The Best Albums of 2017, #8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Biblical, The City That Always Sleeps (New Damage)

The best way I can describe the mind-bending, abstract psychedelic progressive stoner metal that comprises Biblical’s triumphant second album is that it is the album Mastodon and Between the Buried and Me were born to make but never will. As consistent as Mastodon and BTBAM have been, Biblical mops the floor with their more famous peers, displaying an uncompromising vision throughout this seriously wild, eclectic, thrilling 37 and a half-minute record. The way it shifts so gracefully between aggressive heavy metal, Yes-style melodies, Pink Floyd-esque dreaminess, King Crimson-inspired intricacy, and the swirly space rock of Hawkwind was enough to stop me dead in the tracks. It’s heavy but so smooth, its eight tracks serving more as separate movements of a two-part suite. From a personal standpoint it pushes practically every single button, as far as heavy music goes: respect of music’s history, command of songwriting, and enough integrity and foresight to take some very obvious influences and make something totally original out of it. The trouble for Biblical is that because The City That Always Sleeps is so brazenly defies categorization it is extremely difficult to find an audience. It’s not “extreme” enough to attract the attention of metal tastemakers, it’s far too proggy, far too “hesher” to even warrant a review by an indie publication, and it’s too eclectic and on too small a label to get any sort of mainstream airplay. No, this is a record that will only find an audience in the kind of music listeners that crave original new music that strays off the grid, through word of mouth, one nerd at a time. So take it from this nerd: give this spectacular album a listen, and tell more people about it.