Summer! Putting my personal biases aside, there's plenty of things to love about it. However, it also has its disadvantages (many of them, if you ask me) and it's a complicated time for the music industry. Releasing material early in the year has the virtue of being fresh and standing alone. Releasing music later in the year has the virtue of being fresh in the reviewer's ear when it's time for end of year lists and fresh in the consumer's ear when the holiday season comes along. But summer? Summer is caught in the middle, creating a desert of sorts; music releases slow down, people take vacations, podcasts go AWOL (I need my Night Vale fix, damn it) and there's a sort of lethargy which takes hold of the community at large. But, of course, we at Heavy Blog must soldier on, toiling under the blistering heat to pick some great albums to recommend to you fine people! What an arduous task. In all seriousness, it can be daunting, as the constant barrage of releases we are usually faced with slows down to a more manageable battering. This, however, is when smaller bands can get their moment to shine and new music can often be discovered. Take a look at the list below for proof; except for a few entries, most of the music on this is by bands we haven't really covered before. Thus, summer offers its own opportunities and, even if it doesn't, we still have the internet. Can any period really be a quiet one when we have the internet? So, take a deep breath and peruse this list while we button down our hatches in preparation for September (seriously, do a little Googling of release dates to get prepared for September. Everything is being released). It has some excellent stuff from established bands but more importantly, some truly brilliant additions from bands that you might not be familiar with. Happy August. Stay cool.
Before we begin, yes: this is the second band with "fox" in its name that I've told you to listen to in the past two weeks. Why? How? There is no answer; god is dead and the universe is infinitely weird and we should rejoice. Cosmic rejoicing aside, let's get to our subject at hand and it is the delectable fusion/instrumental metal of Fox Vibes. Delectable how? In the sense that the excess which so often plagues this genre and its brethren (think the infinite leads of nu-prog or the unnecessary forced time changes of most fusion metal bands) is completely absent from their EP, Mantra. From start to finish, these are cleverly and sparsely composed ditties, fun excursions into the world of captivating and sweet metal. Go listen already, will you?
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the day’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!