|emester's Super Gosh Darn Belated Q2 of 2016|
Better now than never
The Wound and the Bow
2.0 - "Experimental" guitarless Tech/Death that only builds on itself and never pays off. Musical blue balls.
The Painted Bird
2.0 - Zorn doing prog metal. Shockingly characterless for his works and quite janky and shabbily mixed in its own right as well
Shrines of the Void
2.5 - Black/Death that feels oddly sterile for a style so synonymous with filth and blasphemy. Exhibits a certain tonal disconnect that sadly turned out to be a significant issue.
|4||Zeal and Ardor|
Devil is Fine
2.5 - Something as absurd as fusing slave gospel with black metal is something to turn heads from a conceptual point alone, but the execution here is just terrible, specifically in the black metal heavy segments. Essentially half of the gimmick (slave hymns) is executed in as best of a way possible for the situation, while the other half fails to even accomplish anything past the drawing board.
Tired of Tomorrow
2.5 - Nothing's usage of an almost post metal esque sonic beatings alongside gazy soundscapes that gave the band a unique flavor and a platform for them to make a name for themselves with. Tired of Tomorrow utilizes none of the signature elements of Guilty of Everything and while sounding pleasing to the ear, is as forgettable as forgettable can be.
|6||Graves at Sea|
The Curse That Is
2.5 - Another toned down followup to the bands previous works know for its more intense stylings. While it is definitely a disappointment, Graves At Sea still made a passable work in a couple of respect by still retaining some of the staple elements of sludge metal.
You Will Never Be One of Us
3.0 - Powerviolence tinged grind with a muzzle on it. Surprisingly tame with prior context with the two aforementioned genres.
3.0 - Somewhat over-the-top Prog Metal that, while glimmers with brilliance at points, is plagued with inconsistencies across the board, primarily in the mix and engagement in the listening experience.
3.0 - Ethereal and atmospheric black metal. Lichtenberg Figures is probably the best thing the band has written so far, but somehow that track alone is the only one worth a damn of the four on the record.
3.0 - Post Punk that is essentially a heavily watered down version of material from The Pop Group. Can be enjoyed but it is sadly overshadowed by so many other records of the same vein that are out there, giving no true incentive or unique place in its niche.
3.0 - Notoriously vile Blackened Sludge group returns with a fresh lineup, with the ex-vocalist of Indian taking Fell’s place as the main change. Band definitely sounds different than before but shows great promise if some fine tuning is done in their future endeavors.
Three Devils Dance
3.5 - Cavernous blackened death metal record that greatly improves on the production woes that severely plagued their debut EP. Does what it sets out to achieve to a noticeable degree. While not perfect or even all that able to standout within a crowd of contemporaries, I feel this could end up being a crucial stepping stone towards Qrixuor reaching their true potential.
3.5 - Basically NWOBHM tinged black metal that hits at precision moments of absolute brilliance while mostly being standard fare. Essentially, take Arghoslent’s sound, make it noticeably less consistent and implement it with black metal.
A Moon Shaped Pool
3.5 - While A Moon Shaped Pool isn’t exactly a masterpiece in any way, shape or form, it did prove to us that Yorke and the rest of Radiohead still know, to some extent, what Radiohead is and what their wide array of fans are looking for. No, it isn’t a masterpiece like In Rainbows, but it definitely more than satisfies a sound people were clamoring for after The King of Limbs.
3.5 - Very perplexing and mind bending technical death metal with a certain sci-fi vibe surrounding, akin to Demilich and Zealotry (to a lesser extent). While the majority of the instrumentation consists of this web of chaotic and jagged songwriting, the percussion on the record is quite simple in comparison, making for an album comprised of opposites in order to craft a fresh record.
Perennial Void Traverse
3.5 - Despite exhibiting blaring similarities to other Norwegian Death Metal bands such as Obliteration and Execration, Reptilian makes a place for itself with a vicious Van-Druren esque vocal performance. But hey, its Norwegian ODSM and that in itself is pretty much impossible to screw up. Very solid record.
3.5 - A massive collection experimental electronic music that is essentially a journey of highs and lows. The sonic textures explored here simultaneously seem both mechanical yet somehow lively. While an entire listen in a single sitting is near impossible and a feat in human endurance, the highlights among this collection of 5 EP’s more than justify ones time.
The Death of All Things
4.0 - The presumed final record from this Stoner/Sludge group just so happened to be their best, with nearly all criticisms of the band’s previous two LP’s being address and improved on. Much better production than Blood Becomes Fire and noticeably more engaging than the S/T. While it is a shame to see these guys bury the hatchet, Beastwars did leave with possibly the best beardguy metal record of the year.
4.0 - Expecting a followup record to Virgins that would in fact top Hecker’s most lauded release was never once a thought in my mind when Love Streams was nearing its release, (or leak for that matter). By going into Hecker’s next ambient work with a head clear of expectations led to me taking the record as a tonally lush approach to Hecker’s signature electronic haze, which was a nice progression from the dark and somewhat terrifying Virgins. LS may not elicit as strong of a response from the listener but the consistency of intriguing moments on the record more than make up for that.
4.0 - I was a big fan of the direction that Ride, Hill and Flatliner went with on JD, so seeing it reprised and refined in BP was an absolute treat. Bottomless Pit seems to explore Death Grips at the most ferocious they’ve been yet but also somehow shows refrain from the primal insanity. The duality of these different sides was a perfect means of keeping me engaged through the entire listen, despite a couple of clunkers here and there.
4.0 - Progressive Thrash. Despite spanning well over an hour, Vektor’s latest album is still somehow meticulously crafted, with each moment in themselves exuding purpose and intoxicating songwriting. However, 70 or so minutes of this caliber of thrash is exhausting to listen to and the album’s highlights are so stellar that the dips in musical quality are noticeable, despite them never dropping into the realm of being a mistake.
4.0 - Monolithic black metal that diverts from the expected Icelandic hell cyclone approach to black metal and opts for a songwriting style focused on scale, detail and bleakness. Honestly it’s quite refreshing to see something a bit less twisted to come out of the booming black metal scene of Iceland, as it cements the notion of the nation being the next Norway in significance to the subgenre.
4.0 - Instrumental and Krautrock influenced metal that exhibits one of the most hypnotizing musical atmospheres I’ve heard in years. While Occult Rock absolutely floored me and continues to do so, Voix brings to the listener in to witness the true level instrumental finesse that each band member exhibits. Musical immersion can’t really get much better than this, especially in a record that was recorded in an single session.
Dying Beauty & the Silent Sky
4.5 - A phenomenal little Death/Doom EP that incorporates the fuzzy DIY production styling of early 90’s OSDM alongside Death/Doom accented by a certain Opeth-esque romanticism. Adds a much needed change up to the recent barrage of OSDM revival bands and has me beyond excited for the debut LP.
4.5 - While opinions may vary, I personally feel that Colored Sands was, while enjoyable occasionally, littered with so many nitpicks and caveats that the record itself collapse despite not being fundamentally bad. PD, while being a single track EP of 33 minutes, manages to right every wrong that Colored Sands suffered from. Be it the mix of record actually having power and presence now, the band’s atonality of their Obscura era material poking its head out occasionally or a now cohesive flow from track to track and meditative refrain, Pleiades’ Dust show that Luc and the rest of the current incarnation band have found a working formula and can still blow my god damn mind.
|26||The Poisoned Glass|
4.5 - A cornucopia of horror, noise and nihilism that very well has the possibility to scare a listener shitless. Every bit of noise, keys and snarling vocals exhibited on the album evoke images of a sonic torture, and for some sick reason, its impossible to look away and not be enthralled by it.
The Last Witness
4.5 - Zealotry’s monolithic and oppressive take on technical death metal was a strong point of my appreciation towards their debut, The Charnel Expanse. While the wait for The Last Witness ate away at me for just about over a year and a half since listening to the band for the first time, the delays and silence were somehow justified in the end, as The Last Witness is absolutely phenomenal, even in areas I didnt even consider thinking about beforehand. While the top tier songwriting is all there as expected, the mix on this thing is unreal. The sense of scale and impact of each instrument hit like freight trains with presence and clarity. In addition to that, the imaging of the mix is unlike anything I’ve ever heard on a Death Metal record, creating a truly mind bending experience.