Mini-Reviews XXXV

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving is a band I’ve unjustly overlooked, throughout the years. However, someone told me they’re worth listening to, and I gave them a real chance. Yield to Despair came out in 2015, and it’s one very good album. The band’s vision of post-metal infuses elements of doom metal, progressive rock, and jazz, while also leaning in with some experimentation. If you, too, overlooked this band, you might want to reconsider.
Ikarus‘ avant-garde jazz shone bright, on their first album, Echo. Now, they’ve released a follow-up, Chronosome, that’s more than worthy. The odd time signatures and complex counterpoints, fugues, and canons making up the rhythmic and harmonic patchwork are both challenging and obnubilating. The two singers, Stefanie and Andreas, step up once again to colour the compositions with wordless vocal lines, using them, once again, as instruments, first and foremost. This album is one of the highlights of the year.
Sequoyah blends djent with hardcore music, and makes something quite enjoyable out of that! Perception was released in late October, but fell through the cracks until now. The singer sometimes has eery similarities to Periphery’s, Spencer, but spends more time in ‘hardcore’ mode rather than in death metal or melodic modes. The compositions themselves are nothing to reinvent the wheel, but they’re quite good and enjoyable. So, take a listen!
The progressive death metal band Oni made some ripples in anticipation of their album, Ironshore, but nothing big. They have a peculiarity in that their keyboardist is, in fact, a xylosynthist; he’s a xylophonist playing on a xylophone synthesizer (and quite impressively so). The tracks being singled out were interesting enough to warrant my follow-up on it, and I’m not disappointed in the result. Ironshore is a very good prog-death slab of fifty minutes. It tries many things and, even if it’s not excelling everywhere, it’s still quite a headbanger!
The Algorithm just released an EP, as an addition to their latest album, Brute Force, called Overclock DLC. It features three new tracks and a remix of a track found on the original album, and who’s going to spit on new music from The Algorithm? Well, it’s not as good as what’s found on Brute Force, which leaves me to believe they’re, in fact, song ideas that were thrown out from the original release, to be released here instead. Maybe I’m wrong. Anyways, if you’re a fan of the project, there’s no reason for you to miss out on this little EP.
How did I not hear of Atsuko Chiba before? The experimental, progressive rock band from Montreal blends many genres in their latest album, The Memory Empire. Within their style, they use math rock, hip hop, and post-rock to add character to their compositions, and it works perfectly well together. The three tracks on the EP each has its own path to travel, and focus on a different aspect of the band’s sound. It’s another late discovery for me.
Argentine math rock band Dislexia Free just released EP. I know the band from their split with Archipiélagos and Hungría, two other majestic math rock bands from the South American country. Dislexia Free’s EP is a fun little math rock release with a slight punkish feel, and a strong DIY vibe.
Post-death metal from Sydney can only be a good sign. Convulsing is the side-project of Brendan Sloan, from the post-rock band Dumbsaint, and it just released Errata, its debut full-length. As well as delving into post-metal, it blurs the line between death and black metals. The compositions are great and cathartic, but the programming of the drums leaves a bitter taste, which makes the album difficult to fully appreciate. I know too well the reasons that lead to someone using programmed drums, but the result is nevertheless the same: the overused samples and their narrow dynamic range are a strain on the ears and brain. However, if you’ve not grown as tired as me of synthesized drums, you’ll be able to dive completely in this album filled with great compositions.

On November 27 2016, this entry was posted.