HFollowing on from the inaugural 2017 edition, we’re back in 2018 with the Heavy Blog Yearbook, a look back at some of the articles from last year that we’re most proud of. We love sharing things with our readers, and we’d hate for people to have slept on one of our favourite pieces from the year. So sit back and relax as we showcase the highlights of our writing for the year, hopefully something that we can return to in years to come. So, without further ado, we present to you 30 of our favourite articles from 2018 as chosen by us. These articles are presented in order of category, not quality, and you’ll find a short summary of the piece, why we liked it, and a link to the full article. Enjoy!
Deep Dives & Editorials
Deep Dives are our flagship longform column that encompasses any longer article that tackles any musical subject we deem to be interesting enough to warrant deep analysis. It’s where we branch out, throw word counts to the wind and dive into the music we love and the trends we see emerging.
Fighting Fire with Fire – Black Metal and Consumerism
When it came to deciding which articles to include in our yearbook, this was always going to be top of the list. In his inimitable style, our Editor-in-Chief went full Eden and wrote this monolithic piece on the relationship between black metal and consumerism. He does this by defining consumerism (there’s a lot more to it than you probably think) and exploring its origins. He then delves into how black metal was formed, at least in part, by its resistance to consumerism and how, ultimately, black metal has itself come to be defined by consumerism. If that sounds intriguing then read on because this is one of our best.
Australia’s Music Scene
Australia has been a colossal force in the world of metal over the past decade or two, with wave after wave of outstanding releases and innovative artists. We caught up with members from the likes of Hadal Maw, Gods of Eden, Thy Art Is Murder, hazards of swimming naked and more to explore the Australian scene, why it seems to be such a hotbed for talent, how its location and landscape influences Australian bands and, of course, who some of their favourites Aussie artists are.
*prognotes Schammasch – Triangle
Schammasch’s triple concept album, Triangle, ranked as one of Heavy Blog’s favourite albums of 2016. In this piece we dive deep into the concept, exploring how the intersection of black metal, atmosphere and world music helps us explore lyrics around dealing with death, finding enlightenment and (of course) God vs Satan.
*prognotes Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
It was only a matter of time before Alkaloid received the *prognotes treatment, and Eden hit it out of the park on this one. He explores one of the best albums from 2016 and arguably the best progressive death metal band on the planet right now. In Eden’s words, The Malkuth Grimoire “weave[s] Lovecraft mythos, bio-engineering, cold space opera, and hard physics into one bewildering and massive whole” – and he’s on hand to lay it all out. Hopefully Part II isn’t too far away.
*prognotes The Dear Hunter – Act V
As crazy as Eden and I are when it comes to our *prognotes column, even our dedication to the craft pales in comparison to Nick. The absolute madman wrote the twelfth entry (!!!) of his conceptual analysis of The Dear Hunter’s Act’s I-V so if, like us, you’re a huge fucking nerd and you want to to read the latest chapter of this novel-in-hiding then check it out below.
Interviews and Loose Ends
Bent Knee Are Good At Naming Obscure Land Animals, Want You To Take Them On Tour
In 2017 Heavy Blog stood up and took notice of Bent Knee, the fantastic Boston-based art/prog rock band, and they landed a spot on Top 25 Albums of 2017. Early this year Nick was able to catch up with the band to talk through the what a tremendous year 2017 was for the band, how music videos have helped push the band towards success and (obviously) to see whether they’re good at naming obscure animals.
Heavy Rewind // Rodriguez – Cold Fact
If you’ve never heard of the Mexican-American musician Rodriguez, you’re not alone. Thankfully, we had Andrew on hand to talk us through the rise of this obscure musician whose opening albums sold poorly, leading to him abandoning music in favour of a career in construction. Unbeknownst to him, his music had become incredibly popular in places as far flung as Australia and South Africa. When he learned of his international popularity some thirty years later, it would allow him to tour the world and live from his passion. Read all about this incredible story and the album which made it all possible below.
8-Track: Between the Buried and Me
To celebrate the release of Between the Buried and Me’s 8th album, Automata, we dissected one song from each of their studio albums to showcase the depths and breadths of their talents. Whether you’re into their metalcore roots, the technicality of Parallax, the theatricality of Coma Ecliptic or the sweet spot in their mid-period – their discography has something for everyone.
Best Of: Instrumental Metal & Rock
The title says it all in this one. Whilst it was criminal of us not to include David Maxim Micic and Plini in this write-up, nu-prog clearly wasn’t front of mind at the time, take nothing away from the albums that made the list. If you love stoner metal, post-rock or doom/drone, but vocals aren’t a necessity, then eat your heart out to these rocking tunes.
Reviews and Love Letters
I won’t go into too much detail on what these articles cover – that’s pretty self explanatory – but whilst they may not be as unique as our deep dives there are still some gems to be found here. Whether it’s Joshua convincing us that The End of Heartache is Killswitch Engage’s (and possibly even metalcore’s) crowning glory, Nick raving on about how Tortoise opened his eyes to post-rock, Pete stumbling upon samples of Alex Jones’ alien conspiracies backed by death metal riffs, or Matt just being his hilarious self – here are our favourite reviews from 2018.
Heavy Rewind // Killswitch Engage – The End of Heartache
Post Rock Post – March 2018
Grind My Gears – Unapologetically Untitled
Love Letter – War From A Harlots Mouth’s MMX
Oceans Of Slumber – The Banished Heart
EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Something new with Poney’s “Pagan Nouveau”
Hey! Listen to the Alex Jones Prison Planet!
Love Letter – Skid Row’s “I Remember You”
Khemmis – Desolation
Keith Buckley – Watch (yes, we did a book review too!)
Year in Review
This is a post we intend on coming back to in years to come, and so it makes sense to end with our favourite albums from multiple genres. Our recurring columns continue to garner great feedback, and so here are our posts wrapping up the year that was in death metal, black metal, post rock, and more.
Death’s Door 2018 in Review
Kvlt Kolvmn 2018 in Review
Doomsday 2018 in Review
Into the Pit 2018 in Review
Post Rock Post 2018 in Review
Grind My Gears 2018 in Review
Disco Loadout 2018 in Review
Semantic Memory – Eden’s 2018 in review
In a departure from last year’s format, Eden looked back at this phenomenal year of music through an intensely personal gaze. He looked at the moments of music which evoked strong emotions within him, from the despair of Soldat Hans, the nihilism of Tomb Mold and Infernal Coil, to the grandeur of Alkaloid. He signs off by updating readers on how the blog fared in 2018 and expressing how amazing our team of writers is.
Heavy Blog’s Top 25 Albums of 2018
Of course, this yearbook couldn’t be complete without our very own Top Albums of the Year post, so here it is! Whilst different staff have differing opinions on which order these albums should have been ranked in, we all agree that the releases mentioned here were amongst the best in their respective genres. We pride ourselves on our diverse taste, and 2018 certainly delivered in terms of variety, so behold the one list to rule them all.
Outliers of 2018
But, as good as our staff’s tastes are, some (i.e. me) have better tastes than others (everyone else). Not everyone’s Top 10 albums of the year made our aggregate Top 25, so we each highlighted one particularly glaring omission that should have made it in.
Last year Genre Genesis quickly established itself as one of our favourite columns, and its popularity only looks to be growing. For those unfamiliar it’s where the significant others of Eden, Nick Jonathan and Scott lay bare their thoughts on a metal song they would never normally listen to. In this special year-end instalment, they each offer a one sentence summary on a song from each of our top 25 albums of the year. Check it out and, with that, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful 2018 and we’ll see you all next year!