Dan’s Top 31 Albums of 2020

A bit late to the party, but here we are, nonetheless.

Let’s get the obvious out the way first. 2020 was a bad year, and this did have a knock-on effect with the amount of music that was released as well. While I personally would not say we had any absolute gamechangers this year, that doesn’t mean the year was an absolute waste. (At least, not in this one regard…) It was enough to bring me back from the dead, after all.

I may not have the same mettle for metal as Matt, nor the same dedication to deathlessly digging … Read more

Devin Townsend – Empath

Devin Townsend is an artist that has always been hard to classify. Releasing such a wide range of music, from death metal, to ambient, to new age, to progressive rock, to country. But to be confined to just one genre wouldn’t be Devin Townsend. Which is why he lets it all out on Empath, jumping from style to style at whim, and creating something truly unique as a result.

I reviewed the last Devin Townsend Project (DTP) album Transcendence back in 2016 saying it took Devin’s sound to a new level. Now that I reflect on it, that … Read more

EXCLUSIVE STREAM: Kurushimi Feigns Ignorance on What Is Chaos?

Sydney’s improvisation grind-jazz ensemble Kurushimi—or 苦しみ—is a strong musical statement since their self-titled debut in 2016, which I pretty much adored. Whether you call it directed improvisation or a musical game, they fear nothing and owe nothing to anyone.

With What Is Chaos?, the act sees Andrew Mortensen at the helm, and a revolving (and impressive) set of improvisers on their respective instrument. In over an hour of new music, they make hints to many respected and beloved (and sometimes obscure) musicians; from John Zorn to the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble to even … Read more

Laudare – d.é.o.m.é.

The Music

The Words

Life is a neverending game of catchup, recently demonstrated with Ryorchestra‘s overdue review, and today is Laudare‘s turn. d.é.o.m.é. was released in July and completely flew under my radar. The reason being that the band’s main music genre on bandcamp is “alternative”, a category I seldom if ever survey. I think it would do the band a great favour to change this to “metal”, and then complete with appropriate genre tags. But, in the end, the album has found its way to my ears, and I’m glad it did, because it’s phantastic.

The German … Read more

The Key to Nchuandzel –
N’gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

The Music?

The Words

The tentacled brain behind The Key to Nchuandzel has long teased me about the existence of the N’gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! album, withholding me the privilege of being able to listen to it, peer into its essence, become shattered by its gaze… Fortunately, the time of reckoning is here and the Key is unleashed, for all to be enraptured.

In twenty minutes and five tracks, The Key to Nchuandzel bewilders and astonishes incessantly with its improbable but characteristic black metal. Black metal? That’s the idea I had at first, but I’m far from being certain anymore. Grindcore, … Read more