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Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - April 2022


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg, omne metallum
Published: 22.05.2022


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - April 2022
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:

March 2022
February 2022
January 2022

And now to the music...





Red Hot Chili Peppers- Unlimited Love
[Alternative Rock | Pop Rock]


Twelve albums going strong, the second reunion between the RHCP and the returning Frusciante is one that sees the band regain their sense of direction and purpose, after years of mixed fortunes with Klinghoffer. At 74 minutes, the album does feel a bit bloated, though not to the extent you would expect from an album this long (such was the fate of Stadium Arcadium); with most of its runtime offering a slew of moments and tracks that highlight the chemistry this line up possesses. Perhaps the band’s most mellow collection of tracks to date, it makes for great music to chill out and relax to, leaving you drifting away in your seat than up and out of it dancing.

Tracks like “It’s Only Natural” and “Little Wing” highlight what the RHCP have been missing in Frusciante’s absence, his soulful guitarwork is complimented by the solid rhythm work of Flea and Smith; who hold down the groove but do so without being predictable such as on “One Way Traffic”. Kedis and the production work of the returning Rick Rubin compliment the gentleness of the music with both providing just enough energy to give the tracks a character of their own ("Black Summer" and "Aquatic Mouth Dance" do this very well) and ensure your attention is held throughout. Perhaps the most vital album by the band since By The Way, it is easily the most enjoyable by the band in far too long.

Apple Music | Spotify

by omne metallum





Poets Of The Fall - Ghostlight
[Alternative Rock]


Ghostlight is the ninth full-length album of Poets Of The Fall, and my introduction to the band. From what I can tell, the Finnish group have managed to maintain the same six-person line-up despite having been together for almost 20 years, which, if correct, is highly impressive, particularly considering that it seems Poets Of The Fall have made some divisive stylistic moves in recent years. Several reviews refer to 2018’s Ultraviolet as a divisive step towards a poppier sound; without having heard either it or its predecessors, I can’t say whether Ghostlight is a continuation or step back on that front, because while the music here is very accessible and incorporates electronics, it is clearly grounded in rock, and often has an emotional darkness to it that is really resonant.

The songs here are generally around 5 to 6 minutes, which gives plenty of opportunity with each track to be pulled into its atmosphere; as far as atmosphere is concerned, opening track “Firedancer” is a real standout, with the nifty guitar sections, the electronics and Marko Saaresto’s darkly sweet voice culminating in something quite captivating. I wouldn’t have minded a few more songs that followed more in this vein, as the likes of “Requiem For My Harlequin” and “Revelations” are tonally brighter in a way that makes them slightly less impressive, even with the fairly well-incorporated symphonic effects. Still, Saaresto is a compelling vocalist that ensures that most of the songs make a meaningful impact.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Placebo - Never Let Me Go
[Alternative Rock]


Placebo is one of the most established alternative rock bands of the last 25 years. With lyrics that talk about sexuality, mental health, drug use, social issues, and other uncomfortable subjects, the core duo of Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal has come a long way since “Nancy Boy”, provoking the conservative bigots with their live shows but also forms of art other than their music. In terms of music production the band has unfortunately been showing signs of decline. Loud Like Love was rather underwhelming and since then they have released the MTV Unplugged, the compilation A Place For Us To Dream, and the Life’s What You Make It EP. Which makes Never Let Me Go the first new full-length album in 9 years.

As much as I want to like this latest offering by one of my favourite bands of all time, I simply cannot. It is certainly an improvement over Loud Like Love but it is still somewhat uninspired compared to anything from Battle For The Sun and back. The tone for the whole album is of course dark, melancholic, and emotional, as one would expect, but I feel that most of it kind of goes by without getting noticed due to rehashed song structures, drum patterns, and electronic effects, and there were times that I became almost annoyed with the constant repetition of certain lyrics (“Wake up, wake up - Try better next time”). The lack of dynamism in the compositions is the main problem here I think, and when things get more energetic I get a wall of sound effect. Some tracks stand out though and made me want to listen to them again and again. “Happy Birthday In The Sky” is the biggest highlight and seems to me like it is “Meds” part II. “Beautiful James” relies heavily on the superb synths and Brian’s unique voice. “Sad White Reggae” is an instant coup de cœur and is coupled with the wonderful guitar-driven energy of “Twin Demons”. However, the album feels and is too long, even without having an outright bad song on it. But still, Placebo were once capable of much, much better stuff than just ‘not bad’.

Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Jack White - Fear Of The Dawn
[Blues Rock | Art Rock]


The world may have gone to shit but at least there's some consolation in the fact that Jack White is still making noisy music. First gaining prominence as part of the equally noisy White Stripes duo, arguably the most important garage blues rock band of the 2000s, before starting his solo career. There was a time when Blunderbuss was my favorite (modern) record, before being really let down by the follow-up, Lazaretto. The fact that it was 10 years ago is really a "holy shit" moment for me, but I've really not done my part with keeping up with Jack White. Sure, I listened to 2018's Boarding House Reach when it came out, and I never really cared for his other bands, but it's only now that I feel like jumping back on the hype train.

First up, it's been a long time since White Stripes' 1999 debut, so I really didn't expect that more than 20 years later, Jack White would still be making music that sounds this rowdy. Sure, the cover art makes this seem like a bad Volbeat album, but this continues to be as wild as Boarding House Reach was, it's loud, direct, and adds a bit more tangential influences, with some moments that take from dub and hip-hop (courtesy of a Q-Tip feature) into the bluesy garage rock fold. And when I say garage rock, I mean that the fuzz of the guitar is so uniquely Jack White that it really just sounds like unrecognizable pure distortion at times. And with the record being 40 minutes in runtime means that Fear Of The Dawn wastes no time, fits great ideas, and it definitely makes me hyped again.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Fontaines D.C. - Skinty Fia
[Gothic Rock | Post-Punk]


This isn't the first time I covered Dublin's Fontaines D.C., as I've also talked about their previous record, 2020's A Hero's Death. And back then I was still not completely impressed with Fontaines D.C. take on post-punk, especially as the post-punk revival of the last decade has filled the scene with a lot of great bands. Well, a lot of the things that I praised A Hero's Death for are still here on Skinty Fia, and this just might be the album that warms me up to Skinty Fia. And for a band that started out as a pretty standard post-punk band, this finds them at their least punky yet. And, by extension, also at their most ambitious yet.

The most obvious replacement candidate is gothic rock, due to how dark and brooding the album sounds, but it also feels a bit more informed by 80s/90s indie rock and shoegaze. Hell, there are moments where they sound closer to their countrymen in My Bloody Valentine than a post-punk, few but worthwhile. A lot of hopelessness permeates Skinty Fia, which makes Grian's apathetic vocals feel a bit more purposeful. The lyrics dig even deeper into their Irish heritage, which combined with the darker sound and their best batch of songs written yet, definitely gives me a bit more hope for Fontaines D.C. along with their clear sound evolution.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





DITZ - The Great Regression
[Post-Punk | Noise Rock]


Since I was just talking about how many post-punk bands have been springing up lately, some more standard, some more gothic, some more indie, here we have a band which is just now releasing their debut full length after a couple of EPs dating as far back as 2016, but this time blended with a shitload of noise rock and post-hardcore and dance-punk to create a mix of sounds that is pretty far from standard for the post-punk revival. Debates whether this counts as post-punk or noise rock are pretty worthless, what matters is that DITZ make some really punchy music, and the 38 minutes runtime means that they waste no time in showcasing their ideas.

And, as is the case with a lot of noisy rock music, there's some bass here that's loud and punchy, and that's definitely a big plus on my side. The vocals are pretty manic at times, sitting on the border of hardcore but not really crossing it. As far as post-punk goes, it reminds me most of The Fall, but combined with sounds from Fugazi, Big Black and Slint, and with some of the glitchy industrial effects bordering on dance-worthy or on pummeling at different moments. There's definitely quite a lot going on in terms of influences, and I'm really underselling it, but I'm still most taken aback by how punchy it sounds.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





VR SEX - Rough Dimension
[Post-Punk | Gothic Rock]


Obviously the first thing that attracted me about VR SEX was that poignant band name, but giving Rough Dimension a listen I had a feeling of familiarity that I couldn't quite put a finger on. Later I found out that Noel Skum, the main man behind this project, is none other than Andrew Clinco, who you may know as either the drummer of Marriages, or as Deb DeMure of Drab Majesty. Relevant to the discussion is the latter, since both Drab Majesty and VR SEX inhibit a similar synthy goth rock space, however the bands live on opposite sides of this space, with VR SEX feeling like the evil twin of Drab Majesty.

The project itself was launched as an outlet for the heavier side of Drab Majesty that wouldn't properly fit in that project's catalog, and that can definitely be felt in both 2019's Human Traffic Jam and in this year's Rough Dimension. However Rough Dimension sees the project standing more on its own feet, building towards more post-punky territories, inhibiting similar dark spaces but with less of a fascination, an increase in production quality that signals that this is no longer a mere side-project. This is about as creepy as you can get while still being so punchy, as much as it replaces the ethereal and melancholic with the rotten and terrifying.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Gnod - Hexen Valley
[Noise Rock]


If you’re wondering how to pronounce Gnod, it might help you to learn that it is in fact an acronym for ‘got no obvious destination’. When you listen to “Bad Apple”, the first track off of Hexen Valley, the new album from Gnod, you may agree that the don’t appear to have a destination, as this aimless no wave mess runs through your ears like nails on chalkboard. When I caught Gnod at Roadburn in April, I felt a very variable level of enjoyment through their set, from enthralment with a long-form super-heavy jam that captured a similar vibe to Kurokuma live, to indifference at some of the more straightforward noise rock. Hexen Valley replicates that ambivalence perfectly.

Immediately following “Bad Apple” is “Spotlight”, a behemoth of a track that, running just shy of 15 minutes, is over twice the length of anything else on Hexen Valley, and across a hypnotic quarter-hour, Gnod layer and manipulate a whirlwind of distortion, driven along perfectly by a constant steady drumbeat. On a scale from “Bad Apple” to “Spotlight”, most of the rest of Hexen Valley falls in between; “Skies Are Red” is short but sweet, a fast-paced punky burst of noise rock, while “Antidepressants” conveys some of that insidious repetitive power of “Spotlight”, if in a lesser form.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Platon Karataev - Partért Kiáltó
[Atmospheric Rock]


musclassia's pick


Usually when I’m having to write one of these about a musician or band that I don’t know, I can rely on someone else’s review for some background information, or at very least their Bandcamp page. Alas, with no Bandcamp page, I am going in completely blind as I discuss Platon Karataev, a Hungarian alternative rock band. Mercifully, with Partért Kiáltó, Platon Karataev offer enough with their music to eschew the necessity of discussing anything else about the band. Instrumentally, the record bears some similarities to post-rock, but is clearly more song-oriented structurally and also blends in elements of shoegaze, folk and other forms of atmospherically-inclined rock as well, and that’s before evocative layers of vocals singing in Hungarian are added.

A perfect example of how atmospheric this can be is the title track; the minimalist clean guitar, ambient synths and spacious drumming produce something hauntingly mellow, while the repeated vocal harmonies give the music an almost religious quality. This isn’t one of the songs that follows the dynamic template of post-rock, remaining ethereally soft throughout; the likes of “Most Magamba” and “Elmerül” explore a wider range of sounds, but remain equally touching, with those harmonized vocals perfectly complementing the swells and lulls in the evocative instrumentation. There’s a couple of tracks here that are slightly twee in a way that minimizes their impact, such as “Rajokban Száll”, and some of the early ones (Vízből Van” and “Tágul”) have deceptively underwhelming introductions to what ultimately end up being compelling songs, but at its best, Partért Kiáltó is tender and charming.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Sun Burns Bright - A Hollow World
[Post-Rock]


I’ve said before that as time goes on, the harder it is to find new ways to frame a review of a post-rock album. Unless you’ve somehow completely avoided the entire genre, you will have a pretty good idea of what a regular post-rock album sounds like, and more time one spends digging into the genre, the more the ‘bread and butter’ records will start to blend together. The Sun Burns Bright, currently a three-piece led by Christopher Garr, play instrumental post-rock very much by the book; there’s no twist on the genre to be heard on A Hollow World. Dainty, quiet clean guitar sections that build to explosions of tremolo can be encountered across this album, and yet there is a slight something to A Hollow World that causes it to stand out to some degree.

Ultimately, how well an album firmly planted within a specific genre works depends on how well it utilizes the traditional tools of the trade. With A Hollow World, the early songs indicate that this is a competent but unremarkable rendition of what has come before. However, from “Echoes Of Tomorrow”, it begins to pick up real positive momentum; those moody, heavy sections that were moderately engaging in the first half of the album begin to develop an additional depth to them. On “Echoes Of Tomorrow”, instead of prioritizing the tremolos or the dense chords, the spotlight is given to a really solid lead guitar motif, and when the tremolo comes in underneath it, The Sun Burns Bright manage to take a great moment and make it even greater. The upward trajectory then continues to the end of the album, with “Kolios Kosmos” having a really touching sorrowful tone to it that reaches a gutpunch of a climax at the end of the song, and “Transience” ominously intensifying to a peak that works as a really powerful conclusion to the record. It might not be original, but A Hollow World has the emotionality and gravitas to stand out from the crowd.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





OK WAIT - Well
[Post-Rock]


On almost a monthly basis, I find myself remarking about the challenges of describing by-the-book post-rock; I do it this very month when discussing The Sun Burns Bright. Well, OK WAIT are described on the Bandcamp page for their debut album Well that they ‘performs instrumental and epic rock music, that cannot clearly be categorized as post rock’; maybe this will be easier to dig deeper into. Things start off promisingly enough; the lengthy opener “Wait” does feature aspects of post-rock, but ventures far from generic crescendocore territory, gradually shifting from a fairly busy beginning exhibiting shades of Sleepmakeswaves into a prolonged acoustic rock stretch in the middle that should hold some appeal to fans of songs such as Opeth’s “Harvest” or “The Drapery Falls”. In contrast to the typical soft/loud approach of many post-rock bands, “Wait” is track that pretty much continually gets softer and gentler across the entirety of its 15-minute runtime.

“Blow” shows a very different dimension to “Wait”; with plenty of evocative tremolo and shifts back and forth in intensity, it’s much more of a typical post-rock song, albeit one that features a depth and crunch to its louder moments than leans slightly more towards post-metal. Those post-metal influences perhaps hit their hardest in the closing minutes of “Dust”, with some dense, powerful guitar tones making a heavier impact that most post-rock bands dare to dabble with. Ultimately, as the album progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Well is very much a conventional post-rock album, one that relies less of twee daintiness in its soft moments and euphoric tremolos in its climactic moments, but one that doesn’t especially break the mold. However, it performs those conventions more excitingly that memorably than most current post-rock albums manage, so OK WAIT are worth keeping an eye on as they work out how to firmly establish a distinctive sound.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Bjorn Riis - Everything To Everyone
[Progressive Rock]


musclassia's pick


Anyone acquainted with Norwegian progressive rock band Airbag may be familiar with Bjorn Riis, that group’s co-founder and guitarist. He also has a project under his own name, with which he records and releases progressive rock, just to mix things up. More dedicated Airbag fans may more easily differentiate the styles of the two projects, but Everything To Everyone feels very similar musically to A Day At The Beach, my only previous taste with Airbag. However, that’s not an issue, as I really liked A Day At The Beach, and I also find Everything To Everyone to be a very satisfying listen. Playing a mellow, tastefully melodic style of progressive rock that sounds typically upbeat, whether dabbling with driving rock or more luscious soundscaping, Riis exemplifies the trend towards ‘substance over style’ that has become more prevalent in progressive rock in the new millennium, and Everything To Everyone has a very rewarding ebb and flow to it.

The tracklist alternates in terms of song length, with every even-numbered track longer than the odd-numbered track that precedes it. The first of these even-numbered tracks, “Lay Me Down”, acts as a perfect summary of everything great that Riis puts into his music, ranging from serene soundscapes with gentle acoustic strumming, lush smooth guitar solos, cool hard rock riffs, bursts of high-energy rocking out, and a slick subtle prog ending with sumptuous instrumentation. I’m not entirely sold on Riis’ vocals, which are appropriately gentle and tender but lack the character of standout vocalists in the genre, but they do the job. Ultimately, it’s the instrumentation that is the focus here, whether it’s the moving solo in “The Siren”, the warm embrace of the acoustic guitars in “Every Second Every Hour”, the versatile drumming that fluidly shapes the tone as songs develop, or floating lightness of the ambient keyboards that eventually give way to dense heaviness on “Descending”. The prog aficionados that visit these monthly posts should definitely prioritize Everything To Everyone, assuming they’ve not already heard it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Pattern-Seeking Animals - Only Passing Through
[Progressive Rock]


If nothing else, the artwork for the third full-length from Pattern-Seeking Animals is something to behold: a blue and black picture of a deer lurking in a Western saloon town at night. As for the music, this is a very logical-sounding follow-up to Prehensile Tales for the prog rock supergroup that is basically a spin-off incarnation of Spock’s Beard, with every member either currently in or formerly involved with that long-running band. The fingerprints of Spock’s Beard are all over Only Passing Through, but this album, and project as a whole, have enough personality to shine as their own entities. Balancing accessible composition with wonderfully tasteful prog virtuosity, “I Can’t Stay Here Anymore” gives everyone a chance to shine; Ted Leonard is a very talented voice, and everyone holds their own instrumentally, but it’s arguably John Boegehold who steals the show with his keyboard solos.

My memories of Prehensile Tales are dominated by the two super-long songs at its end; there’s only one epic-length track here, and “Time Has A Way” is set loose very early on. Admittedly, I feel “Time Has A Way” lacks the cohesion and storytelling of those aforementioned highlights of Prehensile Tales, but there are great moments scattered within, particularly the mandolin sections. I have a slight hesitation towards describing Only Passing Through too glowingly, as both Prehensile Tales and Spock’s Beard as a whole have made solid initial impressions without any real lasting appeal, and I find myself less impressed to begin with by this album; however, there is plenty enough here for the more smitten Spock’s Beard fans to gorge themselves on here.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Strange Pop - Ten Years Gone
[Progressive Rock]


The second album from Warsaw that I’m writing about this month (zero points for guessing the other one), Ten Years Gone appears to be the debut of Strange Pop, the project of multi-instrumentalist Michał Dziadosz (who also performs as part of Iluzjon) with assistance from several guitarists (Michał Wojtas, Maciej Sochoń and Michał Kirmuć - it appears a first name beginning with ‘M’ is a requirement for appearing on this album). Much like this month’s Bjorn Riis release, Ten Years Gone is a prog rock album that values emotion and feel over technicality, and reaps the rewards of doing so.

There are certainly a few hints of fellow Polish prog outfit Riverside’s softer side in Strange Pop, particularly as I can hear Mariusz Duda at times in Dziadosz’s voice, but Ten Years Gone is certainly mellower than Riverside, rarely featuring any form of distortion (although perhaps that absence means that its use in the Porcupine Tree-esque “Goodbye Song” is more memorable). Instead, the instrumental base upon which tracks rests is primarily a synth one, with the rhythm section providing forward momentum and the clean lead guitars adding colour. Sometimes, the guitars are eschewed altogether, with “Ex Oriente Lux” a purely ambient track and following in its footsteps for the majority of its lengthy runtime. With how subdued most of the album is, it’s a good thing that the guitars are so tastefully and movingly played when they are employed, and that Dziadosz is such a capable vocalist. Strange Pop doesn’t do anything new, but Ten Years Gone is a soothing and moving mellow prog record.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Envy Of None - Envy Of None
[Alternative Rock | Art Pop]


musclassia's pick


When the band that you’ve been a member of for 50 years disbands forever, it can’t be easy to work out what musical endeavours to explore in its place. While Rush’s Alex Lifeson has had other musical pursuits outside of his work with the Canadian prog legends, whether it be his Victor solo album in the mid-90s or his various features on tracks such as Porcupine Tree’s “Anesthetize” or “Liquor And Whores” for the Trailer Park Boys move, it remained to be seen when Rush officially ceased activity in 2018 whether that would represent the end of Lifeson’s career as an active musician. As it turned out, 2021 not only saw Lifeson upload two new instrumental songs to his website, but also featured the formation of Envy Of None, a band featuring Lifeson on guitar and Coney Hatch’s Andy Curran (who performed on those two instrumentals) on bass, as well as guitarist Alfio Annibalini and Maiah Wynne on vocals. A year on, the self-titled debut shows Lifeson and company exploring a very different style of rock to Rush, but a very compelling one nonetheless.

Envy Of None play a pop-inclined, electronics-heavy form of alternative rock, one that fluctuates on a song-by-song basis as to how much it can really be considered ‘rock’. “Never Said I Loved You” is light on the guitars, but at least exhibits a connection to rock, “Old Strings” has a hint of U2 to its quiet guitar work, while “Spy House” is one of the few opportunities for Lifeson to flex his skills during its solo. Perhaps the loudest, brashest cut here is “Dog’s Life”, with some slightly grungy moments, but even that by itself indicates how light this album is. On the flip side, “Shadow” is driven by an electronic beat with a reggae feel to it, “Dumb” pounds along to a simple yet effective electrobeat, while “Enemy” features exchanges between guitar distortion and slick trip-hop. There’s a healthy degree of variety considering this album feels incredibly consistent in its quiet, subdued tone. The breakout star of this album is Wynne, whose sensitive, ethereal singing perfectly captures the vibe of the album. Lifeson sits more in the background, likely content to serve as a mentor to the younger members of the group. There’s not nearly enough overlap with Rush to expect their fans will be taken with this new direction of Lifeson’s, but I found Envy Of None to be a very enjoyable record.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





PUP - The Unraveling of PUPtheband
[Indie Rock | Pop Punk]


I admit I was never much of a pop punk fan, like I also admitted when I reviewed PUP's previous album, 2019's Morbid Stuff. But, in my defense, I have since listened to Enema Of The State, so probably by the time I'll review another pop punk album, likely another Pup one at that, I'll also have listened to Does This Look Infected?. Regardless here we have PUP, a Toronto punk band, on the poppier side of things, who have pretty much shed all the post-hardcore leanings of their first couple of records on Morbid Stuff, and now aim for something more like a indie rock concept record.

The concept record aspect of the record is pretty clear during the opener, "Four Chords", whose cynical lyrics about boards of directors and friends who haven't listened to new music since college show a PUP that's a bit more disillusioned. That is reflected both in the vocal performance and mostly in the lyrics, whereas the music itself takes a bit more from the indie rock side of things. This does lead to great concepts, but with an execution that leads to less memorable songs than ones of PUP's previous stuff. And goddamn, that's one loud mix. Perhaps an album that's a bit too cynical for its own good, but one whose cynicism I appreciate nonetheless.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Wet Leg - Wet Leg
[Indie Rock]


Hey! An indie rock group who is generating a lot of buzz with their debut album? Surely they cannot be industry plants. Nevermind, I have no idea either way, I only care about whether the music is good or not. And I like most of what I hear here. Wet Leg is a British duo that started releasing singles in 2021 and are now coming out with a self-titled debut album. And it definitely feels like a debut, but of a band that has already found a sound that's pretty fitting for them. This type of indie rock has been done before, but there's quite enough personality in the writing and performance to make Wet Leg worth being excited for.

I still find that the singles for this album are the most worthwhile of the bunch, though there isn't really anything in here that is overly generic. There's some sounds that are reminiscent of the post-punk revival sound in the vein of The Strokes in some of the louder tracks, and one can find similar artists for a bunch of the sounds here. Wet Leg sounds pretty playful and satirical, and it's quirkiness takes it a long way to avoid feeling overly repetitive, even in its lean runtime. So every listen leaves me feeling "this is fun and catchy" as well as "I've heard this before", but it's a pretty good sign for a debut that I'm focusing more on the former than the latter.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Father John Misty - Chloë and the Next 20th Century
[Traditional Pop | Singer/Songwriter]


I was actually not very familiar with a lot of Joshua Tillman's work outside of the work he did under the Father John Misty moniker, but there's a whole decade of releases under the J. Tillman name in the 2000s prior to Father John Misty's Fear Fun in 2012, not to mention membership in Fleet Foxes for 2011's Helplessness Blues, and actually being a drummer in post-rock band Saxon Shore. This pretty much makes Chloë and the Next 20th Century the work of someone with twenty years' worth of releases under their belt. However, his most acclaimed singer/songwriter albums were more in an indie folk of chamber pop vibe. This time, we get something more in line with traditional pop.

This isn't the first time that a folk artist tried their hand at traditional pop, with a lot of 2010's Bob Dylan albums coming to mind, however Chloë and the Next 20th Century is original material instead of covers. So that comes complete with Tillman's weird stories of love, all in between tragic, bittersweet, and sarcastic. This is still a sound that I don't find myself that fond of, nor do I think that Tillman's voice is really that fit for it, and as beautiful as the orchestral instrumentals are, I'm still left pretty indifferent to it. Sinatra-core kinda requires a bit of a different flair, the ballroom feeling not being as immersive as I'd wish. I mean, it's just fine. But that's it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Omnium Gatherum
[Psychedelic Rock]


Everyone’s favourite metal band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are back with their heaviest album yet, kicking off with an 18-minute funeral doom epic before taking listeners on a progressive death metal adventure... okay, maybe it’s not that heavy, but outside of the obvious outlier that is the thrashy Infest The Rats’ Nest, Omnium Gatherum is one of King Gizzard’s albums most willing to play around in metal territory. Having said that, it’s also more than willing to dabble in a few other styles outside of progressive/psychedelic rock, such as pop, funk, soul and hip-hop, which is fair enough considering that this album is 80 minutes long (just a reminder of how bogglingly prolific this band is, the 80-minute Omnium Gatherum is the group’s fifth full-length release in the past 18 months, albeit the first since the start of the pandemic that was recorded together in the studio). And yes, “The Dripping Tap” is in fact 18 minutes long, making this extravagant, brash prog rock epic (jam-packed with loud and pyrotechnic guitar solos) the longest studio song from King Gizzard to date.

“The Dripping Tap” is the kind of ‘kitchen sink’ song that it takes quite a bit out of you to get the whole way through, which means the prospect of tackling another full hour of music on any full-album playthroughs is a tad daunting. Just to make that task less intimidating, King Gizzard follow it up with two funky psychedelic pop tracks, before doing a 180 and throwing desert rock and metallic sounds at the listener with “Gaia”, a level of heaviness that is rivalled by the gritty psych track “Predator X”. If that seems like a curveball, just brace yourself for a sudden dive into hip-hop on “Sadie Sorceress” and “The Grim Reaper”. With all these jumps in sound, more anticipated psychedelic rock like “Evilest Man” suddenly feels weird purely due to its predictability. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are clearly a band that can do whatever they want and get away with it, and Omnium Gatherum is their mission statement; however, it does feel a bit like a ‘jack of all trades’ album as a result.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - Night Gnomes
[Psychedelic Rock]


Damn what a band title! I know I used the exact same opening for my writeup on their latest, but I will use it for every album of theirs I'll ever get to review. Not my fault they chose it. Also, just like in that last article, they're gonna be sitting alongside another King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard album, also not my fault they released at the same time. Both bands occupy a pretty similar place, as being Aussie psychedelic rock bands, which are pretty versatile in their approach, but Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have a bit of a leaner catalogue, and with some of their music also sounding like their compatriots in Tame Impala and The Drones, some people have been accusing PPC of not really finding a sound of their own.

I'm a bit less concerned with how unique PPC sound, as I'm very content with how unique their band name sounds, and with how great they are at the sound that they're approaching. Calling it psychedelic rock is accurate, but also reductive, as the band is so versatile at touching different sides of it. Some fuzz is so loud it could pass as stoner metal, some moments go closer to psychedelic pop or neo-psychedelia, covering a whole lot of this psych rock spectrum. And Night Gnomes is fun, catchy, trippy, and did I mention fun? It's great to hear a band showcase this very specific range and all of it so playfully.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Guerilla Toss - Famously Alive
[Neo-Psychedelia | Experimental Rock]


There's quite some sound evolution going on with Boston's Guerilla Toss. Starting out more than ten years ago as more of a no wave band, moving through noise rock into something closer to a punky new wave version of prog rock, shifting through dance-punk before incorporating neo-psychedelia with 2017's GT Ultra. And now, four years after their last record, they've toned down all the other aspects of their sound to put the more accessible neo-psychedelia front and center. And by "toning down" I mean that they're still there to make Famously Alive a lot more diverse than most neo-psych albums out there.

A lot of Famously Alive sounds closer to something like a Flaming Lips or AnCo song than anything resembling the punky or prog sounds of past albums. This is album is bright, very very bright, and in-your-face with how glittery and surreal its sounds are. Considering how brief this record is, at barely over 30 minutes, it packs a lot in its runtime. From the colorful synths to the manipulated vocals, some new wave sound in some of the guitars, to an arena rock sound that was deconstructed by aliens. It's weird how simultaneously accessible and alarming this album is. This album is stuffed with color.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Spiritualized - Everything Was Beautiful
[Space Rock]


RaduP's pick


For some reason, Spiritualized and Duster both occupied a similar space in my mind. Both are 90s alt rock bands that are well known in their respective subgenres, both they're different subgenres nonetheless. So I was pretty surprised that both of them released new albums in the exact same month. I'm not very familiar with most of Spiritualized's work past the very well-received 90s albums, but from what I heard and gathered, they never really had any falling off. But out of everything I heard from Spiritualized since 2001's Let It Come Down, Everything Was Beautiful is the one I feel most like returning to.

Considering that the album is a pretty lean 44 minutes, the album really manages to pack quite a lot musically. The spoken word intro harkens back to the intro of their classic 1997 Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space album in the best way, and a lot of the music afterwards really feels in line with the classic Spiritualized sound, with dreamy and lush textures, bits of blues influences, a very orchestral feeling to some of the thick layers, and generally a very grandiose sound at times that contrasts really well with the relatively quiet but nonetheless passionate vocals in some of the record's most intense moments. Maybe everything really was beautiful.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Duster - Together
[Slowcore]


For some reason, Duster and Spiritualized both occupied a similar space in my mind. Both are 90s alt rock bands that are well known in their respective subgenres, both they're different subgenres nonetheless. So I was pretty surprised that both of them released new albums in the exact same month. Especially considering that Duster's Together was more of a surprise release that I had not anticipated, with their comeback selftitled album barely three years ago, one that I pretty much liked despite its atrocious cover art, so now, EPs aside, we have as many Duster releases post hiatus than pre-hiatus. And as great as both Duster and Together are, I have no issue picking between the two eras.

I mean, the "slowcore" tag should generally tell you enough about the music. Just like the latest 40 Watt Sun, this is slow and pretty uneventful music that really requires the emotional connection and immersion to really hit. Finally graced by a good cover art, this one really captures the mood of the record, of just really not wanting to get out of bed and get on with you life. Though there's plenty of better slowcore records out there, and maybe 47 minutes of this is too much for how little ideas it has, but there's enough here to remind both of why this sound works for so many people, and why Duster have been so influential in the scene that has since made their music more saturated.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Daniel Rossen - You Belong There
[Progressive Folk | Chamber Folk]


RaduP's pick


I'll admit that Daniel Rossen is a name that I hadn't heard of before, so I was a bit surprised by this being so good for a debut album. However it all made sense after finding out that Daniel has been part of indie folk acts Grizzly Bear and Department Of Eagles, both being quite well known for mixing indie folk with psychedelia and indietronica. You Belong There is not really a debut, as Daniel has also released an EP in 2012, but this is the first full length, and one that's very fleshed out and quite unique in its approach, compared both to his work in his other bands and to other folk music in general.

As a multi-instrumentalist, Daniel is in charge of most if not all the performances on You Belong There, which would generally make sense if the album were even more minimal than it was, but You Belong There acts in both minimalist and maximalist spaces. There's ornate instrumentation that harkens back to some of the earlier Grizzly Bear records, but stripped back to something with more of a chamber feel, while retaining a psychedelic feel in a more progressive folk way. The mixing of this record does hide the one-man nature of the record, never losing its magical and organic feeling. The flow of the record moves from droning layering to dark progressive arrangements, making this immersive and intriguing all the way through.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Orville Peck - Bronco
[Contemporary Country | Alt-Country]


It wasn't that long ago that Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" became the biggest country ("country"?) song in a while, so tie that with how successful Orville Peck's gay cowboy image was, it's safe to say that there's a bit of queerness going on in the current country scene. Sure, a lot of Orville's success came down to the image and concept, but the songs on Pony and Show Pony really had a lot of strength to them besides how dramatic and cinematic their music videos were. And Shania Twain crossovers aside, those did feel in line with the album titles, being merely ponies. Bronco is, well, a full-fledged horse.

Not only is Bronco a major label debut for Orville Peck, but there's some significant improvement in Orville's vocal performance, being so much more believable as a country artist, even if some of those croons are not up my alley as I'm not much of a country fan, but I can't deny how authentic they sound. Bronco is maybe not as twangy as I'd like it to be, but there's great orchestrations all around that pull from all things country and Americana, some of which do come from more of alt/indie direction in how dreamy they are, while others are overbearingly grandiose. And just like a pony grows into a horse, this oozes of the same confidence and growth.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Kurt Vile - (Watch My Moves)
[Folk Rock | Alt-Country]


What moves, Kurt? This is an album so laid back that I'm always afraid it's gonna fall off its chair. Kurt Vile's music was always pretty laid back, even in the more slacker rock early days, and even in his time in The War On Drugs. So I guess there's absolutely nothing surprising about (Watch My Moves). I'd say that it's huge runtime is tied with this being the longest gap in between Kurt Vile records, but the album that it's gapping from, 2018's Bottle It In was even longer, and that only came one year after a collaborative album with Courtney Barnett. Is a 40 minute album too much too ask for, Kurt?!

I guess Kurt just really can make a lot of music. In his lane. Undisturbed. Laid back and chill. I don't mind, there's no part of it that is bad, and it's quite clear that the singles were selected as the singles for a reason, but a lot of this albums just blends into itself as this psychedelic folk stream-of-consciousness break time, with the country twang even more pushed back than I remember. I like the synths and the backing vocals that make their way into this occasionally, but nothing of what they do really make (Watch My Moves) interesting enough to warrant even half of its runtime. I appreciate the vibe, but please give me something more than that.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Niechęć - Unsubscribe
[Jazz Fusion]


Niechęć were described as a jazz/post-rock fusion when I first encountered Unsubscribe; I think one has to be quite loose in terms of genre classification to describe Unsubscribe as post-rock, as outside perhaps of having a similar focus on dynamics in certain tracks, there’s not much similarity that I can see. However, with its dynamic fluctuations and emotionality, it’s entirely possible that Unsubscribe would appeal to post-rock fans. That emotionality doesn’t come through too much on the first track; “Argot” is in some ways brash, with flamboyant keyboard solo very much at the centre of attention halfway through, and a somewhat aggressive swell of keyboard, piano, saxophone, drumming and whatever else is packed in there to reach a loud peak. In contrast, “Praga” shows a real sensitivity on the part of Niechęć coming from the gentle drumming, sombre ambient backdrop and heartfelt saxophone performance.

The album proceeds with shifts back and forth between these extremes; “Przeniesienie” represents perhaps the closest that Niechęć get to rock on Unsubscribe with its straightforward drum rhythm and use of guitar, while “Puste Łąki” immediately pulls back and tones everything down with a mellow piano-driven composition. To me, Niechęć shine more in their more tender tracks, particularly “Niechęć”, a 10-minute marathon featuring luscious saxophone, beautiful piano motifs and exquisite exploration of atmosphere. Compared to this, the prog rock keyboard solo that the group immediately follows it up with right at the beginning of “Epilog” somewhat kills the vibe, even if this outro song is quite a fun jam when it’s at its most rocking. Niechęć could benefit from being a bit more consistent tonally in the future, but they’re certainly onto something here.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Lovecraft Sextet - Nights Of Lust
[Darkjazz]


I was gonna make a "turns out there's more darkjazz out there than Bohnen & Der Club Of Gore and The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble), but then I found out that The Lovecraft Sextet is actually a project of Jason Köhnen, who is a member of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (and Bong-Ra, and Celestial Season, and Servants Of The Apocalyptic Goat Rave, and...), and just like every respectable darkjazz project it follows the "The [Cultural Reference] [Optional Genre] [Description Of Band Type]" formula for the name.

Nights Of Lust is a bit more unique than being merely a darkjazz album, as its lists of inspiration also has the soundtracks of John Carpenter and Angelo Badalamenti as inspiration, thus aiming for a bit of a soundtrack vibe for underground movies. There's a bit of a synthwave/darksynth undertone to it, though all of it less flashy and more in line with the darkjazz nature of the record. The record is permeated by subtle dark grooves, seductive female vocals, perfectly cheesy saxophone, ominous organs, all of them mixed at the border between tongue-in-cheek humor and abstract dreadful darkness.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Lilien Rosarian - Every Flower In My Garden
[Tape Music | Ambient]


Generally a lot of this glitchy tape music manipulation and sound collage leans in a darker direction in the vein of The Caretaker or William Basinski, so having an album called Every Flower In My Garden feels pretty antithetical to that. Lilien Rosarian is a bit of a newcomer in the scene, this being only their second album, but there's already enough here to showcase a mastery of how to contrast and superimpose sound to create glitchy soundscapes that genuinely evoke emotion. Every Flower In My Garden is perhaps not as bright as its title would imply, but it is soothing and bittersweet.

The album opens pretty much akin with a floodgate, with a colorful noise explosion, and even if further tracks are mellower, that already sets a big impression. This is about as synthetic as you can make an album about nature sound, while also being the most organic you can make such a synthetic experience feel. I'm no expert on sound collage, so I can't place this in the context of the scene it's coming from, but the beauty here does make me curious to see what else can be done with this sound and what has been done already. For now, as an ambient album, Every Flower In My Garden evokes it's emotions and then some.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8
[Ambient | Post-Industrial]


How often is it that artists claim to create their 8th album right after their 2nd? Well, it happened to Welsh electronic artist Kelly Lee Owens, whose music plans were derailed, like all the rest of everyone else's plans, by the pandemic cancelling her tours. A spontaneous decision to go to Oslo instead, to work with producer Lasse Marhaug, and to create something that was a bit more far removed from the tech house art pop of her first two albums. And as someone who loved Inner Song (read all about it), and who has had "On" on repeat ever since, I was pretty surprised by the change in direction. But then I mean, this is a follow-up to her 7th, not her 2nd album, and who knows how that sounds?

While there is a part of me that is internally screaming at the "3rd album masquerading as the 8th" gimmick, there's a lot that makes sense about it, from a very different sense of sonic exploration that does usually happen to artists later in their career, to a feeling of trust in the future. Though the tech house sounds have all but vanquished, there's still some ambient pop lingering, especially in the songs that still have Kelly's vocals as a central element (see "One"). But most of the music has been deconstructed into cold somber ambient, often venturing into industrial drones, and the closer track definitely sounds like something produced by someone who worked with Merzbow.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Max Cooper - Unspoken Words
[IDM | Ambient Electronic]


I’d like to think that I’m not only covering Max Cooper because, given how similar his name is to my own and that he lives in London, he could well be my electronic music alter ego, but it’s certainly not an insignificant factor behind me writing this. However, I wouldn’t be able to sit through an hour-long album purely because of a quirk of circumstance, so my appreciation of Unspoken Words is testament to Max’s talents as a producer. Transitioning from ambient (“Unspoken Words”) to ambient techno (“Inanimate To Animate”), Unspoken Words only goes further into more eclectic territory from that point onwards.

There are some more ambient-minded tracks after the opening title track, but “Ascent” takes a more maximalist approach, culminating in an explosion of droning euphoric synths. Similarly, there are more subdued IDM cuts here, such as “Spectrum” and “Pulse At The Centre Of Being”, but “Symphony In Acid” is appropriately weird and vibrant given its name, and the likes of “Solace In Structure” only go further away from the sedate. Variety is the spice of life, but I must admit I enjoy Unspoken Words most in its milder moments, during with Max shows a real proclivity for exploring the understated.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Faun - Pagan
[Neofolk]


Most of the neofolk that makes its way to metalheads’ ears is of Nordic origin, whether it be Wardruna, Forndom or (partially) Heilung. However, that area doesn’t have a monopoly on neofolk; just south, one can find Faun, a long-running project offering a Germanic spin on the formula. With Pagan, Faun highlight the connections of Faun with both the Nordic pagan folk scene, via the appearance of Wardruna’s Lindy-Fay Hella on opening track “Galdra”, and with the metal scene, courtesy of Eluveitie’s feature on “Gwydion”.

Still, just based off of Pagan (I haven’t heard anything else from Faun to tell how representative it is), I can hear what is meant when I read that Faun incorporate Medieval folk. Compared with how droning and chant-based Wardruna can be, there’s a liveliness to the melodies on Pagan, and those melodies can be quite beautiful. “Gwydion” has lovely singing and hurdy-gurdy, so much so that I wonder whether the minute of Eluveitie metal at the end is really necessary, even if it does work. Some of the other highlights include the up-tempo sing-along that is “Halloween”, the sorrowful “Wainamoinen” and rowdy “Baldur”. Fifteen tracks might be slightly excessive, diluting the impact of the greatest tracks, but as a first taste of Faun, Pagan made a very positive impression on me.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Czarface - Czarmaggedon!
[Boom Bap | East Coast Hip Hop]


Czarface, the group of rap duo Inspectah Deck and Esoteric, and producer 7L, has been making comic book villain inspired hip-hop for ten years now. And considering how everyone involved has been going at it since the 90s, it makes sense why it feels like a beacon for old-school hip-hop. But with such a consistent releasing schedule, with no gap bigger than two years between releases, and with collab albums with Ghostface Killah (more here) and MF DOOM (more here), the latter actually being DOOM's last album, it feels a bit harder to be excited for a new solo Czarface album.

But just as hard it is to get excited for a new one, it is just as easy to feel excited while listening to it. While stylistically following in the exact footsteps left by their previous releases, it still feels like they find new ways to work within it and make the beats, lyrics and flow sound exciting. A lot of it is just due to how amazing the chemistry between these people is, and even though there aren't a lot of guest spots on the record, they provide some nice extra flavor. And though I'd definitely want more collab albums from the group, Czarmaggedon! proves that there's plenty of reasons to be excited even without any extra collaborative nature.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Billy Woods - Aethiopes
[Abstract Hip Hop | Experimental Hip Hop]


RaduP's pick


Well, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Billy Woods' breakthrough album, History Will Absolve Me, and in the meantime Billy has solidified his position as one of the leading abstract rappers in underground hip-hop, both is his solo career and in his work in the Armand Hammer duo. We've already covered quite a lot of the record he's released since, both the solos and the collabs, so by now it's pretty clear that he's consistent and keeps an experimental edge to his records that still feels quite unmatched despite how clearly influential he's been in the abstract scene. To put it simply, I don't know what else we could say about Billy Woods that we haven't said already.

If you've been following the abstract rap scene, a lot of what happens on Aethiopes isn't that new. Dreamlike beats, usually sampled from jazz, but sometimes even more obscure, a flow that sometimes borders on spoken word, usually a lack of any chorus. On paper, nothing not done before, but the skill of the craft in Aethiopes is so out-there that it feels like more of a surreal experience beat-wise and the vocal side also has guest spots from the likes of Boldy James and El-P, and the lyrics are the right combination of cryptic and direct, so pretty much this is about as sharp as abstract hip-hop can get.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Pusha T - It's Almost Dry
[Gangsta Rap | Southern Hip Hop]


Out of the "popular-but-not-highest-echelon" rappers, Pusha T is one of my favorite ones. Having been at it for more than twenty years, starting out as one half of the Clipse duo, putting out classics like 2002's Lord Willin' and 2006's Hell Hath No Fury, before that group split up and both Pusha T and No Malice went their own ways. Pusha T's solo stuff hasn't been too consistent, despite never being the kind of rapper to make albums longer than 45 minutes, but his highs proved he can be versatile as far as the beats under him go. 2018's Daytona was definitely the most consistent, not only because of it being produced by Kanye West, but also because of its even leaner runtime. Now, It's Almost Dry is a bit more of a culmination.

It's still a pretty lean album, at 35 minutes, and the production pretty much switches between Kanye's and Pharell's, the two producers behind the man's best albums, and even though both of them are great, it does make the album feel a bit uneven. It's even more uneven when some of the guest spots don't necessarily feel very high-effort. I'm not really fond of short albums from artists that take a long time between releases but still have mid material on them. Of course, not all of it is, and pretty much the bulk of It's Almost Dry is still Pusha T doing what he does best. After all, highs are high, and it's not like past albums were any more consistent.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror
[Synthwave | Darksynth]


After 2020’s Blood Machines OST, Carpenter Brut’s next album is an ‘actual’ album, and as good as Carpenter Brut was at writing a synthwave movie soundtrack, it’s nice to hear an album full of ‘full’ tracks. Still, Leather Terror does open with “Opening Title”, so evidently the love for cinema is not far away. Neither is his clear appreciation for metal music; with pounding thrash drums and aggressively distorted synths, “Straight Outta Hell” is purpose-built for the metal-loving synthwave crowd.

That crowd will be further pleased with some of the collaborations that appear on Leather Terror; in addition to fellow synthwave sensation Gunship, there’s tracks here featuring Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Sylvaine, Ulver and Tribulation’s Jonka Andersson. That array of musicians hints at a range of styles across Leather Terror, and between the easy-going new wave energy of “The Widow Maker”, the subdued balladry of “...Good Night, Goodbye” and mostly hollow darkness of “Stabat Mater”, that promise is lived up to. However, although Andersson’s rasps complement the title track quite effectively, Puciato sticks mostly in crooner mode on “Imaginary Fire”. Funnily enough, despite all these guests, my preferred tracks on Leather Terror are actually some of the instrumentals, with “Day Stalker” and “Night Prowler” working as a banging back-to-back of ‘sleek and cool’ followed by ‘pulsating energy’.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Health - DISCO4 :: PART II
[Electro-Industrial]


My first taste of Health was DISCO4 :: PART I, a pretty solid collection of tracks featuring an array of different guest vocalists/bands. As such, when I saw Health perform at Roadburn last month, I wasn’t aware how strange and arguably ill-fitting a match their regular vocals are for the band’s electro-industrial compositions. With DISCO4 :: PART II, I still haven’t really experienced how that combination works on record, as the formula from Part I is repeated this time around; featuring on this record are the likes of Poppy, Nine Inch Nails, Lamb Of God, The Body, Backxwash/Ho99o9 (a combination so natural I wonder if it’s already happened before) and Street Sects, plus the return of Perturbator, who already featured on the first volume.

It's a somewhat diverse yet fairly logical array of contributing artists; the question is how will they each impact the track they feature on. The answer is: in some cases, rather a lot. It takes some time to find the Health in “Cold Blood”, which is pretty much just a Lamb Of God song for the first couple of minutes, and it’s only really towards the very end that the two bands feel like they’re working in tandem. Trent Reznor’s fingerprints are unsurprisingly all over “Isn’t Everyone”. In contrast, a band as potentially loud and abrasive as The Body show off their quiet side on “AD 1000”, and “Dead Flowers” is the polar opposite energy-wise to Poppy’s I Disagree record. With each song (at least from the ones where I’m familiar with the artists) sounding like 70% collaborator/30% Health, which ones you enjoy will be at least somewhat influenced by your opinions on said collaborators, so perhaps unsurprisingly, “Gnostic Flesh/Mortal Hell” (featuring Backxwash) and “Excess” (featuring Perturbator) are among my favourites here; however, as someone who didn’t take to I Disagree at all, I feel like Poppy’s “Dead Flowers” is potentially the pick fo' the bunch.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month. Here's a Spotify playlist we compiled out of stuff featured here:







Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 78 users
22.05.2022 - 17:49
nikarg
Mod
How many albums are here? It must be a record, no?
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22.05.2022 - 18:03
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Faun is great pick, good catch lads, and first 3 are OK as well.
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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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22.05.2022 - 18:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 22.05.2022 at 17:49

How many albums are here? It must be a record, no?

37, I think it's a record yeah

There's just so much (great) music out there, man
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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22.05.2022 - 21:39
doez
Hallucigenia
You guys went all out this month holy shit, good job
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23.05.2022 - 04:01
Blackcrowe

Great work guys… as Always, good bunch of records my pick is Bjorn Riis - Everything To Everyone it is really amazing.
One thing to make a reflection the covers the most bands in the last years doesn’t pay attention on the art work or the bad taste it’s part of the originality on those days? I think the humanity is on their own decadence in what art became on, just a bad picture taken by a cell phone it’s art. I miss those days were the bands take their time and make really good art covers from emerging artist or consolidate ones.
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Not
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23.05.2022 - 19:43
Nejde
Philosoraptor
Did anyone say Psychedelic Porn Crumpets?

And you gotta love that Carpenter Brut cover. One would expect some minimalistic synth score from a 80's slasher movie but instead you get one of the best synthwave releases of 2022 thus far.

And 37? Go for 50 even next month. You guys can't stop now
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"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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24.05.2022 - 11:26
Lord Slothrop

As an unrepentant Frusciante fan, kudos for bringing the RHCP into the mix. On my first listen, I liked it... by my third, I was addicted. I must have spun this album at least 12 times in the first five days or so. Love this series, by the way. It's a great way to find out what I might have missed.
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25.05.2022 - 21:36
Uxküll

Love these posts every month, my library is very heavy on metal. Variety is the spice of life after all.
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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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11.06.2022 - 05:32
dirtypop

I'm like 14 years on this site and this monthly article/playlist is my favorite part lately!
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