Lower Automation – Shoebox Companion
Noise punk trio Lower Automation return with 15 minutes of erratic merriment on their new EP, Shoebox Companion. Following 2016’s Maps EP and subsequent “The Pulpit Tumble” single, the six new songs featured on Shoebox Companion show the Chicagoans upping the insanity. Taking cues from the interstellar post-hardcore of At the Drive-In, the jarring mathcore rhythms of The Dillinger Escape Plan, and a variety of similar acts, Lower Automation produce a sound that is both familiar and unique. From the serpentine, nauseating rhythms of “Coax”, to the Fall of Troy-esque auditory acid trip of “Swing Flesh”, Lower Automation make sure every second on this release is eclectic and deadly. Tracks like “Tethered” deliver anthemic punk choruses that are sucked into a black hole of kaleidoscopic effects and off-kilter rhythmic shifts, while cuts like “Phil and Phyllis Philler” tumultuously shifts from spacey interludes to tornadoes of jangly riffs throughout. Lower Automation expertly balance memorability with all out math-punk war on Shoebox Companion and listeners will be itching to press “play” again after scooping their brains off of the floor.
Release Date: July 27, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Coax” and “Tethered”
For Fans Of: The Fall of Troy, At the Drive-In, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Capsule
Zeresh – Sigh for Sigh
Zeresh is the brainchild of Israeli musician Tamar Singer (also of Cruel Wonders) and Sigh for Sigh is the first introduction into the project’s gloomy world. Carving out a unique niche for herself between the worlds of dark folk, doom and ambient music, Singer creates a deeply melancholic sound that is only heightened by her subtle, yet commanding vocal performances. The record is comprised of four tracks that are mostly led by acoustic guitar, which is nearly swallowed whole by the swirling dark atmospheres around it. The songs gently strum along while haunting noise writhes underneath. Other guitars, engulfed in wavering flanger and other effects, strum quietly deep in the background to provide another layer mood. Sometimes distorted, droning guitars appear, most notably in the song “Holy”, whose slow-burning chords are eventually broken apart and transformed into a wall of shadowy sound. All-in-all, Zeresh is an interesting and darkly beautiful project that will appeal to those who like getting bummed out.
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Label: 999 Cuts
Favorite Tracks: “Halls Grew Darker”
For Fans Of: Death in June, Swans/Michael Gira/Angels of Light, Nadja and Chelsea Wolfe
Brutal Blues – BB
Norwegian noise grind duo Brutal Blues returns with their debut, full-length album, BB. Picking up where their 2014 self-titled EP left off, BB shows the band continuing to deconstruct the grindcore style and reassemble it into chaotic new forms. For roughly 24 minutes the record assaults the senses with its endless barrages of angular, jangly guitars, rhythmically-jarring drum work, and menageries of cosmic effects. The vocals, also layered in effects, are pushed to the background so that the instrumentation can really steal the show. The 10 tracks featured on BB come crashing in one after the other, feverishly shifting from one riff to the next. The songs act as auditory nail bombs, with the instrumentation acting as said nails flying in every which direction. But while the record’s complex, sensory overload approach is an admirable feat, the songs themselves are not very memorable individually. With so many riffs launched at the listener at once, it all begins to sound like a blur of notes with very little distinguishing features to separate one song from the next. Overall, BB is a mind-boggling listening experience that is indeed impressive, but it’s overtly spastic nature may not be for everyone.
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Label: At War with False Noise/Give Praise
Favorite Tracks: “01”, “03” and “10”
For Fans Of: Psudoku, Sete Star Sept, Piss Vortex and Gridlink
Timelost – 2018 Demo
Set and Setting‘s Shane Handal and Woe‘s Grzesiek Czapla unleash storming alternative with their new project Timelost and their debut demo. Serving as a precursor to their debut full-length, Timelost‘s demo delivers 15 minutes of shoegaze-tinged, post-hardcore influenced alternative rock that will appease fans of Nothing, Rival Schools, and even Hum. The release kicks off with the infectious eponymous track, which stampedes forth with anthemic, wavering chords and melodic leads. This track paves the way for “The River Broke Us”; an instantly memorable cut full of towering guitar work and blast beats for added grit. Groove-laden post-hardcore instrumentation mows listeners down on “Cook the Disease Off”, while “I Know Cemeteries” cycles back-and-forth between reflective clean verses and addictive choruses. The waves of bands reviving the 90s alternative sound keep coming, but Timelost have enough unique character to separate themselves from the pack.
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “The River Broke Us” and “I Know Cemeteries”
For Fans Of: Nothing, Quicksand, Rival Schools, Hum and Teenage Wrist
MouthBreather – Dollmeat
Boston’s MouthBreather offer 11 minutes of gross, dissonant metalcore on their sophomore EP release, Dollmeat. Building upon the sounds introduced in 2017’s Pig, Dollmeat is a bleak and chaotic recording that is so inconsolably pissed that Jack Nicholson’s character in “Anger Management” couldn’t help it cool off. These seven tracks are chock full of bludgeoning grooves and obtuse breakdowns intermingled with noisy riffs and shrieking guitar sounds. From the galloping beatdown of “Denim Jacket”, to the gruesome pummeling of “Milk/Shit/Dirt”, Dollmeat is a life-ending heart attack from start to finish. Tracks like the jittery “Feeding Time” cycle between vile, grinding breakdowns and off-kilter, rapid-fire noise riffs so that the listener can be properly decimated. Tracks like “Anorexistentialist” echo early deathcore with its disemboweling guitar riffs and emphasis on breakdowns, while cuts such as “Probortion” touch upon early metalcore, modern hardcore and grindcore all within the same song. Dollmeat is grim, mean, and refuses to be tame. Fans of getting their face bashed in will want to take note.
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Denim Jacket”, “Feeding Time” and “Fratscum”
For Fans Of: Vein, Sanction, Sectioned and Ed Gein
Mireplaner – Diapiric
Finland’s Mireplaner deliver 19 minutes of brooding, chaotic post-metal on their debut EP, Diapiric. With its emphasis on cosmic atmosphere, slow-burning tension and unpredictable shifts, this two-track release is sure to pique the interest of fans of Cult of Luna and similar acts. These sprawling songs are rife with crushing, tension-building chord progressions that build to aural onslaughts of barreling, Gojira-esque grooves or rhythmically-jarring riff attacks. Icy clean guitars act as bridges between these two extremes, often accompanied by waves of interstellar atmospheres that swell in the background. The band balance between metallic intensity and exploratory ambiance throughout, while also providing plenty of unexpected twists and turns. Diapiric may be less than 20 minutes in length, but it sounds colossal nonetheless. It will be interesting to see where Mireplaner goes next.
Release Date: June 22, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Hinterlands”
For Fans Of: Cult of Luna, Neurosis and Hemelbestormer