Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving - The Albanian Sleepover: Part One

     How did yesterday's epic Native Construct progathon treat you? If "The Spark of the Archon" was a test of your stamina, I've got some bad news for you: today's song also approaches saga-length. But maybe it's just ten minutes or so of funky prog-jazz that's not your thing. Maybe you'll do better with some slow-burn instrumental post-rock/metal/whatever?

     Australia's Tangled Thoughts of Leaving are getting ready to release their latest album Yield to Despair in a couple of weeks, but you don't have to wait until the 17th of April for a taste... or a long, lingering chug, such as the case may be. The full ten minutes of album opener "The Albanian Sleepover: Part One" is currently streaming on Tangled Thoughts of Leaving's Bandcamp in all its vaguely melancholy glory.

     It's a moody musical journey of build and release in the tradition of bands like favourite of mine Russian Circles, so if you've got another ten minutes to spare, I encourage you to strap on some headphones and take a trip. They won't all be this long from now on, I promise.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Native Construct - The Spark of the Archon

     By this point you should all know that "proggy" and "jazzy" are two flavours I enjoy the taste of very much. Throw in "funky grooviness", and you've got the makings of a pretty epic meal. Seen in this light, today's marathon of proggy goodness from Boston's Native Construct is a multi-course smorgasboard.

     "The Spark of the Archon", the first single from Native Construct's upcoming debut LP Quiet World, is nearly nine minutes of smoothly flowing ideas and instrumentation. The mostly "proggy", "jazzy" and "funky" grooves are further supplemented by some blast beaty flashes of metal and some orchestral flashes of cinematic grandiosity.

     You shouldn't be bored at any point during the running time of "The Spark of the Archon" (especially since the guys in Native Construct have put out a guitar/bass playthrough video so you can watch the magic unfold) but things aren't ever disjointed enough that you find yourself lost and confused. You prog fans should get familiar with these guys before Quiet World drops, so get started right this minute.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sunday: Killswitch Engage - Loyalty

     A few weeks ago I posted about the latest one-off from Mastodon, a new track called "White Walker" they cooked up for a Game of Thrones compilation album, of all things. It's actually a surprisingly good track (ie: not just a shitty cash-in), so I figure you might want to know if there's anything else cool on the second Catch the Throne mixtape.

     And lo, there's at least one other Thrones-themed cut from this record that you might be interested in. Or not. Either way, bottom line, there's a new Killswitch Engage song for you to jam. Most of the songs off this Catch the Throne mixtape have a particular Game of Thrones-related subject, and Killswitch's "Loyalty" is focused on the southern kingdom of Dorne and its ruling House Martell.

     If that kind of nerdiness means nothing to you, try this: "Loyalty" feels a little like it could have appeared on 2013's Disarm the Descent in terms of its balance of hookyness and heaviness. If you dug anything from Jesse's return to the band, check this one out, Game of Thrones fan or not.

Saturday: Secrets of the Sky - Three Swords

     Not quite sure what kind of heavy you're in the mood for just now? I've got you covered, Saturday style, courtesy of California's Secrets of the Sky.

     "Three Swords", the first track to be loosed from the band's upcoming Pathway, is just the kind of song to suit your indecisive palette. Slow burning and a little doomy for much of its first half, with a few sorta psychedelic sprinklings, "Three Swords" gets blacker and crustier and all around heavier towards its conclusion. It's eight minutes that flies by without ever overstaying its welcome.

     If I had to make some band comparisons to give you an impression of Secrets of the Sky, I suppose I might say something like good Machine Head meets Opeth meets Cormorant, but really I'm as unsure what to call these guys as you are regarding what you're in the mood for just now. But why not just check out the song for yourself? Atta boy.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Friday: Uneven Structure - Buds

     I mentioned Uneven Structure's upcoming sophomore album La Partition in my 2015 Top Prospects post a while back, but it's only now, upon giving the band's debut disc Februus some more love over the last couple of days, that I fully appreciate the gravity of what we might be in store for.

     In other words, I am now well and truly starting to get stoked for this one. And you should join me in this magical world of excitement. Now, I could probably recommend you check out virtually any song on Februus (or at least the first disc, since the second's mostly atmospheric instrumental soundscapes) and perhaps I will have done by the time La Partition comes out, but for today I'll have to be content to just pick one.

     So grab your best buds, turn your shit up, and have a listen to "Buds" from 2011's Februus. Then join me in anticipating some new material from Uneven Structure.

Thursday: Gyre - I Release

     Sisyphus here, coming to you live on location from behind this giant boulder that just won't go up this damn hill...

     Yes, I'm still catching up from last weekend's lax performance, but I'm going to do it today, I swear, and I'm going to start with a belated Thursday post of some rather tasty metalcore. Even if you're one of those anti-metalcore types I'm always talking about, I still think you might find a thing or two to enjoy in this one.

      "I Release", from the upcoming EP Moirai, is the latest from New York's Gyre, and while it'd be easy to just call it a metalcore song, it'd be doing these guys such a disservice. Sure, it's metalcorey, but it's got an edge of progginess, a vein of thrashy shreddiness, and a healthy share of catchy energy like you might find in, say, a Protest the Hero song.

     Needless to say, this track goes (know what I mean, nudge nudge?) so metalcore aficionado or not, you should probably give this one a listen or two. Or three. It's really up to you.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wednesday: Pyramids - My Father, Tall as Goliath

     I'm continuing the work of catching up this evening, starting with what I'll loosely call a Wacky Wednesday song, if only because I can't really think of a good, succinct way of describing the latest from Texas outfit Pyramids.

     The recently-released A Northern Meadow is a dense cocktail of sound, mixing a lot of different flavours into something pretty unique. There's elements of drone, ambient and atmospheric stuff, sludgy post-metal, and more besides -- and that's all in the span of a single, not-necessarily-epic-length track.

     Intrigued? Impressed, even? You should be, and after a listen to "My Father, Tall as Goliath", I think you will be. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Tuesday: George Kollias - Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead

     You probably know Nile as "that Egyptian death metal band", and George Kollias, if you know him at all, as "the guy who's played drums for that Egyptian death metal band for the past ten years or so". You might not be aware, however, that George can do more than just drum.

     Apparently a considerable amount more, as his upcoming solo album Invictus seems set to demonstrate. Lead single "Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead" showcases George's talent as a both multi-instrumentalist and a composer of solid death metal with an old school feel. It's not earth-shattering, sure, but it is impressive, even more so for a drummer's solo project. Have a listen and see what you think.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Monday: Veil of Maya - Mikasa

     My slacking off over the last couple of days might make me kinda late to this party, but I'm going to post about it anyways because I've seen a considerable amount of butt-hurt expressed on this one so far. Yes, you guessed (and read) it right: I'm talking about the new Veil of Maya song.

     You know, the one with *gasp!* cleans in it, something which apparently still divides metal fans, or at least Veil of Maya fans, quite sharply. And sure, the cleans are one of the several contributing factors that makes "Mikasa", lead single from the forthcoming Matriarch, sound catchy and hooky, like a breakdown-ier Periphery. There's even a Killswitch-y riff or two, if we're talking comparisons.

     But at the end of the day, none of the above matters one way or the other if you dig something. And dig this I do, at least more than I typically dig Veil of Maya. I don't know if this is the sound all of Matriach will have, and I don't know if I this is the sound I want all of it to have, but for now, I for one am cool with Veil injecting a smidgen of pop flavour into their typical djent-death-core batter.

Sunday: City of Ships - Alarm

     Here's a recipe for trouble for you: take one brief hiatus, add one abortive attempt to re-align trajectory, then just let things slide liberally for a couple more days, until everything's a little bit dusty. Time for a marathon, kids. If only I could somehow do this with a montage.

     Let's kick things off with a Sunday song, and a question: is post-alternative a thing yet? If it isn't, it should be, and City of Ships could be in the running for poster child. Their latest record Ultraliminal often sounds like it could have come out in the nineties, but in a good way: things are fairly guitar-driven, though not necessarily super riffy; song structures are simplified-but-not-simple; a subtle melancholy recurs repeatedly throughout, like so much of the best early 'alternative'.

     Have a listen to (and a watch of) "Alarm", the first of Ultraliminal's tracks to get the video treatment. It might not be the kind of heavy you came here looking for today, but it just might scratch a different itch for you.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Saturday: Gojira - Pain is a Master

     As a service to any of you who patiently sat through all the metalcore this week, I'm going to keep the tr00 metal going in this belated Saturday post. As such, I encourage you to enjoy a cut from the most recent album from France's best metal export.

     It's been a few years since Gojira unleashed L'Enfant Sauvage on us, so we're about due for some new stuff, but for the time being we have to make due with what we've got. That's why your Saturday song is "Pain is a Master" from the aforementioned L'Enfant Sauvage. Whatever blackened, doomy genre label you choose to affix, it should be plenty metal enough for you.

Friday: Ion Dissonance - Can Someone Please Explain This to Me?

     Morning, boys and girls. Miss me? Sure you did. I have only two word to explain my absence since Friday: Space Hulk. Look it up and be amazed at the depths of my dorkiness if you care to, but suffice it to say that I lost Friday to playing Space Hulk and yesterday to catching up on all the shit I didn't do on Friday.

     But you don't care about any of that. I'm just here for the metal, you clamour. I hear you, and after a fair amount of metalcore in the last week or two I've decided to get things back on track today with some heavier offerings in an attempt to placate you. Cool beans?

     To that end your Friday song is a quick, concise blast of chaos from Montreal's Ion Dissonance. "Can Someone Please Explain This to Me?" from ID's 2010 record Cursed is less than three minutes long but, like the rest of the record, it spans a lot of territory: detuned death-djentiness, spastic grindy grooves, flashes of tech. There's a lot to chew on here, so get to know Ion Dissonance if you don't already.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

While She Sleeps - Crows

     Apparently I'm in a bit of a metalcore mood lately, because I've picked another offering from the land of chuggity chugs and breakdowns for your song this evening. And hey, what do you know, it's a bit of a throwback for this Thursday evening too.

     British metalcore act my have come a ways since their 2010 EP The North Stands for Nothing, but it's still my favourite release of theirs and the one with which I'm most familiar. As such, it's once again the source of your While She Sleeps Song.

     At less than three and a half minutes long, "Crows" is brief and relatively to the point, like most of the material on The North Stands for Nothing. It's got some decent melody going in its chord progressions too, reminding me a little of mid-career Architects. But besides everything else, it's a fun little metalcore song, and while the band's sound may have evolved in four years plus, I still digs me some of the old stuff. Czech it out.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Dreamshade - Dreamers Don't Sleep

     Today's song was recommended on Facebook a while back by none other than the dudes in Darkest Hour (or at least the dudes running their Facebook page) and today I'm finally getting around to passing it along to you.

     "Dreamers Don't Sleep", the latest single from Swiss act Dreamshade, is a bit of heavily melodic, almost poppy metalcore, vaguely reminiscent of Bullet For My Valentine blended with Come Clarity-era In Flames, with some Killswitch Engage-y riffing in there for good measure. The result is another fun metalcore track in the vein of Sunday's Oceans Ate Alaska song. You like fun, right?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Entheos - Specific Meaning in a Group of Dots

     You may well have previously heard of Entheos, a supergroup of sorts featuring former members of bands like The Faceless and Animosity. Now you're going to get the chance to hear them too!

     Entheos only just released their debut EP a few days ago, but I would already count myself among those anxious for a full album. Primal is a fearsome, all-too-brief slice of sometimes djenty, sometimes proggy tech-death. Riffing and blast-beating turns on a dime, but there are some sweet grooves to be found too, and even some glitchy electronic elements.

     Check out lead track "Specific Meaning in a Group of Dots" for a start, but definitely give the rest of Primal a spin too. The hype machine was pretty spot-on with this one.

Monday, 16 March 2015

VOLA - Stray the Skies

     I don't have a cut-and-dried bit of clever (or less-than-clever, depending on where you stand...) alliteration for this evening's song. If you require that kind of thing, I implore you to go down and listen to the song, then come back up here and insert your own M-based alliterative title for today's post.

     Danish four-piece VOLA is a little challenging to pin down: there's definite djent and proggish metal-feeling stuff going on, but there's an electronic, almost pop sensibility at times. It amounts to something that's both modern sounding and a bit retro too, something heavy, but in a kind of un-heavy way.

     Don't understand what I'm talking about? You'll just have to have a listen to "Stray the Skies" from VOLA's most recent disc Inmazes to find out what I'm trying to get at. Leave your suggestions, along with your alliteration ideas, in a comment.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Oceans Ate Alaska - Blood Brothers

     Sometimes we metalheads can be very elitist, looking down our corpse-painted noses at shit that isn't tr00 and/or br00tal. I rail against this all the time, trying to feature a variety of stuff from all kinds of different genres. Today I'm going to fly directly in the face of this elitist attitude by once again picking a song from one of the metalhead's most reviled subgenres: metalcore.

     Your Sunday Funday song is "Blood Brothers" by British metalcore act Oceans Ate Alaska, from their recent album Lost Isles. I call it a Sunday Funday song because it's fun, even if you don't want to admit it. Sure, it's all breakdown-y and core cliche, but it's well done core cliche. It's one of the better metalcore tunes I've heard in a while, so let go of your prejudice, embrace the dark side, and just spend three-and-a-half minutes indulging your less serious side.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Minsk - The Way is Through

     There's a bit of the usual weekend mellow in today's track, but by the end of the nine minutes this one I promise you'll be suitably pummeled.

     Illinois' Minsk have a new album, The Crash & The Draw, coming out in April, and if today's song is anything to judge the rest of the record by, it sounds like this is going to be a big ol' slab of awesome. "The Way is Through" starts placidly enough, with lots of atmosphere, melancholy post-rock style. But before long Minsk have gone all doomy and sludgy, switching their post-rock for post-metal, and things only get more crushing.

     Nine minutes can be a long listening time, but if you're a fan of metal it shouldn't be anything you can't handle already, and if you're not, trust me, "The Way is Through" builds all the way along and has the pacing to keep your interest the whole time. Clear some space in your schedule for this one.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Skyharbor - Idle Minds

     Despite the fact that I'm both a Skyharbor fanboy and a Dan Tompkins fanboy, I didn't put Skyharbor's sophomore disc Guiding Lights on my Best of 2014 list. That doesn't mean, however, that Guiding Lights isn't a solid album deserving of at least another day in the sun.

     I think I overlooked Guiding Lights at the end of the year because, for me,  it didn't have the instantly memorable songs of Blinding White Noise. But Guiding Lights is a grower, not a shower. Every listen reveals another layer and sinks the album's hooks deeper.

     So Skyharbor gets another Song of the Day, specifically "Idle Minds", another textbook sample of Skyharbor groove and strong Tompkins vocal performance. So when's album number three coming out then, boys?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mastodon - White Walker

     Chances are you've heard at some point in the last little while that there's going to be some pretty decent metal representation on the latest Game of Thrones album/mixtape (yeah, I know, right? That's a thing). Today you get to hear a sample from Catch the Throne, Vol. II in the form of new material from Mastodon.

     "White Walker" is light on the heavy and heavy on the mood, if you follow me. Don't expect much crushing or pummeling, but a haunting, white walker-y kind of atmosphere abounds. Do expect a slow build of brooding and dread that bursts about three quarters of the way in. Not what you might expect from Mastodon, but tasty nonetheless.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Alkaloid - The Malkuth Grimoire

     Get a firm grip on both your hats and your socks before listening to today's song, because today's bit of prog-tinged death metal threatens to blow both right off.

     Alkaloid's debut LP The Malkuth Grimoire is nearly upon us, and we've recently gotten yet another taste of what the album has to offer. This time it's title track "The Malkuth Grimoire", a riff-fest of chuggy proportions that contains a couple of good, heavy-ass grooves. There might not be quite as much of the proggy seasoning that some of the other tracks we've heard so far have had, but there certainly is headbanging heavyness in spades. Give it a spin.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Irreversible Mechanism - Infinite Fields

     Getting all caught up today with a Tech Tuesday post for fans of The Faceless, Arsis, and other similarly techy stuff.

     International outfit Irreversible Mechanism are about to unleash their debut LP Infinite Fields at the end of the month, and now we all get to hear the title track. "Infinite Fields" is shreddy and epic to the point of being operatic -- some choral work wouldn't sound out of place in a couple of spots. It's not exactly breaking the tech death mold, but if the rest of the album Infinite Fields is of the same calibre as "Infinite Fields" the song, this could still be one of the year's stronger showings. Check it out.

Monday: Trees on Mars - Ode to the Vulture

     We're still playing a bit of catch-up here at Loud Noises, and for today's belated Monday post we're going to do it with a little bit of InstruMetal Monday. What kind of instrumental metal are we dealing with this time? Get out your music blender, kids.

     Take some Scale the Summit, add maybe about a third as much Russian Circles, set your dial part-way between post-rock and post-metal, blend liberally, and you've got a rough recipe for Trees on Mars. Season that with a guest solo from none other than Plini and you've got a recipe for your Monday song.

     Have a listen to "Ode to the Vulture", a track from Trees on Mars' 2014 debut LP The Sapling. And while you're at it, have a look at it too, because today the link happens to take you to a full-band video to boot! Enjoi!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Sunday: Soundgarden - Spoonman

     You know how Facebook has the 'trending news' feed on the right-hand side now? I'm almost ashamed to admit exactly how much of my news comes to me from that little sidebar, but let's just say that some days it's 'more than it should be'. In any event, yesterday it told me that Soundgarden's Superunknown is turning 21 years old this year.

     A little internet searching confirms, revealing that Soundgarden's masterpiece came out on the 8th of March way back in 1994. As a Soundgarden fan with an abiding love for Superunknown, I feel I would be remiss if I let an anniversary like this pass without commemoration.

     So to celebrate Superunknown turning the legal drinking age in the States, your Sunday song is Soundgarden classic "Spoonman". But before you click the link, go grab your spoons. Go on, I'll wait.

Saturday: CHON - Can't Wait

     I know it's only been a couple of weeks since the last time I featured a song from CHON's new album Grow, but in the interests both of keeping it mellow for your belated Saturday song (just play this on any Saturday when you need some chilling to happen) and of keeping you abreast of the latest and greatest out there on the internet, it's time for more CHON.

     The occasion this time is not only the proliferation of their latest single from the forthcoming Grow, "Can't Wait", but also the proliferation of their latest single with... vocals? Yes, everybody's favourite jazzed-up instrumental pop-prog band has some of them word things on their new record. But it's not the end of the world -- it's not even the first time they've done it -- so go ahead and have a listen and see what you think before deciding out of hand it's not for you.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Friday: Timerity - Isosceles

     You know I sometimes like to do something a little more chill heading into the weekend, so for this week's Friday post (a little late, yes, I know...) I've got a nice little metal-related surprise for you to chill out with.

     So think back to Protest the Hero's second album Fortress. There's a song on there called "Spoils" that has this piano section at the end of it. You might, at first listen, think the boys brought it a guest musician or something, without realizing that guitarist Tim Millar, in addition to being a master beard-grower, is a pretty good pianist as well.

     And now he's got a full-on little side project going (if that makes any sense) under the moniker of Timerity. That's why you're going to check out "Isosceles" for your Friday song, which contains the aforementioned piano section from "Spoils" and a bunch more too. Turn your pianist friends into Protest the Hero fans today!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Misery Signals - Reborn (An Execution)

     Looking back, I don't think I've given enough love to Absent Light, Misery Signals' crowdfunded follow-up to 2008's masterpiece Controller. Sure, I picked it as one of my ten favourite albums for 2013, but since then I haven't really listened to it a whole lot. Let's fix that today, shall we?

     Your Thursday song, only very slightly thrown back, is "Reborn (An Execution)" from 2013's Absent Light by Misery Signals. That interlocking set of intro guitar riffs, in combination with the off-time groove that sits underneath them, are proof positive that even if Absent Light isn't a shower right off the bat, it sure as shit is a grower. You feel me? Yeah, you feel me.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Black Dahlia Murder - Black Valor

     Today's song comes once again from time spent with my brother, and I promise that this time it's a tad more metal than As I Lay Dying. You see, we were driving, and today's band happened to come up on the 'ol Shufflatron, causing my brother to chuckle, shake his head, and say "blastbeats, eh?". Yes, my figurative son. Blastbeats.

     Your song today is "Black Valor", the opening track from 2009's Deflorate by The Black Dahlia Murder. I know I'm a bit of a latecomer to the TBDM party, but Deflorate is the album that cemented my love for this band and what they do. And that includes blastbeats. Everblack is nearing two years old now, so perhaps wishing for some new Black Dahlia Murder wouldn't be a complete waste, but for the time being we'll just have to jam some of this quality old shit. Go.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Slice the Cake - Stone and Silver I: The Mountains of Man

     Are you familiar with international metal trio Slice the Cake? No? You should be, because if their latest single is any indication, it's going to be a big year for these pastry pushers.

     "Stone and Silver I: The Mountains of Man" is the first single to be released from the forthcoming Slice the Cake sophomore disc Odyssey to the West, and boy is it a monster. You get more than eight minutes of proggy, atmospheric death djent. This one meanders a little bit, but it's never directionless, always exploratory. Slice the Cake's debut The Man With No Face was good, but if the rest of their game on Odyssey has been stepped up this much, there are going to be a lot of new Slice the Cake fans when this one finally comes out.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Cloudkicker - Garage Show

     Last Monday I prepared you for your week with a heaping dose of Metal Monday. This week I'm going the other direction in the hopes that good vibes will start your week out on the right foot. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you another edition of Mellow Monday.

     This week I'm going with another cut from everybody's favourite one-man instrumental post-everything workhorse Ben Sharp, aka Cloudkicker. There's lots of Cloudkicker stuff that could fit the bill for a more mellow Monday while still being interesting and engaging (read: not boring), but this time out you're getting "Garage Show" from 2012's Fade. It's a brief, interludey kind of a song, almost more of a jam or exploration of an idea, and yet it's got this laid back groove that just works, leaving me wanting further exploration rather than overstaying its welcome. Get to know Cloudkicker, if you don't already.

Sunday: Slipknot - My Plague

     A couple of days ago, I threw it back for Thursday with an old school As I Lay Dying song. Today you're getting a slightly belated Slipknot Sunday sequel in the form of something from my favourite 'Knot album evar!

     Spoiler alert: it's 2001's Iowa. Slipknot's done a lot of good shit since then, but for my money this is still the best encapsulation of the madness that is Slipknot at their best. I've featured several songs from this record before here at Loud Noises, but today you're getting "My Plague" for your Slipknot Sunday (the album version, not the slightly-neutered 'New Abuse' remix). Iowa is an angry album in general, but "My Plague" in particular is a caustic slice of finely-honed Corey Taylor vitriol. Anyone who grew up on some Slipknot will feel right at home cranking this old chestnut again.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Saturday: Seven Year Storm - Cognition I: Blue Car Syndrome

     Looking for some epic instrumental metal, replete with big grooves and just the right amount of technicality, to keep your Sunday afternoon going? How about your belated Saturday evening? I've got you covered either way.

     The band is Vancouver's Seven Year Storm, brainchild of drummer Sean Lang, and the song I'm starting you with is "Cognition I: Blue Car Syndrome" from Seven Year Storm's EP Aion I. Sean provides the foundation for the aforementioned big grooves, while some of that tasteful technicality comes courtesy of fellow Vancouverite and Archspire guitarist Dean Lamb. Fans of instrumental prog should definitely give these guys a listen.