In my opinion, there are bands you love, and then there are legitimately important bands. Often times, the two will not meet. You can enjoy a band, and if you’re a reasonable person, admit that they’re not genre luminaries or trendsetters. Most bands aren’t. There’s nothing wrong with that. For example; I love Mgla, but to argue that they’re much more than just another really proficient black metal band seems silly to me. They’re not. They’re just good at relying on tropes that others have created to great effect. Godflesh, on the other hand, is not just a band I love, but a band who actually shaped heavy music in the late 80s and early 90s. And now, they’ve returned, yet again, after the stellar “reunion record” 2014’s A World Lit Only By Fire. And with this return, made the most varied album of their career.
New Zealand’s Spook the Horses continue to defy expectations with their third full-length album, People Used to Live Here.
As their career thus far has shown, Spook the Horses are not bound by genre limitations and flourish within their own artistic freedom. The band is in a constant state of evolution, unafraid to experiment with other musical styles and sounds. 2011’s Brighter was a dense, atmospheric marriage between post-rock and brooding post-metal, resulting in a enthralling dichotomy between soothing and crushing. In stark contrast, 2015’s Rainmaker retained its predecessor’s post-metal stylings, but introduced sludgier guitars and more angular post-hardcore elements into the mix. Fast-forward to 2017 and the band have once again modified their sound and the results are staggering, but in a very positive way. Continue Reading
Some of you may know that I have moved more towards the world of YouTube, where I talk about physical media multiple times a week. It’s a sweet gig that pays nothing and costs a lot. Good times. Anyway, here is my most recent album review, for one of the grandest albums of the year: Converge‘s new opus The Dusk In Us. Peep me. Continue Reading
Nullingroots returns with their 4th studio album “Into the Grey” and it’s blackened post-metal done right. Somber and depressive riffs cloud my mind as percussive bliss shatters my thoughts, all while the vocals scream such beautiful nothings loudly and unforgivably. I’ve been slow to listen to much black metal this year, let alone post-rock musings, so hearing this combination of music together and done right was easily something I could enjoy and get down with. Nullingroots gives us only 5 songs on this album but the longer tracks grabs a hold of me and never lets me go.
Doom music is known to be the music that was either fueled by drugs (Sleep) or pain with drugs as a form of coping (Neurosis). It was the music of the long haired, jean jacket and battle vest wearing stoners who had an outlet that allowed them to see the music, feel the music and its intricate message, or both. Slowly but surely, as every genre of music does, it started to encompass other genres, becoming a bastardized version of what was considered pure and old school doom (Black Sabbath in my opinion) to something completely different (first band that comes to mind is Torche with pop, followed by later Neurosis and their inclusion of country), taking what it could, creating something new and exciting, much like black metal nowadays. Doom is a genre with many sub genres, and each one is different, with a hit-or-miss, trial-and-error catalog.
Contrarian is probably one of the more prolific “super group…but not a super group” bands within modern death metal. Several artists hailing from internationally known and loved bands come together to jam some of the coolest progressive death metal songs I’ve ever heard. The bands last album, “Polemic“, was one of my favorite albums to exist in 2015. Their brutal death vocal style by Cody McConnell (Goemagot) over progressive death metal with legendary guitarist Leon Macey (Mithras, Sarpanitum) doing lead guitar stuff just SLAYED. Coming into their new album we have a slightly different sound with To Perceive Is To Suffer, as Macey and McConnell are not on this album. Taking vocal duty is legendary drummer George Kollias (Nile) and he also returns to destroy us on the kit as well. Jim Tasikas’ glorious song writing ambitions return with full energy as well, Brian Mason takes control of the soloing this time around and Ed Paulsen’s delicious bass tones are back with a vengeance. Contrarian may have changed up some things in the lineup department but the enriched song experience is still the same.
Living metalcore legends Zao crank out some of the most dynamic and heaviest material in their roughly 24-year existence with Pyrrhic Victory.
Following hot on the heels of 2016’s The Well-Intentioned Virus, Pyrrhic Victory delivers five new, venomous tracks that serve as a companion piece to the aforementioned, well-received album. These five songs continue along the path its predecessor previously embarked upon, helping to fortify a new shade of Zao that is all at once gritty, brooding and complex. In a sense this new material is a perfect melding of the band’s more angular and dissonant early material (Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest, Liberate te Ex Inferis, etc), and their groovier later material (The Funeral of God, etc). Both The Well-Intentioned Virus and Pyrrhic Victory work together to usher in an exciting new era for this highly influential act. Continue Reading
I was fortunate enough to witness the very first night of the Bloodletting North American XI Tour but I need to state something right away: I missed the opening acts of Torn the Fuck Apart (a Kansas City technical brutal death metal act), The Kennedy Veil (Technical brutal death metal from Sacramento) and Dyscarnate (Death metal from the UK) as life just happened. Quick note: Visceral Disgorge was not able to make it to the Kansas City date for some reason, so obviously I didn’t get to see them either. When I arrived at the Riot Room (finally), I just happened to get there as Unmerciful was setting up the stage and doing a quick sound check. The lights dimmed a little and the band readied it’s onslaught unto the crowd.
Coma Cluster Void descend further down the technical death metal rabbit hole on their new EP, Thoughts From a Stone.
By combining discombobulating rhythms and grooves with Gorgutsian angularity and dissonance, Coma Cluster Void present the auditory representation of pure chaos through their outre tunes. Their music is dense and claustrophobic, confining listeners to tight spaces to be tortured by ever-shifting, disfigured instrumentation. “Technical death metal” is merely a jumping-off point for this band as they transcend typical genre tropes and carve out a particular niche for themselves within the scene, as made evident by 2016’s monstrous Mind Cemeteries. It’s ugly and unique, frightening and enthralling. Coma Cluster Void shine like a diamond in a sea of dull death metal. Continue Reading