What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – Playlist Swap – 6/24/16

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 brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We randomly select participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person/people to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. This week’s post brought editors Eden Kupermintz and Scott Murphy together to peruse each other’s tastes:

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 6/17/16

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.

Earthship – Hollowed

Last time we checked in with Earthship, the Berlin based quarter was furiously producing some of the heaviest stoner music around. However, we had cited a distinct lopsided feeling to their Withered, the momentum on the album having taken too long to build. Now, the masters of aggression have returned and seek to perfect their craft. Hollowed is their 2016 release, with a name which clearly echoes their last release. This is a clever move by the band; naturally, we will approach the album with an expectation from them to exceed what came before, wholly attentive and engaged with the album. This clearly formulates our main question for this review: have Earthship managed to transcend what held them back previously and create an album that’s not only good (as the last one was) but something more, something with a hint of excellence?

North – Light the Way

In the wake of The Ocean’s highly successful Pelagial, a new strain of post metal was born, one which flirts with the antics of stoner and doom. Feeding off the latter of that seminal 2012 album, this style of music utilizes delay-ridden techniques in conjunction with fuzzy feedback and hoarse vocals to create its emotional impact, blending both atmosphere and visceral assaults. North, fresh off the tour with Intronaut and the aforementioned band (a tour being wrapped up next month), belong to the lower end of such a style. Their Light the Way attempts a blend of more ephemeral guitar lines that might echo So Hideous or Junius and feedback drenched chords that belong on a Earthship or Lo! album, or any of the sister projects that make up The Ocean Collective.

But does it work? Yes and no: every track, on its own, is a solid and well thought out unit, expertly weaving between the two styles. However, something about the album structure doesn’t click and the tracks tend to blend together. It takes several listens to tell them apart and, even then, one finds himself drifting into a a sea of sameness as lead after fuzzy riff crashes down upon him. Let’s start with the good however.

Earthship – Withered

From the very first feedback-laden chord of Earthship’s third album Withered, we receive a mission statement: this is going to be loud, sludgy and in your face. However, plenty of albums exist that deliver all these things, especially during this last, fantastic year and so, an eyebrow might be raised in skepticism.…