Thursday, 31 July 2014

Callisto - Stasis

     I've just been reading about Callisto on Heavyblogisheavy, and I'm intrigued enough by their suggestion of the song "Stasis" that I'm going to pass that recommendation along to you. Read on if you're post-metal fan.

     "Stasis", and the album Providence from which it comes, reminds me a little of The Ocean, or even Baroness, in terms of the qualities of its heaviness: large doses of melody, often a little melancholy, with veins of sludgy rough edges sewn throughout. It's a balance that makes the seven-and-a-half minutes of a song like "Stasis" fly by in short order. I haven't yet gone back through Callisto's catalogue as Eden over at Heavyblog encourages, but I've definitely got something new to chew on. Why don't you chew too?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Wovenwar - Profane

     I've chosen today's song almost despite myself. Although I was a pretty big As I Lay Dying fan for their first several albums, my interest waned with their last couple, and I've followed the whole Tim Lambesis thing and the subsequent resurrection of AILD-sans-Tim as Wovenwar with only a little more than passing interest.

      When the band first started teasing the new material, I was just kinda "meh" about it. Ditto for when the first song came out, a track called "All Rise", if I recall correctly. But for some reason the latest track to make the internet rounds, "Profane", is grabbing me a little bit more.

     Sure, it's not really anything new -- the riffing could be As I Lay Dying stuff as easily as Wovenwar -- but its straight-forward heaviness still merits some head-bangery. "Profane", out next week on the band's self-titled debut Wovenwar, is "radio heavy", but in a good way.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Album of the Week - The Ocean - Pelagial

     When I'm picking an Album of the Week, I'm usually trying to pick something people might now know about. I know I've done lots of albums that lots of people know, but hopefully at least a few things have been new to at least a few of you, ideally not all the same things to the same people, if you follow me.

     But another consideration that's always on my mind is the possibility of choosing an album specifically for the LP format, specifically because it works best as a single collection of music best experienced end to end in a single sitting. I hope I've also provided you with a few of these, too. Today, my aim is to cover both of these bases.

     The Ocean is certainly familiar to some of you, but I'm willing to bet there's lots of fans even of metal that don't really know these guys, which is practically a crime. Their brand of proggy post-metal is big and riffy, melodic and heavy, tastefully intricate. And other adjectives.

     Their last couple of albums have had conceptual threads at their cores, but your homework assignment this week, last year's Pelagial, boasts the structure of a descent through the various layers of the ocean's depths, with the mood and instrumentation shifting to match the "depth" of each track.

     There are some stand-out tracks, several of which have previously been Songs of the Day, but owing both to its watery concept and to its high overall level of musicianship and interconnectedness present throughout the entire album I'm recommending you give Pelagial a couple of full playthroughs this week. And, as an added bonus, you've got a choice to make: album with vocals, or without? Why not both!

The Isoceles Project - Oblivion's Candle

     I know there's great metal and heavy music to be had the world over. More than I ever was before I started this blog, I'm acutely aware that, especially in this internet age, your next favourite band could come from virtually anywhere. But that doesn't mean that I'm any less delighted when I find out that somebody cool is from right here in the Great White North.

     Today's band is no exception.  The Isosceles Project is a post-whatever instrumental trio from Toronto that succeeds at the challenge of keeping the listener interested despite the lack of vocals. Your song this evening, the title track from their 2012 EP Oblivion's Candle, is a perfect example of their chops. A lot of ground is covered in the near-thirteen minute running time of "Oblivion's Candle", including a couple of stylistic shifts, but it's a meandering journey that's never boring. Have a listen and see what you think.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Beyond Creation - Elusive Reverence

     It's the start of another week, which means you could probably use something a little heavy to get you back into the swing of the grind. How about some proggy death metal from Montreal that's in the vein of Death and Cynic? Yeah, I thought you might like that.

     Beyond Creation are getting set to unleash their sophomore record Earthborn Evolution in October via Season of Mist, but you won't have to wait until then to sample the proggy wares on offer here, as the band has recently released the first track from the upcoming album.

     "Elusive Reverence" a terrific general example of techy progressive death metal done right, but especially noteworthy is the fretless basswork of one Dominic Forest Lapointe, whose playing will no doubt cause you to become familiar with his name if you're not already. His musicianship, and that of the rest of the band, is top notch without being unnecessarily over the top. There's no waste or wankery here, and one listen to "Elusive Reverence" should be enough to convince you of that.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday: Nine Inch Nails - Piggy

     Almost caught up on the catching up, and as promised your finale this evening is a Nine Inch Nails classic to celebrate the nostalgiarific Nails/Soundgarden tour stop in Toronto tonight. This one's for you, Mike. Wish I could be there.

     My first real introduction to Nine Inch Nails (other than maybe hearing "Head Like a Hole" or something else from Pretty Hate Machine) was the classic The Downward Spiral in high school, and one of the songs that always really stuck with me was "Piggy". I don't know if it's just because it's one of the first tracks on the album and thus got into my brain early, but any way you slice it to this day "Piggy" is still one of my favourites. Maybe they'll play it tonight? Fingers crossed.

Saturday: Soundgarden - Loud Love

     Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden are playing on the same bill in Toronto tonight, and even though I'm not going, an old friend from high school who now happens to live in the city is. My jealousy has inspired to me live vicariously through him a little bit and them the final two posts of your weekend catch-up to suit the occasion.

     I'm not completely sure if the show is supposed to be a double-headliner kind of deal or whether one act is opening for the other, but in my head it feels like Soundgarden should be opening for the Nails (if only based on the band's careers lately) so we're going to do a Soundgarden song for yesterday leading into a NIN song for today. Sound like a plan?

     For your Soundgarden opener, I'm going with one of the first Soundgarden songs I ever learned to play on guitar, and my first introduction to the band's deep catalogue. Like everyone else, teenage me was familiar with Superunknown, and to a lesser extent Badmotorfinger, but learning "Loud Love" on guitar turned me on to just how good 1990's Louder Than Love is. I hope that listening to "Loud Love" this evening will do the same for you.

Friday: Conquering Dystopia - Tethys

     Catch-up Day continues here at Loud Noises, with a shredtastic Friday post for you. I've written about guitar hero Jeff Loomis' recent project Conquering Dystopia before, but since Jeff and Keith have blessed us with another playthrough video for one of Conquering Dystopia's killer tracks, I figure what better time to once again tell you that you need to hear this album?

     Your Friday song is "Tethys", as good a Classically-named metal song as any I can think of off the top of my head (Tethys is one of the Titans in Greek mythology. Thanks, years of university education!). And true to it's namesake, "Tethys" is another stellar demonstration of Jeff's mythological guitar prowess. He seems to straddle the line of tastefulness and showing off so effortlessly that it puts much of the modern metal community to shame. Young guitarists interested in become fretboard masters playing a thousand beats per minute should sit down and make notes.

Thursday: Monuments - Origin of Escape

     I've got some serious catching up to do after the last couple of days, so let's get right to it, shall we? For starters, have you heard the new Monuments record yet? If grooves are your thing, the answer should most definitely be yes.

     I've written about British prog band Monuments before, and even featured a song from the new record The Amanuensis back before it was released. But now that it's out and I've had some more time to chew on it, I feel it's time once again to shine some light on these British djentlemen.

     "Origin of Escape" is the second track from the recently released The Amanuensis, and it's a good example of the kind of heavy grooving Monuments are capable of. And while, as I often say, the wheel isn't being reinvented here, The Amaneunsis definitely sees Monuments upping their game: there's more of everything to like this time out -- riffs, grooves, you name it -- and Chris Barretto's vocal performances are confident and powerful. Have a listen to "Origin of Escape" and hear for yourself.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Album of the Week(end): Opeth - Watershed

     Super late on the draw with your album this week, but I'll use as an excuse the fact that I've got a little something in the works... a little something you'll have to wait a while longer for, but a little something I think you might enjoy. Anyways, rather than just skip the week, I've decided that this week you just have to spend the weekend doing your homework -- but you have to rock it extra hard. Hopefully that won't be a problem, given the subject matter.

     What subject matter, you ask? Well, this weekend you're going to be getting closer to Opeth's 2008 monster Watershed. As any Opeth fan will tell you, I could recommend any number of albums from the band's catalogue, and for more than just a weekend, or even a week, but Watershed marks a...'watershed'... moment in my own personal musical journey. (Sorry, I couldn't resist. I really couldn't)

     Back when this album came out, I was decently into Opeth, particularly their more recent stuff (the Damnation and Deliverance records, as well as Ghost Reveries),  and I was also really starting to listen outside the mainstream metal box (or at least, I suppose, what I considered to be the mainstream metal box back then -- lots of metalcore, mainly). So when this Swedish band that I already considered to be pretty damn good put out the perfect mix of rock, metal, jazz, blues, and folk, all on a single record, I was pretty much instantly hooked.

     Assuming (stupidly, perhaps) that you're not already familiar with this one, I'm hoping you'll get pretty instantly hooked too, since you've only got the weekend to sit with it. But really, any time you give to this classic over the next couple of days will be well spent. Don't let the fact that Opeth is a metal band turn you off if you're not a metal fan. Don't let the fact that this is the album on which Opeth really went non-metal turn you off if you are a metal fan. Any way you slice it, just revisit this classic as a favour to me, OK?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Eidola - Going Nowhere

     If I had to pick a genre umbrella under which to stick today's band (which I guess I don't, but I'm still going to see this intro through...) I'd go with post-hardcore. But don't let that vague, vanilla terminology dissuade you from discovering a pretty interesting listen in Eidola.

     Snappy energy, vocal harmonies and acrobatics,  a smidgen of atmospheric post-progaliciousness even -- Eidola's debut LP The Great Glass Elephant reminds me a little of Death Before Disco or even Dance Gavin Dance, if perhaps a tad less... emo than either.

     Have a listen to "Going Nowhere" from 2012's Glass Elephant and get into an Eidola mood, then come await the band's new album Degeneraterra with me, because this could be one very tasty sophomore record.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tuesday: Set and Setting - Coping

     Regular readers will know that in addition to all things techy and proggy, I also have a place in my heart for all things post. Post-rock, post-hardcore, post-metal, whatever genre you want to try and move beyond, I'm right there with you.

     Which is why I'm stoked to be able to feature as today's song the latest from instrumental post-rock/metallers Set and Setting. "Coping" is the first single from the band's forthcoming Prosthetic debut A Vivid Memory, and it nicely straddles the post-rock and post-metal subgenres: some atmospheric guitar work and musical build-ups are here, but so are some blast beats and trem picking. So sit back and check out what could end up being one of the best instrumental post-anything records of the year.

Monday: Stray From the Path - Counting Sheep

     I've never really been a Stray From the Path fan, but I recently stumbled across this song and decided it reminds me of some other stuff that I am a  fan of, so today I'm going to connect a couple of dots for you. Enjoy.

     Dot one: the song "Counting Sheep" from Stray From the Path's latest LP Anonymous. Dot two: post-hardcore godfathers Refused. Dot three: heirs to Refused's crown, letlive. Stray From the Path has the same aggressive energy and the same catchy-songwriting-with-a-ragged-edge as both of those bands. The latter's Jason Aalon Butler even does some guest work on Anonymous, so maybe it's not so strange that I'm mentioning Stray From the Path in the same breath as Jason's letlive.

     It's not techy or proggy, and it's not really even metal, so it's not necessarily the usual fare around here, but it'll move you, and maybe that's all you need right now.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday: Revocation - Across Forests and Fjords

     Speaking of Revocation, it's been a bit since I last featured a track by the masters of modern thrash, so it's about time I pushed the boys from Boston on you once more.

     Tonight I've decided to pick instrumental track "Across Forests and Fjords" from the band's 2009 sophomore disc Existence is Futile in an effort to show just one way in which these guys could well have what it takes to be inheritors Metallica's thrash crown -- namely, that "Across Forests and Fjords" could sit alongside any of Metallica's great instrumental tracks.

     Tall claim, you say? Maybe, but I genuinely believe these dudes can do it. With another album on the way as early as this fall, Revocation is definitely another of those bands you need to know if you don't already, so give "Across Forests and Fjords" a spin and start from there.

Saturday: Vale of Pnath - Sightless

     I've got a little catching up to do this evening, and I'm going to start doing it with some razor sharp, thrash-tinged tech death.

     If I had to pick a genre for them, Denver's Vale of Pnath are solidly tech death, but they've got veins of other minerals running through their seam of tech death ore. Take your Saturday song as an example: "Sightless" has all the speed and ferocity needed for technical death metal, but some of the riffs and chord progressions would sound equally at home in a Sylosis or Revocation track.

     It's nothing new, but if you're into this kind of thing it sure is tasty. And if you're not into this kind of thing, it's time you got into it. So check out "Sightless" and Vale of Pnath tonight and get in to It.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Sleep - The Clarity

     It's Friday, and it's summer, so all of you out there should be doing your very best to max and/or relax. But maybe you need a little help getting to Chilltown, perhaps some of the, ahem, herbal variety. Stoner metal legends Sleep have got you covered.

     The band has recently begun streaming the first new piece of Sleep music written in nearly twenty years, and at nearly ten minutes long "The Clarity" is about as epic a bit of Sabbath-influenced droney stoner doom as you'd expect. It's not as proggy or as tech as a lot of my usual fare, but sometimes something a little more direct is called for. Check it.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Decrepit Birth - Solar Impulse

     Tonight I've got a concise little blast of tech death for you before bed. Pleasant dreams!

     Decrepit Birth is a tech death band from California that has been doing what it does for more than a decade. And what it does is technical death metal that hits an overlapping Venn diagram of a sweet spot: techy and heavy without sounding inaccessible and bludgeoning, not over-polished but not lo-fi either. It's a balancing act that they pull off well.

     How well is up to you. Your bedtime blast is "Solar Impulse" from the band's 2010 record Polarity. This song does more in less than three minutes than lots of songs do in double that time, and it's heavy as shit to boot. You're welcome.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Haken - Falling Back to Earth

     I'm going to try and eat another eleven minutes of your time this evening, but I promise it'll be worth it. Would I lie to you?

     One of last year's most talked about prog albums was The Mountain, the third disc from the British badasses in Haken. I featured the song "Cockroach King" back when this record first came out, with its music video's just-right combination of the menacing music with the Muppet-style puppet visuals. But Haken and The Mountain are not so one dimensional as all that.

     Your song this evening is "Falling Back to Earth", an epic prog journey replete with both dreamy melancholy and some twisted, evil grooves. The eleven minutes will fly by, trust me, and you'll be left achin' for more Haken. See what I did there? It may have been terrible, but that doesn't mean "Falling Back to Earth" isn't another great reason to check out The Mountain and discover this underrated gem from across the pond.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Album of the Week: The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium

     I'm going throwback Tuesday with this week's Album of the Week post, taking you right back to the early days of the blog for this week's pick. In trying to recommend an album each week, I'm trying to pick something that has enough meat on its bones to stand up to repeated listens.

     The ideal Album of the Week should in fact not only stand up to repeated listening but actually reward it, revealing new facets and aspects with every time through. One of the very first bands I wrote about two years ago has a back catalogue that includes several such albums, but as far as The Mars Volta is concerned, I really think you're best served to start at the start.

     De-loused in the Comatorium is still, in my opinion, the band's best work. Even if you knew At the Drive-In and the story of its demise and the band's it spawned, you still couldn't have been ready for the style of high-energy salsa prog Omar and Cedric brewed up in De-loused. Later albums got further and further out there, to the point that "prog" sometimes veered into "wankery", but De-loused struck the perfect balance of focus and meandering jamitude.

     I know I say this all the time, but this really is a case of if you're already a fan it's probably time you revisited this record, and if you're not it's probably time you got familiar. Mars Volta fans who got on board later in the band's career take special note: this is the band in its prime. If you don't know this album, you need to, so study up this week. It'll be on the quiz.

Distorted Harmony - Hollow

     Today we're staying proggy but going international for your Song of the Day. Israel's been in the news a lot lately, and whatever your stance on the politics of the situation, I think you'll agree that Israel is seldom, if ever, in the news for its metal.

     Yeah, it's not the best segue, but it gets me to Distorted Harmony, an Israeli prog outfit that's doing stuff on par with anything on the international scene.  As an example I present to you "Hollow" from the band's latest Chain Reaction. It's riffy and epic and proggy in all the right places. I'm just hearing about these guys today, but I'd be willing to bet that it won't be the last time I read about them and their modern melo-prog. Join me in jamming "Hollow", won't you?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Destrage - Are You Kidding Me? No.

     In yesterday's song post, I talked briefly about how "catchy" doesn't have to be a bad thing to call a metal band. It can, in the right circumstances, be a perfectly fine thing, and if you mix "catchy" and some "weird" together, it can be a perfectly great thing.

     I've written about Italy's Destrage before, but since then I've spent a lot more time with their latest disc Are You Kidding Me? No. and have come to the conclusion that it'll be criminal if this record doesn't end up on some Best of 2014 lists at the end of the year. There's a decent chance it'll land on mine, but for now I'm just going to urge you to check these guys out, and facilitate your doing so by featuring another track from this killer album.

     I'm honestly hard-pressed to pick the right song to feature from Are You Kidding Me? No. "My Green Neighbour" feels perhaps the most singley (and I mean it is the album's single), but I've already done that one. Album opener "Destroy, Create, Transform, Sublimate" does a great job of kicking things off with a bang and setting the tone for the rest of the record, but I think I have to go with the album closing title track as your Song for this evening.

     "Are You Kidding Me? No." opens punky and techy and even a little mathy, like some hypothetical super jam featuring members of Protest the Hero and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Things go a bit further down the math-prog rabbit hole before taking a turn for mariachi oom-pah town before ultimately resolving into some very neo-classical sounding shred. All in all, it's a good encapsulation of the confident wackyness to be had on Are You Kidding Me? No. and a good encapsulation of why you should give Destrage a listen.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday: Aeges - Fault

     The instrumental well has run dry, but that doesn't mean I'm out of cool stuff to show you. Far from it, this evening I've got something slick and catchy for your earholes.

     In some contexts either "slick" or "catchy" could be a four-letter word, but when talking about today's song from Aeges both are positives that translate into a sound reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, if Queens were a little less out there and a little more conventionally heavy. I know it's a bit of a cop-out to label anything post-anything these days, but I don't think post-Queens of the Stone Age would be an unreasonable way of describing the rocking riffage that Aeges look set to bring to the table.

     Have a listen to lead single "Fault" from the band's sophomore LP Above & Down Below for a taste of the slick, catchy goodness that is Aeges.

Saturday: Outrun the Sunlight - Spirit

     We're going to keep the more or less instrumental good times going tonight with another slice of lyricless goodness. Since this is the first track to be released from this band's upcoming album, I can't promise you things will stay this instrumental, but based on this track I wouldn't be too upset if they do.

     Listening to Outrun the Sunlight's "Spirit" definitely gives the impression that, fully instrumental album or not, this song is a kind of transition from one place to another. It has a feeling of building up that sounds like it's going somewhere good. Things start out a little moodier and more atmospheric before giving way to some djenty riffing that carries through the rest of the track and provides a bed for some melodic leadwork.

     I don't know if the rest of the band's upcoming Terrapin will be like this, or how this track fits into the rest of the album, but you can mark me down as intrigued on this one.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Stimpy Lockjaw - Asteroids

     If we're going to go instrumental and jazzy (a la Trioscapes) then some of the guys in Ever Forthright have a side project that pretty much fits the bill. Don't let the somewhat bizarre name dissuade you -- Stimpy Lockjaw could be your new favourite band.

     The first track the guys in Stimpy Lockjaw have released from their upcoming self-titled debut clocks in at eleven minutes long, but you can trust me when I tell you that the time is well worth it. It does take a little time to really get started, but once it does ramp up that epic duration yields some jazzified drums and piano, some intricate guitar-driven prog, and some straight up shredding.

      "Asteroids" is a little off kilter, a little unsettling, and a little incredible. Eleven minutes sounds daunting, but by the end you'll be enthralled and wishing there was more. Soon, my pretties, soon...

(And yes, I know I said today's song was both instrumental and jazzy, and I know there's vocals at the start of "Asteroids", and then again towards the end, but not a whole lot of them. So it's almost instrumental...)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Trioscapes - Stab Wounds

     Some days I go out looking for a song to feature here, listening to a variety of stuff and picking something I dig enough to want to share. But then there are the other days, when the right song falls in my lap. Today is one of those song-in-lap days, and it's extra exciting because it's a new a song off the new album by a band you should know I'm really into.

     We've known that great jazzy equalizers Trioscapes have been working on their follow-up to 2012's Separate Realities for a while now, but in the last couple of days we've finally gotten a release date and, more importantly, a new song.

     Sophomore disc Digital Dream Sequence drops August 19th, but you should most definitely listen to the first single "Stab Wounds" right now. It's got a but of a heavier feel to it than previous Trioscapes material -- not necessarily more metal or anything, just a little bit... heavier -- but there's still all the groove that makes Trioscapes what it is. Oh, and all the yazz flute is still there too. Gods be praised.

Stones on stones on stones...

     Over the past couples of months, Loud Noises has celebrated a couple of fairly substantial milestones that I'd like to take a second to acknowledge before we get so far past them that it would be embarrassing to bring them up. This acknowledgement may be for my own gratification more than anything else, but then isn't the whole blog kinda like that anyway? Here we go!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Botanist - Callistemon

     Ever think that the variety of stuff I feature on a daily basis is too limited for your worldly palate? Feel like my usual fare is too mundane? Hopefully today's song will both satisfy your musical wanderlust and show you I've got some range.

     Enter Botanist. This experimental band from San Francisco has a melodic sensibility and artsy feel that reminds me of ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead,  if Trail of Dead had a healthy amount of double-kick and some yelled/screamed vocals (although those vocals can be pretty low in the mix).

     What it amounts to is metal that doesn't feel like metal. Maybe post-metal would be the best umbrella term, but any way you slice it there's some heaviness to be had here, even if it might not be the most conventional kind. Have a listen to "Callistemon" from Botanist's latest, VI: Flora, and see (or hear) what I mean.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Samuel Jackson Five - Electric Crayons

     On a day when I encourage you to listen to more Coheed and Cambria, I can hardly feature something any less progressive or unique for the Song of the Day now can I? I didn't think so either, which is why I've got something a little different for you tonight, all the way from Norway.

     The Samuel Jackson Five play a style of music that's ineffable in the truest sense of the word; any adjectival phrase I try to come up with falls short. Indie prog-pop? Experimental post-rock? Alternative arthouse post-hardcore? Any of those labels could be applied, and I could probably apply a few more, and none of them would give you a proper encapsulation of what The Samuel Jackson Five does.

     So I'm going to start you off with "Electric Crayons" from the band's 2012 self-titled disc tonight because that's where I got started with The Samuel Jackson Five (thanks Heavyblogisheavy!) but I implore you to surf around the band's Soundcloud after you've taken in "Electric Crayons" -- I promise you'll find something that speaks to you.

Album of the Week: Coheed and Cambria - In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

     Last week when I was recommending the Coheed song "Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)" it occurred to me that they're a band with a nice, deep back catalogue that could most definitely yield an album with enough meat on its bones for a week of auditory enjoyment. So today I'm makin' it happen, cap'n.

     But which Coheed and Cambria album should you spend the next seven days getting to know? There's several good candidates. The band's debut Second Stage Turbine Blade is a landmark in the post-hardcore movement of the early 2000's. Then again, their most recent work, the Afterman double album, is a bit of a return to form after a lackluster record or two, and as good as anything from their lengthy career.

     For my money, however, if you have to pick one Coheed album to push on people, it's got to be sophomore disc In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, an album that works on multiple levels. If you're a sci-fi dork who digs the ongoing story of the Kilgannon family, then I put it to you that IKSSE:3 is when the story really kicks into gear. If, on the other hand, you couldn't care less about the concept and instead dig Coheed and Cambria on a purely musical level, all you need to know is that IKSSE:3 is a stellar prog-pop post-rock (is that a thing?) album from front to back, a genre classic like its predecessor the aforementioned Second Stage Turbine Blade. Riffs, beats, songs, melodies, harmonies, this record is so well crafted it's scary. Get familiar this week if you're not already. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Pomegranate Tiger - Not to See the Sun

     To coincide with the brand spankin' new Twenty Questions interview with Matt and Martin from Pomegranate Tiger I posted earlier, this evening I'm recommending you have a listen to a track from the band's debut LP Entities.

     "Not to See the Sun" is a mid-album monster, showing off both PT's ability to turn a riff on a dime as well as Martin's ability to shred out great lead work like it's going out of style. It also serves as a bit of a transition between the more isolated, disjointed elements of the first half of Entities and the three-part "Ocean" suite that dominates the album's second half.

     Like I said at the end of the Twenty Questions piece, if instrumental, progressive, and technically proficient metal is your cup of tea, you should order a whole pot of Pomegranate Tiger. Fans of bands like Animals as Leaders, Scale the Summit, and Between the Buried and Me will have little reason to be disappointed.

Twenty Questions - Matt and Martin from Pomegranate Tiger

Well howdy, stranger. Beginning to wonder if, after six months or so of radio silence, I'd ever be back with another Twenty Questions interview? Oh ye of little faith...

     Yes, it's true, it has once again been far too long, but I am indeed back with another twenty of my inane questions for another one of heavy music's up and coming bands. Today we're going to learn a little more about some pretty complex, pretty progressive instrumental metal from Matt Shaheen and Martin Andres, guitarists from Pomegranate Tiger. Take a look.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Death Grips - Guillotine

     They may not be metal, but if the mourning that seems to be happening online in reaction to their demise is any indication, Sacramento experimental hip-hop group Death Grips merits at least a few minutes of your time.

     "Guillotine" is the first Death Grips track I heard, and it's apparently one of their most widely known tracks, so it's probably as good a place to start as any when checking out some Death Grips. The beat is simple, the chorus, if you can call it that, repetitive like a chanted mantra. The overall effect is hypnotic, and definitely not your average rap. It's cool, but I can see why these guys have remained underground for the entirety of their now-complete career.

     But will that continue? I only heard about Death Grips when I was reading about their demise and the double album they're still releasing part two of, a double album which features none other than Bjork, so maybe Death Grips will find some posthumous exposure and recognition that seems to have eluded them on their short run. Check them out, if only so you know what all the fuss was about and can chime in when one of your friends laments their passing before their time.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

United Nations - United Nations vs. United Nations

     You might be in need of something snappy after last night's post-rock meanderings, so tonight I bring you an incendiary couple of minutes of modern hardcore/aggro post-punk from supergroup United Nations.

     With a founding roster than includes members of Thursday, Glassjaw, and Converge, United Nations is a supergroup in the truest sense of the word, and a mysterious one at that. The permanent membership of the band remains largely unconfirmed and speculative, other than Thursday vocalist Geoff Rickly, giving it the feel of a collective where art is more important than artists.

     The band's sophomore LP The Next Four Years comes out in the next couple of weeks, so you should probably get ready by listening to the first song to be released, "United Nations vs. United Nations", and hear a band that has most definitely picked up the torch first lit by Refused.

Friday: USA Out of Vietnam - Tonight, The Dead Walk

     You've got fifteen minutes or so to go on a musical journey before you go to bed, right? Of course you do. Who doesn't?

     I've featured a fair amount of cool Canadian stuff on the blog recently, and I'm glad to add Montreal's USA Out of Vietnam to that list tonight. They're a bit weird, straddling the intersection of stoner sludge and post-rock epic, but if you're willing to put the time into lengthy slow-burner "Tonight, The Dead Walk" from Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes, you'll be rewarded with some cool melodies and chord progressions and some really solid drum work. Don't let the song's length put you off.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Night Verses - Celestial Fires

     The naysayers among you (you guys are the worst) would likely argue that the emo/screamo/whatevero implosion crippled, or even killed, the genre(s) commonly known as post-hardcore. But I say post-hardcore is still alive and well. Take a knee, son!

     I've written about Night Verses before, but a lot has happened for them in the interim. I featured a track from their EP, but since then the band has released their debut LP Lift Your Existence, and now they've unveiled a new video for the song "Celestial Fires". 

     Both aggressive and earnest, "Celestial Fires" is the perfect case study of emotional post-hardcore, with just a hint of a metal edge. If it's any indication of the overall quality of Lift Your Existence then I'm going to have to make a serious effort check the whole LP out. I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Contortionist - Feedback Loop

     New album news just keeps rolling in, and I for one won't complain. Just as Darkest Hour have stopped teasing us and declared that their next disc will actually be self-titled (despite the hashtag Fuck Waiting Around to Die), the death-proggers in The Contortionist are teasing their next LP Languauge, due out in September.

     Alas, while Darkest Hour have given us a sample song from their forthcoming disc, The Contortionist have thus far only released a teaser snippet, leaving me to mine the band's first two LPs for a commemorative song to recommend to you. The song I've chosen, "Feedback Loop", is a perfect example of the juxtaposition of 'beauty' and 'beast' The Contortionist went for on 2012's Intrinsic, but with only a teaser to go on I have no idea how Language will stack up in comparison. Just groove to "Feedback Loop" for now and we'll check back when the boys release a song, OK?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Moneen - Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?

     It's  still Canada Day, which means it's time for your Canada song. As I was pondering what to point you towards for this Canada Day, it occurred to me that it's been far too long since I've sung the praise of Brampton's Moneen. So Happy Canada Day, have some Moneen!

     We used to listen to a ton(ne) of these guys back in The Day. Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? came out in 2003, right in the butter zone of the formation of my current musical tastes, although it was "Tonight, I'm Gone..." from 2001's The Theory of Harmonial Value that first introduced me to Moneen's high energy, catchy songwriting, and earnest lyrics. Some might well call Moneen "emo", with derisive intent, but I respond that Moneen represents that best of what that genre had/has to offer.

     So on this Canada Day, look forward, into the next year, and ask yourself, "Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?"

Album of the Week: Protest the Hero - Kezia

     It's Canada Day today, so you know I'm going to take that excuse for a theme and run with it as far as I can. The end result as far as you're concerned is some Canadian stuff for your song and album today, starting with the rock-solid debut LP from one of my favourite bands.

     The success of their crowdfunding campaign for last year's Volition may have put them front and centre in the metal world for a bit, but Whitby's Protest the Hero were making their name on their tasty tech riffage for years before that. Protest has a great back catalogue, and I could comfortably recommend you spend the week with any of their records prior to Volition, but in order to fully appreciate how far they've come, I think you've got to start at the start.

     Kezia is one of those debut records that struck like a proverbial bolt out of the blue, an effect only compounded by the teenaged status of the band at the time of the album's composition and recording. It certainly depressed me, a guitarist in my early twenties at the time, that a bunch of kids several years my junior had come roaring out of the gate with such an impressive first album.

     Punky energy, metal technicality, Rody's phenomenal vocal range, high-brow concepts -- none of it is anything new for Protest. They've been doing that kind of thing since the beginning, and have only been honing their sound. Longtime fans of the band will know how good Kezia is, but latecomers to the Protest party who haven't delved into the band's early days should be implored to do so. Just because the guys don't play a whole lot of cuts off Kezia anymore doesn't detract from said album's awesomeness. Discover that awesomeness for yourself this week, please.

Monday: Coheed and Cambria - Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)

     Speaking as I was yesterday/earlier about bands that should get back in the saddle and write a new record already, Baroness isn't the only act I'd put on this list. I know they're gearing up for a fall tour playing their breakthrough album in its entirety, but Coheed and Cambria could stand to drop some new music on me.

     Sure, the second part of the acclaimed The Afterman double record did only just come out last year, but I'm already ready for the next Coheed chapter. Their catalogue is just so consistently good that I figure more can only be better, right? Yeah, that might be both flawed logic and tempting fate a little bit, but the heart wants what it wants.

     So have a listen to a pop-rock blast from Coheed and Cambria's past in the form of "Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial) from the band's longwinded 2005 record Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Vol. 1: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. It might be a convoluted song title, and a convoluted album title, but the track is rock solid, so check it out.