Emptiness – Nothing but the Whole Aug29

Emptiness – Nothing but the Whole

I first stumbled upon Emptiness’ strange concept of blackened death back in 2012, after I read a review of their third full length, Error, describing it simply as “Belgium’s Portal.” But on deeper inspection that assessment proved to be somewhat gratuitous, as though Error certainly dabbles in noise based experimentation, the fact is the album was much more rooted in terrestrial riffs than the otherworldly sounds of those pesky hooded Aussies. Regardless, Error still proved to be a fascinating, albeit horrifying journey, and one that left an indelible mark on me. Two years later, they are back with Nothing but the...

The Guardian Vs. High-Res Aug27

The Guardian Vs. High-Res

In an article written back in April by Charles Arthur, the UK’s Guardian newspaper basically savaged both Pono and the idea of high resolution audio in general as “boys and their toys.” Arthur’s conclusion followed the usual technical approach – a 44.1kHz sample rate covers the entire spectrum of human hearing likely with some room to spare at the top end, while the 65,636 possible gradations of volume within a theoretical maximum of 96dB of dynamic range is plenty for any commercial recording. Crucially though he doesn’t do any actual legwork before concluding that Pono is a complete waste of time and money. Perhaps in an attempt to...

Ready To Ragnarok Aug22

Ready To Ragnarok

In our last post about the latest from the mad geniuses at Schiit Audio, we mentioned that one of the new prototypes Schiit had on display at T.H.E audio shot in Newport was an amp called the Ragnarok. Until now, Schiit has kept their focus on very affordable products focused mainly around headphones, as those tend to be the preferred listening method of the younger audience that Schiit is targeting. The Ragnarok is a bit of a different beast, and beast is an apt word as the thing weighs 32 pounds, nearly three times as much as the step down Mjolnir. Why so heavy? Well the Mjolnir peaks at 8 watts into low impedance headphones. That’s a...

maudlin of the Well – Bath/Leaving Your Body Map

Forgotten Legends is an ongoing series where we look back on those extraordinary yet often overlooked albums that are essential to any serious metal collection. They can be of any format, released at any time. As always, a dynamic range measurement is provided for reference. Kayo Dot is one of those bands whose music almost always evokes some kind of instant, visceral reaction from their listeners. There are those that even on a cursory listen get completely overwhelmed by the music’s noise-based roots and general disregard for the riff, while others find Kayo Dot’s genre-hopping compositions uniquely mesmerizing, especially in...

Casualties Of War Aug15

Casualties Of War

One of the biggest surprises of 2012 was Sorrow and Extinction, the debut album from Arkansas’ Pallbearer. The surprise was not that it was a truly exceptional piece of music; a lot of vintage doom bands have been setting a really high bar lately, and Sorrow didn’t outmatch the very best. No, the surprise was the production by engineers Chuck Schaaf and Dan Lowndes. Nobody told them they had to compress the album to hell in order for it to sound “modern” or “heavy enough,” and so they didn’t do it. And as you might expect, the album sounded great as a result. So how about their follow up, Foundations Of Burden? Has lightning struck twice?...

Mastodon – Remission (Reissue) Aug13

Mastodon – Remission (Reissue)

Up until Mastodon’s recently released sixth full length, Once More ‘Round The Sun, the band’s discography could be described as the following: You have the holy trinity in the form of Leviathan, Blood Mountain, and Crack of the Skye, all of which follow their now patented formula of progressive sludge mixed with a healthy dose of traditional stoner rock riffs, and then you have their bookends, Remission and Hunter, which serve as both release and aesthetic bookends to the band’s aural spectrum. One one side of the spectrum you have Remission, which is not only the band’s debut but represents the band in their...