Baswoom & Stationer is a Polonoportuguese collaboration that gave birth to Depths, a thirty-minute ambient album. The sounds on record are layered, vibrant, and numerous, which really gives it a lush feeling. The seven tracks feel like modern soundtracks: with glitch, electronica, and just a bit of post-rock thrown in. A nice, relaxing album!
Greek progressive black metal Spectral Lore broke their one-year silence with Fossils, an ambient classical album. While Voyager and Gnosis were more tranquil than usual, for the band, this one is the barest and most contemplative one. While I haven’t been blown away by it as I did by the aforementioned two, it’s a nice collection of songs that still hold the Spectral Lore flame. You can undeniably hear their personality shining through. It’s a good substitute to make us wait for IV.
Math punk rock band Unamused Dave just released a two-song EP; Chuck’s EP, precisely. ‘1000x’ and ‘Well-Wisher’ are two tracks reminding me of my teenage days, but with a little math rock edge in the guitars, which makes it clear we’re in current day, and not 2001. If you’re not a fan of the more lenient vocals often found in punk rock, you might find this a bit challenging to listen to, but give it a shot nonetheless, because it’s pretty neat!
Féroces is a French post rock band who put out a really lovely album, last year, in the form of Juliette. Today, they released Donna, a single that comes with two remixes. The song is gentle and dreamy, with their trademark use of old French movie excerpts. It’s a very short release, but it’s quite beautiful, and the two remixes tweak the song in slightly different ways, which makes it interesting.
Frozen Sand is a progressive metal band from Italy, and Fractals: A Shadow out of Lights is their upcoming concept album. I didn’t fully delve into the concept, but ‘A Melody through Time and Space’ hints at parallel timelines, just like one of my favourite movies: The Fountain. The singer made me believe, at first, I was listening to a guest spot from Mutiny Within’s Chris Clancy, which isn’t a bad thing at all. However, upon closer inspection, you can tell the two apart quite easily. The four-act album doesn’t do anything radically new, music-wise. In fact, it’s all pretty generic progressive metal, but it’s well-executed enough that it’s not an inconvenience. It’s nothing revolutionary, and it’s quite derivative, actually, but it’s done with care and passion. Factals: A Shadow out of Lights is coming out on January nineteenth.
Microtonal progressive metal project Cryptic Ruse just unleashed Pineal Algebra upon the world. First off, I think it’s much better than 2014’s Chains of Smoke, which was an interesting experiment, but lacked in substance. Here, the compositions use the xenharmonic scales more naturally, and don’t feel like they are relying on a gimmick. The riffs are very interesting and, sometimes, quite intricate, which is exciting to hear on a microtonal instrument. However, one of the biggest flaws of the release is the use and abuse of programmed drums. As in too many instances, they detract from the experience, and bring down the ‘quality’ feeling of the album. The compositions here deserve to be treated like a real band instead of a bunch of demos. This is pretty much the only downside, though, and, if you’re fine with the drums, it’s an otherwise great album!
Ethmebb is a French progressive metal band, and they will release La quête du Saint Grind on January fifteenth. Don’t mind the incessant references to ‘grind’, as this is not grindcore. What it is, however, is some mildly interesting symphonic progressive melodic death metal. The riffs are quite generic, and so are the lead guitars. The lyrics tell a humoristic tale heavily inspired by medieval fantasy, to which I was quite indifferent, but you’d be hard pressed to decipher all the lyrics by ear, and would have to know French. Throughout the album, the orchestrations are omnipresent, and add a lot to the sensation of it being an epic tale; I appreciate. The drums, here too, suffer from sounding sampled or programmed, even though the band includes a drummer, according to their facebook page. That’s really a shame, but it’s less noticeable, under the many layers of keyboards, vocals, and other instruments. As you go down the track list, the songs get longer and longer, starting with a three-minute orchestral introduction, and ending with an eleven-minute progressive death metal epic starring Bruce Lee, sodomy, and nudity; only more examples of the type childish humour found on La quête du Saint Grind.
Time Bomb‘s newest release, Swan Song, is a fifty-minute experiment in mathcore. If you’re already familiar with Patrick Hogan’s works, you won’t find yourself disoriented. Nonetheless, Swan Song is a noteworthy addition to his own portfolio, as well as your mathcore library.