Editor’s Note: Do you think we “missed” an album this week? Click here.
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!
Oceanhoarse – Dead Reckoning (progressive metal, melodic groove metal)
Finland’s Oceanhoarse have a hard sound to pin down. There’s a huge swatch of modern, melodic groove metal at their core, but there’s enough wild variation and subtle instrumental flourishes going on as well that the main bands they end up reminding me of are prog oddballs Protest the Hero and Australian alt-prog titans like Dreadnaught. If PTH gone groove metal sounds like an odd prospect, let me remind you that Lamb of God’s Chris Adler played drums on Volition, and there’s no denying that vocalist Joonas Kosonen sounds more than a little bit like Roddy Walker when he hits his higher registers. I checked this one out on a whim and have hardly stopped spinning it all week. Yet another example of a smaller act showing up the bigger artists in 2021.
See Also: Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana (atmospheric black metal); I’ve seen this album described in a couple of places as a “deconstruction” of atmospheric black metal, which is pretty spot on. Either way it’s a lot more interesting than becoming the umpteenth extreme metal act to start aping Joy Division or whatever.
Last Week’s Biggest Surprise: Lorna Shore – …And I Return to Nothingness (brutal deathcore, symphonic black metal); I’d more or less given up on this band, but this EP slaps. New vocalist Will Ramos is an absolute beast!
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster – The World Inside (progressive post-rock, post-metal)
I probably haven’t highlighted enough post-rock in this columns this year, so lets change that with one of the better albums I’ve heard so far this year – especially among the heavier, guitar-centric variety. UK-based Tacoma Narrow Bridge Disaster have been around for well over a decade now, and have returned with their fourth LP, and the first in six years. With The World Inside the band have maintained that balance of progressive, sludgy heaviness with shifting atmospheres, but with more focus on the lighter side of their sound and that contrast.
At it’s core, this is the sort of post-rock that just takes you for a ride. It traverses a lot of territory with dips and valleys and steep climaxes, but it’s the ride itself, the experience, that wins you over. It delicately takes it time when it needs to, and builds into smothering groovy riffs like a more dynamic Pelican. Just some immense and engaging instrumental post- music, out now through our friends at POST.RECORDINGS.
See Also: Deafheaven, I guess??? and Indistinct – Reign of Silence (progressive deathcore)
Woman Is the Earth – Dust of Forever (atmospheric black metal, post-black metal)
I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to highlight one of the best album covers I’ve seen this year. Seriously, just look at this thing. In terms of the actual music, this South Dakota trio offer a sweeping, triumphant brand of black metal that’s as intense as it is atmospheric. Definitely a must-listen for black metal fans.
See Also: Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood & Juanita (alt-country, southern soul); If you follow country, folk, or blues and have a pulse, you know who Sturgill Simpson is and why you should care about his latest record. The Ballad is billed as a “simple tale of either redemption or revenge” paired with “traditional country and mountain music,” and I’m stoked to dive in.