Sweden’s Dark Funeral is a band steeped in bold claims, the most frequent being “The Ineffable Kings Of Swedish Black Metal”. It says so on their t-shirts and right on their website, so it must be trve, right? Let’s break it down: The band’s inception dates back to 1993, right in the thick of the Norwegian church burning and murder scandals, so that gives them longevity and proper Scandinavian black metal cred. A discography spanning twenty-two years, with six full lengths, four EPs, one live album and two video albums. Tours spanning the globe. Albums stamped with a few of the most significant labels in metal history. All of the aforementioned facts are significant accomplishments for any band to boast about, but in the land of Odin, the only band to rival Dark Funeral with those stats is Marduk, indeed surpassing them in both longevity and prolificity with releases (We will exclude Bathory from mention here, as they were the progenitors of the first wave of black metal, with Dark Funeral residing in the second).
Welcome to No Heroes in New England, a new feature on Heavy Blog where we give a nod to some of the newest and relatively undiscovered hardcore talent coming out of New England. The word “hardcore” is a term with a bit of history, so we’ll be covering anything within the hardcore genre, whether it’s punk, metallic hardcore, or post-hardcore. As long as it tears faces off with its aggression and comes from New England, we’ll cover it. New England has been one of the capitals of hardcore music since bands like SS Decontrol and DYS broke out of Boston in the 1980s, and in the last thirty or so years it’s cemented its status, giving the world groups like Converge and Killswitch Engage who have indelibly changed the face of metal and hardcore music for the better. To ignore this part of America is missing a crucial chunk of music today, as even relatively new acts such as Trap Them and The Great American Ghost hail from New England.
To understand what Fire! Orchestra is, we have to first know whence it came. And that would be the Fire! trio. Since 2009, Fire! is comprised of mastermind, saxophonist, and keyboardist Mats Gustafsson (who is widely known as a great jazz musician, especially for his improvisational style), bassist Johan Berthling, and drummer Andreas Werliin, both of whom are also known in the Swedish jazz scene for their work in other bands. As of today, they have released three full-length albums on their own, as well as two collaborations – one with Oren Ambarchi (In the Mouth a Hand), and one with Jim O’Rourke (Unreleased?) – plus a couple of EPs. They gained further recognition by playing fresh, inspired and energetic avant-jazz, getting better with each subsequent album, culminating with their 2016 release, She Sleeps, She Sleeps. Back in 2012, they had the idea of expanding their formula with the addition of an orchestra. Now with nineteen musicians instead of three, there was much more space for experimentation and variety, although there was already a lot of both in their simpler format.
Good friends of Heavy Blog Verse Vica are in the process of writing and recording their second album as a follow-up to their 2014 endeavor, Endeavor! The melodic death metal quintet from Asheville, NC are pooling their energies to craft another furious album, but we’re proud to offer you a taste of their hard work in “Psynergy”! Inspired by the Golden Sun series of games, “psynergy” is a portmanteau of “psychic energy,” the form of magic that flows throughout the world of the Golden Sun series. The song below is inspired by the games, so it’s perfect for fans of the long-standing handheld RPGs!
So, April has come and gone and now spring is here in earnest. While there was definitely a slow down in the SHEER VOLUME of releases from April, there definitely wasn’t a decline in quality. May brought us some of our favorite albums from 2016 so far and some which are certain to feature on high spots in our end of year lists. Speaking of which, next month we won’t be doing an Editors’ Picks or rather, we will but it will be a special, Worth Your Time in 2016 so far edition. In the meantime, let’s dig in to this month’s selection, featuring some heavy, some sad and, mainly, a whole lot of excellent.