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Album Review: TBA

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lists: Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of Selections, Part 1

I've been throwing some input into a few of these selections recently...

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Spooky Albums For Halloween

Dark Buddha Rising might just be the creepiest band I have ever come across. Their occult, languorous doom-drone is divisively seductive. With a tone so dark, yet one so easily penetrated, it's all too easy to get swept up in its sultry underscore. Their music expands ever outward from a mile-thick chant that sounds like it comes from the throats of a coven of hooded giants. Loud enough to rattle your teeth with enough low-end to invade the sub-conscious, then suffocating and brutal enough to send your brain into spasms. It is music that lurks in the shadows; garotte wire at the ready. Dakhmandal is a stupefying, suffocating veil; it is a lesson in the art of covert indoctrination.

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Power Metal

Embedded with the symphonic side of power metal rather than the speedier characteristic, this Turisas debut really has more to do with folk metal, yet it remains a valid and important touchstone to finding the true heart and soul of the genre. Like those other albums listed here, it’s without doubt a pure celebration of metal. It’s uplifting and, actually, quite oddly amusing. I defy anyone who hears this for the first time not to smile. Throughout, it bubbles with orchestral instrumentation. There’s the utter joy and mesmeric, dancing accordion of ‘In The Court Of Jarisleif’ and the bright and sparkling ‘Fields of Gold’. It all flows beautifully and comes hard-wired with a steady rhythmic underscore, pulsating drums and sweeping keys. Of course, the bonus is the fact it tells the 11th century tale of the Vikings’ (or rather the Varangians’) journey through the Baltic, so it really is the most fun you can have while learning history.

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Way, Way Different

You want a change of musical direction? Try Iron Maiden‘s The Number Of The Beast on for size. Being NWOBHM pioneers, the sound of those early albums was hewn from a combination of the strongest heavy music scenes of the time – melodic rock, thrash and, thanks to Paul Di’Anno’s delivery, a heavy dose of punk. Bruce Dickinson, arriving from the all-conquering Samson, brought us his operatic range, his ear for harmony and, most importantly of all, his love for a good story. Consequently, the songwriting became more complex and the performances more vivid.

Without doubt, being an album displaying both bite and melody, this is their crossover point. Here, they are still attuned to their thrashier side, as tracks like the faster, punchier “Invaders” and “22 Acacia Avenue” will attest (you can almost hear the influence of Di’Anno snarling somewhere behind Dickinson’s sharp, clipped delivery). However, by the time they hit the monster, more languid, storytelling of songs like the infectious title-track and the eerie “Hallowed Be Thy Name” they are breaking new ground and carving their future careers in stone. Both these legendary numbers still stand out proudly today as two of their best.

Heavy Blog Is Heavy's Best Of: Progressive Metalcore

Having seared our earlobes with the intensive rough-edged ‘core of 2009’s In The Shadow Of Gods, last year the UK’s No Consequence set about joining up the dots and coloring in the spaces with a good dose of progressive layering. Listening to IO now, still the key to unlocking the beast within lies in the lyrical content. Here, is a bunch of pissed-off individuals, angry at the way that this modern life of ours works. Fists are shaken at the lies that are fed, the political red tape that we have to cross and the cover-ups that keep those to blame safe. Married to these strong, emotive hardcore ethics comes either a focussed, fiery assault or subversive side-steps into spaced-out, atmospheric prog.

Whether screamed or sung, played at break-neck or ponderous speeds, the whole is balanced beautifully. It is the sort of loud, impactful music that current heroes The Safety Fire have been blowing our minds with of late. One defining focal point that says it all comes worming its way through the skidding middle-distance wedge of strings and drums, from behind the drop-offs and dreamscaping, from beyond even the distant, meandering lead. One solitary voice; a bellowed front of house vocal that builds to scream “What have we become?” in our recoiling faces. Yes, busting with infectious hooks, introspective wit and some of the most gorgeous segues this side of an Arusha Accord construction, IO marks one giant leap in the evolution of No Consequence.

Want to catch the full lists? Go here:

There will be more lists to follow... it is inevitable.

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