5 heavy discs for heat

Some hard rock records to beat the heat.


We all know that feeling of the weight of the world bearing down on us. When it does, one of the best escapes is to turn up the stereo with something other than pop on the show and do some headbanging.

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There is something cathartic to be found in the way a very strong power chord is unleashed upon the listener.

It’s for good reason that some of the biggest and most enduring acts in the world tend to be hard rockers. They make music that has a great beat that you can dance to or just strut about. Maybe both, depending on your mood.

Here are five albums ranging from post-punk to metal and more that provide the ticket to release some pent-up pressures.


reanimated | Artifact Records

Gender: Postpunk/Electropop

key track: Post Traumatic Love (Humans Remix)

Vancouver post-punk outfit Actors has been earning rave reviews for its 2021 release, Acts of Workship. It makes sense that a band with such club-ready sounds would let the remixers loose on their songs, and that’s exactly what Reanimated’s 15 tracks are all about. From the darkwave retro march pulse of the opening track XYX to the seven different takes on the band’s single Post Traumatic Love. That track turns 10 years old this year, so the original single and its B-side, Nightlife, are included here, as well as a few other gems. It Goes Away should have been a huge hit.

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amun amarth

The great heathen army | sheet metal logs

Gender: viking metal

key track: Heidrun

One of the key acts in the Viking metal scene, Sweden’s Amon Amarth, has combined the story of “these vicious devils of the north” with everyday metal to great effect for decades. Somehow the band manages to revisit the well over and over again without running out of crushing riffs and storytelling. Part of the appeal is that Johan Hegg’s vocals sound like he’s throwing up in Valhalla, while the twin guitar attack ensures a steady attack. This isn’t soloist-heavy Northern European-style metal. It’s much more like 70’s doom meeting thrash.

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Cash register

cherry blossoms at night | Wretched pyre of secrets

Gender: experimental metal

key track: Devayne’s Lament

Andrew Stormstad’s project, Portland’s Box, just doesn’t fit its name. The opening rager, Succumb, is full of thunderous sewer thrash with elements of death metal. Then comes the psychedelic rhythm of Stoner from Pulse or the trippy acid haze from Soft Is The Motion. Neither song goes where you expect and the title track sounds like an ’80s goth pop crossover dance hit. By the time Devayne’s Lament symphonic march arrives, you know this Box holds nothing but surprises.

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The Flatliners

new wreck | dine only logs


key track: Rat King

In their first new release in five years, this Juno-nominated quartet from Toronto shows what it means to be together for 20 years. The band moves from near noise to choirs that sing with absolute control, never falling into excess. Rat King just bristles with the kind of melodic punk cut that puts a smile on fans’ faces as they bang in the mosh pit, while Performative Hours is a perfect mix of raucous attack combined with spit-out vocals courtesy of lead singer/guitarist Chris Cresswell. The song’s satirical video features sad TV host Ron Regal, who embodies much of what is wrong with contemporary culture. Fun music that isn’t afraid to have a message.

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The Flatliners will play their 20th anniversary tour on September 8th at the rickshaw theater.

Ian Blurton’s future now

Second skin | See red records

Gender: Hard stone

Riding on a massive drum roll that harkens back to the heyday of bands like Blue Öyster Cult and even New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts like Saxon, Ian Blurton’s Future Now is entirely devoted to everything louder than everything else. This goes in different directions throughout the album’s nine tracks. Songs like the title track, Beyond Beholds the Moon and Trails, to the Gate/Second Skin Reprise approach heavy prog rock at six minutes in length, while the other material is more concise and pop-oriented. However, everything is heavy. Go somewhere else if you want a quiet moment.

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