A formula for making Stone From the Sky: put your hand on the dial that says "Camel" and then slow it way down. OK, you went too far and now you've made Earth. Bring it back up a notch, just a little bit. Wait, whoa, you went too far and now we have Cambrian Explosion. Slow it down again just a tiny bit and there we go! Stone From the Sky are like stoner rock that's passed out in a field of post rock poppies, intoxicating delays doing some very weird things to its perceptions of timing, tone, and delivery. Their album, aptly named Fuck the Sun, is all rolling hills and wide meadows, a sojourn in the diffused light of some other source of illumination.
We've covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn't lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What's become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the "sludge factor" in different measures. While you won't find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they're all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.
Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree piqued my interest from the moment I came across their Bandcamp page. Much of what first drew me to Earth's masterpiece Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull is present on BMHVT's debut Medicine: an alluring cover, unique title and promises of an expansive, mesmerizing take on doom metal. It's this last point that sweetened the deal like hemp-infused honey candy, and if you're at all a fan of all things sludge and doom, you'd be wise to succumb to what this psychedelic dose of Medicine has to offer.
We like to joke around here pretty constantly that the amount of quality music out there in the world for us to consume and critique is magnitudes more than we can possibly manage, that we are drowning in a sea of music and are suffering mightily for it. We are all the "Why can't I hold all these limes?" guy.
This week we have a super exciting guest! I'd try to slowroll it, but obviously from the episode title you can guess that it's Herman Li of Dragonforce. We discuss a variety of topics, including the upcoming Dragonforce album Reaching Into Infinity, success, haters, creativity, Babymetal, video games and more. Herman was a great guest! Also Eden and I discuss some news after the interview. Chuck Berry's passing and the way the coverage has handled his problematic legacy, a bunch of new music, and Earth's Hibernaculum and Machine Head's The Blackening turning 10 years old. The new music includes Somnium Vox, Bloodshot Dawn, Entheos (not that one), Witherfall, Northlane, Emmure, Gorod, Enslaved, Solstafir, Beyond Creation (kind of). We also continue last week's discussion on how the mentality focusing on new music sometimes makes us overlook albums, in this case Metallica's latest. In our cool people section we discuss Netflix's Marvel's Iron Fist and Better off Ted.
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.
A few weeks ago, we reviewed a unique album; The Empire Never Ended by Twinesuns is an evocative and darkly looming drone album, a sort of mix between Earth and a faint, urban nightmare. Melding loud guitars, rich synths and voluminous static, The Empire Never Ended is a distinct and special work of drone metal. It's also quite good which is why we're very happy to be premiering "System Regained" off of said album. The track perfectly encapsulates the tensions and textures of the release, containing several layers of instruments which border the line between "thundering" and "insidious". Head on down below and make sure to adjust your volume accordingly; you don't want to be blowing out any windows or driving passersby insane.
Nearly every drone metal album is bound to receive the inevitable comparison to Sunn O))), and unsurprisingly so. Drone is a difficult genre to master, what with it's focus on mood and experience instead of typical songwriting tropes. Yet, while perusing reviews of Crystal Shipsss' I Will See No Moon No Sky a couple years ago before writing my own, I found a blog with an interesting take on the album genre. While not verbatim, their general assertion was as follows: Crystal Shipsss' brand of drone metal may recall Sunn O))), but in the end, no band can claim ownership of "the drone." But let's fast forward a bit - what exactly does any of this have to do with Twinesuns' excellent new album, The Empire Never Ended? Well, after but a few minutes into the album, it'll become clear that 1.) the bands sounds like Sunn O))) & 2.) this by no means discounts the sheer intensity and invention that they bring to the genre.
Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week's update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we... Read More...