Written by: Beaston Lane
In a far-flung epoch where humanity as we know it is but a memory, glamorous towers pierce the heavens, and elite societies vie for supremacy. Everything is greater than the sum of its parts. Etemen Ænka finds itself exploring this simultaneously utopian and dystopian future, dissecting the suffering that underlies greatness. Dvne, named in reference to Frank Herbert’s legendary works of science fiction, draws inspiration from the best sci-fi and dystopias of our time, constructing their own grandiose narrative to the tune of epic psychedelic post-metal. With a musical approach as striking and expansive as their lyrical concepts, Dvne’s debut on Metal Blade is a tremendous step forward for the band, laying the foundations for what will hopefully be a storied career.
Written by: Izzy
Deathcore as a genre is very prone to stagnation. While I’m entirely in support of moshable bro-core that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but still delivers something fun and full of energy, the genre had been going through a period of staleness. After the golden MySpace years had died out things started going downhill, and suddenly there was a gap to be filled by adventurous deathcore that is willing to experiment and do something new. Many of those deathcore albums that broke out of the mold and made bold new statements are ones I still remember extremely fondly today.
Humanity’s Last Breath are fairly new blood, and while I had briefly enjoyed their music before in the occasions I had listened to them, I could tell Välde was gonna be something special after hearing the singles "Earthless" and "Vittring." Their strange and progressive approach to deathcore songwriting filled with unique guitar effects and off kilter winding passages entranced me and left me excitedly anticipating if the final product would deliver, and it did. Välde is one of the most refreshing pieces of deathcore in recent memory.
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.
Written by: Lord Hsrah
Torture, pain, cannibalism, gore, evisceration, murderous psychopaths are all entities done, brushed, bruised and dusted in death metal and all its various derivative forms over the years. But Pune, India based trio Dead Exaltation bring forth their debut album, Despondent, in progressive/technical death metal flavors, and with it an interesting story of innocent civilians picked off the streets straight into prison, for no rhyme or reason (well, that's a rhyme), left at the mercy of a psychopathic jail warden and his sadistic, cannibal guards who show them what it feels like being hell's very own citizens living in God's created world.
Dead Exaltation took birth in 2015 as a five-piece band, but flowing in the daily course of the river of life, bassist Anish Poulose and second guitarist Sourjya Mukherjee separated as tributaries, leaving vocalist Satyajit Gargori, guitarist Mradul Singhal (who also recorded the bass, now deceased, R.I.P), and drummer Aditya Oke to record this since-long composed concept album.
Written by: The Administrator
When we're not locked in our drafty scriptorium, daily existence here at the Sleeping Village is inevitably beset by the type of backbreaking labor inherent to a (pseudo) medieval township. The grind is real, and, as such, an occasional dose of the weird and wonderful is a bit of a necessity. Hence, the promise of self-declared "space disco synth metal," courtesy of Alpha Boötis, seemed like a likely candidate for injecting a lil' excitement into mid-afternoon drudgery.
And boy, is it ever. I seldom write reviews immediately after consuming the music in question, but after jamming this two-track-plus-a-cover EP about eight times over the span of the past few hours, I feel somewhat moved to say my piece post-haste. Let's get to it.
Written by: Beaston Lane
2020 was my first year delving into the obscure and current side of heavy metal, leading me to listen to a seemingly infinite amount of artists including critical darlings like Haken and Imperial Triumphant. However, one band that seemed to fly under the radar far too often--Black Crown Initiate--endlessly commanded my attention with their third album, Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape.
Having dropped on August 7th, this magnum opus has steadily gained momentum through the beginning of 2021, but I’m here to put it in the spotlight again. Artists who released albums during 2020 took a big risk with touring on hiatus, and they deserve all the attention they can get. Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape is my favorite album of the year--intoxicating, refreshing, poignant, and above all, beautiful.
Written by: Capt. Graves
It has been a night or two [or...many more - Ed.] since I have stepped foot into the Village. The last I heard, Tumulus had played in this here land, and annihilated everything except the bath tub where our humble moderator resides. The land is scorched, bloody, and full of broken spirit. Laying waste upon lands is not only glorifying, but it sends a message that I will gladly share. Existential dread is my forte, and North Star The Wanderer has delivered unto us Universal Trajectory, which seemingly brings me much hope for the end of ends.
The dudes over at North Star The Wanderer have brought an album that is probably my favorite work thusfar from Charlie (the mastermind). I have seen this man evolve as a musician, and I can speak volumes about his ability as a guitar player. I've watched Chris (drummer) become a fruitful musician, and an amazing producer. Justin (bass), he plays a funny bass, but he sure slaps that thing well! We have had the pleasure to share the stage with this power trio, and they are remarkable musicians.
Written by: Vattghern
Haken, oh Haken! Some VIP Tickets, Meet and Greets, lots of merch, and signed vinyl copies later, Haken has not only become a titan of modern prog, but also a friend through thick and thin for me. Despite my love for the Brits, after the release of their last studio album Vector and my corresponding praise for it, the band seemingly vanished from my playlists. Did I outgrow Haken? Did they outgrow me? All these questions crossed my mind when the band announced Vector’s spiritual successor Virus out of the blue and my inner fanboy didn’t move a muscle.
“New Haken single is meh,” I disappointingly declared in the lead up to the release, only to end up hitting play on “Invasion” every time I got a hold of my headphones. So, as it tends to do, the future proofed me wrong and answered my doubts with a big, fat “nah.” And after three midnight sessions of eagerly hitting refresh on Haken’s Spotify, only to find out the album has been delayed again, I finally got ahold of Virus. Since the past had proven that Haken ages like a fine wine for me, I’ve taken my appropriate time with it, which translates to about a week of nonstop listening. My verdict? Virus, while still awaiting the test of time, is not only the perfect second part to Vector, but also some of the band's finest work to date.
Written by: Loveloth
How does a band evoke the feelings of melancholy? The approach varies from genre to genre, but using the minor scale is a definite foundation. After that anything is game, and as a result, any sadboi--like yours truly--has a plethora of options to choose from. The most extreme examples are the DSBM and adjacent black metal genres. There, melancholy manifests through anguish and despair. Tremolo picking, shrieks and blast beats reign as lords, whereas on the opposite side of the spectrum, such as on the notorious pop ballads, we've got clean vocals covered by electronic-based instrumentation with slower paced beats.
I personally don't have any emotional responses when I hear most of that type of stuff due to how they're manufactured and how much they rely on cheap motifs. I realized this when I was a wee lad and as time went on, I searched far and wide for music to comfort, help me contemplate, and of course cope with any hardships I came across. At one point in time, I found myself listening to “Lethean” by Katatonia via a great YouTube recommendation, remember those? I was stunned with its energy and heaviness, and by the time Jonas Renkse's vocals kicked in, I was hooked. To this very day, Dead End Kings remains my favorite album by them and I would honestly put Katatonia right next to Opeth and that dude Devon Townsent as my go-to sadboi band.
Written by: Izzy
Let’s address the elephant in the room. This album sounds a lot like Deftones, but let’s make an important distinction in Loathe’s music. While Deftones are certainly capable of being aggressive, both on their new and old material, Loathe’s blending of metalcore’s raw energy and ferocity works beautifully to contrast the softer sections and make them feel especially intense, this interplay between tones elevates the listening experience of the entire album to new heights. Rather than creating cascading landscapes where these sounds weave together as Deftones would, Loathe are more interested in forging roads with sharp twists and turns through both beauty and musical invective.
The one-two of the vicious "Broken Vision Rhythm" attack, and the otherworldly slow-dance of "Two Way Mirror," provides a perfect example of this knack for hairpin changes of tone and sonic scenery; a trick the album doesn’t use once, but pulls again later with the hauntingly beautiful "Is It Really You?" transitioning into the most hideously relentless, breakneck song on the entire album, "Gored." Despite the sudden transformation, everything on display here is crafted so tastefully that these shifts feel very natural and flow into one another gracefully.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!