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…
2017. As metal in the Internet Age continues to proliferate, its identity is in constant shift. Ideas about which genres mean what, the role of politics on music, the very fabric of the financial institutions which create the scene, all come into question as the barriers between fan, musician and business man collapse. And yet, despite of what alarmists might say to the contrary, great music is still being made across a wide variety of genres, inside and outside of the metal strata. That’s why these mid year lists are important; they allow us to more carefully consider the lighthouse releases thus far released during the year and the trends which they signify. When making this list, we attempted to consider truly stand out albums, which have something interesting to say about their respective genres, the artists themselves and the interplay therein. Thus, your mileage may vary. The idea of this list is not to be definitive or exhaustive. Indeed, such an effort would be inherently doomed to fail. Instead, this list attempts to present a facet into the trends running through our community as they manifest inside the Heavy Blog staff’s “collective taste”. As you read it, consider your own relationship to the insane amount of music and the ways in which you filter it. Perhaps we can offer our own alternative viewpoint.
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.
There’s a particular appeal to progressive death metal. Combining the ferocity of death metal with the more introspective and calculated approach of prog is inherently intriguing. Not a lot of bands attempt this, and many who do end up on the wrong side of boring. Repetition of elements and motifs, extended passages and slowing down death metal don’t necessarily make it progressive. That’s why when a band is able to find a good formula and distinguish their sound, they deserve recognition. Enter Sentient Ignition. This young Californian band has made a very compelling statement with their debut release Enthroned In Gray, and demonstrated that they understand exactly what mixture of ingredients will lead them to success.
Welcome once again to Death’s Door. Wipe your feet, yada yada. Ugh. Your eternal servant of Death is tired. Why is this, you don’t ask? I’ll tell you anyway, you miserable tourists (which reminds me, no flash photography). You see, I have recently come into possession of a hellhound of the most diabolical bent. He is a dark, menacing beast who consumes rations from my stores at will, has chewed all of the bone furniture to bits, and howls like the demon he is far into the eternal night that consumes us all. Observe his ferocity:
This year charges on and doesn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. As we near the six month mark (and our own Top 25 of 2017 So Far), it’s becoming apparent that 2017 hits on broader fronts than 2016 did. While the previous year was an amazing year for some very specific genres, there were others that suffered less than stellar performance. With 2017, there’s very little that’s left untouched, with great releases coming from left and right. The list below is a great example of this; it contains post rock, grindcore, jazz, psychedelic electronics, death metal, stoner and oh so much more. Each of these sub-genres have been producing great releases this year, giving 2017 the illusion of a siege. From us, the nominal besieged, a measure of elasticity is required; we must keep our ears open and listen to new places, places we might have abandoned up until now.
Well, actually, the title is the opposite of the truth. Instead it’s Noyan-free and Scott-ful. AKA, I was away this week so Eden replaced me with fellow editor Scott, whose voice is much more ASMR-inducing. In my absence they talk about a range of topics, including Scott’s history with the…
The title is a pun you see, as this week instead of Eden we have another editor, none other than Nick Cusworth! We go on many tangents this week, but we also talk about relevant new music stuff! New music from Schammasch, Vektor, Amon Amarth and The Fall of Troy! Also some streaming service shenanigans from Tidal, Soundcloud and Last.fm (they did a Decapitated live show), and then we talk about our big editorial about growing your brand as a band, and tie it all together with a discussion about metal in mainstream culture.