Blacklist – Outcast
Ever wonder where the A.I.(d) guy went, after releasing that mind-blowing Alchemy album? Well, he’s joined – or put together – a new band: Blacklist! While his former project was centred onto technicality, odd-time signatures, and musical fusions, Blacklist is a much tamer hardcore project that borders on mathcore, but not totally (chaotic hardcore). Their debut EP is promising, but it unfortunately doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the sea of similar bands. Hopefully their sound evolves slightly with future releases, but it’s still a banger!
Dark Radish – EP
Not often we can behold a trio formed of an 8-string guitar, a double bass, and drums. Dark Radish is an experimental and free rock trio from France, and their debut self-titled EP is a joy to listen to. Honestly, the thing is somewhat in-between rock and jazz, but the element of improvisation is quite present nonetheless. Go get it!
Sweet Dog – Sweet Dog
Paul Jarret’s Sweet Dog is a free jazz fusion trio formed of himself on guitar, Julien Soro on tenor saxophone, and Ariel Tessier on drums. This I-think-completely-improvised full-length debut is totally amazing. Each caninocentric piece is a new take on their own sound, and so it never grows tiresome to listen to this rather massive album.
Mindpatrol – Vulture City
Okay, so Luxembourg’s Mindpatrol play what I like to call modern progressive metal: a genre which knows no bound in the metal continent, and that merrily jumps from black to death to metalcore, and many other genres and subgenres. Another example of this is Naeramarth’s latest album, from this year. Vulture City is a pretty good concept album that does all this genre-jumping, and that pretty much excels in all the genres explored. The album comes out in early December.
Boucle infinie – 直線移動 (Chokusen idō)
The much-talked-about synthwave/retrowave project of The Algorithm’s Rémi Gallego has finally birthed. Under the name Boucle infinie (Infinite Loop), Rémi hearkens back to the sounds of the eighties, which are in vogue, apparently. 直線移動 (Chokusen idō) – Google-translated as “Linear Movement” – is an interesting mix of post-rock and synthwave: postwave? The title track is especially successful in this regard, and while the other ones don’t really meet that same level of greatness – except perhaps the closing track, “雨” (Ame) – Boucle infinie has secured its place in my mind, and I’m eager to hear more from this side-project.
Panzerballett – X-Mas Death Jazz
The quintuplet-enamoured German death metal fusion group Panzerballett released their Christmas album! X-Mas Death Jazz showcases the band’s own reinterpretations of classical Christmas songs. Those of you who already know their music won’t be surprised much with this. While it’s good, great even, and will definitely play during this year’s family dinners, there are definitely times which made me want to skip a track entirely; that “Little Drummer Boy” song is perhaps the most striking example. But yeah, if you want a prog Christmas album, look no further!
Animal Mother – Golf
Self-labeled garage jazz band Animal Mother released Golf in September. This jazz fusion full-length sees the sax, bass, and percussions trio perform at their best and bring dynamic compositions at the fore. Their themes are interesting and interweaving, and their songs have a lot of potential for improvisation, making one of their live shows a thing I really wish to see!
Colors in Mind – The Observer
Colors in Mind’s sophomore album draws uncanny similarities with other post-prog bands. Off the top of my head, I can sometimes hear Australian Arcane and Swedish Delvoid sensibilities through the American crew. The Observer is an interesting and promising album with a slight lo-fi charm far from the overpolished, sterilized releases of modern prog bands with more means. I recommend you give this one a chance!
Ylva – Meta
While there’s unfortunately only one track available to stream from Meta – or M E T A –, I’m sure you can clearly see the appeal in this band’s debut album. Their post-metal recipe includes a lethal dose of sludge, a pinch of atmosphere, and a lot of low, heavy riffs! Of course, it’s not uncommon for bands signed to bigger labels to see their music hindered by practices so hostile to the fans and consumers. It’s really a lose-lose situation. Even if I say this album is pretty good, you’ve only got my word and one song to judge for yourselves, and I think that’s very unfortunate.