Monday, 31 August 2015

Sunday: Izah - Sistere

     I've written about Dutch post-metal band Izah before, a couple of months ago, but in the interim I've had a chance to pick up a copy of their debut LP Sistere and spend some quality time steeping in all its dense glory. I hereby recommend that you do the same.

     To that end I'm pointing you in the direction of title track "Sistere", an epic slab and one of only four tracks on the whole record. As with the rest of the album, "Sistere" is predominantly about the build, the slow burn that culminates in the cathartic release of energy and aggression. This track in particular has a lengthy middle section in which the song is sort of reassembled, building back up from nothing with some well-employed samples.

     The result is chills -- chills I tell you! So clear some space in your calendar, because this one's well worth your time.

Saturday: Sevendust - Not Today

     Think back a couple of days, to when I mentioned that good things come in threes. Today I prove that they really do (honest!) as long as you're not in a hurry or anything.

     I think you'll find this one worth the wait, because I certainly did. You should all know what a big Sevendust fan I am, and you should all also know by now (hopefully, or I'm not doing my job...) that Lajon and Company have a new record coming out in October. We got first single "Thank You" maybe a month or so ago, and now we've got sample number two.

     "Not Today" is the kind of track that's going to appeal to all the old school Sevendust fans out there: it's 100% groove and syncopation, but still catchy. If the rest of Kill the Flaw sounds like this, it could be a rock-solid Sevendust record for the ages.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Baroness - Chlorine and Wine

     It seems that it never rains but when it pours, as the saying goes. Or, if you prefer something a little less archaic, good things come in threes. Tune in tomorrow for number three, but read on below for number two, courtesy of none other than Baroness.

     Things have been somewhat quiet, music-wise, in camp Baroness since their horrific bus accident a couple of years back, during the touring for then-fresh Yellow & Green. Fans of the band will be glad to learn that the new record, due out in December, will continue the colourful trend in nomenclature with Purple.

     Based on lead single "Chlorine and Wine", it sounds like Baroness might be continuing the sonic trend started on Yellow & Green as well, rather than returning to the slightly heavier sound from their earlier albums and EPs. How you feel about that is up to you, so why not have a listen or two and craft an informed opinion?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Skyharbor - Out of Time

     No throwback this Thursday, because the beneficent gods of new music have dropped something particularly exciting into all of ours laps today, and I'd be remiss if I let it slide even until tomorrow.

     That something is a new Skyharbor single, the first to feature the complete new lineup, including vocalist Eric Emery (in for departed Dan Tompkins) and drummer Aditya Ashok (replacing skinsman Anup Sastry). We heard Eric's take on "Evolution" back when he was announced as Dan's replacement, but this "Out of Time" is our first taste of all-new material.

     Does it live up to Skyharbors past? Not right off the bat, but I for one would like to sit with it for a bit, and hear the rest of the record-in-progress, before I pick any favourites. The word so far on this one is just "2016", so let's hope that means more Q1 than Q4.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Frontierer - Bunsen

     Today's post is for those of you who might be of the opinion that the last couple of posts around here haven't been heavy enough. It might not be straight forward metal, but I'll be fucked if it isn't a heavy two minutes.

     "Bunsen", the latest single from international project Frontierer and the first from their forthcoming Orange Mathematics, is bombastic, abrasive math metal shot through with an electronic undercurrent. At just over two minutes in length, it delivers the crushing pummeling of something potentially much longer in the package of a three chord punk song -- in and out like a pipe bomb full of ninjas. Check it.

Tuesday: Monuments - I, the Destroyer

     Speaking of djent, as I was last time out, there are still lots of bands doing decent enough djent to warrant attention. Sure, it's a sound that's become oversaturated in the marketplace (to put it in high falutin' talk) but, as I've said before and will say again, there's absolutely nothing wrong with djent done well.

     And as I've also said before,  Monuments know how to do this kind of thing properly. Their 2014 disc The Amaneunsis is chock full of studies in the kind of big riffs and grooves that I consider prime djenty goodness, and I've featured several tracks from it in the past. But if you need further convincing that this particular subgenre shouldn't be exclusively maligned, check out "I, the Destroyer", and prepare to get, well, destroyed.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Northlane - Windbreaker

     There's a mini-theme connecting your Monday post to the Sunday metalcore track I posted earlier, namely the theme of me championing a genre I dig in the face of all you tr00, kvlt metalheads out there. But where earlier it was metalcore, this time around it's everybody's favourite, djent.

     And if we're talking djent, one of my fun, go-to, djent-for-djent's-sake bands is Australia's Northlane. They don't melt my face off or anything, but they've got the goods when I'm looking for something catchy and chock full of big grooves. So for your Monday Funday song I'm going with "Windbreaker" from Northlane's 2013 LP Singularity. Your instructions? Car engine: on; windows: down; volume: up. Enjoy. (Bonus points if you get the joke with this one...)


Sunday: Nasty Toaster - Plastic Hips

     This isn't this first time I've defended metalcore and all its subgenre brethren, and by Odin's beard it shan't be the last! Your Sunday slice of something approaching metalcore reminds me a little of the warped love child of Every Time I Die and older Architects. Want to hear what that sounds like?

     If you answered yes, have a listen to French flavour-blending metalcore band Nasty Toaster, who manage to cover a lot of tasty, tasty ground on their 2014 self-titled EP. Nasty Toaster is a weird and wild four tracks, and I could probably start you off anywhere on the disc, so let's do what comes naturally and start at the start with EP-opener "Plastic Hips", a perfect example of all the big, bombastic metalcore that Nasty Toaster has to offer. Go on and give it a shot -- you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Saturday: Deafheaven - Brought to the Water

     I've posted about Deafheaven before, back when 2013's Sunbather was all new and shiny, but they're not a band that's seen heavy rotation in my playlist since then. I'm not sure what it is about them that hasn't grabbed me yet, but perhaps their upcoming New Bermuda will change that.

     If new track "Brought to the Water" is any indication of New Bermuda's overall level of quality, I may well have to revisit my opinion of Deafheaven, because this particular track is pretty fucking awesome. You guys should know by now that I'm not a huge black metal guy, but the dense and ferocious brand of what I feel like calling post-black metal that Deafheaven's peddling in "Brought to the Water" is my kind of jam.

     If the rest of New Bermuda kicks this much ass come October, I'll be a pretty happy camper.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Nok Novum - GOKOR!

     Well, it's Friday once again, and you know what that means: I need something particularly cool to see you into the weekend ahead. Lucky for me (and you!) I've got just the thing. I hope you're not just about to head out the door...

     Over the past few months I've become quite enamored with Calgary instrumental fusion band Nok Novum, and if you've got an ear for this kind of thing I suggest you get enamored with them too. Their self-titled 2012 debut LP is wall-to-wall goodness, and the couple of singles they've released since are likewise badass.

     But since there's been no sophomore LP (yet...come on, guys...) I'll just have to go back to Nok Novum for a showcase of just what kind of awesomeness I'm talking about. So settle in for twelve minutes you won't regret with "GOKOR!" and have a happy Friday night.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Sylosis - Casting Shadows

     I'm throwing it back for your on this Thursday evening, but only about a decade or so. Think you can handle the quick hop in the Wayback Machine?

     Regular readers will know how much I dig the Brits in Sylosis, and it's kinda shocking to think that, at 2 EPs and 4 LPs in, Josh and Company have a career that I can actually throw back to. Sure, there have been some lineup changes, the most noticeable of course being the rotation position of lead vocalist, now permanently occupied by Mr. Middleton himself.

     But even back in the days of the band's first couple of vocalists, Sylosis was slaying listeners left, right, and center. As a demonstration, I present to you your Thursday song, the title track "Casting Shadows" from Sylosis' 2006 EP Casting Shadows. Like lots of older Sylosis, this one has aged pretty well.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Oranges - Snow Monkeys (So You Think This is a Fucking Game?)

     Want some more new music? Of course you do! It's why you're here, isn't it? Don't answer that.

     Today's short, sharp new song comes from new Blue Swan signing Oranges, and if you know anything about Blue Swan (founded by Dance Gavin Dance's Will Swan) or the label's current roster (which includes bands like Eidola and Hail the Sun, to name just two) you should be able to extrapolate from that to something resembling a vague idea of what Oranges is all about: high-energy, technically-above-par, ever-so-slightly-proggy post-hardcore that fucking goes.

     Suitably post-hardcorishly-titled new single "Snow Monkeys (So You Think This is a Fucking Game)" is three minutes of this particular post-hardcore brew that succeeds in tickling my fancy. Regular readers will know the soft spot I've got for this kind of stuff (including the aforementioned Dance Gavin Dance, Eidola, and Hail the Sun), so I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one when it drops in about a month or so.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Scale the Summit - Kestral

     The new music train continues on this Tuesday evening with the latest track to be released from the upcoming record V by Scale the Summit, and this one has me thinking Starcraft.

     Seem like a weird mental association to make to you? Well the laid-back, guitar-driven instrumental vibe of "Kestral" starts out with some lead lines and chord progressions that remind me a whole bunch of the jazzy Terran music. And while this one does eventually get around to slaying pretty solidly -- the last couple of minutes feature some excellently shreddy goodness -- those first couple of sections remind me pretty hard of the supply depot-laying calm before the storm of a Starcraft match. "Kestral" sounds like it might be a highlight of V, but fingers cross that everything's this good.

Monday: Puscifer - Grand Canyon

     Time for some New Music Monday, and it comes with some classic sitcom-style good news and bad news. The good news is that I'm pointing you in the direction of some new music from one Mr. Maynard James Keenan, and that is always a welcome thing to be able to say. The bad news is that this new music doesn't come from either Tool or A Perfect Circle.

     By the process of elimination, that means that we're talking about some new Puscifer stuff, in the form of a new album Money Shot due out in the fall, and a new song "Grand Canyon" that's out right now! And yes, it's not Tool or A Perfect Circle, but it's got that little bit of weirdness and that lotta bit of vocal layering and suchlike that is Puscifer's stock in trade. It might not be the MJK you've been wishing for, but maybe call it a consolation prize? Either way I call it fun.

Sunday: Battles - The Yabba

     Belated Sunday Funday time, and I've got something a little out of left field for you. But that's why it's fun, right? Besides, I like drawing attention to the idea that metalheads can like lots of other types of music too, other types of music like whatever it is that experimental trio Battles do.

     The latest from Battles, La Di Da Di, is out in about a month or so, but a couple of weeks back the band streamed a live session of a handful of new tracks, and then cut one of those out of the session for a kind-sorta single. "The Yabba" is a weird, loopy ride through some diverse musical territory. At a little more than seven minutes long, "The Yabba" still never overstays its welcome or gets repetitive, pitfalls which can easily beset electronically-based music. Get you grooving shoes on for this one.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Saturday: Mudvayne - On the Move

     So I know I'm a little behind again, after a few short days of timeliness, but at least this time I was legitimately away on vacation over the weekend and not just swamped and/or lazy. But it's only a couple of days, so let's bang 'em out.

     First up is Saturday, for which you need something with some energy, some get-up-and-go, something to propel you into your weekend proper. To that end, I direct your attention to a track called "On the Move" from one of my favourites from back in The Day, Mudvayne.

     Even if you're familiar with Mudvayne, you might not know this particular song, since it's a bonus DVD track that didn't quite make the cut for 2002's The End of All Things to Come. I have no idea why that is, but you should definitely get to know this one, because it's a rager that, as the title suggests, is constantly moving and grooving forward. Check it out.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Okilly Dokilly - All That is Left

     When something metal-related is trending on Facebook and other mainstream social media, you pretty much have to take notice. But even if today's bit of Friday fun weren't making the rounds online, I'd still probably share it with you, because it's just that awesome.

     If, like me, you haven't watched The Simpsons in a few seasons, it may have been a while since you last saw Ned Flanders, but I'm sure you can picture his mustached, bespectacled face. Well, now try picturing it in a metal, er, "Nedal" band (their word, not mine). Okilly Dokilly, out of Phoenix, is that metal band, turning Flanders lines and predicaments into bite-sized little songs that go from what I'll call a 90's alt-metal sound (something in me wants to say "grunge" but it's not, and I don't want to pigeonhole it) to crusty bursts of blackened death and back again.

     Licensing-type issues aside, I'm not sure if there's enough gas in the tank on this one to sustain a whole album's worth of quality material. But for the time being, we have four demos to pick from, and I'm going to make the executive decision and start you off with "All That is Left", whose title should require little explanation for Simpsons aficionados.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

7 Horns 7 Eyes - Cycle of Self

     Facepalm x 1000. It seems that my haste to stay on track yesterday night, combined with some looser scheduling at work and increased time off this week, had the net result of causing me to totally space on the day yesterday. A Wednesday post on a Wednesday is good, but a Throwback Thursday post on a Wednesday is a little premature.

     So anyways, no Throwback today, just Thursday, and a bit of a "Where Are They Now? Wednesday" post since I shot the Thursday wad early yesterday. It's been a few years since we've heard from Seattle's 7 Horns 7 Eyes, which is a shame, because 2012's Throes of Absolution is a masterwork of groovy, progressively-minded death metal that's a) big and epic, and b) old school- and new school-feeling at the same time.

     Checking out 7H7E's Facebook page tells me that the guys may in fact (finally!) be working on some new material, but for the time being we're all going to have to be content with the band's current catalogue a while longer. If you already know 7 Horns 7 Eyes and Throes of Absolution, this will be easy for you: just put said record on and rock out. If, however, you're currently unfamiliar with these guys, please allow me to suggest "Cycle of Self" as a suitably heavy starting point. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Pantera - By Demons Be Driven

     Just a quick Throwback Thursday post tonight to keep things on time (such as they are), and when I need to throw it back, metal-wise, you know that means it's time to draw from my Old School band quiver. And no, I'm not doing another Nothingface song quite so soon.

     Much more universally loved than Nothingface is Pantera, making them a consistently solid choice for a Throwback Thursday song. Tonight we're going to keep things simple with a selection from what is arguably the band's masterpiece.

     "By Demons Be Driven" may come near the end of the running time of 1992's classic Vulgar Display of Power, but it is far from the back of the pack. Cutting guitar, punchy drums, Phil's snarl -- it's all here, and it's all Pantera at their finest. Sit down and study up one this lesson in metal history 101, because it most definitely will be on the final.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Good Tiger - Snake Oil

     The social media watchers among you have likely already heard of Good Tiger, a low-level supergroup born from the ashes of The Safety Fire and fronted by one Elliot Coleman, whose fairly deep resume includes some time in Tesseract, you'll remember. Well, now you get to hear Good Tiger, in the form of the first single from their successfully crowdfunded first album.

     "Snake Oil" has moments where it sounds like you'd expect it to -- something written by a significant portion of The Safety Fire -- but on the whole it feels more post-something than anything else. Truth be told, Finch comes to mind pretty readily on this one, but that's not a bad thing. It just means Good Tiger sounds less djenty and more... something else than I'd thought it might be.

     We're probably going to have to wait a while for the full album to finish brewing in the indiegogo money the guys in Good Tiger have gotten, but so far, you'll find no complaints here.

Monday: The Atlas Moth - The 6th Passenger is Death

     It seems everybody's favourite dense and sludgy post-metal act The Atlas Moth have some new material ready to be unleashed, in the form of a song from an upcoming 7" split with Canadian veterans KEN Mode. Sure, it's no full-length follow-up to last year's monolithic The Old Believer, but it is new Atlas moth, so let's not be such choosy beggars, OK?

     "The 6th Passenger is Death" is, unsurprisingly, a dense and layered offering that explores a relatively large amount of sonic territory within a pretty simple framework -- just one or two main jams, really, but with various elements added and subtracted in ways most pleasing to mine ears. A follow-up to The Old Believer could end up hitting like a tonne of bricks. Let's just hope it doesn't take too long -- 7" splits are just too much of a tease for me, guys.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Sunday: Ghost - Majesty

     As I'm pretty sure I've said before, I've never really been a huge Ghost fan. It's not that I have a problem with the schtick or anything -- I'm totally cool with a gimmick, if you can back it up. But Ghost has always felt a little too camp and just not heavy enough for my liking.

     Regular readers may remember that one of the previous singles for Ghost's upcoming record Meliora, "Cirice", caught my attention and spent some time repeating on my playlist when it came out back in May. Well a single or two later, the latest, "Majesty", has me interested once again, although not nearly as much as "Cirice" did.

     If "Cirice" was grade-A earworm stuff, then "Majesty" is, for me, a slightly less-infectious cut. But that's not say it's not catchy and rocking in the same way, with a retro feel and a sinister vibe that's less genuine evil and malice and more 70's Saturday night horror. Funny, the very same camp I once decried has sorta grown on me. Maybe the rest of Meliora will do likewise? I don't have long to wait to find out.

Saturday: Alustrium - The Atheist Phenomenon

     Themes and theme-days are fun and everything, but some days you're just looking for some straight up heavy to knock your face off. This is a post for one of those days; put it in your pocket and bust it out as needed.

     The specific flavour of heavy we're dealing with is progressive death metal, but don't let that first bit turn you off if you're not necessarily the biggest prog nerd. Prog fan or no, the source of your Saturday song, Alustrium, has got you covered. Need further proof? How about this: the touchstone that springs to mind first when listening to Alustrium's latest A Tunnel to Eden is Revocation.

      Take that for what you will, for my money the fleet-fingered riffing, tight rhythm section, and proggy-but-not-too-proggy flavour of a track like "The Atheist Phenomenon" smacks of Revocation, making A Tunnel to Eden a delicious option for those looking for a little more variety in their progressive death metal diet. Yum!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Friday: Wild Throne - Harvest of Darkness

     I think you could use some energy to carry you into your weekend. I know I could. So your almost-on-time (!) Friday song is loud and abrasive and chosen with the intention of kick-starting your evening. Sound good? Good!

      If I had to encapsulate the sound that Washington State's Wild Throne have crafted in "Harvest of Darkness", the eponymous first single from their upcoming Harvest of Darkness -- which I suppose I do -- I guess I'd say it's a blend of noisy hardcore/post-hardcore akin to Converge and the weirdness and acrobatic vocal delivery of a Mars Volta.

     I don't know how this comparison stacks up for the rest of the album Harvest of Darkness, but single "Harvest of Darkness" is a little slice of off-kilter energy that should be enough to light your fuse for the next two workless days ahead. Enjoy!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Thursday: Nothingface - Error in Excellence

     Throwback Thursday time, which means it's time to go back to one of my trusty TBT wells for something tasty. You should all know some of those bands of old I gravitate towards by now, so, anybody placing any bets on your Thursday song this week?

     Those of you who wisely put money on Nothingface, congratulations, you've picked the humble wooden cup amidst the gallery of golden goblets that would, of course, have been poor choices. I really dug Nothingface back in the day, and they've only dug themselves deeper into my heart. There aren't too many people from my youth that I still hang out with, but even the metalheads I've become friends with later in life all share a common love for many of the same bands of yore, Nothingface included.

     So let's go back to what is probably my favourite Nothingface album for a song that goes out to all those gentlemen mentioned above, past and present, who get that nostalgic grin on their face when this band comes on. Your Throwback Thursday song is "Error in Excellence" from 1998's An Audio Guide to Everyday Atrocity, simply because I've always liked both the song and the album. Happy time travelling!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Wednesday: Dreadnought - Bridging Realms

     Better clear out some of your schedule for this one folks, because your Wednesday post is pretty meaty. Don't worry though, it's worth every bit of it.

     And why is that? Because Colorado quartet Dreadnought are really very good at genre-jumping musical journeys of the proggiest order. My evidence of this? The title track from their very-nearly-released latest album Bridging Realms. "Bridging Realms" starts off pretty mellow, but give it a few minutes and things get considerably heavier.

     This particular track doesn't really quite make it into "metal" territory (although you might debate me on that one) but then again, some of my favourite metal doesn't really fall within the old genre boundaries anyways. If you like adventurous prog from a very talented group of composers and instrumentalists, give Bridging Realms and Dreadnought a shot.

Tuesday: In Hearts Wake - Intrepid (feat. Marcus Bridge of Northlane)

     No Tech Tuesday post this week, belated or otherwise. In fact, the Tuesday song I've chosen is in some ways the very opposite of what you might expect from a Tech Tuesday tune. It is, however, headbangy fun. Should I have saved this for a Sunday Funday or something? Maybe. Why don't you be the judge?

     Australia's In Hearts Wake might not be reinventing the djent wheel at all, but they sure have a knack for groovesmanship. Take as an example "Intrepid", from the band's latest release Skydancer, which is more than the sum of its riffs. I found myself nodding along at multiple points, and hitting repeat a time or two as well. Like I said, there's no rocket science here, but then, does there always have to be?

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Monday: Tesseract - Messenger

     You all know I like to alliterate with the Metal Monday, but another start-of-the-week thing I sometimes do (though not in a long while, I don't think) is a New Music Monday. And wouldn't you know it, the heavens have opened again and dropped a tasty morsel into my lap. Thanks heavens!

     Another thing you should all know is that I like (as in, really like) both Tesseract and Dan Tompkins, so hearing Dan was back with the band was great, and hearing they had a new album ready for a fall release was even better. But now I've got the icing on the cake pumping from my speakers right this minute in the form of the first single from Polaris.

     And what a single! My only complaint? At less than four minutes, "Messenger" is perhaps a little short. But while it doesn't overstay it's welcome, it does bring the funky groove that's the Tesseract version of heavy, and that's exactly what I was looking for more of on this album. More, please!

     There are some mix and production issues, especially with the vocals, that people are getting butt-hurt about to varying degrees, but I think if you take "Messenger" as just a representative taste of Polaris and don't get too bent out of shape about every little thing, you'll be just fine. Or maybe I'm just a bit of a fanboy? Whatever, just check out "Messenger" already.

Sunday: Buckethead - Nottingham Lace

     Time for another Sunday Funday kids, and for inspiration this week I'm going back to one of the biggest sources of musical fun for metalheads and guitar fans everywhere: fretboard wankery. Yes, even while we loathe a band like, say, Dragonforce for being too technically minded, we stand in awe of their chops in the same sentence.

     For my money, though, I like a little more musicality mixed in with my chops, and at least a smidge more metal credibility. Enter... the Chicken. (See what I did there?) Yes, if I'm looking for modern guitar wank that I can actually get into, one of my go-to stops is Buckethead, and pretty much my favourite Buckethead album is the somewhat-all-star Enter the Chicken from 2005.

     So without further long-winded ado, I give you your Sunday Funday wanky guitar song, "Nottingham Lace". Unlike some of the tracks on Enter the Chicken that feature one or another of a variety of guest vocalists, album closer "Nottingham Lace" is wall-to-wall Buckethead doing what he do for six-and-a-half funky, shreddy minutes. Now, if you're familiar with Buckethead already, you probably already know the deal with the gimmick and everything, and you know your stand on his work. But if you're unfamiliar with him, or even just this track and album, check either, both, and all of it out, because the guy's a genius. A batshit bonkers genius.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Saturday: Funeral for a Friend - This Year's Most Open Heartbreak

     OK, let's do this, bing bang boom, starting with something that might not be every metalhead's cup of tea: emo. I know, I know, the term these days is usually "post-hardcore", but you know you still call something "emo" when you want to deride it as the snotty, whiny purview of little Hot Topic bitches. You are, of course, correct to malign said little bitches, but let me once again try and show you that not everything that falls under the genre umbrella is created equal, or equally bad.

     In fact, I used to dig these guys so much that I almost can't believe I've yet to feature something by them here at Loud Noises, so your Saturday song comes courtesy of British band Funeral for a Friend. More specifically, it's from Funeral's 2003 EP Seven Ways to Scream Your Name, which is one of those records from back in the day that I still listen to out of both nostalgia and genuine appreciation.

     Some of Funeral's stuff, especially the early stuff like that off of Seven, is heavier than others, but it's all got lots of singable melodies and infectious energy. That said, I've decided to go with a little something that does actually have some heavy to it, at least as far as its verses are concerned. To that end, your Saturday song is "This Year's Most Open Heartbreak". Ignore the somewhat emo-sounding title, and dig this one right this minute.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Friday: Soulfy - Sodomites

     Regardless of your thoughts on the material we've heard so far from the upcoming Soulfly record Archangel, I think we can all agree that that cover art is worthy of some awards -- "Most Metal Cover of the Year", maybe, but certainly "Best Renaissance Painting Cover".

     The music that'll accompany that cover, however, has been hit and miss, and unfortunately I think I'd say the same about the latest single "Sodomites". On the pro side, it's fucking heavy, with verses that just stomp all over you. On the con side, those choruses magically take all the air out of the rest of the song's sails.

     Hopefully this won't be Archangel in microcosm: flashes of badassery mired in a general stew of mediocrity. I've got my favourites, but I've never been the hugest Soulfly fan, and so far this one doesn't seem set to change that. How about you?

Thursday: The Mars Volta - Cavalettas

     Longtime readers will hopefully be aware of my love of The Mars Volta, but they'll also hopefully remember how often I've talked about the fine line between jammed-out space prog and unfocused meandering mess. Your Throwback Thursday song this week rides that line nicely.

     To get at said song, we've got to throw it back to 2008's The Bedlam in Goliath, an album that rides that same line a little bit. Previous album Amputechture had a tendency to step over that line, but tempered this with more moments of instrumental brilliance. Follow-up Octahedron was a little too loose and free-form, with too much space for live work and not enough goodness on the record itself.

     But Bedlam strikes a better balance, with tracks like "Cavalettas" leading the charge. Conventional song structures and instrumental choices aren't exactly de rigeur, but neither are some of the indulgent, extraneous passages that really weigh down a lot of later Mars Volta stuff. Agree with me? Disagree? Thoughts of any kind? Comment upon it, son!