FRESH MEAT FRIDAY: April 23rd, 2021, Feat. Frog Mallet, AntiMozdeBeast, Akiavel, and The Last Martyr
Every Friday, a wagon arrives at the Sleeping Village’s crumbling gates, stuffed to the brim with our sustenance for the following week. Today is the day we must offload all this week's new and noteworthy music, and so, in the process, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our choice picks from this veritable mass of fresh meat. This is what we’ll be--and have been--listening to this week at the Village HQ. We hope you join us in doing so!
All of today's releases are independently released, so show 'em some support!
On the docket for today, April 23rd, 2021:
Frog Mallet, AntiMozdeBeast, Akiavel, and The Last Martyr
FRESH MEAT...erm, SATURDAY: April 17th, 2021, Feat. Bushido Code and Mother Anxiety / S H R I E K I N G
Every Friday (erm...or Saturday, folks), a wagon arrives at the Sleeping Village’s rusted palisade, stuffed to the brim with musical sustenance. Today is the day we must offload this week's new and noteworthy music, and so, in the process, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of our choice picks from this veritable mass of fresh meat. This is what we’ll be listening to today at the Village HQ. We hope you join us in doing so!
This week marked the release of a whole lot o' stellar music, but we opted to focus on two albums rather than our typical four. As such, please accept these delayed-albeit-longer-than-usual reviews. - Ed.
On the docket for today, April 17th, 2021:
Bushido Code and Mother Anxiety / S H R I E K I N G
Bushido Code - The Ronin
Before we get too far into it: how 'bout that opening riff? Muscular, pugilistic, and delightfully earmwormy. Needless to say, The Ronin's title track is exactly what ye might expect from a band that bills itself as a hearty metal/thrash/hardcore crossover conglomerate. The tracks that hit do so with a notable gusto, and the energy contained within the first half of the album is quite infectious, coated with an unexpectedly fun and groovy patina. As such, Bushido Code operate best when they embrace the intrinsic physicality of their work.
While one might expect a typical bruiser-ish crossover lyrical route, "The Ronin" opts for character-driven storytelling over tough guy posturing, which is always a bonus in this line of work. Critically, the album does lose a little steam and sheer headbanging energy in the back half after interlude "Prelude to Battle," and makes me wonder if it would have landed even harder as an EP with all the fluff neatly trimmed away. But let's be real: for a 29 minute album, I ain't complaining all that much. Listening to this thing inevitably results in a whole lotta sweat and a very sore neck. It serves as prime "get pumped" music, and, as such, has found itself employed in mighty fine service down at the ol' home gym. If yer on the hunt for the juiciest cuts, give "Ronin," "Aftermath," and "Relic of War" a listen, and throw 'em on your workout playlist for good measure.
Find it on bandcamp here!
Mother Anxiety & S H R I E K I N G - Isolation Diary
Confession time: I went into this release with a certain trepidation, despite a favorable familiarity with both artists featured. The trepidation came from the subject matter itself, and the prospect of immersing myself fully. In a not-yet-post-COVID-world, the impact of isolation is a sore subject, and living through the eyes of not one but two distinct projects was intimidating. After many, many listens, it still is. I think that's a good thing.
Like unto the best of experimental music, this stellar split between solo acts Mother Anxiety and S H R I E K I N G is not immediately digestible. Given the complex arrangement of ambient, drone, post metal-- punctuated by the occasional blackened outburst or assorted spoken word samples--each of the nine tracks herein takes significant time to explore. As someone who thrives on releases that merit multiple listens in a variety of environments, I feel fully consumed by this split in a way that is equally satisfying and confusing.
The first half, home to Mother Anxiety, presents a largely half-conscious atmosphere and ambiance, featuring a quiet cacophony of hushed voices and assorted electronic noises. Listening to these four tracks feels intrusive in a wholly unique fashion: this is like listening to the inside of my own skull, witnessing undeveloped thoughts tumble and collapse. "Entry 4" is the culmination, and it illustrates the yoke of anxiety with frightening accuracy. These entries are not meditative; Mother Anxiety's half feels like a reflection of a consciousness under constant duress. In contrast, S H R I E K I N G's contribution feels more outward--its (frankly indescribable) confluence of genre allows for more sonic range. That said, it still feels intensely individual, which, given the overarching theme of loneliness, indicates a Job Well Done. While the first half feels inwardly panicked, S H R I E K I N G somehow uses chaos to impart a deep sense of heart wrenching sadness. This is genuinely tear-inducing stuff, and I don't have the words to articulate why. That's uncomfortable, but it is also a demonstration that this split has succeeded enormously at what it set out to do. Bravo.
Find Mother Anxiety here and S H R I E K I N G here
Written by: The Administrator
In my admittedly limited experience with the wide world of dungeon synth, there seems to generally exist a spectrum between light and dark, airy and foreboding. Y'know, sunny pastoral ambiance versus cobwebb'd gothic atmosphere. On Death Cannot Contain You, Lunar Cult perpetually toes the line between the two--and, all the while, a tangible sense of sadness permeates the whole.
This album marks an admitted change in sonic direction, a switch which is hardly unprecedented, given Lunar Cult’s documented tendency to draw inspiration from the ethos of NIN. Whereas previous works fit into the largely vacant category of chiptune-inspired-by-black-metal, Death Cannot Contain You leans entirely into synth-laden waters. While I enjoyed former efforts quite a bit, this feels the most cohesive, both in terms of narrative and aesthetic. Without further ado, then:
The 30th of October, 2020: Bring Me The Horizon releases the first EP, Survival Horror, in their POST HUMAN quadrology, a set of four projects intended to all be released by the band within the span of a year. A young reviewer sets out to write about this latest release by one of her favourite bands, and spends almost two weeks barely able to write a single coherent paragraph about it. This is the result.
Written by: Izzy
Writing this review has been probably the greatest struggle I’ve faced putting my thoughts out on any piece of music into words. Whenever I sat down at my desk and decided I wanted to express my love for and opinions on this album, I wanted to call it one of the best albums of the year and talk about how amazing it was, but I simply couldn’t type it out in a way I was happy with, or speak on it in a way that felt well constructed and not just rambling. And so here we are, on the fifth or sixth draft of this review, which I intend to write entirely in one sitting, because I really want to get this review over and done with after learning a few important things.
Sometimes I need the time to properly digest an album and develop my thoughts on it, I intended this review to come out the Monday after SURVIVAL HORROR was released, and for a new release by one of my favourite bands of all time, that was not nearly enough time to truly integrate exactly how this album made me feel. It was more like an explosion of hype, I wanted to call it another masterfully crafted classic and just gush about it for 800 words, but as time has passed I’ve realized I do have some very real and numerous critiques of it.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
For Los Angeles industrial noise rock band HEALTH, the album cycle has two distinct parts. First, there’s the studio album with all-new material, and typically it will be different from the last one, but a lot of the major HEALTH components will be there. Then, a year or so after the studio album comes another album with the word “disco” in the title. This will have remixes of the tracks from the studio album provided by other artists such as Crystal Castles, Toxic Avenger, Tobacco, and Purity Ring. The band followed this pattern for three albums, but for the fourth cycle, they decided to change it up. Rather than remixes, DISCO4 contains entirely new tracks created in collaboration with all the contributing artists.
Welcome to the first Review Off (of hopefully many!) The premise? The illustrious Metalhead World and yours truly get down and throw down in an epic review battle. My contribution lurks below, and you can read Metalhead World's review here. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: The Administrator
We slumbering peasantry are of a significantly, erm, flimsier stock than those marauders over at Metalhead World. Perhaps to our own detriment, we are also a prideful crowd. Such is the lot with wordsmiths. As such, when our neighbors issued the challenge to write a review of I Disagree, the latest statement from self-acclaimed post-genre messiah Poppy, we could hardly back down from a fight. And so here we are, quill and parchment held tight in white-knuckled grasp. In the distance, a murder of ravens takes flight. Sweat drips under ill-fitting plate armor. Blood will be shed this day, and I pray ‘tis not mine.
...but if today results in slaughter, the victim won’t be the artist in question. Quite the contrary. At the beginning of this process, I was familiar enough with Poppy via one Lichtmensch, but was certainly not what one might consider a fan. Now, however, after several weeks of intensive immersion, I Disagree has found solid footing in the ranks of my favorite albums of the year. Credibility be damned! Long story short: if you’re expecting a takedown, look elsewhere. This is a very good album by a variety of rubrics, and Poppy’s contributions are far too substantial to be merely dismissed.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The second guest to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Chris H of antifacist blackened outfit Phryne. Read on!
Written by: Chris H
The first time I listened to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails was in 2015. At that time, I was starting to find myself listening to heavier music, and I was venturing to discover all the classic hallmarks of metal. Industrial had always been interesting to me, but as a kid I was always too afraid of the dark imagery to really listen. When I sat down to listen to The Downward Spiral--the first industrial album I decided to listen to--and pressed play, I heard the sounds of a man being beaten in a strangely rhythmic fashion. At that moment, I was uneasy and wondering if I should keep going and listen on, but as the sample from the film THX 1138 crescendoed into a chaotic noisescape, I gave in and was transported to the grimy world Trent Reznor had created. “Mr. Self Destruct” is still one of my favorite album openers because of its raw attack and energy. It is the perfect beginning to the experience that is The Downward Spiral.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I’m pulling something from the deep recesses of left field for you today. But when you’ve listened to as much music as I have, left field can provide welcome, refreshing, if sometimes puzzling breaks from the norm. (There’s a reason music critics praise experimental music so highly.) The harsh sounds of heavy metal’s more extreme sub-genres make them excellent sonic palettes for experimental artists. The best artists will recognize the similarities in different styles of music and bring them together, or they will contrast two very different genres that otherwise would never mix. The latter can be found in Fire-Toolz, who juxtaposes the clean, hazy, and nostalgic sounds of vaporwave with the harsh and oppressive sounds of black metal, noise, and other extreme genres.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!