Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Loud Noises Indefinite Hiatus (Frowny Face)

     Oh hey there. Haven't seen you in a while -- through no fault of yours, of course. That's actually what I'm here to talk about today. It is with a proverbial heavy heart (and a literal heavy beard) that I follow in the footsteps of some of our favourite bands and announce that Loud Noises is going (or has already gone) on indefinite hiatus.
     Any of you regular readers that I'm always jokingly referring to (if indeed there are any of you) will no doubt have noticed that the frequency of posts here at the blog has really dropped off, and indeed dried up completely, over the last several months. Fortunately for me, this hasn't been because of some huge, earthshaking event in my life (those tend to be a tad on the negative side) but rather just the steady accumulation of little stuff. My search for steady employment anywhere near my field (which is ancient history -- good luck with that, right?), my quest to get some of my other, non-metal-blog-related writing published, even my recovery from a couple of cold-and/or-flu-related mucus fests over the winter -- I could bore you with a laundry list of excuses, of shit that keeps pushing other things further and further back in the queue.
     But the bottom line is that I feel like I'm perhaps spreading myself a little too thin, and as the saying goes, 'jack of all trades, master of none'. As much as I've tried to produce good content for any of you out there interested in reading it, the fact that this blog is just a hobby for me, more or less, has put a pretty hard cap on the amount of time I can dedicate to it. In the four years since I started Loud Noises that sliver of time has slowly and steadily eroded away, to the point that I have been struggling to muster the time and energy required to write the kind of stuff for Loud Noises that I want to write. That's not really fair to any of us, and it's a situation that's got to change. To paraphrase that "jack of all trades" things, I've been trying to half-ass a number of things for too long, and it's time to throw my whole ass into something.
     So, what does this mean for you, dear reader? Well, in the short term, virtually nothing, as I've haven't been posting on here for a while now, and that's not going to change any time soon. The outlook long-term is a little murkier; in a perfect world, I'd love to come back to Loud Noises and pick up where I'm leaving off, and maybe even implement some of the ideas I've had over the years that I've just never had the time or momentum to try out. But that perfect world would have to include a good deal more financial and schedule stability, as well as a healthy dose of disposable free time, so the stars may unfortunately never quite align.
     For the time being at least, then, this is a fond farewell. Thanks for stopping by once in a while to check out my two cents on the wide world of music, and the crazy corner of that world that we call metal. Now's your chance to catch up on all the reading you might have missed -- more than 1300 posts worth over the last four years. Better get started.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Sunday the 21st (of February): Thrice - Blood on the Sand

     In the vein of new music, I'm very excited to be able to write a post featuring new music from this band. I've been a fan of Thrice for longer than I've know most of my current group of friends; they're one of those bands that's been with me through a lot, so I was disheartened, to say the least, when I read about the band's hiatus back in 2012.

     Even though the band was clear about this not being the end of Thrice, we've all heard that one before. So last year's rumblings of new material from Thrice camp delighted me, and this year's news of title, release date, and first single have me just tickled. "Blood on the Sand", the first single from the forthcoming To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere, is a short, sharp slice of relatively straightforward post-rock that will likely once again polarize Thrice fans somewhat. Fans looking for a return to the band's older, heavier sound will continue to be disappointed here, but fans who've been willing participants in the band's experimental evolution should enjoy the new-but-familiar direction that the band seems headed in next. Have a listen and see what you think.

Saturday the 20th (of February): Circles - Sand and Wind

     Just because I'm super far behind doesn't mean I don't still get to feature the latest and greatest from some great bands. Imagine if I limited myself to stuff I'd heard by the supposed date of these posts? I'd be even worse off, no doubt.

     I am, however, definitely better off for hearing the newest track from the Australian prog djentlemen in Circles. No solid word yet on when their next disc will be out (other than a general "this year" posted in response to a question on Facebook), but if the band's latest single is any indication, it should be a fitting follow-up to the band's debut LP Infinitas. "Sand and Wind" is an expertly-balanced showing of melodic and groovy djent-prog. Album number two could be a big one for Circles; they just need to write a bunch more rockers like this one.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Friday the 19th (of February...): Sumac - Rigid Man

     Time for a big ol' Easter slab of crushingly heavy blackened post metal courtesy of supergroup-of-sorts Sumac (even though, yes, this is supposed to be a post for near the end of February instead of near the end of March...)

      Featuring members of Baptists, Russian Circles, and Isis, Sumac might just be the most super supergroup you've never heard of. Their bands of origin should give listeners a clue as to the talent at work in Sumac, but the best part of the whole thing might be that they sound here like their own own heavy-ass beast. Their sophomore disc What One Becomes drops in June, but massive first single "Rigid Man" can bludgeon you into submission right this minute. Of particular note is the big riff that brings things back from the breakdown late in the song -- tasty!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Thursday the 18th (of February): The Contortionist - Cortical

     I'm only going back a couple of years for this Throwback Thursday post, but that doesn't make it any less of a corker. Yes, I just said corker. I'm old. And apparently British inside. Any road, we're headed back to 2012 for a track from The Contortionist's sophomore LP Intrinsic.

     "Cortical" is a great example of the kind of progressive metal blend happening on Intrinsic -- soft synthwaves lapping up against angular space djent beaches. This song finds itself in a weird little groove by the end of it, with a sort of jazzy, down-tempo lead going over it, and it's all these disparate influences that seem to make a Contortionist record, cropping up here and there. Intrinsic is a different beast than 2010's Exoplanet, and different still from 2014's Language, so what new material from these guys would sound like is anyone's guess. But hey, that's a two-year album cycle right there, so maybe 2016 will see some new stuff, and a new twist, from The Contortionist.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Wednesday the 17th (of February): Wintergatan - Marble Machine

     There's a decent chance you've already seen my next pick for you, given that it's been making the internet rounds lately, even gracing "mainstream" news sites and Facebook feeds for a couple of days. But this piece of music is the product of such a feat of design and engineering that I can't help but point you at it again. And hey, this is a Wednesday post, so it's alliterative too!

     I've posted about eclectic Swedish indie band Wintergatan before (back when I discovered their beautiful piece of vaguely chiptuney instrumental electro-sounding pop "Sommarfagel") but the latest development from this creative group of Swedes is, if possible, more mesmerizing. "Marble Machine" (I don't know if this song of sorts has any other title than that) is a weirdly infectious track, a bass-and-vibraphone driven piece of lullaby-pop-funk. And if that weren't enough, the whole thing is produced by a hand-cranked Rube Goldberg-ian monster that took more than a year to design and build.

     This is one that you're really going to have to watch as well as listen to in order to get the full effect, but goddamn if it isn't awesome in the most legitimate sense of the word. If your crusty metal heart isn't moved to fall into the head-bopping groove of this one, well, I'm afraid I've done about all I can for you.

Tuesday the 16th (of February): Latitudes - Ordalian

     Any Loud Noises reader who's been doing their homework should know by now that I'm a fan of instrumental metal, which means that I'm always excited to find new instrumental bands who're doing something cool other than just eschewing vocals. And while the Brits in Latitudes aren't necessarily blowing the doors off the instrumental genre (hell, their latest release Old Sunlight blasphemes with some singing) they certainly have brewed up a cocktail that's right up my alley.

     Old Sunlight is a semi-instrumental slice of post-metal that's got all kinds of other genres and sub-genres mixed in -- there's some blackened bits, some cinematic swells, some gloomy sludge, and a whole host of other touches that combine into something balanced between heavy and beautiful. This album definitely benefits from being heard as one sprawling musical journey, so I'm going to let Latitudes do the convincing and just start you off with Old Sunlight's first epic track, "Ordalian". Enjoy.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Monday the 15th (of February): Valleys - Choices

     Unsurprisingly, my alliterative attack continues with a little Metalcore Monday for you, featuring a young North Carolina band called Valleys that happen to have picked an ambitious concept for their first LP. Experiment One: Asylum, out last month, is a fictionalized account of the Multiple Personality Disorder of it's main character Asylum. High-brow concept meets tasty metalcore? Colour me interested!

     The record itself is still in my listening queue, but first single "Choices" certainly entices and intrigues with its very modern-sounding brand of techy, djenty metalcore. The intensity of its riffing and its relatively short running time (less than four minutes) combine to give "Choices" a nice dose of energy and urgency. Throw in some added poignancy from the sudden death of one of the band's vocalists in a car accident shortly before the album's release and you've got a recipe for some emotionally charged listening. Check these guys out on tour in April if you get the chance.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sunday the 14th (of February): Scale the Summit - Balkan

     I don't have a love song in mind for your much-belated February the 14th post, so I'll default to my typical trope of alliteration for a bit of instrumental romance in the form of some Sunday Scale the Summit.

     Scale the Summit have released a couple of albums since 2011's The Collective, and they've been pretty good, but if I had to pick I think The Collective is still my favourite. One of the many reasons why is late-album number "Balkan", a demonstration of Scale the Summit's ability to go on soaring musical journeys that morphs partway through into ending section dominated by a cyclical, slightly off-kilter tapped riff complete with phat accompanying bass. If you're familiar with Scale the Summit, it'll probably make you go "yeah, that sounds about right", but if you're new to this instrumental party, maybe this'll set this hook in your wee little earhole.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Saturday the 13th (of February): Visions - Delete the Sky

     The vagaries of fate, combined with my own procrastinatory predilections, make my catching up on Songs of the Day for you guys seem next to impossible. But am I going to let that stop me from fighting the good fight, from raging against the dying of the proverbial light? Fuck no. The struggle to overcome impossible odds is what makes any hero's journey compelling in the first place, so when the odds around here get impossible, my only real option is to get awesome. Eat your heart out, Joseph Campbell.

     First up in my quest for new Loud Noises material is a song from a band that's on a quest for new material of its own (fuck off, it's either really late or really early at the time of writing, depending on how you slice it). British techcore types Visions have, if Facebook be trusted, finally finished their second LP, and are apparently preparing a new video to coincide with the announcement or release or what have you.We still haven't heard any of this new material, however, so while we await that first single and accompanying video, we'll just have to revisit 2011's Home for something to hold us over.

     To that end, have a go at "Delete the Sky", a slice of techy, angular metalcore that gives way to sparse ambience at its end as a lead-in to the following track on Home. If you're a metalcore fan like me, I think you'll find this record has held up pretty well, and hopefully serves as a decent appetizer for the new meal to come. (The link you're getting is to the album audio, not the music video, since the video understandably cuts out the ending interstitial stuff.)

Monday, 29 February 2016

Friday the 12th: Fallujah - The Void Alone

     As with your Wednesday post a couple of days ago, lucky me doesn't have to stretch to hard to get all alliterative on you for your Friday post today. Somebody or something somewhere must be smiling down on and/or up at me, because we've all recently been treated to some brand new Fallujah.

     In case you need it spelled out: this is cause for excitement, since Fallujah's last record, 2014's The Flesh Prevails, graced many an end of year "best of" list (mine included). Those are, then, some big shoes in need of filling, but the strength of new single "The Void Alone" strongly hints that the upcoming Dreamless will be up to the challenge. Fallujah's dense and technical breed of post-death metal (is that a thing? that's a thing.) is augmented here with some ethereal female vocals and a spacey melodic sensibility that could well make Dreamless as a whole a very interesting and engrossing listen indeed. I'm going to do my best Kreskin impression here and say that this one already sounds like a "best of 2016" candidate. Get on board or get left alone in the void.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Thursday the 11th: The Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin' Beats

     If, like me, you need a bit of a 'pick-me-up' on this Sunday afternoon in late February, then why not pretend it's a Thursday in mid-February so that we can rock the block together with your Throwback Thursday post for today.

     Now, before you die-hard metalheads get your leathers in a twist about my choice of decidedly un-metal song today, I refer you again to my mandate to hit you with good music of any and every stripe -- metal or otherwise. And I defy any of you, especially those of a similar vintage to myself, to jam The Chemical Brothers' "Block Rockin' Beats" at volume and come away with anything other than the sense that yes, those beats could incite rocking in the entire block. Whether you're a fan of electronic music or not, this one's just a fun classic that I'm willing to be will elicit some smiles and knowing nods from at least some in your group of hardened old heshers. Feel free to come back let me know if it doesn't.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Wednesday the 10th: Walls of Jericho - Relentless

     It's not always the easiest thing to find something suitably alliterative for a Wednesday post (assuming of course I don't want to just take my usual easy way out and call it Weird). But a blast from my musical past is back with some new jams to save me from my usual ruts. It's Walls of Jericho Wednesday, kids!

     It's apparently been nearly a decade since Walls of Jericho put out new material, and it's been even longer than that since I was really into 2004's All Hail the Dead, but Candace and the guys have a new record coming out towards the end of March and a new single out right now. "Relentless" sounds just like the Walls of Jericho I remember -- tight, chunky, vaguely thrashy hardcore/metalcore riffing with Candace's acerbic growl spread liberally over top, and some shouted gang vocals for good hardcore measure. I'm not exactly losing sleep with excitement over this one, but it's definitely good to see this band back in action.

Tuesday the 9th: Wormed - Pseudo-Horizon

     It's time again for a Tech Tuesday post, so I hope you're ready for a short, sharp burst of blasty fury courtesy of Spanish space metallers Wormed.

     Wormed's latest record Krighsu is due out in a couple of weeks, and they've been gracious (read: badass) enough to provide us with a number of appetite-whetting tracks so far. The meatiest of these has got to be "Pseudo-Horizon" a punishing three-minute combination of grinding and grooving that should leave any tech death fan ready to hit repeat. Based on this track, and the couple others that have been released off of Krighsu so far, Wormed are set to assault our collective senses when this one drops in mid-March. Prepare yourself.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Monday the 8th: Spires of the Lunar Sphere - Pangaea Ultima

     Today's horribly out-of-date Metal Monday post for February the 8th should almost be titled a "Metal" Monday post; while your slice of madness from Daytona's Spires of the Lunar Sphere has got plenty of heavy, it's also got plenty of a whole slew of other shit too.

     Experimental metal, or something similarly broad, might be the best way to try and encapsulate Spires of the Lunar Sphere and their debut EP, last September's Pangaea Ultima. Synths, horns, and other instrumentation odds and ends combine with the usual guitars, bass, and drums to shred out a frenetic brand of metal that's noisey, techy, proggy, groovy... usually all in the same song. I could probably go on for a while trying to sketch you a picture of Spires' sound, but it would probably be quicker for you to just take in final track "Pangaea Ultima" for a cross section of what Spires of the Lunar Sphere is all about.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Sunday the 7th: Killswitch Engage - Cut Me Loose

     Last month we got our first taste of the upcoming new record from metalcore veterans Killswitch Engage. Now we've got sample number two of Incarnate, and it's a bit of a shift of gears for the guys. Will it be your cup of tea? Read on to find out.

     First Incarnate single "Hate By Design" was more in line with your standard Killswitch single -- riffy, energetic, and ready for radio, assuming your local radio station plays anything approaching metal -- but second single "Cut Me Loose" is a bit slower, equally catchy in the choruses but a bit more of a grindy crusher in the verses. Killswitch are the reigning metalcore kings, though, so there's a couple of breakdowns/change-it-up-for-a-second sections in there too. It's still most definitely patented Killswitch Engage, just think "The Return" or "The Arms of Sorrow" rather than "In Due Time or "Never Again" and you'll be plenty prepared to see how you like the latest from Killswitch Engage.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Saturday the 6th: Cyborg Octopus - Data_M1nefield

     Cast your minds into the before time: remember way back when I posted a tasty little number called "Pukefeast Inc." by proggy California deathcore outfit Cyborg Octopus? Well the boys are finally ready to drop an LP on us, and now we've got our first shot at the sweet new material.

     "Data_M1nefield" is a seven-minute epic of genre sampling: progressive deathcore is still the general name of the game, but a variety of influences are once again on offer, from synthy keyboards to flashes of tech death to the rad melo-shred solo that provides the track's climax (and kills the video's bad guys to boot). I liked the older Cyborg Octopus stuff when I heard it, and if the step forward in songwriting and musicianship that's on display in "Data_M1nefield" is any indication of the level of quality of the rest of Learning to Breathe, I'm going to be one happy camper. Give this one a spin or two and discover these guys before the rest of the kids on your block do.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Friday the 5th: Polyphia - Euphoria

     It never fails, does it? I'm starting to get close to caught up, then comes the combination of a busy long weekend last week and then a good old dose of Canadian winter this past Tuesday that required some digging out, and suddenly I'm back behind several eight balls again, blog-wise. Oh well. Onward and upward, shall we? Starting with a post for a couple of Fridays ago.

     So how do you feel about Polyphia? Do they make you feel decidedly old and un-hipsterish? Jokes aside, do you dig their techy, shreddy instrumental, or are you among those who feel it lacks some soul? The band's latest "Euphoria", from their forthcoming LP Renaissance, might go a ways towards converting you from the latter for the former. The sheer noodliness is dialed back a little here, with melodic lines taking centre stage. Think a little along the lines of Intervals, or something similar -- leads are there, buttery smooth as usual, but things are more in service of the song now. Check it out.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Thursday the 4th: Rage Against the Machine - Ashes in the Fall

     It's Throwback Thursday time once again, and this week ("last week", for all you "time is linear" types) I'm going with another perennial throwback favourite of mine. This year will see At the Drive-In back together, if only for some live shows, so why can't 2016 also see the return of the Rage?

     Your Rage Against the Machine song this time around is "Ashes in the Fall" from 1999's The Battle of Los Angeles, an album that I'm digging more and more the older I get. I think Evil Empire is still my favourite Rage album, but no longer do I rank Los Angeles number three out of hand. From its dentist drill guitar intro through its bass-driven, space guitar verses, "Ashes in the Fall" is a kind of a microcosm for the variety and willingness to experiment that marks The Battle of Los Angeles as a forward-thinking record that's held up very well indeed. Have a listen and get your rage on.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wednesday the 3rd: Sylosis - Kingdom of Solitude

     It's been a little bit since I've posted a slice of shredding from Reading, so it's probably about time for your latest dose of Sylosis. I swear to Jeebus I'll make converts of all of you yet!

     "Kingdom of Solitude", from 2011's Edge of the Earth, demonstrates for like the baziollionth time that Sylosis can defly navigate tempo shifts, stylistic shifts, you name it. This one goes from raging thrasher to crushing herald of doom on a dime, and does it with fluid aplomb -- as if you'd expect anything less from these veterans. Here's your latest chance: if you don't know how great Sylosis can be, hop on board right the fuck now!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Tuesday the 2nd: The Fall of Troy - Problem!?

     Let's use the theme of brevity for a segue today, or a little dose of theme, as I present you with another track that squeaks in under the two minute mark. You can thank the now-no-longer-defunct The Fall of Troy for today's blast of ragged post-hardcore.

     I'm not sure which album I'd pick as my favourite from The Fall of Troy, but I'd be hard pressed to argue that 2007's Manipulator isn't one of their best. Their wild, noodly energy had found a sound songwriting footing by this record, resulting in a collection of songs that retains The Fall of Troy's signature spasticity while at the same time achieving something more focused.

     Indeed, more than once on Manipulator The Fall of Troy gets right to the point with tracks that're a "two minutes or so" kind of focused, tracks like the angular "Problem!?". It's just a little wee bit of a thing, so you should be able to give it a couple of spins this morning to see what you think.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Monday the 1st: Son of Aurelius - Myocardial Infarction

     See that in the title of this post? We're actually into February here at Loud Noises, kids, so let's keep the good times rolling along. And since the first of February fell on a Monday this year, I think you can figure out where I'm going with this post. Yup. Metal Monday.

     For your only-a-week-old Metal Monday post I'm revisiting the 2010 debut LP from one of my favourite underrated/underappreciated techy proggy acts. The band is Son of Aurelius, the album is the very solid The Farthest Reachest, and the song itself is "Myocardial Infarction", a furious blast of nimble tech-death that crams more into a little better than a minute and a half than a lot of bands can get into four or five. The songwriting on 2014's Under a Western Sun might be better (and proggier!) but The Farthest Reaches still has some scorchers on it, like this one.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday the 31st: Textures - Shaping a Single Grain of Sand

     It was wasn't all that long ago that I lasted posted about a song from the brand-spanking new Phenotype by Dutch band Textures (the really cool "Illuminate the Trail"). The guys, however, continue their promotional onslaught a new single complete with video, and I'd be remiss if I didn't offer you this fresh slice of groovy, djenty prog to whet your appetite for Phenotype.

     Where "Illuminate the Trail" leaned a little further in the proggy direction, with a few more moving parts, "Shaping a Single Grain of Sand" feels much more streamlined, much more focused on its particular set of grooves -- the closest you're likely to get to a radio single on Phenotype, I would bet. But don't let that appraisal confused you into thinking that this song is in any way not heavy, because it definitely brings the mosh. It just also brings some soaring chorus-type stuff along for the ride. Have a good and see what you think.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Saturday the 30th: The Gorge - Thousand Year Fire

     The nature of your Saturday the 30th of January post is a bit of a challenge for me to pin down. At its core (ha, see what I'm doing there?) it's very 'core', but what you throw on the front of that is kind of up for debate. There's some progginess, and enough tech flavour (in the vein of Misery Signals or perhaps Straight Reads the Line) that just saying metalcore isn't nearly enough.

     I'm talking about The Gorge, and the opening and title track from their forthcoming new record Thousand Year Fire. "Thousand Year Fire" is, like I said, a very 'core' kind of song, but it's anything but one-dimensional. Pick an instrument and listen to just it for a while, and you're bound to hear a little something -- a variation at the end of a riff, a section with an interesting (bass) chord or two, that kind of thing. Those interesting touches, and a cool groove or two, help "Thousand Year Fire" do what any good opening track should: pique my interest for the rest of the album. See if it does the same for you.

Friday the 29th: Deftones - Prayers/Triangles

     For this Deftones fan, there's some good news and some bad news accompanying the release of the bands latest single this past week. Or, I should say, some really great news and some pretty minor bad news. (Spoiler: it's mostly a win.)

     The good/really great news is simple: new Deftones that, based on the single (hang on just one second for that), sounds like it'll be another solid Deftones outing. The minor bad news is that forthcoming new album Gore still isn't the fabled lost record Eros, the band's last with late bassist Chi Cheng. We may yet get a chance to hear that album, but I figure that each other album released in the meantime lowers that chance a little bit more.

     Lucky for me then that, like I said, Gore is sounding like it'll be pretty good, if lead single "Prayers/Triangles" is anything to judge the rest of the record by. It's nothing especially mind-blowing -- Deftones haven't written a jazz fusion concept album or anything -- but it's solid-sounding Deftones. Synthy-ambienty guitars in the verses, big crunchy choruses, Chino throughout... yeah, it's definitely Deftones. Check it out, and get stoked for Gore's April release.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Thursday the 28th: Foo Fighters - Learn to Fly

     Throwback Thursday time again, and this time we're going back the better part of twenty years (sounds like a goddamn long time when I type it aloud like that) for a rocking good tune with a fun video from a series of fun videos. Why does nobody do fun videos like this anymore? And why won't kids today stay off my lawn?

     Full disclosure: my favourite Foo Fighter album is, and likely always will be, 1997's The Colour and the Shape. But the Foos' follow-up, 1999's There is Nothing Left to Lose, had a bunch of good songs on it too -- the first of the record is pretty strong, really, assuming older Foo Fighters stuff is something you're into. I'm going to go ahead and make that assumption, since you're still reading at this point, so your Throwback Thursday for last week is the lead single and best video from There is Nothing Left to Lose, "Learn to Fly". The appearance of Tenacious D, and the fact that the majority of the characters in the video (the principal characters, at least) are played by Foos, combine to make this one of the most fun videos in the band's catalogue, and that's saying something. Peep this one and get nostalgic.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Wednesday the 27th: Plini - Every Piece Matters

     Need something a little laid back for your Thursday (or Wednesday, if you're with me in maintaining the fiction that this is a Wednesday post) morning? Australian guitar wizard and friend of the blog Plini has got you covered with a tasty new single. And the best part? You can help out a good cause while you acquire and enjoy some good jams. Win-win!

     Plini has announced that all proceeds from the new single "Every Piece Matters" will go towards the Every Piece Matters initiative of charitable organization Raw Impact in support of families in Cambodia, continuing the work he started back in 2014/2015 with single "Ko Ki". So if you've got some dollars burning a hole in your Paypal account, why not send them Plini's way? And if you don't, why still spread the word and the tunes around, because the world could use more mellow and proggy jazz fusion that's doing some good on the side.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Tuesday the 26th: Trivium - Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis

     A while ago I asserted that 2008's Shogun might well be the best album from metalcore veterans Trivium. Today, in an approximation of an alliterative post (it not actually being Tuesday and all...), I give you exhibit B in my case for Shogun as the best Heafy and Company have crafted.

     Last time out it was album opener and bad-assedly titled "Kirisute Gomen", and this time we're just going to proceed the way Trivium intended. "Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis" is another fine example of Trivium's capacity for fleet-fingered and fleet-wristed riffing that's still catchy and singable. That intro/outro combination alone, while being a little cheesy and over-the-top, is reason enough to give this song a chance -- assuming, of course, that you like fun. You do like fun, don't you?

Monday the 25th: Marilyn Manson - Posthuman

     It's not Thursday, either in reality or in messed up "Loud Noises time", but I'm still going to throw it back a bit for a Manson Monday post. Regular readers will know that I have a nostalgia-flavoured spot in my heart for the first few Marilyn Manson albums that I sometimes like to indulge, and bully for you, today is one of those times.

     In particular, we're headed for what's probably my favourite Manson album, 1998's Mechanical Animals. This record was of course released at just the right time to hit an adolescent me, but it's also a solid record that I think holds up pretty well to this day, assuming you ever liked it to begin with. I actually jammed it again just the other day, giving me the inspiration to regale you with this rocking number. So please have a go at "Posthuman".

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Sunday the 24th: Glassjaw - New White Extremity

     How in the fuck did I miss this one? We might not have any details about a new Glassjaw record yet, but apparently back at the start of December we got a rough cut of one of its new tracks. Squee!!

    "New White Extremity" sounds like... well, it sounds like Glassjaw. Driving, abrasive, energetic, groovy -- a melding of an eclectic collection of influences and sounds that is at once reminiscent of the band's older work and a bit of something new. It's not Worship and Tribute 2.0, but then is that actually what anybody would have wanted? I'll reserve final judgment for when (or if...) I hear the rest of this record, but for the time being I'd say "New White Extremity" is a good start on ending the Glassjaw drought.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Saturday the 23rd: Glass Cloud - Falling in Style

     Let's keep it relatively simple for this Saturday post (I promise, that particular bit of alliteration was completely unintentional) with some layered, atmospheric groove from the guys in Glass Cloud. Sure, the band might be down a couple of members right now, but Jerry and Josh can bounce back. After all, Glass Cloud isn't their first rodeo.

     And besides, the guys can write tunes like the aforementioned slice of groove we're dealing with today. "Falling in Style" comes from Glass Cloud's 2012 debut LP The Royal Thousand, and its combination of chunky riffing and melanchoy melodic sensability makes it stand from some of its djenty peers. At a scant three minutes, and infinitely head-bangable, "Falling in Style" is like a little groovey metal pop song, if that makes any sense. Maybe it doesn't. Either way, give the song a spin and see what you think.

Friday the 22nd: Resurrecting Id - Renewal

     There might currently be a wealth of djenty progressive instrumental bands with some jazzy flashes, but how many of them go full fusion with a lead saxophone? I can only think of one off the top of my head, and it's got enough saxy goodness to get Kenny G on board.

     How familiar are you with fusion three-piece Trioscapes? Because if you can imagine their serpentine songwriting shifted in a djentier direction and you'd at least have an approximation of what to expect from Resurrecting Id, the self-proclaimed "groundbreaking experiment in saxophone-fronted progressive metal". Not everybody likes jazzy guitar noodling in their metal, but if you happen to, why not hear what it's like when that's translated into the sweet language of sax. The whole of last year's self-titled EP is worth a listen or two, but if you've only got the time or stomach for one saxual experience today, make it Resurrecting Id's second track "Renewal" for a nice blend of big djenty groove and furious sax attacks.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Thursday the 21st: Arsis - Unwelcome

     For this here belated Throwback Thursday, we're only going back a couple of years, but I think you'll be cool with it when your hear the song in question. Any comments about how uncool with it you are can be left below.

     "Unwelcome" isn't just the title track from the 2013 Arsis album, it's also the lead track, an big job for any song. I could go on all day with my thoughts about the importance of track orders and album pacing, particularly regarding opening tracks, but suffice it to say that first impressions are important if you want to make sure some listens to the rest of your record. Arsis made the right call putting "Unwelcome" at the top of the Unwelcome batting order, because it perfectly sets the tone for the deft, melodic technical death metal that follows. Arsis fan or not, I think you'll agree that "Unwelcome" makes a great opening salvo, so have a listen and see what you think.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Wednesday the 20th: Killswitch Engage - Hate By Design

     I know, I know, if we're following the linear rules of conventional temporal mechanics, the new Killswitch single (which came out this week) doesn't make a whole lot of sense for a post from last week. But you know that flouting the laws of space-time is one of the things I'm all about, so happy Wednesday the 20th kids, it's "Hate By Design"!

     Killswitch Engage's latest offering of tight metalcore Incarnate is due out in March, but "Hate By Design" is our first taste, and it's... decent. I don't think it's going to blow you away, but then I was never expecting that. It's a solid Killswitch song, but not an instant classic, and not even as instantly "in my brain" as "In Due Time" was last album cycle. The flip side of all this, however, is that if you dug Killswitch's "return to form" occasioned by the return of Jesse then you're probably going to remain on board for the ride that is "Hate By Design" and looks to be Incarnate. Check it out.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Tuesday the 19th: Omnihility - Psychotic Annnihilation

     Time to pretend it's Tuesday again, but don't worry, I've got a Tech Tuesday post for you that should make it easy to imagine it's only the second day of the workweek. Unless of course it blows your head off first. That's always a problem.

     The latest track from Omnihility, "Psychotic Annihilation" from their forthcoming Dominion of Misery, is one of those tracks that inspires adjectives. 'Ferocious' comes to mind. 'Punishing' does too. 'Relentlessly brutal' would also work, if we're accepting adjectival phrases too. But rather than have me wrack my vocabulary for the perfect descriptor, why don't you just brace yourself, have a listen, and then come up with something on your own. Best one gets a cookie.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Monday the 18th: Orpheus Omega - Practice Makes Pathetic

     In the alternate timeline that is Loud Noises, it's just now Monday the 18th of January, so let's do a Metal Monday post like it's ten days go!

     More specifically, let's do a Melodic Metal Monday post, with a little something slick n' crunchy from Australian (surprise!) melodeath band Orpheus Omega and their latest album Partum Vita Mortem. If you want a quick touchstone for tracks like today's song "Practice Makes Pathetic", the first one that springs to my mind is In Flames, but I've seen a comparison or two to Dark Tranquility that I wouldn't argue with either. But the bottom line is that a listen to these guys will reward with some meaty, decently heavy stuff that's got some catchy melodies and some good production values. If that's your jam, then make Orpheus Omega your jam too.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Sunday the 17th: Protest the Hero - Underbite

     If you're a Protest the Hero fan, chances are you're already familiar with their recent Pacific Myth EP project being recorded and released one track per month over on Bandcamp. Maybe you're even a subscriber already. But if you're not necessarily a Protest fan, you might only have heard about this Pacific Myth thing from me (please, let me hold onto the delusion that I'm somehow your go-to for this kind of thing). And unfortunately, since Pacific Myth is a subscription-based project, I can really only recommend new songs to you when they come out, rather than linking you directly to the goods.

     So today I'm going to be a nice guy. Rather than pointing you at the latest Pacific Myth track (called "Cataract", which you definitely should check out if you get the chance) I'm just going to hit you with a tasty tune from the band's last LP, 2013's Volition. "Underbite" is a characteristically high energy song with a characteristically acerbic and tongue-in-cheek take on rock stardom and the music industry. Would you expect anything less from Rody and the Gang?

Saturday the 16th: Pillars in the Sky - 72 hours remain

     Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of cool instrumental stuff, and they may also have picked up on the fact that, as a solo act myself here at Loud Noises (and in my former life working on The Icarus Project...ask me about it sometime...), I'm always interested to hear a solo artist that can grab me as much as a full band. Pillars in the Sky is exactly the kind of act I like to find out about.

     The brainchild of a Brit named Bowe, Pillars in the Sky combines elements of modern prog, djent, tech, and ambient atmospherics. The kicker, however, especially where Pillars' latest What Became of the Kingdom is concerned, is the inclusion of some glitchy, chip-tuney, video game-inspired goodness. The end result can flow seamlessly from heavy to ethereal and back, but for your introduction to all things Pillars of the Sky, I've chosen something a little more towards the heavier end of things. Surprise!

     Your song for Saturday the 16th is "72 hours remain", and yes, you guessed it, that's a video game reference of a title (spoiler: they all are on What Became of the Kingdom). Gold star for whoever correctly identifies the game first. Oh, and gold stars all around for anyone who jams the song -- you may collect at the end of your nine minutes of awesome.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Friday the 15th: 7 Horns 7 Eyes - Divine Amnesty

     File this one under "Whatever happened to these guys?" Last time I checked in on 7 Horns 7 Eyes on Facebook, back in the summer, it seemed like writing for a new record might be underway. That was the last post from band, which one can only hope means they're too busy doing important stuff like writing and recording to bother with trivialities like social media.

     Let's listen to "Divine Amnesty", the opening track from 2012's solid Throes of Absolution, in that spirit, as an offering to whatever gods govern mixing, mastering, and release dates. Like the rest of Throes, "Divine Amnesty" is a groovy piece of doom-laden death metal with some melodic, shreddy lead work that remains tastefully done throughout. The fact that these guys are a *gasp* Christian metal band (!) that actually rips is a heaping helping of icing on this heavy-ass cake. Bring on the next album already!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Thursday the 14th: Coheed and Cambria - Gravemakers and Gunslingers

     Let's pretend it's actually Thursday for a few minutes, so that we can all imagine it's Throwback Thursday time! I enjoyed last year's The Color Before the Sun, but any Loud Noises reader worth their salt will know that I'm a fan of older Coheed and Cambria, stuff, so let's have some of that for your weekly dose of retro.

     Set your chosen pop culture time travel device to 2007, because we're headed back to Coheed's fourth LP Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow. The title might seem a little long, and a little silly if you're not verse in the band's Amory Wars mythos, but this record is chock full of prime Coheed power-prog-pop. Your Throwback Thursday song "Gravemakers and Gunslingers" is no exception: it stands well enough on its own as a rocking litte number, nevermind its place in the grand story. If my last post from Abhorrent annoyed your neighbours, this one's got enough bounce that they might just forgive you. Worth a shot, right?

Wednesday the 13th: Abhorrent - The Elegance of Asymmetry

     Let's keep yesterday's technical death metal train rolling, shall we? It's not Tech Tuesday any more, but then again it isn't really Wednesday anymore either, so who cares? Jam some Abhorrent already.

     If you don't know Abhorrent, you should, and chances are you know at least one of its members -- the regular lineup alone includes members or former members of The Faceless, Absvrdist, and Spawn of Possession, to say nothing of the guests that crop up on the band's latest Intransigence. Of course, none of that pedigree counts if the beats aren't blasting. Now, I could reassure you, but wouldn't things just be better for all of us if you just checked out "The Elegance of Asymmetry" for yourself? The answer is yes. Yes it would. So crank it, and annoy the non-metal fans in your life.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tuesday the 12th: Atlantis Chronicles - Within the Massive Stream

     Strap on your air hose and make sure your diving bell is in good working condition, because your Tech Tuesday post for the 12th is going to take us under the sea for the latest from the French death metallers in Atlantis Chronicles.

     The sophomore nautical-themed Atlantis Chronicles LP, Barton's Odyssey, is due out in March, but we're getting our second taste of what's in store in the form of "Within the Massive Stream", a suitably massive slab of speedy melodic death metal. If I had to pick a comparison, I might say the musicianship of The Faceless meets the melodic sensibility and recent lyrical themes of The Ocean, but I think you should just check this one out for yourself. If my description sounds good to you, so much the better. And if it doesn't, well, don't let my lazy imagination hold you back. Give "Within the Massive Stream" a listen and leave a comment with your own succinct description. I dare you.

Monday the 11th: Mandroid Echostar - Haunted Vows

     How has Mandroid Echostar's debut LP Coral Throne been treating you? I've been digging it, but I haven't been able to spend enough time with it yet to pick a favourite, which is usually how I decide what gets to be a Song of the Day. So in the interest of giving you a Mandroid Monday for this particular much-belated post, let's revisit the band's 2013 sophomore EP Citadels, shall we?

     Specifically, let's check out "Haunted Vows" for a slice of slick grooves, syrupy leads, and a mid-song instrumental break that's spearheaded by a nice fat bass lick that's simple yet hypnotic. When everybody comes back together on that lick for the end of the song, it's that much bigger for it. Mandroid, if any of you happen to catch this post, come on back to Kingston already, will you? I'll buy you a beer for an LP well done.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Sunday the 10th: Pronostic - Becik

     To avoid falling a full two weeks behind, I say we start ripping through some shit and forge a path back to greatness. Agreed? Good. Let's start things right with some with some old school flavour courtesy of yet another solid metal band from the most distinct and unique culture in Canada (ten points to whoever can name the source of that little socio-political gem).

     Montreal metal band Pronostic have just put out a new video for the track "Becik" from their latest album An Atomic Decision, and while the video isn't necessarily the most memorable (even if it is pretty cincematic) the song itself slays. Fleet-fingered riffs blend old school feel with new school musicianship and sheer speed. Fans of melodic death metal need to get Pronostic on their radars, pronto. Check out "Becik" and see what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Saturday the 9th: Circa Survive - Strange Terrain

     The date at the top? That's just so we all know how far back we're getting, and so that I'll have that constant, reminding kick in the ass to try and motivate me. Anyways: Saturday the 9th!

     I'm more of a fan of the proggier madness of vocalist Anthony Green's kinda-sorta-sideproject The Sound of Animals Fighting, but since I'm a sucker for singers who get anywhere near falsetto I dig everything Green does, including his main gig Circa Survive. For this super belated Saturday post, you're getting the opening track "Strange Terrain" from Circa Survive's 2010 record Blue Sky Noise. As with much of Circa's catalogue, the main draws here are the energy level and the catchy singability. The fact that there's more depth than just a rocking good time is icing on the cake. Check it out.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Last Friday: Hands of Despair - Sleeper

     So I seem to have halted the backward slide. Now it's time to push back, starting with something nice and meaty for a couple of Fridays ago. And the best part? These guys are Canadian! Tres bien!

     It seems like la Belle Province, and Montreal in particular, are like Canada's Australia, in that there's loads of good shit coming out of Quebec just waiting to be discovered. Like Hands of Despair, a solo project turned full band that's got a new album Bereft coming out in just a few weeks. To demonstrate why you should be excited about this record, I've decided to go with the sample song they've got over on their Bandcamp page, a whopper entitled "Sleeper". Beautifully blackened and crusty, with enough melodic sense -- and enough heavy riffing -- to call to mind older Opeth, and that can never be a bad thing. Don't find yourself 'bereft' of something to listen to come February 9th; check out Hands of Despair.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Last Thursday: Funeral for a Friend - Bullet Theory

     Another Thursday means another Throwback, and this time around I've decided to regale you with another cut from classic Funeral for a Friend album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation.

     "Bullet Theory" is a sing-alongable bit of melodic post-hardcore built around big hooky choruses and relatively sparse verses. As with much of Funeral for a Friend's catalogue, there's just enough heavy to the riffage that I can still listen to this one with genuine appreciation rather than just nostalgic wistfulness. Take a break from your regular brutality with something that should go down nice and smooth. Then get back to crushing it, OK?

Last Wednesday: White Stag - Mothouse

     Time for the broadest of my alliterative posts: the Weird Wednesday. I use this one as a catch-all for anything that's a little out there, and your mucho belated Wednesday post today certainly has a little bit of "out there" to it. Feast your ears upon Knoxville four-piece White Stag.

     More specifically, have a go at closing track "Mothouse" from White Stag's recently-released EP Eos Crux. The EP's a varied product of diverse influences, with moments of black metal, drone, and jazzy post-metal and -rock. The song is a ten-minute microcosm of that variety, with stark beauty set beside grimy, crusty blackness. It's a perfect Weird Wednesday jam, and well-suited to the grey weather we've been having here lately. Enjoy.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Last Tuesday: Textures - Illuminate the Trail

     Another reach into my alliterative bag of tricks for a Tuesday post, and this time I've pulled out the latest piece of somewhat djenty prog from Dutch band Textures.

     "Illuminate the Trail", from the upcoming Textures albim Phenotype that's dropping in February, is a beast of a track. I think my qualified "somewhat djenty" above is warranted: "Illuminate the Trail" is chock full of meaty riffing, groovy and proggy in all the right places, and djent detractors should find little to complain about. I've only ever been marginally into Textures up to now, but "Illuminate the Trail" makes me think I should be looking into Phenotype when it comes out next month. How about you?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Last Monday: Metallica - The Thing That Should Not Be

     Time for another Metallica Monday for your much belated post not for yesterday (I'm writing this on Tuesday, January 12th, spoiler alert!) but a week ago yesterday. This Monday we're going to go predictably classic and take a cut from arguably the best Metallica record, Master of Puppets.

     "The Thing That Should Not Be" is one of several Metallica songs to take inspiration from Lovecraft and the Cthulu mythos, with "Thing" having its origins with those fish-faced fuckers from Innsmouth. Musically, it's got that great big stompy main riff running roughshod throughout the track, with a little Hammett leadwork in there towards the end, of course. There's faster stuff on Puppets, but this one's got great atmosphere, and its place on the album is perfect, slowing things down a little without sacrificing a thing in terms of heaviness. Put this one on and pledge your devotion to the ancient ones.

Last Sunday: Finger Eleven - Paralyzer

     The loss of a legend is always a bit of a downer, so let's pick things up with a Sunday Funday post that, upon reflection, I think the Disco King might well have approved of.

     When Finger Eleven's 2007 record Them vs. You vs. Me came out, I wasn't the hugest fan of the bouncy first single "Paralyzer", even if I can relate to the lines about feeling out of place in dance clubs. But as I get older, maybe a little more open-minded, this one grows on me, and it's another one of those songs that never gets skipped on the radio, and indeed often gets a little more volume if I happen to hear it come on. David Bowie would of course insist that we put on our red shoes and dance our blues, so I say start with "Paralyzer" for dance music and go from there.

Last Saturday: David Bowie - Bring Me the Disco King

     They say that bad news comes in threes, so hopefully the music world is done losing talent for a while now. First Scott, then Lemmy, and now David; Ziggy has returned to the stardust whence he came. I'm sure by now you've all heard about the passing of David Bowie, so now it's my turn to pay a little Loud Noises tribute.

     All the usual suspects from Bowie's career have likely been trotted out ad nauseum over the last 24 hours or so (and there are a lot of great songs to revisit) so I'm going with a haunting version of a personal favourite of mine. The track in question is "Bring Me the Disco King", originally recorded in the 90s but only finally released on 2003's Reality, but I'm going to direct your attention to the Danny Lohney remix that appears on the soundtrack to the first Underworld movie.

     For one thing, David has figurative help from, among others, Maynard James Keenan on the Underworld version of "Disco King". But Bowie's tired melancholy is centre stage, especially at moments when the song is stark and stripped back. I used the word "haunting" above, and I'll use it again here, because this is a hauntingly beautiful version of a lesser-known Bowie song. Check it out, and raise a glass to the thin white duke.

Monday, 11 January 2016

New Year's Day: U2 - New Year's Day

     File this one under "How Have I Not Done this for New Year's Before?" Maybe it's because I've never been a huge fan of the band (and especially not its frontman), or maybe it's because I try and maintain the image that this is a more metal-inclined blog (like you still believe that lie), but for whatever reason I've never started a new year here at Loud Noises with this little number from U2.

     "New Year's Day" was the lead single from 1983's War, and it's definitely one of their best known songs. Like I said, I'm not much of a U2 fan, especially when it comes to newer U2, but this one always get left on when it comes on the radio. Ring in the new year a week and a half too late with this classic cut from an important-if-overrated band.

Friday, 8 January 2016

New Year's Eve: Thursday - Jet Black New Year

     This one's got all kinds of layers going on. See, it's a post for New Year's Eve, and the song's at least somewhat New Year's themed. And New Year's Eve fell on a Thursday in 2015, and this is a really cool song from seminal post-hardcore act Thursday. It's like an onion, right?

     Or maybe not. Either way, even if you think the title is a little too emo, Thursday's "Jet Black New Year", from the 2002 Five Stories Falling EP, is a great song and one of my favourite Thursday tracks. The music has a bit of an edge that lots of Thursday lacks, even if the lyrics are standard Geoff Rickly (which is to say decent, but maybe, like I said, too emo for tr00 metalheads). So since I'm so late to the literal party with this one, keep it in your back pocket for next New Year's.

Last Wednesday: Every Time I Die - Goddamn Kids These Days

     Full disclosure: I'm 31 -- yes, only 31 -- but 2015 was a year in which me and many of the people I know started to feel old in one way or another. First world problems, right? Anyways, as bad as that was, I have a feeling 2016 is going to bring more things that make me feel like a curmudgeonly old man, which means that the sentiment expressed by the title of your song for last Wednesday speaks to that fist-shaking part of me.

     My favourite Every Time I Die album is 2009's New Junk Aesthetic, and one of the bonus tracks from the deluxe version of that record is the appropriately titled "Goddamn Kids These Days". Play it loud enough and you can practically hear me telling some whippersnappers to get off my fucking lawn. Sigh.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Last Tuesday: Tool - Third Eye

     Remember when I said that The Black Dahlia Murder's "Hellion" would allow you to bank some precious seconds for the next time I presented you with something meaty? Yeah, so the "next time" actually came sooner than I thought.

     When I don't necessarily have a Tech Tuesday in the chamber, I dig into my alliterative bag of tricks for the next best thing. This week, luck you, that happens to be a Tool Tuesday post. Show of hands, who thinks we'll actually see a new Tool record in 2016? Anybody? While we all hold our breath for that one (or don't...) let's revisit a great track from Tool's back catalogue.

     My choice for this Tool Tuesday? Aenima closing track and close-to-fourteen-minute monster "Third Eye", mostly because of the intensity of its builds and releases, its ebbs and flows, y'knows. The drums that initially resolve out of the noise gradually pull you into the beat, and the layers stack up so seamlessly that if you're not heavily emotionally invested in this song by the time Maynard's distorted screams kick in just shy of minute four, well, you may have problems beyond what I can help you solve. This is about as epic as Tool comes, so bask (or languish) in the knowledge that this one likely won't be topped.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Last Monday: The Black Dahlia Murder - Hellion

     Normally, if I make an unusual demand on your time, it's to request ten minutes or more for some sprawling epic. This Metal Monday post for last week is an apology of sorts.

     "Hellion" is one of the bonus tracks from 2015's Abysmal by The Black Dahlia Murder, and at around a minute in length it couldn't be any more fast and furious. Sure, it's a bit blink and you'll miss it" if you're not paying attention, but the flip side of this coin of brevity is that you can hit repeat a couple of times and still not have spent all day rocking out. Those are seconds you can save for the next time I come up with something epic, so go hard for a measly sixty of them with "Hellion" ASAP.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Last Sunday: Caligula's Horse - Rust

     Catching up continues here at Loud Noises with a Sunday song (last Sunday, that is) from one of the many, many great bands currently coming up from down under. Caligula's Horse might be one of the most well known Aussie prog acts making international waves right now, and they're certainly one of the best, so come take a ride with me.

     I was given a copy of the latest Caligula's Horse record Bloom for Christmas, and after spending some quality time with it over the last week or so I can recommend it highly to any fan of groovy, progressive stuff. Sure, there's a moment or two (including a riff in your last Sunday song) that one could derisively label "djenty", if one were so inclined, but on the whole Bloom is just too diverse to pin down like that. There's some really catchy hooks, some great grooves, some very tasteful lead guitar work -- and of course, Jim Grey's powerful vocals.

     I've featured a song from Bloom before, but this time around we're going full heavy with the acerbic "Rust". Call that main groove djenty if you must, but I defy you to not enjoy it all the same.

(Sorry, no link this time, but Bloom worth a download/stream/purchase, so pull the trigger and then get rusty!)

Boxing Day: I the Mighty - Psychomachia

     A Boxing Day post means back to your regularly scheduled programming here at Loud Noises, as far as that goes, starting with an energetic post-hardcore number that would be right at home on my list of stuff that's "radio friendly but actually good".

     I've written in praise of I the Mighty and their 2015 record Connector before, but it's been a while, and in the absence of newer music from these guys I say it's time to revisit the Connector well in search of something melodic and rocking.  Connector's fourth track "Psychomachia" fits that bill nicely, with energy, melody, and just a hint of a metallic, aggressive kind of edge. Connector has all kinds of songs like this, so I the Mighty's follow-up, whenever that materializes, should be something to keep an eye on.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas Day: Christopher Lee - Little Drummer Boy

     My much belated holiday catch-up continues here at Loud Noises, this time around with your Christmas Day song. In what's becoming something of a Loud Noises Christmas tradition, I'm once again reminding you this year that the now-late, great Sir Christopher Lee, star of stage and screen for decades, also liked to dabble in heavy metal vocal work. More importantly, as far as we're concerned right now, Lee turned those vocal attentions towards the spreading of ghoulish good cheer on more than one occasion.

     Case in point: Christopher Lee's Christmas single from a few year's back, and specifically his version of "Little Drummer Boy". This one's never been a particular Christmas favourite of mine, but Lee's version has enough grand bombast and old school metal swagger to put a smile on even the grinchiest old metalhead. Merry (belated) Christmas, ya' filthy animals.

(Alas, the link above is to a sampler from the 2012 Christmas single, you want the whole thing you've got to buy it, freeloader!)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Christmas Eve: Bing Crosby - White Christmas

     Happy New Year everybody! I may not have bee around much over the past week or so, but that doesn't mean I'm gone for good. I hope your holidays have been restful, because it's time to get back to the wonderful world of metal.

     Well... not quite. Since I'm far enough behind that I still need to do stuff for Christmas, I'll favour you with some holiday trivia that I somehow only learned about this year. Your much belated Christmas Eve song is Bing Crosby's classic rendition of Irving Berlin's classic "White Christmas", which happens to be the best-selling single of all time. Think about that for a second. Any one-hit wonder you think has been undeseveredly huge? Bing's topped it. Any grating pop song that's ever earwormed its way into your skull? Bing's got it beat. Literally every metal song ever? Bing by a landslide. I've never been a fan of White Christmas the movie, but "White Christmas" the song definitely comes out here every year.