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!
Boss Keloid – Family the Smiling Thrush (progressive stoner rock)
Boss Keloid have been defying any kind of genre classification for over 10 years now. Their breakout album for me was 2018’s Melted on the Inch, which landed at #8 for my year end list. Looking at that list today and they’d probably break the top 5 if I remade it, and probably #2 for how often I’ve gone back to it.
I stuck the progressive stoner rock tag up there because that’s probably as close as one can come to pinpointing it… but really, it’s progressive “generally-heavier-than-not” music that moves between stoner, sludge, mathy bits, a heavy dose of heavy psych… Vocalist Alex Hurst might not have a vocal range competing with Mike Patton’s six octaves, but he knows what he can do and plays around in his sandbox to amazing affect. Check out “Chronosiam” off Melted on the Inch for some impressive vocal acrobatics and vocal harmonies.
Some of their earlier work had an abrasive edge that made it a bit more alienating to a casual listener, and these edges have been ironed out and the two recent albums creating a sound that is epic and adventurous, and easy to love!
I didn’t think they’d be able to top Melted on the Inch, and it may take a few months to decide if I even bother to. One thing is certain, the improvement of their sound over these last two albums have bumped them up from a band I really enjoyed to one of my favourite active bands!
Last week’s biggest surprise and best album: Savanah – Olympus Mons (stoner, doom)
Death Goals – The Horrible and the Miserable (chaotic hardcore)
My first thought when hearing their single “Shrike” was that this was the moshing-est mosh-core that’s ever moshed. Upon hearing the subsequent 3 other singles from this UK two-piece that sentiment hasn’t waivered, however the breadth of their punk-influenced chaotic hardcore quickly became more apparent. Where “Shrike” was basically one massive breakdown, the more hardcore punk “A Different Type of Headache” is a more mid-tempo affair bringing in notable screamo influences, especially in the despair-filled vocal delivery whose higher range is reminiscent of May standouts Kaonashi.
For the most part, there’s everything you’d expect in a 2021 chaotic hardcore release: frantic energy, panic chords, well-timed breakdowns perfect for windmilling – the kind of music that’s meant to be experienced live. Let’s just say, seeing Death Goals live is the newest addition to my life goals.
Last week’s biggest surprise: Vorvaň – Awakened (progressive sludge, metallic hardcore)
Flotsam and Jetsam – Blood In The Water (thrash metal, heavy metal)
Flotsam and Jetsam are one of those bands that, as Heavy Blog’s resident thrash head, I’m meant to unequivocally adore and claim have been unjustly overlooked all these years. Yet, while I’ll admit their first two records have an old-school charm to them, I’d wager that the main reason why no one really talks about them all that much is that a lot of what they’ve released has been quite bad actually, and, even at their best, they’ve never released a really great album… until now.
Blood in the Water is easily the best Flotsam and Jetsam record to date. The album builds on the classic progressive metal sound of 2019’s The End of Chaos, adding more punch and more dynamics (and some actually decent artwork this time), so that the band’s sound sits more comfortably alongside the likes of modern Queensryche, Iron Maiden, classic Nevermore, and newcomers Let Us Prey than it does any of the “Big Four.” Even if nothing the band have done before has ever tickled your fancy, it’s worth giving this one a spin; you might be surprised.
Last week’s most unjustifiably overlooked album: Vorvaň – Awakened; these Russian hardcore bruisers are back, blending the best of Converge, Mastodon, Baroness, and High on Fire into one nasty, nasty package, that’s leaps and bounds above their previous material (and anyone else doing this style really).