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Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - May 2021


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg
Published: 12.06.2021


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - May 2021
Metal Storm's outlet for nonmetal album reviews



The place where we'll talk about music without growls or blast beats
unless they still have those but still aren't metal


We here at Metal Storm pride ourselves on our thousands of metal reviews and interviews and article; metal is our collective soul and passion, which is why we bother with this junk. That being said, we'd be lying if we stuck to our trve-kvlt guns and claimed that metal is the only thing we ever listen to. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do check out some other stuff from time to time; some of us are more poptimistic than others, but there's a whole world out there aside from Satan-worshiping black metal and dragon-slaying power metal. We do already feature some nonmetal artists on our website and have a few reviews to back them up, but we prefer to limit that aspect of the site to those artists who have been a strong influence on the metal scene or who are in some way connected to it. This article series is the place for those artists who don't matter to metal in the slightest but still warrant some conversation - after all, good music, is good music, and we all know metal isn't the only thing on this planet for any of us.

Down below, you might find some obscure Bandcamp bedroom projects or some Billboard-topping superstar; as long as it ain't metal and the album itself isn't a best-of compilation, it fits. Obviously, we're certain that not everything will be for everybody (you guys can be viciously territorial even when metal is the only thing on the menu, and we're all supposed to like the same things), but we do hope you find at least one thing that you can enjoy, instead of just pointing and screaming in horror "Not metal!" as if that would be an insult.

Here are our previous features:

April 2021
March 2021
February 2021

And now to the music...






Rhododendron - Protozoan Battle Hymns
[Noise Rock | Brutal Prog]

musclassia's pick


"Brutal prog"? In a world in which Cattle Decapitation have released a 9-minute song, the threshold for brutality in prog has been set pretty high. Rhododendron are approaching prog from a noise rock perspective rather than a metal perspective; however, "Technicolor Incision" isn't to be trifled with, containing bursts of blasts, harsh vocal outbursts and oppressive noise soundscapes around the contorted riffs. After cutting away completely halfway through, it slowly rebuilds into a stoner rock groove that gets increasingly grungy and muscular; Concrete Ships displayed the intensity of noise rock with their album last month, but Rhododendron lean even closer to metal territory with the thickness and aggression of their sound.

It's not all violence; in the very chop-changing "Planeswalker", Rhododendron move from grunge fuzz through punky outbursts to clean, eerie psychedelia. "Last Of The Painted Hills" generally gives the aggression a break, with a sound that leans closer to shoegaze, particularly thanks to the dreamy vocals, although at 10 minutes, it still finds time for more forceful instrumentation, as well as a very ear-catching solo later on. Rhododendron certainly have the song lengths to fall under prog, with "Garden Of Earthly Delights" going off the deep end and drifting all over the shop, from hardcore aggression to proggy noodling, and from mellow downtime to grating noise. Protozoan Battle Hymns is a scattered and uncompromising listen, but one that features rewards for those willing to tackle it.


Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Cult Of Dom Keller - They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O
[Psychedelic Rock]


It's not clear who Dom Keller is, but based on the music of his cultists, he's into some relatively weird stuff. Cult Of Dom Keller are a British psychedelic band, but whilst psychedelic rock is hardly a novelty, the style found on They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O is slightly more esoteric than most groups in this style. The shimmering keyboards, hazy vocals and 70s rocking on "Run From The Gullskinna" are to be expected, but the industrial percussion, dissonant noise maelstrom and abrasive crescendo in the second half of the song are altogether a more eerie and harsh form of psychedelia.

On They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O, Cult Of Dom Keller range from the more conventional psychedelic rock of the 60s/70s to more abstract, avant-garde or bleaker territory. "Lyssa" exhibits hallmarks of the members' previous experience in garage rock bands, but also has an ominous array of sounds floating around that to disorient the listener. "She's Turning Into A Serpent" is one of the most intriguing tracks here, feels simultaneously sparse, as if all the contributing elements in the mix were recorded far away from one another just to collide in your speaks, but also suffocating in its gradual intensification and overload of disquieting sounds, all of which is underpinned by a simple yet relentless beat. Not everything here is so confrontational; "Amazing Enemy" is for the most part quite soothingly ambient, whilst "Last King Of Hell", aside from pushing the volume to intense levels at times, is a more generally accessible form of psychedelia. Overall, however, They Carried The Dead In A U.F.O is a peculiar album, and one that dwells in the darker regions of psychedelia.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime
[Tishoumaren | Psychedelic Rock]


I'll be honest, a month ago, I had never heard of Tishoumaren, also known internationally as desert blues. However, I seem to be learning gradually about the contemporary music of western Africa; after Ballaké Sissoko's kora music in last month's article, I'm moving from Mali to Niger to cover the latest album from Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar, who has released his sixth album in the form of Afrique Victime. Combining Tuareg music with blues and rock music, Mdou Moctar features both shredding hard rock solos (such as the one that closes opening track "Chismiten" in electric fashion) and folky choral vocals (opening the next song, "Taliat"). Afrique Victime walks intriguingly between the brashness of louder psychedelic rock and local musical influences that operate in curious contrast to hallmarks of rock.

Some music focuses more on the latter; between the singing, hand clapping and acoustic instrumentation, "Ya Habibti" feels every bit a folk track, and "Tala Tannam" very much follows in the same vein. However, as much as Mdou Moctar focuses on this side of the Tishoumaren spectrum, he finds time to weave psychedelic guitar work into tracks such as "Asdikte Akal", and is perfectly willing to lean hard into rock when appropriate, such as on the loud and explosive title track. Afrique Victime is a compelling fusion of music that is heavily localized to the guitarist's land of origin with a far more international style, but it's a fusion that works to bring out the best in both styles. I wouldn't complain if I encountered an album in this style in the future that prioritized the rock a bit more, but I still find plenty to enjoy here.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





black midi - Cavalcade
[Avant-Prog | Math Rock]

RaduP's pick


Calvacade has been one of my most anticipated records of the year. It is not often that a rock band can build such huge hype with the originality of their debut, but Schlagenheim really felt like a fresh slap to the face with its curious blend of math rock and a shitload of other experimental rock styles, and I've been curious to see how they manage to build upon those frantic sounds. Well, Calvacade shift gears only slightly, which means that the frantic sound is still there but there's more of this, less of that, and also that they honed some parts of it. Mostly, it feels a bit more 70s experimental rock (RIO, avant-prog, jazz-rock) and less 90s experimental rock (math rock, brutal prog, noise rock).

This isn't a complete shift, but more of a slight move in the scales. What matters is that black midi seamlessly make all of this dense dissonant chaotic angular collection of rhythms and grooves flow into something that makes the offbeat feel pleasantly challenging. There's a lot more emphasis on the flow and the dense/soft dynamics, with the flat vocal delivery accentuating the ominous feeling of it all. Oh, and there's now a saxophone. Can't have jazz rock without that. It is indeed overtly technical, but it feels like the evil twin of the technical wankery prog metal. It's heavy, anxiety-inducing, but it has more depth than meets the eye.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Squid - Bright Green Field
[Art Punk | Experimental Rock]

RaduP's pick


Often when a band's debut album is really anticipated, it is a band whose members have already attained relevance from other projects. So having a band like Squid come around, and building this much hype just from how original the sound developed on their EP is, it's quite a surprise, one that I have no doubt has at least one person online somewhere calling foul play. But it's undeniable just how vital their music sounds like. Post-punk and art punk have been very prolific in the past decade, and newer acts have created a pretty good niche for themselves. Some are more experimental than others, and Squid are on the really experimental end. So you'll find similarities with other artists, but they don't just blend in with the rest.

At this point, a lot has been said about the record, but it still finds me in awe of its ambitious blend of styles. I don't say ambitious in how radically different or diverse the sounds on here are, but the post-punk and eletronica and krautrock and first-wave post-rock blends here really drive a lot of this record into being oddball, full of manic energy, and jagged atmospheres. It jumps between moody and unsettling ambient pieces to swirling punk grooves, and a lot of its bursts of energy coming from the yelps of the singer spewing dark nightmarish humour. At nearly 55 minutes, there are moments where it feels like the band starts treading the same waters, but their skill in crafting offbeat and repetitive rhythms doesn't lose much of its striking vibe.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Glen - Pull!
[Psychedelic Rock | Post-Rock]


Berlin-based Glen describe Pull! on their Bandcamp as a 'wondering through the glens of nearly unmarketable instrumentals rejecting any assignment to traditional rock aesthetics', promising mesmerizing structures of free improvisation, meditative minimalism and multidimensional layered soundscapes. Having heard Pull!, it seems that a rejection of traditional rock aesthetics results in a sound that lies somewhere between prog, psychedelic, stoner and post-rock, something that's arguably somewhat more accessible than the above description would indicate, but which is still quite likeable.

Opening track "Lecture" is an easy-going prog rock jam, venturing from mellow grooves to more fiery rocking out and occasionally into more atmospheric post-rock; whilst there's moments of slight abrasion, this is still thoroughly accessible to fans of 70s rock, something that might be helped by the presence of Reinhold Mack as the album's producer, given Mack's previous experience with the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Queen. "Korinth", probably the best song here, is a more psychedelic experience, with jangling guitars, gradually intensifying whirlwinds of sounds and exuberant percussion. The latter two songs lean closer to stoner rock if anything, particularly the more driving "Ahab"; "Davos" is a more mellow, introspective experience, something that wouldn't have sounded too out of place on Elder's The Gold & Silver Sessions. Ultimately, Pull! isn't really the avant-garde insanity that its description indicates, but it is a thoroughly likeable psychedelic/post-/stoner rock instrumental jam, one with nice atmospheres and enjoyable ebb and flow.

Bandcamp | Spotify

by musclassia





Fly Pan Am - Frontera
[Post-Rock | Experimental Rock]


Fly Pan Am are an experimental band; so experimental, in fact, that Frontera, their fifth full-length record, is conceived not only as an album, but as a companion piece for a contemporary dance performance from Animals Of Distinction. When I listen to Frontera, with its eclectic mix of post-rock, drone and electronica, I don't immediately think of it as a natural score to a dance, but now that I'm aware of its intentions, I can imagine it working quite nicely. The slow, gradual progression of the song from sparse, simple beginnings to loud, eerie walls of sound, all driven along by increasingly complex percussion, does make for a visceral and all-consuming experience.

The drum work of Félix Morel is the most crucial element of Frontera, providing essential momentum as the rest of Fly Pan Am experiments with droning guitar sounds, pulsating electronics and eclectic noises; the tracks in which the percussion is abandoned in favour of a purely noise approach, such as "Scanner" and "Scaling", work less successfully for me. The music is mostly instrumental, but "Parkour" features deeply buried and distorted screams, an interesting choice for this style of music. Frontera is a deeply textured record, one that produces quite a mechanical and challenging atmosphere, and it's one that makes for engaging listening even with the absence of its intended partner piece.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Dry Cleaning - New Long Leg
[Post-Punk | Noise Rock]


I, too, like Sonic Youth.

Great! Another post-punk band. You're probably already tired at us including so many of these, as I am glad that the genre keeps on giving. There are a lot of those that sound derivative, sure, and maybe we favor this wave a bit too much, but... Dry Cleaing don't sound like any of the others we covered. We've had danceable post-punk, anthemic post-punk, rowdy post-punk, and this one feels like on the opposite end of all of those spectrums. It's closer to something off-kilter, anxious, depressing, but even those feel odd descriptors.

Sonic Youth is probably the best term of comparison. You can almost bet that the jarring spoken words vocals of Florence Shaw are actually Kim Gordon in disguise. That the disheartening and angular grooves of the band must have been made by Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. Maybe a bit too close. But even with those clear noise rock influences, this is the shiest noise rock you will hear. It's angular, but politely angular. It will disturb the neighbors on a more fundamental level rather than through sheer offence. It's a niche within a niche for sure, and there's plenty of room to grow.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Iceage - Seek Shelter
[Alternative Rock | Art Rock]


I cover a lot of post-punk, especially bands who made it big in the 2010s, and this scene has been pretty prolific in providing me favorites. However, I don't know why, Iceage have never been able to properly occupy that same space in my mind compared to the other bands in the same scene. It's not their quality being lower or their sound being less unique or anything, I just forgot about them until this album. Which is a shame because, in comparison, Iceage bring a lot more art rock, blues, alt rock and gothic rock into their sound, enough to clearly set them apart. Seek Shelter finds them going even deeper in that direction, making the post-punk secondary to the alt art rock sound.

This feels more like a blend of some late 70s art rock and some 90s alt rock, sprinkled with post-punk and Americana. It's less manic, less energetic, and certainly less punchy than most of the albums in this same vein, being content with its special sense of tenderness and groove. Don't get me wrong it's still a clearly punk type of tenderness, but tenderness nonetheless. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The Nick Cave-ish songs are the ones I find myself returning most fondly to, but there isn't really anything here that isn't worthwhile. Seek Shelter finds Iceage distancing themselves even more from the post-punk scene I keep wondering whether I should associate them with, and something tells me relistening to their older material will make me remember them more than relistening to this.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

RaduP





Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks Of God
[Indie Rock | Alternative Rock]


In general, I don't like indie; everything from the vocals to the guitars often feels intentionally designed to irritate me. Still, there have been exceptions, none more glaring than The Dear Hunter, who have produced some quite wonderful music. Therefore, I'm often willing to try indie-tagged music if it comes with a 'for fans of The Dear Hunter' recommendation, which was the case with Manchester Orchestra's The Million Masks Of God. As it turns out, whilst it doesn't quite scratch that itch that only The Dear Hunter have managed to date, I did find quite a lot to enjoy on The Million Masks Of God. Whilst the album flirts close to the indie cliches that are prone to rubbing me the wrong way, from the nasal tone of Andy Hull's vocals to hints of twee in their sound, ultimately the album is strong enough to overcome these reservations of mine.

The album was shaped by the death of guitarist Robert McDowell's father, and there is a faint sadness to the music on The Million Masks Of God. There's also a dramatic flair from the string arrangements, which accentuate the more grandiose sections of the album. "Angel Of Death" is one such grandiose song, a slow-moving slow burn; in contrast, "Keel Timing" is a more up-tempo dreamy indie cut, whilst "Bed Head" pushes things in a poppier direction with the synths and electronic percussion. These faster songs are mostly confined to the first half of the album, with the latter half reserved for softer, slower songs with lush arrangements, affording the band to emote further about the dark cloud hovering over the record. I'm not going to return to The Million Masks Of God, but I'm glad that I heard it, which is more than I can say about most indie.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Fucked Up - Year Of The Horse
[Post-Hardcore | Art Rock]

musclassia's pick


Year Of The Horse is a 90-minute concept album split into four acts; this is not an album to just casually glance at. This is but just the latest in Fucked Up's zodiac series, but it's by far the longest, and when I first stumbled upon an album this lengthy tagged as post-hardcore, I was fully braced for a bloated catastrophe. However, it would be a huge disservice to portray this as just a post-hardcore album; whilst there is post-hardcore to be found in each of the songs here, there is also so much more that contributes to the sound of Fucked Up on Year Of The Horse. The opening act (the shortest of the quartet, clocking in at a measly 19 minutes) starts off with swirly futuristic ambience and measured post-hardcore, but it gradually shifts through harder riffing that borders on metal, a Medieval-sounding ditty, spoken word narration, acoustic mellowness and moody trip-hop; there's a lot going on here.

Year Of The Horse is the kind of album that you can just look at and admire; Fucked Up were clearly overflowing with inspiration when creating this odyssey, but it's one thing to put post-hardcore, metal, classical, Medieval music and whatever else comes to mind all together, but it's another thing entirely to do it in a way that feels coherent and satisfying. Fucked Up have succeeded at the latter; whilst it's a big commitment to sit through this album, you don't find yourself getting alienated or losing patience as it moves from indie to grandiose post-hardcore, from delicate piano to triumphant trumpets/whistling, from quiet introspection to aggressive outbursts. I don't love Year Of The Horse, but damn, do I respect it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music 1 2 3 4 | Spotify

by musclassia






Sons Of Kemet - Black To The Future
[Afro-Jazz]


A lot of the music tangentially associated with this album has already been featured in our series. Shabaka Hutchings and Theon Cross have already had their solo albums or projects covered. Moor Mother, who appears on one track, is almost a series regular at this point. So it made obvious sense that when the follow-up to Sons Of Kemet's breakthrough 2018 would be pretty anticipated. And Black To The Future doesn't really disappoint, but it doesn't really impress as much. In a way it finds Sons Of Kemet more in control of their craft, but also less willing to be as explosive and raw as they were on previous records. So the result is a more elegant album, one with an even bigger socio-political presence, if that was even possible.

The afro-jazz here takes a lot from spiritual jazz, as well as afro-beat, but the myriad of guest vocal spots, from the bookending Joshua Idehen poems, to the aforementioned Moor Mother spots, to the two hip-hop features. There's comparatively more influence both from hip-hop and from some Caribbean sounds that I'm not in the position to describe or label, but they do offer a lot more flavor to the album. It's undeniable how much of a stylish album this is, even if it is slightly more tame in comparison to its predecessor, but it also clearly showcases how Sons Of Kemet are able to merge afro-futurism and spiritual jazz so seamlessly and why they became such a household name in UK Jazz. How many other jazz bands have a tuba player? Or two drummers? Or connections with pretty much every other huge act in the scene?

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons
[Progressive Pop | Psychedelic Pop]


I'm sure Bruno Pernadas is not completely representative of Portuguese music, but based on what I heard from him so far, he stands to be among my favorite Portuguese artists. It's not that unusual to listen to world music or pop music from other countries, but it's quite amazing to find something to relate to beyond the language barriers. There is a universal joy and color in Private Reasons that makes it so appealing. The album is a melting pot of different pop and world and psychedelic and jazz sounds that sounds so sundrenched and full of life.

It would be very hard to properly describe the genre of this album due to how much it switched genres between songs. You could easily do a track-by-track rundown and find insular uses of sounds and influences, but the result feels like such a grand piece. At about 75 minutes, it's exotic, dreamlike, and a bit too long for its own good. There's a huge amount of ideas here, and a huge amount of ground covered, but there are clear inconsistencies and slogs. There's way more good than bad, but it takes some patience and a cold drink to get through all of it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Duda Beat - Te amo lá fora
[Alternative R&B | Pop]


Right after a Portuguese artist, we have another Portuguese language artist, this time it's Duda Beat from Brazil. I am perhaps a bit more accostumed to Brazilian music than I am to Portuguese music, and I notice that both artists that a lot of local sounds and blending it with international pop, but if Bruno Pernadas preferred psychedelic pop, Duda Beat goes into a more R&B and modern pop direction, which would admittedly turn away a lot of people who specifically turn off the radio whenever anything close to reggaetón comes on. I don't blame you.

But somehow the way that Duda Beat makes all these sounds come together is so sophisticated and eclectic. In the barely under 40 minutes runtime of Te amo lá fora it switches its lush atmospheres from jazzy soul ballads to dance club anthems to glittery electronica. It's an album that really doesn't want to be pigeonholed into a single sound, it's completely in love with the sounds that synths can do, whether they're more trippy, more eclectic, or more mainstream-friendly. It's not afraid to dip in any of the worlds, never compromising its accessibility for its boldness. In the end, the least accessible thing about this album is probably the language barrier that a lot of people (me included) will experience, but don't let that fool you into thinking that this is just surface-level music.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





St. Vincent - Daddy's Home
[Psychedelic Soul | Art Rock]

RaduP's pick


I came into this album first not knowing what to expect from St. Vincent after her continuous exploration and expansion of the art pop/rock sound, and then clearly seeing from the cover art that there might be a bit of a nostalgic retro vibe to this one, one that would go in a clearly different direction to her previous record, Masseduction. And, if you can already tell from the genre tags, this one owes a lot to a lot of 70s music, from psychedelia, soul, funk, soft rock and the like. Lush instrumentals, retro pastiche, warm production, so this basically sounds like the cover art. But that is just the form of the album. As chameleonic as St. Vincent is, is it surprising that her take on this retro sound still sounds like no one but her's?

Aside from its clear sonic inspiration, this is surprisingly the most personal and confessional I've hear St. Vincent being, and if the title didn't make it clear already, a significant part of it is her relationship with her father. That suits the more ballad-focused material here, but even the groovier tracks somehow manage to accommodate the personal lyrics here. And for such 70s inspired music it manages to be pretty diverse in its approaches, even if the flow of the album can be a bit clonky at times, with the miriad of interludes, but the songs themselves are some of the best in this pastiche sound I've heard in a long time. It took little time for "Down" to become one of my most listened to songs of the year, and other songs from this aren't that far behind. And yet, I'm still not much closer to understanding what St. Vincent is all about.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Superwolves
[Contemporary Folk | Americana]


Alright so, first some background. It's very unusual for me to come back to an artist solely for the lyrics, but I have listened to Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's "I See A Darkness" more than it is healthy for me. For some reason, that's the only song of his I regularly go back to, even if I listened to a bunch of his stuff. Here he collaborates with Chavez' Matt Sweeney, which is in fact a continuation of a previous record they did together, 2005's Superwolf, which explains the title of this one. I came into this one knowing nothing of Sweeney's career, so Superwolves wasn't anything I was anticipating especially, but now it feels like the sequel that Superwolf deserved.

This is something I could call "cosmic Americana". Don't question it, it just is. There's a spiritual and dreamlike quality to the sounds here, even if they come second to the lyrics, as is often the case in folk music. But the psychedelic guitar grooves make this sound so much brighter and exciting. It is never too flashy, and it acts as mostly a vessel for the atmosphere, but the way they move this beyond simply being an acoustic folk record is fantastic. The lyricism is obviously as odd and surrealistic as one would expect from the duo (and I would expect from Billy, since I don't know much about Matt), but the mix of that and how heartfelt everything is, makes Superwolves such a warm album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Zombi - Liquid Crystal
[Space Rock | Progressive Electronic]


The Liquid Crystal EP by Zombi arrives only months after the band's full-length, 2020, which was released in... 2020. They base their name off of the Italian title of the Dawn Of The Dead film by George A. Romero. The two musicians that form the band have been around for a while and Zombi is basically an electronic prog rock duo offering expansive synth soundscapes and driving rhythmic sections with their music. They often set a layer and then add another layer on top of that and then another so that the songs become more and more full-sounding as they go along.

The layers and crescendos that build and build are aptly used in the opening track, "Mangler", which has an ominous and sinister John Carpenter / David Cronenberg kind of vibe, and its slow progression is quite remarkable too. The title track features a very melodic guitar solo, which is kind of unexpected since there are no leads featured in the first two songs and "Liquid Crystal" is the track that feels more influenced by Pink Floyd than any other. But the vastly different approach is found in the last track, "Black Forest", which is the most energetic one of the bunch. It is up-tempo, it has a lot of things going on right from the get-go, and it comes in stark contrast to "Turning Points", which precedes it. The penultimate track of this EP is a long, very long, 11-minute, repetitive torture that actually feels even longer than it actually is. It is uneventful and anticlimactic, and almost ruins the atmosphere that was created by the three songs before it. Luckily "Black Forest" comes on afterwards and saves the EP, being its best track. Overall, and despite the disappointment of "Turning Points", this is a nice and trippy (as you can tell from the flying stingrays on the cover) release, with plenty of '80s vibes.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Perturbator - Lustful Sacraments
[Gothic Rock | Darkwave]

musclassia's pick


One of the leading figures in the synthwave genre that's grown so much in popularity in the past decade, Perturbator (aka James Kent) was actually my introduction to synthwave, courtesy of his excellent album, The Uncanny Valley. The pulsating energy right out of the gates on that album hooked me in right away, and the album as a whole, plus the New Model EP he subsequently released, have really defined my synthwave listening in the past few years. As such, there's been few released I've covered for the non-metal articles that I've anticipated more than Lustful Sacraments, Perturbator's first full-length album in five years. However, there's been a notable shift in sound during the intervening period.

There is some synthwave on this album, but far less than on The Uncanny Valley, with only the odd song ("Death Is The Soul") even flirting with the intensity of a track such as "Neo Tokyo". Instead, Lustful Sacraments feels much closer to gothic music, particularly goth rock; I get big Sisters Of Mercy vibes on "Excess", and "Secret Devotion" (featuring True Body on vocals) is even closer to gothic rock. I'm in two minds over this shift; on the one hand, I do like gothic rock and Perturbator writes nicely within the style, using 80s sci-fi-inspired electronics to craft gloomy soundscapes that are accentuated by the vocals, but I do also miss the energy of his earlier work. I would also say that my favourite songs on this release are those that feel slightly further from goth rock, particularly the moody industrial soundscapes of "The Other Place", which has some great synth lines and guitar arrangements. Overall, it's an album that may disappoint those hoping for something along the lines of The Uncanny Valley, but those that appreciate the more atmospheric side of Perturbator should find this to be an enjoyable effort.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mega Drive - Neuroframe
[Synthwave]


As Perturbator shifts away from synthwave, fear not, as there are plenty of other artists to fill the void. Although Baldocaster's Visions has its merits, Mega Drive's Neuroframe is my pick of the ones that I've heard this month. A bit long at 14 songs (clocking in at just over an hour), Neuroframe nevertheless does a much better job of sustaining interest the whole way through than most synthwave albums I've heard. Additionally, Mega Drive do a better job of maintaining consistent quality when mixing up the approach than a lot of synthwave artists I've heard, managing to remain compelling whether pulsating along or sliding into a smoother groove.

There's some nice use of guitar early on in the ominous opening track "Extraction", which builds nicely into the rampaging "Wire Rot", a song that adeptly fulfils the role of a fast, energetic hacker anthem that most synthwave albums I've heard tend to feature. Beyond "Wire Rot", there's songs that channel the same vibe ("Corruptor"), as well as songs that go in a softer, moodier direction ("Silencer", "Modifier"), and even moments that push the intensity slightly further; "Gutter Punk" almost enters aggrotech territory at times. I really enjoy the hacker soundtracks on Neuroframe, but I also get a lot of joy out of smooth tracks such as "Primer" and "Optical Ghost Patterns", a song that feels more suitable for cruising along in Vice City. Rounding everything off is the title track, which features some great synth lines and has a potent atmosphere to bring proceedings to a strong close.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Flying Lotus - Yasuke
[Electronic]


Flying Lotus had an early breakthrough submitting music to Adult Swim, and outside of musical pursuits has also directed the animated movie Kuso, so a move into soundtracking an anime TV show is not the most surprising career development; following previous contributions to the likes of Blade Runner Black Out 2022 and Carole & Tuesday, Yasuke is Flying Lotus's full-length score debut, featuring 26 tracks that comprise the backdrop to the new series based on the titular warrior that served under Oda Nobunaga. Whilst this soundtrack album is first and foremost designed as a backdrop to a show, Lotus's brand of jazzy electronica/instrumental hip-hop also makes for enjoyable standalone listening.

It's not entirely instrumental; there are guest appearances from the likes of Thundercat and Denzel Curry, with the former's smooth vocals fitting the bright synths of "Black Gold" nicely (the latter's appearance on "African Samurai" is all too brief). Yasuke is an album to be listened to as a whole, given that the large majority of tracks fall under 2 minutes, but some of the more notable pieces are the 80s synth-heavy "Shoreline Sus", the funky "Crust", the percussive "Fighting Without Honor" and slick hip-hop beats of "Pain And Blood". "War Lords" also deserves a mention for its use of the iconic oscillating electronics from Pink Floyd's "On The Run". I can't speak for how well Yasuke matches the events of the TV show, but from a purely listening experience, it's a nice combo of hip-hop beats with 80s-influenced synths, and it makes for quite easy and satisfying background listening.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Porter Robinson - Nurture
[Electropop | Synthpop]


Is there a word for something you find extremely obnoxious but also extremely endearing? If there was, Nurture would be right there in the dictionary next to the definition. Porter Robinson has been around for a while, but has only released one other very well-received album before this, but this type of EDM/Electropop isn't something I look for often. I am somewhat picky with both the pop and the electronic music that I listen to, but I've grown to appreciate more and more of both styles. Nurture finds me old enough to leave apart the elitism of my youth, but young enough to still feel like this appeals to me.

Porter Robinson is older than me, but despite that I can't shake the feeling that I'm a bit too old for this. I feel the same way when Tik-Tok or BTS or Drain Gang get brought up, partly because I wasn't in the scene when Worlds dropped, and thus this gives me a lot of "Zoomer electronica" vibes even if that's not the case. And yet, there is a lot of maturity here I wouldn't normally associate with that sound. There's synthpop, folktronica, glitch pop, and something very very dreamy. It's like the digital version of frolicking. It's like glitched up anime music. It's extremely autotuned dream pop. Well, maybe I'm not old yet.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Czarface & MF DOOM - Super What?
[Boom Bap | East Coast Hip Hop]


It's sad to think that we're no longer living in a world with MF DOOM in it. Sure, he hasn't been particularly prolific in the past decade, but it was nice knowing he's around. Super What? suffers from being the first of his posthumous material, so there's a different kind of standard to be judged by now that it's no longer just Czarface & MF DOOM, but MF DOOM's last album. It's not his album. He's one of the three rappers on this album, the other two being the rappers in Czarface, meaning Inspectah Deck and Esoteric (no, not that Esoteric), alongside producer 7L, and with it being the second of their collaborations, it also no longer has the novelty of the two comic book hip-hop acts merging. Plus he doesn't have that many verses on it anyway.

Super What? is also super brief, at only 26 minutes. Only three of the ten songs are over three minutes long. So it feels like an incomplete and not really well-rounded package, but goddamn, it's a welcome one. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, nor does it do anything that the previous album between the two artists didn't already do better. Comic book lyrics, punchy synths, playful sampling, wordplay, all that you can expect from the two. It shows why the two acts coming together made sense in the first place, and the few bars that he had showcase just why MF DOOM was your favorite rapper's favorite rapper, and why he'll be so missed.

RIP Daniel Dumile

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month.






Written on 12.06.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 133 users
12.06.2021 - 12:35
Mehrad

Awesome work! thanks for your efforts
I wonder if Black Midi fits in MS ....
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12.06.2021 - 12:46
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Mehrad on 12.06.2021 at 12:35

Awesome work! thanks for your efforts
I wonder if Black Midi fits in MS ....

Glad you're enjoying it.

I never really considered it, but there isn't really anything metal in their sound. There are probably some similar acts already on MS, but those have some sort of tangential connection to the metal world. I can't think of any for Black Midi.
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12.06.2021 - 12:50
JoHn DoE

"brutal prog"
TBH I giggled...
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12.06.2021 - 12:54
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 12.06.2021 at 12:50

"brutal prog"
TBH I giggled...

Not enough of y'all listened to Ruins and it shows.
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12.06.2021 - 13:10
JoHn DoE

Written by RaduP on 12.06.2021 at 12:54

Written by JoHn DoE on 12.06.2021 at 12:50

"brutal prog"
TBH I giggled...

Not enough of y'all listened to Ruins and it shows.


can you post a listening link so that i get your point?
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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12.06.2021 - 13:14
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 12.06.2021 at 13:10

can you post a listening link so that i get your point?

Sure

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12.06.2021 - 13:17
JoHn DoE

^ thanks
yeah, not my thing.

I wouldn't call that prog either.
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12.06.2021 - 13:38
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 12.06.2021 at 13:17

^ thanks
yeah, not my thing.

I wouldn't call that prog either.

What would you call it?

Otherwise here's a few more examples:










Some of these are actually on MS
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12.06.2021 - 13:53
JoHn DoE

^ maybe avant-prog which was never my thing, it's too often experimentation for the sake of experimentation which rarely works for me.

Bondage Fruit is classified as zeuhl on progarchives, a genre that does little for me, although i do enjoy listening to Magma every once in a while.
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12.06.2021 - 14:45
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 12.06.2021 at 13:53

^ maybe avant-prog which was never my thing, it's too often experimentation for the sake of experimentation which rarely works for me.

Bondage Fruit is classified as zeuhl on progarchives, a genre that does little for me, although i do enjoy listening to Magma every once in a while.

Yeah, it was clearly influenced by Zeuhl and some other avant-prog stuff, but blended with the noise rock, math rock, grindcore in the 90s/00s.
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12.06.2021 - 19:21
Uxküll

Love this series, my library is so heavily weighted towards metal its nice to get exposure to other genres as well.
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"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

Best of Metal A-Z: http://metalstorm.net/users/lists.php?user_id=158339
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13.06.2021 - 13:22
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Musically maybe few musclassia dark wave is ok, but I hope you agree best album artworks is St. Vincent. Best artwork from non metal article sessions
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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