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Heavy Side Up Weekly Discussion

Greetings, heavy music listeners, and welcome to another installment of Heavy Side Up!

Yesterday saw the release of ION, the 5th album from Australian death metal enigmas Portal, which is the featured album of the week. Portal have made quite a name for themselves in the scene, playing a highly experimental (read: batshit insane) take on blackened death metal. The production on their work can normally be described as “murky,” but here, they drop those effects and opt for a crisper, cleaner sound. Fans of the band might be dubious upon reading that, but this change in creative approach doesn’t stifle what makes the band so great – instead, it reveals the monstrosities that lie within their music, putting them on display for all to see, and the end results are nothing short of terrifying:

For those who are after something more accessible, I would definitely recommend the self-titled debut album from Into the Great Divide. These guys actually err much closer to progressive rock than they do metal, though given their ties to Dream Theater, coupled with the undeniable “oomph” their music packs, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it here. The musicianship and the songwriting here is nothing short of remarkable, and while it’s early days, I wouldn’t be surprised if prog enthusiasts look back on this album years from now as a masterpiece:

Other artists who released albums this week were thrash metal band Accuser, folk metal band Adavant, power metal band Ammunition, doom metal band Anguish, post-metal/black metal/crust hybrid Agrimonia, progressive metalcore band All That We See, French blackened hardcore/crust band Bind Torture Kill, stoner rock/heavy metal band Black Moth, hardcore band Centuries, black metal band Devildom, funeral doom band Faal, melodic hardcore band Giver, hardcore punk band Great Collapse, German thrash metal band Hämatom, doom/death metal band Hooded Menace, progressive/avant-garde metal band Howling Sycamore, melodic/progressive death metal band In Vain, melodic metalcore band Insolvency, heavy metal band Loudness, thrash metal giants Machine Head, death metal band Mammoth Grinder, mathy post-hardcore/alternative rock hybrid Marmozets, Symphony X bassist’s band Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins, progressive folk metal band Orphaned Land, Pantera/Down frontman’s band Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Motörhead guitarist’s band Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, glam metal band The Poodles, Christian metalcore band Sleeping Giants, alternative post-hardcore band Tanuki, emo-tinged post-hardcore/math rock band Tiny Moving Parts, and blackened death metal band Tribulation.

There were also EPs released by progressive metalcore band Arcaeon, technical death metal band Blame, experimental post-hardcore band Coletta, metallic hardcore band Die Young, French atmospheric black metal band Ecloss, and metalcore band The Soulless Architect.

I’d also just quickly like to highlight a release I neglected to mention last week – Nutro, the debut album from Russian blackened hardcore band Wowod. It’s a pretty fierce listen, and you can check it out here.

So, what have you been rocking out to?

BONUS QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Are there any sub-genres for which you’re pretty much guaranteed to love any release?