Written by: The Administrator
In lieu of the typical rambling introduction, I'll spare you all and jump straight to my conclusions regarding Nostophobia, the debut full length from Portland's Sea Sleeper. In sum, then: this is a wonderfully chaotic album filled to the brim with the kind of untethered energy that practically demands listener engagement. However, it is also a confusingly chaotic album that would benefit significantly from some spit and polish.
Sea Sleeper bill themselves as a bit of a genre-jumping anomaly, frequently folding in elements of post-metal, deathcore, sludge, avant-garde, metallic hardcore, and even a lil' angsty grunge into their bubbling cauldron o' progressive death. Needless to say, this is a complex conglomerate of sights 'n' sounds, and makes for an experience that is borderline confounding across the breadth. As a fan of boundary-pushing and rule-breaking in music as a general rule, that quality is a clarion call of sorts--provided the intrinsic weirdness sticks the landing.
Village stalwart Izzy is stepping up the retrospective game, and will henceforth deliver a fresh one every Friday! Make sure to check in weekly for a dose of nostalgia. - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
Glass Casket are a bit of a personal gem. While they’re far from being the first deathcore band, their 2004 album We Are Gathered Here Today… is, in my mind, one of the most iconic and seminal deathcore releases out there. It is one of the earliest examples of a modern-ish sounding deathcore release, and, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourites.
But as with many amazing bands, they are sadly overlooked, because their work was sandwiched in a period of time just before deathcore blew up. Glass Casket, alongside many others, ended up getting forgotten in favour of their contemporaries who would go on to bring the genre both its popularity and infamy.
Written by: Izzy
Svalbard are a relatively new face in the world of metal and punk, their first release having been unleashed upon the world in 2014. Since then, they’ve been a consistent talking point for both their gorgeous melodies and blend of neocrust, post-rock, screamo, and blackgaze, as well and their political stances, frequently angering basement-dwelling neckbeard metalheads who proceed to furiously write a tweet about how women are ruining metal--Oops, was gonna try and not get too political on this one. My bad.
When I Die, Will I Get Better? is in many ways a logical trajectory for the band. Elements of post-rock and blackgaze have always been present in their music, starting at their debut One Day This All Will End, becoming more pronounced on their amazing 2018 release It’s Hard to Have Hope, and finally reaching its climax here on their latest. Those influences have become pushed so far to the forefront to the point where I think calling them a neocrust/blackgaze band wouldn’t be too far off, but that descriptor would still be missing something.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
So here we are: 2020. We've seen pandemics, political unrest, and so much more. But we've also seen the return of nu-metal.
Typically this isn't something I would be interested in, because there are many aspects of the genre I don't like. There's a lot of macho-man jock mentalities in the scene, and quite frankly, most of the 2nd-wave bands were so watered-down and generic without any heaviness or balls. But with Tallah, it's a different story. With their debut album Matriphagy, Tallah bring back nu-metal in a big way, with a modern take and a storyteller-based approach to the lyrics. To summarize without giving away the story, the concept of this album is about a man named Kungan who is his mother's caretaker after she was paralyzed when he was a child. His mother is unappreciative and manipulative, forcing him to basically be enslaved in his room, tending to her every need. Long story short, he slowly goes insane, and that's where I'll leave it so I don't spoil it. Lets enter the psychotic world of Matriphagy.
Written by: Izzy
It’s a little known fact to those who don’t know me personally, but I LOVE MySpace. In general, the whole aesthetic of scene stuff is right up my alley, but I especially love the music that came out of MySpace. No, I don’t mean Soulja Boy or (and I am trying my best not to vomit as I type this) Jeffree Star, those two are just memeable novelties that never actually contributed any genuinely good music to society. What I’m talking about is the amazing mathcore/grindcore/deathcore scene!
There are so many weird forgotten bands birthed from that website that deserve wayyy more credit than they ever got. Expect me, in the future, to dive more into that mystical realm we call 2009, where Warped Tour was the best thing ever to happen to music, where everything was neon colours and everyone had the emo fringe. But right now it’s still 2020 and we’re talking about The Sound That Ends Creations, a MySpace-core revival band of sorts, with their oddly titled latest album Memes, Dreams, and Flying Machines. There’s a very clear and obvious inspiration both musically and aesthetically from that era, which does inform a lot of my opinions about this album, so I see no issue labeling them that, and I doubt they would mind.
Also in the event that Chris Dearing, the man behind The Sound That Ends Creations, is reading this:firstly, I’m sorry, secondly, don’t let a schmuck like me deter you from making music and following your passion, because from this point on I am going to mercilessly tear into this album, but I promise it’s nothing personal.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
Like a wizard, my wanderings often take me outside the gates of our little town. And while I always intend to return, the exact time of my reappearance is unknown, even to me. As I have once again found myself shuffling through the streets of this somnolent hamlet, I decided to prove to our dear Administrator that I am still a productive citizen by giving myself a relatively easy assignment. So let us take a look at what I believe to be one of the finest metalcore releases of the last decade.
2009 was a good year for The Devil Wears Prada. Metalcore was reaching its commercial peak and production techniques had finally caught up to more effectively capture the band’s specific take on the genre. They released their third album, With Roots Above and Branches Below, one that would perfectly capture that specific moment in the heavy music scene and solidify TDWP’s place in it. It was clearly the highest point in their career at the time. But little more than a year later, they would surpass Roots by leaps and bounds with only 5 tracks.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Cardiff was declared the second most musical city in the UK almost a decade ago, thereby formally recognising the city’s unwavering history of producing musical acts that have gone on to dominate almost every genre. Rightfully so, as countless alternative acts have cut their teeth in the basements and dungeons below Womanby Street’s greatly revered venues. Industry legends such as Bullet for My Valentine, Skindred, Budgie, Persian Risk, Icons of Filth, and Desecration have all been spawned from the South Wales scene, and now Sydney Fate are ‘Diff’s metal scene’s newest contenders. Armed with a healthy duality of cleans and screams, stellar production, and an arsenal of guitars, the sextet have recently released their debut album, Silicon Nitride, to the world.
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.
Written by: Izzy
Let’s address the elephant in the room. This album sounds a lot like Deftones, but let’s make an important distinction in Loathe’s music. While Deftones are certainly capable of being aggressive, both on their new and old material, Loathe’s blending of metalcore’s raw energy and ferocity works beautifully to contrast the softer sections and make them feel especially intense, this interplay between tones elevates the listening experience of the entire album to new heights. Rather than creating cascading landscapes where these sounds weave together as Deftones would, Loathe are more interested in forging roads with sharp twists and turns through both beauty and musical invective.
The one-two of the vicious "Broken Vision Rhythm" attack, and the otherworldly slow-dance of "Two Way Mirror," provides a perfect example of this knack for hairpin changes of tone and sonic scenery; a trick the album doesn’t use once, but pulls again later with the hauntingly beautiful "Is It Really You?" transitioning into the most hideously relentless, breakneck song on the entire album, "Gored." Despite the sudden transformation, everything on display here is crafted so tastefully that these shifts feel very natural and flow into one another gracefully.
Written by: Ancient Hand
Aggression and forthrightness are the key components of Code Orange’s attitude. After the release of their incredibly well-received album Forever, the band maintained a certain level of aloofness and, well, fuck-you-ness. While some perceive this attitude as cocky and narcisistic, this attitude truly stems from the group’s hardcore/punk roots. The band’s DIY nature still exists to this day-- despite their Grammy nomination and signing to Roadrunner, the band still packages and ships their own merch.
This fierce devotion to their craft also translates into a ferocious protection over their artistic direction. After the worldwide success of Forever, it may have been anticipated that the band would lighten their sound and move forward in a “Bleeding in the Blur” style where Reba Meyers would sing the band into top-rock-chart stardom. However, the band’s first record in three years, Underneath, does anything but.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!