September 22nd 2017, will forever be remembered in the music community for two things: having so many great releases in one day and having so many great post rock releases in one day. Sporting albums from This Patch of Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, RANGES and many, many more, this last Friday was an incredible day for post rock fans. However, the amount of releases can also be a hindrance, burying otherwise worthy music under its weight. Some albums will be lost; there is no stopping that. But there's one album I simply couldn't let float by without my giving it my attention, without doing what I could to make sure as many people as possible heard it. I'm talking about Balmorhea's Clear Language, a touching and ephemeral release blending post rock, electronica and drone.
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 week’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!
Finally the crew is back on track! This week we talk about... Stuff. The charges brought against Decapitated, Spotify removing Infant Annihilator songs, Womanowar getting copyright stricken, Phil Anselmo dragging his own racism back into the highlight, Samael's... incredibly tone deaf video, then new music or material from: Godspeed! You Black Emperor, August Burns Red, Coma Cluster Void, Good Tiger, Veil of Maya, Through The Eyes of the Dead, Gigan, Vulture Industries, and Shokran. Then, we talk about the new album of Eden's band, Instar! And, per a fan request, we do a mini-interview of me regarding NYN. Enjoy!
I’ve written before, as I’m sure I will again, about the therapeutic nature, if not outright necessity, of music. The healing properties and medicinal purposes of this art is fairly well-chronicled but we can never be reminded of that enough. In my own experiences, and where I find myself in life, a lot of that healing or mental well-being is cultivated in listening to varieties of post-fill in the blank music. I listen to it at night when I need to calm my brain down, when I need to be able to focus on work, or I feel something that I can’t express. Others will inevitably have their own preferred niche, genre, or style. None of them are invalid options.
Literature has been one of the foremost sources of inspiration for metal lyricism and composition alike, regardless of subgenre. The list of examples is significant—Ernest Hemingway and Cobalt, Georges Bataille and Deathspell Omega, H. P. Lovecraft and seemingly everyone, and so on. Drawing inspiration from a novel is a challenging but relatively structured undertaking; a plot can be interpreted into numerous sonic and lyrical directions but will always follow the same trajectory of its narrative. Poetry contrasts this process by its very nature, as its natural code of symbolic meaning and suggestive prose necessitates musical decoding drawn from a strictly thematic place. Even poems with a decipherable narrative are often told in a verbose, indirect manner that challenges metal lyricists and composers to write with a liberated hand, looking beyond the words on the page to a deeper understanding of the poem's true meaning and mood. Agalloch's interpretation of W. B. Yeats is a stellar example of this process being executed beautifully, as is the latest offering from Ehnahre, a Boston-based avant-garde metal collective who count Kay Dot alumni among their ranks. Their incredible four-part song cycle on The Marrow captures the essence of Theodore Roethke's eponymous poem* through consuming landscapes of avant-garde death-doom that are as ridden with despair as the poet's initial musing on whether or not life is worthwhile.
Today we're joined by none other than Michael Gagen, guitarist extraordinaire at bands you may have heard of, like hazards of swimming naked and (ex-) Arcane, and bands you've probably never heard of, like Echo... Read More...
The show is called Monumental and it works like this: on a stage stand, fall, lie, scream, scratch and dance nine performers. Sometimes, on a barely visible screen behind them, words from a writer called Jenny Holzer are projected. More often, that barrier is lifted and beyond it, barely glimpsed behind its film, reside Godspeed. Mixing tracks from F # A # Infinity (yes, "Dead Flag Blues" was included, among others), Asunder, Sweet and Other Distresses and new music exclusively composed for the show, they are the soundtrack to the physical madness which slowly unfolds. Even when their music is silent, it echoes behind and below the movements of the dancers.
A collective in both genres amassed and sheer body count, Wrekmeister Harmonies has made good on its multifarious ethos. Founder and principal member JR Robinson has enlisted a slew of metal and experimental musicians over his past three records, including Jef Whitehead of Leviathan; Lee Buford and Chip King of The Body; members of Indian, Corrections House and Twilight; and Marissa Nadler, among several others. Robinson's fourth album under the Wrek-Harm name - Light Falls - arguably contains his most high-profile ensemble yet, as he's joined by three members from seminal post-rock pioneers Godspeed You! Black Emperor (Thierry Amar on bass and contrabass; Sophie Trudeau on piano, violin and vocals; and Timothy Herzog on drums). Yet, despite the notability of this trio's inclusion, it's not the most striking feature of Light Falls, an album which changes a crucial aspect of Wrek-Harm's compositional approach up until this point.