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So it’s Wednesday at 3:43 AM the week these year-end retrospective lists are being published and I’m scrambling to edit my fellow writers’ contributions when I’ve barely even started mine. To be honest it hasn’t even quite settled in that 2012 is just about over. As I’m writing this, there’s about a week and a half left of the year, and it puzzles me. It feels like just a couple of months ago that I was doing this exact same thing for 2011, only this time I seem to be much busier and everything looks different. The site, wordpress, and even my staff group have all changed.

We’ve picked up a number of fresh faces this year that you’ve already seen these past few days, but you may have also noticed that a couple of people from last year are no longer with us. A lot of people have come and gone over these past three and a half years that I’ve been doing this Heavy Blog thing, and most of them sort of float around and hang out when they can. The most important ones that come to mind right now are Dan (Dormition) and Chris (Disinformasiya), both of whom were very instrumental and valuable in the growth of this site, and it was sad to see them part ways with us. Without them (Chris in particular), I might have not kept this thing going this far. I love both of those guys dearly, and you can keep up with them at The Monolith, which you should bookmark if you haven’t already. Ya jerk.

Like I’ve said, this year has been busy. I don’t talk about my personal life much here despite the fact that it’s my blog, but what better time to get all personal than a year-end retrospective? As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit more of a hands-off editor and the scheduling of posts have been a bit less rigid and frequent than they used to be. I’m at the tail end of my college career and I’m currently in and out of internships which have kept me busy and often away from Heavy Blog. Between classes, internships, my “actual” job, and this website, my hands are pretty full. You (and I, for sure) can thank Evan (Juular) for his help with editing since Chris’ departure as well as Damien, Noyan, Gunnar (DeusExMachina), Cody (Tentaclesworth), Spencer (Inhumed), Anthony (Alucard), Greg (Red Bruschetta), Atif (Dr. Killjoy), David (Riptide), Ridge (Deadite), Colin (Momento Mori), and Geoff (Denisovich) for sticking with me and making sure there’s enough content each week and that this site keeps going strong. Also a strong word up to Ben Robson who took over Heavy Blog recently and decided to stick around with us behind the scenes and Chris Collins, our resident photographer. These guys are awesome, and they manage to put a smile on my face every single day.

2013 promises to be even busier with my next internship, impending graduation, and career, but hopefully that doesn’t stop this site from growing and providing daily content that helps to promote and further our favorite genre of music. Thank all of you for sticking with us!

So with all these feels out of the way, here’s what most of you care about, my albums of the year:

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It may be a bit too early in the year to be claiming favorites, but The Omega Experiment‘s debut album has been captivating me for the past month since I first received the promo from frontman and multi-instrumentalist Dan Wieten. The Omega Experiment combines a progressive and forward thinking attitude with huge choruses and vocal harmonies to tell a deep and meaningful concept surrounding the story of Dan’s life.

Without receiving any label help, the duo (which also features keyboardist Ryan Aldridge) pushed forward to release their debut effort independently. At the time of this posting, The Omega Experiment is currently the #1 top selling album on Bandcamp for Valentine’s Day! Impressive! I recently spoke with Dan about their debut album and to get a look into the concept and the band’s creation.

For those who are not familiar, introduce yourself!

Hello! I’m Dan and I sing, play guitar, bass, and do all the production and drum programming for The Omega Experiment.

Let’s cut right into the meat and potatoes; The Omega Experiment is boasted as an autobiographical concept album. Could you tell us the story and how each track fits?

It loosely chronicles my life from birth to the death of my active addiction, and the start of my recovery. ‘Gift‘ starts it off, which is about being given the gift of music, talent, and life in general…and the confusion that comes with it. I had a lot of attention given to me when I was young because of my gift, which led me to think I was somehow special. When life didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, I didn’t understand why, or how to deal with it. But the elation that came from music lit me up. That theme permeates throughout the album. ‘Stimulus‘ is roughly the teenage years, when you start to develop a semblance of your ideals and begin forming opinions and tastes. Everything felt new during that period. I had a tendency to overreact to everything, and when I heard music I loved, or played it for that matter… it was almost like an addiction.

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The Omega Experiment

The Omega Experiment

01. Gift
02. Stimulus
03. Motion
04. Tranquility
05. Furor
06. Bliss
07. Karma
08. Terminus
09. Paramount

[02/14/12]
[Self-Released]

Every now and then I come across a band so great that I can’t help but wonder why any label would pass on the opportunity to have the act a part of their roster. In the case of The Omega Experiment, I have never before been so absolutely baffled. I don’t know what’s more shocking; the fact that The Omega Experiment’s self titled debut album wasn’t picked up by a label or that—for a debut album produced and released completely DIY—the quality of every aspect of this release is so top-shelf. Do not take it lightly when I say that The Omega Experiment is the best independent progressive metal album I’ve heard in recent memory.

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Mose Giganticus – Gift Horse

Mose Giganticus - Gift HorseMose Giganticus

Gift Horse

01. Last Resort
02. The Left Path
03. Demon Tusk
04. Days Of Yore
05. The Great Deceiver
06. White Horse
07. The Seventh Seal

[Relapse | 07/22/10]

It’s not very often a band grabs a hold of my ears and gives them something worth while to listen to, so when I came across Mose Giganticus, a band that combines punk and heavy metal while also incorporating the use of both a synthesizer and vocoder, I was instantly intrigued. Upon further investigation, I was surprised to find out this band is led by just one man, a Han Solo of sorts with an array of talents hidden under his sleeve. Matt Garfield of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, who has played drums for an array of hardcore punk rock bands, decided to begin his own project consisting of solo electronic music. Besides being a drummer, he is also a songwriter, vocalist, keyboardist and a programmer, and his focus for the band became more intense as years passed.

Earlier albums, such as The Invisible Hand (2006) and Commander! (2008) featured Matt’s style of electronic music, but the overall sound has been rooted in hardcore punk. In support of the albums, Garfield performed live shows as a solo act where he would layer vocals and keyboards over pre-recorded backing tracks. He is now joined by an array of musicians, including Zac Hobbs (touring guitarist), Brooks Wilson (live and studio guitarist/bassist), and Joe Smiley (live and studio guitarist) when performing live shows, but the core of Mose Giganticus is still Matt Garfield.

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