Saturday, 30 May 2015

Thursday: Nothingface - Ether

     It's looking more and more like Throwback Thursday might become a regular feature around here, given how often I use the penultimate day of the work week as an excuse to post about some blast from the past or other. Not that I'm against that, nostalgia junkie that I am.

     This week is going to be no different, as I throw it back once again to one of our favourite bygone bands of yesteryear with a track from their final album. The band in question is Nothingface, in my opinion one of the more underrated bands to never make it big in the late 90's and early 2000's, and the album is Nothingface's 2003 swansong Skeletons.

     Skeletons didn't make a whole lot of waves when it came out, and it only produced a long single "Ether", your Throwback Thursday song. Maybe "Ether" and Skeletons were a little too catchy and "radio-friendly" for Nothingface's existing fanbase, or maybe Nothingface never had the support to make it big anyways. Or maybe the band simply imploded before they really had a chance. I don't know, but I do know that Nothingface ran its course too soon for me and some of my friends, so raise a glass and then bang your head to what was and what could have been with Nothingface.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Refused - Francafrique

     Ready for some more new Refused? You say that you are, but we'll just see about that, as their newest noise comes with a bit of a twist.

     The 'twist' in "Francafrique", the latest single from the forthcoming Freedom, is a weird kind of funky, poppy mentality that reminds me in places (the verses, specifically) of Nine Inch Nails more recent stuff. And lest you think you're ready even for that, there's some full on horns sprinkled throughout this one.

     But inside this somewhat unexpected shell is a core that feels suitably Refused. The lyrical content and the attitude are as grimy and acerbic as you might expect, and the tonal shift musically isn't that outrageous given the band's experimentation in the past. So get on board (like me) or get butt hurt (like some of the internet seems to be on this one) but either way, get "Francafrique".

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Vulvodynia - New World Order

     Ladies and gentlemen, proving once again that metal is an international club, I give you Tech Tuesday from Africa.

     Tech Tuesday from South Africa, to be precise, and brutal tech death outfit Vulvodynia, a band with a sound as gnarly as its name. Their latest single "New World Order", from work-in-progress concept album Finis Omnium Ignorantiam, is big and blasty and slamming, with all the ferocity and technicality to warrant the Tech Tuesday spot without it ever overshadowing the brutality. Tasty stuff, if it's your kind of thing, so crank it up post haste.

Monday: Between the Buried and Me - The Coma Machine

     I know it hasn't been that long since the last time I posted about a song from Between the Buried and Me's forthcoming Coma Ecliptic, but this is another one of those times when I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't draw your attention to the following.

     Of course, if you're into Between the Buried and Me, you've likely already heard the latest single "The Coma Machine" and seen the accompanying video. But if you've yet to check it out, allow me to recommend that you do, because it seems like the most "rock opera-y" glimpse we've gotten to date into the rock opera that supposedly is Coma Ecliptic.

     There's shades of Queen for sure, and maybe some Dream Theater, and plenty more besides. Coma Ecliptic sounds like it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's also shaping up to be something pretty epic. Bring on July.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Sunday: Animals as Leaders - Inamorata

     Your belated Sunday song is one that's been sitting on my list of tracks to post about for a while now, a groovy and shreddy tour de force that's always been one of my favourites off of the 2009 debut from one of the titans of modern instrumental metal and jazz-fusion.

     Animals as Leaders has a bunch of great songs on it that definitely deserve periodic revisiting, but like I said, "Inamorata" has always been one of my favourites. It's got a couple of relentless, pummeling grooves, and a couple of matching solos and lead sections that consistently rip without ever descending into the realm of wankery.

     Newer Animals as Leaders is great, but for my money you don't need to look any further than the first album for some killer jams. Fortune cookie lesson for today: don't get hung up on the past, but don't forget about it either.

Saturday: Caligula's Horse - Into the White

     It seems like I just get things back on track and then they fall right back off the rails again. Oh well. Onward and upward, right? Saturday song it is then!

     I've posted about Australian prog band Caligula's Horse at least a couple of times before, and now the time has come for me to do it again. The bad news is that I'm not doing so because of a new album or anything like that. The good news, though, is that I am prompted to do so by the recent emergence of a rippin' live video from their recent performance in Brisbane supporting none other than Opeth. Not too shabby, right?

     "Into the White" originally comes from the 2013 Caligula's Horse album The Tide, The Thief, & River's End, and even though the version I'm linking to today is the recent live rendition, rest assured that you could alternately check out the album version of this one and be guaranteed to find the same melodic and melancholy progressive post-whatever in either case. This is eights minutes well spent, whether you're already a fan or not.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Friday: Slice the Cake - The Exile Part II: The City of Destruction

     I feel like I would be remiss if I don't jump on the cult of the new bandwagon a little bit for your belated Friday song, simply because the latest from online three-man deathprog band Slice the Cake is beastly and deserves your attention if it hasn't already had it.

     Slice the Cake's upcoming record Odyssey to the West isn't quite out yet, but they've been dropping hints for a bit now, including some tastes of new music, and now we've got another monolithic single to sink our teeth into.

     "The Exile Part II: The City of Destruction" is more or less what you might expect from Slice the Cake, in the best possible way: fast and furious death metal, with proggy veins and atmospheric melodies on the side. This latest single, combined with all the other tastes we've had so far, points to Odyssey to the West being an absolute monster of an album, maybe finally garnering Slice the Cake the kind of widespread acclaim they increasingly deserve.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Dance Gavin Dance - Variation

     Have any of you tr00 metal badasses out there taken my advice yet, swallowed your unnecessarily restrictive preconceptions about style and genre, and had a go at some Dance Gavin Dance? If you have, good on you, whether you dug them or not. And if you haven't, the band's new record is the perfect excuse to get off your duff and dance, Gavin.

     The reason for that is that, for my money, last month's Instant Gratification was DGD's strongest outing in a while, with more cool tunes that I've found myself really digging than their last couple of records combined. More importantly, as far as you might be concerned, I'm getting a vibe from this one that's just a teensy bit heavier than usual.

     Don't get me wrong, Dance Gavin Dance is still firmly post-hardcore, for good or ill, and they're not going to be exchanging hipster haircuts for blastbeats any time soon. But there's tasty wee morsels of heavy here and there and it's a nice amount of spice to songs like "Variation", with its heavy, little groove about two thirds of the way through, all wrapped up in textbook DGD catchy melodic post-hardcore. This one's just plain fun, so have at it.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Vivid Illusion - Liquid Walker

     It's been a bit since I've posted some straight-up post-rock/metal (using the term "straight-up" loosely where genres like post-anything are concerned) so let's fix that situation. If big, epic, post-everything journeys are your thing, Miami's Vivid Illusion have got you covered.

     Vivid Illusion's latest album Circumnavigation A should have you more than covered, actually, with six tracks (five of them "full-length") that run a gamut of emotions and musical moods, all strung together with atmospheric interludes and soundscape passages.

     Now, that might sound like a description that's a bit generic, a bit too applicable to a few too many bands, but just bear with me and have a listen to "Liquid Walker", the first full track on Circumnavigation A. Its eight-and-a-half minutes alone should give you plenty to chew on, and that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There's plenty more where "Liquid Walker" came from, and hopefully plenty more from Vivid Illusions in general.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Arcadea - Gas Giant

     It's a kinda sorta Techno Tuesday for you this evening, and hey look, it's actually on Tuesday! Will wonders never cease?

     Why do I say "kinda sorta" this time around? Because this isn't electronic music, strictly speaking, which is what I think of when I think techno. But Arcadea is more synth-based electro-prog than techno per se. And why should you care? Because Arcadea happens to be a project that involved none other than Mastodon skinsman Brann Dailor, playing acoustic drums here in all his unholy glory.

     The result is an interesting synthesis of digital and analog, of electronic and organic, that sounds like it could be electro-Mastodon, but not quite. It's actually a pretty cool bit of fusion, but even if you don't dig the style smashing, some fresh pieces of badass drumwork from Brann are always welcome. So check out "Gas Giant" and then groove out while we all await further news of a full-length.

Monday: Earthside - The Closest I've Come

     We'll get caught up today, I swear, and we'll do it in style too, dammit! Epic instrumental style, to be exact, which (as regular readers will know) is right up my alley.

     Even those among you who haven't been reading that long should by now have picked up on the fact that instrumental prog of the epic variety is very much my jam, since I'm always featuring those kinds of songs and suggesting that you listen to them. That's why I'm always stoked when I come across a band like the source of your Monday song.

     Connecticut's Earthside have yet to unleash their debut album A Dream in Static upon the world, but if the strength of first single "The Closest I've Come" is any indication it should be a suitably proggy and epic enough album of instrumental goodness to please anyone with tastes similar to mine. The track's one of those eight-minute journeys that never overstays its welcome and always seems to fly by. Give it a listen (or two!) and watch your afternoon disappear in a wash of cinematic prog. Tasty!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Sunday: Eidola - Omni: First Temple

     Remember Utah's Eidola? Remember when I asked Andrew from Eidola a bunch of questions -- around twenty of them -- including some about the band's then-upcoming second LP Degeneraterra? Well, that LP is finally out now, so let's have a taste, shall we?

     Since the whole record is streaming online right now in at least one spot (Eidola's Bandcamp, to be specific) I've pretty much got free reign to pick my poison. For simplicity's sake, though, I'm going with Degeneraterra's first full track "Omni: First Temple", both because it's a rad track (complete with some full-on heavy in a couple of spots) and because it's got an accompanying lyric video.

     So if you happened to somehow miss out on Eidola when I've talked about them in the past, now's your chance to make up for it. Turn it up, hit play, and get cracking.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Saturday: Northlane - Ra

     What're your thoughts on Australia's Northlane? Would you be excited if I told you they've got a new record coming out, or unimpressed? What about a new single? Not sure? Read on and find out.

     Spoiler alert: based on said new single, if you didn't dig Northlane before, you probably still won't, and even if you did, you might find yourself cooler on the new material. The new single in question is called "Ra" -- or seems to be, anyways, as the single's reveal was apparently the end result of an online scavenger hunt/puzzle solving kind of situation -- and if it's indicative of the rest of the forthcoming Node then you can expect things to be full-on, groove-heavy djentcore.

     Now, keep in mind of course that "Ra" might not sound the same as the Node's ten other tracks, but for the time being it seems like things will be low, heavy, and groovy this time around for Northlane. It's not necessarily a drastic shift in sound, and the strong core (no pun intended) of melody that still lies at the heart of "Ra" means that things could be more evolutionary than revolutionary on Node. Check it out and, if you dig, make a note to yourself to grab a copy when it drops in July.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Friday: CHON - Splash

     We're heading into the weekend once again, and in Canada it's a long weekend, so let's go with some shreddy-yet-mellow instrumental prog to ease you into this three-day celebration of the birth of Queen Victoria. And when I say shreddy-yet-mellow instrumental prog, your mind should immediately come up with a short list of acts I could be talking about, and the purveyor of your Friday song should be at or near the top of that list.

     California's CHON have been heavily promoting their new album Grow, so your Friday song isn't the album's first single or anything, but it is the first video as far as I know. It's a fitting visual treatment, too: a fun-filled, sun-filled day outdoors to go with the fun, sunny, jazz-flavoured melo-shred of latest single "Splash". Give it a listen, and immediately brighten up your weekend a bit.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Thursday: Lamb of God - Still Echoes

     I know I'm still not quite 100% caught up with real time, which makes today's song "timeshifted" by about a day (since I'm pretending it's Thursday right now...) but I feel like I'd be remiss if I didn't share this one with you post haste rather than jumping on things late as I sometimes do. So here you go!

     If you follow Lamb of God on any social media (Facebook's my poison, but I assume this campaign hasn't been limited to this one online evil...) you've no doubt seen the hints and indications that a new record was at least in the works, if not imminent. Well, today we got the full scoop: Lamb of God's seventh LP VII: Sturm Und Drang is not just in the works, it's done and coming out in July.

     We also got our first taste of the new material today, in the form of ass-kicking, name-taking lead single "Still Echoes". I'll let you be the judge of whether or not its particular riffing hits the spot for you, but I will say that it's big and heavy and in your face, just like you'd expect. In other words, it's Lamb of God, so turn it up loud.

Wednesday: The Dillinger Escape Plan - Paranoia Shields

     The Dillinger Escape Plan's One of Us is the Killer is going on two years old now, so at glance it might seem like some things ought to be starting to happen in Camp Dillinger right about now -- and maybe they are. But it would also appear that the guys aren't quite done with Killer just yet.

     Last week we had the strange and potentially unsettling video for "Paranoia Shields" unleashed upon us, and whatever you might think of this particular visual treatment of this song, you can't deny its power as a reminder of how great this album is. I've been moderately into Dillinger since their classic Calculating Infinity, but the one-two punch of Option Paralysis and One of Us is the Killer really cemented my affection for what admittedly isn't always the easiest band to get your head around.

     I hesitate to recommend "Paranoia Shields" and One of Us is the Killer as a more "accessible" (the buzzword typically used of newer Dillinger) inroad to the the Dillinger catalogue, because that almost sounds like the newer stuff is somehow dumbed down or something. It's not. Dillinger is still Dillinger, and it's still light years ahead of so much of what's out there, so get with the program already and check 'em out if you don't know them yet.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tuesday: Lorna Shore - Grimoire

     Your Tuesday song might not be the techiest, but it's got just enough noodly, blasty bits that I'm comfortable featuring it on this most hallowed of theme days. And yes, it's not actually Tuesday, but I'm getting there!

     Deathcore act Lorna Shore are getting ready to drop their new record Psalms early next month, and they've started the pimping process with a video for lead track "Grimoire". The bad news? Lorna Shore are a deathcore band that's heavy on the core, in the sense that even this one track has a superfluity of breakdowns. The good news? Lorna Shore are a deathcore band that's also pretty heavy on the heavy, breaking things down or not.

     If a deathcore base with a blackened ripple and sprinkles of tech sounds like an enticing flavour to you, Lorna Shore's "Grimoire", and the upcoming album Psalms whence it hails, might be right for you.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Monday: Rosetta - Untitled V

     I recently posted about British band Visions, mentioning that they're in the midst of prepping new material for recording in the fall. Another band with upcoming new material to watch out for, and one whose new stuff is much closer to hand, is Philadelphia post-metal act Rosetta.

     Rosetta's last outing, 2013's The Anaesthete, garnered a great deal of both attention and praise, so their forthcoming Quintessential Ephemera will definitely be turning some heads on principle alone. The strength of your Monday song, the first we're hearing from the upcoming disc, should turn a few more.

     "Untitled V" is predictably Rosetta, in the best possible ways: dense, big, and heavy. This is a case of an evolution of sound rather than a revolution, but give what Rosetta was already laying down, that's not a bad situation to be in at all.

Sunday: Stone Sour - Creeping Death

     Did you hear the one about Stone Sour becoming a cover band? Only it's no joke -- more anecdote, or fact even. Yes, Corey and Company have put together an interesting set of covers for the first of three EPs surely intended to give Stone Sour fans something to chew on until Slipknot's current album cycle wraps up.

     The EP in question is called Meanwhile in Burbank... and the interesting set list in question draws cuts from the catalogues of Alice in Chains, Judas Priest, Kiss, Metallica, and Black Sabbath. Maybe not the strangest, most diverse mix in the world, but a decently respectable one nonetheless. For your Sunday song, however, there can really only be one candidate.

     "Creeping Death" has been one of my favourite Metallica songs for years (as a historically-minded metalhead, what's not to like about a biblical metal song?) so for this past Sunday I'm going to suggest you check out the new Stone Sour version. It's not light years different or anything, but at the same time I think the guys managed to not fuck it up, which is worth a listen in itself.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Saturday: FInger Eleven - Good Times

     One of the many things that kept me away from you lately, dear reader, was a bachelor party for a buddy of mine this past Saturday. Bar hopping's not normally my thing, but every once in a while you can twist my arm, and a bachelor send-off is the perfect excuse.

     How did it go? You're smart, you tell me. Your belated Saturday song is "Good Times" from the 2003 self-titled album by Canadian alt-rock veterans Finger Eleven. As with so many other bands, I've always been more of a fan of F11's older stuff, but revisiting this record recently reminded me just how strong it is. And "Good Times" isn't even the best track, though it is lots of fun. So put this one on and try to remember some good times of your own.

Friday: Visions - Autophobia

     Work continues on the upcoming sophomore disc from mathy British tech-core outfit Visions, who (according to Facebook) are looking to hit the studio in September. So while we're waiting for a follow-up to 2011's Home, let's check out another of its tracks to hold us over.

     Your Friday rager from Visions is "Autophobia", one of those showcase songs that encapsulates what a band or album is putting down. In this case, it's mathy metalcore with an emphasis on nimble riffing, and it reminds me a little of a somewhat more metal-oriented Dillinger or Every Time I Die. It's anybody's guess whether it'll be at all representative of new material, but for the time being it's a sweet sampling of what Home has to offer, so check it out if you don't know Visions already. Then hold your breath for September and fresh album news.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Thursday: Between the Buried and Me - Obfuscation

     Sure, it's Monday out here in the real world, but back in blog town it's Thursday, so let's throw it back with an absolutely epic piece of labyrinthine prog from 2009.

     We're inching closer every day to the summer release of Coma Ecliptic, the latest from prog metal titans Between the Buried and Me, and that's all the excuse I need to feature another selection from their growing catalogue of killer stuff. Your Throwback Thursday song tonight is "Obfuscation" from Between the Buried and Me's 2009 masterpiece The Great Misdirect, a nine-minute monster that has everything you could want, from furious riffing to some of the foundational melodic motifs that are going to crop up elsewhere on The Great Misdirect.

     And that's all saying nothing about the fact that "obfuscation" and its cognates like "obfuscate" are just plain fun. All told, you've basically got a fistful of reasons to revisit this one, and really no reason not to. What are you still doing here again?

Wednesday: Fellsilent - Age of Deception

     As the saying goes, it never rains but when it pours. In addition to the memorial service the week before last that I mentioned in a previous post, I've also spent some time over the last week or so dealing with some damage to my car, caused by someone backing into it while it was parked. Yeah, I know, right?

     Anyways, without going into detail, I'll just say that the responsible party is being uncooperative, making this whole thing more trouble and stress than it should be. The net result for you has been another unfortunate hiatus, but we're going to start once again getting things back on track today, starting with a little something for your last Wednesday track.

     Climb into your Wayback machines and set that dial thing on the dashboard to 2008 for a cut from the first and only LP by British pro-djent-itors Fellsilent, The Hidden Words. There's a lot of good stuff on this one, if this is the kind of thing you're into, and today I'm going with album closer "Age of Deception" for the forward glimpse it gives us into some of the sounds of Tesseract to come. Angular grooves abound, so limber up your neck before hitting up the link on this one.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Algorithm - Logic Bomb

     No Tech Tuesday. Techno Tuesday? Techno Tuesday!

     Which basically means another song from French one-man-army The Algorithm, because that's all the electronic-type stuff I've been listening to lately. Sorry, no super obscure trance-house-drum-and-bass today, just the tasty peanut butter cup of electronic music and metal mashed together. This time around I'm going with "Logic Bomb", from Remi's 2012 debut LP Polymorphic Code. Bust out your glow sticks and crank it.

Monday: Of Modern Architecture - Mountains

     I've got some rocking proggy post-metal from BC for your Monday song, and I've got it in a couple of different flavours.

     If you're new to Vancouver's Of Modern Architecture, you might perhaps elect to start of with the album version of your Monday song "Mountains" as it appeared on the band's latest EP Wilderness. If, however, that standard nine-minute journey through genres and emotions is old hat, or if you're just feeling saucy, you might instead choose to go with the recently released bass playthrough video for "Mountains", taken from the recording sessions for Wilderness that strips the track back (if you're cool with calling something that continues to be this epic 'stripped back') to an instrumental odyssey.

     Vocals or no, this one's worth checking out, so pick your poison from above and get cracking.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Sunday: Polyphia - Aviator

     I'm going noodly and instrumental for your Sunday song, which kinda sounds like the start of some kind of inappropriate joke about an Asian restaurant. But rest assured, today's noodling is all sweet, no sour.

     Yes, that was pretty bad, but the guitar work from the guys in Polyphia, along with guest Jason Richardson, should be enough to make up for it. The band recently signed to Equal Vision, leading to the rerelease last month of their debut LP Muse, and smart lads that they are, they're supporting the record with a tasty tour (with Dance Gavin Dance, Hail the Sun, and Stolas, no less!) and a new video for the song "Aviator".

     Whammy work and other fancy string slinging abounds here, starting off bubbly and upbeat before eventually taking a more menacingly metal-sounding turn, with melody a heavy emphasis throughout. "Aviator" and Muse are good, but give Polyphia a little more maturity and they could really be a force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Saturday: Valkyrie - Wintry Plains

     Moving away now from the slice of melancholy that was Friday's song, I've got a chilly belated Saturday song for you to chill to, courtesy of Baroness guitarist Pete Adams.

     In addition to his duties in Baroness, Pete plays in a little project called Valkyrie that's got a new record coming out in a couple of weeks. More importantly, Valkyrie is streaming a new song in advance of the release of Shadows, so you get the advance chance to check things out and see what you think.

     While it certainly doesn't just sound like something from a Baroness clone, "Wintry Plains" definitely does have the southern-fried sludginess you'd expect from an alumni of such an act. Have a listen and see if Shadows might be your kind of jams. Oh, and check out what is presumably some pretty sweet album art!

Friday: The Beatles - In My Life

     Funerals and memorial services are never fun (excluding, of course, your Irish wakes and suchlike). No matter the circumstances, no matter your emotional proximity to the deceased or their relatives, these kinds of occasions are always, to put it flippantly, a downer.

     But funerals and memorial services can also be occasion for families reconnecting, for nostalgic trips down memory lane, for leafing through photo albums and sharing again all the stories connected with each frozen moment in time. As I start the usual process of catching up on a few missed days, it is in this bittersweet spirit that I've picked your belated Friday song.

     That song is "In My Life" from the classic 1965 album Rubber Soul by The Beatles. Even as a kid I found this a beautiful but melancholy song, and as I get older "In My Life" only gets more poignant. Put this one on and raise a glass to everyone, dead or living, that you've loved in your life.