When bands return from 10 years away from the recorded word it’s logical for fans to expect *something* that sounds familiar. We want those echoes. The nostalgic pull at our heart strings for days of yore when we listened to “Band – Last Album” with such glee and aplomb that it would leave us wanting more, so much so that a decade later we will line up to ingest their latest offering. But realistically speaking, the question has to be asked how can we expect anything to be even remotely the same as it was after a prolonged period away from itself like that? Oxbow swaggers into the room to forcefully ask the audience this question on Thin Black Duke, their newest album coming hot on the heels of 2007’s The Narcotic Story (if Antarctica seems like terrific beachfront property to you).
Back in the middle of February, Chicago-based doom band Flesh of the Stars put out their third LP, Anhilla. It’s a phenomenal record that fuses elements of classic progressive rock, doom metal, and a lot of movie score influences into a very moody, atmospheric sound. Since I live in Chicago, we got in…
Garage rock is one of those more amorphous genre tags that nevertheless has a very identifiable sound to it. You might not be able to describe what it is exactly beyond fuzzy guitars, generally lo-fi production, and punchy, catchy songs, but you know what it is when you hear it. It’s not a style I’m totally enamored with as oftentimes the stripped-down approach comes off as a bit too facile and simple, trying to make up for a lack of depth and with immediacy and charismatic energy. Hailing from Los Angeles, Meatbodies are proving to be an exception to the rule for me, though most of that stems from their evolving way beyond simple garage into something far more interesting and fun.
It’s January, which means we get to finally put all of the music from the previous year behind us and focus strictly on new and exciting music again. It also means that we get to celebrate an anniversary of sorts, as we have officially been running this column for one…
It’s the beginning of the year, which means that people like ourselves who write about music and the music industry received a nicely-formatted press release from Nielsen’s PR firm touting their shiny new year-end report on the music industry from the past year. For those of us who find the sorts of things these reports deal with – namely the increasing prominence of digital streaming and its effects on all sectors of the industry – this report is like a second Christmas. And though the press release lays out all of the top-line findings of the report in neat little bullet points, it’s still a lot of information to take in with a lot of spin (or at least things left unsaid) to make everything sound as rosy as possible. So, as a public service to those who care, we present to you a brief, unfiltered guide to Nielsen’s 2016 music industry report.
It strikes me as somehow appropriate in a year that’s killed off Prince and David Bowie, given us marriage equality, bathroom laws in North Carolina, and ultimately a Trump Presidency that we have someone to look to in the musical world as a relatively unfiltered voice of rage. Not at the machine. At everything. That voice belongs to Laura Jane Grace.
Welcome back to our ongoing series of best-of lists for 2016, where we give some of the bands we covered (or just adored) in 2016 a chance to publish their own lists regarding their favorite albums of this past year. It may be officially 2017, but we’ve got one more list…
Editor’s note: Welcome back to our Heavy Blog Guest List feature where we give some of the bands we covered (or just adored) in 2016 a chance to publish their own Top 10 Albums of 2016. Binary Code have had an eventful 2016, to say the least. After releasing their first full-length in 7 years, the impressive Moonsblood, the band hit the road across North America for much of the rest of the year with fellow prog-heads Leprous and Earthside. In spite of all of that though, Binary Code founder and guitarist Jesse Zuretti found plenty of time to stay on top of the goings-on in metal and elsewhere this year and eagerly wrote up his top ten metal and non-metal albums for us, which you can find after the jump!
With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.
We wrote a pretty big check to ourselves when we closed off 2015. Publishing not only a list which proclaimed the triumph of 2015 but also a whole editorial dedicated to the idea of “The Golden Age of Metal”, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Like the rest of the music establishment which, in numerous places implicit and explicit, was apparently ready to join in the social lynching of 2016, we were well positioned to find it a sobering, dreadful, faith shattering year for music in general and metal specifically. Except it was nothing of the sort and we cannot stress our amazement at metal/music journalism’s reaction so far. 2016 was an absolutely fantastic year, building on the trend of solid and often groundbreaking releases from established acts and simply astounding, out of left field releases from virtually nameless bands. Sure, it had its disappointments for us from huge bands we had expected more from (although signs of their demise were certainly forthcoming) but, overall, it was a year which will surely be remembered in our circles as one of the best years for music in general.