Mitchell D. W.

Reviews 74
Soundoffs 137
News Articles 22
Band Edits + Tags 218
Album Edits 442

Album Ratings 3221
Objectivity 87%

Last Active 10-20-20 11:24 am
Joined 03-01-15

Forum Posts 34
Review Comments 12,038

08.18.20 MarsBro's Court of 2020 03.19.20 Mars2020: What to Listen For
09.30.19 Update: Build-an-Album, Life, etc.09.06.19 Sputnik Mafia: Trial Run
07.30.19 MarsBro's Court of 2019 06.25.19 Build-an-Album R10: Weaving a Web
06.05.19 Help a geriatric catch up on the times04.17.19 Build-an-Album R9: To Salt a Wound
02.10.19 Build-an-Album R8: Development, Oh Hell01.26.19 Build-an-Album R7: Raise Yer Rhythms
01.15.19 Build-an-Album R6: Burnin' Churches01.04.19 Build-an-Album R5: Dad Bods Unite
12.27.18 Build-an-Album R4: Flannel Time12.19.18 Build-an-Album R3: Swine Surprise
12.13.18 Build-an-Album R2: Off to Paradise12.07.18 Build-an-Album R1: Clang-clang
12.06.18 Rec Comp: Build-an-Album Madness [FULL]08.21.18 Going Down
More »

MarsBro's Court of 2020

Second court, same as the first court. Let's get to it!
1Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

Here are the rules per last year's installation:
1. Any album submitted must be from 2020.
2. I have my preferences, naturally, but all genres are welcome.
3. Each user can give up to 3 recommendations.
4. Recommendations can be either: i. a record I haven't heard, ii. a record not yet released but will come out in 2020, or iii. a record I HAVE heard but you believe I should rate higher (a 3.5 to a 4, 4 to a 4.5, etc.)
2Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

With regards to ii., if it's a record I already was aware of, you may rec something else instead.

All that's over and done with; let's have ourselves some judgement!
Hot Shot 2020

from Pots
VERDICT: lol 1.5
4Ambrose Akinmusire
on the tender spot of every calloused moment

from bgillesp
VERDICT: I was really attracted to how this album manages to ebb and flow so gracefully from calm to more frantic moments, gliding easily between both ends of the spectrum with ease. In particular, the drumming and piano work on this album was stellar. I feel like the album lost sight of this successful dynamic as time wore on. This can be easily pinned upon the final two tracks, which honestly offer nothing to make the disc feel special whatsoever; both of them feel so empty compared to previous tracks. It definitely brought me out of the experience to an extent, as well as similar moments. 3.5
5Kevin Penkin
Made In Abyss OST 2

from bg
VERDICT: Gorgeous. There are so many incredible moments of pure epic swells in orchestration alongside graceful sections of quiet, reflective compositions. Even without knowing the story this is intended for, the emotion felt in here is palpable, and the arrangements are sturdy enough to stand confidently on their own. It's a complete odyssey from start-to-finish. Covering two discs and lasting an hour and 30 minutes, this album promises incredible crescendos, elegant climaxes, beautiful transitions, and artful restraint--Penkin knows when to match intensity and when to scale it back. I wasn't bored for a minute; the soundscapes are simply immense. 4.5
6Flying Horseman

from bg
VERDICT: For as much as the first half was addicting and engaging, I expected the second half to maintain momentum. No such luck; things really slow down to a crawl after "Where Do You Live," the energy in each following track gradually becoming depleted. There was still some intrigue to be found, but by the end of the listening experience, I was becoming quite bored. Could've been much better, but still not too bad. 3.0

from Nocte
8Fawn Limbs
Sleeper Vessels

from Nocte
9Khthoniik Cerviiks

from Nocte
VERDICT: This was okay I guess, but not diverse enough to really stand out. In a year chock-full of ODSM albums and dissonant death metal, the atmosphere on this just wasn't up to par. Decent, no more or less. 3.0
10Holy Motors

from budgie
Don't Shy Away

from budgie
12Helena Deland
Someone New

from budgie
13Horse Lords
The Common Task

from Minushuman
VERDICT: Some great technicality that did nothing to actually captivate me. It all came and went without any of it possessing any staying power. Sure, the rhythms are impressive, but it all felt like it was connected so loosely, lacking any kind of purpose; it was just technical stuff that was technical for the sake of it. Pretty forgettable, personally. 2.5
Feel Feelings

from Minushuman
VERDICT: Of all things that could be said, I have to admit that this was, quite plainly, completely unexciting. I understand that the trademark despondency of post-punk was desired, but very often I find that such an atmosphere lends itself to bland, forgettable songwriting. Such is the issue encountered by Soko's effort here, wherein each song has nothing intriguing about it despite the aforementioned aesthetic. Some dire vocal choices are made while the instrumental compositions fail to offer anything of note. It is a dreary experience, and not in the positive sense; it's a slog through and through. The choruses and pop elements are similarly lackluster and would probably be better off cut from the disc. 1.5
15The Tissues
Blue Film

from Minushuman
VERDICT: Rollicking good time, this was. Instrumentals had plenty of kick to them and the vocalist had ample charisma to spread about. An upbeat jam to satisfy any post-punk needs. 3.5
16Couch Slut
Take A Chance On Rock 'n' Roll

from Snake
VERDICT: Some thick, fuzzy punk tunes. Not entirely consistent through and through, but it's a banger when it hits right. 3.5

from Snake
VERDICT: When this is good, it is very good. The post-punk applied here has a suitable punch to it that makes for strong, addicting numbers. Combined with a vocal performance perfectly adapted to the bleak atmosphere and moments of restrained, mysterious moments--there's a certain aura to this record that's rather captivating--the album becomes a force to be reckoned with. Quite a few songs are dragged down by relying on that limited approach for their entire duration, leading to certain portions of the disc serving no purpose and having no appeal to them. It damages but doesn't sink the boat; Bambara still show a fair amount of skill on this release. 3.5
18The Beths
Jump Rope Gazers

from Snake
VERDICT: Good stuff! Yeah... that's it for that. I liked it, tapped my foot to it, but probably won't return to it. Good enough as it is. 3.5
19Primitive Man

from Relinquished
VERDICT: As heavy as this can sound, it tends to follow a very set, predictable pattern that makes said heaviness feel rather cheap. Only at chance moments does Primitive Man really differentiate their songwriting, leading to a record that is very linear and predictable from start to finish. Good enough for anyone wanting a slice of unassuming, straightforward, bleak doom riffs. Those searching for a little extra won't find it here. 3.0
To the Death

from Relinquished
VERDICT: Tasty lo-fi riffage. This can get somewhat muddled or drag at times, but plenty of memorable moments can be found to compensate. It's good at what it strives for--an old-school atmosphere complete with the same general aesthetic. 3.5
21Earth Boys
Earth Tones

from Relinquished
VERDICT: Didn't really get much from this as it went on. It just all sounded the same to me, really, and what it sounded like wasn't particularly my kind of thing to begin with. 2.5
22Spiritczualic Enhancement Center
Transporting Salt

from someone
VERDICT: I don't really know how to describe what I heard. It wasn't what I expected given the tags, and whatever it was was unfortunately tedious to an excruciating degree. Didn't know if I'd make it through a full listen or not. This was just bad, bad. 1.0
23Einsturzende Neubauten
Alles in Allem

from someone
VERDICT: The mood that this aims to create is compelling, but it gets lost along the way. I just don't receive any sort of engagement out of the middle and end of the record; everything blends together so easily with the instrumental and vocal motifs so incredibly similar to each other, making it difficult to tell where on tune stops and the next one starts. It has an interesting premise that seems to be fully explored within the first few minutes. 2.5
24Aaron Space & His Terrestrial Underlings

from someone
VERDICT: Same as the reasons for Alles in Allem; there's just nothing keeping this album afloat once it starts moving forward. 2.5

from SlothcoreSam
VERDICT: This was some fun, easy-to-get-into hardcore/hard rock music. It's not trying to do anything groundbreaking in any manner; the whole point is to just headbang and have some fun. In that regard, it gets the job done easily--these are pretty simple, moshy-worthy tunes--but it doesn't aspire for anything more. The second half seems to lose quite a bit of steam, which only exacerbates the issue of there not really being too many standout moments. Solid, but that's about it. 3.0
26Alas (Finland)
Alas EP

from Sloth
VERDICT: Much like the ils album, there's not anything here that aspires to be different; the influences at play are very clear. This sound has been done before and done better many a time. As decent as the track selection here is, it's difficult to feel any inclination to revisit any of these songs. 2.5
27Classics of Love
World of Burning Hate

from Sloth
VERDICT: Some nice, quick punk tunes. Nothing special, but with a fittingly raw production that compliments the rapid, aggressive nature of each track. Some solid cuts here! Not much else to say outside of that. 3.0

from Uzu
VERDICT: Not often does one come across an instrumental metal album sporting an electronic/industrial aesthetic. It lends itself to some sprawling tracks that demonstrate creativity and some commendable progression--"Nocturne" the chief example--but it also has plenty of moments that don't go quite as intended. Combined with a sketchy production job, multiple songs sound unintentionally sloppy and muddled at times. A fair amount of chugging over riffing also acts to drag this down below where it could be. 3.0
29王嘯 Wang Xiao
黑馬河的兒子 The Son of Black Horse River

from Uzu
VERDICT: I can't deny that this drags on quite a bit at times, with songs perhaps lasting longer than what should be their expiration date. The singing choices made on this album, though not too unnerving or distracting, are occasionally poor. All that being said, there is a certain atmosphere to this record that makes it interesting. Hard to place exactly how it's made, but it works, and I'm here for it. 3.5

from Uzu
VERDICT: It's always great to receive a good slice of blackened hardcore. What the newly-formed Caped lack in originality, they make up for in crafting very strong numbers that don't waste time in creating a harrowing atmosphere. Certain tracks--"Levis Hamilton" the clear standout--demonstrate a robust songwriting base and general knack for engaging compositions. It's a very brief EP, though it can be said there's promise here for growth. 3.5
Mudai (7)

from Johnny
32Triangulo de Amor Bizarro

from Johnny
VERDICT: Repetition occurs often here in a manner not unlike Buckethead's album on this list. Where Triangulo succeed is inside the unpredictability of the ideas they present, combined with their typically chaotic and noisy nature. Despite sporting pop-esque elements, the group adds static-laden guitar lines and odd vocals to the mix, creating a album that's not quite what you'd expect. It's a decently entertaining romp. 3.5

from Johnny
34Headie One

from Sint
VERDICT: Pretty smooth stuff. Nothing too strong, but nothing too bad. It was just pretty alright. 3.0
A New Dawn

from Sint
VERDICT: Eh. This really just isn't my kind of thing. It's the same sort of issues I encounter with these albums frequently where I really can't distinguish tracks, and the tracks themselves really aren't offering much to begin with. 2.0
36Armand Hammer

from Sint
VERDICT: Good lyrics can't cover up the fact that the mixed delivery and nearly non-existent beats equate to a tedious album. For the most part, it's the lack of instrumentals and their scaled-back presence that really makes this feel so nebulous over time. If I tried again it would probably continue to drop rating; there's just not a good bite to this. 2.5
37Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty

from dedex
VERDICT: Similar to the Let Spin record I heard, this was entertaining for what it was, though I cannot deny that it doesn't possess an extra element or progression to make it totally worthwhile. The second half blues also hit this pretty hard. Tracks such as "Woah" are excellent; the rest of the album fails to compare. 3.0

from dedex
39Paysage d'Hiver
Im Wald

from dedex
VERDICT: Production is only one grievance to have with this album. Sure, lo-fi and raw is expected from black metal, but it crosses a line when it has sound quality akin to a toaster being played through a fan. There's not really an atmosphere to detect; it's such an excessively muddled affair that the wintry aesthetic sounds more like the buzz of a broken radio. Beyond those points, there's the fact that the songs themselves have little to offer. Paysage tends to hold onto one single idea per track and sticks to it until it is thoroughly drained of whatever attractive or alluring characteristics it may have had. Stretch all of this over a 2-hour runtime, and you're in for a bad time. That's not to say the length is the problem or length in of itself is ill-advised. Rather, for the case of this record, length exacerbates what already would have been poor on a shorter release. A grande experience is always a treat--this ain't it. 2.0
40Defeated Sanity
The Sanguinary Impetus

from Jester
VERDICT: I like it, it's great. Probably will not listen to it again, but it was great! 3.5
Mass Cathexis

from Jester
42Imperial Triumphant

from Jester
VERDICT: I really think this album truly has its highlights in the closing two numbers, with the title track being my top choice as the best cut off the record. Each song, however, presents a very compelling, well-crafted dissonance that is consistently engaging. The rhythmic motions and jazz elements make for an experience that is unpredictable yet cohesive all the same, giving a sense of precision rather than reckless abandon. It is perhaps 'ugly' in the same sense as Mamaleek's disc from this year--a comparison I saw--but whereas that felt unattractive to the point of nearly becoming unbearable, this was handled artfully. The fact that some passages tend to be dragged out prevents this from achieving higher marks, especially when stacked against the second half's commendable aggression. That doesn't take away too too much in the grand scheme of things, and this remains a very compelling listen. 4.0
Hypnagogic Hallucinations

from hansoloshotfirst
VERDICT: Album sounds great when it's moving forward, but often times it becomes its own worst enemy, dragging its momentum down with quiet moments and slow build-ups. It becomes rather predictable and unfortunately detracts from the good parts that do pop up. 3.0
Scion of Aether

from hansolo
VERDICT: An album worthy enough to jam, but I don't know about going back to it. Composed relatively well and is a decent trip to make, yet I don't feel much of a return value from it. Just a good enough album. 3.0
45Maggot Heart
Mercy Machine

from hansolo
VERDICT: Not what I expected to hear, but definitely a fun album to get down to. What's presented here is a series of foot-tapping, crunchy rock numbers that are easy to get into. The vocal performance leaves a bit to be desired, but it doesn't stand out much in the instrumental aesthetic. Some strong, carefree numbers that demand some dancin'. 3.5
46Agnes Obel

from Trif
VERDICT: The delicate, melancholic atmosphere is greatly appreciated, crafting an experience that is artfully composed and soothing, even in its despairing moments. Musically speaking, I didn't find the arrangements individually to hold up much outside of their connection to the ambiance; the songs lead into each other easily to make that sonic landscape all the more potent. It's hard to distinguish any track from the next, and they all tend to feature the same bare-bones approach that makes for occasionally tedious stretches. It's a good package as a background album, but I didn't feel like it held up much to scrutiny, and it seemed to drift in one ear and out the other for the most part. 3.0
47Let Spin
Steal The Light

from nightbringer
VERDICT: Great stuff! Was a fun, foot-tapping journey through some catchy jazz noodling. Wish I could offer more to say but that was my main takeaway: an enjoyable romp that doesn't really break the mold and doesn't care to. Just some cool tunes here. 3.5
Healing Inside Outside Every Side

from relik
VERDICT: Pleasant can only get you far. The majority of the tracks here are rather pretty and sport an enjoyable tranquil aesthetic. However, Buckethead drives these motifs into the ground, each song repeating its central passage until any and all novelty is completed ripped to shreds. It sounds good, sure, but play the good-sounding thing over and over and it quickly becomes exhausting to listen to--even at a 30 minute runtime. 2.5
49Jacob Collier
Djesse Vol. 3

from Egarran
50Macho Man Randy Savage
Be A Man

placeholder for ML Buch - Skinned (couldn't find here)
51In Flames
Clayman (20th Anniversary Edition)

from a dick/Kusangii
NEW VERDICT: I still find it hilarious that Anders managed to sound not-horrible occasionally, but the band took those occasions to shit the bed. Definite proof Anders has sucked the soul of the other members and they are being held hostage. Please folks, like and share this post; In Flames needs your support. With one simple donation, you can help contribute to the freedom of mistreated Scandinavians. Act now. 1.0
Four Dimensional Flesh

from DDD
NEW VERDICT: When this first came out, I wasn't very impressed at all. Sure, it was decently heavy and had some serviceable grooves here and there, but the songs seemed far too similar to each other and lacked the technicality I expected; much of the record became one big, indistinguishable pile of brutal death. Listening to it again managed to magnify these flaws--not much really seems to happen to differentiate proceedings--making the experience feel even cheaper than before. When it comes to this style of music, having a muted bass cripples many passages, while the relatively linear guitar playing severely decreases any level of intrigue to be found. This is able to click on occasion provided no misguided breakdown pops up. For a BDM album, I think I'd rather take an alternative. 2.5
53Protest the Hero

from Tundra
VERDICT: The technicality of prior releases and tamed here to produce a more subtle record. Given the strength of the group's songwriting, the change is not quite as big of a disappointing as could be interpreted; there are plenty of enjoyable songs with addicting refrains. Despite going through intense surgery, Rody sounds as clear and resonant as ever, confidently belting out whatever note he picks out of his impressive range. While not as good as their career peaks, it's far from a disappointment, and it provides a collection of consistent, catchy tunes. Very easy to get into and still full of commendable musicianship from beginning to end. 4.0
When the Light Dies

from Tundra
VERDICT: I blinked and this was over. Did any music get played at all? I swear this was the most nebulous thing I've heard this year. Each track sounded exactly the same as the one before it--aimless, ambient wandering. Nine minutes have never been this boring before. 1.5

from Tundra
VERDICT: It's a djent/deathcore album, so what ensues is very expected: little to no variation, a severe lack of engaging riffs--chugs galore--breakdown abuse, chug abuse, and look! The album has already come and gone. Not the worst of the bunch, yet its completely average quality makes it a slog to get through, with the only slightly compelling aspect being the female lead vocalist. Apparently this record is longer if you decide to jam the instrumental tracks? I guess if you like the sound of paint drying... 2.0
Excerpts From a Dread Liturgy

from Sniff
VERDICT: It's one of those black metal albums that does black metal well, but that's about all that can be said for it. Good enough to enjoy easily, yet it's a level below being return-worthy. I liked what I heard but don't foresee going back. 3.5 (but on a low-ish end I guess?)
57Faceless Burial

from Sniff
VERDICT: Another great offering of the old-school death metal sound, though it's got few extra bells and whistles to perceive. It's straightforward, in-your-face, riffs-aplenty death metal, with plenty of heavy, groove-laden passages to enjoy. Without any kind of special X-Factor, all this really can be is a set quality--fun for what it is, but not trying to be much else. 3.5
58Narrow Head
12th House Rock

from coldheaven
VERDICT: A cool vibe, but nothing to help make it different from the crowd. The songs themselves are at many times difficult to separate from one another. This very much hinges upon how engrossing the atmosphere can be, and for me, it just isn't captivating enough. The dry vocals, while fitting, don't help to add much at all; not like the instruments are much better. 3.0
59Touche Amore

from coldheaven [release pending]

from coldheaven [release pending]

from garas
62Warp Chamber
Implements of Excruciation

from botb
VERDICT: Solid riffs here paired alongside some sick grooves. Wish there were more moments to really gravitate towards, as they was a bit too mushy for my tastes--things kinda blend into each other in the heavy, crushing production. Still worth a jam and a fun time for 30 minutes. 3.5
63Living Gate

from botb
VERDICT: Delightfully dirty, but with some great riffs to cling to and memorable passages. Bass is a bit too quiet, which I only bring up since when it does pop out, it adds a nice new layer of intrigue. This just kinda scratched the right itch for me at the time. Banger. 4.0
Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress

from botb
NEW VERDICT: Perhaps I ought to give these gents more credit for just how energetic they are. While the last two tracks really do nothing for me, the bulk of this album is a powerful beast to reckon with. Worth more than I initially thought, but I don't think I'm on the hype train still. A fun, brief trip all the same. 3.5
65Hedvig Mollestad Trio
A Stone's Throw

from Deez
66Spirit Possession
Spirit Possession

from Deez
VERDICT: This has got the good riffs for sure. Right from the start, the album kicks off and marches forward without stopping for a moment. A good thrill, this was. 4.0
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