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Five Years of Approaching Music Through Artistic Lenses

Today we reflect on who we are, and who we’re becoming.

in flames
Luis (Heaviest of Art), Anders Fridén (In Flames), and Blake Armstrong (Artist), Photograph by Ekaterina Gorbacheva

Words by Jake Sanders (@themetalscholar):

Those of you out there who read this site are undoubtedly of some strong musical opinions, and if you know us, then you know we are too. We're pretentious nerds, and so-called music gurus, and bold personalities. Truth is, we're still figuring out who we are out here, in the overflowing world of ever-changing music journalism. We exist somewhere in the creative æther, searching for the precious scraps of audio-based humanity that keep us all alive.

Extreme music is a therapy, of sorts.

For many of us, the urge to leave the monotony — to escape from our jobs, our studies, our hardships — is a necessity of this field that we rely on to maintain our sanity. It’s one thing to stream, collect, and actively enjoy music from a purely studio perspective. We spend every waking hour being consumed by the weight of more music than we’ll ever be able to fully appreciate. It’s another matter entirely to thrust yourself at the idea of music as this living entity that must be respected, and molded by its community.

There are so many of us out here.

Gojira at the Kia Forum, Photograph by Ekaterina Gorbacheva

If you’ve ever pulled up lyrics, searched for purchase links, or sought an early single from one of your favorite groups, you’ve likely been inundated by the sheer volume of music press that emanates out from the corners of the web. We know — because we’re avid readers of all of it, and we have our favorites who we return to for knowledge, passion, and the will to listen when so many others refuse to dig deep in their pool of auditory variety. We understand how many choices you have when reading music press, and we hope you’ve recognized our efforts to remain different — both commercially, and aesthetically — from our comrades in other mags, zines, blogs, and vlogs.

Heaviest of Art stands for knowledge, and appreciation.

Jake Sanders Interviewing Agalloch

For five years, we've worked to cultivate good-faith efforts in the scene, taking on professional, and amateur photographers who show promise and the drive to consistently be our boots on the ground at shows. They’re waist deep in the underground and beyond, putting themselves, and their equipment at risk in some exciting, and rowdy venues that don’t always allow you to look over your shoulder when you’re aiming for the perfect snapshot.

The same can be said for our writers, who have a lot to say, and more to edit once they’ve laid their words to digital paper. It’s difficult not to be emotionally-provoked by the work we do, as music almost always comes down to how one feels about it, rather than what can be objectively seen, and heard. There are a million ways to categorize the thousands of ‘slabs’ of heavy music we receive, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to tackle all of them. We have given up on the traditional notions of ratings, and brutal review, and have found an equilibrium in chasing the educational, and emotional baggage that are attached to each project.

judas priest
Judas Priest at the Toyota Arena, Photograph by Maurice Nunez

Rather than focus on the superficial, we’ve struck a chord (get it?) with our love for both the auditory, and visual arts. It’s easy to forget that every album is a collaboration of sorts, drawing parallels between the songs and the artwork that adorns their jacket. There are stories to be told, and questions begged; this is the framework which we use to build our articles.

Whether it’s strange symbolism told in various objects scattered across a dense collage of art, or the sounds of unorthodox instruments used to breathe new life into a familiar passage, we at Heaviest of Art are in it for the scraps. We want to draw stark contrasts, and connect dots, and find the bridge between two albums or paintings that can trace influences, challenges, and the character of our favorite musicians, and visual artists.

We’re still people.

Deftones at Petco Park, Photograph by Joshua Alvarez

We’re also incredibly busy people. Chasing riches has never been the aim here. We write and shoot in the sighs between our life events, often to ample frustration. We can’t be everywhere, but we can be present in everything we do. Some of us are starting new work, moving our lives to accommodate the change. A couple are part of the scene itself and are balancing our projects with their careers, just like our founder and his partner who just gave birth to their first child — a wonderful event that has hardly slowed his hands from writing.

These are the people who make up Heaviest of Art. We’re part of you, and in everything that we do we’re trying to minimize harm, promote a healthy education for our music, and develop stronger ties with those in the pit, those in studios, and those on stages everywhere. This year will be no different, and as long as we remain faithful to the goal of adding academic value to the music we love — we hope you'll continue to come back and find your next great read.

~Jake ‘The Metal Scholar’ Sanders


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