It always soothes my soul when I come across a chunk of proggy, shoegaze-y post-metal that has a truly original sound to it. For as much as I like the genre, I have to admit lots of themes do tend to get rehashed and repeated. Build up, crescendo, trippy section, atmosphere, atmosphere, rinse and repeat (not necessarily in that order). Here we have the newly released record Far Above the Pines by one man band Dust Sculptures, and while he does follow the structure a bit, there’s something about his sound that feels unique to the genre. Maybe its the weird electronic sections, the heartfelt clean vocals, the emotional punch of the heavier bits,or that melancholic atmosphere that somehow allows just enough light through to make the whole thing feel really uplifting. Whatever it is, this album is unlike anything I’ve heard before.
If you fancy bands like Isis, Deafheaven, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Skyharbor, Pink Floyd, or *shels I really recommend giving this record a listen even though none of those bands sound remotely like the album in this post. As always, if you like what you hear, be a great human being and toss the artist some spare change and buy a download of the album, and be even more super by sharing the recommendation with friends you think will dig the music. Let me know what you think of Dust Sculptures down in the comments. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
While it’s been quite a long time since black metal has evolved from its anarchistic, church burning beginnings, it still amazes me how far the genre has come. Bands like Deafheaven, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Septicflesh have taken the genre in such wildly different directions and opened up what was a very closed community to many more fans. And to be completely honest, I would have never learned to appreciate tr00 kvlt black metal if it weren’t for those bands (and Emperor) easing me into the insane harshness of the genre.
Now taking the genre down a different path is Botanist. Utilizing major keys, a love of Sonic Youth, and a dulcimer (it’s an instrument in case you’re wondering) Botonist have crafted ‘happy black metal’. Flowers, plants, love for nature, all that lovely stuff personified in the music really make their new record, VI: Flora, pop. Thematically, the record is very black metal. It recounts a tale of a man becoming a hermit to escape all the hate and pain of the world and to surround himself with the beauty of nature and await the day when humanity eradicates its self and Mother Earth can reclaim and begin to regrow. Anyhoo, environmentalist warnings aside, this is a beautiful record filled with sounds and themes yet to be explored in black metal.
This is one of the more unique records I’ve heard this year and it’s well worth your time, if only to hear how far black metal has come since the days of Mayhem and Darkthrone. Give a listen and let us know what you think. And as always, if you like what you hear, toss the artist a few bucks and grab a download of the record. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
A concept band that plays proggy sludge metal about slugs. How novel. And like most novel things, I’m all about checking stuff like that out. What else I’m all about, when a record/band with a novel concept turns out to be freaking great and flat-out kicks some metal ass. Packed with elephantine riffs, slimy solos, viscous rhythms, and pissed off vocals this record is turning out to be one of the more interesting, varied, and engaging records I’ve heard this year. At times it sounds like Revocation played through a pool of sludge, at others kind of a blackened Mastodon; always kicking ass. Oh, and those song names and lyrics, genius!
If you’re hankering for something cool to listen to, do yourself a favor and give Gastronomicon a spin, I promise you won’t be dissappointed. The record is also ‘pay what you want’ if you happen to be on a budget (though, even if you’re poor as dirt, you’ll be cool enough to toss the band a few bucks instead of nothing, right? Right!?). Enjoy some Slugdge :) Peace Love and Metal!!!!!
I know I haven’t held back my love for the Californian prog metal band Cormorant ’round these parts. So it should also be no surprise that I’m well-hyped for the release of their 3rd full length album, Earth Diver, next week. In preparation for the new album, I decided to give their past material a good listen to better hear how they evolve into the new record. I popped them in last week and pretty much nothing else has found its way into my ears since, especially the album Metazoa.
When I first heard Cormorant it was right around the time the hype machine was promoing their 2nd full length Dwellings and I instantly fell in love with the album. From the heady lyrics to endlessly engaging musical compositions it has become an album I listen to more than regularly and has been aging more than well, getting better with each listen. Unfortunately, while I still owned Metazoa, I never gave it the attention I gave Dwellings and therefore was never really firmly grasped by just how freaking outstanding it is. Revisiting it in a more lucid state has allowed me appreciate how terrific and unique it is.
Compared to Dwellings, Metazoa has a folkier, more aquatic feel compared to the raw and earthen sensation I get from the former. Tracks like ‘Uneasy Lie the Head’ bleed that battle feeling I get while listening to bands like Moonsorrow and strong melodies heard on tracks like ‘Blood on the Cornfields’ have an almost Iron Maiden goes death metal touch to them. Seriously every track on the record is diverse and filled with power and passion. And the same could be said about Dwellings from the horror it weaves with the retelling of a genocide (based on a true story) in ‘Junta’ or the terror of being lost in outerspace on the tune ‘Unearthly Dreamings’ (which at the same time paints a picture of beauty and wonder).
Pretty much, if you dig on prog metal bands like Opeth and want something in the same vein that is wholly original I behoove you to dig into Cormorant. If you find yourself digging on these albums, you should totally get them (they are ‘pay what you want’ so free if you are really strapped for cash, but I highly recommend the physical CDs as the art and packaging are outstanding and well above par for your average CD release) and pre-order the new one so it’s ready to go next Tuesday. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Release Date: 2 December 2013
Length: 31 minutes
Studio Albums: Rough Sleep EP 2013, two splits
Location: Southampton, UK
Release Date: 1 January 2013, 31 January 2014 (DLP)
Genre: The blackest and darkest death/doom
Studio Albums: Denouement, 2012
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Length: 48 minutes
Genre: Epic Black Metal
Studio Albums: Triumvirát, 2012
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
#10 Soilwork – The Living Infinite Review
Soilwork is back, better and more inspired than ever before. With their speedy guitars, brutal drums and blasting choruses this double album is an uplifting and energizing and most of all a VERY FUN listening experience. Listen here.
Straightforward, heartfelt post-hardcore. The songs are very powerful, much thanks to the strong, captivating melodies and the vocalist with his charismatic attitude and emotional voice. Listening to this album gives me energy and strength and it’s perfect for a good, loud, headbanging sing-along. Listen here.
I know this is not the most accessible album. But once I took the time to understand it, it was very rewarding. I love the dark, murky atmosphere and the underlying, unsettling mood. The eeriness of the bass lines and the unconventional, complex drumming. I’m a big fan of their previous albums too, but this one gave me even more of a challenge and really hit the spot for me. Listen here.
I loved their previous album and was very happy to find that ‘Possession’ is just as good and many times even better. The songs are unexpected and unique in their nature, the songwriting is creative and organic and the singer is definitely an important piece in this; he performs a wide range of styles with confidence and power. Listen here.
#6 White Moth Black Butterfly – One Thousand Wings Review
Yay, I get to include my favourite singer on another best of the year-list, third year in a row now! Even though it’s far from metal, this album is very special to me in many ways. It’s dark, personal, honest and incredibly beautiful and not only because of the outstanding vocals. The lyrics are thought-provoking and ‘Ties Of Grace’ might be the best song ever created. Listen here.
#5 The Ocean – Pelagial Review
This is not a band that has interested me much before. But the effort of a concept album with meaningful, philosophical lyrics where every song is named after the different layers of the ocean, the much more proggy sound made me want to check it out. The massive, constantly changing and flowing sound grew on me, slowly. Very slowly. Until the whole album finally ended up in my top 5 of the year. Listen here.
There are many bands that were new to me this year on my list, Earthtone9 is one of them. It didn’t take long for me to start to love their progressive, almost sludgy feeling, the effortlessly executed melodic hooks and the huge attitude. They have an intelligent, bass-y sound and together with the confident, edgy singing they have given me many unforgettable tunes this year. Listen here.
#3 Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury Review
Thrilling. Challenging. Intense. And extremely rewarding. This is an album packed with depth, darkness and tortured pain executed in the most beautiful way. Primitive and intimate music with a forceful and disturbing atmosphere. ‘Teethed Glory and Injury’ is very addictive and has been my number one choice all year when it comes to really dark, heavy music. Listen here.
#2 TesseracT – Altered State Review
‘Altered State’ is my most played album this year and I love it to bits, both the instrumental version and the original one. This is TesseracT forging their own unique path; this is a confirmation of their remarkable talent when it comes to creating strong, layered musical structures combined with an intense, emotional atmosphere. These songs are magical. Listen here.
#1 Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End Review
To place higher than TesseracT on my list, that’s quite the achievement! Caligula’s Horse managed to craft and put together a collection of songs that meets all my requirements for The Perfect Album. I have never heard songs that feel so honest and alive, amazing guitar solos with so much emotion and incredible vocals with equal amounts of mighty power and fragile beauty. I have never before owned an album that touched me so deeply. This was my big mindblowing surprise of the year. Listen here.
“It’s like the sound of a caveman running around a spaceship”. Fun, fun, fun. Listen here.
19. Moth – Endlessly In Motion Review
An early release of proggy death with some of the best lyrics I’ve seen this year. It hasn’t left my playlist since it came out in January. Listen here.
It might make hardcore DT-fans go “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”, but I think this is the band’s best effort since.. since ever. These songs make me melt like butter in sunshine. Listen here.
Intense, emotional, technical, groovy. With great lyrics and huge riffs, Hacride was one of the best new discoveries this year. Listen here.
This album provides a very special, epic journey through distant industrial constellations and symphonic galaxies. The Fear Factory-like singing is amazing and the female vocals are a wonderful addition to the symphonic orchestration and the relentless double bass drums. This could be a soundtrack to an epic movie. Listen here.
This is a late release, that made it on my list at the very last minute. It would most likely been placed higher if I could have given it the time it deserves. Just like the fantastic album cover, the album is filled with uplifting, unexpected twists and turns that will make you go “ah!” and “oh!”. No other music this year has cheered me up like ‘Bilo 3.0‘; impressive performances by very talented young musicians. Listen here.
‘Flesh Is Heir’ is as grim, cold and evil as it can be, but at the same time it’s melodic and relaxing. Dense atmosphere, disgusting and ugly…and so, so lovely. Listen here.
Although painfully short, it’s impossible to not like this album. Honest, fun and at times weird, but always passionate and absolutely captivating! Listen here.
12. Crimson Dawn – In Strange Aeons… Review
Crimson Dawn is a band that has managed to create a refreshing, modern epic doom sound in both their songwriting and the production. There is clearly lots of soul and thought put into every detail on the album and I hope more people will discover this über-tasty Italian delicacy. Listen here.
A very impressive debut album filled with bleak, beautiful, explosive music. It’s gigantic and earthy. They balance the extreme feelings perfectly and gracefully. Goosebumps! Listen here.
And extremely rewarding.
Release Date: April 30, 2013 on Profound Lore Records
Tracks: 9 Length: 49 minutes
Genre: Atmospheric Black/Post Metal/Industrial
Previous releases: Through The Cracks Of The Earth EP 2007, Sol EP 2008, White Tomb – debut album 2009, Tides EP 2010, Mammal 2011
Recommended for fans of: Wolves In The Throne Room, Blut Aus Nord, Fen, Deafheaven, Krallice