Soul Enema – Of Clans and Clones and Clowns

Soul Enema is a progressive metal band from Israel that hit me by surprise with their new album, Of Clans and Clones and Clowns. Although I’m generally a fervent user of the Oxford comma, I’ll admit that it would be quite an encumbrance in this title to add two half stops. And – one last thing before discussing the actual music –, the cover art for the album is part of the reason I didn’t expect much from it: it’s really ugly (sorry, Vasya Lozhkin (Alexey Kudelin)). Okay, now that that’s out… Soul Enema’s progressive metal is a strange … Read more

Michael Avery – Michael Avery

Michael Avery‘s back, baby! Following his 2015 album, The Scientist, which we liked a lot, the eponymous full-length is even more impressive! Although I’m admittedly not a fan of the, uhh… Abstract 90s-inspired, tribal tattoo artwork, the music is on par with the contemporaries of instrumental progressive metal, and by that I mean that it’s better than most of what’s being done in the genre nowadays. The jazz-infused prog of Mr. Avery is intelligent and executed selon les règles de l’art. Some songs are very moody, while others are energetic and have lots of drive to them. … Read more

Obsidian Mantra – Existential Gravity

Polish band Obsidian Mantra just released its debut album, the intricate and massive Existential Gravity. Clocking in at fifty-four minutes, it demonstrates more than well enough their compositional and playing skills as musicians. The sort of progressive death metal they play is reminiscent of Florida’s RXYZYXR, but also of Montréal’s Gorguts. On the one hand, Obsidian Mantra have heavy grooves and plenty of odd-time signatures, as well as a very interesting set of uneven repetitions of motives. On the other hand, it lacks the melodic hooks found on LMNTS, in favour of exclusively harsh vocals and deeper dissonant … Read more

Sunn Trio – Sunn Trio

The scorching heat of the Arizona day, and the complementary soothing coolness of its night, is whence Sunn Trio emerges. Playing a punk-spirited, Arabic-music-tinged free jazz, the ‘trio’ release cassette recordings of their live performances since at least 2015, with Radiowaves. Their new, self-titled endeavour takes the form of a vinyl record. What baffles me is that there seems to be a whole lot of people credited for a trio… Indeed, there are no less than eleven players mentioned on bandcamp, making it rather close to the scope of a big band, but I suppose they would be guest … Read more

Ex Eye – Ex Eye

We’re not new to the name of Colin Stetson, decidedly one of if not the best saxophone player of recent history. Although his works have been a lot into the ambient spectrum, his recent Sorrow: A Reimagining of Górecki’s Third Symphony is where he brought himself into the lands of metal. Being now part of the new band Ex Eye, his fast, relentless, versatile, and innovative playing style is a perfect match for the blackened doom they spew out. Whether they drone on in drawn-out atmospheric passages or tempestuously stampede during blast beat parts, Stetson is at the forefront, … Read more

Palmless – The Nine Exits

Sweden’s band Palmless just released their debut album, The Nine Exits, on bandcamp. If I were to be bold, I’d say they play post-blackgaze, but this wouldn’t paint the whole picture. Indeed, they seem to pour post-rock tendencies into their blackgaze compositions, or perhaps it’s the other way around, and, on top of that, there is a bit of noise rock and dark pop all wrapped in an indie vibe that permeates throughout the album’s half-hour runtime. The guitars are barely distorted, mostly receiving the overdrive treatment, and the bass guitar is almost totally dry, too. The drums don’t … Read more

Orthodox – Κρέας

‘Orthodox’ is a rather antithetical name for such a band as this one. Indeed, the Sevillan experimental doom jazz trio don’t play by the rules, and don’t like to follow traced paths. Their most recent works are a melting pot of absurdly low and distorted bass guitars and twirling saxophones playing what they call experimental doom metal influenced by religious folklore and jazz. With their latest release, the twenty-seven-minute single Κρέας (Kréas), they push the formula even further by it being a complete improvisation. There is no understatement in calling this a free jazz record, but that description alone would … Read more