Jute Gyte – Birefringence

Up to this point, Jute Gyte has made an almost annual tradition of releasing the boldest black metal album of the year. With this project, multi-instrumentalist Adam Kalmbach has channeled the black metal blueprint through classical composition techniques—microtonality and serialism, primarily—and paired the results with elements of dark ambient, industrial,…

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HEALTH – VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

As far as I can remember, I’ve never started out a review with a personal anecdote. But HEALTH holds a special place in my musical journey. Back in 2008, my dad took me to see my first concert: Nine Inch Nails at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.…

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COUTOUX – A Hell on Earth

The first full-length album from COUTOUX (pronounced “KOO – too”) comes to us care of KILL ALL MUSIC, a self-described “anti-label,” which is fitting because to nail down exactly what COUTOUX should be labeled as would be akin to correctly identifying the true origins of some mutated abomination as it sludges it’s way through the irradiated wastelands in a post-apocalyptic Earth. You may very well call it industrial metal, due to it’s at times heavy hitting and seemingly unrelenting assault, but at other times it does relent a bit and eases quite quickly into an unnerving sound of atmospheric electronic doom metal by way of experimental dark synth. Perhaps we need to step back a bit and look at the prior analogy to some Godforsaken hellspawn and how it moves about because, in such a way, COUTOUX feels like it’s own beast which can only be described as “sludge synth.”

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down

Following a disappointing run that had lasted nearly a decade, Marilyn Manson made a fairly compelling (if not completely convincing) comeback with 2015’s The Pale Emperor. This not-quite-return-to-form also seemed to coincided with a stabilisation and cleaning up of the troubled shock rocker’s personal life, and it caused a stir among those who had all but written off the former “antichrist superstar,” leaving many wondering whether that album would prove to be a one-off glimpse of his former greatness or if he was capable of pulling-off a similar feat in the future. Although hopes remained high, alarm bells began to ring when it was announced that the follow-up to that record would be titled “Say10” and was slated for release on Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, that potentially embarrassing set of circumstances never came to fruition. The release was pulled with little fanfare or explanation—eventually emerging eight months later under the considerably less sophomoric title Heaven Upside Down, on the nondescript date of October 6 (although the first single being released on September 11 seems hardly coincidental). It eventually emerged that Manson was unhappy with the release in it’s earlier form and three extra tracks—it’s beginning, central and ending numbers—were added in the interim before its eventual release. The one-time “god of fuck” appears to have made the right call because, while Heaven Upside Down remains a far cry from the output of his glory period, it also provides further evidence that there’s still more than a little bit of Satanic gas left in his proverbial tank. Unfortunately, it also proves to be a release underpinned by a number of regrettable circumstances and uncomfortable revelations.

Hey! Listen to Område!

“Avant-garde” is arguably the most misused genre descriptor in modern metal. Whether in blog posts or comment sections, there’s always someone that’s heard a slightly off-kilter metal album and immediately slapped on the old “A-G” tag. That said, I’m not going to use Område as an example to parse out the differences between avant-garde, experimental and progressive metal (an article worth writing by someone who actually wants that to be their hill to die on). I’m actually here because of the French duo’s invigorating take on avant-garde metal—an approach that captures the essence of the genre in gorgeous, meticulous detail. Whereas bands like maudlin of the Well and Pan.Thy.Monium found success by thrusting death metal into avant-garde territory, Område excel by nailing down the core of avant-garde metal and renovating it’s structure with intricate furnishings and vibrant coats of paint. There may be no shortage of high-quality albums to recommend to metal fans flirting withe the avant-garde, but there are a sparse few that rival Nåde’s marriage of accessibility and bold artistry.

Journey to the NOLA Swamps – The Birth of Sludge Metal

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.

Hey! Listen to Progenie Terrestre Pura!

In case you were somehow unaware, there are a few of us here at Heavy Blog who enjoy some good science fiction. Especially when it pertains to metal, which praise be to our space-based overlords is becoming a staple theme particularly within the modern black and death metal scenes. In this regard, last year presented a veritable smorgasbord of great albums. Bands like Vektor, Khonsu, Mithras, and Wormed created vast sonic landscapes which fans of all things extreme and heavy could giddily bang their heads to while simultaneously scratching their collective sci-fi itch. It was a glorious moment for metal geekdom. Thankfully, the era of the sci-fi metal epic continues in 2017. Exhibit A: Progenie Terrestre Pura and their latest record, oltreLuna.

Heavy Buys: Nine Inch Nails // Not The Actual Events “Physical Component”

2016 was a strange year for fans of Nine Inch Nails, though not in a bad way; Trent Reznor promised new music and he delivered, in the form of the EP Not The Actual Events near the end of the year, along with a handful of soundtrack work with Atticus Ross. Possibly more interesting than Not The Actual Events was the announcement that Nine Inch Nails is officially a duo, with Ross finally joining Reznor as a legitimate band member (as opposed to just a long-time collaborator). (For those unaware, the two have been officially working together since NIN’s 2005 album With Teeth, though their relationship predates 2005.) Then, to stir the proverbial kettle again, it was announced that Not The Actual Events would not be released on CD (though it is available on vinyl), but instead a very limited “physical component” would be available for purchase, bundled with a digital download of the EP. As a big fan of Reznor’s work, I was excited to see what this could include, and so I ordered this “physical component” as soon as it became available, back in December. It wasn’t until February that I received my copy, and, frankly, the results are…interesting.