Written by: Continuous Thunder
When I learned that The Devil Wears Prada was going to release a sequel to their Zombie EP, I was equally excited and apprehensive. It’s no secret that I consider the Zombie EP to be among the band’s best releases and that it might very well be their best release overall. Returning to the subject of the zombie apocalypse is an intriguing prospect, but the sequel has big shoes to fill. The concern is compounded when you consider that the last release from the band was The Act in 2019, where the band made a significant shift in their sound towards an allegedly more mature post-hardcore. While that album received almost universal acclaim from critics, it wasn’t all that exciting to me, personally and it was ultimately disappointing. Would ZII (read “zee two,” or “zed two” if you’re from any country other than the US) return to the undead wasteland and observe it through this new, breakdown-less lens, or would the band try to go back 11 years and recapture the blistering fury of the original?
Written by: The Administrator
The metal community has used metalcore (and its affiliates) as the butt of a joke for so long that many of us have forgotten or neglected its true strength: namely, a vehicle for the explosive expression of emotion. The stigma certainly has a basis in, y'know, a veritable bevy of lackluster exemplars of the style, but the general notion that "metalcore = intrinsically bad" is an obviously unfair burden to place upon the diamonds in the rough. While many of us are understandably cynical, there's a lot of very good metalcore out there that remains hidden behind prejudicial assumptions about the style, and that's a damn shame.
In any case, today's two-track demonstrates quite well the aforementioned strength of the style: an ability to convey feelings like anger and angst in a notably volatile and cathartic fashion. These dual singles from L.A's own AFTERMYFALL illustrate the success one can find when deliberately borrowing from other genres, injecting a little heartfelt authenticity, and avoiding the performative pitfalls that plague the dregs of 'core.
FRESH MEAT FRIDAY: April 23rd, 2021, Feat. Frog Mallet, AntiMozdeBeast, Akiavel, and The Last Martyr
Every Friday, a wagon arrives at the Sleeping Village’s crumbling gates, stuffed to the brim with our sustenance for the following week. Today is the day we must offload all this week's new and noteworthy music, and so, in the process, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our choice picks from this veritable mass of fresh meat. This is what we’ll be--and have been--listening to this week at the Village HQ. We hope you join us in doing so!
All of today's releases are independently released, so show 'em some support!
On the docket for today, April 23rd, 2021:
Frog Mallet, AntiMozdeBeast, Akiavel, and The Last Martyr
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Looking back to my days of high school, it’s fun to reminisce on albums that came out around the time that had some sort of hype, but lost it over the years. Sometimes, that’s due to not aging well; other times, it just gets lost in the depths of everything else going on. Trivium’s album In Waves comes to mind, considering that it’s one that seldom gets talked about (positive or negative) compared to the likes of Shogun or Ascendancy these days. This disc turns ten later on this year, and I still to this day view it as a masterpiece, which may be a bit of a hot take.
For starters, I want to say that this is metalcore done exactly right. By this point, most metalcore bands abandoned the genre’s roots, and traded in thrashy riffs and hardcore aesthetic for endless chugs, overly produced vocals, and extremely generic songwriting. Trivium never got caught up in that undertow. In Waves is absolutely packed with furious thrash riffs that cast sharp hooks, and evenly work in the hardcore chugs without being overwhelming. If that isn’t enough, the actual songs have more advanced writing than ever. The Crusade may be a more direct thrash release, but this is where Matt Heafy and co. blended it wonderfully with hardcore to pump out a spectacular album.
Written by: The Administrator
In lieu of the typical rambling introduction, I'll spare you all and jump straight to my conclusions regarding Nostophobia, the debut full length from Portland's Sea Sleeper. In sum, then: this is a wonderfully chaotic album filled to the brim with the kind of untethered energy that practically demands listener engagement. However, it is also a confusingly chaotic album that would benefit significantly from some spit and polish.
Sea Sleeper bill themselves as a bit of a genre-jumping anomaly, frequently folding in elements of post-metal, deathcore, sludge, avant-garde, metallic hardcore, and even a lil' angsty grunge into their bubbling cauldron o' progressive death. Needless to say, this is a complex conglomerate of sights 'n' sounds, and makes for an experience that is borderline confounding across the breadth. As a fan of boundary-pushing and rule-breaking in music as a general rule, that quality is a clarion call of sorts--provided the intrinsic weirdness sticks the landing.
Village stalwart Izzy is stepping up the retrospective game, and will henceforth deliver a fresh one every Friday! Make sure to check in weekly for a dose of nostalgia. - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
Glass Casket are a bit of a personal gem. While they’re far from being the first deathcore band, their 2004 album We Are Gathered Here Today… is, in my mind, one of the most iconic and seminal deathcore releases out there. It is one of the earliest examples of a modern-ish sounding deathcore release, and, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourites.
But as with many amazing bands, they are sadly overlooked, because their work was sandwiched in a period of time just before deathcore blew up. Glass Casket, alongside many others, ended up getting forgotten in favour of their contemporaries who would go on to bring the genre both its popularity and infamy.
Written by: Izzy
Svalbard are a relatively new face in the world of metal and punk, their first release having been unleashed upon the world in 2014. Since then, they’ve been a consistent talking point for both their gorgeous melodies and blend of neocrust, post-rock, screamo, and blackgaze, as well and their political stances, frequently angering basement-dwelling neckbeard metalheads who proceed to furiously write a tweet about how women are ruining metal--Oops, was gonna try and not get too political on this one. My bad.
When I Die, Will I Get Better? is in many ways a logical trajectory for the band. Elements of post-rock and blackgaze have always been present in their music, starting at their debut One Day This All Will End, becoming more pronounced on their amazing 2018 release It’s Hard to Have Hope, and finally reaching its climax here on their latest. Those influences have become pushed so far to the forefront to the point where I think calling them a neocrust/blackgaze band wouldn’t be too far off, but that descriptor would still be missing something.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
So here we are: 2020. We've seen pandemics, political unrest, and so much more. But we've also seen the return of nu-metal.
Typically this isn't something I would be interested in, because there are many aspects of the genre I don't like. There's a lot of macho-man jock mentalities in the scene, and quite frankly, most of the 2nd-wave bands were so watered-down and generic without any heaviness or balls. But with Tallah, it's a different story. With their debut album Matriphagy, Tallah bring back nu-metal in a big way, with a modern take and a storyteller-based approach to the lyrics. To summarize without giving away the story, the concept of this album is about a man named Kungan who is his mother's caretaker after she was paralyzed when he was a child. His mother is unappreciative and manipulative, forcing him to basically be enslaved in his room, tending to her every need. Long story short, he slowly goes insane, and that's where I'll leave it so I don't spoil it. Lets enter the psychotic world of Matriphagy.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
Like a wizard, my wanderings often take me outside the gates of our little town. And while I always intend to return, the exact time of my reappearance is unknown, even to me. As I have once again found myself shuffling through the streets of this somnolent hamlet, I decided to prove to our dear Administrator that I am still a productive citizen by giving myself a relatively easy assignment. So let us take a look at what I believe to be one of the finest metalcore releases of the last decade.
2009 was a good year for The Devil Wears Prada. Metalcore was reaching its commercial peak and production techniques had finally caught up to more effectively capture the band’s specific take on the genre. They released their third album, With Roots Above and Branches Below, one that would perfectly capture that specific moment in the heavy music scene and solidify TDWP’s place in it. It was clearly the highest point in their career at the time. But little more than a year later, they would surpass Roots by leaps and bounds with only 5 tracks.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Cardiff was declared the second most musical city in the UK almost a decade ago, thereby formally recognising the city’s unwavering history of producing musical acts that have gone on to dominate almost every genre. Rightfully so, as countless alternative acts have cut their teeth in the basements and dungeons below Womanby Street’s greatly revered venues. Industry legends such as Bullet for My Valentine, Skindred, Budgie, Persian Risk, Icons of Filth, and Desecration have all been spawned from the South Wales scene, and now Sydney Fate are ‘Diff’s metal scene’s newest contenders. Armed with a healthy duality of cleans and screams, stellar production, and an arsenal of guitars, the sextet have recently released their debut album, Silicon Nitride, to the world.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!