Friday, July 27, 2018

Exclusive Interview - Dreadnought

Denver's Dreadnought are no strangers to us here at Brutalitopia. Their previous effort, A Wake in Sacred Waves, was my top album of 2017. By harnessing a wide array of instruments, the band is able to capture the ambitiousness of the progressive rock legends of old along with the heaviness of modern day doom. Also throw in the dichotomy of black metal screams and clean vocals, and you have one, for lack of a better term, unique sounding band. I had been dying to catch the band live for quite some time; and especially after Durf's glowing review of their performance at this year's Fire in the Mountains festival. Fortunately, I was able to catch them this past week as they past through Chicago on their current tour. I initially thought I was only going to be talking to frontwoman Kelly Schilling, but the whole band ended up wanting to partake. What ensued was a fun conversation about everything from the band's beginnings to what lies ahead for them.

Read the interview after the break!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Exclusive Interview - Bell Witch

About two weeks ago, a can't-miss tour rolled through Boise in the form of Yob and Bell Witch.  Yob is one of the best bands of our generation, and Bell Witch is no slouch themselves, diving deep into doom metal that drips with atmosphere and substance over three full-length releases.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Dylan Desmond and Jesse Shreibman, who comprise all of Bell Witch, before they went onstage.  We discussed their latest album, last year's Mirror Reaper, what's next, and the intense critiquing of cover art.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light

Skeletonwitch’s original claim was being a bit different from bands of the re-thrash movement of the late oughts, with vocalist Chance Garnette leading the fracas with black metal rasps and tremolo picked frets to back him; equal parts chaos and melody. Garnette was easily the most recognizable member of the band; then he was replaced. Devouring Radiant Light ushers in a completely new era for the band, even though The Apothic Gloom was their first proper material with ex-Iron Thrones and current Wolvhammer frontman Adam Clemans.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fire in the Mountains - A Review, Photo Journal, and Thought Piece

Metal festivals are all alike; each metal festival is metal in it's own way.  Tolstoy said that (or something quite similar), and this quote found its way into my head during my two days at Fire in the Mountains, a metal fest situated about thirty miles outside Jackson, Wyoming.  This year's edition of Fire in the Mountains marked my sixth ever music festival, and third metal specific fest after the twelfth and fourteenth editions of Maryland Deathfest.  Fire in the Mountains was appealing to me for its lineup (Panopticon, Falls of Rauros, Wayfarer, Krallice, and more), its location (the Grand Tetons are RIGHT there), and its proximity to my home (six and a half hours, give or take).  So with my trusty sidekick (my buddy Bryce) in tow, I headed toward the mountains to see whether a new festival was establishing itself or coming in DOA.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Between the Buried and Me - Automata II

When we last heard from legendary prog-metallers Between the Buried and Me, it was way back on March 9 of 201...8.  So fourteen weeks ago.  Wow, the world seems super different now.  Feels like it's been years.  Anyway, three months ago, the touring stalwarts released Automata I, their eighth album.  Mick handled the Töp's review, and he liked it, closing with the line "BTBAM hasn't faltered yet."  I agree with his assessment.  So now, Between the Buried and me is preparing to launch Automata II (out July 13th via Sumerian), which is their second eighth studio album (we'll get to that).  The first half of Automata was welcomed by BTBAM diehards; will the second get the same treatment, or will the band finally falter?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Gaerea - Unsettling Whispers

Time will show the true extent of how much Mgła's Exercises in Futility is a milestone for black metal, not only by its own merit, but also by how it's currently paving the way for other like-minded bands to emerge and thrive. Cue in Portugal's Gaerea. By harnessing a straightforward approach to Mgla's droney-ambiance, Gaerea made a big impression on me with their self-titled EP from two years ago. It only missed my last year-end list on a technicality because I misread the release date. But this year may be the year I get to rectify that error because Gaerea's full-length debut, Unsettling Whispers, makes it rather clear that their previous EP was far from a fluke.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Møl - Jord

Metal, like other art forms, has a loosely structured cycle in which innovation begets imitation begets inspiration begets innovation, and so on.  The critical juncture in this cycle falls on the imitator; if they are simply a cardboard cutout of the innovative band, then they will be dismissed, lost amid a wave of other imitators.  If, however, their inspiration pushes them to heights from which they can distinguish themselves from the innovative band, then they will stand out and be heard.  The critical and commercial success of Deafheaven made it inevitable that a new wave of bands would grab on to their style of black metal/shoegaze amalgamation with ambient tendencies (I've heard some people call it "pink metal," and until I know for certain it's not meant as an insult, I won't have it) and have a go at it.  Møl is one such band entering the "imitation" point of the cycle with their debut Jord.  Does it manage to step out of Deafheaven's shadow, or will it be lost to the seas of time, a passing reference to a (potenial?) metal fad?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Aesthesys - Achromata

Instrumental rock/metal bands that I listen to typically fall into two different camps. There's either technically awe-inspiring bands, such as Animals as Leaders, or emotionally enrapturing bands in the vein of Explosions in the Sky. Rarely do you hear bands that fit comfortably in that in-between area. But Moscow's Aesthesys is here to do exactly that with their second full-length album, Achromata. Birthed originally as a one-man project of Nik Koniwzski in 2007, the project has since evolved into a full band. With their latest endeavor, heavy guitars, violins, and keyboards all coalesce into an experience that evokes an airy introspection but also has a tangible grit under its surface. Filled with lush soundscapes, Achromata's journey is nothing short of enchanting.