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 next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is SW, the sole bleep and blooper of black metal inspired chiptune act Lunar Cult, whose work can be found lurking over at bandcamp. I don't listen to much chiptune, but when I do, it's invariably the nuanced and intriguing work of Lunar Cult. Needless to say: when yer done here, check it out!
Written by: SW
It’s a cliché that our teenage years are a period of rapid development, and something we can take for granted; and sometimes, it’s only in hindsight that we can appreciate how much we changed in a short space of time. This is certainly the case for my own journey as a music fan. At 15, my favourite bands were the likes of Ash and Green Day--radio-friendly rock with a hint of transgression. Yet by the time I was 16, I’d gone through a period of massive growth aided by Napster, jumping from Green Day to Korn to Slipknot to Marilyn Manson to Nine Inch Nails to Atari Teenage Riot in a matter of months. Whilst Nine Inch Nails are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands, and changed my relationship with music profoundly, it’s Atari Teenage Riot’s first album, Delete Yourself!, that I think may have had the biggest overall impact on me.
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 politically inclined industrial artist Atrop0ss, whose work can be found in the wildlands of bandcamp.
In a strange twist of fate, this is the third(!) NIN album to have been featured in this series--clearly indicating a broad reach of influence. Once yer done here, check out these retrospectives of The Downward Spiral and The Fragile! But, without further ado:
Written by: Atrop0ss
2020 has been a culmination of centuries of corruption, racism, and propaganda, all burgeoning into a multi-faced demon threatening utter demise. Americans especially are faced with a year that seems to bring a new tragedy or intense "happens once a century" type of event every month, and have reacted in all manner of negative ways. Trauma seems to be a consistent response.
And in times of trauma and hardships, we as a species often turn to music: for answers, for peace, to feeling justified, to feel heard. Musicians in these situations will often write music in order to explain a point, or make known their views. In my (relatively short) time on this earth, I've only found one album that really, honestly, predicted exactly where all this corruption and evil would bring us. That album is Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails.
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: Ancient Hand
Mesarthim recently surprise-dropped a new album, and I finally had the time to sit down and listen to the follow-up to my 4th favorite album of 2018. With 2 tracks that each clock in at 20 minutes exactly, Mesarthim already show their intent with this album: trying new things. Ghost Condensate is one whole made up of two halves, both of which show the band incorporating new elements into their already established style of intense avant-garde metal.
Despite featuring the band’s trademark sound, risks are taken on this album. On the first track, there are hip-hop trap influences around the 8-9-minute mark, which give way to dense and spacey atmosphere with orchestral synth breaking through after a few moments of staring into deep-space blackness. Then, guitars begin to build before being undercut by drums, and the sound falls back into an infectious rhythm made of guitar, synth, drums, and howls from unimaginable realms of black space horrors. A classic heavy-metal guitar solo shreds in at the speed of light around the 11-minute mark and crescendos into black metal fury.
This is just a 3-minute example of Mesarthim’s attempts to craft an interesting and original album, which they always seem to be doing. Most often is the band’s sound and style chalked up to “spacey atmospheric black metal,” but on this release, they prove that their influences cover a wide breadth of genres and musical styles. The project’s previous release showcased EDM elements, but Mesarthim builds on those sounds with more mainstream elements mixed with chilling black metal. This blend of styles leads to an album that sounds just as otherworldly as its cover appears to be.
On the second half of this release, Mesarthim play more to their tried and true strengths. Blistering black metal pummels you as dazzling synths add a wall of impenetrable noise before the release calms down and fades away in glistening electronics, willing you to start all over again. The blending of familiar sounds in unfamiliar places (trap elements on a black metal album) make for a very engaging and interesting listen.
Mesarthim have, to state it simply, done it again. Pushing the boundary enough to keep long-time listeners on their toes but not alienate fans of black metal, the band has crafted a 40:00 adventure through the cosmos. If anything, this release feels more akin to Mesarthim’s older releases than their previous album. The electronics feel more supportive of the black metal rather than center stage— aside from the trap-inspired section on Part 1. It is difficult to definitively state what the intent of this album is and whether or not it achieves its goal(s); however, it is easy to state that it is an album worth the concise runtime. Do yourself a favor and take a journey into the unknown with this new release.
Mesarthim can be found:
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!