Friday, September 22, 2017

Primitive Man - Caustic

It feels like Primitive Man has been around forever, but in reality their debut full-length Scorn came out only four years ago.  Since then, however, they've released nearly a dozen singles, splits, and the EP Home is Where the Hatred Is, making them one of the more prolific bands going.  The Denver sludge trio has put out some of the darkest, most repulsive sludge around in the past four years, and with the release of their sophomore LP Caustic, it appears that was just a warm up.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven

Since their phenomenal debut Diadem of 12 Stars in 2006, Wolves in the Throne Room have been a force in the US black metal scene.  Their songs, drawing inspiration from the band's home in the Pacific Northwest, have always blended a serene sense of melody and atmosphere with a primal, animalistic fury.  In the ensuing decade, "atmospheric black metal" has become the genre du jour, but for the most part, these bands have been chasing WitTR's tail, trying to capture the alchemy that makes Diadem, Two Hunters, Black Cascade, Celestial Lineage, and the Malevolent Grain EP stand out in a sea of imitators and lesser bands.  Wolves in the Throne Room took a bit of a detour for their last album; 2014's Celestite was an ambient, synth-heavy companion to Celestial Lineage, and while it wasn't bad, it was certainly a departure from the band's trademark sound.  So now, three years later, after a re-release of Diadem of 12 Stars, the band has returned with Thrice Woven, an album they say marks their return to black metal.  So does Thrice Woven hold up to the band's impeccable track record in their home genre?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Squalus - The Great Fish

Jaws is an incredible movie, with some of the most iconic shots and quotes in all of American cinematic history.  Robert Shaw's Quint is an All-Time Classic movie character, and I could watch his monologue about the U.S.S. Indianapolis daily for the rest of my life.  As far as nautically-themed stories go, Jaws is second to none, and while I beseech Hollywood not to remake it, the story itself is ripe for inspiration and interpretation.  Squalus, the new band made up of 80% of the dearly departed Giant Squid, seemingly agrees, as their debut album The Great Fish... sees the band apply their post-metal sludgery to the iconic story of Chief Brody, Hooper, and Quint, and the results more than live up to the sizable expectations built by the band's pedigree and source material.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Myrkur - Mareridt

I know it may be hard for some of you to believe that polarization exists within the metal community, but Myrkur has perpetually been in the cross-hairs ever since the self-titled debut EP. Black metal is perhaps the murkiest of purist waters you can try to stay afloat in, but Amalie Bruun's solo project has been gliding through these waves since day one. While the approaches differ, Myrkur brings to mind bands like Alcest and those who followed in the "blackgaze" craze. Myrkur sticks closer to maintaining the rawness of traditional black metal, but like Alcest, there is an even mix of serene melodies to juxtapose the harsher tones. The only complaint I've ever had with Myrkur's output is that I've never been captivated by a full release. It's as if after every listen, I find myself thinking about the album's "what could have been" potential more than anything else. Unfortunately, Mykur's latest album, Mareridt, follows suit in this trend.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Exclusive Interview - Jonny Boucher (Hope For the Day)

In the time we've done Brutalitopia, we've had the opportunity to conduct some pretty cool interviews with some of our favorite musicians.  We've only ever wanted to do this site as a hobby, so it's been a real treat to have the privilege of these conversations, meeting and chatting with artists throughout genres, from different parts of the world, brought together by our love of music.  By and large, these conversations are pretty light, enjoyable ways for the three of us to get to know musicians we respect and admire, and to hopefully ask them questions they haven't been asked a thousand times before, in an effort to connect them with fans through our (admittedly small) platform.

This interview was different.

Last night, Mick and I had the opportunity to speak with Jonny Boucher, founder and CEO of Hope For The Day, a suicide prevention organization focusing on proactive prevention.  Jonny founded HFTD in 2011 after the suicide of his boss, and the organization's motto of "It's OK Not to Be OK" speaks to his desire to end the stigma around discussing suicide and mental health.  It's an incredibly important topic, especially considering the destructive attitudes of "suck it up!" that still surround suicide and mental illnesses.  Hope For The Day has worked with Warped Tour, Live Nation, and other musicians to get their message out there, and last night they were putting on a benefit show at Chicago's famous Metro, featuring Mastodon, Brain Tentacles, and Powermad.  All of the bands spoke to Hope For The Day during their sets, and it was a tremendous night of camaraderie, hope, and metal, but the absolute high point was getting to speak with Jonny.  Over the course of our conversation, we discussed the origin and goals of Hope For The Day, his views on death, and how having the same last name as The Waterboy has impacted his life.  We hope you enjoy this interview, and if you're dealing with any issues, please know that you aren't alone and there are people who will listen.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Minerva Conduct - The Minerva Conduct

Over the years we've been receiving album promos, I've noticed that the majority of the promos that we get from the Southeastern Asia region tend to use the use the words "brutal", "extreme", and "grind" in the band's description. "Instrumental" and "atmospheric" are terms that are a rarity, so coming across the debut of India's The Minerva Conduct was a real treat. Comprised of members of other Indian extreme metal bands, The Minerva Conduct is also aided in the drumming department by ex-Animals As Leaders member Navine Koperweis. While the self-titled debut of this collective doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table, it does pool together familiar elements in an impressively balanced manner. Technicality, rhythmic hooks, heaviness, and ambiance are things that not all instrumental act tries to equate in their band's formula, but The Minerva Conduct does exactly this, making it more than a worthwhile listen.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Exclusive Interview - Johannes Persson (Cult of Luna)

Cult of Luna has been one of those bands I've loved but never gotten to see; the last time they were in Chicago, I was on a family trip (live alone and have no friends kids; it's the only way).  I suppose I should say had been; a few weeks ago, CoL came through Reggie's to play their staggering Mariner album with Julie Christmas.  The band was sensational live, everything I'd hoped for, but Christmas was an absolute revelation, a Puciato-level force of nature that elevated the performance far above my wildest expectations.  I couldn't have asked for anything more (ok... maybe a "Mute Departure" encore) from the set.

Before the show even started though, I was living the high life, as I got to sit down with CoL's lead singer/guitarist Johannes Persson to talk about the band, Mariner, touring, collaborating, and a slew of other topics!  This was one of the coolest interviews I've had, so check it out after the break!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Top 10 Dream Theater Tracks For Metalheads

Let me start by acknowledging that this article was born in my mind after reading an Invisible Oranges article that was reflecting on Dream Theater's sophomore album, Images and Words, turning 25 years old. Anyone who knows me personally or has read this blog more than a few times probably knows by now that Dream Theater was a seminal gateway band for me after my initial days of listening to hard rock and mainstream metal on the local radio station. Because of that history, despite how my metal tastes have and will continue to change, I will always consider myself a Dream Theater fan (I can hear your collective sighs.....they fuel me).

So, after reading the aforementioned article, I put my thinking cap on and asked myself, "What Dream Theater tracks could potentially sway metal fans who wouldn't normally consider themselves Dream Theater fans (or even better, actually HATE Dream Theater)?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Elder - Reflections of a Floating World

Sometimes it can be hard for me to write reviews, typically for one of two reasons. Sometimes an album will be really bad, in which case I don't want to write about it because I don't like writing negative reviews most of the time.  Other times an album will be really good, and I'll love it, and I'll start writing a review of it, and then after a week of work, I'll read my draft and discover all I've written is "Uh... Falls of Rauros' Vigilance Perennial is really, really good" 10,000 times, like a much more upbeat, sort of less alcoholic, still batshit crazy Jack Torrance.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Exclusive Interview - Jun-His & Ontto (Oranssi Pazuzu)

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jun-His and Ontto of Oranssi Pazuzu at their very first US show at St. Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, NY 2 days before they hit Maryland Deathfest. We talked about expectations for a US show, making a name for themselves in Finland, Roadburn, and overall fan reception to their style of play. Also joining in on the interview is Nine Circles contributor and fellow Finn, Zyklonius.