One of the most interesting and annoying things in the world are those micro-genres of music that are incredibly hard to describe but you just know them when you hear them. There isn't necessarily a lot that's ... Read More...
Since the vast majority of Heavy Blog contributors fall on the left side of the map (shocking, we know), focusing on the latter seems like the way to go. Criticizing the other side of the political map is easy enough; taking a hard look at your own camp is where things get tricky. Thus, let us turn our eyes on one of the most typical leftist refusals to engage: the retreat. There are few places in the cultural world where this retreat is more obvious than in music and, more specifically, in metal. Even more specifically, the current throes which are black metal is undergoing are even more lucrative for our needs. There, leftist retreat is alive and happening right now, both because of the virility of the claims on the other side (read: the amount of black metal that's truly awful) and because the themes of black metal have already been declared by the larger, more abstract "left" as anathema in the past.
Over the years, we've watched North Carolina's Between the Buried and Me climb the ranks from metalcore weirdos struggling to find a place in the metal scene to prog metal masters with a legion of rabid fans and achieving worldwide headliner status. Through a series of critically-acclaimed opuses, a scene had formed itself around Between the Buried and Me as trailblazers of a new branch of modern progressive music, and one might argue that the biggest splash from the group came from their 2007 opus Colors, which turns 10 this year(!!!).
Likely one of the most enjoyable albums of the year, The Mute Gods' Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth is brimming with melody from front to back, with outstanding keyboard arrangements and gorgeous bass licks. This album pays more direct tribute to 80s prog, an era that is maligned but provided some of the giants of the genre (Yes, Rush and Genesis) with some of their biggest hits and served to introduce the MTV generation to some of the most talented musicians on the planet. Tonally, Tardigrades is most like Yes’s 90125 and even has a sort of synthesized new age feel that marked the band’s collaboration with later soundtrack wunderkind Trevor Rabin.
When four young lads first got together in Liverpool, they had no idea that some enthusiastic yelping and screaming, two guitars, bass and drums could spark a revolution. They didn’t suspect that four working class chaps could form a rock ‘n’ roll band and make a set of records that would influence countless bands and encompass multiple styles, and write songs that people would still be enjoying decades later. This band, of course, is Carcass. Yes, there was that OTHER band, The Beatles, who did all those things, too. But this is an extreme metal blog, and in this existentially hellish alternate universe, Carcass may well be The Beatles. As Carcass prepares to undertake a tour with “love ‘em or hate ‘em” blackgaze critical darlings Deafheaven, some of you may be wondering how we got here. Well, keep in mind that The Beatles’ own John Lennon spent a lot of time with more out-there avantish types in the 70s, too. He cranked out some borderline unlistenable noise with Yoko Ono which is, frankly, far less palatable than Deafheaven; but there’s admittedly a lot of screeching in both. If you’re surprised that Carcass made this choice, well, shows how much you know about Carcass. Wait—John Lennon and Deafheaven what?