French death metal masters Benighted have been at this for a while. Being formed in 1998, Necrobreed is their 8th album, and it shows that the band can change and get with the times. Their early work was borderline black metal, then switching to deathgrind, and today, they've arrived at modern death metal. They've always had a unique touch to their sound, something that made them immediately identifiable. And while Necrobreed is ferocious, tight, and overall a showcase of their current choice of genre, it's also the least Benighted they've ever been. If that's not a problem, then you'll be in for a ride.
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.
Eden has abandoned us yet again, so, statistically speaking, we'll probably have Ahmed or Nick with us this week. I guess you'll have to guess whom'st'd've!? We talk about some news/drama, new releases, and mainstream-metal interactions. Namely Dallas Toler-Wade leaving Nile and getting replaced with Brian of Enthean. Then Cynic drama following the recent release of their demo tapes. Then some new music. Galactic Empire (and Anchorhead), Dodecahedron, Artificial Brain, Body Count, Linkin Park, Reaping Asmodeia, Ogarya, John Frum, Born of Osiris. Of course we talk about the dude singing Necrophagist at Canadian Voice. And the Grammys, namely Megadeth and Metallica. Post-recording note: New Nile lineup is awesome. I'm stoked now. That fist bump was amazing.
While we've previously covered topics more along the lines of specific scales, intervals, and chords, today's topic is unique in that it concerns a technique (or, well, a subset of that technique) that's mostly specific to guitar playing, as opposed to a general musical concept.
Welcome back to Endless Sacrifice, our ongoing look at the role which the ideal of suffering plays within metal. Our opening article focused on content analysis, taking a look at the ideal of suffering as it comes across from the content which metal is concerned with. Lyrics provided a fertile ground for exploration because they are the standard which music raises in order to convey its meaning (although we saw that a grain of salt is indeed needed when considering them). Today we discuss the instrumental side of things. Approaching this topic was not the easiest thing to do at first; after all, how does one relate strictly musical content to the concept of suffering within metal? Where to even begin, when what one gleans from a certain musical moment is nowhere near objective? What this apparent divide necessitates instead is a re-framing of the question itself.
We've been closely following Belarusian rising death metal stars Irreversible Mechanism since their signing to the notorious Blood Music early last year. Their debut album Infinite Fields was celebrated by critics and fans alike for picking up where The Faceless' Planetary Duality left off and elaborated upon the style with symphonic elements to create a grandiose technical and progressive death metal powerhouse of a record. To bolster the debut's power, it featured production from Sami Raatikainen (Necrophagist) and session drums from former The Faceless drummer Lyle Cooper.
Fellow tech death enthusiast Ahmed joins me this week and we geek out about tech death for over an hour! Since Eden isn't cool like us, we don't get a chance to do this while he's around, so we really went deep with this opportunity! We discuss some news first, like new music/content from Opeth, Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, Anaal Nathrakh, Astral Path, VOLA, and an interesting Patreon by The Reign of Kindo. Then we go into tech death, how it has evolved historically and geographically; what its watershed moments were, and we discuss some of the most important and influential albums in the genre. Enjoy!
In my previous two Heavy Rewinds, I covered bands in completely different realms of the Scandinavian extreme metal renaissance of the 1990’s. Lord Belial showed us what the black metal scene might have evolved into had it not fractured so quickly, and Merciless proved that progress doesn’t have to entail more extreme, aggressive music. But don’t tell that to the third installment of this unholy trinity of Heavy Rewinds. Marduk is in the business of blast beats and BPM, and was responsible for some of the most aggressive music around in 1994.
A pompous part of me likes to think I'm Heavy Blog's resident tech death expert (I'm probably not). Whether or not that's actually, objectively true, and/or even remotely a defensible opinion for me to have of myself, I do like to think I have a decent barometer of what's well made and what isn't in the realm of shred heroics and hyperspeed blastbeats that make up this beloved subgenre. Or at least I did have one, until the Cortexiphan debut -- which we have the immense honour of premiering for you tonight -- wandered over into my ears and more or less overloaded it completely. Check out the goods below!