heavy metal

Certain things just don't seem to go together. So when I see a band describing themselves as a mixture of death metal and progressive rock, I wonder how those two things can possibly coexist.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a more influential band that got none of the attention they deserved than the one and only Trouble. In the American scene, Trouble is as much a part of the foundation of heavy metal as any other band.

Orphaned Land is a heavy metal band from Israel who has spent two decades preaching the message of universal brotherhood and religious peace. That sentence in and of itself is astounding for the number of contradictions it would seem to contain. But every word of it is true, and we should all be so blessed to be so passionate about such an important message. I'm going to come out and say it: I am a person of mixed religious heritage, and I feel so incredibly privileged to have been born in a time and place where that has never been an issue. I can't what my life would have been like if that hadn't been true. It's in that spirit that I take the message of Orphaned Land so seriously. I sat down with Chen Balbus, guitarist and instrumentalist for Orphaned Land, to talk about their new album, the creation of the band's unique sound, and the brotherhood that music inspires in us all.

There are two reasons I do this. The first and most important reason is because I love music. The second reason is because every now and again, I am totally and pleasantly surprised.

At some point, we lost our collective minds.

I like to think of myself as being somewhat well-versed on metal and its history. But there are limits to anyone's capacity for knowledge, and when it comes to metal, mine is a mile wide and an inch deep.

We typically use this space to discuss the comings, goings and debuts of heavy metal, but let’s step back a second and ask a metaphysical question: What makes great music? We can all voice our opinions about why we love music to our very cores, and in a debate rarity, we’re all correct.

European metal is a crowded landscape. In a genre choked with also-rans and soundalikes, every band tries to boast their worthiness as a product of their values, their image or their virtuoso guitar talent.

In recent years, we’ve witness a real revival of thrash as we once knew it. Bullet belts, gallop riff and west coast snarling are back in fashion.