When it comes to a concept album, the best (and arguably only) place to begin is...well, the beginning. Nosocomial, the forthcoming release from North Carolinian solo black/death/prog/etc. act Iōhannēs certainly qualifies as conceptual in scope--although the particulars of its narrative nature are a bit of an unknown at this time. The story itself will inevitably become a little more clear across the expanse, but for now, we're left with a few pieces to the puzzle: a brief artist statement in the bandcamp bio as well as the intro track, the latter of which we are happy to premiere here today in all of its haunting glory.
Without further ado, give the excellent and evocative "Surgery Theater" a listen below. We'll meet ye on the other side!
Readers familiar with this particular scribe's listening patterns may note that, in the grand scheme, I am more often than not drawn to the doomier and gloomier end of the multifaceted metal spectrum. But! Unbeknownst to many, the sweet strains of melodic death metal make for a non-insignificant chunk of my musical diet. When I'm feeling down, there's nothing quite like a vibrant melody riding in on the back of a boisterous riff to raise spirits a little higher. And, while it may seem sparse praise given the small dent we've made in 2021, my most-enjoyed melodeath release of the year thusfar is Means To An End, Svn.Seeker's forthcoming debut.
This small-yet-mighty collection features tight musicianship, concise and compelling composition, and, perhaps most importantly, a whole lotta sick riffage. Svn.Seeker fuckin' knocked it out of the park with this beast. Needless to say, we're pleased and honored to premiere here today the title track and second single. Give "Means to an End" a listen below, and, as always, we'll catch ye on the other side.
Given the fact that it seems a better description of an ethos than a particular sonic quality, using the intentionally ill-defined "avant-garde metal" as a jumping-off point is a bit of a fraught exercise. Today's band in question is a wholly unique beast, and so any preemptive attempts at categorization must immediately be defenestrated. A more appropriate starting point, then, might be Bornwithhair's previous work. This is their third(!) album in, like, less than a year, so the intense maturation has been pretty darn compressed in regards to time frame.
Their debut Radical Moon was marked by a fresh breath of weirdness, particularly in the compositional department, while sophomore effort Smoleńska upped the stakes, leaning into angular riffage and angry distortion on one hand, and starkly gentle ambiance on the other. Both provided a wildly tumultuous approach to experimentation. Both were well-received, with the latter getting some quite impressive press. Both represented a mad-cap cacophony of ideas, and, as such, made for pretty damn intriguing listening experiences. The only way to go was up, and follow-up Someplace to Haunt is, dare I say, this duo's most enjoyable and most cohesive work yet. Needless to say, we're pleased and honored to premiere Someplace to Haunt here in full. Throw on a pair of headphones and fire it up. As always, we'll meet you on the other side.
As a young scribliong, my very first exposure to music that could be deemed "heavy" was my father's Black Sabbath collection. Indeed, the opening cough on "Sweet Leaf," and subsequent sweet-ass riffage, was the clarion call of my youth. This appreciation for the low, slow, and psychedelic as a child has only grown to this day, and, more often than not, I'm quite comfortable strolling the pastures of stoner rock, doom, heavy psych, and affiliated genres.
As such, premiering a track from Burning Sister's forthcoming self-titled EP was a bit of a no-brainer. This self-declared "mile high downer rock" trio from Denver plays in an admittedly crowded field, but possess a unique ability to balance a simultaneously mellow and energetic quality. I'll blather on further soon enough, but before you're scared away, check out the excellent "Lord of Nothing" below!
As indicated by the general scope of our output this week, the name of the game as of late is brevity. Nobody has the time nor energy to stick through an arduous slog, and thus, we're embracing music that is over practically as soon as it begins. Case in point: today's band--and 48 second music video--in question.
Xeno Ooze, for those regrettably unfamiliar, are a sci-fi lovin' and death-grindin' unit out of Arizona. Their 2019 debut effort, the excellent Parasligm, was quite well received amongst the metal blog-o-sphere, and while I never did get around to penning a writeup myself, their brand of frenetically slam-imbued grind/powerviolence/crust left one hell of an impact. This was (and is) music for violent incidents in the cosmos, for obliteration at the hand of extraterrestrials. In other words: sign us up. Parasligm routinely receives airtime 'round these parts, and so when news of their followup effort breached our Village inbox, I was more than happy to do my part. We're honored to present here today the (animated!) music video for "Swillbirth," a standout track on their forthcoming Slimewave EP. Without further ado, cast yer earholes and eyeballs below.
Look, I know. It's December, which means you'd much rather be catching up on all the music you missed rather than being clobbered with a continuing surge of new releases. But bear with me: the debut effort from grind duo Populace lasts for all of 9 minutes--and the tracklist is 10 tracks deep. Running those numbers indicates a certain disdain for unnecessary filler and fluff. We're dealing with brevity at its most blistering here. Bread and Roses, in other words, certainly ain't going to take much of your time today, and what little time it takes is wholeheartedly worthwhile.
Without further ado, we inksplattered scribes are pleased and honored to premiere Populace's first outing in its entirety. In the search for music that wakes us from slumber, it really doesn't get more effective--nor enjoyable--than this. Dig in below, and we'll meet you on the other side!
Like unto the best that the world of grind has to offer--i.e. Discordance Axis, let's be real--this two-piece excels at delivering ideas, both sonic and thematic, in their most succinct form. Like capturing a fleeting thought in amber, Populace use a single sample, howl, or churning riff as the basis for an explosive diatribe. Take opening track "Pollutant," which swiftly introduces the abrasivity with rolling drums and ranting vocals over intensely crashing guitar. Even though Populace pump the brakes very briefly to deliver a little extra emphasis, the forward momentum is utterly unstoppable. And so it goes for the remainder: a thrashing freefall through chaos-imbued guitar 'n' drums, blips of samples from a veritable bevy of sources, and omnipresent raging vox. Even when they do slow things down a tad--take, for example, midway through "Cocoon"--the consistently unhinged delivery never feels restrained or contained. At the end of the day, Populace balances dynamic composition and outright emotive rage in a fashion that is pretty damn nuanced for grind.
I hesitate to ascribe a "political" label to Populace, being of the firm belief that music, art, and life in general is intrinsically political. But, as a general rule, the instrumentation itself serves as a vehicle for the lyrical content, which, in unrelenting fashion, decries "fascism and all of its ugly friends." It is the thematic content that grounds Populace in the chaos, and topics such as pollution, ableism, and the churn of capitalism similarly find a strong foundation in the pure visceral anger of the instrumentation. It's a well-executed balancing act between form and function. Both thematically and sonically, nothing here is delivered gently--and that, of course, is by design.
Given the brevity on display, discussing individual tracks feels like a moot point. That said, lead single "Pangea" and the aforementioned "Cocoon" are, in my book, the strongest individual showings here--but listening in isolation from the remainder is hardly recommended. Rest assured: with Bread and Roses, there is never a dull moment.
Populace - Bread and Roses will be released on Dec. 4th, 2020, and can be pre-ordered here! Artwork by Misha Mono
Written by: The Administrator
Wait, don't tell me. I know what you're craving in the midst of a uniformly chaotic week: a potent dose of grunge inspired space-rock.
What? Not the prescription you were expecting? Me neither. Oddly, this unique genre synthesis, courtesy of Ghost:Hello--also know as Ohio's most gloriously inventive fuzz rock outfit--does the damn trick. This psych-laden cover of the perennial (albeit underrated) "Tyler" by Texan grunge rockers Toadies adds a level of intrigue to the original track's disturbing persona. Needless to say, we're pleased to present it to you here today.
Without further ado, then, check out Ghost:Hello's rendition of "Tyler" below!
Written by: The Administrator
When it comes to the simple pleasures associated with the simple scriberly life, front-row access to an artist's evolution over time is one of the most consistently exciting. The artist in question? Ye eagle-eyed readers may recall that this spring, we premiered Eclipse, a conceptual album from a certain progressive Yukonian one-man outfit. I quite enjoyed Rick Massie's ability to seamlessly blend genres in a symphonic landscape, bringing the listener on a series of sonic voyages through dynamic scenery.
But! Eclipse lives in the past. It is now, I am happy to report, a time of year we affectionately refer to as "spooky season." With the change in atmosphere comes an appropriately ominous Rick Massie track. Give "The Dance (of the Dead and Alive)" a well-deserved listen below, and, as always, we'll meet you on the other side!
These premiere things typically come equipped with a vaguely tangential intro. However, I'm too damn excited about today's track to meander en route to our destination. Without further ado, then:
Breaths is the latest project from multi-instrumentalist (and multi-talented, while we're at it) Richmond's own Jason Roberts. If you recognize the name--or the vocals, in due course--it's because we slumbering scribes have previously covered not one but two of his other bands: dreamy post-metallers CHNNLR and doom-afflicted post-metallers Conductor. This time around, however, he's striking out in a solo endeavor...that also carries itself with a certain post-metal gravitas. The track lurking below, "Lined in Silver," is the titular lead single in advance of Breaths' forthcoming debut album. Give it a listen, and, as always, we'll be waiting beyond the fold.
In the grand scheme of riff-worship, a cover doesn't get much more salient than Sabbath's 1971 classic "Lord of This World"--a highlight track on an album crammed full of 'em. It's a track that Magnetic Eye Record's upcoming Best of Black Sabbath tribute compilation would, frankly, be incomplete without.
But, perhaps most importantly, it's a track deserving of a band worthy to shoulder the monstrous mantle. Howling Giant is without a doubt such a band, and we slumbering scribes are honored to premiere here today their stellar take on "Lord of This World." Give it a listen below! We'll meet you on the other side.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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