Editor’s Note: Longtime reader Remi VL is a regular guest contributor to our Release Day Roundup posts! He submitted several of the albums listed below. Join his Facebook group for more recommendations.
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 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!
Dive – Dive EP (heavy psych, stoner rock)
This week is a bit different, given that we’re doing the double week, with releases from the 1st up to today. So I’ve already heard my “top pick” a few times over.
Dive are from London, also the hometown of Elephant Tree, who were my first thought as far as overlapping sound. It’s not quite the right fit; where ET have been creating and refining their own shoegaze-influenced doom, Dive might be more into the space/heavy psych, but it’s all kind of riff-filled, not too heavy, often chilled out, good times. Weedpecker and Somali Yacht Club might be a better “FFO,” but my brain went where it went.
Throw all that together, add some touches of progressive rock on top of the psyched-out jam rock, some Ozzy-style vocals, and you’ve got a great 30 minutes of heavy rock. I will try to not have this kind of stuff as my pick of the week every week.
For Giants – There, There (djent, progressive post-rock)
If you were invested in that phase of melodic-djenty-progressive metal from 2010-2015, you’ll probably love this, or at least appreciate the nostalgia. It had a certain appeal to people of my age range (20-25) with this enthusiastic charm and novelty to it that you could go down a rabbit hole. From early-Intervals, to bands like I Built The Sky, or Widek. The crisp production and writing style, especially for instrumental acts, quickly felt familiar and easy to come back to. For Giants harness that same energy with youthful, emotive melodies balanced with playfulness and bouncy polyrhythmic grooves. The hints of a Tides of Man style post-rock add a unique expressive tone in what is one of the first standout instrumental metal albums of the year.
Anna Pest – Dark Arms Reach Skyward With Bone White Fingers (progressive deathcore, brutal tech death)
Begin 2021 in brutal fashion, with some Neon Genesis: Evangelion-inspired hyper-brutality, courtesy of one-woman tech-death extraordinaire Anna Pest.
While previous release, The Ocean Calls Me Home (2019), was more of a melodic affair, Dark Arms Reach Skyward With Bone White Fingers is a exercise in intensity, culminating in the eleven-and-a-half-minute progressive opus “Of the Black Moon and the Red Earth.”
Pest is at her best when she combines both approaches and I look forward to her blending the two styles together more on future releases, as she is clearly a master of both.
Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz (art punk, post-punk)
Artsy post-punk with a snarky attitude? Sounds like a great way to kick off the year. I hadn’t heard of the delighfully named Viagra Boys until recently, but what I’ve heard from their sophomore album is a danceable, brash amalgamation of punk subgenres that has me hyped to hear more. Plus, you can’t beat well-placed sax in rock.