Mini-Reviews XXXIX

It’s a much busier December than I expected! Being the last month of the year, I would’ve expected there to be fewer releases, especially considering all the year end’s lists being published left and right. Oh well, it’s their lost, not ours – not yours, loyal readers! Let’s go over this!
Okay, there’s not a lot on this album, online, but it’s a pretty sweet progressive black metal album. The Prisoner is a Lebano-Franco-Scottish collaboration including the singer of Gorod. Life of the Mind is their sophomore album, and was just released today. It’s really quite an amazing journey; at over an hour long, it doesn’t stagnate and keeps pushing forward with a mix of death metal riffs and black metal tremolo picking and blast beats sections. It’s extreme and cathartic, and Julien’s vocal delivery is simply on point. The entirety of it has been recorded as humanly as possible, that excludes the use of a metronome and drum triggers, so the end result is an organic, breathing piece. Conceptually, it tackles the mind of a prisoner slowly going crazy and raging mad, which befits this album perfectly! You can listen to ‘O Vengeance’ on bandcamp.
Gnaw Their Tongues is already pretty well-known for their experimental black metal, but I feel they’re taking it up a notch, on Hymns for the Broken, Swollen and Silent, which also comes out today. The forty minutes on display are just as deranging as it gets. If it’s not a little girl’s voice excerpt, it’s out of tune dissonant strings or electronic drones. It’s an album that writhes eerily inside your head, and is flawlessly executed to be the soundtrack to a nonexistent horror movie.

Hacktivist just released their latest nu-djent single, Over-Throne. You already know, by now, that the band has pretty much fallen from grace and keeps digging their own one-trick pony tomb, but since there’s still very few bands in the scene, it’s not a lethal flaw. The single comes with three other tracks: an acoustic version of ‘Taken’, a remix of ‘Buszy’, and ‘(Rock) Superstar’, which all are pretty much lacklustre. If you really dig nu-djent, I guess this is for you.
Poland’s Furia released, last month, Księżyc milczy luty, their second album. Labeled as ‘nekrofolk’, the band’s music sounds like jazz-tinted blackened doom rock. The singer has a very deep voice, when it’s not in harsh-singing mode, but there is a strong emphasis on instrumental music, here. While nothing to go crazy about, it’s a nice, refreshing, soft and melancholic album that will appeal to fans of black and doom metal.
Okay. If you like your coffee black and weird, Legion and the Thieves are the baristi you need. Bedlam came out in November, but is just now popping up everywhere I go. Their debut album sits comfortably in the boundaries of the avant-garde black metal scene, with their use of harsh and clean vocals, electronics, and off-putting melodies. Their motto, ‘Prepare to be challenged’, must be taken from a neophyte’s perspective, as I don’t believe they make particularly challenging music; it’s, in fact, quite appreciable! Go listen to ‘I Am in Athens and Pericles Is Young’ and reevaluate your ‘challenge’. Nonetheless, Bedlam is a very enjoyable and ear-friendly avant-black album, which is something of a rarity.
Post-jazz? Yes, I am very much in favour of that. Virta‘s Hurmos came out in early December and is already making waves around. The songs from the Finnish trio are artfully dosed with post-rock and jazz influences to brew a stunning ambrosia. Between the slowly moving sceneries of a train window and inner contemplation, Hurmos will put you in a deeper state of mind. It’s magical, it’s beautiful.

Japanese math-pop band Jyocho just released their first album, 祈りでは届かない距離 (A Prayer in Vain). It has a very strong indie-folk feel, but is enhanced by the presence of a flute. A friend commented that it sounds just like Uchu Conbini and The Perfect Sports – which it does! -, so I guess that means I also have to check out these wonderful bands. This album is quite captivating, thanks to the very capable musicians behind the scenes. It’s a bit difficult to get your hands on it, if you’re outside of Japan, but it’s worth the hassle!
And let’s end today’s edition with the space-themed progressive post-hardcore of Innerspace. The band released Voyager this November for voluntary contribution on bandcamp, and it’s great! The delivery is on point, emotional and anthemic, and the compositions succeed in reflecting that despite the apparently emotionless nature of space exploration and scientific endeavours. It’s truly a memorable album that I’ll assuredly go back to regularly. I recommend you give it a download right just now!

On December 9 2016, this entry was posted.