What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 10/21/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Watch The New Lyric Video For A Sense Of Gravity’s “Shadowed Lines”

It is certainly no secret that we have a special admiration for Seattle progressive metal band A Sense of Gravity. Ever since their debut album, Travail, became one of our top albums of 2014, we and many others have been eagerly waiting to hear what comes next. Thankfully you all won't need to wait too much longer, as the band announced a few weeks ago that their sophomore LP, Atrament, will be released on November 18. We've already received the promo for it, and you can get a taste of what at least two of us think about it in the Heavy Pod Is Heavy Cast from a couple of weeks ago (start at 1:11:52). Surprising few people though, we like it! We especially liked the first single released from the album, "Echo Chasers," which took some of the more aggressive, riff-focused work from Travail and pushed it even further. Given that Travail was great in part because of its blend of massive slabs of progressive death with other, unexpected elements, that makes their selection for the second single from Atrament, "Shadowed Lines," even better, which we are very pleased to be premiering today.

50 – Back Off Track

Eden's back! This means we get to talk about stuff like Tidal, other streaming services, this article about Opeth (which gets us pretty salty), the breakup of Bolt Thrower, Portnoy playing the 12 step suite he wrote for Dream Theater, inconsistencies in promos labels send to us, then new music or news from bands like Dark Tranquillity, Downfall of Gaia, Oathbreaker, Alcest, Metallica, A Sense of Gravity, the DOOM OST by Mick Gordon, Plini, Watchtower, Riverside, Pain of Salvation, Mithridatic and Venom Prison. Finally we talk about Elvenking's underrated The Pagan Manifesto. Enjoy!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 9/23/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

Binary Code – Moonsblood

Making melodic progressive metal is hard. Progressive metal is already steeped deeply in melodic influences, which should be an easy starting point. However, dipping too much into these roots can lead your creation to move away from metal, losing its rough edge and sounding forced. So too with the other end: if you increase the heaviness and aggression, you often lose the progressive sense which was supposed to make your album interesting. Textures are the masters of this fine balancing act and one of the first bands to achieve it. No one has quite reached the same level of melodic dedication spliced with a progressive wildness that can erupt at any time. Well, no one except Binary Code. The brainchild of Jesse Zuretti caught the community's ear in 2009, with their debut Suspension of Disbelief, a refreshing take on what it means to record progressive metal today. That album was chock full of interesting ideas and compositions. However, in the seven years of (relative) silence, the scene has done quite a lot with itself: multiple Textures releases came and went in the interim and bands like A Sense of Gravity and Gods of Eden changed what we think and feel about the music and what it means. So, with Moonsblood coming out tomorrow, does Binary Code still have things to say or has the community outpaced their melodic, rich sound?

Best Of: Metal Albums 2010-2015

Usually in our Best Of columns we try to tackle either something genre-specific or something conveying a very specific idea. Today we're doing something a little different though. Given that we're now officially more than halfway through the 2010s, it seems fitting to take a hard look at some of the albums that have defined the current generation of metal. Since this site was formed in 2009, this list encompasses the vast majority of the music we've had the pleasure to experience and review in real time. And as a site who strongly believes we're currently in the throes of a new Golden Age of Metal, what better way to prove that than with this brief shortlist of phenomenal music we believe best encapsulates that notion.

Cyborg Octopus – Learning To Breathe

Every year there's this one progressive metal band that suddenly delivers this completely fresh sound and changes the perception of what the genre can do. Last year it was Native Construct, before that A Sense Of Gravity, then Persefone, 2012 had Gods of Eden, and 2011 had The Odious. These bands all have a common narrative in that they both paid great respect to the core sound that is commonly associated with the label, but they also pushed it with creative influences and blended genres into their mix seamlessly. Cyborg Octopus are poised to do the same for 2016, and their debut Learning to Breathe is a brilliant exploration of styles and songwriting that delivers on several levels.

Best Of – One Man Bands

Going over the twelve entries we've selected as the cream of the musical loner crop, it's amazing to see not only the variety of genres present, but the fact that such enormous, impactful music can come from a single individual. From guitar porn to one man black metal to a whole slew of electronic subgenres, these artists prove that "strength in numbers" may not apply to everyone. Because while this crew may not have been the most social group on the playground, they spent their alone time producing some of our favorite music and proving that collaboration isn't a necessity for quality tunes. So without further ado, sit back and reminisce with us over our favorite one person projects, or enjoy discovering what any one of these twelve musicians has to offer. And of course, feel free to comment with further suggestions of exceptional musicians who handily do it all.

Painted In Exile Launch Indiegogo For First Full-Length Album + Talk To A Sense Of Gravity At NAMM 2016

Long Island progressive metal band Painted In Exile have not exactly had an easy go of it since releasing their initial EP back in 2009. Beseeched with a myriad of personal issues and lineup changes, the band have been seemingly in a state of absolute stasis for the past 6 years and change. Though never broken up or officially on hiatus, they played no shows for nearly 5 years until their official "reunion" show last month. And now after what must have felt like an absolute eternity for the band and longtime fans, Painted In Exile have officially announced their first full-length album in the form of an Indiegogo campaign.