To assess Gojira's latest offering, two Village-dwellers took up the pen, making for a rare double review 'round these parts. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
I think for many metalheads, Gojira is a very nostalgic name. I personally got into them very early on in my exploration of extreme metal and they have remained a band I look to very fondly, even if in recent years they’ve departed from their death metal roots and taken a more accessible, straightforward prog/groove/alt metal sound. I still think the material put forth on their previous two excursions, L’Enfant Sauvage and Magma, while not their best, still had their own appeal that kept me returning to them.
But there was a palpable feeling that as they stripped away their extreme metal leanings and got softer and included more clean(ish) singing, they’d eventually morph into just another mediocre alt metal band, and I feel this concept has reached its logical conclusion with Fortitude, having scrubbed away almost any remnants of death metal in their sound and leaning harder and harder on creating hooks and choruses rather than the vast odysseys of From Mars to Sirius and The Way of All Flesh. I think we’ve reached a point where I truly can’t find a reason to look forward to a new Gojira album after this.
DVNE - Etemen Ænka (Review)
Written by: Beaston Lane
In a far-flung epoch where humanity as we know it is but a memory, glamorous towers pierce the heavens, and elite societies vie for supremacy. Everything is greater than the sum of its parts. Etemen Ænka finds itself exploring this simultaneously utopian and dystopian future, dissecting the suffering that underlies greatness. Dvne, named in reference to Frank Herbert’s legendary works of science fiction, draws inspiration from the best sci-fi and dystopias of our time, constructing their own grandiose narrative to the tune of epic psychedelic post-metal. With a musical approach as striking and expansive as their lyrical concepts, Dvne’s debut on Metal Blade is a tremendous step forward for the band, laying the foundations for what will hopefully be a storied career.
Written by: The Administrator
When we're not locked in our drafty scriptorium, daily existence here at the Sleeping Village is inevitably beset by the type of backbreaking labor inherent to a (pseudo) medieval township. The grind is real, and, as such, an occasional dose of the weird and wonderful is a bit of a necessity. Hence, the promise of self-declared "space disco synth metal," courtesy of Alpha Boötis, seemed like a likely candidate for injecting a lil' excitement into mid-afternoon drudgery.
And boy, is it ever. I seldom write reviews immediately after consuming the music in question, but after jamming this two-track-plus-a-cover EP about eight times over the span of the past few hours, I feel somewhat moved to say my piece post-haste. Let's get to it.
Written by: Capt. Graves
It has been a night or two [or...many more - Ed.] since I have stepped foot into the Village. The last I heard, Tumulus had played in this here land, and annihilated everything except the bath tub where our humble moderator resides. The land is scorched, bloody, and full of broken spirit. Laying waste upon lands is not only glorifying, but it sends a message that I will gladly share. Existential dread is my forte, and North Star The Wanderer has delivered unto us Universal Trajectory, which seemingly brings me much hope for the end of ends.
The dudes over at North Star The Wanderer have brought an album that is probably my favorite work thusfar from Charlie (the mastermind). I have seen this man evolve as a musician, and I can speak volumes about his ability as a guitar player. I've watched Chris (drummer) become a fruitful musician, and an amazing producer. Justin (bass), he plays a funny bass, but he sure slaps that thing well! We have had the pleasure to share the stage with this power trio, and they are remarkable musicians.
Written by: The Administrator
And now for something completely different! Today's album (and band) in question covers a unique blend of genres that don't get a whole lot of coverage 'round these parts--or any parts, for that matter, that we slumbering scribes tend to frequent. With that disclaimer in mind: let's dive in.
On their latest effort, Shocking Stories! (And Those Who Dare to Tell Them,) The Northway play a difficult-to-place conglomerate of pop punk, prog, math rock, and perhaps some alt metal, with a few other assorted elements weaving their respective ways into the chaotic fold. There's an alternative rock/metal angst on display, as well as a ska-esque sense of hype. Most notable, however, is the prominent role of the utterly unexpected. Take, for example, early album highlight "Trampolinehead," which blends a straightforward punk riff with a delightful Gentle Giant-by-way-of-Primus level of prog weirdness. There's a jazz lounge solo, a de la Rocha rap-rock moment, and a whole lotta assorted oddities besides. And if you think this is wacky, the excellent "City Trial" takes similarly disparate elements and cranks 'em up to 11. This thing is like the unholy alt-metal lovechild of Haken 's proggy tendencies and, I dunno, the early-aughts swagger of Priestess. And even that only covers a fraction of this track's identity. The entire album exists in a similarly fluid state, and, as a result, it's incredibly fun to experience.
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 next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Duncan Evans, who creates dark folk/post-punk under his own name, and apocalyptic noise poetry (which we premiered here!) under the Moonlow moniker. He's a producer, an engineer, a writer at Ghost Cult and Alternative Control, and, lest it be forgot, has a twitter you should probably follow. Beyond these current projects, he was previously the guitarist for Forest Of Stars--so, all told, cred certified many times over, amiright? Without further ado: enjoy this retrospective!
Written by: Duncan Evans
This album was my first proper introduction to Nick Cave. It remains an incredibly important piece in the jigsaw of my own development as an artist and as a human being. I also believe it is significant in a wider cultural sense.
Around the mid-2000s, Nick Cave had seemingly grown tired of producing records with the expanded 8-piece lineup of The Bad Seeds: “It felt like every time I took a song into the Bad Seeds, everyone piled in on it. In the Bad Seeds, you play a song, and everyone's grabbing a fuckin' maraca, y'know?" In response, Cave and three Bad Seeds members (Warren Ellis, Martin P. Casey, Jim Sclavunos) formed Grinderman. At the same time, I was growing weary of the virtuoso prog rock I had been listening to. I had listened to a few of Cave’s songs and I had meant to properly explore his work for a while. I remember reading about Grinderman in the music press just before its release, and I thought this was probably as good a place as any to start. I ordered a copy and, strangely, two of them landed on the doormat a week later. Hearing this record on its release in 2007 was something of a Damascene moment for me. It opened up doors which remain unclosed. What follows is an explanation of how this album impacted me so deeply, and why I think it matters in wider terms.
HAKEN - Virus (Review)
Written by: Vattghern
Haken, oh Haken! Some VIP Tickets, Meet and Greets, lots of merch, and signed vinyl copies later, Haken has not only become a titan of modern prog, but also a friend through thick and thin for me. Despite my love for the Brits, after the release of their last studio album Vector and my corresponding praise for it, the band seemingly vanished from my playlists. Did I outgrow Haken? Did they outgrow me? All these questions crossed my mind when the band announced Vector’s spiritual successor Virus out of the blue and my inner fanboy didn’t move a muscle.
“New Haken single is meh,” I disappointingly declared in the lead up to the release, only to end up hitting play on “Invasion” every time I got a hold of my headphones. So, as it tends to do, the future proofed me wrong and answered my doubts with a big, fat “nah.” And after three midnight sessions of eagerly hitting refresh on Haken’s Spotify, only to find out the album has been delayed again, I finally got ahold of Virus. Since the past had proven that Haken ages like a fine wine for me, I’ve taken my appropriate time with it, which translates to about a week of nonstop listening. My verdict? Virus, while still awaiting the test of time, is not only the perfect second part to Vector, but also some of the band's finest work to date.
Written by: Loveloth
How does a band evoke the feelings of melancholy? The approach varies from genre to genre, but using the minor scale is a definite foundation. After that anything is game, and as a result, any sadboi--like yours truly--has a plethora of options to choose from. The most extreme examples are the DSBM and adjacent black metal genres. There, melancholy manifests through anguish and despair. Tremolo picking, shrieks and blast beats reign as lords, whereas on the opposite side of the spectrum, such as on the notorious pop ballads, we've got clean vocals covered by electronic-based instrumentation with slower paced beats.
I personally don't have any emotional responses when I hear most of that type of stuff due to how they're manufactured and how much they rely on cheap motifs. I realized this when I was a wee lad and as time went on, I searched far and wide for music to comfort, help me contemplate, and of course cope with any hardships I came across. At one point in time, I found myself listening to “Lethean” by Katatonia via a great YouTube recommendation, remember those? I was stunned with its energy and heaviness, and by the time Jonas Renkse's vocals kicked in, I was hooked. To this very day, Dead End Kings remains my favorite album by them and I would honestly put Katatonia right next to Opeth and that dude Devon Townsent as my go-to sadboi band.
Written by: Ancient Hand
San Marcos’s This Will Destroy You should need no introduction at this point; the Texas post-rock group has seen plenty of success and experimentation in their now 16-year-old career. The group’s 2008 self-titled album is considered by many to be their magnum opus, and I am included in this group. That record is a beautiful blend of instrumentation that culminates into a moving and beautiful journey across an auditory version of the American Southwest. After 12 more years and plenty of other albums, we finally get the standalone release of Vespertine, the soundtrack to the high-class, two-Michelin star restaurant of the same name. The soundtrack has been available to those that have been in the restaurant for a few years now, but This Will Destroy You has finally released the soundtrack for the rest of us to enjoy.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!