Clown Core – Van
I never gave Clown Core the full credit they deserve. When they released their hit single “Toilet”, I thought it was alright, but didn’t hear from them since. However, when they released a new single—”Van”—they also released two full EPs on Bandcamp. That’s when I realized that “Toilet” was more than a single, and how dumb I was. So, as a way to catch up for my mistake, I’m recommending Van to you all. Clown Core actually has an utterly entrancing rhythm section, backed up by “horrorcore” style synthesizers and a saxophone that’s always on point, although rarely showing off. The EP seldom hops between genres, but when it does it’s always a treat. So, treat yourselves with these two albums.
Sarah Kirkland Snider & Gallicantus – Mass for the Endangered (New Amsterdam)
Mass for the Endangered is a contemporary work for choir and ensemble by the amazing composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. At once an homage and requiem to the various lifeforms populating the world. As you can imagine, the piece is immensely sad and beautiful. Although it follows quite strictly the form and codes of traditional mass music, Mass for the Endangered shines as a unique work tackling urgent issues and underlining the importance of the integrity of nature. Please, do yourselves the pleasure of listening to this.
Convulsif – Extinct (Hummus)
Out next month is Swiss jazzcore band Convulsif‘s newest opus, Extinct. You can tell straight away from the singles available that they are not messing around: odd metres, distorted bass, blaring saxophone, and blasting drums make for the perfect storm. The hidden player here is the violinist, often high up in extreme treble zone, where the wild shredding of the violin merges with the cymbals and other overtones to supplement the noise and cacophony of the record. Perhaps it is just a place where I don’t often focus my attention, but nevertheless it gives the record yet another layer of insanity. It’s a marvellous album!
Bathe – A Field Guide to Dead Birds
Bathe is a mathcore quartet from South Carolina, and they just released A Field Guide to Dead Birds. This is their third album and the years of the band honing their craft and perfecting their sound pays off. On the album, you’ll hear a distinct sludge metal influence to the compositions, when the band leaves math homeworks for a little while to take a swim in municipal wastewater. It’s a distinctly dirty and amazing album.
Layma Azur – Adéu
Layma Azur is the child of Spanish multi-instrumentalist Santiago Fradejas. Matt even put his album Zeii on his “Albums of the decade” list, so you know that this name is synonymous with great quality. I’ve heard many mentions of this band basically being the Spanish Kayo Dot as well, which I think does not paint an adequate picture. Yes, it’s a dark, atmospheric, progressive piece of rock, but there’s also plenty of jazz in there, and, where Kayo Dot strayed (and continues to stray) into different musical avenues, Layma Azur plows a straight path without trying to reinvent itself (too much), instead endeavouring to perfect their musical offering. Adéu is yet another step taken on the endless staircase to perfection.
Corps fleur – Corps fleur
It took me a while to truly grasp UK’s Corps fleur. It was good at first, but kept getting better with each listen, so much so that I decided to include the album today. Post-black metal and blackgaze, intertwined genres that they are, exploded in the recent years—in no small part due to Deaf Heaven, despite what you might think of the band—and Corps fleur is a rather unimpressive iteration at first glance. It has no strikingly different or unique feature, it sounds more or less like any other blackgaze project, it even features my old nemesis: programmed drums… Yet, there is a lyricism, a vision, an aesthetic in this sound, a call like that of a siren’s song, beckoning me ever closer. Well, here it is, I just wish you a similar experience with the record. Enjoy!
Shrouded Serenity – The Somnambulist
“Heavy Experimental music by Bernardo Rebelo”. That what the Bandcamp description reads. And, as vague and nondescript as it may sound, it kind of gets it extremely right. I’d say it lies somewhere between the realms of black and death metal, but with a heavy dose of experimentalism and a variegated set of influences. For ease of reading, I’d probably say this belongs to “progressive death metal”, but I might also change my mind. No matter in what category this belongs, it’s a killer album that will surprise you at every corner.
Autocatalytica – Powerclashing Maximalism
Remember Autocatalytica, which I tagged “avant-garde deathgrind” back in 2016? Well, the Torontonian one-man (?) band is back with Powerclashing Maximalism, and it’s about as amazing as its title. I’ve had a hard time tagging this one as well, but I think I’ll stick with the good ol’ catch-all “progressive metal”. Yes, it’s got mathcore; yes, it’s got deathgrind; yes, it’s got djent, so what am I to do? Find the common denominator, I guess! So, you’ll be treated with an incredibly high calibre product for all aforementioned genres (and more!) Fans of heavy music and multiple genres, jump right in and support this awesome artist!
Zerpents – Black Mold and Hot Springs (面向異日 [Mīnghiàng ǐ rı̍g / Future Proof])
Let’s end this extra-long edition with Taiwan-based free improvisation unit Zerpents—stylized (Z)erpents—and their incredible live recording in Taipei, Black Mold and Hot Springs. We here witness guitar, saxophone, percussion, electronics, bass, and voice being tortured for the entertainment of a little crowd. The treatment of those instruments is quite horrendous, but the more inhumane the ritual, the more pleasure is derived from it. So, feel free to enjoy the show!