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We’ve come to the point with tech death where it’s diversify or succumb to irrelevancy. When Beyond Creation released Earthborn Evolution back in 2014, it was a big deal seeing a band with 8 string guitars utilizing melodic and digestible passages, married to the unique sound of a fretless bass that was just as complicated as their guitar parts. At the time everyone was trying to ape Meshuggah, and now flashforward and the technical wankery that comes with being a tech-oriented band is practically a joke. Yet bands still manage to diversify, to find unique sound avenues, and come out on top. Mordant Rapture are starting on that path with their debut EP, they’re trying to let everyone out of the gate know what’s... 

It was about one minute and thirty-eight seconds into this Oubliette album that I said “Oh boy.” Not in the condescending tone of “I can’t believe I’m gonna sit through this thing,” but rather “I’m gonna enjoy the hell out of this.” There’s something about the cutaway from melodic black metal to Alcest-like dreamscape guitars that says a lot about a band in the opening moments of their sophomore album, and it’s a hopeful plea that this intro isn’t all flash while the rest of the album is uninspired.  

We don’t hear much metal from the Eastern European countries all that often. Coming out of Turkey, Burial Invocation is one of the rare instances where we do hear something. And guess what? It’s death metal. Tried and true, shredding death metal, it just goes to show that even in the most extreme of metal genres, we can get over the hurdle of language barriers with blast beats and tremolo picking.  

Taking creative risks tend to be a thing bands are afraid to make. They’re called “risks,” after all, but why not keep your fans on your toes? That’s not to say your local black metal band needs to incorporate 80’s synthwave into their sound, but breaking the norm is always worth a try. Oklahoma’s Dischordia are willing to take some sort of risk with their newest release, Binge/Purge, as the technical death metal act break the formula a bit and aim for something different by their own standards.  

The 80’s were a magical time for the growth of heavy metal, but I believe Operation: Mindcrime is one of the prime examples of why that era still is fondly remembered. Alongside Melissa by Mercyful Fate and Ride the Lightning by Metallica, Operation: Mindcrime made waves for the bands that followed, creating a waves of influence felt through the next few decades. It was also imperative to progressive metal as a whole, and while being a conceptual album and debatably what we call “prog metal” today, it still remains the middle ground between traditional heavy metal and what Dream Theater would solidify in the following year. So with Geoff Tate and friends getting together to celebrate 30 years of this timeless... 

Sheesh, are we already seven albums deep into Wisdom In Chains’ discography? So long as I’ve enjoyed hardcore punk, the Pennsylvania band has been a steady and reliable force in the genre for putting out a constant stream of tried and true hardcore, epitomizing it for the modern landscape. Nothing In Nature Respects Weakness keeps the band going into 2018, following up 2015’s The God Rhythm, and while bands typically fall into a groove of comfort by this point, Wisdom In Chains are still playing in the full spectrum of their respective genre instead of pigeon-holing themselves into a corner. Refreshing? Enjoyable? You bet.  

There’s seldom an album I listen to where I immediately love it. Granted, I like a lot of music. “Like” being the emphasis;  I like At the Gates. I love Insomnium, I like Darkthrone. I love Emperor. Even then, I’m generally only listening to the album that I love in my spare time the artist rather than trying to convince myself to love a different album by them. I’m picky about what I love. With that logic in mind, Yob’s Our Raw Heart is a stupendous, if not transcendent album that I loved from the get-go. Three minutes into the ten minute minute opening track and it was immediatey obvious that this album was on another level, entirely separate from the rest of the pack. There’s a lot of hype... 

This tour needs no introduction. You know what it is. In what can only be described as the biggest metal tour in the past few years, Slayer know how to announce their end in nothing short of the greatest of ways. Combining forces with Testament, Behemoth, Anthrax, and Lamb of God, there was no stopping this tour from being the stuff of legends. You knew it was going to be amazing, and actually witnessing it all happen within six hours was a major feat. Like Iron Maiden’s World Slavery Tour,  this one is for the books.  

I’ve become somewhat lost with progressive and technical death metal in recent years. Not that the genre has grown stale, but rather that my interests have been directed elsewhere while the two grew and prospered. Around 2015 is when I fell off the wagon, but through the early years of the decade I was all about the techically-inclined bands of that time. Burial in the Sky makes me nostalgic for that point in my life, but granted it’s probably not worth visiting those albums again because I’m quite certain Burial in the Sky are far more impressive to me today than what caught my attention back then.  

The dark side of heavy metal is a pathway to many abilities some might consider unnatural. In particular, it probably is the fitting soundtrack to that late-night depression you’re feeling as you lose track of why you’re still awake after nearly 20 hours. Yet no matter what your doctor tells you, you know he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t know the way Mgla empowers you. Nor does your mom understand why Shining is actually a satirical, shock rock-inspired extreme metal act. But you totally do, and that’s all the more reason you should be diving head first into the darker and arcanic metal bands today.   

Metalcore and hardcore may be going through a phase of popularity right now, what with bands like Code Orange, Jesus Piece, and Knocked Loose all getting their chance in the spotlight. That’s not to say hardcore hasn’t gotten its time in the limelight before, what with Hatebreed being a staple in the American music scene. That noted, you know how many bands I’ve had to deal with that just want to be Hatebreed rather than be inspired by them? Too many to be relieved that Thronetorcher aren’t one of them. They’re a well-versed, modernized hardcore band that are only getting started, and Eden’s Poison bodes well for them.  

  I can’t fathom how difficult it must be to travel to a new continent to open up an entire tour. That’s the place Destrage find themselves them in currently, as they’re on the road with Protest the Hero and Good Tiger. I remember stumbling on the band as they put out the video for “Purania” in 2014 and being perplexed by the band, not able to discern what it was that I liked about them. Flash forward four years and I’m not sure I can tell you what about this band that’s so enjoyable, but words are better formed when you have a live show to couple the music with. Destrange an anomaly, and in 2018 when metal is rarely seeing anything unique, that’s a good thing.  

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