ULVER – The Assassination of Julius Caesar (2017)

If you are in anyway familiar with Ulver, you are quite aware this band has left the realms of metal decades before this date. Actually it has been close to 20 years since this Norwegian collective has done anything remotely close to metal. Now comes the question, why do they keep getting invitations to metal parties (metaphorically speaking) and reviewed by metal websites (like this). I have little to offer in way of an answer other than Ulver is a group of vampires weaving some mind spell on all of…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (April)

I think it is going to come to the point where my choices for Frazetta paintings are going to delve into the racy selections. Before we go full nudity with images how about we slip into adult artwork with this wonderful 1967 painting called Apparition. From the limited amount of records on Frazetta paintings, I can not find any magazine or book cover that this painting is attached. This does not mean this painting wasn’t used for something, rather, any connection is lost. What we do have though is a…

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PALLBEARER – Heartless (2017)

I actually hope sometimes the bands never read the reviews I write. I feel more comfortable knowing I can be critical, honest, and gushing without looking like a super dork or an asshole. Pallbearer’s 2012 Sorrow and Extinction was a big album for me as it hit at a time when I was done with stoner doom / sludge but not finished with doom that didn’t sound like a bong rip. Pallbearer’s success with traditional doom was contrasted with the fact they pretty much did the same thing as Warning…

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PILLORIAN – Obsidian Arc (2017)

Pillorian

Man, it must be difficult to be in a band that is going to be dogged and compared to your previous band. As you will probably eventually read, Pillorian is the continuation of music from John Haughm, founding member of Agalloch. Pillorian is the new venture from Haughm following the recent disbanding of Agalloch and Obsidian Arc being a support group for old fans who are still dealing with the news. It must be difficult being in a band with the guy from Agalloch especially when you are the drummer…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (March)

Well here we are in the deep of March and by the looks of it we are not slowing down with any new material being released. Something that I noticed that is different than searching for black metal or dungeon synth each month is the need to diversify tags. While the other two could be found with one tag, all of this new material came through the various tags of “speed metal,” “NWOTHM,” “NWOBHM,” “traditional,” “doom,” and he all confusing “heavy.” I believe it is this diversity or even nebulous…

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WIEGEDOOD – De Doden Hebben Het Goed II (2017)

Sometimes bands work their way up to known recognition and other times they come out of left field. Sometimes it is a mix of both. Wiegedood is not new as 2017 is seeing their second album release after a marginally well received debut. The interesting thing about this year is the continuation of themes and names as Wiegedood has decided to do a second installment of their debut with De Doden Hebben Het Goed II. The gloom patrol rounds the bend for a second night out.

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WITHERFALL – Nocturnes and Requiems (2017)

Since starting the HEAVY METAL 2017 article, I have been keeping an eye out for new speed, traditional, and gruff power metal. Witherfall is not within that realm despite being an unsigned power/progressive/heavy act from Los Angeles. I know it feels weird to delineate between the two but soon you will see the difference. Witherfall has had no sort of introduction before their full length and comes with zero announcements or hype. Despite some of these odds to find a home or fanbase, Nocturnes and Requiems is a fantastic record…

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Heavy Metal 2017 (February)

Heavy Metal - February

This is the second sailing of Heavy Metal 2017. My intention was to keep up with all of the new heavy, speed, power, and partial doom that is experiencing not a revival but renewed interest. Had this genre of music not lie on the far side of known, I believe it would be more popular, in fact gaining a legion of new followers who do not understand some of the more extreme waltzes of heavy metal. Clean, direct, and packed with optimism much of this music would find its way…

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ANTIKYTHERA – Antikythera

Antikythera is an implausibly spelt word that means three things: An island near Greece, the improbably complex hunk of a Hellraiser puzzle box found on that island near Greece, and this group of musicians found on an island between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. I’m assuming the ancient puzzle box is their inspiration, because they channel the same complexity, mystery and ancient metal as their namesake, all the while somehow avoiding getting lost in a wooden box for hundreds of years. It’s a tricky balancing act, I assume.

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SUBSTRATUM – Substratum (2017)

I am sort of upset that I am writing a review on Substratum’s full length as I think they would be great for my new Heavy Metal 2017 column. Fine, I will write a long form review on this… but there better be good heavy metal for February. Now with that out of the way, please welcome the glorious dawn with some energy that arcs like lightning.

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The Flight of Sleipnir – Skadi (2017)

Doom folk. Stoner folk. Stoner Doom. Whatever words are used to describe The Flight of Sleipnir it really does not capture the blended variety for this Colorado band as they ride the line between post black, psych, doom, and atmospheric sludge which is, unsurprisingly, is not easy to classify. What is easy to grasp is the band’s unwavering loyalty to Norse mythology as the songs, albums and existence for this band is dedicated to making old stories feel like acid trips in the woods.

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Heavy Metal 2017 (January)

This is the first installment of a 12 month series investigating new heavy / traditional / power / speed / doom which seems to be experiencing a new found popularity. We are not in a new wave of anything rather just in a time when more people are paying attention to this style of music. Also each section will feature a different painting from the mater fantasy weaver Frank Frazetta. January’s image is Dawn Attack painted in 1991 which was used on the Science Fiction compilation L Ron Hubbard Presents:…

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BUCKETHEAD – Pike 243 – Santa’s Toy Workshop (2016)

I used to be really into Buckethead. I believe that my enjoyment for Buckethead predated my full swan dive into heavy metal. Between the time of Monsters and Robots and Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, I was on board with crazy shredding from a maniac that never seemed to stop. If you know Bucketheads current history, this last sentence is even more hilarious. Around 2007 when he was releasing his 9 hour 13 disc limited album In Search Of, I began to feel a little light headed with the amount of…

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In Mordor Where The Shadows Are – Homage to Summoning (2016)

Summoning is one of my favorite metal bands. This is not something I say lightly. Rather, favorite bands are only acquired after years of deep thought and reflection. This Austrian band’s contribution to atmospheric black metal as well as parallel influence in the dungeon synth scene and genesis for a smaller grouping of “Summoning-like” bands has elevated their status from metal act to something mythological. Add to this the band’s obsession with Tolkien lore and one has a legendary act which is all deserving of a tribute record. I feel…

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