Monday, January 30, 2017

The Great Old Ones - EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

I've been hearing about EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy, the latest release from French black metal outfit The Great Old Ones, from other metal bloggers and fans for what seems like forever.  The hype around this album is real, and while I'd never heard of the band before catching an advance track for this album, I'm a sucker for hype when I know nothing about the band.  So I decided to check it out and see if the hype was justified, or just a bunch of noise.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tanakh - Unwilling

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I am a bit of a morning person.  I like to get up early, have a cup of coffee or six, and make breakfast before heading off to work, and sometimes that leaves me time to look for new music.  I know I've mentioned before that "look for new music" usually starts with checking out No Clean Singing, which is what I did the other morning.  There were quite a few great things that jumped out at me, but as you've no doubt surmised, the one that really caught my attention was an embed of the debut EP Unwilling by Sioux Falls, South Dakota band Tanakh.  Tanakh features Nick Murphy on vocals and Michael Iverson on all the instruments, which would be impressive even if the music on Unwilling were half as good as it actually is.  Being that it's actually pretty great, it's pretty mind-bendingly impressive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chicago Open Air 2017 Preview... With Some Thoughts!

Last year, the first annual Chicago Open Air Festival arrived, featuring mainstream metal bands like Rammstein, Disturbed, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, and Slipknot, alongside heralded underground bands like Carcass, Deafheaven, Gojira, and Meshuggah.  It was an interesting and pretty decent - if unspectacular - mix of metal that a lot of folks have heard alongside bands that hover in more extreme territory.  Also Hollywood Undead was there, which throws my perception of the whole thing off a bit.  I didn't make it to the festival last year, but I did catch the sterling aftershow featuring Carcass and Deafheaven, which was excellent.  Obviously a giant, open air metal festival in my backyard is something I want to support and attend, so I was eagerly awaiting news on this year's lineup.  Last week, the festival organizers announced the lineup for the second iteration of the festival, to be held at Toyota Park in Bridgeview (just outside Chicago) July 14th-16th.  Would the festival bring in more underground bands?  Would early-2000s alt-metal continue to headline?  Would 2017 be the year that puts COA alongside Maryland Death Fest or Southwest Terror Fest in the pantheon of American Metal Festivals?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trevor Shelley de Brauw - Uptown

One of my favorite random categories of music is albums that take their name from and subsequently shape their sound and message around a place.  Panopticon's stellar Kentucky is a sterling example, blending black metal with the local flavor of bluegrass in addition to the strife encountered by the state's coal workers.  Though I've driven through, I haven't spent much time in Kentucky, and so my experiences and feelings around Kentucky are filtered through things I've read, seen, and heard about the state, including Kentucky.  I'm using the experiences of others to create my own idea of a place, to form my own associations with it; for all I know, it's all a lie, and my idea of Kentucky is completely false.  Trevor Shelley de Brauw's debut solo album Uptown is named after a Chicago neighborhood in which I've spent a fair bit of time, has no such issues.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Op-Ed: Ne Obliviscaris Ad Sustinere Musicorum

It isn't a surprising thing to say that the music industry is in a state of flux.  Unless you're Taylor Swift, Adele, or BeyoncĂ©, album sales are way down.  In their place are streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music - which pay artists next to nothing - or more illicit options like torrents or uploaded YouTube audio (which pay artists nothing).  It's a pretty rough time to be a working musician, as your livelihood has to depend on album and merchandise sales and tour revenue; if too few people show up to your show in Calgary, and only a few of those too few buy shirts or physical copies of the album, it can be tough to make ends meet.  And even if the venue sells out, and you sell out of your daily allotment of merch/records, there's still the next show to worry about.  Point is, it's tough to make a living as a band where there are bills to pay and mouths to feed and real life non-rock star shit to take care of.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Saor - Guardians

Saor is an atmospheric folk black metal band that hails from Scotland, a fact that is driven home by the incredible and awesome use of bagpipes.  I liked their "debut" album Aura when it came out in 2014, as it reminded me of an album that appeared on my Best of 2013 list, Roots by Ă€rsaidh... wouldn't you know it, they're the same band!  I felt like a hybrid terrible fan and absolute moron when I learned that, and vowed to pay closer attention.  Which I did by missing Guardians, the new album from Saor that came out in November of last year.  So in keeping with my tradition of playing catch up in January, I'm here to give you my thoughts on the album that has consumed most of my early 2017 listening.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Nine Inch Nails - "Not The Actual Events"

If you read my Best Of 2016 Post, you're probably wondering what the hell this post is doing here, as I clearly stated that post would be my last of the year.  I meant that then, which was before I learned of the existence of a new Nine Inch Nails project.  An EP to be specific, titled Not The Actual Events, which was released Friday, December 23.  Just in time for a Merry Christmas, just too late to make me an honest man.  So I listened to it, and now I'm writing about it.  Is it good?  Is it a Christmas dud?  Does it already, just a week later, invalidate my Top EPs of the Year ranking???  Oh Trent Reznor, why must you hurt me so?!?!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Mick's Top 15 Albums of 2016

Well, another year has come and gone. Given the events that happened this year, it seems like 2016 is a year that most of us are wanting to end sooner rather than later. It's not all doom and gloom, however. We here at Brutalitopia experienced a record year in terms of readership and for that we will be forever grateful to you and all the other fine folk who give our site a gander every now and then. We promise to keep up with what we can in 2017 and beyond.

But now for the good stuff. Read on after the break to see what some of my favorite albums of the year were!