Hey! Listen to The King is Blind!

What exactly qualifies as “metal” can be a contentious issue. As any dedicated listener knows, the label itself accounts for a wide spread of sub-genres—ranging from softer, more atmospherically-inclined fare such as post-black/gaze and folk metal; to the frantic, bombastic realms of speed and power metal; and onto the spasmodic worlds of math- and grindcore; and even the bleak, all-encompassing, sonic oppression of drone and funeral doom. Many of these sub-genres remain contentious, and what is considered metal, or even just heavy music can shift and change depending upon what circles you frequent. Then again, there are those bands who (for any number of reasons) simply ooze the ideal of heavy metal, no matter which way you look at them, so that their status as a nothing less than a fucking heavy metal band cannot be denied. The King is Blind are one of those bands.

Best of – Brutal Death Metal

Brutal death metal has the rare benefit of being exactly what it sounds like. The differences one would expect between “regular death metal” and “brutal death metal” are manifold and, by and large, pretty predictable: guitars are more downtuned; riffs are chunkier and more visceral; vocals are far deeper and even less intelligible; the whole nine yards. As far as subgenres go, it doesn’t exactly shake up its progenitor’s foundations by a relatively large amount, choosing instead to just take everything that makes death metal an already pretty brutal genre and crank that bad boy up to 11. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the ensuing auditory carnage is not for the faint of heart, but it is for anybody that feels like extreme metal just isn’t extreme enough yet. If you’ve ever felt that way—the grooves could be groovier, the riffs could be riffier, the blasts could be blastier, the gutturals could be gutturalier—then brutal death metal is the answer to all your prayers. So without further ado, let’s dive in to what our staff considers to the be the Best Of – Brutal Death Metal!

Obituary – Self-Titled

As Immolation proved earlier this year, one can age with power and magnitude, only increasing one’s stature as the past becomes a launch pad to an even more nuanced and aggressive future. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer also tested this theorem in 2016, to mixed results. Age does not always sit well with metal bands, but many try to use their longevity to their advantage, releasing albums 25+ years into their career. This month, Obituary, equally loved and reviled death metal legends, join the ranks of veteran bands trying their hand at perfection through age.

65 – Time II Stop Jari

A week full of fun times! We talk about Wintersun shenanigans yet again, Tidal shenanigans, Bandcamp successes, then we talk about new music or content from a bunch of artists. Opeth, Leprous with Ihsahn, Psykup, Betraying the Martyrs, Born of Osiris, Dodecahedron, Disperse, Virvum, Six Feet Under, Arch Enemy, Quasarborn, Oni, Mayhem, Sunless, Pallbearer, Adam Young, and Mastodon. We also talk about this list of power metal in 2016, some cool people stuff. Also, take a look at this gofundme of a victim of crowdkilling (gfm link here) at a Code Orange show, and check out me and Eden’s new role-playing podcast!

From Deicide to Self-Destruction: How a Death Metal Pioneer Fell Behind the Pack

Way back in 2012, Paul Mazurkiewicz (drummer for Cannibal Corpse) sat down with Billboard (via Metal Injection) and was posed an interesting question: who are death metal’s Big 4? Now, boiling any genre down to a definitive group of four is realistically impossible – as important as the Big 4 of thrash are to the genre, bands like Sepultura, Overkill, Kreator and Destruction deserve just as significant a portion of credit. So too was the case with Mazurkiewicz’s naming of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation as the Big 4 of death metal, which leaves out a whole slew of bands seminal to the genre’s evolution (Death, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Autopsy, Carcass and innumerable others). Yet, in terms of balancing popularity, influence and an active status, it’s hard to argue with Mazurkiewicz’s picks; all four bands are nothing short of genre pioneers who played pivotal roles in defining death metal from its post-thrash transitional stage. However, when we fast forward to the genre’s current landscape, it’s clear time hasn’t been as kind to the infamous blasphemers from the Sunshine State as it has for the rest of DM’s Big 4. Despite being near the top of the pack in terms of influence and album sales, Deicide has experienced a noticeable fall from grace from their prime in the early-nineties. But the question is – why? What caused these luminaries to become lost?

30 – Crowns Of Symbolical Meaning feat. Chris of Schammasch

Surprise! This week we have an interview, with Chris of Schammasch, the Swiss avant-garde band we’ve been raving about for weeks. We get his perspective on art, avant-garde and meaning behind music. A great chat! Definitely listen to Triangle (here is a good place). Then we do our news round-up, new music from Hatebreed, Six Feet Under (why), Meshuggah, Setentia, Brujeria, The Levitation Hex and the DOOM OST. We talk about Agalloch’s disbanding, Rob Zombie’s being a Babymetal fan (and my short review of their live show), and we talk about Radiohead, Beyonce and Drake taking a stance against Spotify, and the big perspective of the streaming service wars. Then we talk about how album art reflects on the music, inspired by our conversation with Chris. We have an extensive cool people section this time, gushing over DOOM and talking about the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Enjoy!

26 – Someone Stop Chris Barnes

Straight out of the gate with the terrible new Six Feet Under track! We’re doing it live! But wait! There’s more! More music from Schammasch, Haken, Plebeian Grandstand, Be’lakor, Lacuna Coil, Gojira, DESPISED ICON and Toyomu, who remade Kanye’s The Life of Pablo without hearing it! What else is there? Drama! Adult Swim are trolling Metalocalypse fans! Disillusion are back! Muse drones are crashing and burning! St. Vitus bar is being interviewed! Singer of The Story So Far kicks a fan off the stage! Sumerian and Basick are both 10 years old! We discuss the upcoming releases from Fallujah and First Fragment! There’s even more! BALLS DEEP: August Burns Red! Then we talk about albums that we were late to the party on, including WRVTH, Good Tiger, Opeth and Rivers of Nihil! Excitement! We have a pretty extensive “cool people time” section as well!

The Haunted Are Cutting Teeth In New Video

So, in case you’ve missed it, The Haunted are back. I know they didn’t really go anywhere, but they’re back to their roots. While I liked former vocalist Peter Dolving’s take on the band and their slower, groovier albums; The Haunted were always about aggressive thrash to me, and Marco Aro…