Friday, 30 May 2014

Septicflesh - Prototype

     I've never been a particularly huge fan of symphonic metal of any stripe. Metallica's S&M is one of the only such record's I've ever really dug, and let's face it, it's not exactly the most "metal" of "symphonic metal" records. But the latest offering from Greek symphonic death metal band Septicflesh might go a long way towards changing my mind on this subgenre.

     "Prototype" is at least the second track to be released from the upcoming Titan, and it's thoroughly epic as well as being shot through with orchestral (and even what sounds like some choral elements too!) elements, all without sounding cheesy or cartoony. Big, driving riffs mix brooding melodies with jagged dissonance to end up with something that reminds me of Gojira, if Gojira were tastefully flavoured with strings and horns.

     I still don't know that I'm going to be listening to a lot of Nightwish or Sonata Arctica in the near future, but I'll definitely be checking out some more Septicflesh. If any of the above sounds cool to you, I suggest you do the same.

Misery Signals - Difference of Vengeance and Wrongs

     I just saw a teaser trailer today for what appears for be an original-lineup tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of Misery Signals' debut LP Of Malice and the Magnum Heart. In addition to sounding like a good show, this also presents the perfect opportunity to feature something off this underrated disc for the Misery Signals latecomers.

     Closing track "Difference of Vengeance and Wrongs" is my pick for today, because it showcases Misery Signals' "beauty and the beast" duality, oscillating between heavier choruses and prettier verses. The band's gotten a little techier and a little proggier since Malice, but the aggression and density that have always been hallmarks of Misery Signals' sound are plainly in evidence even at this early stage of the band's career. Grab some tickets for this one if you can.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Fallujah - Sapphire

     To anyone who thought yesterday's Dirty Loops song had no business being featured on a blog that purports to be about metal: today's song is for you.

     Bay Area death metal quintet Fallujah have become darlings of the metal world on the back of their 2013 EP Nomadic, leading to the inevitable anticipation and hype in advance of their forthcoming full-length The Flesh Prevails, due out in July. But at least for once hype is being spread about where hype is due.

     Fallujah hit a sweet spot of heavy, proggy, techy, melodic, and just plain riffy, and nowhere is that more evident that on "Sapphire", our first taste of The Flesh Prevails. This is really starting to sound like an album that will spend a lot of time on a lot of playlists and mp3 player hard drives, and rightly so --  it's just that tasty.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Dirty Loops - Hit Me

     I talk a lot about how there's good, interesting music in every genre, not just metal, and I've decided to put my money where my mouth is tonight. Chances are you've seen the name Dirty Loops floating around the interwebs the last couple of days, but now I'm going to tell you why you should go listen to these guys right now.

     Yes, that's right: I, the metalhead, am imploring you to check out this jazzy-poppy-funky power trio from Sweden. And I'm not alone -- I've seen this band recommended by both Numbers and Scale the Summit recently. Why are we all so stoked? Let me paint you a picture. Imagine if Stevie Wonder had been born in a different era... and in Sweden. Now team him up with a super-tight funk-jazz rhythm section, and let him loose to craft some infectious little ditties that will get you moving.

     That Stevie-out-of-time is Jonah Nilsson, that insane rhythm section is Henrik Linder and Aron Mellergard, and that purveyor of tasty power pop is Dirty Loops. This kind of thing really isn't normally my cup of tea, but good songs and good musicianship will win me over, and these guys have both in spades.

     Yesterday I was talking about Cake as being a band that should be much more mainstream. Well Dirty Loops could be much more mainstream, and more than likely will. I'd be flabbergasted if they didn't get at least kinda big. So get in on the ground floor and check out "Hit Me", the infectious opening track from their recently released debut Loopified.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Album of the Week: Sylosis - Conclusion of an Age

     Alt-rock not doing it for you, Monday-wise? I know Cake might not be enough to help you get over the demise of the weekend, so I've decided to get back to this blog's roots with this week's album. Hopefully some 'shredding from Readin' will be just what the doctor ordered to set your week up right.

     Long-time readers will by now be pretty familiar with my love for British thrash titans Sylosis, but just in case you're late to the party, let me try and sum things up as succinctly as I can. Think Metallica if they never lost their edge. Think Revocation from across the pond. Basically, think classic thrash mentality meets modern metal technicality.

     OK, that might not be the most succinct description, or the most descriptive, but maybe it's giving you just enough of an urge to check these guys out (assuming you don't already dig 'em). Their entire catalogue is good, but this week I'm recommending their debut LP Conclusion of an Age. They've upped the ante on every one of the their recordings, but for my money they've yet to come up with something that's better start to finish, end to end, than Conclusion of an Age. So have a listen (or five) and then come back and tell me what you think.

Cake - Never There

     It's Monday again, and I'm going to try and stave off your start-of-the-week doldrums with a catchy, funky little ditty from everybody's eclectic alternative rock band Cake.

     "Never There", from the band's 1998 album Prolonging the Magic, alloys just the right amount of melancholy subject matter with the perfect level of quirky pop-rock melodic sensibility, and then sets it all atop the foundation of a funky, punchy bassline that will get your head bopping.

     It's bordering on criminal that Cake aren't much bigger than they are, because they are a perfect example of something that's catchy enough to get on the radio while still having some substance that can hold your interest across more than one listen. Hell, if more rock-radio bands were as interesting as Cake, us metalheads might not have to look so far afield to find something cool to jam.

Russian Circles - When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad

     Do you like post-rock and post-metal? Do you like it big and epic? Do you prefer it to be instrumental? How did sleepmakeswaves the other day treat you?

     Depending on how you answered the questions above, you may or may not take a liking to instrumental three-piece Russian Circles. They deliver all of the epic, ebb-and-flow goodness you've come to expect from your post-rock/post-metal bands, with none of those pesky word things gumming up the works.

     Russian Circles can sound jammy and unfocused at times, but they make up for this by telling a compelling narrative at others. If you've got the time to put eight minutes in, "When the Moutain Comes to Muhammad" from 2009's Geneva will reward your investment. Just don't expect Russian Circles to get where they're going in a hurry.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Sevendust - Trust

     Growing up, one band my friends and I could all agree was awesome was Sevendust. The punkier people, the more metal people, the rockier people, all of us could find common ground in Sevendust. Putting on some of the Dust was seldom a bad call.

     Now we're all older, some of us married, some with kids, but Sevendust remains a unifier, only made more powerful by the passage of time and the added veneer of nostalgia. Now, putting on some Sevendust incites discussions not only of how good they were, but also how good they still are, how well their catalogue (or at least their first couple of albums) have held up.

     I'm sure my group of friends isn't alone in continuing to dig us some Sevendust even after all these years, and I'm also sure that Sevendust's latest release will cause a whole lot more renewed Sevendust love in a whole lot more old Sevendust fans. Time Travelers and Bonfires is the band's first acoustic studio album, and something of a different beast from their previous acoustic live album, 2004's Southside Double-Wide.

     Where Double-Wide was an album of (mostly) old Sevendust songs, recorded on an acoustic tour, Time Travelers is a mixture of new acoustic songs combined with old songs that have been reworked specifically for the acoustic format of the new album. This gives even numbers we've heard acoustically before, like today's classic "Trust", a refreshing feel while still leaving the song something that can sit alongside the original version just fine. Sevendust fans should definitely check out this album if they haven't already.

Friday, 23 May 2014

sleepmakeswaves - Something Like Avalanches

     'Post-rock' is a pretty broad, pretty vague genre label, but it's about the best I've got for today's band, sleepmakeswaves. They've got all the epic ebb and flow that typically earns bands the title of post-anything, and they're not quite metal, despite displaying some respectable heaviness at times, so 'post-rock' it is.

     "Something Like Avalanches", from the band's forthcoming Love of Cartography, even throws some electronic elements into the mix, with the result being a thoroughly interesting instrumental song that never feels like it needs vocals. Have a listen before you hit the hay tonight.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Atlas Moth - City of Light

     Another forthcoming record that's getting a lot of hype is the latest from The Atlas Moth, The Old Believer. Being woefully uninitiated in the ways of The Atlas Moth, today I decided it was high time I saw what all the fuss was about. And it's a good thing I did too, so I can pass all that fuss on to you.

     Epic and expansive while still sounding sparse and uncluttered, doomy while still sounding soaring and transcendent, The Atlas Moth certainly do present a lot to take in. If today's song, "City of Light", is any indication, The Old Believer sounds like it'll be one of those albums that'll reward multiple listens from the dedicated listener, and given that this record already looks like a strong contender to appear on lots of end of year 'best of' lists I'd say there are a lot of dedicated listeners ready to go. After today you can count me among them.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Room Colored Charlatan - Apex Predator

     The last couple of days have been about looking ahead to the next month or so of releases, so let's switch it up today and go with something from a record you can go out and listen to the entirety of right now. Instant gratification for the win!

     I've just discovered progcore band The Room Colored Charlatan via their recently released sophomore disc Primitives, and thus far I'm finding them very tasty indeed. Things start off sounding a little like your average melo-djentcore act, but by the end of Primitives' opening track its apparent that The Room Colored Charlatan bring more than that to the party.

     The right amount of technicality, a healthy helping of solid grooves, a good ear for atmosphere, melody, and riffs, a vocal delivery reminiscent of Karl from Misery Signals -- The Room Colored Charlatan have a lot going for them. So if you're into this kind of thing, I'd say checking them out is a pretty safe bet. Start with "Apex Predator" and go from there.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Every Time I Die - Thirst

     The forthcoming disc from hardcore heroes Every Time I Die isn't due out until the first of July, and thus technically doesn't fit the theme I've been working with the last couple of days (ie: June releases). But you shouldn't let that stop you from checking out the first song off of From Parts Unknown.

     "Thirst" is less than two minutes long but that just makes its shotgun-blast intensity that much more immediate. There's no wasted space here, no time spent dicking around. I'm normally a guy who likes things on the longer, proggier end of the spectrum, but there's definitely something to be said for a no-nonsense blast of venom, and that's exactly what Every Time I Die have got on their hands with "Thirst". You might as well check it out; I'll be you don't have anything better planned for the next two minutes.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Killitorous - Fecal Fellatio

     On a day when I've recommended you spend the week listening to a Marilyn Manson album, I can't very well come at you with something tame, now can I? Manson as album of the week demands something suitably over the top, and I've got just the thing.

     Killitorous, the raucous Canadian tech death outfit whose first single was something of an homage to Stan Lee, is back with a recently-released video for the second single from their forthcoming debut Party Grind, a nailbomb of a song entitled "Fecal Fellatio". Yes, you read that right.

     I'm not even going to go in to what the song's about, as I think you're clever enough to work that out on your own. I will, however, reassure you that, NSFW subject matter aside, "Fecal Fellatio" delivers the goods, metal-wise: it's easily the heaviest thing most of you will hear all day, which is just as it should be. Give it a spin and then sweet dreams!

Album of the Week: Marilyn Manson - Mechanical Animals

     It's Monday once again, and even though it's a holiday here in Canada I'm not going to abandon those of you in the rest of the world -- it's Album of the Week time!

     This week we're shifting gears a bit, moving from some more modern stuff over the last couple of weeks to an album I consider to be a classic from my youth. Whether or not you consider it to be a classic is up to you, but either way I urge you to spend some time over the next week with Marilyn Manson's 1998 masterpiece Mechanical Animals.

     I was never as big a Marilyn Manson fan growing up as some of my friends were. The earlier, "shock rockier" stuff was OK, and so was the later, gothier-type stuff, but right in the middle there was this weird album that bridged gap between the two chapters of Manson's career just as it bridges the gap between the other two chapters of Manson's high-concept rock opera trilogy, Antichrist Superstar and Holy Wood.

     That weird album was Mechanical Animals, a 70's glam-infused alt-rock meditation on modernity, celebrity, addiction, alienation, sex... did I miss anything? There's a lot more to Mechanical Animals than I think most people would give Marilyn Manson credit for. For that reason, your homework this week (assuming you're not already a fan of this album like I am) is to look past what you think you know about Marilyn Manson and really give Mechanical Animals a chance to grow on you. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Son of Aurelius - Clouded Panes

     Just when you thought it was safe to come out of hiding, there's yet more new shit coming your way in June. This time it's new stuff from indie tech death darlings Son of Aurelius.

     The Farthest Reaches, the 2010 debut from Son of Aurelius, largely flew under most people's radars while generating rabid devotion in those that did manage to discover its end-to-end, laser-precise tech death riffing. Fast-forward four years and the band is finally rewarding the faithful with what sounds like it might be a more melodic sophomore disc.

     Our first taste of the upcoming Under a Western Sun, "Clouded Panes", still abounds with slick tech riffs, but this time around vocalist Riley McShane's clean singing dominates the vibe of the song. Obviously some will be turned off by this kind of a stylistic choice, but I for one will wait and see what the rest of the album sounds like. If it's all this calibre, Under a Western Sun could be a fitting follow-up to the hidden gem that was The Farthest Reaches.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Monuments - I, The Creator

     June is shaping up to be a good month for new metal. Yesterday I was talking about Mastodon's new album Once More 'Round the Sun, which comes out on the 24th of June, and today I'm directing you to the first song to be released from Monuments' sophomore disc The Amanunensis, which comes out the day before (in Europe anyways, we'll have to wait a week or two over here across the pond).

     I've featured the British prog djentlemen of Monuments and their first album Gnosis a couple of times before, mostly for their much-better-than-average djentish riffing and miles deep grooves. But "I, The Creator", the first song we heard from The Amanunensis, gets the nod today for throwing a stronger sounding sense of melody into the mix.

     Some among you will of course decry things like an increase in clean singing as being too poppy (or something more colourful). But think about it this way: the formula of groove-centric metal plus catchy melodies is what yielded Australia's Circles. Or Sevendust, for that matter. If Monuments were to evolve in the direction of either of those bands, it wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen. Have a listen to "I, The Creator" and see what you think.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Mastodon - High Road

     What's this? Another post this week? Could it be...

     ...Yes, it is. Hey everybody, just your friendly neighbourhood noisemaker, saddling back up to wrangle you your daily dose of all things heavy. Things are still getting settled here at Loud Noises HQ, but as I said in one of my hiatus posts, I have a lot of things to catch up on, and that list has only gotten longer since then, so let's just get straight to it, shall we?

     First up, I feel I have to feature "High Road", the first single from Mastodon's forthcoming sixth LP Once More 'Round the Sun. I know you're all probably at least aware of the existence of this record, and if you're a Mastodon fan I'm sure you've already jammed "High Road" a few times, but just in case you're among the uninitiated, or haven't paid attention to Mastodon in an album or two, here's the deal: take one big, stompy monster of a riff, add in some classic-metal-sounding leads, and cover the whole thing a liberal layer of Mastodony melody, and you've got "High Road" in a nutshell.

     It's not quite as epic or proggy as Mastodon have been in the past (Crack the Skye is still the pinnacle of the band's career in this writer's opinion) but it does have a relentlessly crushing quality to its simplicity. If you're hoping for more of the epic spaciness of albums past, "High Road" might disappoint somewhat, but if you're just looking for a modern metal song with a bit of classic, old school feel, "High Road" just might scratch your itch. Either way, new Mastodon material is always cause for excitement in my book, and I for one am looking forward taking another spin around the sun with the boys.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Album of the Week: letlive - The Blackest Beautiful

     Well folks, it's another Monday, and time for another tired Garfield cliche. But your Monday doesn't have to suck. It could be awesome. Of what arcane devilry do I speak, you ask? Why, it's time for another Loud Noise Album of the Week (patent pending)!

     This week I implore you to check out The Blackest Beautiful, the most recent effort from Los Angeles post-hardcore band letlive. I know, I know, you regular readers are whinging at your monitors about how I've featured them several times before as the Song of the Day, and compared them to Glassjaw, and otherwise fawned over them.

     This album, however, works so well as a complete whole for me that I'm just going to pretend I don't hear you negative Nellies. Besides, these guys have awesome energy and are one of the best examples I can come up with of the idea that heavier music can still be catchy as hell. I recently picked up a copy of the band's 2010 sophomore disc Fake History, and while that record is proof positive that letlive didn't just get lucky with the calibre of material they produced for follow-up The Blackest Beautiful -- they've been crafting good shit for a while now -- I've chosen to recommend the newer album this week because it just has the feel of a band that's comfortable and confident in its skin and its sound. Give The Blackest Beautiful a couple of listens this week and I bet you'll dig it.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Album of the Week: Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise

     I told you guys over the weekend that I'd be back with a little something to keep you going while I'm away, and here I am, with a new feature that'll hopefully run alongside the daily songs whenever I get back to them.

     In addition to recommending a new song for you every day, I'm going to be trying a different album once a week, just to give you a little bit more time to chew on some stuff that you might or might not already be aware of.

     First up is a record that I've recently been rediscovering, namely Skyharbor's phenomenal debut Blinding White Noise. Big melodies (both vocal and musical), grooves aplenty, just the right amount of technicality and virtuosity to elevate things above the mundane... all of it adds up to a djenty album that's so much more than djust djent.

     Throw in the fact that Blinding White Noise is a double album of sorts -- two shorter discs make up the album's whole -- and you've got a pretty ambitious debut that succeeds at every turn. I can't wait to hear a follow-up, but for now I'll just have to spend some more time with Blinding White Noise.

     And that's just what you should do too. If your tastes are anything like mine (which they might be, if you're reading this) then Skyharbor will be something that you dig. So spend the next week giving it a go, and I'll try and turn you on to something else next time.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Hiatus Update

     Hey everybody, just thought I'd update you on the whole "Speedbumps" thing from last time, since I'm sure you're all champing at the bit for more Loud Noises. Speedbump number one, the dead graphics card, has been dealt with and my PC is back in working order. Speedbump number two, however, the Great Move, continues apace. Our internet isn't being hooked up until next week, and my current access is somewhat limited.

     But things are looking up, faithful reader. By the end of next week I should be in a position to be doing daily song posts again (and boy have I got some ground to make up...) but even before then I've got a new idea I'm going to try out on you guys. So please continue to stay tuned, I'll be with you shortly...