Australia has become one of my favourite places in the world to look out for new and exciting bands. From alien overlords such as Portal to fresh faces of progressive metal like Caligula’s Horse, there is a pallet of sounds to be found on the Lucky Country. However, there is a special label that has gained recognition for finding and delivering some of the most unique albums I’ve heard in recent years: Art as Catharsis.
Psychedelic drone music with eastern influences (Ḥashshāshīn), John Zorn worship jazzgrind (Kurushimi (苦しみ)) or experimental hardcore madness (Tired Minds), Art as Catharsis has … Read more
Chryste Panie – Polish for “Christ, Lord” – released their self-titled album earlier this year. The quatuor plays an interesting blend of free jazz and ambient electronic music inspired by devotional and shamanic music. Here, the synthesizers stick exceptionally well to the ritualistic free jazz aura the band is conveying. The droning notes and chords are exploited to their full extent by saxophonist Michał Małota, while the drummer and percussionist provide rhythmic continuity and occasional eccentricity. One of the defining moments of the album is on “Wejście”, when the folly picks up and a very rare entrance of a voice … Read more
Australian and British entities Lost Salt Blood Purges and Boring Bathtimes have collaborated on a release of massive proportions, elegantly titled Yellow Fog Sword. On this release, Michael Snoxall (Lost Salt Blood Purges) set out to create a novel and its accompanying soundtrack with Oliver Aldridge (Boring Bathtimes), whom he already had made some small collaborations in the past. The original story of Michael ended up as a forty-four-page novelette, illustrated by Ov Exvn Infërnvz. Then, the outline of the music was created, with directions for pacing and events, and the task of coming up with music was handled … Read more
Spring and Summer are the two first releases of the Wildflowers tetralogy, but, as I’ve just come across this project, I’ll write about both EPs at once. Nhor was a British atmospheric black metal band who released a transcendental album in 2013, Within the Darkness between the Starlight. Since then, however, the project seems to have remained focused on the softer side of things, with 2015’s Momenta quintae essentiae and following shorter releases. All of their catalogue displays the same high standards of quality despite the genre change. The newest comers are the first two parts of Wildflowers, … Read more
The Swiss avant-garde black metal quatuor, not satisfied from having released perhaps the best triple-album ever just last year, is already back with The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite. It’s sold as an EP, but crosses the thirty minutes threshold that is commonly used to distinguish EPs from full-lengths; it has seven tracks, but the whole thing feels like one continuous journey into the obscure places of our mind; it’s a work of art that goes above and beyond the traditional scope of black metal and the avant-garde… Indeed, the band themselves wrote that Hermaphrodite is an ‘artistic experiment’, and it’s … Read more
The Italian science-fiction atmospheric black metal trio Progenie terrestre pura will soon release their second full-length album, oltreLuna. With this opus, we see them at their most diversified and confident. Between the blast beats and the atmospheric keyboard pads, you’ll find elements of folk music like the flute on ‘[.Pianeta.Zero.]’, electronic dance music like the dubstep part of ‘[.oltreLuna.]’, and industrial metal. All these make for a really interesting and varied experience, something that is cruelly lacking in the atmospheric black metal landscape. The instruments on there sound very angular, almost mechanical, synthetic, but embedded in all that futuristic, … Read more
French quartet Asylon Terra recently released Blind Man Running, their first, full-length release. Between contemporary jazz, ambient music, and progressive rock, the compositions of Pierre Lordet, clarinetist of the group, take shape on this entrancing album. Anne Quillier, about whose sextet we already wrote, takes seat behind the omnipresent keyboards – the Rhodes and Moog -, while Lucas Hercberg takes bass duties, and Clément Black takes care of the drums. The whole is an astounding result. Blind Man Running will take your breath away. The vast soundscapes played here will submerge you, and even the harder-hitting compositions – … Read more
Devin Townsend has gone many different musical places in his career, frequently doing something drastically different that what he’s done before, most notably on his first four albums in the Devin Townsend Project with Ki, Addicted, Deconstruction, and Ghost. Transcendence is no exception, as it takes his sound to a new level. On this album, Devin took input from the rest of the band, musicians he’s been working with for 10+ years, and relinquished some control to them. Because of this, the band sounds more united than on other recent DTP albums, like Epicloud and Sky Blue.
Dreare is an instrumental post-metal band from the Czech Republic, whom I was introduced to last year when Dave covered them in a One Sentence Review. Being a fan of instrumental metal I decided to check them out, and i’m glad I did!
The trio’s debut album, Blank and Forward, is full of subtleties and nuances. Reverb and feedback are used heavily, making the music sound raw and natural. The lack of complexity in the music also helps accentuate this, as you’re paying just as much attention to the space in between notes, as you are the … Read more
The Flower Kings is a band that really helped carry the torch in the 90’s that bands like Yes lit during the 60’s and 70’s, taking that style of Progressive Rock to a new level and continuing to help it grow. So it’s quite a treat to hear a collaboration between the leader of The Flower Kings, Roine Stolt, and the former lead vocalist of Yes, Jon Anderson. If you’ve ever wondered what a new Flower Kings album with the vocalist from Yes would sound like, Invention of Knowledge is it, as Anderson/Stolt make a perfect combination! As much as … Read more