Monthly Recommendations: January 2017

‘Utopianisti is a Finn one-man experimental big band project – yes, such a thing exists, apparently -, that is releasing Brutopianisti on January first. Usually more in the progressive rock and metal genres, Markus Pajakkala’s experiment now delves in the worlds of avant-garde metal and grindcore, with this album. Immense props must be given to Markus for writing and playing a thirty-minute album with drums, bass clarinet, soprano sax, xylophone, flutes, and ‘additional vocals’, with only a few guests, mostly for singing. I won’t go into too much detail here, as Dillon, who showed me this album, expressed the desire … Read more

Mini-Reviews LVII

Experimental math rock is such a fertile ground, and this time it’s U Sco‘s turn to reap the fields, with Tuskflower, the band’s third album, which came out last September. The six tracks – from ‘O’ to ‘OOOOOO’ – fill the fifty minutes at hand with very cool compositions leaning on the noise and kraut rock genres, while constantly reaffirming their math roots by way of odd time signatures. Most of what you’ll hear comes from improvisations, one-takes, and little overdubs.
Aican is a Russian instrumental progressive rock band, and they’ve released Don’t Go Deep into the ForestRead more

Mini-Reviews LVI

Audiomachy‘s Holofracture is a math metal album from the Australian duo. A rare sight in the genre, nowadays, is to have compositions based on genuine mathematical concepts, a few examples of which are listed in the album’s description on bandcamp. This makes not only for an alien sounding album, but also for an active and intellectually interesting listening experience. This album was released in 2014, but it’s very much up to date with the current math scene. The band is said to be working on a new album for 2017!
Meganeko is an awesome project from Sweden that creates … Read more

Mini-Reviews LV

Blame Kandinsky is a Greek mathcore band, and Spotting Elegance in Chaos is their debut album. Their bias towards dissonance makes me happy. While they’re not using them all day, all night, the inclusion of minor and diminished intervals in their songs is just and wise. You could think of it as a more straightforward Dillinger Escape Plan, but they’ve got something more than just that, so be sure to try this one out!
The work of Austin Woodward, Echopraxia just released Candle Cove. As the uncanny tag ‘thalloween’ suggests, this album is a blend of melodic progressive djent … Read more

Mini-Reviews LIV

The low fidelity nature of Ad Christi gloriam‘s self-titled effort is the only thing detracting me from wholeheartedly recommending it. In an experiment to push new boundaries for the blackgaze genre, the band adopts a very religious, optimistic, and wholesome point of view, which is further supported by their choice of chords and lyrics. While the production at large is rough and uneven, what’s worse is the drum kit. It’s obviously from an electronic drum kit with a rather basic sound library attached to it. This is the detail that bothers me most, but if you can get behind … Read more

Mini-Reviews LIII

USA’s Czar is an experimental mathcore band, and Life Is No Way to Treat an Animal is their sophomore album. Their take on jazzy mathcore is refreshing and very enjoyable. Their compositions often wander left and right so naturally that it doesn’t come off as forced or undesirable. With nineteen songs over the course of almost fifty minutes, you’re sure to have enough entertainment for a while!
Nintendocore Lives wasn’t a blog or a page I was familiar with, but that’s changed with the release of their compilation album Glitched. Putting forth nineteen tracks of heavy chiptune music, this … Read more

Mini-Reviews LII

The experimental black metal entity known as Voidcraeft recently released Dogma, the latest EP of Germany’s one-man band. This is very much in line with their December full-length, Un futur cadavre, and ditches the sublime quarter-tone compositions of Visceral Practices, much to my dismay. However, Dogma is quite an amazing EP in its own right. It was written with five rules in mind, most of which were rapidly broken. This self-disrespect isn’t detrimental to the music, however, and what survives is an outstanding, dissonant, and aggressive black metal record that is absolutely free as well!

for I haven’t… Read more

Mini-Reviews LI

Gnarwhale is a band I regret having overlooked, back when Colour came out. It wasn’t for me, at the time, but I can now appreciate it in full. The progressive metal blended with post-hardcore on this EP – topped with the superb vocal delivery of Sam Marshall – gives this Australian release from 2015 a really unique taste that will most probably please you!
Memória de peixe is a Portuguese math jazz band, and they released their second full-length, Himiko Cloud, back in October of last year. Conceptually, it’s a collection of instrumental stories brought together by Himiko the … Read more

Mini-Reviews L

Keratoconus is a British one-man mathcore project, and 浜田EP (The Hamada EP) was released in late December. It’s a rather short release, at only thirteen minutes long, but every second here is well spent. The tracks are abrasive, intellectual, technical, and quite experimental too! Don’t be offended by the autism-core tag, it’s merely because S. A. Mudd, the mastermind of the project, suffers from autism himself, and it seems to be an extraordinary outlet from which we can all benefit by listening and appreciating the music!

Asunder is Montréal progressive technical melodic death metal project Samskaras‘ upcoming EP. Out … Read more

Matt’s Best of 2016

The ebb and flow of musical calendar years is a fascinating thing. In addition to annual best-of-year spreadsheets, I keep a running tally of the all-time greatest albums, always eager to find new things to add to that fold. I also assign scores on a 0-100 scale (which very rarely dips below 80 because why would I intentionally listen to bad music?). A score of 95 is my cutoff for distinguishing between ‘really, really good’ (94) and ‘potentially all-time great’ (95). Some years are just better than others: 2013 saw not one, but two top-ten all-time releases (Kayo DotRead more