The general free-flowing complexity of zeuhl music and the band name We Pyrrhic Conquerors suggest a sizable ensemble of musicians, performing with some level of loose improvisation. Yet Bandcamp informs us that the richly composed The End Is Nigh is the product of one Joey M. Bishop. That’s about all the information I can glean about the artist; there’s no Facebook page to refer to, no specific location given (Bandcamp tags the project as United States, but the drums were recorded at a studio in Indonesia?), and even Google currently returns zero results for the band … Read more
Some Introductory Words
There was so much good music that came out this year. After barely being able to scrape together ten good albums to make a list out of last year, 2017 redeemed my faith in music in a massive way. I shattered my personal record for new-music-listening this year, and, in the process, I discovered a ton of good, very good, and occasionally mind-blowingly good stuff in the corners and crevices – stuff that many outlets seemed to ignore. And while I admit that I have a tendency to get more excited about lesser-known artists, I assure you … Read more
All the extreme metal fans on the real Earth have been anticipating a return to Xanthochroid’s fictional Erthe since 2012’s immensely impressive debut, Blessed He with Boils. Taking five years to meticulously craft a two-act follow-up, the Californian band have rewarded our patience with Of Erthe and Axen, a cinematic, dynamic album pair that blends the best facets of several metal genres with orchestral folk pieces to produce something totally unique.
The band craft a story that dives deep into a universe they have created. Like their previous release, Of Erthe and Axen comes with a map … Read more
Improvisation is the cauldron in which most great music is born, but for most musical acts it is just the beginning of the composing process. Some artists, though, are secure enough in their creative talents to make improvisation an integral component of their sound. The right musicians and framework can produce magic with this approach, and that’s precisely what a pair of internationally renowned string players have done on the self-titled debut album of Kamancello. If you like improvisation, chamber music, and portmanteaux, this is the album for you.
Kamancello juxtaposes the dynamic cello performance of Raphael Weinroth-Browne, whose … Read more
Philadelphia post-metal quintet Rosetta released their sixth full-length album Utopioid last week, and I figured I owed it to the band I named my daughter after to give their new offering a review. The troupe has been around since the peak of post-metal saturation; their debut, The Galilean Satellites, was released in 2005, right alongside undisputed classics like Isis’ Panopticon, Cult of Luna’s Salvation, and Neurosis’ The Eye of Every Storm. For my money, The Galilean Satellites – released as a metal side and an ambient side designed to be played simultaneously – is the pinnacle … Read more
Some albums come along and pleasantly join the ranks of what you previously considered “great music”. Some albums come along and make you question everything you previously classified as “great music”. The Hirsch Effekt’s fourth full-length, Eskapist, is the latter kind of album – a towering post-hardcore monolith that reaches a mountaintop I never imagined to be climbable, from which the view makes most other modern progressive acts look like ants.
The Hirsch Effekt are one of those bands whose sound cannot be tidily summarized in a couple of adjectives. Their own bandcamp liberally describes them as “rooted … Read more
There is a trend in modern prog: some of the more popular bands are seeking to capitalize on their popularity via the age-old model of shifting to a poppier style with broader appeal – lowering their common denominator, as it were. Leprous’ debut single from Malina, ‘From the Flame’, suggested to some that the Norwegian titans might be drifting in that direction. They are certainly ripe for popularity, with their smooth and entrancing approach to metal composition and Einar Solberg’s appealing singing voice. However, I am pleased to report that, despite some of the structural elements being poppier… Read more