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.
Considering the multiple inclusions of Miles Davis’ masterpiece Kind of Blue and an inclusion from Orentte Coleman (whose passing we are deeply saddened), it was a very fitting week to publish the inaugural installment of our Jazz Club feature, where members of our staff will dissect a new jazz album that we find noteworthy and excellent. Our first post discussed The Epic, the spectacular band leader debut of saxophonist Kamasi Washington; read our piece here. This week was also a popular one for Leprous‘s newest album The Congregation, which was included by half off the staff members who participated in this playlist update. The Congregation will without doubt be one of Heavy Blog’s favorite albums of the year, further evidence for which may be read in our review of the album here. Additionally, there are inclusions from a handful of other recent albums which we reviewed positively, including Starfire by Jaga Jazzist (here), The Moon Lit Our Path by Tempel (here) and Settler by Vattnet Viskar (here). We may definitely exhausted this sentiment by this point in the year, but 2015 has truly been an exceptional year in music, and we are still looking forward to an abundance of incoming releases.
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.
Head past the jump to see which records have been receiving regular rotation on our headphones, stereos and turntables:
Instrumental metal typically comes in a proggy flavor: the bands that rule the instrumental scene are groups like Pomegranate Tiger, Intervals (on both of their EPs), or Wide Eyes. Does this mean that instrumental stuff doesn’t exist in other subgenres? No, of course not. There are bands in every subgenre that convey their message through their instruments and choose to forsake vocals in the process.
However, it needs to be said that in the modern scene, finding a band that both writes instrumental metal and doesn’t fall under the progressive metal heading is a fantastic breath of fresh air, and Tempel, the Arizonian blackened doom duet, is ready to provide you with a big damn oxygen tank.
The sad fact is that the genres dubbed as “progressive” are fast growing stale. In spite of several amazing releases in the past two years, the progressive moniker nowadays is overused. It’s more than overused; it often signifies laziness. Whether uninspired “djent” or music full of ideas explored years ago by Dream Theater and their ilk, bands tagged with progressive usually hide very little beneath initial encounters. While some of them might hold my attention for more than a few tracks, nearly none of them bear any sustained gaze.
It was my absolute pleasure then to stumble over Eschar a while ago. Yes, a good while ago; life has prevented me from presenting you these geniuses earlier. And genius is the word I want to use for Nova, their latest release. Genius implies more than just talent but also an effortless to the execution of that talent. Nova is not only an interesting album, it’s also an album that’s a joy to listen to because everything meshes together perfectly. Head on over the jump for an example of that.
Following recent line-up changes, Pomegranate Tiger have announced that they have found themselves a new lead guitarist. The band surprised fans last week when they released a play-through video for “Maxims” featuring former lead guitarist Martin Andres on drums, with an accompanying statement indicating the reassignment would be a permanent change.
While this settled concerns as to who would be taking over for former drummer Phil Gatti (whose departure from the band was announced in a Facebook post from the band near the end of November), it raised questions as to who would be filling in on lead guitar.
If you’re not listening to Pomegranate Tiger by now, you’re definitely doing it wrong. Entities was released last year to critical acclaim for being one of the most outstanding instrumental progressive albums in quite some time, but these Canadian boys show no signs of stopping in its support (at least until the next album).
That’s why drummer Martin Andres is presenting you with a drum play-through of “Maxims,” one of the lead singles from the 2013 album.
01. Gift of Tongues
05. New Breed
06. Mountains in the Sky
07. Not to See the Sun
08. Ocean – I. White Ship
09. Ocean – II. Maelstrom
10. Ocean – III. The Golden Portal
11. Sign of Ruin
Writing intelligently composed instrumental music instead of a vocal-less snorefest is difficult. Whatever’s going on in the music has to be interesting or catchy in some way or another at all times, and relying on an idea for even a few measures too long can bore the life right out of your listeners. Mastering the craft is nothing short of hellishly arduous, unless of course you’re one of the fine musicians of Pomegranate Tiger.
You know a release is going to kick a fairly substantial amount of ass when you can watch the studio updates over and over again because the riffs are sweet. Well, that or you just sit there with that awestruck look on your face pretty much anytime anyone in the band does anything with their instrument.
So to get all caught here, the first update was essentially an overview with some teasers for the upcoming teasers for the album. Fuckin’ teases, right? Yeah. The second update was all about the rhythm section of the band and exhibits some pretty difficult sounding parts, though they never seem to let technicality detract from musicality. Then there’s the third update, which can be viewed in all it’s splendor above.
When I saw the update encompassed “guitars and other tracking,” I assumed that meant “guitars with some keyboards and other stuff that’ll be mildly interesting.” I’m also wrong a lot. Pomegranate Tiger took my expectations for this album and absolutely trashed them by including some serious violin shred, pulsating vibraphone ambiance, and what I can only guess is the sampling of a bass drum. So, what the hell is Pomegranate Tiger’s album Entities going to sound like?
Something worthy of a Top 10 of the year list, that’s for sure.
As per usual, go check out their Facebook page if you haven’t yet, and try out if you’re a vocalist!
A good friend of mine introduced me to Pomegranate Tiger on the premise that it’s an enjoyably techy listen that doesn’t overdo it; he’s right. Look no further if you’re trying to find the next big name in progressive metal. These up-and-comers have enough talent to create mutant offspring clones that would form a band and still be better than you. That’s right. Not to mention they’re Canadian, which just makes everyone’s list of “Great Musicians from Canada” a little bit longer, or even your “Ways Canada is Still Apologizing for Celine Dion” list better.
Here’s what’s really important! Do you have what it takes to be Pomegranate Tiger’s new vocalist? Well then head on over to their Bandcamp site, download their two free instrumental tracks and follow the instructions! I’d recommend downloading them even if you’re not trying out. As a stand-alone instrumental jam EP, it’s really damn good. Go give their Facebook page a like while you’re at it and keep with the band.