Italian Doom Metal band Messa has completed the follow-up to their critically acclaimed Feast For Water (Aural Music) entitled Close (Svart Records). Messa is one of those bands that instantly caught my attention by combining melancholic, haunting music with impressive, powerful vocals. After the release of Feast For Water, which is considered one of the best Doom Metal records in the past five years, I was already wondering about how a new album from the band would turn out. I believe that there is always a bit of extra pressure to write a follow-up album after a “breakthrough album”, but the Italians were able to just knock it out of the park once again with Close.
Versatility is something that, depending on the bands and or sub-genres I listen to, has become the main characteristic I look at when listening to new bands and/or new records. Zeal & Ardor checks all of the boxes when defining versatility. This is a band that exceptionally fuses heavy music with some more popular sounds. Have you ever thought you were going to listen to a Black Metal album with R&B melodies and more? Zeal & Ardor has it for you in their latest release Zeal & Ardor (MVKA).
We all enjoy surprises, don’t we? 2022 has begun stronger than 2021 at this point bringing at least ten new, exciting album releases and we’re just only about to enter the fourth week of the year. But no album has given me the chills as much as SOM’s The Shape Of Everything (Pelagic Records).
We were able to survive the first week of 2022. Even if it’s with a bunch of weird stuff that is still happening, we can focus about all the positive possibilities that the new year may have in store for us. I have made my new year’s resolution be to listen to more music. If you know me personally you may ask “how can you listen to more music?”, well… I ask myself the same thing and I think I can do better. Personally, I’m really looking forward for the new Messa, Into Eternity, and Porcupine Tree albums this year, but before we get talking about the future, let’s delve ourselves on how much of a great year 2021 was for heavy, dark music. Some of the best albums I’ve heard in a while came out in 2021 and, honestly, it was pretty hard to assemble this list since there were just so many great albums to just narrow them down to 20. But I was able to come up with my final list and, after much deliberation, here are what I consider are the top 20 sonic repercussions of a Pandemic that is still at large:
After two years of releasing the amazing album Pitfalls (Inside Out Music), the Norwegian Progressive Metal band Leprous comes back with an equally strong effort on their new album Aphelion (Inside Out Music). This is the kind of album that is released in what seems to be perfect timing, particularly for those who are going through some type of mental health issue. The quintet brings a variable set of songs that can capture both the passion and dexterity of the band in what seems to be a great year for Progressive Metal/Rock music.
It is quite outstanding when we sit down to realize how human nature can easily adapt (for better or worst) to its surroundings and environment. Particular historic examples in the music industry like the shift of the typical major label model, to music piracy, to streamings platform era, and some more social events, like a pandemic, are some of the major challenges that musicians have had to deal with through history. How some musicians have been able to, somehow, stay on their feet and continue to deliver quality products to their fans it’s simply remarkable. Some bands have been able to release some formidable production, and an example of this is Tesseract’s latest livestream event P O R T A L S (Kscope Records), released in December 2020. Continue reading
Everyone’s perspective of what they enjoy while watching a live performance is subjective. Some like to have that big splash of energy being thrown at them, others simply like to watch a well-played performance by their favorite musicians. In rare cases, you get to have both moods in the same set, particularly when we talk about instrumental music and that is precisely what The Aristocrats bring in their latest live album Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. The trio composed of Marco Minnemann on drums, Guthrie Govan on guitars, and Bryan Beller on bass released a live album that showcases perfectly what is “The Aristocrats live experience” is. The combination of comical glimpses in their jamming sessions, lots of musical influences, and the extreme dexterity of each of the musicians in their instruments is the order of the day in their live performances and you can listen to all of this in this album.
After a year and change of no live shows, every single band on the planet has got to adapt themselves into the world of live streaming. The few live stream concerts I’ve seen have portrayed each band’s unique style and vision, but none as bizarre as The Melvins’ Volume 3: Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! which aired last Saturday, May 1st. The complete show is exactly what you would expect from this legendary band. The live stream started with acoustic versions of ‘Dark Brown Teeth’, a King Buzzo cover, and ‘Up The Dumper’. The most interesting and funny aspect of this particular live stream is that it felt like you were hanging out with the band in between songs. Each transition from song to song had a small interview that started with the whole band, then with Buzz Osborne, followed by Steven McDonald, and finishing with Dale Crover. Each interview featured hilarious stories of the band and their lives that covered the usage of masks to, of course, weed. The overall performance of the band was superb with a sound the sound quality you would expect from a band like The Melvins and the visuals were in the more psychedelic side that went along well with each of the played tracks. Overall this was a fun and refreshing way of conducting a live stream event and one that only sets up for the upcoming return of live shows.Continue reading
It’s been twenty-two years since Liquid Tension Experiment, the Progressive Metal supergroup formed by Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs) John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and Tony Levin (King Crimson), released a record after their critically acclaimed album Liquid Tension 2 (Magna Carta). In this new album entitled LT3 (InsideOut Music) these musicians prove once again why they are part of the biggest bands in the genre and why they are considered to be among the best in their respective instruments and their craft.