Instar – The Ex nihilo Cycle

Instar is a narration-driven progressive metal band based in Austin, Texas. Their debut album, the self-titled Instar EP, came out in January of last year, and was a pretty interesting insight into what the project could become. With their debut full-length coming right around the corner, we get a better glimpse into the promising future of their formula. As for what they currently offer, I’ll be reviewing that right here.

First of all, narration-driven music can’t be good if the narration itself isn’t. In a day and age where the posh British accent is revered amongst many media – just … Read more

Logan Strosahl Team – Book I of Arthur

Classical music and jazz are opposite and unreconcilable ends of the musical spectrum. Clearly, Logan Strosahl and his Team have never heard such words of warning, or, if they have, they foolishly ignored them and ventured forth. To the wise man’s surprise, however, they have returned victorious! Holding in his hands three tomes and chanting in a mighty parade, Logan handed one of the books to the old man and he looked at it with much confusion, assaulted by the unorthodox fanfare. Unfortunately, as is most common in the sixteenth century, the man was illiterate. There is no moral to … Read more

Botanist – Collective: The Shape of He to Come

I was a proponent of Californian experimental black metal project Botanist, when their debut double album, I: The Suicide Tree/II: A Rose from the Dead was released, back in 2011. At the time, it was new and pretty much unheard of, at least not widely so. The following albums, however, felt like mere reiterations on the same themes and a simple reorganization of the same core sounds and ideas; no matter how long you shuffle your salad, it’s still going to be the same salad. That’s why I was [cautiously] optimistic for Botanist’s new project: there was no roman … Read more

Rivener – Rivener

The Connecticut free rock duo Rivener sent me a message about their 2016 album, Svengali Gaze, about which I had mixed feelings – a sentiment I still hold. On September first, they released its successor in this self-titled package of about one dodrant-hour long. Here, I feel a stronger sense of vision and unity within the duo, which translates into semi-improvisations serving much more convincing purposes. The songs on Rivener are oddly reminiscent of Omniataxia‘s “Scatterwhite” in their construct and in their final forms. The band definitely borrows a lot from free jazz, but they apply their knowledge … Read more

Monthly Recommendations: August 2017


XanthochroidOf Erthe and Axen, Act I

[Matt has shown interest in reviewing the whole of Of Erthe and Axen, once the second act is released. Therefore, I can’t link to nor quote our review, but the sole fact that the album figures in our list of recommendations is telling.]

EhnahreThe Marrow

The band’s long, drawn-out pieces are very atmospheric and even entrancing, often relying on slow, repeated motives and spoken word passages to build a ritualistic summoning of heartfelt and mystic music. The outstanding compositions on The Marrow go from the angry to the hopelessly

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Biesy – Noc lekkich obyczajów

Biesy – Polish for “Demons” – will release their debut album, Noc lekkich obyczajów – free translation: “Night of Weak Morals” –, a forty-three-minute slab of dissonant and unforgiving death metal in the vein of Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega, on September ninth. The band doesn’t hide their true intentions, as the album straight away starts with dissonant intervals – the minor second is used and abused, a recurring theme in this genre’s music –, unstoppable blast beats, slow but heavy riffing, and miasmic growls with texts all in Polish. The album is a blast, enshrouded in a toxic mist of … Read more

Der Weg einer Freiheit – Finisterre

Finisterre — or, the end of the Earth — is German atmospheric black metal band Der Weg einer Freiheit‘s sophomore album, following 2015’s widely-praised Stellar. While I personally wasn’t very fond of their prior material — I recently double-checked to make sure this was still the case —, Finisterre simply blew me away. I don’t really know what change happened that made me react differently, but I believe this has to do with tighter production and compositions. The atmospheric elements are more poignant, the heavy-hitting parts hit harder, and each song is a rewarding experience to get through, … Read more

Ehnahre – The Marrow

Ever since Douve came out, in 2016, I’ve held the Boston avant-garde doom metal quartet Ehnahre in the highest of regards. Earlier this month, they released their newest experimentation on The Marrow, a four-track, fifty-three-minute slab of slow, heavy, and unbridled contemporary music. Yes, Ehnahre swims pretty close to modern classical music with their compositional approach, a feeling reinforced by their use of contrabass and piano. The band’s long, drawn-out pieces are very atmospheric and even entrancing, often relying on slow, repeated motives and spoken word passages to build a ritualistic summoning of heartfelt and mystic music. The outstanding … Read more

The Hirsch Effekt – Eskapist


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

Sewing Circle – Nausea

Sometimes, we need to take a step back and take a listen to something that really makes you ask yourself “can this even be called music?” Of course, the answer is almost always a resounding “yes!”, but, to the neophyte’s ear, the answer might not be so clear-cut. Enters Sewing Circle, the project of Arturo, Noah, and Patrick – the latter of whom we already wrote about many times for his involvement in some of today’s wildest and most interesting musical projects – is, I believe, an improvisation-based experimental noise rock trio. The nearly thirty-minute EP is adventurous and, … Read more