Album Review: Soen – “Lotus”

soen - lotus

Soen have always played in that space that blurs the distinctions between genre classification: are they metal?  Rock?  They’re certainly progressive, but are they so progressive to be considered “progressive” metal?  Or rock for that matter?  The good news is that on fourth record Lotus continues to not care about labels, opting to let the emotional core of their music carry through.  Others can opt to argue what it sounds like; to these ears, it simply sounds like Soen. Continue reading

Album Review: Azusa – “Heavy Yoke”

azusa - heavy yoke

Over the years, graphics in video games have evolved from tiny pixelated 8-bit characters to much more photo realistic art styles, and while this is generally seen as an advancement of the medium, in the last 10 years or so, there’s been another movement to bring back that old 8-bit aesthetic, using modern tech to evolve that style to do things it never could in its original incarnation. Think of it as an alternate history. While it’d ever be a mistake to call anything that Swedish extreme metal band Extol did basic, their 5-album discography covered a lot of ground, and any of those albums could provide foundational anchor for a whole band. In the year 2018, we receive just such an album in Heavy Yoke, the debut album from AzusaContinue reading

Interview: Joel Violette of Thrawsunblat on “Great Brunswick Forest,” Musical Reinterpretation, and How to Spot a Moose in the Wild

thrawsunblat band photo

Over the course of three albums and a handful of EPs, Thrawsunblat have carved a space for themselves in the genre of black metal by integrating the Maritime folk of their home province of New Brunswick, Canada. With their newest album Great Brunswick Forest, which is out October 19, the trio of Joel Violette, Rae Amitay and Keegan MC immerse themselves and their listeners wholeheartedly into that Maritime folk. Careful listeners of the band’s discography should recognize the familiar elements that make Thrawsunblat what it is, and yet this does feel like a big step forward. We reached out to Joel to talk about the creative process for the new album, his fascination with re-interpreting songs and also a bit of Maritime tourism. Continue reading

Circle Pit, Vol. VII, June 2018: “What Album Can You Not Live Without”

nine circles circle pit

I know, you thought this would be a quarterly round up. Sorry, but you’ll need to wait a little longer for that. It’s been a minute since we did one of these with an actual topic. Well, two years to be exact. But who’s counting? Anyway, the question was posed to our group: “What’s the ONE album you absolutely, positively cannot live without?” And the rules were simple, we graciously allowed everyone to actually pick two: one metal album and one album of any other genre. Or, those that never branch out could opt to name just a metal album. Yes, that’s contradictory to the question, but our folks generally like more than just metal so sue us for breaking form. There was some great conversation about these picks but for now, we leave you with the group choices and a playlist at the bottom. Enjoy. Continue reading

Album Review: Vile Creature – “Cast of Static and Smoke”

vile creature cast of static and smoke

While the last few years may have been dominated by talk of just how many great death metal releases we’ve gotten (and who could blame anyone for saying so), looking to the future, I feel that there is a change in the winds coming: 2018 is going to be the year of doom metal.  With releases on the horizon from Fórn, Body Void, and Thou, to say nothing of genre stalwarts like Mournful Congregation, there’s a lot to get excited over in the world of all things slow and heavy.  Setting the tone for all these releases to come, and setting the bar pretty high at that, is Cast of Static and Smoke, the new release from Canadian duo Vile Creature.   Continue reading