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05.22.22 10 years of fading in and out like a kn 10.08.21 Remember when Sput had integrat
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10.06.19 Arche's great 2019 bm catch up 09.12.19 2019 ambient for comfy sleeps and peace
12.23.18 Arche's 2018 12.23.17 Arche's 50 from '17
10.29.17 Diddle Arche 6: math10.21.17 Diddle Arche 5: rec anything 2 (electri
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07.03.17 Arche's best bits - Jan to Jun05.01.17 Arche's April
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Arche's 50 from '17

Hope you've all had a great 2017, and here's to a great 2018!
Kelle Surut Soi

A gorgeous lump of consistent, superbly constructed pagan-black metal, Kelle Surut Soi has probably provided one of the most fun experiences I've had with BM... ever, really. And it's got the most metal usage of sleigh bells I've ever heard. Cracking stuff.

Best tracks: Vainajain Valot // Myrskynkantaja // Kelle Surut Soi
2The Smith Street Band
More Scared of You Than You Are of Me

With only the odd lyrical mishap (the mid-section of Song For You...), More Scared of You... has arguably become my favourite Smithies cut. A sparkling mix of pissy rock numbers (Suffer, 25, Death to the Lads) and more moving fare (Run Into The World, Laughing [Or Pretending to Laugh]), I think the balance here is pretty spot on.

Best tracks: Run Into The World // Shine // Suffer
Mass VI

Dunno if 'enjoyable' is quite the right word to describe Mass VI, but 'intense' more than suffices. Could possibly do without the Belgian poetry, but they're small enough in the grand scheme of things that they're not so much of a problem. Overall, a desperate, crushing take on post-metal - what Amenra do best.

Best tracks: Diaken // Children of the Eye // Plus Près De Toi
Dark Towers, Bright Lights

Unsurprisingly coming out of Omega Massif's ashes, Cranial is some really rather splendid sludge/post-metal. Focusing more on dropkicking the listener than dealing with pretty foibles, there's nevertheless some wonderful trackwriting here and - gasp - vocals.

Best tracks: Towers // Bright // Lights
5World Narcosis

A real left-fielder for me this year, 'Lyruljóra' is a wonderful piece of Icelandic grind/black metal/punk/stuff. Surprisingly catchy (or at least, as catchy as something of this ilk can be), 'open' and with a wonderful drum performance, World Narcosis are something a little different from the blackened depths of Iceland.

Best tracks: Depra // Óður Óður // Bráð Bráð
Human Instrumentality

I've got no idea what happens in Neon Genesis Evangelion so I couldn't possibly talk about the content, but good GOD this thing rips. Noisy grind/pv/black stuff with little in the way of subtlety, but... eh. There's a bit at the end of Sonozaki which sounds like machine gun fire.

Best tracks: Sonozaki // The Manifestation of Phantasmagoria // Tar Mouth

Tchornobog's premise may be a little eyebrow-arching, but it's a bloody good time. While largely consisting of cloudy death metal and a little bit of BM, there's enough jazz and (I think?) Middle Eastern influence here that, in all, it's a great listen.

Best tracks: II: Hallucinatory Black Breath of Possession (Mountain-Eye Amalgamation) // III: Non-Existence's Warmth (Infinite Natality Psychosis) // IIII: Here, At The Disposition of Time (Inverting A Solar Giant)
8Hell (USA)

There's a very real bluesy/classic rock lilt to Hell's s/t, but hidden under a mire of fuzz and ugly shrieks/howls. That album art really seems kinda indicative.

Best tracks: SubOdin // Machitikos // Victus

Heavily taking a leaf out of Have A Nice Life's book, Alter get away with it by being pretty excellent at doing so. The drum performance on The Storm is grand.

Best tracks: Momentary Life // Pendulum // The Storm
10I Hate Models
Totsuka no Tsurugi

A striking balancing act between the miserable/waylaid and the carefree, Totsuka no Tsurugi is probably my favourite cut from one of my favourite techno producers at the moment.

Best tracks: Eternal Loneliness // Heartbreaker // Demons from the Past
11Adrift for Days
A Sleepless Grey

'Psychedelic doom', as the band put it. Probably a little less psych than their previous works, but compensated with additional sadness. A really lovely listen.
12Angles 9
Disappeared Behind the Sun

Experimental big-band stuff. Just missed out on Top 10 - energetic and pretty damn exciting.
13Artificial Brain
Infrared Horizon

Marston-produced technical(?) death metal. Worn off a little since its release, but still a blast to listen to.
14Blood Freak
Total Destruction of the Human Form

Absolutely potty deathgrind.
15Boring Bathtimes

One-track ambient folk project that is really lovely to sit back and listen to on a grey afternoon.
A Tale Of Wildfire

Nepalese/American grindcore with superb drums.
17Corrupt Moral Altar

Crust punk with a lovely early-90s guitar tone and beautiful snare sound.
18Der Weg Einer Freiheit

Superbly composed, melancholic black metal.

Really cool German hardcore/crust album.
Společnost psů

Pretty interesting Czech screamo that, by and large, stays away from the twinkles.

Unashamedly no-bullshit Norwegian black metal. Riffs, blasts, gnarled vocals, and that's about it.
22I Hate Models
Absolution XXL

My love affair with I Hate Models: Part 2
23I Hate Models
State of Control

My love affair with I Hate Models: Part 3.

Super-pissed and almost unfairly catchy punk that is very, very British. 1049 Gotho is probably a top 10 track of the year for me.
The Barn

(Not to be confused with IDLES) A venture into noise rock for the hardcore punk/grind folks. Takes a bit of time to gel, but it's worth it.

Structuring issues aside, an absolutely gorgeous K-Pop/soul amalgam. 'Dlwlrma' is a special opener.

Instantly fell in-love with this, and then kinda dropped off - and now I'm in love again. Kauan's have finally bid adieu to their metal past it seems, but Kaiho is a beautiful post-rock trip.
Larga Sombra

Spanish crust is always good, and this might top the lot. Awesome vocals.
29LLNN / Wovoka
Marks / Traces

A fantastic split between hardcore sludge Danes LLNN and the more conventionally sludge-based Wovoka. Actually fits together, which is awesome for a split.

Gorgeous funeral doom release, with some amazing melodies.
Manifesto della chimica romantica

Probably the most chilled post-rock album I've heard. More vocally driven than most in the genre... just a lovely, lovely time.
32Natalia Lafourcade

Mexican folk with gorgeous vocals? That'll do!
33Nokturnal Mortum

Very good folk metal from a band I'm still discovering in full.

Desperate emoviolence/screamo stuff. Vocals are awesome, but the guitars are what make this for me - every progression is bleak as hell.
35Porter Ricks
Anguilla Electrica

Another one that just missed the top 10 - interesting IDM/techno release that seems to decompose as it goes on.
L'Amour Au Temps De La Peste

Awesome black/crust album with harrowing vocals.
37Ryuichi Sakamoto

Every time I listen to this, I'm like 'why don't I listen to this more often?' Neat ambient/electronic stuff that sits very nicely in the skull.
Shimokitazawa One Night Stand

Sterling acid-house(?) EP
Dahinter das Gesicht

Industrial techno with just the right level of gutpunch in the kick drum.
40Scuba Death
The Worm at the Core

Minimal techno that plays with intensity in interesting ways.

Piiiiiiiisssed blackpunk from Finland. These guys have never not been a good time.
42The Great Old Ones
EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

Took me FOREVER to check this, but I'm glad I did. Dense, exploring black metal from the French, that continues their 'do no wrong' status.
43The Hyacinth Act
The Warm Embrace of the Bitter Cold

Interesting electronic/techno release that flits between whimsy and sternness almost at will. Very danceable.
44The War on Drugs
A Deeper Understanding

A slight disappointment, I wonder sometimes whether I've not 'got' this as much as I expected something from it - 'Lost in the Dream' I went in blind, and it slowly welded to my brain. Regardless, 'Thinking of a Place' is track of the year, if not the decade.
45Tomb Mold
Primordial Malignity

Grimy, mucky OSDM that eats, shoots and leaves. I love it.

Super janky math-rock/pop from the Kyoto trio. A lot of fun.
Dede Kondre

Maybe the best black metal atmosphere of the year, even if Havukruunu stomps it for out-and-out enjoyability. Dede Kondre feels like a fog demon, shrieks dissolving into indistinguishable ambience. Not very fun, but a great listen.

In my defending of this as 'not a Peste Noire clone', my oversight is that it is, indeed, quite a bit like Peste Noire. The shrieks on this thing though.
Servants of the Countercosmos

An unrelenting barrage of blackened riffs.

Brutal prog that is excellent time and time again.
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