Massive Metal Monday: Cult of Luna “The Watchtower”
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Cult of Luna is a seven-piece collective from Umeå, Sweden. Their mixture of post metal, shoe gaze, and out-and-out doom metal manages to be ethereal and crushing at the same time. The band is widely regarded as one of the most seminal acts in 21st century metal.

After fifteen years of nonstop recording and touring, Cult of Luna announced in 2013 that they would be taking an extended hiatus, but promised to return “in one form or another.” I, for one, am anxiously awaiting that day!

This week’s Massive Metal Monday track comes from Cult of Luna’s second album, The Beyond, which was released in 2003. Check out the official video for “The Watchtower” and check out more of these guys if you like what you’re hearing.

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Bands You Should Know: Sloth
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Sloths are mammals known for moving at a very slow pace. Therefore, it is only fitting that the new one-man stoner/doom/sludge metal project of English musician Blake Caverly should share the same moniker. Even more appropriate is the title of Sloth‘s debut record, Slow As Shit.

This crushingly heavy project could be compared to the likes of genre giants Pallbearer, Bongripper, and Boris; it shares the same sort of down tuned, down tempo aesthetics that mark those iconic band’s sounds. But, lest you think that Sloth is just knocking off that which has come before, you should know that there is also a heaping helping of prog rock leanings afoot here as well. The album is largely instrumental but does feature guest vocals from Mikey ‘Churchburner’ Gascoyne of Valravn on the excellent track “Nothing But Leaves.”

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High On Fire Choose Kurt Ballou to Produce New Album
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Stoner/doom metal legends High On Fire have announced that they plan to commence recording for their seventh studio album in late January at Salem, Massachusetts’ GodCity Studios with producer Kurt Ballou. Ballou, who is also the guitarist in legendary hardcore/metalcore band Converge, is currently one of the most critically acclaimed and sought-after producers in extreme music. In addition to producing HOF’s most recent album, 2012’s De Vermis Mysteriis, he has helmed numerous classics from the likes of Nails, Baptists, All Pigs Must Die, Code Orange Kids, Trap Them, Skeletonwitch, Vallenfyre, Black Breath, Kvelertak, and countless others.

High On Fire wrote the material for the new disc over the past year in both their hometown of Oakland and in New Orleans. The songs have been described as “epic” and “sonically huge.”

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The Best Metal Albums of 2014
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Wow! 2014 really proved to be a high watermark for the metal world. More insanely great albums than anyone could possibly keep up with came down the pike this year. I have been doing my very best to weed (hehe) through this embarrassment of riches so that I might compile an informed “Best Of” list, but I must admit something of a defeat this year.

There are probably still a ton of records out there that flew under my radar and, yes, some of them are probably more deserving of being on the list than these. But, hey… after all, it’s just one old metalhead’s opinion and musical tastes are subjective. So take it with a grain of salt and definitely check out the ones that you are unfamiliar with, because this is a fairly wide-ranging list with a little something for everyone to enjoy. By the same token, if you feel that I have omitted something, please let me know. I’m always up for checking out things that I’ve not yet heard. Meanwhile, enjoy the crazy amount of superb records from this year with this selection of The Best Metal Albums of 2014and formulate your own list.

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New Music: Orange Goblin “The Devil’s Whip”
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British doom metal legends Orange Goblin are gearing up for the release of their eighth studio album, Back From the Abyss, by streaming the first single “The Devil’s Whip.”

The song is a frantic uptempo nod to classic speed metal in the vein of Motorhead. Back From the Abyss is the follow-up to 2012’s A Eulogy for the Damned, the band’s most successful album in their 19-year career. The album will be available via Candlelight Records on October 7th and both iTunes and Amazon will be accepting pre-orders starting August 26, 2014.

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