Hey! Listen to Stonebirds!

What I like about progressive stoner is that it melds groove and intricacy with the distortion coated vibes of stoner metal. It keeps things interesting, helping the often bogged down genres surrounding doom and stoner remember dynamism and variety. Which is exactly what Stonebirds are all about; these guys play a version of progressive stoner which relies on big guitar tones, thick bass and a drawl on the vocals reminiscent more Chris Cornell than Ozzy Osbourne. Their recently released Only Time, while not a trendsetter per se, an interesting take on the track structure that often becomes too stale even in this, more diverse, version of stoner. Check out "Sacrifice" below as an example.

Best Of – Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was nothing if not human albeit one with otherworldly pipes and a mind ripe with the ability to form words and phrases in such a way as to simultaneously connect and befuddle listeners and onlookers. By all accounts he was a contemplative person who loved his inner circle very much but he wasn’t alone in his troubles. His imperfections, those that his fans knew about anyway, bred a certain closeness strengthening the bond they had with the performer. He was one of rock’s golden but least gilded gods. We have lost another great one but his legacy speaks for itself. We will miss you, Mr. Cornell. Our condolences from the Heavy Blog Family to yours. Read on for what our staff and special contributors feel is a sampling of some of the best work over the course of Chris Cornell’s amazingly moving career.

Rest In Peace, Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell died a "sudden and unexpected" death Wednesday night at the age of 52 in Detroid, MI while on tour. The Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman also started Temple of the Dog, whose other members woul... Read More...

Warm – The Human Exemplar

Grunge is not a genre which I enjoy. However, many of its elements can be incorporated into other styles with pleasing results. The most successful of these, to my ears, are the vocals. Something about that raspy Chris Cornell dynamic just gets me going, reaching into places of excitement and lazy wonder. When you take these and you overlay them into metal, mostly the slower, more fuzzy sub-genres, you get an instant match. In the honey-rich lows of such bourbon infused drawls their lives a tension which meshes beautifully with feedback and deep drum rolls. Here, then, is where I introduce you to Warm. The band does, and has been doing since 2011, exactly what I just described. Their brand of stoner is reinforced with a vocalist who has learned well the lessons of the 90's and their rock.

Visions – Shake the Earth

In the past few months, we've presented you quite a few bands that use vocals in an interesting and non-genre typical way. Chief among those was Moontooth, with their blend of blues vocals and progressive metal. King Goat is another one we'd like to especially mention as well, overlaying unique, clean vocals over progressive doom. Now, we can add another band to this roster and lo and behold, they're also relatively unknown and small. Here's where we'd usually go on a tangent about how innovation breeds in the outside of any musical scene but we's spare you; you already know the drill. Visions are a progressive metalcore band in their instrumentation through and through: catch riffs inlaid with technical lead, interesting drum and bass roles and all the emotional impact you'd expect. However, their vocals are slightly different on the clean end, composed more for catchiness than sheer aggression, painting the album in a different shade. However, where the above bands integrated the idea beautifully into their own original, instrumental ideas, here those vocals are often a substitute for something completely exciting from the rest of the band. This makes Shake the Earth a good album but one with plenty of wasted potential, potential which bubbles beneath the surface and never really erupts properly.

Half Life – Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains were one of the few bands, in my opinion, to overcome the stigma that the label of “grunge” brought to bands in the 90s. While it took years (if even that) for the likes of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots to be thought of as more alternative rock, Alice In Chains sort of stuck in the middle. They don’t quite fit into any particular genre. The amount of blues they are influenced by makes one want to put them in with the like of Guns N’ Roses, yet the heaviness that guitarist Jerry Cantrell brings to the table, combined with the vocal harmonies the band is now famous for, puts it somewhere in metal. (Cantrell, for the record, actually believes the band to be heavy metal.) But nonetheless, the influence the band has had has been enormous. Dirt remains one of the best albums of the 90s, and Layne Staley is remembered as one of modern rock’s greatest singers. It’s about time we go back and go over the albums that made this band what they are today.