Soldat Hans is an outlier in their musical setting, lilting tranquilly somewhere in a liminal dimension between post-rock and post-metal. They are an outlier because they do not demand your attention in an immediate way, as most bands in the modern era of streaming and accessibility have to do. If a listener is bored of your track within fifteen seconds, they’re not coming back, so you have to compose songs that hook people with a certain urgency. Soldat Hans are not interested in appealing to those casual listeners; their songs are enormous, expansive, patient meditations on minimal themes. … Read more
French quintet Eryn Non Dae. are back with a massive slab of math-minded sludge. Abandon of the Self follows a six-year absence after 2012’s Meliora, and finds the band settling into a more reserved, contemplative approach. Whereas previous material spent more time punishing the listener with breakneck tempos and eardrum-battering percussive rhythms, the new album is characterized by expansive introductions, simplified riffs, and moody drumming. There are peaks that almost rival the intensity of their prior catalogue, but they certainly wander through the valleys a lot more along the way.
Opening triad of tracks “Astral”, … Read more
It never fails to warm my heart when I come across a nominally “black metal” band that is willing to shed all vestiges of trve kvltitude and incorporate taboo elements of hardcore, metalcore, screamo, world music, pop, or any other style that results in a synthesis of musical ideas that stretches the boundaries of black metal’s comfort zone. On their debut full-length わたしと私だったもの (Watashi to watashidatta mono) – or, by its English title, Awakening –, Japanese quartet 明日の叙景 – read “Asu no jokei” – mingles their blackened approach with the post-hardcore intensity of fellow countrymen Envy … Read more
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