Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!
Clichés exist for a reason; usually, they represent a grain of truth that gets buried underneath public scrutiny. The more that people observe or muse on that single grain, the more it gets reused and worn. In the process, a certain derision becomes attached to it but that does nothing to take away from the actual grain present there. Clichés, when used right, still have the potential for truth and incisive perspective. Steven Wilson has, for all intents and purposes, worked long enough in the business to become his own cliché, a musician whose style is so important that it is an arch-type when one approaches music in a large number of sub-genres. As Wilson continues to progress down his career, what is left to him? It seems as if every peak has been conquered. What keeps him going? If To The Bone, his upcoming release, is any indication, it is probably a mix of love of music, dedication to the craft and the constant need to tweak his own style.
This was a week of diversions. Eden is back in his land, and I’ve seen Metallica live and am super amazed by them. Also, new music by Exist, Origin, Steven Wilson, and Rings of Saturn. Then we talk about some happenings. The shitshow surrounding The Faceless missing their New Zealand tour, Chester of Linkin Park telling fans to stab themselves in the face, and the sexual assault allegations leveled against PWR BTTM and the implications of that. Then Eden recommends some music – Brutus, Subetroth, and Arcadea featuring Brann Dailor of Mastodon. We then go into a cool people section discussing Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Then, just as we’re about to finish up, Eden mentions his Re:publica experience, and we go into an extended discussion about the ethical responsibilities of the tech industry to explain themselves. Enjoy!
It’s honestly a wonder that I haven’t written about this album sooner. It contains everything I love, both within its music and along its meta-narrative. The Sky Moves Sideways was released three time: once in Europe, once in America and once as a remaster. Each album contains different versions of a proto-drone track, versions which are unique to it and were produced using an original 40 minute recording of a live band. It contains Gavin Harrison with Porcupine Tree working on early material (on the re-master), one of my all time favorite musicians. And, most of all, it’s the turning point between Porcupine Tree as just Steven Wilson and their conception as a band. Thus, it contains the psychedelia of his earlier works while still being recognizable as an album. It has a strange accessibility to it alongside some truly weird and disconcerting elements.
We have (along with the rest of our niche of the community) been singing the praises of Astronoid for quite some time now. If you’ve never run into the name, imagine what would happen if you take a dream and then crash-landed it into a thrash metal concert. The guitars go fast, the drums blast away but the vocals are clean and soar high above the music. In composition as well there is a marked style, a bright, lazy, honey-slow drip that just pulls you right in. It’s like a hot, summer day when you were a child and the hours drew out in the long, dark tea time of the soul (as one Douglas Adams puts it) into a pastiche of nostalgia, fear, hope and dreams.
What goes into such a broth? How does a band like this come to be, seemingly emerging from nowhere to revolutionize what we thought was possible within the somewhat stale confines of thrash? Instead of speculating, hear it from the band themselves! We reached out just after our interview and asked the band our fateful, Anatomy Of question: what made you the musicians that you are today? More specifically, which musicians contributed to how you write, think and perform music? Below you can find styles ranging from progressive pop to Norse metal and much in between. Blast Air in the background and get ready to dive into what makes Astronoid tick.
So, we’re back, unsurprisingly. This week we cover a lot of news, and go deep on politics! Specifically, Brexit and how it affects the music industry, the whole hubbub about complaining about SJWs in metal (not gonna link that article) and the counter-hubbub, David Maxim Micic’s Stock Challenge where he made an EP with just free stock plugins, Steven Wilson’s cover of Prince getting removed from streaming services, this relatively older article about Spotify’s research on metal fans being more loyal listeners, Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel complaining about elitism on their new video, more info about the Agalloch breakup, Cavalera Conspiracy performing Sepultura’s Roots in its entirety live on its 20th anniversary, Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager and his copyright troubles with Obscura, Einar from Leprous joining Haken onstage, Wardruna/Enslaved/Skuggsja’s Norse By New York event, and Incendia management’s music PR event. We also talk about new music from Fountainhead, Periphery, Soilwork, Thank You Scientist, The Dear Hunter, Ringworm and Myrkur. Finally, we talk about hype culture and how it poisons everything. Enjoy!
Not every supergroup works. Sometimes, when you put really talented people together, they do the musical equivalent of people talking over each other, and the end result is confusing and less than a sum of its parts. When you put together Jimmy Pitts (Scholomance, Eternity’s End), Marco Minnemann (Necrophagist, The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Paul Gilbert, so many more), Tom “Fountainhead” Geldschlager (Fountainhead, Nader Sadek, Obscura) and Jerry Twyford (Scholomance), that’s a very impressive line-up and at a glance this project could go anywhere. Well, it goes to amazing places full of jazz fusion and old-school progressive metal. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last weeks 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…