With the release of their fourth full-length album in six years, a band I once called “one of the best, most progressive young bands in metal right now” is nearing a level of establishment and maturity that probably signifies we can ditch the “young” adjective. While not everyone knows who Dreadnought is, Dreadnought knows what it is, and they waste no time on Emergence reminding us, kicking off the album with more immediacy than ever before. On the first track of their 2013 debut, Lifewoven, they opened with haunting ethereal atmosphere, introducing us to flute, congas, and lilting vocals … Read more
Consider the metal albums over the last decade or so that have received near-universal acclaim from critics and fans. The names that come to my mind include such releases as Vektor’s Terminal Redux, Mgła’s Exercises in Futility, and Rivers of Nihil’s Where Owls Know My Name. One common thread among these crowd-pleasers is that they tend to be a band’s second or third album; they’ve taken a couple of releases to find their footing and refine their sound, then it all finally comes together a few years into their career. Comparatively, very few bands … Read more
Mord’a’stigmata—not a name that is easily forgotten—has been a name on the periphery of my radar for years. The Polish group’s brand of bleak metal never captivated me enough to warrant much attention, but on fifth full-length Dreams of Quiet Places they have refined their sound into something impossible to ignore. Both composition and production have taken a substantial step up from 2017’s Hope, with nods to purveyors of blackened sludge like Rorcal and older Altar of Plagues, alongside psychedelic elements reminiscent of Entropia and older A Forest of Stars (or their lesser-known reincarnation, The Water Witch… Read more
Angel Marcloid does not quit. From the experimental vaporwave of Fire-Toolz to the longform atmospherics of Mindspring Memories, along with myriad other boundary-pushing projects, the Chicago artist has uploaded enough complex and challenging auditory and visual material to crash the kind of ancient computer on which it seems appropriate to engage it. Under the new moniker Nonlocal Forecast, Angel quite literally synthesizes some of her biggest influences from the eighties’ and nineties’ prog rock, smooth jazz, and new age scenes using almost entirely digital instrumentation and programming. The result, Bubble Universe!, is an … Read more
Here’s the generic opening sentence where I mention that 2018 was another fantastic year for music and that I listened to more new stuff than ever before.
That’s technically true.
Here’s a more honest opening: 2018 was both a little bit underwhelming for new music (2017 was a lot better) and a scattered year for my listening habits. My hierarchy of audio consumption over the past calendar year was something like: 1) sports podcasts; 2) old jazz, as two friends and I sought to explore the 52 [now 54] sub-genres listed on Wikipedia in 52 weeks; 3) extended loops … Read more