This post has been a long time coming. Heavy Blog has been around for almost 10 years now, and in that time we’ve grown in every possible way. The breadth of music that we cover has grown. We’ve launched new in... Read More...
Ok, I'm back for real and we're back on track! We have a bunch of new music and album announcements! Between the Buried and Me, Cynic, Obscura, Machine Head, Arkona, Zeal & Ardor, and Aviations. Also, we discuss the upcoming Lords of Chaos movie based on the book chronicling the rise of black metal, and reminisce as Century Media turns 30. Then, cool people time with Furi, All the Birds in the Sky, and Devilman Crybaby. Enjoy!
Welcome to our latest edition of Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat, etc. There’s a lot to discuss this month, though frankly, I had my doubts at certain points about whether or not there would be. You see, July tends to be a musical doldrums for yours truly, with lots of leftover releases that didn’t make it into the prime Spring and early Summer release calendar clogging streaming services with mundane/barely serviceable drivel. Obviously, this makes for some not-so-great listening experiences. Thankfully, July pulled through regardless, delivering unto us another fantastic batch of death metal releases that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of 2017. So much so, in fact, that we are foregoing our new tracks section to focus exclusively on the great records released this month. So prepare yourself for some good stuff and thank your lucky stars, because hell hath no fury like a month without good death metal.
Cynic are one of the greatest metal bands of our generation, regardless of their current status or one's opinions of their latest releases. Perhaps one of the most decisive signs of that is how their tracks work both in their quiet, intimate version and the original epic ones. Thus, Re-traced in Air remains an immensely impressive album, perhaps one of the most impressive of its type (Opeth's Damnation would be another one or Devin Townsend's Unplugged). With their skill, Cynic birthed a plethora of progressive metal bands and can be credited as one of the progenitors of progressive metal in general. One such band, who have always worn their influences on their sleeves is Cryptodira. While we would LOVE to tell you that we have new material from these guys ("soon!", the promise us), we do have a cover of Cynic's "Integral" by the band. Check it out below.
It's been awhile since I knocked out a Best of British feature for you, the dedicated Heavy Blog reader. This isn't because there has been a lack of quality content coming outta the island, actually far from it. Being "British" doesn't really mean anything anymore though. You've got yer English bands and then there's everything else. Because I feel like our two nations have been poorly under represented elsewhere, I now give you The Celtic Connection. I'm gonna rant and rave about the best music coming out of Scotland and Ireland, leaving England and Wales (sorry Wales) to the side, because they get plenty of coverage as is. This isn't me being a nationalist or picking a fight, I'm just keeping it in the family. And who else is closer to us Scots than the proud, fighting Irish. Pour yourself a beverage of whatever variety you fancy and strap in for some hearty dispatches of ginger, pale skinned sounds.
The progressive metal "scene" has become more and more insular over the past decade or so as it's risen to prominence. While the higher profile has lead to more diversity among bands who can reach an audience, as with additional size comes additional bulk, the definition of "progressive" has become blurrier as more bands incorporate elements from the sound into their toolkit, forcing the genre to define itself by contrast. Complexity, self-seriousness, "enlightenment" and a gratuitous focus on music theory and pseudo-intellectualism have become pervasive. While the counter-movement of doubling down on "ignorant", more streamlined music has also fostered, it's become easy to be stuck between two extremes. As such, being able to find music that doesn't stick to tropes has become increasingly difficult. Enter Exist, a progressive metal band that's almost anti-prog. They take the intricacy of bands like Cynic and their predecessors in Death and combine it with sarcastic disrespect towards prog conventions. The end result is their sophomore release, So True, So Bound, and it's a clever combination that is confusing in an intriguing way.
In case the title wasn't clue enough, this week we have Max Phelps of Exist, Defeated Sanity and Death to All (also ex-Cynic) as our guest! We discuss his creative process, touring with Gorguts, and of course, the upcoming Exist album So True, So Bound, which comes out this week! We also discuss new music from Origin, Bloodshot Dawn, Rings of Saturn, Vintersorg and more! We also discuss Fredrik Thordendal's hiatus(?) from Meshuggah and Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry replacing him. Finally, we talk about how Spotify artist payments have been decreasing despite their financial growth. Enjoy!