Band: Adrian van den Broëck
Album: Alchemist Hans Blomberg
This is one weird-ass album. It's half spoken word story and half progressive metal album. You'll find yourself alternating between bits of the story of Hans Blomberg's search for the fountain of youth (in space, of course) and some very Devin Townsend inspired, djent leaning, progressive metal. There will no doubt be many comparisons to Ziltoid, The Omniscient (and they're valid comparisons), but there's more of a distinct separation between the 6 story tracks and the 6 songs on this album. The story... it was interesting enough for a single listen. The songs, though, are what will keep you coming back. When played together without the story interludes, these tracks make for a really tight EP of out-there djent & metal. Definitely unique, Adrian van den Broëck shows a lot of promise for future endeavors.
Band: Adrian van den Broëck
Band: Verse Vica
There are really few surprises left in progressive metal anymore. A band is going to sound quite similar to its heroes (especially in its infancy), so it's usually a matter of sticking close to favored paths. North Carolina-bred prog metal band Verse Vica clearly didn't fall far from the Between the Buried and Me tree. Hell, Jamie King's typically masterful production work is very present on Endeavor. However, this young band showcases a surprising appreciation for breaking the mold. Most obviously, the band employs a heavy (in breadth) emphasis on post-rock cinematic soundscapes. This allows what could otherwise have been throwaway tracks ("Marumari" and "Koholint") to carry an impressive impact, while the influence weaves its way into other tracks as well. Also, Verse Vica prefers to scale the summit more than most, so the heavier moments have more heft. While initial listens belied the obvious influences (including The Contortionist), Verse Vica's charm shows through after multiple listens. There is supreme talent here, even if the apple hasn't fallen that far from the tree just yet.
Album: The First Harbinger
It seems like djent has become a sub-divided sub-genre of progressive metal (yeah, I'm really doing some deep genre diving) over the last few years. Either a band is focused on bringing heaviness to the genre (a la Vildhjarta) or they want to make the genre thoughtful and clean (a la TesseracT). There is rarely a meeting in the middle. However, Deadfall have tried their hardest to bridge the gap. They are able to play some ridiculously heavy riffs with throat searing vocals yelled over the top, but they can also be mellow, introspective, and controlled. Adding to that, the switch to soaring clean vocals in these times makes for an almost completely different band. It's quite the testament to them that they can keep one foot in each sub-genre and pull it all off in stellar fashion.
Band: Ghosts of Glaciers
Nearly 45 minutes of music, but only 3 tracks long? Hmmm... it's got to be either post-rock, doom, or progressive metal (or some combo of the three) right? Well, I was almost right. Ghosts of Glaciers are definitely as epic as any band in those genres, but they come to us from the post-metal realm (which is a subset of post-rock, if you ask me). Basically, if you've been a fan of classic Pelican or Russian Circles, you'll want to get all over this. Ghosts of Glaciers display all the skills necessary to succeed in this genre. When they want to crush you with powerful riffs, they do. When they want to give you a breather, they do it expertly. When they transition, it doesn't sound forced in the least. And in comparison to the more recent releases from either of the aforementioned bands... Ghosts of Glaciers has them beat, easily.
Within the Ruins have put together a cool comic book inspired video for their song "Calling Card", as seen below.
Check out the video for "Cold Truth" from Terror below.
You won't run short on length with this album. At over 72 minutes long, there's a lot here, but the band also covers a lot of bases. From ambient soundscapes to 11 minute long progressive djent flavored metal epics, there is a heck of a lot of diversity to be found. To be fair, the entirety of the album has a very mellow and contemplative feel throughout, even during the metal sections. I hate to use the term "thinking man's metal", but considering the overall feeling of this album, I may just have to use it. You'll never have the urge to spin-kick or headbang, but you will feel yourself moving along to many of the grooves Retinwaav lays down. It's all very introspective, really. Be ready to reflect as you listen to this album.
Album: The Long Road
Some days are just angry days. I don't know why I'm in a foul mood or what got me there, but I'm stuck with a constant furrow in my brow. It's on these days I most crave aggressive, raw, and heavy music. Don't give me any bubblegum metalcore or electronic-tinged post-hardcore; I want some straight up metalcore complete with harsh vocals, hardcore progressions, and breakdowns that will break your neck. Valour give you exactly that. Their most melodic moments are when they are gang-chanting choruses, with the majority of the album being hit you in the face heavy. The occasional almost melodic guitar riff will surface, but only to keep you on your toes before they come at you again. This album is a treat to listen to on those angry days, filling your ears with such sweet, sweet vitriol.
Check out the video for "Withering Waves" from Black Crown Initiate below. This album should be epic!
It's often hard to put into words exactly what a post-rock band sounds like. You can't talk about the vocalist (since there usually isn't one). The mood is almost always "somber" or "beautiful" or "heart-wrenching". There's always atmosphere, so mentioning it sounds like stating the obvious. Often you're stuck comparing to other post-rock bands that seem to have the same vibe. It's weird that this genre is so hard to talk about. Astralia, as you guessed, are a post-rock band from Spain and all of the sentences above easily describe the band. And you could also throw around word like "triumphant" and "epic" too. They're all true. If any of this sounds remotely like what you enjoy listening to, you'll have no problem getting into Atlas... so go get into it.
2014 has been a fantastic year for metalcore for some reason, and that trend looks to be ongoing (pun intended). Massachusetts exports and classic-era metalcore group Unearth is set to release its latest album, Watchers of Rule, on October 28th via eOne. You can now stream "The Swarm" thanks to Revolver. Let us know what you think of the track in the comments.