Hello readers, and welcome to the 25th installment of Heavy Side Up.
You may have heard I’m leaving the community, and that is indeed correct. As such, this is also going to be the final installment of Heavy Side Up (or, at the very least, the last one to be hosted by yours truly – if there are any Avocadians out there who are interested in continuing this feature following my departure from the site and making it their own, you have my blessing to do so!).
It’s been a pleasure providing the heavy music fans of this community with a venue for discussion over the past 6 months, and I hope I’ve been able to introduce some of you to some interesting music you may not have otherwise heard. But let’s not get hung up on that, because this week’s provided a bounty of wonderful releases that I think will make for one hell of a send-off!
Cloud – Deux Ex Machina
If you’re a fan of instrumental stoner/doom metal, chances are you may have heard the name Cloud at some point in the past few years, as they’ve been making more and more waves with each new release – and rightfully so. Their atmospheric, progressive take on the genre has its own unique sound that also manages to honour their influences, and their newest album may be their most ambitious outing to date. A six-part concept album about the hubris of mankind, this album is an absorbing journey you won’t want to miss.
Witch Mountain – Witch Mountain
There’s been a notable increase in female-fronted bands in the aforementioned stoner/doom scene, and Portland, Oregon has proven a major player in this welcome trend. Witch Mountain already have a few (very good) albums under their name, but fans were understandably concerned when the band went through some recent major line-up changes. Fortunately, this collection of talented musicians prove that such circumstances can indeed be overcome, as new vocalist Kayla Dixon brings a striking and soulful, blues-influenced presence that guides the band smoothly through this transition, resulting in what may be their best work to date.
Unflesh – Savior
Formed a few years ago in New Hampshire, Unflesh have followed up their 2016 debut EP with their first full-length album, and it truly is something to behold. They play a blackened brand of technical death metal that manages to be dark and atmospheric without ever letting up in terms of overall ferocity or technical proficiency. Every moment of this album makes for a captivating and unpredictable listen, and if Unflesh manages to acquire the following they deserve, I could definitely see this genre gaining some serious prominence in the years to come.
Skyborne Reveries – Winter Lights
A one-man atmospheric black metal project from Adelaide, Australia, Skyborne Reveries successfully hits that sweet spot between beauty and brutality which so many artists in the scene strive for. Each song is a meticulously crafted voyage, weaving in elements of post-metal and shoegaze, peppered with some melancholy piano pieces to create a musical work that’s memorable and genuinely affecting. In a crowded sub-genre at the peak of its popularity, Nathan Churches proves he’s more than just a mere imitator.
Hailing from Siena, Italy, Coexistence are an up-and-coming progressive death metal band who just released their debut EP earlier this week – though you wouldn’t know by listening to it, as their music exudes the confidence, creativity and technical proficiency of a far more seasoned band. The band cites influences such as Cynic and Augury, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before they’re held in similar regard to them, because this is a remarkably impressive addition to the genre.
Split Cranium is a supergroup comprised of members of Converge, Isis and Circle, which should be more than enough to warrant checking this out. Their music could be best described as experimental hardcore, though there are evident traces of each member’s previous work, making for a considerably interesting take on the genre. Admittedly, I’ve not yet had the time to give this album a thorough listen like I have with the releases above, though I’m very impressed by what I’ve heard so far, and I can’t wait to sit down with it and give it the attention it deserves.
Artists who released new albums this week:
Swiss alternative metal band 69 Chambers, Italian black metal band Abhor, stoner rock band Aboleth, German heavy metal/hard rock band Architects of Chaoz, Canadian hardcore band Baptists, Canadian black metal band Black Pestilence, metalcore band Bleeding Through, Canadian death metal band Blood of Christ, hard rock band Bullets and Octane, Spanish progressive death metal band Chaos Before Gea, thrash/speed metal band Cline’s Mind, Australian alternative punk band Columbus, alternative post-hardcore band Danger Silent, Italian instrumental symphonic metal artist Daniele Morra, Swedish thrash metal band Dead Sleep, Croatian death metal band Defiant, Swedish death metal band Demonical, hard rock artist Don Airey, Canadian stoner metal band Dopethrone, Australian metalcore band Dream On, Dreamer, German stoner rock band Dune Pilot, Finnish heavy/power metal band Dyecrest, Italian melodic death metal band Dying Awkward Angel, Mexican melodic death metal band Eisen Dragon, metalcore band Emuness, German hard rock band Fargo, Russian groove metal band Fringe Mind, melodic death metal band The Gallows Instance, Swiss hard rock band Gloria Volt, Swedish hard rock band Graveyard, German black metal artist Hallig, post-grunge band Hoobastank, Finnish hard rock band Imperium, Argentinian melodic death metal band In Element, Spanish thrash metal band Injector, progressive metalcore band Inventure, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis, Italian folk metal band Kanseil, deathcore band Kraign, German industrial/gothic metal band Krankheit, melodic death metal band Light This City, atmospheric black metal band Lonely Star, Finnish heavy metal band Lordi, Italian power metal act Luca Princiotta Band, Brazillian progressive/power metal band Maestrick, Swiss gothic metal band Majesty of Silence, symphonic/industrial metal band Mechina, post-metal band Moguera, British heavy metal band Monument, Mexican heavy metal band Metal Blade, death metal band Micawber, German gothic/folk metal band Midnattsol, power metal band Millennial Reign, Finnish heavy metal band Mokoma, German alternative metal band Nancybreathing, hard rock band Never Got Caught, Russian melodic death metal band The Nomad, Norwegian hard rock band Phandrom, British thrash/heavy metal band Primitai, post-hardcore band The Ride, death metal band Ritual Necromancy, Mexican stoner rock band Saturno Grooves, Swiss death metal band Science of Disorder, hardcore band Silenus, Finnish black metal band Skogen, hard rock/post-grunge band Smile Empty Soul, heavy metal artist Snowy Shaw, Swiss black/death metal band Stortregn, German progressive metal band Subsignal, Finnish melodic black metal band Suotana, German death metal band Supreme Carnage, British hardcore/crust band Svalbard, post-hardcore band Take Shape, Georgian black metal artist Tianet, stoner rock band Titanosaur, death metal band Torture Rack, Austrian melodic death metal band The Tract, melodic black metal band Uada, technical death metal band Unflesh, Italian death metal band Valgrind, Italian alternative metal band Viperium, Canadian doom metal band Vomitself, black/folk metal band Wayfarer, melodic death metal band Wirethrone, doom metal band Witch Mountain, British doom metal band Witchsorrow, Belgian avant-garde metal band Wound Collector, Indian one-man progressive metal act Yatin Srivastava Project,
Artists who released new EPs this week:
Hardcore punk band Armageddon Man, Swiss progressive metalcore band Artifiction, Australian metalcore band Caged Existence, Swedish doom metal band Candlemass, melodic/symphonic death metal band Dead City Crown, Dutch experimental black metal band Gnaw Their Tongues, Spanish thrash metal band Grave Noise, British death/black metal band Iðrast, Swedish black metal band In Abyssum, Hungarian folk metal band Isatha, hardcore band Left Astray, Swiss deathcore band Paleface, hardcore punk band Pressure Cracks, metalcore band Soulkeeper, metalcore band Stabbed in Dreams, Italian death metal band Sudden Death, Polish melodic death metal band Thunderwar.
So Hideous – Laurestine
The sophomore album from the New York-based So Hideous proved to be one of my absolute favourite releases of 2015, and given that it encapsulates so much of what I love about heavy music, it’s a fitting throwback to bow out with. The band’s sound is a strikingly original combination of black metal, post-rock and post-hardcore, ripe with orchestral/symphonic elements and stunningly atmospheric. Words cannot express what an intensely dramatic and rewarding listen this album is – the perfect counter-argument to anyone who dismisses metal as “dumb angry noise.” If you’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing So Hideous’s beautiful music, I sincerely hope this album resonates with you as much as it does with me.
Are there any artists you’ve discovered thanks to this feature?