of which they make is…
When one thinks about synthwave they more often than not conjure up images of neon landscapes made up of transparent grids, sunsets, beaches, palm trees, fast cars and anything else that may fit into such an aesthetic. That said, one does not tend to think about upside down crosses, demons, serial killers and an overall sense of evil in turn. However, for every genre that has ever existed there lies a much darker side, a subgenre which turns things on their head and produces a much more heavier sound in response. For synthwave that would be darkwave or darksynth, either seem to be interchangeable for the most part, with well-known acts such as Carpenter Brut, GosT, Perturbator, and Dance with the Dead carrying the torch. Of course, for every well-known act, there are those who are scratching, clawing and going through hell to be noticed, many of whom were influenced by those already leading that proverbial charge.
Gregorio Franco is one of those dark souls of the synth and, if what he’s produced thus far is any indication, he is not only one to keep an ear to the ground on but one to keep an eye out for as well.
One of synthwave’s major problems is length and staying power. For some reason, the genre’s artists seem to constantly overextend, creating albums well over the optimal run-time. Repetitiveness soon sets in and the genre’s power, which is the main reason most people listen to it, gets lost. Luckily, some artists there appreciate the power of brevity. Such power can be witnessed in spades on Das Mörtal’s Always Loved. Who’s Das Mörtal you ask? Honestly, I have no goddamn clue; I got this tidbit via my inbox and had never heard of the artist before and you know, I like it that way. It adds mystique to an already compelling album, an album which we’re super happy to premiere a track from right here.
Just this past week we saw how important the ACLU still is. One of the first to confront the so called “Muslim ban” enacted by the indifferent pen of Donald Trump, it began the long and arduous legal battle against this administration. With not only the presidency but also Congress and Senate painted in the most extreme and reckless red imaginable, their work will grow seven-fold; now they must take on the legislative branch instead. Thus, and despite of the already remarkable success their fundraising has seen in the past week, Bandcamp’s contribution to the ACLU is admirable. We’re here to do our share; below you’ll find a list of artists that are worthy of your support on this Friday.
How to navigate the sheer number of festivals now available for the metal fan? With the aim of helping you sort through this vast variety, we’ve compiled the following primer. It’s by no means extensive; it’s simply impossible to write about all of the festivals we would have liked to mention. We focused on those we’ll be attending and on those who have the most attractive setlists in our eyes. That being said, do feel free to share more great festivals with us in the comments and please enjoy this, our selection of festivals for 2017.
For a mix of reasons, instrumental music tends to carry a greater inherent potential towards the cinematic. Without a primary voice to guide us through the music’s message, we as the audience are both required and enabled to find an emotional and environmental through-line to the sounds we hear; instrumental bands…
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s update here) 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 randomly select two of the participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. This week’s post has Nick and David going tête-à-tête with some things the two already share their admiration for and some unexpected surprises!