Opened this year with tripping down the stairs and breaking my toe. Ended it 25 pounds lighter and almost (finally) done with school. Not bad.
|10||Dance Gavin Dance|
This record is a mess. The first half is the latest development of DGD’s familiar “swancore”: a potent cocktail of post-hardcore irreverence, cracked-out instrumentation, and infectious melody. But the second half is a squirming, spiky, and bloated grabbag of haphazard sections all glued together and shipped out before they had a chance to dry. Evaporate closes the uneven record out on a good note though, and remind listeners how incredible it is that a band puts out content this rapidly and still manages to surprise and amaze.
One MaybeSheWill record (hold the electronic influence).
Add strings/vocal samples of a woman talking about her experiences with loss.
Note: Tastes best on walks through the woods and during sunshowers.
|8||The Ever Living|
Taking a page out of Cult of Luna’s book, TEL's approach to the genre places heavy emphasis on keyboards and meticulously thought-out arrangements. The first few tracks of the album are its weakest, which may contribute to how relatively unnoticed the record is— even for this genre. That and the album art kinda looks like an ad for an edgy sports car or men’s fragrance. However, those who stay around a little longer are rewarded immensely with deeply layered instrumentation and restrained but impactful use of harsh vocals.
Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
So much writing has been done on this band, so I’ll keep this one short. Deafheaven untuck their shirts and write their most comfortable record yet, continuing to impress with every mutation of their sound.
Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
It’s unfair to expect The Ocean to top their last effort. Pelagial is easily one of the strongest executions concept album in the entire genre, so following that is no small feat. Still, Phaerozic’s first volume, although nowhere near as immediate, has its own moments of brilliance if you look long enough. I noticed it really blooms after repeated listens, so if you dismissed it earlier this year I’d say give it another shot -- it might surprise you.
It's Hard To Have Hope
One big ball of fun and fury. Svalbard are a surprisingly refreshing twist of black metal and metalcore that manages to grab some of the best elements of those genres and fuse them together. The consistency here is astounding, and the quality never drops from start to finish. Additionally, the political themes in the lyrics are powerful and add so much emotion and honesty to it.
Stars Wept to the Sea
This sounds like it was made by someone who had to score a indie RPG soundtrack and an atmospheric black metal album in the same weekend and kept getting the parts mixed up. I think that’s awesome.
Tesseract have always been one step away from greatness for me. Sometimes they nail the atmosphere but use it too sparingly to make an impact. Other times they rock your socks off with inventive and cerebral riffs in one section only to end up aping the same insepid dj0nt schleck that plagues the genre a few bars later. I was not impressed at all with the singles for this record, so when it finally dropped I went in not expecting much. However, something clicked and I just kept coming back for repeated listens. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this time it works (although Dan Tompkin’s vocal melodies are the most likely MVP here). The dual track in the middle drags and the album's short length is a letdown, but in my book Sonder has Tesseract at their most mature and developed.
From the Gallery of Sleep
Years ago during the Guitar Center Drumoff, one of the finalists had “Listen to Night Verses!” scribbled across their snarehead. Following this shameless self-promotion of his own band, I became familiar with Aric Improta as an incredible drummer in an okay band that didn’t really do much for me. Apparently all it took to change that was the departure of their vocalist, because this shit is straight fire. Rarely does instrumental metal hold your attention quite like this record does. The production is stunning, and even the trip-hop and ambient interludes are nothing to sneeze at either (all performed via sample pad alongside the regular drums to boot!).
Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It
What can I say but "Damn."? It’s only every once in a while that there’s a record that blends two seemingly disparate emotions this masterfully. TWDLWB effortlessly walks the precipice, desperately sprinting and clawing its way through winding passageways into cathartic canopies of bright guitar and synth leads. Just hear the brilliant transition from Aftermath to Rituals or the heart wrenching closer Contretemps and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Genius.