Oh. Hello. Yes, it’s true; another half year has gone by. I’ll be honest with you: times aren’t simple in the Heavy Blog camp. I think it’s been exactly one year since I devoted one of these posts (or an intro in general) to why we do what we do or to the status of the blog. Maybe less, since we launched the “Missive” format to enable us to keep doing what we’re doing. The change itself begs the question of why we even needed such a change. Why is running the blog so difficult? Well, here’s a truth for you: it’s not really that difficult. I mean, the actual tasks that we undertake to keep the blog running (looking out for new music, managing staff, planning posts and then, lastly, executing them which goes beyond “just” writing them) are not that difficult or onerous. In a void. “Objectively”. If the rest of our lives didn’t exist.
But hey, guess what? Our lives do exist and there’s a bunch of stuff going on in them right now. I mean, there’s the stuff that’s going on for all of us, right? Like the pandemic (still a thing) or capitalism trying to sacrifice us on its altar in the name of profits. There’s climate change. And war. And the daily struggle to keep going, to keep pushing, to hunt for stability. And good stuff as well like relationships, and friends, and games, and music of course, always music. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those posts by me. But beyond all of those things, which all of us always experience, there’s also personal stuff that’s affecting editors specifically recently. I won’t speak for the others and some of the stuff is too personal to bring up but it’s safe to say that we’re all feeling the burn. For me, Eden (hey), it’s career stuff. I’m working extremely hard to find my bearings in my new role (which I’ve been doing for a year now) and figuring out the next steps for that. And I also have multiple other projects, like my podcasts and other, Secret Stuff™, that I want to move forwards on.
All of which to say, all of these things taken into consideration is what makes running the blog hard, because we can’t afford to do it full time. We have our Patreon backers (shill link), for which we are incredibly grateful. They let us keep the lights on and prevent us from pouring our own, hard-earned money into what, financially speaking, is a failure. But, of course, ~$200 (plus whatever we get from generous folks over on Kofi, shill link) is not enough to let us run the blog full time. We do it in addition to everything else we have going on, juggling all those beautiful and ugly balls at the same time. And that’s OK! That’s great. Insert a paragraph about how fucking amazing music is, about how we lucky we are to get to do this, about how much we love writing, insert it right here. You’ve read it a million times by now so there’s no point of me adding it here. You know why we do what we do.
But, and here’s the bottom line, it’s getting harder and harder to do it. Which is not to say “goodbye Heavy Blog!” I still have a lot of emotional growth to do before I can say that with any ease. This is all to say that, hey, times are hard for us right now. We’re going to keep doing the blog but maybe don’t expect any big announcements, projects, or changes from us in the near future. We’re like a hedgehog, curling around our vulnerable center, displaying to the world our well-honed and tried spurs: writing about music. We’re going to focus on doing that, the core of the blog, for the foreseeable future. We’re going to “just” churning out these Missives, this writing about the music we love so much. We’re going to “just” focus on finding great new music and bringing it to you all.
And hey, if you find yourself thinking “oh boy, those Heavy Blog lads sure are giving it their all, huh?” you might find it in your heart to support us. It really doesn’t have to be monetary support: whenever one of you shares our posts, my heart beats a little faster. Comment? Amazing, perfect, worth more than 100,000 clicks. Reacting to our posts, joining our Facebook group, following us on Twitter, even emailing (!) us to tell us you appreciate what we do, all of those things and more, even the tiniest sliver of thought you can send our way, makes our lives that much better and easier. Oops, I did end up writing that paragraph about why we do what we do, didn’t I? Haha, classic Eden trick! I got you. Haha.
So! July! Mid-year point! We have the usual Top 25 So Far list, a time-honored Heavy Blog tradition. Columns are all summing up the first six months of 2021, in their own way. There are a few reviews for some excellent freaking albums and all that other good stuff you’ve come to expect. Good stuff. We march on. The band has not played its final tune! But, perhaps you could spare a glass of water for the performers? They’d appreciate it.
Happy July. I love you.
Top 25 of 2021 (So Far)
Our favorite releases from the first half of 2021, spanning genres.
Jonathan and Jimmy provide a selection of some the best death metal that 2021 has had to offer thus far, featuring Abominable Putridity, Ad Nauseam, Altarage, and more.
When you absolutely must have your music go low and slow, Doomsday is here for you. Get ready for fuzz.
Flash of the Blade
Music that is both fast, pissed off, and goes hard. Oh, and swearing. Lots of it.
The grimmest, coldest, most abrasive column there is. Only the most premium of perma-frost, from the heart of darkness itself.
Post Rock Post
Where the horizon is always just beyond the next hill and your heart can roam free. Delay pedals, crescendos, and dreams.
Rotten to the Core
Sure, you’re hardcore but are you this hardcore? The column with all the breakdowns, riffs, and gang vocals you’ll need.
Head on through to turn down the distortion.
Throw on your trench-coat, put on your favorite pair of sunglasses, and get ready to jack-in to the future in all its neon splendor.
Odd time signatures lie ahead! Too many notes stalk these waves! Loud synths on everything! It’s prog time, baby.
A Gift to Artwork // July 2021
We’ve got a variety of cool covers to discuss today, from the gorgeous simplicity of Cicada the Burrower, to the thought-provoking brilliance of Meslamtaea, and the fun comic-book style of Mephobia.
Year of No Light – Consolamentum
Year of No Light have an excellent sense for drama and composition, one which is almost unparalleled in their field. It’s what brings all of the elements of their music together, creating one of the best releases in the post-metal/doom spaces.
Cerebral Rot – Excretion of Mortality
Those aching for a slab of pungent death metal will surely have a good time regardless. But truth be told, Cerebral Rot have found themselves in a bit of a sophomore slump with Excretion of Mortality.
Azure – Of Brine and Angel’s Beaks
Azure seem to have configured the dodecahedron of progressive influence on the lighter side of things. If you weren’t excited about what this band can do and will hopefully continue to do in the future, Of Brine and Angel’s Beaks should be the release to make you so.
Anthropophagus Depravity – Apocalypto
Apocalypto is an audio assault that will easily satisfy brutal death metal fans. As a slam fan, I’m excited to see more bands produce not just aggressive music, but introduce their own twist on the over-the-top themes that define slam.
The Void Screameth
We’ve all got our pet issues, big and small, and sometimes you gotta just write it all out and digitally scream into the black void of the Internet. This is that, just written much better.