59 – AOTY 2016 Deliberations, Part 1: Vape In

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.

Premiere: New Starkill Album Shadow Sleep Streaming In Full!

Avid followers of the podcast might have noticed me mention Starkill. They're one of the few American acts holding down the fort of good old melodic death metal. They're about to release their third album, Shadow Sleep on Thursday, and you can listen to it in full right now! If you like synths, melodies and big choruses, click play right now.

Dark Tranquillity – Atoma

How does a band keep their sound consistent yet fresh after 20+ years of active releases? Especially when the sound is something relatively limited and simple. In Flames clearly don't have the right answer. Their fellow townmates, Dark Tranquillity, just might. Over the years, the Gothenburg outlet has remained relatively consistent in tone and even though they've gone through three distinct eras, they maintained a common thread through them all. While not every Dark Tranquillity album was an instant hit, especially a couple of their more recent ones, somehow with their 11th release Atoma they have rediscovered their spark. Both a return to form and a push forward, this album shows that this particular brand of Swedish melodeath still has more to offer.

53 – Lord BookWorm

We've been getting a lot of comments asking for us to talk about books, so we spend the majority of this episode talking about our favorite sci-fi/fantasy novels. But before that, we talk about some news as well. News involving Cilice, Arkona, Slice The Cake, Dark Tranquillity and Schammasch. We also talk about a couple of cool releases we discovered, namely Fractal Cypher and Crator. Then we do the underrated release highlight of the week, which is Defiant Imagination by Quo Vadis. And then there's books. Many books. We cover authors like the big R.R.s (Tolkien and Martin), Robert Jordan (ugh), Brandon Sanderson, Roger Zelazny, Hannu Rajaniemi, Thomas Sturgeon, Gene Woolfe, V.E. Schwab, Greg Egan, Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie and more. We had a great time with this! Also, if you want to check these books out and also support the podcast at the same time, you can get an audiobook for free at audibletrial.com/heavy. Seriously. Even if you get one book, it helps support the podcast for several weeks. We really appreciate your patronage and here's to another year of HPIHC.

51 – Grab Your Pitchforks, Drop Your Needles

The title is a dig, you say? Not at all! It's not because this week our topic discussion revolves around how metalheads gravitate to specific genres outside of metal and how that's influenced by metal journalism. Totally. Here, let's talk about some new music, releases or news instead. We shitpost about stuff that came out recently, like stuff by Meshuggah, Allegaeon, Opeth (salt interview part 1, part 2, part 3), Disillusion, Metallica, Testament, Logan Mader's Once Human, Dark Tranquillity, Protest the Hero, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and more. Maybe. Then we talk about this "interesting" article about Reign in Blood turning 30, and highlight a few bands. Namely Starkill, Mammoth, Elarcos and Raptorbaby. And the week's underrated release is Ønskediktet by Ørkenkjøtt! Enjoy! By the way, this is that article about Kendrick Lamar - "Why Did Everyone Claim to Enjoy Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly'?"

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!

Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience

The proliferation of a metal band is a clear sign of its growing popularity, but it could also be a reason for apprehension regarding its music's quality. On the other hand, one can consider the longevity of a given band as an indication of quality, but that would only cast a shadow of zealous snobbery and faux-refinement. Truth is, quality in music is more likely to be a function of countless random things including, but not limited to, personal taste. There are countless examples of bands exploding onto the international scene with superb debuts only to fizzle away later and become weaker shadows of themselves. On the other hand, there are bands who start off strong but are a work in progress in terms of finding their own sound and standing out from the hordes; Colorado’s Allegaeon is one fine example of the latter.

Best Of: Guitar Solos

In this edition of Heavy Blog's Best Of, we're taking on the mighty guitar solo. For as long as metal has existed, solos have been a staple of the genre. They might serve as a platform for the freedom of musica... Read More...

43 – I Spent 5 Minutes Trying To Come Up With A Title

Meta-title! How metal of me to be very meta on a metal podcast that's also pretty meta. This week we have a bunch of news. Either new releases, singles, teasers or whatever from: Inanimate Existence, Darkthrone, Wardruna, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sinsaenum, Lamb of God, Voivod, Shokran, Dark Tranquillity, Thy Catafalque, Fit for An Autopsy, The Agonist, Disillusion, Exotype, Native Construct and Serpentine Dominion. Also an analysis of how global metal is, Pelagic Records's starter kit, and a top 10 list of bands from Norway. While on the topic of top 10 lists, we do an impromptu "Top 10 songs that have the desired effect every time". Or as Eden calls it, "Evergreen songs" or something. Whatever. Then we have our bullshit philosophy corner on Hegelian dialectics and the early metal scene! Finally, we talk about No Man's Sky in the cool people section. Whew!

31 – Therein Lies The Beauty

Yay, I get to talk about one of my favorite bands with this week's BALLS DEEP. It's Dark Tranquillity, with two Ls! We got a bunch of news this week, including new material and announcements from Periphery (new album teaser), Devin Townsend Project (terrible new album artwork), Rings of Saturn (signed to Nuclear Blast), The Official Zakk Wylde "Emjoi" Set (why), Rage Against The Machine (more like Prophets of Rage), Insomnium (cool concept album), Between the Buried and Me (they're mature now), Black Crown Initiate (grab Wes Hauch), Gojira (cool new song), WRVTH (live studio video), NAILS (should have spelled it NVILS to be cool (then it looks kind of like ANVILS (what happens when a band with a V in their name try to do the V-ification, like ANVILS-->VNVILS, that looks pretty weird (though it has that self-aware stupid quality to it that some bands seem to love (yes I'm intentionally dragging out these parantheses (wake me up inside)))))). We also discuss the passing of Adrian Guerra of Bell Witch, and briefly gibe our thoughts on the new Hatebreed which we both ended up listening to. Then the balls deep! Also, we talk about some cool stuff in the cool people section.