Happy Halloween, 2017, from your nefarious friends at Kvlt Kolvmn! Hard to imagine a better day for this column to land near, what with all the ghouls, spirits, demogorgons and Eleven’s traipsing around with their sugar receptacles and real world terror encroaching from every corner of this planet. God, what a miserable year in so many ways. Thankfully, that misery has not extended into the world of black metal, which continues to drop sensational releases month after month. October is no exception. This month saw the release of several exceptional albums that not only continued to solidify the importance of black metal’s existence as one of the premier subgenres within the metal universe, but also its ability to offer complex, fierce statement of countercultural urgency. That last component is important for one particular album that screams thoroughly against some of the prevailing philosophical dogma that runs rampant in the darkest corners of the subgenre. Despite the most truly reprehensible portions of its collective ranks, black metal can indeed speak the language of justice. But enough talk. Let’s metal.
What exactly qualifies as “metal” can be a contentious issue. As any dedicated listener knows, the label itself accounts for a wide spread of sub-genres—ranging from softer, more atmospherically-inclined fare such as post-black/gaze and folk metal; to the frantic, bombastic realms of speed and power metal; and onto the spasmodic worlds of math- and grindcore; and even the bleak, all-encompassing, sonic oppression of drone and funeral doom. Many of these sub-genres remain contentious, and what is considered metal, or even just heavy music can shift and change depending upon what circles you frequent. Then again, there are those bands who (for any number of reasons) simply ooze the ideal of heavy metal, no matter which way you look at them, so that their status as a nothing less than a fucking heavy metal band cannot be denied. The King is Blind are one of those bands.
How to navigate the sheer number of festivals now available for the metal fan? With the aim of helping you sort through this vast variety, we've compiled the following primer. It's by no means extensive; it's simply impossible to write about all of the festivals we would have liked to mention. We focused on those we'll be attending and on those who have the most attractive setlists in our eyes. That being said, do feel free to share more great festivals with us in the comments and please enjoy this, our selection of festivals for 2017.
If a poster was created of famous devil-worshippers then Aleister Crowley’s face would no doubt be near the front and center. Despite not actually being a Satanist, Crowley’s “wicked’’ deeds placed him in league with the Dark Lord in the eye’s of the public back in his heyday. However, he was a practitioner of Thelema, a spiritual philosophy of self-empowerment that’s often lumped in with the glorification of evil much like Satanism has been throughout the years. And like old Beelzebub, Crowley and heavy metal fit together like a hand in glove, and his influence in heavy music can be traced all the way back to the genre’s earliest years.
So we're doing a two-part series on picking the podcast's official albums of the year 2016. We start with the blog's list of 400+ albums that are worth consideration this year, whittle it down to 86 albums we care about, and then start cutting them. The objective is to get to a ranked list of 10 items and an overall list of 20 albums. We get down to about 45 this week until the cuts really start to hurt. This was real fun to do, so I hope you all enjoy too! The lists will be posted below.
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.
Fellow tech death enthusiast Ahmed joins me this week and we geek out about tech death for over an hour! Since Eden isn't cool like us, we don't get a chance to do this while he's around, so we really went deep with this opportunity! We discuss some news first, like new music/content from Opeth, Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, Anaal Nathrakh, Astral Path, VOLA, and an interesting Patreon by The Reign of Kindo. Then we go into tech death, how it has evolved historically and geographically; what its watershed moments were, and we discuss some of the most important and influential albums in the genre. Enjoy!
How many black metal bands in the past have proven to be truly progressive, innovative or even avant garde? You might find several bands that fit that niche. Even some big acts in black metal could be included under the Progressive black metal umbrella, such as Enslaved and Ihsahn. Let’s turn our attention to Black Hate now. Hailing from Mexico, the promising group have released an album that pushes the “black metal” label in directions seldom seen. With Through the Darkness we have an album that breathes new life into tired black metal tropes and dares to stand on it’s own. So what do they do differently that sets them apart from their peers? What can we correlate Through the Darkness with to find out what makes it unique?
This week we have a set of surprise guests that we announced last week! I guess that's not really a surprise, huh? It's Eric and Drew from TABPxDSME, in other words The Aurora Borealis Project and Drewsif Stalin's Musical Endeavors! We have a good old time trying to talk about their amazing upcoming album The World Is A Colder Place Now. Well, we try anyway. Since Drew and I are both invested in derailing as much as possible, it goes to different places. I had a great time! Then, we talk about the news of the week. What news of the week? Stuff like Misha of Periphery doing a song for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Heri Joensen of Tyr killing whales and defending his actions, Stereogum's monthly metal roundup, You Bred Raptors playing to an empty venue, then new music or teases towards such by Departe, Saor, Destrage, System of a Down, Anaal Nathrakh, Anciients, Alcest, Negura Bunget, Hannes Grossmann, and Allegaeon. Eden gets pretty mad about the last one!