Hi readers, and welcome to the 20th installment of Heavy Side Up! As such, it’s time to launch a new look for the feature: Heavy Side Up 2.0!
Unreqvited – Stars Wept to the Sea
Just a few months into 2018 and it’s been one hell of a year for blackgaze already, but Canadian one-man act Unreqvited still manages to make a bold and distinct statement with his sophomore album. The heavy elements of the album’s sound are as crushing as the softer elements are melancholy, and the symphonic presence is as beautiful as ever, making for a breathtaking musical experience.
Sun Speaker – Ov Lustra
This is the debut album from this Arizona-based blackened technical death metal band, and it’s safe to say these guys are going to be a name to watch out for. An intriguing concept album bursting at the seams with intense, ferocious musicianship, offset by a striking ambient presence, this album makes for a relentlessly engaging listen from start to finish.
Ails – The Unraveling
A new band comprised of former members of Ludicra, this avant-garde project has put out one hell of an interesting debut. Combining black metal with melodic death metal and sprinkling in elements of sludgey stoner doom while still being experimental in its own right, Ails carve out their own musical identity right from the get-go. You can practically hear the anguish reverberating through each note.
Coma Recovery – Apotheosis
The band’s first release since 2011, Coma Recovery (formerly The Coma Recovery) have always been an interesting outlier in the post-hardcore scene, avoiding the genre’s most common trappings to instead craft elegant and captivating soundscapes. Neither the band’s sound nor scope has ever quite seemed as massive as it does here, and this EP leaves me very excited about the band’s future.
The first new album from the progressive alternative metal supergroup in almost a decade and a half sees them venturing into some strange new territory. The primary focus here is atmosphere, with the heavier aspects of the band’s sound mostly shelved for a more meditative, calculated sound.
One of the biggest names in the “djent” scene, TesseracT have always stood out from the pack by placing greater emphasis on the genre’s more ethereal possibilities. Having maintained a remarkably consistent career throughout constant line-up changes, the fourth album from the English progressive metal band proves to be another rock-solid entry in their catalogue.
Artists who released new albums this week:
Hungarian deathgrind band Abandoned Mortuary, British hard rock band Alien Stash Tin, Italian black metal band Altar of Perversion, one-man Ukranian black/doom metal act Angel of Nature, Italian symphonic metal band Asphodelia, Italian doom/death metal band Assumption, Spanish stoner/hard rock band Astrolabe, Swedish hard rock band Black Rose, hard rock band Black Stone Cherry, thrash metal band Black Magik, Russian melodic black metal band Blackness, Spanish alternative metalcore band Bolu2 Death, Bulgarian stoner/hard rock band Brond, Swiss death metal band Brutal God, Swedish heavy metal band Bullet, Czech progressive hard rock band Butterfly Kiss, hardcore punk band Cancer Bats, Slovenian experimental post/black metal band The Canyon Observer, Irish black/folk metal band Celtachor, French melodic death metal band Chabtan, Chilean thrash metal band Cianuro, black/death metal band ColdClaw, Spanish black/death metal band Cult of Flesh, French hard rock band Deadline, Greek death/black metal band Demonic Obedience, progressive metalcore band Desolist, Dutch black metal band Elfsgedroch, Russian symphonic power metal band Estate, industrial metal band Esther Black, Iranian one-man instrumental black metal artist Etheraldine, New Zealand/German collaborative melodic death metal act Euphoreon, blackened death metal band Excommunicated, German atmospheric black metal act Fortress of the Olden Days, alternative metal band From Ashes to New, stoner rock band From Beyond, thrash metal band Fuse of Order, Finnish death metal band Ghastly, Australian symphonic metal artist Graham Greene, German groove metal band Gone With a Blastwave, Firewind guitarist Gus G, British progressive metal band Hekz, Australian power metal band Horizons Edge, Greek symphonic doom metal band Horrorgraphy, melodic death metal band Inferi, Finnish thrash metal band Inkvisitor, Italian death metal band Intracranial Purulency, House of Lords frontman James Christian, British progressive doom/stoner metal band King Goat, Austrian one-man black metal band Kirchenbrand, Canadian hard rock band Lions Leading Sheep, Australian thrash metal band Lethal Vendetta, experimental sludge metal giants Melvins, hard rock band The Mercury Pills, Bulgarian symphonic gothic metal band Metalwings, Swiss heavy metal band Mind Patrol, Polish atmospheric black metal act Mornië Utúlië, Dutch hard rock band Mother Bass, German melodic death metal/crust hybrid band My Cold Embrace, deathcore band Necropia, Nicaraguan thrash/death metal band Nefilim, death/thrash metal band Nightmare Canvas, punk band Pennywise, British hard rock band Powderhead, Finnish heavy/power metal band Psychework, post-hardcore band Reveries, The Dictators/Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss, Spanish depressive black metal duo Rotten Light, South African sludge metal band Ruff Majik, Swedish progressive metal band Saffire, Greek heavy metal band Sense of Fear, British metalcore/post-hardcore band Shields, Brazillian thrash metal band Siriun, doom metal/stoner rock band Sleep (a surprise release, and the band’s first new album in over a decade), British hard rock band SkinDeep, doom metal band Son of Kush, Sandstone guitarist Stevie McLaughlin, Christian metal band Stryper, Swedish black metal band Svederna, Italian symphonic power metal band Temperance, Spanish heavy/progressive metal act Theorem, German post-metal band Trautonist, Canadian thrash metal band Tribal Bones, Mexican thrash metal band Tulkas, Russian atmospheric black metal artist Utburd, Polish black metal band Varmia, Israeli progressive metal band Venus in Fear, Swedish hard rock band Volster, Cyprus-based death metal band Vomitile, Belgian black metal band Wiegedood, Italian groove metal band Wildime.
Artists who released new EPs this week:
Argentinian blackened death metal band Abominable Humanidad, death metal band Abysmally Entombed, metalcore band Bad Wolves, Finnish doom/sludge metal banbd Dark Buddha Rising, Scottish grindcore band Dark Habits, black/doom metal band Demon Goat, German death metal band Fetal Decay, Swiss thrash metal band GurD, progressive deathcore band Infinitee, Italian technical death/thrash metal band Helikon, French post-hardcore duo Last Call Fernanda, Swedish death metal band Puteraeon, groove metal band We Come From Ashes.
This week I actually stumbled upon quite a few pretty great releases from earlier this month which I neglected to mention here:
The Earth and I – The Candleman and the Curtain
The debut album from the interesting female-fronted New York band, who combine the modern-day “djent” sound of progressive metal with its more theatrical past. Possibly one of my favourite musical discoveries of the year, it comes highly recommended.
False Crown – One Leaf Remains
This is the debut release from this interesting German band, who combine post-hardcore with elements of metal to create their own unique sound, and is well worth checking out!
Hjärna Waves – Copied City
Hailing from Canada, this is the first full-length album the progressive metalcore outfit have put out. Inspired by NieR; Automata, it is full of interesting creative choices, coupled with some impressive musicianship that sets the band apart from their contemporaries.
Scientist – Barbelith
This is the third album from the experimental Chicago outfit, and I dare say their Bandcamp describes their sound perfectly: “Scientist manufacture elements of sludge, doom, prog and black metal into something organic and original. The outcome is equal parts brutal and transcendental.”
I realise Heavy Side Up is predominantly geared towards new releases, so beginning from this installment, I’ll also be highlighting something less recent for your musical enjoyment, beginning with the following classic:
Astronoid – Air
Released in 2016, the debut album from Boston’s Astronoid practically defies an articulate description without being heard for itself. The band describe their sound as “dream thrash,” but their music incorporates a myriad of styles, providing an experience that’s nothing short of otherworldly. Progressive, atmospheric and undeniably original, it’s that rare metal album that’s managed to endear itself even to those who don’t care for heavy music, and if you’ve not yet experienced it, do yourself a favour and rectify that as soon as you can.
The genre lines of music are blurring now more than ever, and this week has proven to be a veritable showcase of this. Are there any hypothetical sound combinations you think would make for an interesting hybrid genre?