Written by: Izzy
Let me open this up by saying this was one of my most anticipated releases of early 2021, and that undoubtedly affects how you perceive a piece of media, for better or for worse.
Portrayal of Guilt caught my eye back in 2018 with their debut Let Pain Be Your Guide, which was a brutal, blistering piece of raw metallic screamo, and one of my favourite records of that year. With their latest LP We Are Always Alone they take a pretty logical trajectory sound-wise, doubling down on the black metal and sludge influences and creating a much more sinister and hateful sounding album, all while still keeping that distinctly ferocious metalcore and grindcore spirit underpinning. Everything sounds perfectly in order and it should be amazing, right?
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.
Written by: Izzy
So normally, I like to give a little background in the intro paragraph of my reviews about the band I’m reviewing--some of their history, or how I came to discover the album. But in the case of May Our Chambers Be Full, Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou's recent cooperative album, neither artist is one I’m particularly familiar with, despite their long and storied careers.
Thou are a band by which I’ve briefly listened to a couple albums and previous splits; they’re a very traditional sounding sludge metal band and I was never crazy about them. Not a bad band, but certainly not one that ever amazed me. Emma Ruth Rundle, on the other hand, I knew nothing about previously. After some quick googling I found that she’s made a handful of solo albums to decent acclaim, her style towing the line between singer-songwriter, dream pop, folk, and shoegaze, but has also been a member in post-rock and atmo-sludge bands. She also notably helps run the record label Sargent House, a rather eclectic group of diverse and beloved artists, most notably featuring Chelsea Wolfe and Kristin Hayter (A.K.A. Lingua Ignota.)
Village stalwart Izzy is delivering a fresh retrospective review every Friday! Make sure to check in weekly for a dose of nostalgia. - Ed.
Written by: Izzy
In spite of my adoration for many of punk’s subgenres, from metalcore to screamo to post-hardcore and more, I tend to struggle with enjoying the older and purer forms of punk. I could talk about the three aforementioned styles for hours and hours, but ask me about my favourite hardcore punk bands and my mind goes blank. Like, there’s uh…I like a couple Black Flag albums I guess? Crass and Spazz are okay too, and there’s a handful of Japanese hardcore bands like Gauze or Crow that I enjoy a lot, oh there’s Rudimentary Peni! Those guys are amazing. What about Midori, do they count? Eh they’re probably too artsy to be hardcore punk, much closer to jazz punk. I could maybe come up with one or two more, but you get the point.
Amongst that tiny list of bands, Fucked Up would probably seem like an odd choice, as most people know them for their later punk rock opera albums, but rather early into their career yet quite late in the grand scheme of hardcore punk sits an oddity dear to my heart: their 2008 sophomore LP The Chemistry of Common Life.
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: Izzy
Sometimes you gotta be the voice of dissent, the blade going against the grain, the weed growing from a crack in the concrete, the harbinger of anger from thousands of metal fans across the world. Following popular opinion has never done me any good, so I’m going to bear the burden of being THAT guy and say what so many probably don’t want to:
I do not like the new Deftones album.**
(**In comparison with their previous work.)
While I can’t call Ohms “trite” or “trash,” since it’s certainly a new-ish direction in the bands’ sound and is far from the worst thing I’ve ever heard, I do have many issues with it and luckily there’s plenty of other insulting things I can call it to get fanboys ready to piss on my grave! (Speaking of which, hi there Loveloth, I imagine you’re already sharpening your pitchfork, but I’d recommend at least reading the rest of the review before you skewer and burn me at the stake for my blasphemy.)
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Forest Boher, the single member of Adzes, is rather angry on No One Speaks About It. In this case, “it” represents the broad threats that existentially threaten our societies as we know them, from unaddressed climate change to rampant poverty, and his anger is directed exclusively at the elusive 1% that maintain an inescapable influence over all of our lives. Accompanying his ominous message is a thick soundscape of sludgy, shoegaze-influenced metal.
The project opens with "Divide," a sludgy, downtuned track that’s driven by a melancholic, undulating bassline. Swirling vocals haunt the instrumentation, insistently questioning the world’s borders and the lack of compassion that is required to uphold them. As an introduction it’s stellar, for it showcases the sonic and political tone candidly; if you dislike this track, for whatever reason, there’s no need to go any further. "Jesus Built My Death Squads" follows suit, although sonically, it’s a little brighter with a needling guitar riff that reoccurs. This track is perhaps the closest that Boher strays into the mainstream, and is one of many highlights that are littered throughout the project’s tracklist.
As ye eagle-eyed readers may note, we published a review of this very same album, like, just a few days ago. However, we just couldn't deny Izzy--the Sleeping Village's self-proclaimed reviewer of all things screamy, dreamy, and inbetweeny--a chance to discuss the latest opus from Infant Island. Enjoy this review redux! - Ed.
Not too long ago I reviewed Infant Island’s latest EP, Sepulcher, and along with my mountains of praise for the band, I promised I would do a full-length write-up on the LP they had just announced, Beneath. I fully intended on fulfilling that promise, so here we are. I’ve been in love with this Virginia post-hardcore/screamo revival outfit since I first discovered them in 2018 with their self titled album, and so I cannot wait to talk about it. (Despite taking a little over a week to actually write this due to circumstances beyond my control.)
Sepulcher blew my mind, so I came into this with high hopes, and Infant Island certainly delivered. However, this is truly an example of an album I love, but think could’ve been something more, or maybe something else. That said, I want to end this review on a positive note, so I’ll begin with my few complaints.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I first got into heavy music in my mid-teens, and by “got into heavy music” I mean found music that not only appealed to me, but also bothered my parents. (What’s the point of heavy music if it doesn’t cause your parents genuine concern?) Anyway, way back in the mid-’00s, when I was just a distant rumble, the heavy music of choice for the youths of the day was screamo and metalcore. CD players and primitive iPods were full of the sounds of bands like Underoath, The Used, From First To Last, and The Devil Wears Prada. Jeans were tight, lips were pierced, and hair was long and dyed black. These genres and styles fell out of favor right around the end of the decade, but screamo has had a bit of an underground resurgence in recent years. Infant Island, in particular, are a relatively new band that may prove that the genre isn’t entirely dead.
Written by: Izzy
Have any of you noticed this trend in recent years of more post-black bands mixing in elements of post-hardcore, and vice versa? Harakiri For The Sky, Asunojokei, Cara Neir, Unfurl, Oathbreaker, Glassing, King Apathy, John The Void, Møl, they all do it, and as both a hardcore nerd and someone who's often annoyed by the stagnation of black metal due to the attitude of trve kvlt worship many bands have, it's a trend I've loved to see popping up.
I adore black metal, it's easily one of my favourite non-core genres, but post-black especially is where I get off, as you can likely tell by the Sunbather aesthetic plastered everywhere on my Instagram (@izzlesreviewvault yes I'm a self promoting shill.) I'm absolutely a sucker for any bands that know how to blend the heavy, melodic, emotional, and vicious aspects of the genre or experiment and mess with the genres aspects all together, and no one does that better than the post-black community. But despite my adoration for a good black metal album I'm not particularly active in the black metal community for, uhm... obvious reasons.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!