Mini-Reviews XXVII

British melodic progressive metal band Hieroglyph are to release their new album, Ouroboros, on November eighteenth. The eleven-track, sixty-seven minute concept album explores cards of the tarot, most specifically the Major Arcana. Most tracks are pretty generic, but showcase an enjoyable if expectable sound, but the closer, ‘Ouroboros (The Magician)’ shows what the band can do with some additional time to explore their compositions. Overall, it’s a pretty good album, but it’s nothing exceptional.
Værbitt‘s Tid is a pretty substantial slab of Norwegian atmospheric black metal with blackgaze elements. The three tracks on record, each at around or above twenty minutes, make you go to hell and back in a voyage filled with emotions and landscapes. Their triptych is absolutely beautiful, melancholic, and timeless. It’s a real treat for any fan of the genre and beyond.
Scottish atmospheric folk black metal project Saor are releasing Guardians, their third album, on November eleventh. It’s a beautiful and inspiring piece of music inspired by Scotland’s traditional heritage (we even get to hear some bagpipes and flutes in there!) Everything is written by one person, aided by other people for actually playing and recording the instruments, which is rather impressive. It also provides us a really coherent vision and sound that’s much appreciated.
Thoren is best described as an instrumental version of Coma Cluster Void. Their newest release and debut full-length, Brennenburg, delves into odd rhythms and unstable harmonies to create a sense of unease only matched by CCV and serves as a very fitting soundtrack to their horror-inspired cover art. It’s heavy, filthy, and messy, but calculated and engineered to create revulsion. It’s really a great album that comes just in time to serve as Halloween ambience music.
Lost in Kiev is an experimental post-rock/post-hardcore band from France, and Nuit noire is their sophomore album. The project is to write a soundtrack to concepts and thematics that are reinforced via visuals, in their live shows, and audio excerpts. The music is therefore very contemplative and evocative of specific emotions or feelings, as well as heavy on the use of synths. The album is an experience in itself, even if it lacks the multimedia side of it. I suggest you take a listen to it and judge for yourself.
Maeth is an interesting beast. Part atmospheric, part sludge, part stoner, part post-metal, and completely different. Shrouded Mountain just came out with a bit more than forty minutes of psychedelic metal, and it’s really good! One thing that grabs my ears is a very unique cymbal that’s used throughout the record and adds just a flair of eccentricity on the already-noteworthy experience. It’s a really good album that you should definitely try.
France’s avant-garde proggers Pryapisme just put out a remake of their 2005 debut Pump up the Pectine, entitled Repump the Pectine. The songs have been re-recorded and possibly slightly reworked as well; their order on the disc has been changed, as well as their titles altered, and a one-minute interlude – ‘Le couenneux boiteux’ -, has been added. Pryapisme is one of the very best avant-garde progressive metal acts today, with their uplifting and even catchy songs that don’t care for genre boundaries. This new recording gives their old compositions a new life and allows us to enjoy them even more than we did when they originally came out. A must!
Gross Ex Machina is a really interesting experimental jazz mathcore fusion project. The stream above is of their 2015 EP Wounder, but I’ll be reviewing their newest release, Voice of an Inaudible Hum. First up, it’s really short. At less than fifteen minutes in length, the three-track EP still manages to be one of the best releases of the genre. Experimental jazz really is a ceaseless source of amazement.

As with the last set of mini-reviews, the last four albums are dedicated to bands I should’ve followed more closely, the releases of which I’ve missed.
This begins with Canadian stoner rock band Chron Goblin. I really liked 2013’s Life for the Living, but didn’t notice their third full-length, Backwater, which came out last year. Well, I’m glad to see that it’s the same brand of high-energy melodic hard rock with a fuzzy bass and just a touch of ‘prog’ to its general vibe. It’s a nice album that completes my Chron Goblin collection.
Karhu is a progressive metal band from the United Kingdom, and I’ve covered Survival of the Richest 2.0: Super Crazy HD Edition+ on the website before, but missed their newest release, Genericist. Made with a new band lineup, it nonetheless remains a spiritual successor to SOTR2SCHDE+ while amping up overall quality. The riffs hit hard and the songs are well written, what more to ask?
I remember having been sent Street Sects‘ debut, Gentrification I: The Morning after the Night We Raped Death, and not quite ‘getting it’. Two years – and three albums – later, it’s still a remarkably challenging experience! The project is to make hardcore plunderphonics music, which is to create new music out of audio samples. What proportion of their sound is from original material I do not know, but the vocals and drums, at least, sound coherent enough to be almost certainly genuine. End Position is possibly their best release yet, and it’s a real treat once you accept the band’s bizarre aesthetics and idiosyncrasies.
Remember when Cormorant‘s album Dwellings was all the hype, back in 2011? I still think the album’s beautiful vertical cover was responsible for about half of it, as I can still not really appreciate the music present on the record. That might be why Earth Diver, which came out in 2014, was completely off-radar for me. I still gave it a try, earlier this month, and was pleasantly surprised! The band’s progressive black metal got tighter, more fleshed out, and generally just better, overall. Fret not, it isn’t entirely due to my evolving tastes, since I still dislike Dwellings; Earth Diver is simply better.

On October 29 2016, this entry was posted.