Concept albums are tough; most of them end up feeling really bloated, the ideas taking too much space from the music or the “gravitas” with which they are delivered leeching away a lot of the fun. That’s why it’s super important that bands don’t take themselves too seriously, either directly in the music or in the “meta” of it, like videos, cover art or the general aesthetic of the band. A good example is Canadian weirdos (a word we use with a heap of affection) Bird Problems. Their upcoming album, Tar, is a concept album revolving around a virus reminiscent of the zombie inducing one in works like Resident Evil. However, this virus’s effects are under debate: do they actually include people turning into zombies or are they just aesthetic?
Do you enjoy no nonsense, riff filled death metal? Do you like sub bass drops and beat downs? Do you also believe that the ruling class of the world is made up of scaly, lizard people? Well, even if you only answered yes to the first two questions, you will almost definitely enjoy the devilishly wholesome offerings of Brisbane’s Reptilian Civilian. Five guys hanging out and playing sick death metal with plenty of tech and slam, these chaps deliver on the promise of every tag you’ll find their music under on Bandcamp. Slamming brutal technical deathcore with a global conspiracy theme? Yes, this will be fine.
It’s been awhile since I knocked out a Best of British feature for you, the dedicated Heavy Blog reader. This isn’t because there has been a lack of quality content coming outta the island, actually far from it. Being “British” doesn’t really mean anything anymore though. You’ve got yer English bands and then there’s everything else. Because I feel like our two nations have been poorly under represented elsewhere, I now give you The Celtic Connection. I’m gonna rant and rave about the best music coming out of Scotland and Ireland, leaving England and Wales (sorry Wales) to the side, because they get plenty of coverage as is. This isn’t me being a nationalist or picking a fight, I’m just keeping it in the family. And who else is closer to us Scots than the proud, fighting Irish. Pour yourself a beverage of whatever variety you fancy and strap in for some hearty dispatches of ginger, pale skinned sounds.
Here on Half-Life, we go through a band’s discography and see where they stand today compared to where they started. Pallbearer is one of metal’s rising stars and their progression has been so fun to watch. Every record has its own identity and set of surprises. To take on this project, I enlisted the assistance of my talented colleagues, Jordan Jerabek and Bill Fetty. We hope you enjoy!
Today we’re joined by none other than the mercurial Gods of Eden from Sydney, Australia. These progressive metallers earned a rave review with 2015’s exceptional debut LP From The End of Heaven, a release which found itself right up there on our 2015 end of year list and helped inspire our Beyond the Veil column. Grandiose compositions, enchantingly technical guitar playing, cinematic soundscapes and diverse vocals are the name of the game here, and we’re predicting big things to come from these guys. Without further ado, let’s get into it and see what they have to say about the concept behind their debut, what their new album will sound like, the Australian scene and more!
Considering the prog metal trajectory they’ve been on for just shy of a decade now, it’s easy to forget that Canadian stalwarts Protest the Hero started out their career as a punk band. Of course, the punk roots are still intermittently noticeable throughout their post-Kezia discography — take the verses in “Spoils”, for instance — but for the most part, it’s plainly apparent that the band have comfortably adapted to a more technical, progressive sound over the years. In light of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising in retrospect that it took until 2017 for a more punk-oriented side project to arise from the band, but we’re now presented with Mystery Weekend, a three-piece featuring vocalist Rody Walker and drummer Mike Ieradi from Protest alongside guitarist/bassist Dan Hay.
While we’ve previously covered topics more along the lines of specific scales, intervals, and chords, today’s topic is unique in that it concerns a technique (or, well, a subset of that technique) that’s mostly specific to guitar playing, as opposed to a general musical concept.
Though it may seem like we talked ad naseum about how fucking spectacular 2016 was in terms of new music, the fact remains that we saw more fantastic albums drop than we could seemingly keep up with. But just when we thought our palates were satiated, here comes 2017 with an excellent early roster of release announcements, some we’ve expected for a while and others that came out of nowhere. The following is a surely incomplete list of all the albums worth craving as we ring in the new year. Some of these albums have been fully announced with pre-order links and all that jazz, while others are merely probable assumptions based on various updates on social media. Regardless, these are all phenomenal projects worth looking for in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to comment with some albums you’re anticipating so we can share in your excitement.
With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.
This review required an outsider and thus, this writer presents himself as worthy sacrifice. It required an outsider because of the way this album was released; Protest the Hero, amidst much talk of “revolution” and “completely new” models of release, relied on a fan-fueled subscription model to release their Pacific Myth. Whether or not this model is actually revolutionary, it was a success: many fans signed up to receive a track each month and, overall, everyone was pleased by the perks offered to backers. That is, however, until the Kezia remaster and Volition instrumental versions were suddenly released to everyone, backer or not. Regardless, Pacific Myth itself was finally released to everyone on November 18th, enabling us to finally review it.