Monthly Recommendations: June 2017

Dougmore‘s debut album is a foray into folkloric music through the lens of art rock. Indeed, Outerboros is lush and complex, deep and progressive, and, on top of that, inspiringly beautiful. Don’t be fooled by the apparent simplicity of the folk singer-songwriter foundation of the project – with Douglas and his banjo -, for there is here a plethora of invited artists – playing a wide range of instruments, from wine glasses to trumpets, from bouzouki to double bass, from dulcimer to harp, and a lot of other things in-between. This not only bring in a variety of timbres and sonorities to the record, but it also helps flesh out the heavily-layered compositions of Dougmore. With poetry, fantasy, fables and surrealist mundanity, Douglas crafts an entrancing otherworldly avant-garde folk album that will stay with you for a long time.

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Despite its length, dwarfed by its predecessors, The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite is a release of high importance. Higher even, perhaps, than the almighty Triangle despite being foreseeably less appreciated only because of its much deeper and inherent artistic experimentation. Make no mistake: Hermaphrodite is much more important to music, black metal, and the future of Schammasch than Triangle, despite the former’s conciseness and the latter’s quality and fame. It comes out on June ninth, and it’s the first of a series of short albums based on the same book. Be afraid, jump in.

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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 harmonies that aren’t too far off Gorguts’ ball pit. The entire album is very even in quality, which means it’s a real treat from start to finish. The production quality is high and clean, although far from the sterilized one of many so-called “modern metal” bands. It’s got a certain grit, and that’s almost always a very personal sound that you will come to associate with a certain band. Existential Gravity is an album worthy of high praise, and I’m certain you will find something for yourself in it. Enjoy!

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Gravetemple‘s newest barrage of sound, Áthatolhatatlan félelmek (English title: Impassable Fears), comes out on June second. This experimental, droning, and abstract death metal album consists of Hungarian chants screamed through a musical haze consisting of mostly low-register notes, uncertain rhythmics, and absent melodies. If you want a more imaged comparison, I’d say it’s like listening to Portal underwater. Áthatolhatatlan félelmek is really an odd but entrancing release. It’s relatively short, the meat of it being concentrated in three songs – ‘A szarka’, ‘Elavúlt földbolygó’, and ‘Áthatolhatatlan félelmek’ -, making up around twenty-seven minutes, and the three other tracks being more akin to interludes or ambient passages. However, the short amount of time passed surrounded by this chaotic and unknowable darkness will probably leave you asking for more. This is a really special album, bone-chilling and desperate, bizarre but resolute, that offers something truly unique.

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Honourable Mentions

Land Animal by Bent Knee on VEVO.

On July 1 2017This entry was posted in .
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