The suffix ‘-gaze’ has certainly been on the rise, lately, and, even with my former disliking of the budding subgenre, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. Planning for Burial apply the term to a new genre, creating doomgaze. It’s my first time listening to something like this, and I value it a lot, now! Below the House is charged with emotion and heaviness, staying low and slow, with a very raw sound to it. The album comes out on March tenth, and it would be a great idea to listen to the available songs now to make your own mind about it.
Australian band Osaka Punch released Death Monster Super Squad last September, and this thing flew completely under my radar. Don’t let the silly names of the band and album lead you to believe that this is anything short of near-perfect. The album mixes heavy progressive rock with catchy vocal lines, a lot of funky, groovy riffs, and some pop music elements on top of it all. It’s viciously contagious, but well executed and thoroughly thought-out so that it’s nothing cheaply done. It’s quite engrossing and completely enjoyable!
Art against Agony, from Germany, brings a new act to their 2014 debut Three Short Stories, with The Forgotten Story. It’s a reworking of some songs from that first album into a twenty-six-minute EP with five tracks. All songs were already decently fleshed-out as they were, but they’re now even better, well-matured. The band’s sound lies somewhere between progressive metal and fusion, and their music is both impressive and highly fun to listen.
Out on April tenth, Identity unleashes a slew of jazz at the junction of Snarky Puppy and Bitches Brew, by British artist Patrick Lester-Rourke. Branching the realms of world music, contemporary classical, and jazz music, the hour-long album brings a big band (duodecet) into play with intricate compositions which incorporate improvisation, too. Some songs are more droney pieces, like ‘Anka’, some are more Oriental-sounding, like ‘Sooryoday’, and others are more folk (‘Druska Moma’), but all are excellent. Truly an album to which to look forward! (Yes, I too do think the above teaser is much too short…)
French avant-garde progressive rock team Nooumena finally released their sophomore album, Controlled Freaks, after waiting since late 2015 to find a label through which to release it. This was finally realized, thanks to L’étourneur, a new name to me. With hints to the Rock in Opposition movement, musically, this album is sure to make more than a few of you happy!
Italia’s Human is a technical death metal entity with a certain emphasis on the ‘humanity’ of the sound – coincidentally – and going back and forth between dissonance- and consonance-focused passages, giving the whole things a sort of ebb and flow, tension and release that is quite efficient and pleasant to hear! It’s a very good album!
Now, let’s get weird a bit. Sunstitutor‘s Failed State is something of an experimental – voire avant-garde – album that’s hard to pin down. Is it a sort of strange math rock, is it unconventional jazz, or is it experimental electronic music? I genuinely wouldn’t know, maybe it’s all the above. However, the album proves to be an utterly fascinating experience filled with oddities, challenges, and winding paths. It’s best that I don’t tell much, and that you go and experiment on your own, because it’s definitely something worth it!
The Ancient Mental is a Hong Kongese band who definitely likes to jam some Animals as Leaders. Philomath is, indeed, a very technicality-focused djent EP, but – contrary to their inspiration, and much to my pleasure – features a quite-prominent bass guitarist, instead of the quiet backing tracks of AaL albums. Congratulations! Evidently, it’s nigh impossible to match the virtuosity of Mssrs. Abasi and Rayes, but guitarist Adam Aaron has nothing to be ashamed about because what’s on there is tasty and still very demanding. Great job, y’all! This is a mighty fine album you got there!
I once wondered what ‘death Zeuhl’ or ‘black Zeuhl’ would sound like, and Vaults of Zin gives me one element of answer, with their 2016 album Kadath. The beast lies more in the dens of sludge and doom metal, as evidenced by the opener ‘Amduat’, but things pick up quickly enough and make that lengthy buildup all the more rewarding. Soon enough, odd times come in rapid succession and really throw you down from your chair. It’s honestly one of the most interesting heavy metal albums I’ve listened to, recently, and that’s quite a feat! This is a must!