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Best User Reviews: November 2023
One More Time

"As I near 30, One More Time feels like the elegiac closing of a chapter in my life. Perhaps it’s the closure that I specifically needed in my life right now. I can admit that. With this album, I feel like I get to go back, if only for a brief moment, to the time when my entire life lay ahead of me. To the time when my worries were few and romance was high. One more time." --AugustAir

"I don’t have a problem with Taylor Skye’s production style per se, just with his artistic vision for this project. And while I'm mentioning artistic vision for the project, what is up with the horrible band name and album art? I really think Georgia Ellery still has the potential to bless us with a superb pop album, but after listening to I
3Reverence To Paroxysm
Lux Morte

"As well as impending death, there is a sense of methodical calculation frequently felt throughout Lux Morte which is crystallised by the intermittently reappearing sample of a deep and barely intelligible voice. This voice is that of HAL 9000, the artificial superintelligence from 2001: A Space Odyssey, quoted as it pleads/rambles nonsense while succumbing to deletion and non-existence. This is a subtle but successful subversion of the traditionally classic horror-concerned tropes of death doom into a more topical contemplation of the horrifying implications of the relationship between humanity and AI. The thought - that no matter the advancements made in the power of such technological brains, these entities are condemned to the same fate of and death and doom as us mortals and will ultimately join us in the dust and darkness - is heavy, and so is Lux Morte." --ffs
4Dying Wish
Symptoms of Survival

"To say the least, Dying Wish has a vision of passion and anger and love that is already realized so damn well, in its piercing, melodic, and unabashedly chuggy glory. It’s a lazy and almost meaningless statement to eschew that a band “has heart”, but in the case of this record, it is on those glorious wings it rides. So embrace it or reject it-those staccato chugs on “Hell’s Final Blessing”, the abso-***ing-lutely ethereal marriage of sweet/smooth guitar scalings and soft-backing cleans on “Torn From Your Silhoutte”, the unstoppable catharsis of “Lost in the Fall”-if you choose the former, kick it back with me and join in the relentless windmill/headbang assault I am committing to as I write this. May my laptop fear for its safety." --Dedes
Rhythm is Memory

"Most probably due in no small part to her wealth of experience as a working DJ, Ayesha displays a comprehensive understanding of how to pack a dance floor, and an unabashed love for the cultural context in which she exists. It’s a shame, then, that there seems to be such an irreconcilable tension between Rhythm is Memory’s target audience and release format (one wonders whether the material wouldn’t have been better served as an EP or DJ Mix). Though it’s easy to imagine many of the tracks featured here sounding absolutely blissful with a gin-soaked collar pressed against a festival PA system, Ayesha’s single-minded production philosophy and lack of dynamics mean that as an album, Rhythm is Memory unfortunately wears out it’s welcome before it’s run time." --Butkuiss
6Green Lung
This Heathen Land

"Overall, Green Lung puts in another satisfying leap forward with This Heathen Land. The band’s overall aesthetic hasn’t changed too much, but it’s been great to see how their influences are directed to give each of their releases a distinct flavor. I’m certainly not one to argue with the catchy songwriting and the broader flavors give this one even more dimension. As much as I still wouldn’t expect them to reach Ghost levels of fame, they’re a damn fun group to root for." --PsychicChris
7Bonnie Montgomery

"Though the album plays with a fair bit of structure and consistency, it's not devoid of variety. Penultimate hit "I'll Know" can be defined in equal measure by its vibrant imagery (another of the album's calling cards), but also its bouncy keys, which are germane to that track. Album closer "This Town" is marked by poignant lyrics that stack up to a Taylor Swift verse; "I heard you cry, but I did not see your face," Montgomery proclaims. As it progresses, a statement of optimism is mostly at the fore ("Everything's gonna be alright)", and the plainness is honestly part of its charm. River is a very interesting and tenderly crafted production. I'm eager to see if Bonnie Montgomery will gain any traction in the genre's mainstream; Lord knows we could use more Arkansas apples and less jelly rolls." --Shamus248
The Maybe Man

"But the biggest lyrical flops, and the worst songs on the album, are Steve's Going To London and 2085. The former is this album's Beats, a self-defeating slice of total filler that scoffs at the idea of improving one's craft if it's all been done before. It crosses a line that I Won't toed and feels cynical in a way that is hollow rather than enlightening. But if you really want to talk about doubling down on dumbing yourself down, 2085 is literally the brothers singing about looking to when they're octogenarians...and they're still going to have trouble adulting. First of all, dudes, at some point, you just gotta bite the bullet and get a life coach. More's more or less AJR admitting they're going to keep making the same songs, and the same mistakes, over and over." --Lowlander2
9Psychedelic Porn Crumpets

"Fronzoli will not surprise anyone who has listened to a single Psychedelic Porn Crumpet album before, nor will it convince someone to finally get into them. While it may be the band's strongest release since the High Visceral it is still very much in their comfort zone. Like the last three albums, it kind of just blends into their discography with a few, albeit great, songs that stand out within the tracklist." --Zac124
10Outlaw (GER)
Reaching Beyond Assiah

"There is unfortunately something that holds this outing back from being excellent, at least on the first listen. I'm not sure if it's fatigue (because this particular sound is the opposite of fatigue-inducing), but it does seem like the latter half of the album does fall off a litle bit in terms of idea density, compared to the denser packed first half. This unfortunately has to affect the overall rating, but don't let it deter you from giving this a spin, since even just the bombast of the first four tracks makes it absolutely worth it. Here's hoping htis album goes on to become a foundational effort for something bigger - maybe a fad or a trend, or at the very least something more from this band." --XfingTheSullen
11Destination: Void
The Bludgeoning Dawn

"In conclusion, DV are good at what they do considering their level of musicianship and their compositional writing – and because of this I must give credit where it is due – but they are not astounding. It feels like they had a task sheet of all of the things that they were supposed to do in a progressive death/groove metal album and they checked all of the boxes skillfully. However, taking this illustration into account, it does feel like the band did certain things just to be meta, and they did so much of what we’re used to hearing that The Bludgeoning Dawn ends up feeling exceptionally cliche. This is one case where thinking outside the box will help tremendously." --WattPheasant
12MouthBreather (USA-MA)

"The familiarity of previous MB tricks and riffs might also be a detractor to some songs' autonomy whether intentional or not. The structure of closing anthem “Solemate” is highly reminiscent of a song from the band’s first EP “Tourniquet” while the anatomy of “Shotgun Funeral”s groove and the “Idoctor” riff are too close for comfort. Even yet it is hard to think of these as blemishes and flaws due to Mouthbreather’s use of motifs instrumentally and vocally. " --PitchShifterSlut
The Fear of Fear

"It’s not entirely perfect, “Too Close / Too Late” does feel like a small stumbling block when placed between behemoths like “Jaded” and “Angel Eyes”, and your mileage will vary heavily on whether or not “The Void” is a good melodic Spiritbox track, but this EP is a strong statement from an already pretty strong band nonetheless. The sky’s the limit at this point, and if Spiritbox can take this EP’s success and find a way to translate it to LP 2, I can only see them going up." --AnimalForce1

"Just when I think the album has finally reached a lull, it keeps me engaged. Even typing this review, I’ve stopped typing mid-sentence just to admire a song like “Island Life.” I’ve been a detractor of “mood albums” for a while, but Hadsel is a mood album done oh-so-right. Condon’s vocals act as merely another melodic instrument on this album, so trying to pick apart the lyrics would be pointless. I know it’s reductive to say “just ignore the lyrics and vibe,” but I can’t give you a better piece of advice. Detach yourself from the current year and the cynicism you rightfully feel. Close your eyes and close off all other unnecessary senses. Let this album speak to you in quiet whispers and cold tears. Like it did for me." --SandwichBubble
15The Gaslight Anthem
History Books

"Despite some key missteps, History Books does offer some highlights to return to on repeated spins. Thankfully, lead single “Positive Charge” brings the energy that the title track lacked and is the closest The Gaslight Anthem comes to sounding like their former selves. This single reads like a love-letter Fallon penned directly to the band. It comes across like he genuinely missed playing with these guys after all these years. The collective performances from the band are more engaged and airtight. “Michigan, 1975” feels like it could have slotted neatly into Fallon’s last solo record, Local Honey, with its sparser instrumentation and morose themes. “Little Fires” features a jolting opening guitar and the most enthusiastic vocals from Fallon on the entire album that recall moments from American Slang." --CrisStyles
16Water From Your Eyes
Everyone's Crushed

"Nate Amos provides most of the instrumentation. Rough guitar clips, meaty bass parts, jittery drums, and plenty of distortion, are all organized into loops. String samples, vocal filters, and cowbells are drizzled into the beats to keep things colorful. Aesthetically, it aligns itself as industrial-tinged post-punk with tiny glimpses of somber pop. So many songs here sound amazing for their first 30 seconds. Unfortunately, after that, the grooves don’t lead anywhere and abruptly end before an expected big climax. Sure, some small progressions are thrown in, but there are few bridges, no significant key changes, and no surprises in the second half of these songs. “True Life” stands out positively again as a song packed with changes and has the closest to a proper ending." --ArsMoriendi
17Putrescent Seepage
Dead And Demented

"Dead and Demented is, simply put, an absolute cluster*** of an album and I mean that in the best possible way. This thing is just unreleting and uber aggressive from the very second you hit play. You can expect to be bludgeoned within an inch of your pathetic life by monstrous, technical and dense riffs accompanied by some of the most insanely blazing blasts you'll ever wish to hear. I don't know what they're putting in the water in Australia but this album is like taking a bat swung by Vladimir Guerrero straight to the dome. There are no moments of relaxtion here. Nothing but pure brutality at breakneck speed for the entier duration of the album. The vox are EXTREMELY guttural a la Demilich burping and I love every second of it. It sounds like this guy is legit puking into your eardrums." --Hawks
Obsidian Refractions

"Apart from that, there’s spot-on bangers like “Abhorrence Evangelium” and “Scorn Manifestation”, as well as an almost purely middle-paced piece “Interminable Rebirth In Abomination”, which touches slightly on more epicness than normal for this band. Admirers of the darker, cavernous side of death metal, most likely already know Cruciamentum and have been patiently waiting for their new album. I would suggest you take a longer term view on judging it, as the more space it gets, Obsidian Refractions gets more and more convincing, more and more gratifying. It’s also conceptually adjacent to Charnel Passages, and continues its story lyrically, as well as musically. Another peak moment in an already unbelievably great year for death metal." --NightOnDrunkMountain
19Kara Jackson
Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?

"This album does a lot with very little at any given moment, plays to Kara’s strengths as a songwriter, and as a result is distinctive among this year’s crop of indie folk. If not paying attention, these songs can pass one by. They are often slow and softly played. But the melodies are memorable, and the arrangements, while gorgeous, don’t steal the show from the thoughtful lyrics. And ultimately, she shows her confidence in her voice and artistic vision instead of opting to grab one’s attention with big moments in order to make a name for herself. Kara has done something great here, and there is no question that she will continue to do great things in the future." --Squiggly
20Full of Hell and Nothing
When No Birds Sang

'When No Birds Sang, a metaphor for death itself and the silence that comes with it perhaps. The end of everything, brought to the world by two entities that somehow made it through the void together. Vastly different yet the same, ultimately what we humans are at our very core. No matter who you are, where you are, what you do, the end will find you one day. With this being known, be sure to hold your lover closer, tell your family how much they matter, be the best person you can possibly be before that day arrives. For now, we are still breathing. We can still marvel in the beauty of life and music especially. So let us rejoice, and lend Full of Hell and Nothing our ears. The birds may have stopped singing, but the human spirit carries on. If not in body, our memories will live forever." --JayEnder
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