Bolt Gun – Begotten (Art as Catharsis)
“Ambient noise black doom” is the tag that best describes what you’re about to hear. Although, not all at once. Begotten is a carefully constructed piece that ranges indeed from ambient music all the way to blackened doom metal and harsh noise, but the arrangement and choice of sounds on this album are downright otherworldly. It may take ages for a song to truly kick in, if it even does so, but all the buildup gives way to such a cathartic explosion it’s difficult to put words on! It’s a soundtrack to grief, an altar to pain. A stellar follow-up to Man Is Wolf to Man, be ready for it!
Project 206 – Volatile
Galen Bundy’s Project 206 is one of messing around with jazz and pushing personal limits. On the Volatile debut EP, we’re met with a lot of interesting ideas coming from all sides that coalesce into one beast of a record, challenging both the musicians who have to play it and the listeners who have to listen to it. Give yourself that pleasure.
Rejoice! The Light Has Come – Untitled (Transcending)
West Virginia avant-garde black metal newcomers Rejoice! The Light Has Come give us their vision of what black metal should be in 2020 on their untitled debut EP. This vision takes heavy inspiration from Drought-era Deathspell Omega and such, focusing on chromatic dissonance, independent voices between the two guitars and the bass, and an utter and complete destruction of the drum kit, thanks to Kevin Paradis’s collaboration. Needless to say, this is a highly promising debut for the band!
Cursed Mantis – Cursed Mantis
Cursed Mantis is an international project from Montréal, Québec, and Sweden labelled as “grindwave”. I don’t have to tell you that this tag alone sufficed to fan the embers of my intrigue into a blazing fire. It turns out that Cursed Mantis is an eclectic album taking inspiration from all across the board, from grindcore and synthwave, as expected, to dance music, melodic death metal, and black metal. Apart from the novel factor of these uncommon genre crossings, the album as a whole is a cohesive experience that’s ridiculously enjoyable.
आभास (Ābhāsa) – १ (Eka) (Mystic Timbre)
So, what exactly is this? १ (Eka) is the debut album of mysterious American entity आभास (Ābhāsa), here remastered and re-released. The band is mostly about crafting eerie atmospheres with Eastern music instruments, timbres, and philosophy, and throws in a healthy dose of sludgy post-metal. The album is crushingly oppressive and fascinating.
Stuart McCowan – The Perfect Nemesis
Stuart McCowan is an Australian pianist and composer releasing his debut album, The Perfect Nemesis. It’s an impressive progressive jazz fusion release, especially for a debut! At times, it feels like listening to progressive rock covered by a jazz band, and that’s part of what makes it a really interesting and compelling experience. The compositions can go from atmospheric and pretty mellow to hectic and erratic in an instant, which spices things up! Be sure to check it out!
Bec plexus – Sticklip (New Amsterdam)
Bec plexus is an avant-pop band from the Netherlands, and they’ve just released their debut album, Sticklip. With their focus on high-energy rhythms and eccentric vocals, they remind me a lot of Jptr, a favourite of mine! Bec plexus can do a bit more than the Swiss duo, however, given the impressive list of collaborators on the album. With a varied sound palette and an instinct for catchy-yet-odd melodies, you’re sure to hear more from Bec plexus in the future!
Glass Museum – Reykjavík (Sdban)
Glass Museum is a Belgian nu jazz duo in the spirits of Go Go Penguin and Immortal Onion. Reykjavík, out on March 27, is the band’s sophomore album, via Sdban Ultra, and it’s an evocative, cinematic experience, looping in odd times and compelling melodies. Check it out!
Wares – Survival (Mint)
I’ve already discussed Wares on here, and why I love their sound, so I will be concise. Survival is the Canadian surf-noise rock’s newest album, and they’re at the top of their form! The songs on record are memorable, emotional, and either lush and atmospheric or rapid and energetic. It’s a real gem.
Tom Namias – Stuck in the Middle
French guitarist and composer Tom Namias has long alluded to putting together an album. There once was an untitled EP that since vanished from the Internet, and there also a guest appearance on Chaoh Reiccuk‘s Nantes, but now there is an actual album: Stuck in the Middle! It’s a tasteful metal-meets-jazz—the so-called djazz portmanteau—endeavour that goes to a lot of places, and does it exceptionally well. The only bémol I have experienced with the album is for the programmed drums, which sometimes stand out as obviously fake to the point of being irritating, but most of the time they do a good job of staying out of the spotlight. It’s a promising debut and I can’t wait to hear more already!
Emme Phyzema – A Series of Related Dreams
Multi-instrumentalist and weirdo composer Emme Phyzema just released A Series of Related Dreams, her first album with live drums, courtesy of Others by No One‘s Sam Ruff. Emme Phyzema’s work was always great, but now, with just a little bit more effort and collaboration, it sounds truly fantastic, otherworldly, unrealistic! A Series of Related Dreams is an awesome experimental prog release so don’t miss out on it!