Sunday, 29 November 2015

Soilwork - Death in General

     How do you feel about melodic death metal from the land of Ikea, blondes, and unintelligible culinary experts? What if said Swedish melo-death comes courtesy of one of the genre's most respected veteran acts? OK, I'll just come out and say it: Soilwork has a new video making the rounds.

     Reactions? "Death in General" is the latest song from Soilwork's 2015 record The Ride Majestic to receive the moving pictures treatment, and while the production values are on point, the idea of mixing band performance footage with narrative bits (especially those involving some metal chicks) isn't exactly earth-shattering. But the song is a different kettle of fish.

      Things start off with an energetic into riff before heading into a verse that initially sounds a little too 'rock radio'. But mix that in with the unsurprisingly big melo-death chorus and just enough flashes here and there of full-on death (my, those blast beats are worked in nicely, aren't they?) and you get something with some genre-straddling potential. If you're anything like me, you'll hit repeat a couple of times before you're done.

Saturday: Coheed and Cambria - Atlas

     That didn't take long, did it? Less than two weeks of on-time posts, and then I go and sleep away most of yesterday, putting me behind where I want to be on a number of projects both personal and professional. Fiddlesticks. Oh well. Back to it? Back to it. So: how're you liking Coheed and Cambria's new record?

     The Colour Before the Sun is a bit of a mixed bag for this longtime Coheed fan. For one thing, it's the first and only Coheed LP that doesn't take place in Claudio's Amory Wars universe, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, except that I happen to like big, epic space operas. For another thing, the admittedly well-crafted selection of songs has a tendency to eschew Coheed's traditional, more adventurous brand of space prog in favour of earnest, more straight-forward pop-rock.

     Does that mean I don't like The Colour Before the Sun? (Great album title, by the way guys) No, it doesn't mean that, I like it alright, but it does mean that I'm going to try and pick what I think is a more Coheedy-sounding track for your belated Saturday song. To that end, have a listen to (the album version of) "Atlas" (not the acoustic one from a while back) to kick off your Sunday afternoon.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Native Construct - Mute

     I've written about Boston progressive metal band Native Construct before, back in the spring before their latest LP Quiet World came out. But now Quiet World is out there in our world, and the band has released a video for new single "Mute".

     It's basically a band-playing-the-song-in-a-studio-style video, but that's not going to matter to you one bit when you hear the song itself. "Mute" is six minutes of techincally proficient prog of the epic variety -- all the symph(onic)/synth touches make me think Dream Theater meets Between the Buried and Me at times. But there's more fusion going on here than that, and more laid-back electro-prog-pop grooves (how's that for an adjective?)

     Personally I'd say the strings are a little dominant in the mix at times, but that all gets washed away in the tasty jams of the last minute or so. In fact, "Mute" might just have the slickest little ten or fifteen seconds of outro I've heard in a while. Check it out for yourself, but don't just skip ahead!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Darkest Hour - Into the Grey

     We're just going back a few years for today's Throwback Thursday, but that doesn't make the song in question any less badass. While we're at it, let's call this a request for new material as well as a throwback, because Darkest Hour is just that cool.

     Darkest Hour also has a pretty hefty back catalogue, so when exactly are we throwing back to? How about 2009's The Eternal Return? I hope the sound of that floats your boat, because your Throwback Thursday song this evening is Eternal Return closer "Into the Grey", a track that I've always found works really well as a capper to an a record. Darkest Hour are a reasonably prolific band, so although their most recent LP Darkest Hour just came out last year I'm pretty confident we won't have to wait too long for new stuff. In the meantime, crank this one.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Skyharbor - Blind Side

     Key details like release date and title have yet to materialize, but Skyharbor fans have recently gotten another reassurance that work on album number three does indeed continue. And while previous single "Out of Time" was more of a grower for this guy, Skyharbor's latest offering hooks me quicker and deeper.

     "Blind Side" feels like it would be right at home alongside Guiding Lights standouts like "Evolution" -- it's big and melodic, with the right amounts of heavy and groove and emotion. To me, this is Skyharbor firing on pretty much all cylinders, and this is the kind of song they need to populate album three with. If they can do that, my copy of the next Skyharbor album will be getting lots of play.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Obscura - Akroasis

     If stereotypes in movies and on TV are to be believed, Germans can be relied upon to be both angry and humourless as well as masters of precision engineering. I can't really speak to the former, but the latter is on display in the latest single from German tech death masters Obscura.

     The recently-released song and video "Akroasis", taken from the upcoming album of the same name, should satisfy any fan of the genre. There's plenty of breakneck drumming, fleet-fingered sweeping, and truly slick bass work to be had here, and interestingly it all bounces back and forth between full-on metal intensity and something more subdued for the shreddier bits. I hesitate to call this accessible tech death, but I definitely think Obscura's got some cross-genre potential on their hands with Akroasis. Give this one a couple of Tech Tuesday spins.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Bisbaye - Gestalt

     There's all kinds of alliteration going on here today, as I've got a mathy Metal Monday from a Canadian instrumental band out of Montreal. Enough for you? I thought it would be. I am, however, going to apologize right now to today's band Bisbaye for not getting the accents right on their name -- there's a circumflex over the 'a', and an aigu over that 'e', if you're counting.

     Best not to though, because you're going to need to wrap all of your brain power around tracks like "Gestalt", the eight-minute title track from Bisbaye's latest release Gestalt. Both the track and the album display an incredible degree of musical proficiency, as well as well an incredible degree of musical madness. Think a proggy instrumental version of Dillinger Escape Plan and you'll at least have a starting point from which to approach Bisbaye. Start with "Gestalt", and if you dig that one, you'll be right at home for the rest of the record.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Hazards of Swimming Naked - Accept the Mystery

     Want to keep things mellow but would prefer more of a post-rock kind of mellow rather than the fusiony mellow of the last couple of days? Well OK then. Once again, there's a band from Australia for that.

     This time it's Hazards of Swimming Naked, an instrumental five-piece post-rock band that's all about the "slow-burn, big-build" side of post-rock. 'Cinematic' is the term I often see used for this brand of instrumental music journey, and that definitely applies here, especially where the band's latest offering is concerned. "Accept the Mystery", a previously-unreleased song for which the band recently did a live video shoot, takes a few minutes of atmospheric guitar-and-glockenspiel build-up to get going, but I think you'll agree that the trem-picked climax to this one is worth the wait. Check it out.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Our Oceans - Turquoise

     Let's ride the wave of jazzy, proggy goodness from yesterday's post about The Pneumatic Transit clear into the weekend with another post about a band with some mellow going that should still appeal to the discerning metalhead.

     Part of the appeal of Our Oceans might be their proggy pedigree: members include current or former members of big prog names like Cynic, Exivious, and Dodecahedron. But fans coming to Our Oceans looking for the same brand of fusion-infused metal might be a little disappointed by just how laid-back this project can be -- this is definitely a band you could put on for your non-metal friends and get away with it.

     But that doesn't mean there's nothing to love here. The whole of Our Oceans is full of pleasant melodic choices and cool bits of instrumentation (the bass in particular is a highlight at many points), but there are also flashes of brilliance to be found. One such shining moment is "Turquoise", a track that builds from a moody, atmospheric beginning to an emotionally-charged climax complete with thunderous drum solo. Just add headphones and you've got a recipe for some chills and/or goosebumps.

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Pneumatic Transit - Lioness

     I don't know if I'm going to make it a regular feature, but for tonight I'm making the executive decision to have today be a Fusion Friday. Get your jazziest outfit on and then buckle up, because this one's a doozy.

     Regular readers will remember my affection for Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and their unorthodox brand of diversely-influenced post-hardcore. Apparently one of those influences is -- or was -- whacked-out jazz fusion, courtesy of former EAPZ guitarist Jeff Zampillo and his new outfit The Pneumatic Transit. The latest from Pneumatic Transit, Concerto for Double Moon, is a mesmerizing example of modern progressive jazz fusion, with horns and strings and everything in between.

     As is so often the case, I think this is an album best enjoyed all in one go. But if you really want to sample things before you commit, have a listen to "Lioness" for an encapsulation of all that is most delicious about The Pneumatic Transit and Concerto for Double Moon.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Opeth - Beneath the Mire

     Time for a little Throwback Thursday action, and this week we're going back an even decade to one of my favourite Opeth albums for a nice, crunchy slice of metal-fried prog.

     I'm sure Opeth purists are screaming Blackwater Park at their computers already, but for my money Ghost Reveries remains one of the band's best. It came out right in that butter zone between Opeth's metal and prog phases, when they were in the process of going increasingly Rock but still had a firm enough grounding in Metal. Your song today, classic cut "Beneath the Mire", might be a little more on the prog-rockier end of things, and little lighter on the full-on metal than some of the other tracks from Ghost Reveries, but it's got its share of grooves and goodness.

     It'd probably be a pretty good idea to put this whole album on, if you're looking for something to listen to, but at the very least do yourself the favour of jamming "Beneath the Mire". It's eight minutes well spent.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Teramaze - Her Halo

     Fancy something slick and polished, something I'd call radio-friendly, that still has some tasty progginess to it? Once again, you've got Australia to thank for this one. Buy the next Aussie you meet a Foster's for me, OK?

     Australian prog-rock/metal outfit Teramaze have just released their latest album Her Halo, as well as a predominantly performance video for most-recent single and title track "Her Halo". Like I said, this band, and this track, are the kind of thing I'd love to hear more of on 'mainstream' rock radio. The chorus is certainly big enough for it, and the solo here is the shreddiest you'll hear today from a not-necessarily-shreddy-seeming band. It's not the heaviest thing in the world, but it is heavier than lots of stuff currently playing on that hypothetical radio station I was just talking about. Start taking some notes, K-Rock.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Baroness - Shock Me

     Before I get to your Tuesday song, I'd like you to take a look at the header for this post. Notice anything different? Maybe how it doesn't say what day of the week it is? Yes, that's right kids, after months (literally!) of being behind to varying degrees, I'm all caught up on Songs of the Day. Let's see how long I can keep this plate spinning smoothly, shall we?

     So, Tuesday song then. Sadly, it's not tech, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. The new Baroness record Purple comes out in just about a month's time, so it only makes sense that we're getting another taste in the form of new single "Shock Me". And while first single "Chlorine and Wine" didn't sell me 100% on the new album and the new lineup, I'm pretty much all in after hearing single number two. Energy, melody, guitars, drums -- everything's working on this one. If you needed a surprise, do yourself a favour and have a listen to "Shock Me".

Monday, 16 November 2015

Monday: Revocation - Leviathan Awaits

     Everybody and their mother's dog should really know by this point that Revocation kicks some serious ass.I've been in no doubt about this for a couple of albums now. But recently I had the chance to snag a copy of their 2009 sophomore album Existence is Futile (yeah, I'm still a physical media kinda guy, fuck off) and I've been jamming that shit hard for a few days now.

     You know what I've learned? Even in the early stages of their career, Revocation kicked serious ass. They were just as rock-solid back then as they are now. Whatever genre adjective you want to slap on them -- thrashy, deathy, techy, old school, blackened, proggy -- they all stick and Revocation does them all with aplomb. Need proof? Make today another Metal Monday, join me in the land of Existence is Futile, crank "Leviathan Awaits", and then rinse and repeat as necessary.

Sunday: Mono - Death in Reverse

     Cast your minds back, way back, to yesterday's Saturday post of the latest offering from The Ocean. If you'll recall, I told you that this monster of a track was The Ocean's contribution to a two-track split with Japanese instrumental post-rock band Mono. Since then, it's occurred to me that it might be a fun little experiment to check out Mono's track next.

     And here we are. Not to be outdone by The Ocean, Mono have crafted a similarly epic track, "Death in Reverse". At eleven minutes long, it clocks in just a couple of minutes shy of "The Quiet Observer", and even though it doesn't have any vocals (notice I didn't say that it "lacks" vocals?) it still packs a whole musical journey's worth of feels into its eleven minutes of slow-building burn. Don your headphones and prepare yourself for some chills.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Saturday: The Ocean - The Quiet Observer

     Add another name to the list of bands I wish would come out with a new record already. This time around, it's German music collective The Ocean., whose most recent LP Pelagial I named one of my ten favourite albums of 2013. So, follow-up time guys?

     To be fair to Robin Staps and Company, it's not like The Ocean have been resting on their laurels for the past two years. Touring globally is both time- and energy-consuming, and yet The Ocean still found time to record a split with Japanese band Mono. Sure, the Transcendental EP only contains a single song from each band, making it a far cry from the new Ocean LP I'm jonesing for, but what a doozy of a song!

     "The Quiet Observer" is nearly thirteen minutes of grand post-metal that starts with piano, strings, and subdued drums before gradually building up a head of the kind of heavy, proggy steam fans of The Ocean have come to expect. There are flashes of The Ocean's last couple of albums here, but for a big fan of Pelagial like myself, the running time of "The Quiet Observer" sees a similar musical journey play out; you might not find yourself descending into the depths of the ocean per se, but you will find that you've arrived somewhere very different from where you started. Clear your schedule and have a listen (or two) -- I guarantee you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Friday: Eagles of Death Metal - Complexity

     I've never really been a huge Eagles of Death Metal fan. Back in the day, when I first heard about the involvement of queen of the stone age Josh Homme in a band with this name, I was initially excited and then subsequently disappointed to discover that there's no death metal going on here (shocker, right?).

     This morning, however, as both a fan of music of every stripe and as a citizen of the world, I feel like it's the least I can do to feature an Eagles of Death Metal song as my own personal show of 'solidarite'. I'm sure by this point anyone reading this will be aware of the horrific attacks that occurred in Paris last night, the most deadly of which took place at an Eagles of Death metal show. Scattered and incomplete reports seem to indicate that the band made it out OK, but nearly 100 of their fans did not.

     I'll leave discussions of international geopolitics and debates about the validity of Western involvement in places like Syria to the experts, real and otherwise, that will undoubtedly be talking about this for some time to come. I just write a music blog, and some speculative fiction, so I'll limit my comments online to this: it is a tremendously sad thing for me to hear that people anywhere in the world cannot gather together safely and without fear to enjoy music.

     All of that said, your Friday song is "Complexity", the lead single from the latest Eagles of Death Metal album Zipper Down. Solidarite, mes amis.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thursday: Buckethead - We Are One

     I know, I know, every time I do a Buckethead song for Throwback Thursday, it's always from 2005's collaborative Buckethead & Friends album Enter the Chicken. What gives, I hear you hardcore bucket heads asking? I know the bucketed one has put out an absolute ton of material both before and since Enter the Chicken (much of which I will readily confess to not having heard) but the combination of timing in my life and a great lineup of guest vocalists has cemented this record's spot at the top of my own personal bucket.

     So what song could I possibly have left to do from this one? Why, the functional first song from the record, the badass "We Are One". The combination of energetic, spastic guitar and energetic, spastic Serj Tankian has made this one a winner for me ever since I first heard it. Plus it's got a wacky taxidermy-themed video that's sure to give the faint of heart nightmares about reanimated roadkill. Fun!

Wednesday: Intervals - I'm Awake

     You guys should know by now that I'm always excited when I get to feature new music by a band I dig. The Canadian origin of today's song, fact that it's from an outfit that's just so damn tasty, and the scant couple of weeks I'm going to have to wait to hear the rest of this new album are all just various shapes of icing on this colourful cake. (See what I did there?)

     "I'm Awake" is the first single from the upcoming new Intervals album The Shape of Colour, and it's definitely got enough bouncy instrumental prog energy to wake you up and get you going. Fans of the band will likely know that the lineup has changed significantly since the release of Intervals' debut LP A Voice Within, but you can rest assured right now that primary songwriter Aaron Marshall is still going strong. Some slick and emotive lead work and some really interesting phrasing in the main riffs of "I'm Awake" have already whetted my appetite for the early December release of The Shape of Colour. What about you?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Tuesday: Novelists - Echoes

     It seems like bands with tons of groove and melodic sensibilities for days are a dime a dozen lately. But they don't always also come complete with tasty techy noodling like British band Novelists. You know what that means, don't you? Oh yes, it's Tech Tuesday!

     Novelists aren't a tech death band, or a band that's driven exclusively by instrumental prowess like Scale the Summit or CHON. But their djenty sound certainly has some interesting spice to its riffage -- more like a Monuments or The Safety Fire. All of these comparisons getting to you yet?

     OK then, let's let Novelists speak for themselves. Join me in jamming the band's latest track "Echoes", taken from their debut LP Souvenirs, which conveniently drops this Friday. I know that shreddy solo in the middle is guest work from one Pierre Danel, but damn if it doesn't get "Echoes" the Tech Tuesday nod on principle alone. Check it out kids.

Monday: Contrarian - Need for Apathy

     Often when I tell you that it's Metal Monday time once again, you might have occasion to roll your eyes, look at your watch, and sigh heavily at the monolithic monster of a song I've got for you. I don't have any data on this in front of me, but I'd be willing to say that your average metal song (or the average metal song from the styles that I listen to most, ie: not grind or noise or subgenres like that) is probably longer than your average song from another genre, maybe even considerably long.

     That's why today, dear time-strapped reader, you're in for a treat: I've got something technical and brutal for you that still manages to clock in at an even three minutes. Intrigued? Then give one hundred and eighty seconds of your day to "Need for Apathy", the latest release from progressive death metal band Contrarian's upcoming album Polemic. I'm of the opinion that it crams plenty of fleet-fingered guitar work and machine-tight drumming into about as much time as it takes to heat up a Hot Pocket. What do you think?

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sunday: Cold Night for Alligators - Followers

     The truly international nature of metal is something that always warms the cockles of my wizened old heart. There's good shit cropping up everywhere, and one of my goals here at Loud Noises is to bring some of that good shit from whichever neck of the woods it originates in to whichever corner of the forest you happen to inhabit. I'm just a nice guy like that.

     This is why I'm pleased today to be able to point you in the direction of something from the (somewhat) less traditionally 'metal' European country of Denmark. Cold Night for Alligators (what a name, eh?) might sound a little too generically djenty for you at first blush, but give single "Followers" a chance and it'll throw some big, hooky choruses at you too. And some nice chunky grooves, with some vaguely proggy timings in there. Oh, and a bit of jazzy noodling too, leading up to a big ol' breakdowny outro.

     I'm sure there are some among you (many, perhaps) that are experiencing a bit of "djent fatigue" with me lately. But if it really bugs you, hold your nose, call "Followers" a slice of melodic tech-prog, and then dive right in! Cold Night for Alligators has another single dropping soon, and an album Daydream following behind that, just in case you like what you hear.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Saturday: The Drowned God - Mezzanine

     After "yesterday's" relatively polished and, in a sense, sparse production (don't worry, I'll explain in a second), I hope you're ready for some dense chaos, because that's what you're going to get from your Saturday song by The Drowned God.

     If I were throwing darts at my "metal genre label" dartboard, the ones marked "The Drowned God" would probably land in the "post-metal" segment of the board, or maybe the "post-hardcore" section. But those darts wouldn't be telling you the whole story, because there's a lot happening on The Drowned God's latest EP The Ebony Void. There are blackened and doomy elements, grimy distorted vocals, heady doses of ambiance and atmosphere, and like I said above, a dense and chaotic sonic maelstrom. Interested?

     There are only three beefy tracks on The Ebony Void, so I'm going to pull a me and start you with track one, "Mezzanine". Put some headphones on for this one, please.

Friday: Mandroid Echostar - Paladin

     You might have already had the chance to check out the latest from friends of the blog Mandroid Echostar, since the new single "Paladin" was unleashed upon the world last Friday. But, being a couple of days behind as I always am, I thought the Mandroid jam might make the perfect belated Friday post.

     If you're ahead of me on this one, good for you. But if you're not, here's what you're in store for: "Paladin" sounds a little darker than much of Mandroid's work, but the band's top-notch musicianship and songwriting skills are still very much in evidence, from the pummeling introductory twin-guitar riff to the big, hooky choruses, to that soaring outro that feels like it should just fade into the sunset.

     If "Paladin" is any indication, the upcoming new Mandroid Echostar doesn't seem like it'll be worlds apart from previous Mandroid material -- no unexpected forays into throat singing or Finnish blackened speed folk or whatever. But that's perfectly fine by me, because it does sound like it'll be more of the tasty Mandroid goodness that even two admittedly solid EPs just couldn't deliver enough of. "Paladin" sounds like the guys have taken what they already do, and just decided to do it better, more, and longer. I'm on board for a debut Mandroid LP like that, how about you?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Thursday: Trivium - Kirisute Gomen

     Longtime Trivium fans seem to be somewhat divided on the subject of the band's more recent offerings, and understandably so: their last three albums have, in this writer's humble opinion, been hit or miss, at best. But I think even the most jaded Trivium fan would agree that the band's last great record, and arguably its best, is still 2008's Shogun.

     Personally, I still have a soft spot in my beard for 2005's Ascendancy, both because that was the album that introduced me to Matt Heafy and Company, and because that was back when I was first getting into Metal with a fucking capital M (and yes, I know, purists among you might argue that Trivium is anything but straight-up metal, but whatever). But even I can appreciate the fact that Shogun represents Trivium firing on all cylinders: they took the energy and intensity of Ascendancy and alloyed it with the chops and songwriting skills they honed with 2006's overindulgent The Crusade.

     The result is a collection of tracks that strikes a balance between heavy and melodic, rife with metaphor and symbolism and mythological references, and complete with some tasty riff and leads for the discerning air guitarists out there. Since I like to start at the start, and since its title is a badass phrase from the history of feudal Japan, I'm throwing it back to album-opener "Kirisute Gomen" for your belated Thursday post. Exercise your right to cut and leave and crank this one.

Wednesday: The Dear Hunter - Is There Anybody Here?

     Regular readers will know by now that, although this is ostensibly a blog about heavier music, when I find something that's good, I calls 'em like I sees 'em whether it's metal or not. If your musical taste is, shall we say, more limited, hopefully I've been able to teach you that there's good stuff out there in virtually every genre. If, however, this is a lesson you've yet to absorb, I've got just the band for you.

     The aforementioned regular readers (I know you exist, I just know it!) should at least have heard the name The Dear Hunter before, but for the latecomers: singer-songwriter Casey Crescenzo started genre-spanning prog rock act The Dear Hunter as a side project while he was in post-hardcore outfit The Receiving End of Sirens. Unfortunately, the promising Sirens have since broken up, but the silver lining to that cloud is that The Dear Hunter has become Casey's main project -- and what a project it's been!

     So far, The Dear Hunter's catalogue includes four album-length "acts" of a planned six-act/album arc, the Colour Spectrum album/set of EPs, the 2013 "one-off" album Migrant, a couple of live albums, and a handful of other EPs -- all in the last ten years or so. Busy guy, right? Even better than Casey's prolific productivity is his wide-ranging creativity: it might not be metal, but The Dear Hunter songs always have enough cool bits to keep even metalheads like me interested. Case in point: "Is There Anybody Here?", taken from The Dear Hunter's latest record Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, a melancholy, dreamy, downtempo kind of number that morphs into a big rocking guitar solo towards the end, reminiscent of classic rock legends like Pink Floyd. Appetite whetted yet? Thought so. Check it out.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Tuesday: Arkaik - Digital Shroud

     It's belated Tech Tuesday time, but don't worry, it's not going to be another Arsis or The Faceless track. No, I've got something new for you today, courtesy of California tech-death act Arkaik and their new record Lucid Dawn.

     Generally speaking, Lucid Dawn is a tech-death fan's dream, with blistering riffing and drumming sitting comfortably along side crusty vocals and just enough proggy tendencies to spice things up nicely. Your Tech Tuesday track "Digital Shroud" is no exception, with furious energy giving way to an avante garde-sounding bass solo that leads back into a relentless finish. Crushing and technical, Arkaik and Lucid Dawn are definitely worth a listen or two for fans of the genre.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Monday: SikTH - Philistine Philosophies

     If you're a fan of anything in the djenty progressive metal subgenre, and you don't know British band Sikth, it's time for a history lesson. This whole sound is most often attributed to the influence of Meshuggah, but if a second band is ever named as being pivotal to this particular scene, there's a pretty good chance that second band is Sikth.

     You can be forgiven a little bit if, like me, you're less familiar with Sikth than you should be; the band has been broken up since 2008 or so. Or had been broken up, I should perhaps say, as Sikth is back together and crowdfunding a new EP Opacities. Old and new fans alike would do well to check out the single from said EP, heavy groover "Philistine Philosophies", which has everything SikTH is great at: chunky, heavy riff and grooves that are techy without being too over the top; tons (tonnes?) of melody; a dual vocalist assault, of which half will definitely remind newcomers of Korn's Jon Davis at times.

     Like I said, not being a longtime fan of SikTH from back in the day myself, I can't say whether or not "Philistine Philosophies" lives up to my long-held expectations. But being a newer fan of the band, I can safely say that this track is rock solid, and that it bodes well for the rest of Opacities. There's no better time than now to get into these guys, so get a move on!

Sunday: Left to the Wolves - Slave: Mother Earth

     If, like me, you grew up listening to any form of blank-core (ie: metalcore, deathcore, emocore, what have you...) there's a decent chance you still like to put some of that kind of thing on from time to time. Maybe you always go back to the same old stuff you love, but maybe, like me, you also enjoy discovering new acts doing some aspect of the genre/subgenre well.

     We've been over this idea before (ie: new takes on old core sounds) but it's a concept I like to revisit anytime I come across something that fits just right, like Kentucky's Left to the Wolves. The latest release from Left to the Wolves, In the Absence of Humanity, combines deathcore riffing and drumming with some melodic groove and some blackened feel and atmosphere -- think Gojira if the fanatical Frenchmen were less into groove and feel and more into crushing core brutality.

     Your Sunday song "Slave: Mother Earth" probably isn't going to blow you away with its extreme technicality or progressiveness, but if you want something with a good amount of meaty heaviness to it, Left to the Wolves might be right up your alley. Check them out.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Saturday: Sound Struggle - Strongth

     Microtheme time, so pile in the car and let's all head to Beantown. Remember how the Cradle of Liberty was also the birthplace of yesterday's "Friday" band, instrumental outfit Chronologist? Well your Saturday song was also born in Boston, so settle in for a sample of the diverse and technically proficient prog of Sound Struggle.

     The guys in Sound Struggle got together at Boston's famed Berklee College of Music, so you know there's some technical ability in the room. But on their latest LP Rise, these six dudes have managed not only to show their chops but also to demonstrate that they can craft a mean mess of proggy jazz fusion -- complete with synths and sax -- that's still capable of being heavy as fuck.

     I really don't know where to start you on this one, so you're going to start at the start. Logical right? That makes your official Saturday song for last week Sound Struggle's "Strongth", but buckle up kids, because this time around the link's for a while album stream. So enjoy "Strongth" and then brace yourself for the rest of the madness and badness that is Rise.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Friday: Chronologist - Bazooka

     Besides Sylosis (look at this segue, would you?) another thing you guys should know I'm into by now is proggy instrumental stuff. I say this now to any budding young musicians out there: if you're in a band that's writing some cool stuff, but you don't have a vocalist, and you're looking for something that fits your sound, consider that maybe your sound might be best without vocals entirely.

     Case in point: Boston's Chronologist manage to craft killer grooves and sprinkle them with such buttery smooth lead work that no words are necessary to draw the listener in. Even the biggest fan of soaring Bruce Dickinson-esque metal vocals or Corpsegrinder-style gutturals should find enough tasty riffage here to make them forgive the lack of vocals.

     To this end (ie: converting more of you to the wordless dark side that is instrumental) I'm suggesting you start with Chronologist's "Bazooka" from their four-track demo/EP from the summer of 2014. Why this particular track? Straight up groove for days, that's why.

Thursday: Sylosis - Turbulence

     If you guys aren't aware by this point that I love British neo-thrash band Sylosis, you haven't been paying attention. Last time I did a Sylosis Throwback Thursday, I was demonstrating that they had some chops as early as their first EP back in 2006. Your belated Throwback from last week could be considered exhibit B in my ongoing "Sylosis is awesome" proof.

     "Turbulence" is taken from the 2008 Sylosis EP The Supreme Oppressor, the band's second EP and its second crack at a vocalist. But even with the lineup instability on the first couple of Sylosis releases, the core badassery is there: tight riffing, a hefty dose of melody, and some nice shreddy leads. Did someone say leads? I defy anyone to keep their horns out of the air when the solo in "Turbulence" kicks up a notch about halfway through. Tasty.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Wednesday: Cloudkicker - Emfargo

     Everyone's favourite American one-man instrumental prog outfit Cloudkicker is back with a new record (I say American so you don't get your hopes up about new Chimp Spanner...). If you know what's good for you, you should check out Woum in its entirety, front to back, at least a couple of times. It's an album that's meant be immersed in -- headphones are a must.

     But just in case you're in a rush, I'll take up the difficult task of directing you towards an interesting individual track for your consideration. And while there's a couple of choices that stuck out to me on my first few listens to Woum, I feel pretty confident in pointing you towards "Emfargo", an intricate little experiment in echoes, loops, and layers. Get caught up in this one.