Mini-Reviews XX

Twenty sets of mini-reviews already! This puts us at more than one hundred and sixty albums presented to you since we changed names from one-sentence reviews to mini-reviews, which are a bit more fleshed out. Let’s see what special music this vintage brings us.

Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk singer from Nunavut, Canada. She’s probably best known for being the throat singer on Björk’s Medúlla album. For now, she has released four full-length albums, mostly under the general label of experimental pop and folk music. Anuraaqtuq – also named ᐊᓄᕌᖅᑐᖅ, The Wind, or Le vent – is a live recording with percussions and strings that make it fall far into experimental music territory. The main focus is on Tagaq’s outstanding control of her voice and singing technique, as well as storytelling supported by the two musicians at her side. This might be shocking to hear for someone who is unfamiliar with throat singing, but it’s truly a wonderful record merging experimental classical music and jazz with folk and world music. She has a new album coming out this year with a much more electronic and harsh sound to it and for which I’m really excited. In any case, I highly recommend you listen to anyone of her albums and expand your musical horizons.

Ogden is the upcoming album of progressive metal/deathcore band Foreclosure of a Dream. It’s got a load of heavy prog influences like Between the Buried and Me, but less eccentric, or Meshuggah, but less polyrhythmic. You can listen to ‘Boneyard’ for now, and I really like the subtle changes that occur throughout the song. The album is a bunch of twelve very good songs demonstrating their recognizable style on songwriting and solo crafting. Be sure to check when this hits, on October third.
Will of the Mountain is a Costa Rican melodic progressive metal band, and Cloud Walking came out in March of this year. The band is instrumental, but they have invited a flurry of singers on their album, delivering inconsistent performances. For example, the first track – ‘Mountain’ – is great and has a real epic build to it, while ‘Sanctuary’, for example, is almost intolerable. I guess this goes to your preferences in singers, but there’s also a discrepancy in the musical aspect of things. Some songs seem to have been much more thought out than others, which makes for interesting songs and bland ones. Give it a listen, and decide for yourself.

Sorry about the live video, but there’s no other source for the band’s new material for now. Mercy Isle is an alternative metal band and Undying Fire is their upcoming album, on October twenty-first. What’s there to say about these almost intolerable Evanescence impersonators and Nightwish wannabes? The whole album is full of generic compositions that are cliché in form and content. It’s an album I’d recommend you avoid at all cost.
Master Boot Record is at it again, this time with C:\>CHKDSK /F. The project’s synthesized, pseudo-chiptune neoclassical power-prog shines on this fourth release (in one month!) I guess this is somewhat close to The Algorithm, although less experimental and progressive, and focused on the melodic aspect of things. I don’t think the mastermind behind it will change his ways any time soon, but given the nature of the project, it might lose my interest pretty soon without further development.
Crator is a progressive technical death metal supergroup including members of Gorguts, Origin, and Dysrhythmia. The Ones Who Create : The Ones Who Destroy came out in the middle of September, and brings almost forty minutes of intense, technical, and dissonant compositions. Colin Marston’s bass – which I suspect is on Warr Guitar – is noticeable without being at the foreground and stealing the show, but definitely adds a new complex layer of depth to the recordings. It’s a really fun album, for fans of the genre. Give it a try!
1974 & the Echoes of War is the last album in the ‘Lazer Trilogy’ of 1974, a retro prog / classic rock band from Connecticut. ‘1974 & the Death of the Herald’ was a really good album, and I’m glad that they’re back with more music, as well as the closing chapter of their concept album trilogy. The compositions of 1974 are expectedly of high quality, with a retrospective sound that is unashamedly assumed and that works very well: synth organs, vocal harmonies of multiple voices, and concepts set in a technological future… They really make it sound as if Boston or Styx went the prog road, and it’s just amazing. Get on board of this alternate history, and enjoy the nostalgia that could’ve been!
Salqiu is an avant-garde atmospheric black metal project from Portugal, and To Whom It Serves the Triumphant Destiny is their upcoming album, releasing on October first. This album goes everywhere and lives up to its avant-garde tag: violins playing something straight out of contemporary classical music interrupting a sped-up twin bass drums seizure is but one example found in the opening track. The rest is up to you to uncover, but the atmospheric black metal album is filled with experimentation, industrial metal influences, and organic instrumentation (saxophone, flute, and clarinet). It’s quite a unique release, something that will be on its own shelf!

On September 24 2016, this entry was posted.