Greetings, heavy music listeners! Welcome to a jam-packed installment of Heavy Side Up.
This week has seen a ridiculously large number of new releases, and we begin with what is a very serious contender for “Album of the Year,” Where Owls Know My Name by Pennsylvanian progressive death metal band Rivers of Nihil. Words can barely describe what a lush and absorbing journey this is; musically diverse, technically impressive and full of surprises, this album is an experience that’s every bit as beautiful as it is brutal:
Next up is Jericho Sirens by Hot Snakes, the band’s first new release in 14 years. An off-shoot of the legendary post-hardcore band Drive Like Jehu, California’s Hot Snakes are practically punk royalty at this point, personified by their unique blend of post-hardcore and garage rock. Their new album may not reinvent the wheel by any means, but it’s a prime example of a band returning from a long hiatus without having lost any of their essence:
The next featured album of the week is Sculpture, the third release by solo instrumental artist Sergey Golovin. A ridiculously talented musician who should rightfully be as well-known as, say, Animals as Leaders, Sergey Golovin’s music is jaw-droppingly complex. He also has a neat take on instrumental progressive metal, working in subtle elements of electronica for atmosphere while delivering a finished product that’s considerably more upbeat and fun than most others in the scene:
The last two featured releases aren’t available on Bandcamp, but there are thankfully full album streams on YouTube. Hailing from North Carolina, progressive metalcore band As Oceans manage to stand out in an overcrowded genre by being more interesting and ambitious than the majority of their contemporaries. Incorporating musical influence from all over the world, their music oozes emotion without sacrificing instrumental proficiency, and their new album, Still Miles to Go, is their best yet:
Lastly, we have Away From Light, the full-length debut by Italian band Rome in Monochrome. Combining crushing melodic doom/death metal with elements of shoegaze and post-rock, the band paints a melancholic picture of desperation, despair and detachment. The end result is a truly ethereal and captivating release that deserves to be on more people’s radars:
Other bands who released albums this week include Australian progressive metal band Agnesis, Chilean progressive death metal band Annagram, solo power metal artist Axel Rudi Pell, Spanish black metal band Balmog, German folk metal band Bannkreis, melodic hardcore band Bears Among Men, Russian black/industrial metal band Black Astrology, Canadian hard/stoner rock band Black Wizard, Welsh melodic hardcore band Casey, Romanian death metal band Contraband X, Swedish melodic death metal band The Crown, melodic death metal band Cryptic Prophecy, British stoner metal band Desert Storm, hard rock band Devilstrip, British one-man blackened death metal act Disobedient, stoner metal band Ditch Mimes, French metalcore band DOJ, Hard rock band Dorothy, Russian black metal band Drauggard, heavy/psychedelic stoner rock band Earthless, Hungarian groove/thrash metal band Ektomorf, heavy metal band Enchantelope, German thrash metal band Eradicator, Canadian death metal band Externatropsy, sludge/doom metal band Eyes of the Sun, British hard rock/glam metal band Falling Red, Danish progressive metal band Fears Unfolding, Russian groove metal band Feelament, British progressive hard rock band Firegarden, Italian metalcore band Forbidden Seasons, Italian doom/sludge metal band Formalist, Swedish black metal band Glaurung, Australian death metal band Grave Upheaval, doom/stoner metal band Green Druid, progressive metalcore band Greyhaven, heavy metal band Gygax, grindcore/crust band Hell to Pay, Brazillian black/death metal band Hells Ambassador, stoner rock band High Reeper, Finnish melodic black metal band Hiidenhauta, black metal/funeral doom band Imperium, metalcore band Inflict, Dutch death metal band Iron Harvest, stoner rock band Jirm, German pagan metal band Jörmungandr, Scottish heavy/doom/stoner metal band King Witch, German metalcore band The Legion Ghost, solo progressive metal artist Liam Espinosa, hard rock/glam metal band Little Caesar, British hard rock band Lost Gravity, Singaporean doom/stoner metal band Marijannah, Australian heavy metal band Matterhorn, Spanish hardcore band Meltdown, Polish avant-garde metal band Misanthropic Rage, Turkish death metal band Molested Divinity, technical death metal band Monotheist, Norwegian black/folk metal duo Myrkraverk, Swedish heavy metal band Negative Self, German viking metal band North Hammer, Swedish heavy metal band Northern Asylum, Greek gothic metal band On Thorns I Lay, Canadian punk band Out in Style, blues-infused stoner metal band Owl Maker, German death metal band Pestilent Reign, Australian hard rock band The Point 0 Five, Belgian melodic death metal band Reject the Sickness, German black metal band Regentvm, Australian metalcore band Rogue Half, Polish black metal duo Sacrificulus, Russian one-man goregrind act Secret Anal Terrorist (yes, you read that correctly),Dutch hard rock band Smokin’, Canadian death metal band Spirit of Rebellion, alternative/hard rock/grunge band Stone Temple Pilots, Austrian groove metal band Streambleed, Norwegian black/thrash metal band Susperia, blackened thrash metal band Synapse Misfire, German hard rock band Tower Machine, stoner metal band Twingiant, German one-man black metal act Ulgoroth, black metal band Veiled, German heavy metal band Velvet Viper, French hard rock band Venin, progressive metalcore band Vestals, progressive death metal band Vocator, French hardcore band Wolfpack, and German death metal band Zombie Riot.
There were also new EPs by alternative post-hardcore band Artica, Turkish progressive/power metal band Cloud Theory, Canadian heavy/melodic death metal band Disturb the Dead, metalcore band Dualist, British doom metal band Godthrymm, Swedish one-man black metal act Hermóðr, progressive metalcore band Lunaform, Christian metalcore band Our Last Trial, British death metal band Oracle, and German doom/black metal band Thornscvlt.
So, what have you been rocking out to?
BONUS QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you have any pleasant instances of a band you like returning from a particularly long hiatus with new material?