Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Saturday: The Dear Hunter - Mr. Malum

     I hope your Saturday past was as chill as mine was (an afternoon movie and then an evening of boardgames) because I'm going a little less metal and a little more mellow for your Saturday song.

     I've written about Rhode Island prog-rock act The Dear Hunter before, but it's been a while and they've been popping up quite a bit on my shuffle lately. They might be a bit of a departure for some of you; their stuff spans a variety of genres and styles, but metal isn't really among them. Nevertheless, there's enough interesting musical ideas going on here to keep you going, I promise.

     Your Dear Hunter track for last Saturday is "Mr. Malum" from the 2011 Colour Spectrum series of EPs, a typically off-kilter showcase of multi-talented frontman Casey Crescenzo's ability to write weird little pop operas. Check this one out, and even if this one isn't your flavour, check out some other Dear Hunter, because he's put out enough cool stuff over the last few years that you're bound to find something that tickles your fancy.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Friday: From Autumn to Ashes - The After Dinner Payback

     Let's pretend that Christmas didn't fall on a Thursday this year, and we still get to do a Throwback Thursday song for last week, OK?

     Back when I was just starting my undergrad, my friends and I listened to a lot of emo/screamo-type stuff, stuff that would now politely be called post-hardcore. Although some of it was of course not so great, some of it was really pretty solid, like Long Island's From Autumn to Ashes. We listened to the shit out of their first couple of albums, but your 'Throwback' Friday song for last week was always one of our favourites.

     "The After Dinner Payback" off of From Autumn to Ashes' sophomore disc The Fiction We Live encapsulates the band's whole sound from those early records: harsh vocals juxtaposed with cleans, both atop some furious core riffage. Check it out if you want a window into my early university years.

Christmas Day: Christopher Lee - Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing

     I'm once again going for pure cheesy fun factor with this year's Christmas Song of the Day, so I hope you weren't holding your breath too hard for that earnest blackened deathgrind ode to Saint Nick.

     All of you out there in the know should be aware that Christopher Lee is Christopher Lee (sorry, very inside joke...), meaning that Christopher the veteran British actor and Christopher Lee the purveyor of medieval-tinged metal are one and the same. But are you also aware that he does Christmas songs?

     You should be, since last year's song was a Christopher Lee as well, but just in case the is news to you, I implore you to belatedly ring in the season with Lee's 2014 Christmas metal track "Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing". (Be forewarned, however, that the link I've provided is to a trailer that includes a clip of the song -- I couldn't find a full copy so you'll have to do some looking of your own. Bonne chance!)

Last Wednesday: Slipknot - Vendetta

     Another day, another couple of much belated songs. For your Wednesday Christmas Eve, you're getting some bread-and-butter straight-up heavy. Hope you don't already have it.

     "Vendetta" from 2008's All Hope is Gone (is that record really six years old already?) is, in my opinion, one of Slipknot's best heavy songs in years. If 2004's Vol. 3 showed Slipknot's diversity and ability to come up with some less abrasive material, All Hope is Gone reminded everybody that the band was still a metal band somewhere inside, and tracks like "Vendetta" are the reason why.

     The blast-beating, trem-picking opening along is reason enough to check this track, but the masked marauders will keep you around with a thrashy-sounding verse riff and a slow, grinding breakdown-turned-outro. Slipknot's latest offering might not be your cup of tea (I'm not especially stoked on it) but this one should serve as proof that Iowa wasn't the band's last really good heavy outing.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Last Tuesday: The Faceless - Legion of the Serpent

     Getting on to Tuesday now, and that means you could probably stand to hear a Tech Tuesday tune.

     The only news out of The Faceless HQ recently has been less than stellar, with the gist of things being that it's once again pretty much just the Michael Keene show. But then hasn't it always been that way? I for one don't really care if it's just Michael running the show or not, so long as I don't have to wait too much longer for some more tasty jams like this Tech Tuesday track.

     "Legion of the Serpent" might be an older cut, taken from the band's 2008 masterpiece Planetary Duality, but it was certainly a crowd favourite when I saw them The Faceless at Heavy TO back in 2012. It's had a special place in my heart since that show, so please enjoy "Legion of the Serpent" with my compliments.

Last Monday: Melechesh - Multiple Truths

     So last time out proved not to be the day of Catching Up, and then a little thing called Christmas got in my way over the last couple of days, but we're going to try and get all squared up in the next day or so, OK?

     Back to last Monday, then, and some middle eastern metal from Melechesh (see all that alliteration?). They've got a new Sumerian-themed album called Enki coming out in the spring (the ancient civilization, not the record label) and they recently put out a lyric video for a new track.

     "Multiple Truths" is pretty straight-forward metal, with a bit of a thrashy, deathy feel and an obvious middle eastern flavour. They're not going to win any tech awards any time soon with songs like this one, but they certainly could be nominated for crafting a 'crushing headbanger' kind of song.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sunday: Straight Read the Line - Last Call

     For your Sunday song this week, it's another song from a band whose resurrection would be a really rad Christmas gift. I don't see it happening, but that wouldn't make it any less awesome.

     I've written about defunct Canadian post-hardcore band Straight Reads the Line before, but they're the kind of band I'm always keen to spread the word about, even if they are no more. It's too bad that the band only survived a single LP, but if you're going to burn out after just one record, there are worse records to do it after that Straight Reads the Line's The Author.

     If you've been a reader for a while you might have already seen a Song of the Day or two from The Author, but it's been a bit since I've done one so it's about time. That's why your Sunday song is "Last Call" from Straight Reads the Line's aforementioned single album The Author Listen to it and then clap your hands in the hopes that the band has something in common with Tinkerbell.

Saturday: The Helix Nebula - Sailing Stone

     Will tonight be the night I finally get caught up with the Real World calendar? Read on to find out!

     My boy Plini is all over the place these days. Not content to just finish up the third EP in his badass trilogy, he's also done some guest work recently, for Skyharbor's sophomore effort Guiding Lights as well as the EP Meridian by fellow Aussies The Helix Nebula.

     The song in question is "Sailing Stone", for which the guys in the band have recently released a playthrough video, and the solo Plini recorded is about a minute in. But you shouldn't just skip ahead; no, you should really stick around for the whole thing, because it's a six-plus-minute slice of proggy instrumental metal that keeps moving the whole time and never gets boring. The next release or two from The Helix Nebula could be especially tasty.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Friday: Marilyn Manson - Deep Six

     'Excited' is perhaps a bit too strong a word for the situation at hand, but your Friday song and the album it's taken from have me interested, at the very least. I've already posted about "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" so it's time for some more new Marilyn Manson.

     Where the aforementioned "Third Day" was a bit more stripped back, "Deep Six" is a driving rocker with a simple but catchy main guitar hook. Manson still hasn't convinced me that the upcoming The Pale Emperor is a return to form, but these last couple of tracks certainly haven't hurt. Check it out and see if you too are at least interested in hearing some of what's next.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Thursday: Darkest Hour - Tranquil

     We'll get there, people, we'll get there... And in order to do so, this Throwback Thursday post will just be a quickie,  throwing 'er back about a decade to one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands.

     Darkest Hour has had a central place in my musical world since I fell in love with 2003's Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation. It's one of those records that is not only awesome musically but also an important part of my musical history and my listening tastes at the time. I listened to the shit out of Hidden Hands.

     But pretty much equally important for me was Darkest Hour's follow-up two years later, 2005's classic Undoing Ruin. I listened to the shit out of this one too, becoming familiar with it back to front, inside and out. Pretty much every track on this album is a gem in its own way, but album closer "Tranquil" has always stood out as especially badass, from its furious riffage to the fact that it closes out the album with the same melody line that opened it. Pretty solid way to throw it back for this Thursday post if you ask me.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Wednesday: Rosetta - A Determinism of Reality

     So out here in real life, it's actually Friday already, but back in Loud Noises land, it's still Wednesday, so let's finally get this ship righted, shall we? We're going to start with a post-metal Hump Day song that'll carry you right through until it's actually Wednesday again.

     By this point, the closing days of 2014, you should probably be aware of rising post-metal stars Rosetta. This Philadelphia four-piece made some pretty big waves back in 2013 with their fourth record The Anaesthete, but they've got a whole catalogue of solid material to delve into, so let's get digging.

     Your Wednesday song is the epic, album-closing title track from Rosetta's 2010 LP A Determinism of Morality. At nearly eleven minutes in length, it's got everything you'd expect as a fan of the band, or the genre: slow builds, big climaxes, and a dense mix with a lot of layers. If this kind of thing appeals to you, Rosetta,will quickly become a regular on your playlist.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tuesday: Arsis - Sightless Wisdom

     We're going back a couple of years for this week's only-a-little-bit-belated Tech Tuesday post, to the album that put one of my favourite technical death metal bands on my musical radar in the first place.

     The classic We Are the Nightmare isn't the first album by Virginia's Arsis, or even the second, but for me personally it has that resonance, and that high-water-mark quality, that give it the feel of a never-to-be-topped debut. James Malone and Company have certainly a kick-ass couple of LPs and an EP since We Are the Nightmare, but nothing's grabbed me quite as hard.

     One of the many reasons We Are the Nightmare refuses to relinquish its grip on me to this very day is your Tech Tuesday track. "Sightless Wisdom" is one of many tracks from Nightmare that demonstrates time and again Malone's gift for crafting fleet-fingered riffs that turn on a dime. Killer melo-tech abounds on this record, but for my money "Sightless Wisdom" is definitely a standout.

Monday: The Healing - Transcedence

     Your Monday song is another one of those Facebook feed finds, this time coming to me courtesy of the feed of The Room Colored Charlatan.

     Charlatan shared this one a week or two ago, but it's taken a bit to grow on me enough to become a Song of the Day. Part of the reason for such a slow burn might be that "Transcendence", the first video release from The Healing's debut EP of the same name, is pretty straight-forward, unrevolutionary melo-djent metalcore.

     Which isn't to say it isn't solid. "Transcendence" has some groove to it, and a big melodic chorus with head-sticking potential. Come to think of it, that's a big reason why the aforementioned slow burn of digging this song eventually became an actual flame: these guys sound like they have a bunch of potential.

     Assuming their style of "progressive metalcore" (often a byword for that onomatopoeic sound we all love) doesn't completely dry up before they get what they can out of it, I can see The Healing really being a name an album or two from now. If they can take their strong senses of rhythm and melody and break out of their djenre with them, "Transcendence" might just be the tip of an iceberg.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Sunday: The Black Dahlia Murder - Den of the Picquerist

     Remember everything I said in "yesterday's" Saturday Torche song, about being relaxed and not wanting to be pummeled? Throw it out the window. This Sunday mini-post will snap that chill like a Slim Jim.

     The Black Dahlia Murder are known for thrashy melodeath at breakneck speeds, but "Den of the Picquerist" from the band's 2011 disc Ritual is a cut above. Its minute and a half of fast and furious face fucking has a 90's speed punk kind of feel to it. If the pace of your average Black Dahlia Murder song is a full run, this one's a flat out sprint. See if you can keep up.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Saturday: Torche - Minions

     Pretend it's actually Saturday evening for this next song, and you're relaxing out with a drink or two, in need of something kinda heavy but also kinda laid-back. You're not looking to be pummeled just now, and skilled sludge slingers Torche have got hypothetical you covered.

     Torche have a new album, Restarter, coming out early next year, and after some hyping and some teasing we've finally got a full song to chew on in the form of first single "Minions". It's a somewhat sludgy, predictably fuzzy jam that, as is par for the course Torche-wise, reminds of prog-less Mastodon or even something like Kyuss. It plods along with a crushing, marching kind of beat, but lacks the relentlessness of something full-on Metal.

     The stoney drone of "Minions" also sounds very old-school to me somehow, in a way I can't quite put my finger on, other than to say that I could see my high school self listening to it and approving. That's a pretty decent endorsement, because that guy's got good taste.

Friday: Unearth - Sanctity of Brothers

     It may take me all fucking week, but by the gods I'm going to get this Song of the Day train back on track. Don't believe me? Read on!

     If you know my musical tastes at all (which you should, if you've been keeping up with your homework) you know I likes me some metalcore. Look with scorn upon that if you will, but the genre represents a significant chapter of my musical history, so it's pretty much always going to have a spot on my playlist.

     There are still some bands out there making good, 'modern' metalcore (ERRA comes immediately to mind, or even Misery Signals) but usually when I want this kind of jam, I've got to go back a bit. For this very belated Friday song we're headed back eight years or so, to the third album from metalcore veterans Unearth.

     If you like metalcore and/or Unearth, III: In the Eyes of Fire has a bunch of solid tracks on it, but for my money one of the standouts is mid-album rager "Sanctity of Brothers". Like any good Unearth song, it's built on a couple of sweet riffs, in particular the main intro riff with its lengthy phrasing. It's not going to bend your brain, but it will bang your head, which is what any good Friday song should do.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Thursday: Alkaloid - Carbon Phrases

     The boulder is continuing to roll up the hill here at Loud Noises, and I've decided to go with something nice and meaty for your Thursday song to make up for the fact that I'm taking literally forever to get caught up this time. Hope you've got nine and a half minutes!

     Alkaloid is a death-prog supergroup that includes former members of some pretty obscura acts (see what I did there, Obscura fans?). Their debut LP The Malkuth Grimoire is both due out in 2015 and sure to be suitably metal based on that title alone. Case in point: album opener and first single "Carbon Phrases", the aforementioned nine-and-a-half-minute monster.

     "Carbon Phrases" is darkly melodic, but also packing plenty of heavy. In particular, there's a section just shy of the five-and-a-half minute mark that's pretty face melting. All in all, the death-prog bits (heavier on the death, lighter on the prog) have a flavour that's a little reminiscent of old-school Opeth, something which might well endear Alkaloid to fans for whom Opeth's more recent retro-folk-jazz-seasoned offerings have been less than pleasing. Check out The Malkuth Grimoire next year for something big and stompy.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Wednesday: Periphery - The Bad Thing

     Sisyphus here, reporting in from my current position behind this damnable boulder after another brief absence from the world of Loud Noises. Don't worry, things'll be back to normal in no time. But first: a Wednesday song.

     More specifically, a Wednesday song that's a little hard to listen to at the moment. Periphery's last tempting morsel for all of us was "The Scourge", a track from the upcoming Juggernaut: Alpha. I know it's only been a couple of weeks since I posted about that one, but since Juggernaut is a double album it's only fair that I give the latest single off it, taken from the latter Omega half, some time in the spotlight.

     The problem with listening to "The Bad Thing" depends on where you live. If you live in the States, you should still just be able to check it out via the stream on Sumerian's Youtube channel. But if, like me, you live in Canada, or somewhere similarly blacklisted when it comes to such things, the official video will be unavailable to you, and you'll have to go with a sketchier upload like this one. Wherever you reside, January's not too far off so you don't have much longer to wait for either half of Juggernaut.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tuesday: July Talk - Gun + Ammunition

     Surprise! Looking around for your Monday girlfriend birthday song, I actually came up with a couple of contenders. So as a Tuesday bonus you're getting another interesting-but-not-metal tune. Enjoy!

     July Talk is a Canadian alternative/indie rock band based around a male/female dual vocal dynamic that's one part sweet and sunny and one part daily gargling with whiskey, Tom Waits-style. I'll let you take your best guess as to which part is which. July Talk shouldn't really appeal to me, and a lot of their stuff doesn't really, but they've got a couple of songs that just grab me, and this is one of them.

     I don't know if it's just the sound of male vocalist Peter Dreimanis' voice on this particular track, or the insistent, driving rhythm, or the minor and vaguely haunting key, but for whatever reason "Guns + Ammunition" has gotten stuck pretty deep in my head on more than one occasion. It might not be your thing, but variety is the spice of life so why not expand your auditory horizons? Happy Birthday again Pumpky!

Monday: Sam Roberts Band - We're All in This Together

     So Monday song...Monday song... hmmm... Well, since Monday was her birthday, I'm going with a fun rock number for my favourite pumpkinhead. Happy birthday!

     Sam Roberts and his eponymous band are, by this point in their collective careers together, becoming something of a Canadian institution. They've got five albums and a bunch of Juno awards (our Grammy, Yankees...) under their belt, and it's not all that hard to see why. Sure, it's not metal, but their poppy indie-rock has more going on than many of their contemporaries, and feels more genuine to boot.

     Take "We're All in This Together", the first single from the band's latest album Lo-Fantasy, as an example. It's catchy and bouncy, but with a little funkified flair. It's radio-friendly pop-rock, but there's horns and keyboards and other, not always mainstreamy, rock elements. Basically it is the kind of non-metal I like to advocate, namely non-metal that I think a metalhead of taste similar to mine could reasonably get into. Are you that metalhead? Listen to "We're All in This Together" and find out. Oh, and join me in shouting Happy Birthday on three...

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Sunday: Cloudkicker - Digital Lightning

     Man, Ben Sharp is a busy guy. Ben, better known as one man instrumental post-metal outfit Cloudkicker, not only toured with Intronaut as his backing band earlier this year, he released a live album with them back in November. But that's not enough for ol' Ben. He's just released a new record of solo Cloudkicker "studio" material too!

     "Digital Lightning" is both one of the longest of the tracks on Little Histories and one of the heaviest, although the heavy doesn't come in the usual form of double kick or guttural vocals. Indeed, bereft of any vocals at all, "Digital Lightning" instead trades on thick, fat guitars playing big chords for the first couple of minutes before transitioning to some noodly harmonized riffing and then ending off on some doomy droning.

     At only five tracks long (the first of which is very introductory) Little Histories is almost more of an EP than an LP, but whatever you want to call it it's another fitting entry in Cloudkicker's ever-expanding catalogue. If instrumental post-metal that covers a variety of ground is your thing at all, you need to know about Ben SHarp and his baby Cloudkicker.

Saturday: Opeth - Moon Above, Sun Below

     Hey there stranger, talk about being late on the Saturday draw too... As all three of you may have noticed, I took a bit of an impromptu and unannounced vacation from Loud Noises over the weekend. It was the girlfriend's birthday yesterday, with a whole plethora of festivities populating the preceding days, so I decided that rather than rush things here (or worse, abandon her for extended periods of metal consumption) I'd just get back to you guys once things settled down.

     We're both back to the grind today, and everything's pretty much back to normal around here, so that means it's everybody's favourite time: catch-up time. I've got a whole weekend to make up for, so let's get straight to a Saturday song to get things started.

     Opeth's latest album Pale Communion is one of their most divisive yet. If you're into the jazzy 60's/70's folk-prog that the band's been moving towards for the last couple of records, you're in luck, because Pale Communion is the furthest down this particular path that Opeth has gotten yet. If on the other hand you're more of a fan of the heavier metal elements that the band has largely been moving away from for the last couple of records, you're out of luck, because Pale Communion is yet essentially another dose of retro-flavoured prog-rock.

     Your Saturday song, "Moon Above, Sun Below", is one of the heavier songs on the album, and one of the songs that harkens back the most to albums like Watershed and Heritage. Don't get me wrong, there's still no death growls or anything, but it's still got a sinister metal-y vibe all the same. And any song with a running time of more than ten minutes is pretty metal, right? Have a listen to "Moon Above, Sun Below" and make the call for yourself.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Friday: Eidola - To Know What's Real

     I'm a little late on the Friday draw this morning, but I got home late last night to find the perfect Friday song plastered across the interwebz and I wanted to give it the proper listening attention that only some sleep could make possible.

     Remember a while back when I did a Twenty Questions e-mail interview with Andrew from Oregonian post-hardcore band Eidola? Remember how we talked a little bit about the band's upcoming sophomore album Degeneraterra? Well, Degeneraterra's release is almost upon us and this week the guys gave us a taste with first single "To Know What's Real".

     The track is about what you might have come to expect from Eidola if you're familiar with their first album The Great Glass Elephant, and I mean that in the best possible way. Everything you probably like about the first record is still around: layers of interwoven guitars, layers of variously melodic and aggressive vocals, some thought provoking lyrics and interesting turns of phrase. Here's hoping that "To Know What's Real" is only the tip of the Degeneraterra iceberg.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Mapmaker - Automation

     Remember yesterday when I said I wasn't trying to take up all your time with sweet, sweet metal? I guess I was lying, because tonight's relatively brief post is about a song that's anything but.

     Indianapolis' Mapmaker are on the brink of releasing their debut LP Automation, a collection of somewhat djenty flavoured prog. I know, I know, you're done with the d-word. Don't be, though. Don't let it deter you, because there's a take on it for ever palate. Mapmaker's take, as evidenced in the epic twenty-minute album-closing title track "Automation", is respectably proggy death djent.

     Sure, twenty minutes is a long time, and these ambitious young guns could perhaps have trimmed a little fat here and there and saved some running time. But that doesn't diminish what Mapmaker has done with "Automation", and by extension Automation. It may not be absolutely mind-blowing (yet -- there's a lot of potential alongside a lot of existing skill in this band) but it's also more than djust your average djent. See if perhaps it be your flavour of the d-word.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ever Forthright - Dispose of Your Optimism

     Another mini-theme emerges all on its own tonight, as I post another song that's nearing the ten minute mark. I swear I'm not actually trying to take up all your time with metal, honestly.

     The djazzy djentlemen in Ever Forthright are in a bit of a quiet period, as sideprojects and things like Stimpy Lockjaw receive some attention, but that doesn't mean now isn't the time to revisit the band's self-titled debut. Even if you found that sentence hard to follow, you should still be amenable to some healthy doses of both groove and tech, yes?

     I'll take that as a yes. "Dispose of Your Optimism" is, like I said, a rather lengthy cut from the band's 2011 album Ever Forthright, but it's eight minutes of shifting ground and restless riffing; the song never settles down to the point of getting boring. Sure, it's djenty, but it's also deathy, a little grindy for a bit, placid and spacey towards the end, and just plain big by the time things finish. It's the kind of track to make a convert out of you, you godless heathen you.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tuesday: Blotted Science - Activation Synthesis Theory

     Time for a quick little Tech Tuesday post to tuck you in tonight, and this evening I'm going with an older track from everybody's favourite tech-prog supergroup.

     Blotted Science are one of those slightly-beneath-the-radar bands that people don't know about but really should, especially given their membership. Guitarist Ron Jarzombek, bassist Alex Webster, and drummer Hannes Grossmann have a combined resume that includes some pretty storied metal and prog acts, so you could be forgiven for expecting big things from them.

     So far, they've delivered, especially with 2011's The Animation of Entomology, a brutally labyrinthine EP of insect-inspired instrumental prog-sanity. But news that the band is soon to start recording their third release had me revisiting to both entries in the back catalogue in anticipation of the madness to come.

     Your song this evening therefore comes from the band's first outing, 2007's The Machinations of Dementia. "Activation Synthesis Theory" is as good an example as you could ask for  of why everybody should know about Blotted Science. If off-the-wall instrumental tech is your thing, you may well have come to the right place tonight.

Monday: Anciients - Falling in Line

     Looked at your calendar lately? November went by faster than a two-minute speed-grind song, and it's now officially December, which means that it's also officially "End of the Year Best of" season. I'm not going to join the crowd just yet, but I thought it might be interesting to revisit at least a few of last year's picks over the next couple of weeks, starting with some classic-sounding proggy metal from today's band of Canucks.

     Anciients' masterpiece of a debut Heart of Oak appeared on my Ten Best list last year, in addition to spending a lot of time in my CD player. It mixes a menacing, old-school sound with some new-school technicality and musicianship, with the result being a heady wizard's brew of melody and heaviness that should satisfy fans of multiple genres of metal.

     Exhibit A is "Falling in Line", an epic eight-minute-plus bruiser of a song that comes complete with some badass lead guitar work. It's a bit of a slow burn at the start, but if you can handle the build-up in, say, an Opeth song, you'll be right at home with Anciients and "Falling in Line". Make some time in your schedule for this one.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Clement Belio - Revive

     Hopefully your Sunday has been going at just the right speed for you: mellow enough that you get some solid relaxation going on, but not so mellow that you get lulled into an unscheduled nap. Accordingly, I've got some progressive jazz that should tread that line nicely for you.

     French musician Clement Belio created a masterpiece of variously influenced prog jazz in Contrast, in the artists words a "melting pot" of influences, styles and bands. Some parts are more inspired or influenced by something else, while others are more direct homages in one way or another to a style or sound.

     Today's song is one of the latter, "Revive", which seems in many was to mimic the style of Tesseract; layers of atmospheric guitar arpeggios, funky drum grooves, and even a bit of sax work give "Revive" the flavour of Altered States without ever veering into either cover territory or the land of outright borrowing. The result is a heavy-ish kind of track that sits comfortably among the other jazz gems Clement has come up with. Rock yourself to sleep tonight.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Carcass - A Congealed Clot of Blood

     I didn't do any kind of a Throwback Thursday post this week, so since I'm out of "old band new music" stuff (for now...) I'm going to jump in the wayback machine for some Old School Saturday... kinda sorta.

     I say "kind sorta" because while this song is not chronologically very old at all, it's got a classic, old-school vibe to it in spades. The 2013 album Surgical Steel from British death metal legends Carcass was hailed as a bit of a return to form, but whatever you want to call it, the record's old-school flavour is undeniable. The riffs, the solos, the vocals -- the whole thing feels retro with feeling like it's trying to feel retro. You follow me?

     Whatever. You don't have to follow me to enjoy today's Old School Saturday song, "A Congealed Clot of Blood" from Surgical Steel by Carcass. Crank this one and whip your mullet/metal hair around like you just don't care.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday: The Melvins - City Dump

     The other day, when I was listening to the new Faith No More song, I was doing so on the Ipecac Soundcloud. Every time "Motherfucker" ended, some other song started before I had a chance to go back to the start of the player's chosen playlist for more "Motherfucker". Eventually, however, I started liking the first little bit of that other song, and upon further investigation, this is what I found.

     Your song today is "City Dump" from the 2013 record Tres Cabrones by The Melvins. I've never been a huge Melvins fan, for whatever reason, but by the time I got all the way through "City Dump" I was thoroughly digging things. It's a sludgy, stonery kind of track that almost reminds me of the southern psychedelic grunginess of Mastodon or Baroness.

     I don't know that I'm going to go out and devour The Melvins' back catalogue now, but I certainly won't write them off as quickly as I have in the past for not really being my style. Some of their shit, at least, is most definitely my style.

Thursday: Soundgarden - Storm

     If Loud Noises were an arcade fighting game, I would have had a pretty sweet combo chained together, between the week of cover posts and the last few days of "old band, new music". Of course, then my opponent blocked, I hit the sack early last night, and I lost the multiplier. But fear not; I had a song picked out for yesterday, and now you get to hear it.

     Remember when I called this mini-theme I've had going "old band, new music"? That definitely applies to today's song... sorta. Definitely, because the band in question is the venerable Soundgarden. Sorta, because the song in question isn't so much newly recorded as newly released to you.

     I'm not sure when "Storm", from the recently released b-sides and rarities compilation Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path, was recorded, but it sure does have the vibe of Soundgarden's older work as opposed to their more recent stuff. A little dark, a little unusual, "Storm" feels to me like it could be right at home on, say, Down on the Upside. It's cool old-new (or is that new-old?) Soundgarden, and you should check it out.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Faith No More - Motherfucker

     Another old band, new music kind of situation tonight, and it's beginning to feel like I could have just turned around and started another theme week after finishing up with covers. Not that I'm complaining -- 2015 just keeps looking bigger and badder.

     Today's new song from an old band comes from a very old act, and one whose new album is generating quite a bit of online excitement. That band is Faith No More, and the first song to be released from their hotly anticipated new album is the provocatively titled "Motherfucker". The new record's not due out until sometime in the spring of next year, but "Motherfucker" gives us at least a taste of what might be in store.

     And what a strange little taste it is. It's fairly short, at around three and a half minutes, and it's based on Mike Patton's rolling, driving spoken word-esque vocal delivery. This might sound weird, but it reminds me a little of some Beck stuff, or the Butthole Surfers song "Pepper" -- there's a throwback for you. Anyways, check out the new Faith No More track "Motherfucker" and see if it reminds you of anything.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Northlane - Rot

     I've got some more new music for you this afternoon, in the form of the latest from the Australian djentlemen in Northlane.

     There has apparently been some line-up shuffling in Camp Northlane since last we heard from them -- vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes has parted ways with the band and been replaced by Marcus Bridge -- but you wouldn't necessarily know it to listen to them. The voice over top might be different, but the atmosphere-enhanced melo-djent underneath doesn't sound radically different than it did on 2013's Singularity.

     Not that there's anything wrong with that. As new single "Rot" demonstrates, Northlane can craft engaging hooks and grooves no matter who's on the mic. They're still not blowing my mind or anything, but I found myself hitting repeat and bobbing my head in a pleasant feedback loop with this one. Northlane's next record could be one to watch out for.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Sylosis - Leech

     We're going to start the week off right tonight, with a badass video for a sweet new song. Metal Monday lives again!

     You should all know by now that I'm a pretty big Sylosis fan. For that reason, the news a while back that the band's got a new record, Dormant Heart, due out in January tickled my fancy very much. The guys have already released one single, "Mercy", but not content to rest on their laurels, Sylosis are being kind enough not to let us just drift in the wind until the new year. A second single is upon us, and it comes complete with an animated video.

     The first comparison that many people will make upon seeing "Leech" is to A-ha's rotoscoped video for "Take On Me", and I guess I get that, but to me this one's more reminiscent of Bakshi's Lord of the Rings or even animated sc-fi classic Heavy Metal. It's not really SFW, but don't let that deter you, as it's not too over the top.

     But what about the song itself? It's not as fast and thrashy as some Sylosis stuff, instead leaning towards the big and doomy side of the band's skillset. Fear not, though, it's still recognizably the Sylosis you know and love, right down to the tasty little solo. If you're looking for the exact same Sylosis sound as albums past, you might not find it in the first couple of tracks we've heard so far off of Dormant Heart. But I for one am definitely still looking forward to this one. January is shaping up to be a bit of a beast.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Periphery - The Scourge

     Now that we're done with our week of covers, which by the way I hope you enjoyed, we're back to Loud Noises' regularly scheduled programming, and that means I've got a bit of catching up to do on some of the new stuff that's hit the internet in the last week.

     First up, perhaps not surprisingly, is the first song to be released from Periphery's upcoming Juggernaut double album. "The Scourge" doesn't sound exactly like previous Periphery stuff, but it's still most definitely Periphery. This one perhaps has a little more of a menacing edge than some of their material, but it's still got some of that big riffage you've come to expect. Late January might seem like a long way off still, but a double dose of songs like this one might be worth the wait. What do you think?

Sam Westphalen - Lateralus

     It's Saturday once again (I know it's actually Sunday, but only just!), meaning that another Under the Covers of Darkness week is drawing to a close. But I've got one last cover for you, and it happens to be a pretty sweet one. It's not as different from the original as, say, yesterday's Sioux version of "Closer", but it's also not quite a straight-forward as perhaps some of my other choices this week have been.

     Australian Sam Westphalen's name is one you're probably already familiar with. In addition to being an accomplished guitarist and songwriter in his own right, he's only garner some internet fame by recording a whole bunch of fingerstyle/percussive acoustic guitar covers, a number of which are metal songs. Megadeath, Rammstein, Slayer, Pantera -- Sam's got a pretty impressive list of covers under his belt.

     But tonight we're capping off the week with one of my favourites, Sam's version of Tool's "Lateralus", from the 2001 masterpiece of the same name. In this live video, Sam encapsulates the entire song, guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, using just his acoustic guitar and his two hands. This one should appeal to both Tool fans and fans of this kind of inspired guitar goodness.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Sioux - Closer

     The second edition of Loud Noises' Under the Covers of Darkness week is winding down now, but I've still got a couple more cool covers to throw at your before it's back to our regularly scheduled programming. In fact, tonight's penultimate song (that's "next-to-last", for all you non-word dorks out there) might actually be one of the more adventurous takes all week.

     I'm sure you're all pretty familiar with Nine Inch Nails, and more specifically the album The Downward Spiral, and more specifically still the single "Closer". Dense industrial techno-rock with a driving beat and layers of synths and guitars, "Closer" is a song you're probably so familiar with that you could sing me the whole thing right now.

      But take that familiar core, run it through a sludgy fuzz filter, and you have tonight's cover version by Portland's Sioux. It's like a grungy, drony, stoner rock band just jamming out on the fundamental elements of the Nails original. For that reason, it's also the kind of cover that can stand on its own alongside an original rather than having to draft in the wake of an original. Whether or not you like Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" (although, how could you not, really?), you should check out Sioux's "Closer" -- it's a whole other animal.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Protomen - The Trooper

     Under the Covers of Darkness part 2 continues tonight with a Throwback Thursday of sorts. It's not so much an old cover as a cover of an old song, not to mention a classic and perennial favourite for covering.

     The venerable coverable in question is none other than Iron Maiden's "The Trooper", originally recorded for the 1983 record Piece of Mind but this evening being performed for you by the American space-bots in The Protomen on their 2014 The Cover Up EP. While the band doesn't go too far out into orbit with their version of this Maiden masterpiece, they still manage to put enough of their own stank on it to make for a noticeable change in flavour: 80's guitar metal becomes 80's space rock with apparent ease. So grab your lasrifle and prepare to march in the robot wars with "The Trooper" as your soundtrack.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Strange Changes - Prancer

     Was yesterday's "tech" Tuesday just not tech enough for you? Today's cover will fix that right up... in a manner of speaking.

     Before you get your knickers in a twist, no, today's song isn't a tech death cover or anything. It is, however, a much more... technically ambitious, shall we say, cover of a song by a band that is also generally anything but straight forward. I do hope you like jazz though...

     Tonight you're looking at a pretty wild free-jazz-feeling live cover of The Dillinger Escape Plan's "Prancer" from last year's One of Us is the Killer by a band called Strange Changes. Dillinger's version is out-there enough for some people already, so add in horns and keyboards and then give this group of talented jazz players a little room to move, in the form of extended solo instrumental sections, and you've got a cover that can only be described as controlled chaos.

     Things travel a little far afield before Strange Changes is done, but the song remains pretty recognizably "Prancer" for most of its seven-and-a-half minute running time, a commendable feat. If jazz isn't your thing, you might initially be turned off by this cover, but if Dillinger is your thing, I'm willing to be you've got the mental musical capacity to handle everything Strange Changes throws at you. Either way, I urge you to open your mind and give this one a shot. I think you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Between the Buried and Me - The Day I Tried to Live

     Another day, another cover, as the second edition of Under the Covers of Darkness Week continues here at Loud Noises. Being that today is usually Tech Tuesday around here, I've picked a cover by a very technically proficient band, and although this particular cover isn't really tech at all, I'm hoping you'll dig the song enough to overlook the fact that it isn't played in six different time signatures at 200 BPM.

     If you're a Between the Buried and Me fan, you're probably (hopefully?) already aware that back in 2006 the band put out The Anatomy Of, an album of covers from some of their favourite bands and musical influences. None of the covers is especially adventurous -- nobody really gets the full-on BTBAM epic death prog treatment -- but its still cool to hear some notable classics given a bit of a metallic edge.

     Classics like today's song, "The Day I Tried to Live", originally recorded by Soundgarden for their 1994 masterpiece Superunknown. Between the Buried and Me's version retains all the power of the original even as it gives the song an aggressive new bent. If you're a fan of the song or of either band, I think you'll enjoy giving this cover a spin.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Shadows Fall - Bark at the Moon

     It's day two of the second edition of Under the Covers of Darkness week here at Loud Noises, and today's song has a loose connection with yesterday's. It's not quite a "six degrees of separation" kind of situation (sorry, Kevin Bacon, your services aren't required here) but some similarly lateral thinking might put you on the right track. Go on, have a guess!

     Give up? Or just glance up, and read the title of this post? Either way, your second cover song of the week is Shadows Fall's rendition of the Ozzy Osbourne classic "Bark at the Moon" as released on the deluxe edition of their 2009 record Retribution. As a cover version, it's not all that far removed from the original -- essentially Brian Fair singing "Bark at the Moon" with a little thrashy frosting on top -- but since Shadows Fall already have a bit of a retro 80's metal vibe going in some of their stuff, I'm cool with them just doing a straight up cover instead of trying to get fancy with this piece of metal history.

     And while they may not have taken much artistic license with "Bark at the Moon", the boys in Shadows Fall did have the decency to make their own campy werewolf video for their version of the song, rounding out the Ozzy homage in fitting, vaguely Victorian style. Check it out, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for your day three coverage.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday: Foo FIghters (with Zac Brown) - War Pigs

     It's been a long time since I've done a week of themed posts, but that doesn't mean the concept hasn't crossed my mind lately. For a while now I've been toying with the idea of doing another one, biding my time and collecting possible material. Lucky for you I've finally decided that this week is the week.

     So what theme have I chosen for the next seven days of posts? Hold onto your duvets people, because it's the return of Under the Covers of Darkness week! Maybe I'll start calling it Under the Covers of Darkness 2:  The Re-Darkening. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll just get to the covers instead.

     We're going to kick things off with a recent cover of a song you should all be familiar with. About a month ago, Foo Fighters did a week-long residency on Letterman as part of the promotion for their new album Sonic Highways and the accompanying HBO mini-series of the same name, and the Foos started their week the same way I'm starting mine: with a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs".

     It's a little condensed, a little trimmed in a spot or two, but can you really blame them? The original Sabbath version clocks in at around eight minutes long, making it perhaps a tad ambitious for a late-night spot. Regardless, any way you slice it up, it's still good to see some Sabbath on TV in 2014, which is why "War Pigs" is your first cover for the week. See you tomorrow, war pigs.

Saturday: Thomas Giles - Siphon the Bad Blood

     How's your weekend been treating you? Not psychedelic enough for your tastes? Me and Tommy G from Between the Buried and Me have got just what the doctor ordered.

     Of course, that assumes that your prescribing doctor is some kind of mad scientist. The video for "Siphon the Bad Blood", the latest track to be released from Thomas Giles' upcoming solo record Modern Noise, is awash in strange hues and superimposed footage reminiscent of the nightmare-inducing boat scenes in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

     The result is a trippy take on a somewhat simple video concept for a fairly straightforward song. Giles' solo work is usually pretty far removed from his work with Between the Buried and Me, and "Siphon the Bad Blood" is no exception, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Check "Siphon" out, and if it's your cup of tea, keep an eye out for the release of Modern Noise in about two weeks.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Album of the Week: Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come

     Last week's epic Song of the Day slide managed not only to take entirely to long to get under control but also to bump last week's Album of the Week entirely off my radar. But fear not, faithful reader, I'm back on track this week (more or less...) and I've got you album-length listening needs covered.

     This week I'm going with another one of those "putting your money where my mouth is" kind of posts, by which I mean that I'm going to recommend you spend the next week with a record that's already been the source of several Songs of the Day, and one that I've often espoused in the past, just never in this format. The more cynical among you might read this as a cop-out, especially considering the fact that I just did a Refused song a few days ago, but I firmly believe that The Shape of Punk to Come has had such a large impact on the shape of so much of the heavy music that came after it that it deserves to be revisited.

     So if you already know this chimerical bombination in 12 bursts, why not take this opportunity to reacquaint yourself with a classic? And if somehow you don't know Refused, or don't know The Shape of Punk to Come, for fuck's sake stop what you're doing and discover one of the most influential records of the last fifteen years or so. Refused are fucking dead -- long live Refused.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Friday: Memory Map - Magnetic Center

     I know we all love metal around here, but I'm going to let you in on a secret: it's not the only genre producing cool acts these days. Blasphemy, right? Yeah, I know, but it's true. And it's my job to show you some of them.

     Today's band, Indiana's Memory Map, is one such band, crafting groove- and hook-laden pop-rock jams sunny enough that they could be on the radio and yet still layered and interesting enough to hold the attention of those not normally into anything remotely like them. The drumwork in particular is liberally salted with cool little flourishes and embellishments without distracting or detracting from the songs around it.

     Have a listen to "Magnetic Center" from the band's latest disc The Sky As Well As Space. It'll only take a few minutes of your time, and there's a pretty good chance it'll be the bounciest little piece of indie guitar-driven pop you've heard in a long time.

Thursday: Mudvayne - Nothing to Gein

     I've never liked being a follower of trends. I was a late-comer to Facebook back in the day, I've only had a smart phone for six months or so (and it's not a fucking iPhone!) and I've yet to see the merit of Twitter. But maybe there's something to this Throwback Thursday thing...

     I'm certainly all for nostalgia, and there's certainly music worth listening to, even heavy music, that wasn't recorded in the last five minutes, so let's have another go at something cool from yesteryear, shall we? This week we're going to with one of my favourite tracks by a band that had a huge impact on my burgeoning metal tastes way back when.

     But first, a little story: myself and a group of friends went to Ozzfest in 2001. It was a good year for it, for sure -- Sabbath, Slipknot, and Manson (among others) on the mainstage, and some lesser-knowns that we dug, like Spineshank and Taproot, on the second stage -- but one band in particular stands out in my mind, both because of the quality of set they put on and because of the criminally low level of attention we gave them.

     Mudvayne was relatively unknown at the time, touring on LD 50 and being overlooked as another gimicky costume act by some people (including us) in the wake of Slipknot's success. So when Mudvayne took to the second stage for their relatively short afternoon set, we were really only half paying attention, checking them out more to pass the time between main stage sets than because we dug their sound. If only I had known then just how awesome Mudvayne was, and just how into them we'd get, my attentions would have been firmly glued to the stage for that set.

     Songs like "Nothing to Gein" are the reason for this. Lyrically dark and musically diverse, "Nothing to Gein" (LD 50 in general) showed me that drums and bass don't have to take a back seat to guitar in progressive music or heavy music. In fact, in Mudvayne's case, both Ryan and Matt are arguably much more technically proficient than Greg (sorry, Gurrg), the perfect example of what a rhythm section should be doing. Do yourself a favour and revisit this blast from the past.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Raiju - The Kool-Aid

     Yesterday's bout of cosmic inspiration regarding Refused took precedence over your usual Tech Tuesday programming -- I had to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak. But just in case you're still jonesin' for something a tad techier, I've got the perfect prescription for you.

     California's Raiju remind me a lot of Protest the Hero: a powerful vocalist with some range, a super-tight rhythm section, a healthy helping of high energy noodling, even a melodic, sing-alongable chorus. But where Protest started life as more of a punk band, and still occasionally show flashes of this in their more recent, more metal offerings, Raiju takes the spastic Protest ADD formula and goes full shred with it. If Protest is perhaps a little unsure of its musical pedigree, a little "jack of all trades", Raiju is unabashedly shreddy, proggy metal.

     So, in summation, it's not tech death, but technicality takes many forms, and after listening to "The Kool-Aid" from the band's recently released EP Haunt I think you'll agree that these guys are plenty tech enough for a Tech Tuesday... even if it does happen to actually be Wednesday right now. Stay tech everybody.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Refused - Protest Song '68

     Sometimes -- not often, but sometimes -- it feels like the universe is speaking to me in strange ways. Just this morning, on my way home from work, the shuffle gods that govern my mp3 player deigned to give me some of Swedish legends Refused for my commute. Then, not an hour after getting home, I read the rumour that Refused are working on a new album.

     Sure, the "evidence" that work on a new record is indeed happening is somewhat scant, limited largely to some online whispers of vocal tracking progress and the late October "firing" of guitarist Jon Brannstrom (which at least suggests that the band might be looking to tour or record again). But, like their fellow Swedes At the Gates, Refused have the kind of following and legacy that a new record from them could be a pretty big deal.

     Or it could suck, shattering the rose-tinted image of Refused we've built up in our memories. Maybe there's no living up to the expectations that will surely precede any follow-up to the band's seminal The Shape of Punk to Come. Maybe Refused should just be a Refused cover band forever more, playing tracks like "Protest Song '68" to packed clubs of nostalgic devotees like some badass post-hardcore version of Kiss. I guess we'll all just have to jam some old stuff, like the aforementioned "Protest Song", while we get our collective hopes up.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Marilyn Manson - Third Day of a Seven Day Binge

     It's taken me a whole week to check the Song of the Day slide, but I'm finally all caught up with the calendar and back on track. And serendipitously, the universe has decided to send me the perfect song for yet another alliterative Monday.

     This might come as a bit of a shock to many of you out there, but Marilyn Manson is still making records. I haven't paid much attention to the last couple of them, but that doesn't mean they haven't been made all the same. I can't remember the last time a Manson record got me excited, and I wouldn't say that his forthcoming The Pale Emperor is going to buck that trend, but the first single certainly has my attention.

     "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" is, in my opinion, a good example of what has always been one of Manson's greatest strengths: dark, vaguely creepy pop-rock with perhaps just a hint of sleaze. This stripped-down, fairly mellow number could sit alongside similar offerings from albums gone by ("The Speed of Pain" from Mechanical Animals comes to mind as a loose comparison), and it's the first Manson song in years that I've dug. Check it out and see if it hits you the same.

Sunday: 36 Crazyfists - Also Am I

     Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted about Alaskan metalcore band 36 Crazyfists and how they're still carrying the torch of rock-solid metalcore? It's like the guys in the band were listening or something, because in the intervening two weeks the band released some new music for the first time since 2010's Collisions and Castaways.

     The latest 36 Crazyfists record Time and Trauma isn't due out until next year, but the album's first single "Also Am I" should go a long way towards keeping Crazyfist fans satisfied until then. Built around a handful of meaty riffs and a hooky chorus, "Also Am I" sounds like it could be a track from the band's heyday, but not in that "band trying to recapture its golden years" kind of way.

     36 Crazyfists sound like they've just been quietly doing their do all these years, regardless of trends. Whether or not you dig their jams is of course a matter of personal taste, but there's something to be said for a band that continues to adhere to the musical principles of its youth (as opposed to one that leaves said principles for a while before attempting to retrace its steps *cough* Metallica *cough*).

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Saturday: Skyharbor - Halogen

     We're only a day or two from the release of Skyharbor's sophomore disc Guiding Lights, but you may have already checked the album out via one channel or another.

     Maybe you're one of those who, like me, crowdfunded Guiding Lights and had the good fortune to get their download codes a little early this past week. Or maybe you're one of those who've checked out the leaked version of the album, the existence of which caused us crowdfunders to get their codes early in the first place.

     Let's pretend, however, that you're everybody else and have yet to hear the entirety of Guiding Lights. To sustain you until the record hits stores and streams in force this week, the guys have released another follow-up song to "Evolution" and "Patience". Musically, new single "Halogen" sits somewhere in between those previous two tracks: it's not as epic and immediately "singley" as "Evolution", but it's also not as mellow and down tempo as "Patience". It's heavy, but not bludgeoningly so, and it's catchy without sounding overly concerned with being catchy.

     All told, "Halogen" is a pretty good representation of where Skyharbor seems to be at right now, so if you're eagerly awaiting Guiding Lights this one'll help you make it the last couple of days.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Friday: Consider the Source - Put Another Rock in That Bag (Single Edit)

     Was Wednesday's Haken post just not proggy enough for? Too "mainstream prog rock" and not enough "haunted space prog"? Don't worry, I've got you covered.

     Well, actually, New York three-piece Consider the Source have you covered with the first sort-of single from their latest release World War Trio. Sort-of single, you ask? Allow me to try and get things straight: World War Trio is an epic three-part piece, part one of which is an EP consisting of a single, multi-movement song, "Put Another Rock in That Bag". The second and third parts of the record will be out sometime early next year.

     But what if you don't have a half hour or so in which to get proggy? Consider the Source have considered you there too, releasing a "single edit" version of "Put Another Rock in That Bag" that distills the EP's space prog madness down to a more reasonable five minutes or so. It's a real trip, so you should definitely don some headphones and turn this one up.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Thursday: Static-X - I'm With Stupid

     I'm going full bandwagon jumper with a Throwback Thursday post for yesterday in honour of the untimely death of Static-X founder Wayne Static.

     As I said when I posted on Facebook about this story earlier in the week, I was never a huge Static-X fan growing up. I did, however, grow up during the heyday of nu metal (please supply your own umlaut as desired) so I was definitely exposed to albums like Wisconsin Death Trip and Machine when they were first released. As a result, Static-X, like with so many other bands from around the same time, is a part of my musical history.

     That's why I'm throwing your Thursday back to the first Static-X song I ever heard, "I'm With Stupid", from the band's aforementioned 1999 debut Wisconsin Death Trip. In terms of technicality and complexity, it's a pretty far cry from the kind of stuff I listen to now, but it's still a simple, fun headbanger with some added nostalgia value. Raise a glass this Thursday (or Friday, you know, whenever...) to Wayne his place in modern music history. Nobody will ever be able to rock that haircut that well again.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Wednesday: Haken - Darkest Light

     We're going a little less metal and a lot more prog for your Wednesday song, so hold onto your demiquavers, music dorks.

     British prog purveyors Haken made quite an international name for themselves on the strength of last year's The Mountain, and now they've released a follow-up EP that is apparently based on some of the material from the band's very first 2008 demo recording. Said older material has definitely had the 2014 Haken update put on it though, as every bit of it sounds like a step forward from the band's last LP.

     Let "Darkest Light", the opening track from the Restoration EP, be your barometer for the new/old material. It's full of intricate, labyrinthine riffing that still manages to have great groove. And besides being pretty epic, the whole thing's heavier than you might be used to from Haken as well. Check it out.

Tuesday: Son of Aurelius - Long Ago

     A happy, if belated, Tech Tuesday to you! I've got something tasty for your Tech Tuesday this week, and while it's not necessarily the kind of, let's say, more straight forward tech-death I've been featuring lately, it is most definitely technically inclined.

     I've written about California's Son of Aurelius before, and those of you remember those posts of yore might be thinking "but wait, Son of Aurelius are a tech-death band, what are you talking about?" Sure, their first album The Farthest Reaches is bona fide tech-death through and through, but their sophomore disc Under a Western Sun has a bit of a broader scope.

     Technicality and musicianship are still there in spades, joined this time out by a proggier mindset reminiscent of the compositional journeying of bands like Between the Buried and Me. Under a Western Sun goes places, and if it meanders and wanders a bit more along the way than did its predecessor, it's nothing but a good thing.

     Check out "Long Ago" for a badass, nearly seven-minute slice of what I'm talking about, complete with a cool little bass solo.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Monday: Machine Head - Night of Long Knives

     My weekend sleep and work habits are apparently bleeding over into my week life. Help me fight back by reading the following!

     Machine Head vocalist and guitarist Rob Flynn might have a penchant for starting what the kids call "beef" with people on various online outlets, but he's also got a thing for crafting some pretty solid metal songs. You might debate with me which Machine Head album is best, but I think you'll at least agree that there's some good stuff in the band's catalogue.

     Don't worry, all of this is leading somewhere. You may, of course, be aware that Machine Head has a new record coming out next week. But maybe you're still on the fence as to whether or not Machine Head is still a band for you after all these years and album. Lucky you, because you don't have to wait until next week to find out whether or not you'll dig Bloodstones & Diamonds. You can listen to first single "Night of Long Knives" right now!

     A suitably Machine Head-y melothrash tune with sprinkles of death metal, "A Night of Long Knives" is also a lyrical heavyweight, dealing with the Manson family murders. It's nothing earthshatteringly different, but it's pretty good Machine Head. Let's hope it bodes well for the rest of the album.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Sunday: Unearth - Guards of Contagion

     Had a chance to listen to Unearth's brand spankin' new record Watchers of Rule yet? If not, you should probably make yourself a chance somehow.

     Unless of course you're one of those "metalcore sux" troo metalheads, although even then you shouldn't find much to complain about on the new disc. Sure, Unearth is one of those bands that's found its groove and and essentially keeps cranking out similar iterations of that groove, like a metal AC/DC, but man this particular time out is probably their best in a couple.

     My favourite is still 2004's The Oncoming Storm, or maaayybe the 2006 follow-up III: In the Eyes of Fire, but Watchers of Rule is a bit of a return to form, so to speak. Watch Buzz tear through "Guards of Contagion" and see (and hear!) what I mean.

Saturday: Pianos Become the Teeth - Ripple Water Shine

     Lately it seems like I've been postponing much of my week's sleep until the weekend, meaning I haven't been super productive the last couple of weekends. Let's work on that, shall we?

     So, some catching up to do then, starting with a bit of pretty anticipated post-hardcore for Saturday. Though I've never been more than a passing fan of the band's past work, I've been reading a fair amount of hype (for lack of a better word) for the latest from Baltimore's post-everything Pianos Become the Teeth. Ever one to wonder what all the fuss is about, I've been checking out some streams of Keep You, and I have to say I'm glad I let the buzz guide my mouse hand.

     Keep You is a big, majestic post-hardcore/post-rock record that combines the open, ethereal beauty so often found in post-rock with an ineffable melancholy. Maybe it's just me, but I hear a lot of nostalgia on this record, a lot of musical mourning for something lost. Could I be completely off the mark? Sure, but however you want to label or describe the sound of Keep You, it's still a hauntingly beautiful record. Check out album opener "Ripple Water Shine" if you'd like an example of the kind of bittersweet melodic sense I'm talking about.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Friday: Ozzy Osbourne - Bark at the Moon

     How did I manage to post my Hallowe'en-themed Album of the Week post last night and yet not post my Hallowe'en-themed Song of the Day post? There are some mysteries man wasn't meant to understand.

     The song I had intended to share with you is a classic piece of horror-themed metal history, and especially fitting given that last night was a full moon (I'm told, since I'm apparently an old man now and stayed in last night). "Bark at the Moon" is the title track and first single from Ozzy Osbourne's third solo LP, with its instantly recognizable main riffs and howling Ozzy.

     So whether you barked at the moon last night, or are going to tonight, or spent your day today (or will do tomorrow) howling curses at your nocturnal indiscretions, Ozzy's got you covered. Have a go at "Bark at the Moon", and while you're at it have a belated Happy Hallowe'en too.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Album of the Week: Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe

     This week's album is just a fun one in honour of Hallowe'en. Put your graphing calculators away, prog heads.

     Regardless of what you might think of his career in film direction and production (ie: not much) you almost can't help but have a soft spot in your classic metalhead heart for Rob Zombie. I've always had this notion that White Zombie was somehow somewhat more legit than Rob's solo work, but if you're looking for a campily creeped out Hallowe'eny album, Rob's debut solo record has got you covered.

     So if you've got any metalheads at your Hallowe'en gathering this evening, or even anybody of a certain age, put on any or all of 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe and I guarantee you there'll be some smiles and more than a little singing along.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Enter Shikari - The Last Garrison

     Time for a bit of a Don't Call it a Comeback Thursday post, if you will. It's been a few years since I've paid much attention to British electro-metal amalgamators Enter Shikari, but I used to really dig Take to the Skies. I still take it for the occasional spin, so when I hear that the band has a new album in the works, I get interested.

     The Mindsweep won't be sweeping us away until January, but we can all enjoy a little new Enter Shikari right now. "The Last Garrison" is a bouncy piece of dancey pop-metal, so I don't know if it will hold any appeal for the trooly brootal among you. It will, however, find a home in the ears of fans of catchy, fun jams from bands that understand small doses of heavy don't need to be accompanied by big doses of serious. Rock "The Last Garrison" if you Thursday evening needs a pick-me-up.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Circa Survive - Schema

     For your Album of the Week I pointed you in the direction of Death Before Disco, a band I've frequently referred to in the past when comparing other bands to them. Today, we've got a new track from another band I've as a point of comparison on occasion.

     Pennsylvania post-hardcore band Circa Survive have a new album, Descensus, coming out towards the end of November, and they recently released a video for the album's first single "Schema". It definitely sounds like classic Circa Survive (owing in no small part to Anthony Green's vocals) but it's also a little more aggressive sounding, a little rough and jagged around the edges.

     We'll see if the rest of Descensus turns out anything like this, but for the time being "Schema" sounds pretty promising.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Hybrid Sheep - Liar's Promises

     How about some technically-minded deathcore for a Tech Tuesday song? Close enough? It better be.

     Tonight we've got a song from French deathcore act Hyrbid Sheep. "Liar's Promises", the first track from the upcoming Free From the Clutches of the Gods to receive video treatment, is a concise slab of deathcore riffing that alternates between higher speed, trem-pickier stuff and some slightly slower, head-bangier grooves. The latter almost have an old-school Lamb of God flavour to them, right down to the mid-temp harmonized guitar solo.

     Check out Hybrid Sheep and "Liar's Promises" if you're looking for a bit of a deathcore pummeling this evening.

Monday, 27 October 2014

36 Crazyfists - The Deserter

     Over the weekend I was talking about solid metalcore, the kind that makes you unashamed to be a fan of the genre. Today I've got another of those kind of songs for you, the kind that aren't reinventing the wheel but rather are fine examples of well made wheels.

     I've written about Alaskan metalcore act 36 Crazyfists before, and they're the perfect example of a band that's just been doing what they do for years now. Sure, they're not rocking the boat, but I can still put on virtually any 36 Crazyfists record and find something that rocks me.

     Which is what I've been doing lately, listening to 2010's Collisions and Castaways over the past few days, whence comes your song for tonight. "The Deserter" is pretty standard melodic metalcore: chorusy, with some meaty riffs and a breakdown or two. But 36 Crazyfists do it all well enough that instead of noticing the pieces you're too busy enjoying the whole. If metalcore is still your thing at all, get to know these guys.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Job For a Cowboy - Eating the Visions of God

     As I've said before, I've never really given Job For a Cowboy the time of day. But then "Sun of Nihility", the first song to be released from the band's forthcoming Sun Eater, started the process of changing my mind about Job For a Cowboy.

     "Eating the Visions of God", the second track released from Sun Eater and the album's opener, may well finish that process. It's an honest to Satan death metal track, complete with a pretty rad guitar solo and some downright badass bass work. If you can listen to this track and not come away convinced that Job For a Cowboy are a fully legit Metal Band, you're probably a lost cause. For realz.

Saturday: ERRA - Dreamcatcher

     I've written a number of times about how the now-oft-reviled genre of metalcore is neither completely dead nor wholly worthy of the scorn sometimes heaped upon it. I've also written about today's band before, because they're one example of how to do solid modern metalcore.

     Sure, there's not really any innovation here, and the riffs and melodies sound at least vaguely familiar. Where ERRA succeed is in following the formula well and crafting solid, catchy songs within the conventions of the genre that still manage to have moments of genuine heavy rather than simply "radio" heavy.

     ERRA have a new video out, for the song "Dreamcatcher" off of their upcoming debut Sumerian EP Moments of Clarity. It's not going to blow your mind, but it might just tap your foot or bob your head, so have a listen and see what you think.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Friday: Primus - Candy Man

     It's somewhat apt that I was writing about weird, dark music the other day, since today (for yesterday) I've got a new track from one of the finest purveyors of dark weirdness from the last twenty years or so.

     As you may or may not know, the classic lineup of Primus is back together, and they've just released a new album this past week. The weird catch? It's a tribute to, and re-imagining of, the soundtrack from the classic movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. You know, the Gene Wilder one that haunted your dreams when you were a kid, not the Johnny Depp-Tim Burton trainwreck that haunts your dreams as an adult.

     This strange new slice of Primus is entitled Primus & The Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble, and the band's particular take on the music from this children's classic is exemplified by their version of "Candy Man". Sure, he can do all those things to a sunrise, but should he?

Album of the Week: Death Before Disco - Barricades

     I've long extolled the virtues of now-defunct post-hardcore band Death Before Disco, so I figured it's high time I set you the task of getting familiar with this criminally underrated band. Little did I know what a challenging task I had conceived...

     I'd like to be able to say, "your album for this week is Barricades, Death Before Disco's 2006 album", and then give you a nice convenient Youtube link or something, but there isn't a playlist for this album, nor a single video version. The band doesn't have a Bandcamp or a Facebook page that I can find, so good luck finding anything that way.

     You basically have two options if you want to complete your homework assignment: you can go to Amazon or Ebay or somewhere and get yourself a copy (luckily Barricades is still relatively available; good luck finding much of the rest of their catalogue) or you can settle for hearing several tracks from the album, which I will link to below -- it's about half the album, so it could be worse. Whichever you choose, prepare to take in some energetic post-hardcore that still sounds fresh eight years on.

Barricades of Rumble (track 2, previous Song of the Day)
Jaguar (track 4)
Goodbye (track 5)
Kill the Dancer (track 8)
Modern Times (track 9)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Reign of Kindo - Breathe Again

     There's dark music, and then there's weird music, and then there's darkly weird music, or weirdly dark music. Today's song is one of those last ones. But it's also, as I'm hoping you'll discover, a beautiful song.

     I've written about New York's The Reign of Kindo and their piano-centric jazz-pop before, but I recently picked up a copy of their first record Rhythm, Chord, & Melody and one song in particular struck as being twisted in just the right way. It's way not metal (except maybe lyrically...) but it might still be up your alley.

     "Breathe Again" is a dark little song about a Christmas morning gone awry, and while I won't spoil how that happens, or how the story turns out, but I will say that it wasn't at all what I expected after the first few lines of what sounded like another sappy Christmas song. Check it out and have your expectations blown apart.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Rosetta - Soot

     Remember last year's critical darlings Rosetta and their densely atmospheric post-prog metal album The Anaesthete? Yeah, those guys: they flew under a few radars, but also garnered a fair amount of praise for their fourth LP. And now they're back with a new EP.

     I could go on at some length describing the sound of Flies to Flame, comparing it to The Anaesthete, comparing it to other bands, and otherwise generally exercising my typing fingers. Or, you could listen to the opening track "Soot" and get swept away by Rosetta's latest release. The nine-and-a-half minutes of "Soot" take a little bit to get going, but I promise you the release will be worth the build up, and you'll be left drained and wanting more. Headphones are recommended for this one.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday: Archspire - Fathom Infinite Depth

     Time to finish catching up with another installment of Tech Tuesday. This week we're going back to well of Vancouver's Archspire and their latest slab of high speed, high precision tech-death The Lucid Collective.

     Fans of this kind of stuff could really just put this album on and let it go, but for those of you who're on the fence and need a push, try "Fathom Infinite Depth". One pummeling assault of riffs and a heaping helping of Oliver Aleron's rapid-fire vocals later and you should be suitably agape. Pick you jaw up off the floor and hit replay, then check out the rest of the album, and as Archspire would advise, stay tech.

Monday: Beatallica - A Garage Dayz Nite

     It's Tuesday already, and I'm still playing a little catch-up, so it's actually time for a Monday post. It's been a bit, so I've decided to have another go at Metallica Mondays... sort of.

     How can I "sort of" do a Metallica Monday post? Well, picture the old, "you-got-your-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate-no-you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter" thing, only replace "peanut butter" with "Metallica" and "chocolate" with "The Beatles". The resulting Reeses cup of awesomeness, and subject of today's post, is Beatallica.

     I first heard Beatallica way back in the day, after the release of their first EP A Garage Dayz Nite. As you can hopefully infer from that title, Beatallica is a ridiculous mash-up of Metallica songs and Beatles songs, with musical and lyrical cues coming from either or both. Sure, it's jokey and silly, but it's also pretty well done. Think Weird Al-levels of quality and you'll have an idea of how seriously these guys take their strange brand of alchemy.

     I'm going to start you off where I started, with the title track "A Garage Dayz Nite" from the aforementioned 2001 EP, because it will give you an instant feel for what Beatallica sounds like in a way that my descriptive powers never could. What you do with the knowledge that such a bizarre amalgamation exists is up to you.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sunday: Finch - Anywhere But Here

     I wrote about Finch's new record Back to Oblivion a few weeks back, but now that I've had some time to chew on the whole album, I feel like it's time to give you another reason to get into the band's return to the land of the living.

     This time around I'm picking the other of the two songs we got to hear before the record's release, "Anywhere But Here", for the simple reason that it's one of the songs on Back to Oblivion that I feel best harkens back to the band's old energy while still looking forward to what Finch might sound like if the guys continue on after this record. I just hope they will continue on to a fourth record, and beyond, and that it doesn't take them so long to do it this time.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Saturday: Raunchy - Truth Taker

     I'm not normally a big fan of mixing electronic and/or pop influences into my metal or metalcore. Don't get me wrong, those kinds of cocktails can definitely be done right (I like some stuff by The Algorithm, for example) but most of the time that's just not really my cup of tea. Basically, I got into heavy music because I didn't really care for those genres.

     But dammit, sometimes somebody comes along and makes me go, "OK, now that could change my mind". Today (or yesterday...) it's Danish band Raunchy that's got me rethinking my stance on bouncy, bassy choruses with dancey-sounding synths. What is it about their latest single "Truth Taker", from the upcoming Vices.Virtues.Visions., that has me hooked? Some fucking meaty metalcore riffing, that's what.

     It's not really anything I haven't heard before, which is why I'm not completely blown out of the water or anything, but "Truth Taker" has some punchy, heavy riffs that speak directly to that reptilian part of your brain that controls head-banging and foot-tapping. I can picture even the proggiest, most pretentious of metal pedants nod their heads both in time and in approval. If it's enough to warm the cockles of our cynical hearts, it should be enough to get you moving for a few minutes at least.

Friday: Pray for Sound - Sonder

     Don't let the naysayers sway you with their saying of nay: heavy music is in a pretty strong place right now. The recording industry as we've known it is still changing and shifting in response to the new realities of a modern, increasingly digital marketplace, but musicians continue to put out heavy music of every stripe, and it's us fans who're reaping the rewards.

     Case in point: post-rock and post-metal, with or without vocals, are burgeoning sub-genres with all kinds of different flavours for all kinds of different fans tucked away under their overarching umbrellas. For my Friday post, I'm going to point you in the direction of one such flavour, Boston's Pray for Sound.

     Pray for Sound is definitely more post-rock than post-metal, but that doesn't mean they lack the energy or musicianship that one might expect from a more metal band. Similarly, they fall in the instrumental camp of post-stuff, and yet they don't suffer from the lack of focus that can affect some bands that lack vocals.

     Instead they sit comfortably at an intersection of all of these elements, with enough technicality to hold the attention of a jaded metalhead such as myself, but not so much that their songs become centered on instrumentation instead of on songwriting. Songs like "Sonder" from the band's debut LP Dreamer still move from A to B to C without getting lost in the landscape of instrumental post-rock. If instrumental post-rock with a healthy helping of melody is at all your thing, check these boys from Beantown out.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Album of the Week: Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman

     The observant among you (or just the extremely set in the routine among you) may have noticed something missing from your week last week: an album recommendation from yours truly.

     Don't worry, I didn't forget about you, and I haven't called it quits with the Album of the Week feature just yet. The last couple of weeks have been a little busier than normal here at Loud Noises HQ, and last week's album just slipped through the cracks. By the time I got my shit together to do one, it was already the weekend, and I figure you deserve the full week to do your homework.

     On the other hand, I don't like the idea of just skipping last week, even though that's essentially what we're doing here today, and I'd like to play catch up a little bit, even if it is only symbolic. To that end, I've decided that this week's album pretty much has to be a double album. Is this cheating? Maybe, especially when you consider that the record(s) I've chosen weren't even released simultaneously, but who cares?

     So, without further ado, this week you're going to spend some time with one, or preferably both, of Coheed and Cambria's Afterman albums. I've been a fan of Coheed for years, but even if you haven't, I think you'll still appreciate the high calibre of the total Afterman package: poppy, rocking, proggy, songs that span a gamut of styles and moods; some sci-fi concepts woven into the lyrics (but not an inextricable part of them -- no need to find a Coheed wiki to get up to speed on their albums-spanning space opera); hell, even the album artwork is suitably far-out.

     As much as the band's sophomore In Keeping Secrets... might still be my favourite record from their catalogue, there's no question that The Afterman, Part I: Ascension and The Afterman, Part II: Descension represent the band's best work in years, and there's also no question that I eagerly look forward to whatever they release next. Give these records some spins this week and I'll bet you'll be clamouring for new Coheed too.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Circles - On My Way

     Another day, another new video to share with all of you. The universe just seems to keep dropping tasty tidbits into me lap. Thanks universe!

     The Australian djentlemen in Circles have been somewhat busy over the last few months, partly because they've been trekking around the world on one tour or another, and partly because they've been working on a couple of things. Thing One: perhaps earning the ire of early purchasers and pre-orderers, the guys have worked up a new, deluxe edition of the debut full-length Infinitas, with some extra tracks and some fancy pants packaging. Curse my impatience!

     Thing Two: a new music video to go along with the Infinitas re-release (or for said re-release to accompany, take your pick), this time around for the song "On My Way". It's not a straight performance video, but it's not a tour/behind the scenes-type video either. It's got a little bit of both going on, and the song is just as groovey and snakey as you could want too. Initially I was definitely a bigger fan of Circles debut EP The Compass than their debut LP, but "On My Way" is making me think I should give Infinitas a revisit or three. You should probably join me in doing so, for your own good.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Skyharbor - Patience

     As I've said before, there are days when it takes me a while to find a song that hooks me enough that I feel I need to share it with all of you. And then there are days when a perfect song more or less falls into my lap -- or, more accurately, our collective internet laps. The latest track from Sylosis, which I featured over the weekend, is one good example. Today's song is another.

     Those regular readers I'm so often addressing should know by now that I'm a big fan of both Skyharbor and their vocalist Dan Tompkins. I threw some money at the crowdfunding campaign for their sophomore album Guiding Lights and have been awaiting the record's release ever since, with only lead single "Evolution" to tide me over. And while "Evolution" is completely badass, I'm impatient and don't want to wait for the album's November release date to roll around before I get to hear some more new Skyharbor.

     Thankfully the guys have got me (and you!) covered. Today they publicly unveiled the video for second single "Patience" after giving it a limited release yesterday to their pledge campaign supporters. Musically the song's a bit of a ballad, meaning it's not necessarily as heavy as "Evolution" or some of their older material. But throw in the cool paper cutout puppet-style animated video, and fugedaboudit, you've got something pretty sweet on your hands. If Guiding Lights isn't a top ten of the year candidate, I'll eat my beard.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Interloper - A Red Letter Day

     As you may have noticed, I occasionally dabble in the internet's latest exercise in bandwaggonery, Throwback Thursday, both in a genuinely retro way and in a somewhat ironic, non-retro way (ie: my occasional "Techback Thursday" posts). But as I was listening to today's song, it occurred to me that I could just cut straight to the chase and make this thing un-ironic, non-retro, and totes badass.

     With that in mind, I give you the first installment of what I hope will become at least a semi-regular feature here at Loud Noises: Tech Tuesday. Is it the most original idea ever? Nope. Has it already been done before? Probably. Do I give any fucks at all? Sure don't.

     To kick things off today, I'm going with "A Red Letter Day" from Interloper, a proggy, instrumental band that's made up of members of Aenimus and Rings of Saturn. Now, I know that in the past the internet's had a decent amount of hate for Rings of Saturn and the idea that they can't actually replicate live what you hear on recording, but regardless of how you feel about Rings, and regardless of whether or not they have 100% of the chops they claim to possess, you should still check out "A Red Letter Day". It's nice and shreddy and techy, with a strong sense of melody, and even if were edited to shit to sound like it does, it still represents some solid composition. Keep an open mind and you might just have it blown.

     Oh, and happy inaugural Tech Tuesday everybody!