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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg
Published: 17.07.2022


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - June 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:

May 2022
April 2022
March 2022

And now to the music...






Coheed & Cambria - Vaxis - Act II: A Window Of The Waking Mind
[Alternative Rock | Pop Rock]


Of all the bands that could be covered in this article series without making a major stylistic departure, Coheed & Cambria are quite likely my favourite; In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 and Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness are amongst my all-time favourite albums, and even though I’ve had mixed reactions to their post-No World For Tomorrow material, there’s usually been a banger or two per album. Further still, 2018’s Vaxis - Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, despite its extreme length, was the mostly consistently exciting record the band had put out in over a decade, so my expectations for Vaxis - Act II: A Window Of The Waking Mind were very high; unfortunately, this is a step back towards inconsistency in my eyes.

Coheed & Cambria have always had a pop streak to them, but I feel like those elements have found a healthy balance with their proggier inclinations on their stronger records; on Vaxis - Act II, they find themselves pushed further forward than ever before (with the possible exception of The Color Before The Sun), with the first three-quarters of the tracklist oriented towards short, sweet songs, and overt poppiness infused particularly into the likes of the synth-heavy “A Disappearing Act” and autotune on "Love Murder One". The results of this shift will be prone to dividing fans; personally, I’ve found C&C’s poppier tracks in the past to be a tad hit and miss, and it’s very much the case here, with the bulk of this record something of a mixed bag (although the poppiest of all, “A Disappearing Act”, is one of the songs I’m more fond of here). Ultimately, though, considering how well-loaded Vaxis - Act I was in terms of strength in depth, I find too much of Vaxis - Act II to be forgettable to be satisfied by it; however, I will say that they pick up their game with the proggier closing trio of songs, and strike gold with the thoroughly compelling chorus of “Rise, Naianasha (Cut The Cord)”, the clear standout track on A Window Of The Waking Mind in my eyes.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Billy Howerdel - What Normal Was
[Alternative Rock]


If the name Billy Howerdel is unfamiliar to you, you must not be a fan of A Perfect Circle, the group that Howerdel co-founded with Tool’s Maynard Keenan at the tail end of the 1990s. What Normal Was is Howerdel’s first release under his own name, although it’s not his first solo record, as the few fans of Ashes Divide and his 2008 record Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright under that moniker would be quick to point out if I were to overlook it. Still, both A Perfect Circle and Ashes Divide lurk in a similar sphere of alternative rock/metal, so the question that lingers over What Normal Was is whether it will be more of the same, or something of a departure. As it is, it’s closer to the latter.

If you want to know whether it’s worth checking this album out, the first question you need to ask yourself is: do you like recent Ulver? If the answer is ‘yes’, then consider giving What Normal Was a listen, as Howerdel, particularly on tracks such as “Poison Flowers”, is drinking from a similar new wave/synthpop well as The Assassination Of Julius Caesar and Flowers Of Evil. On this front, Howerdel’s lower-ranged vocals fit the music very naturally, channeling that dark alternative vibe that works so well on new wave/goth rock music. While not particularly original, What Normal Was does have some pleasant variety, from the hints of melancholy in the vocals and piano on “EXP” to the more grandiose nature of “Stars”, a song that at times scratches a similar itch to Snow Patrol’s epic “The Lightning Strikes”. Ulver certainly don’t have a monopoly on new wave revivalism, and Howerdel’s take on the sound comes across rather nicely.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky
[Indie Rock]


That's definitely a pretty unique image that this album's title and cover art create. A bit of a tough civil engineering feat nonetheless, but also a pretty great music album. Porridge Radio started out a bit more solo and lo-fi around 2015, putting out a bunch of records before properly solidifying into the post-punk-tinged indie rock outfit that they are on 2020's Every Bad. Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky build up on that sound even further, sitting at the intersection of indie rock with a bunch of art punk subgenres and bits of post-rock, clinging to its own distinguishing features and what it gets right.

As far as the vocals go, Dana's quite capable at getting the anxiety-ridden sound right, melding that with a bit of a bittersweet tone, and the lyricism also reflects that. But a lot of what makes these work so well is how well Porridge Radio handle repetition, often making a single lyric stand out, while creating some hypnotic mantras of anxiety through some sounds pretty reminiscent of the first wave of post-rock, as the genre was first emerging and still had strong roots in indie rock and post-punk, all seeped in some psychedelic synth work. The atmosphere and the vocals and how things are mixed up despite the reliance on repetition do create a pretty recognizable sound for Porridge Radio, one that has its own share of emotional impact.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Soccer Mommy - Sometimes, Forever
[Indie Rock | Indie Pop]


In the grand landscape of indie rock music, Soccer Mommy is a name that has gotten quite a bit of attention, from bedroom pop beginnings to a more firm indie pop/rock sound over 2018's Clean and 2020's Color Theory. None of them felt like something too unique within the indie sphere, striking at a pretty established sound even within the bright shoegaze-like production, but they did show promise by how well they played around with said established sound. I appreciated Color Theory's emotional color coding quite a bit, so I was looking forward to hearing how that could be topped in a follow-up.

The most surprising thing about Sometimes, Forever is not just that it is produced by Daniel Lopatin of Oneohtrix Point Never fame, but how well the two of them work together. Daniel is able to inject some weird production flourishes into the mix, giving it a clear experimental undertone that doesn't feel too artificial, all the while perfectly playing into the established indie sound, and the end result is an even fresher take that works within and on the bounds of the indie rock sound. The shoegaze aesthetic is even stronger, helped by an even stronger psychedelic nuance to it. It being dreamlike is an understatement, and Soccer Mommy's voice and lyricism works in tandem with that vibe.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





This Is Oblivion - This Is Oblivion
[Darkwave | Industrial]


Once a month, there’s an album in this feature that points out, if anyone needs reminding, that music doesn’t have to be metal to earn the use of adjectives typically applied to metal albums. And so it is this time with This Is Oblivion’s self-titled debut, which sees The Number Twelve Looks Like You/So Hideous/Downfall Of Gaia drummer Michael Kadnar team up with partner Lulu Black, who brings vocals and violin to the fold. Together, this duo create angry, claustrophobic music within a bleak industrial noise framework.

I’ve seen a few reviews use Chelsea Wolfe as a reference point for This Is Oblivion, and they’re close enough that I could see one appealing to fans of the other, but Black’s vocals are more immediate, direct and confrontational than Wolfe’s usual range, and the sinister amalgamation of drums, industrial electronics, strings, piano and electronic drones is perhaps more overtly intense than the subtler yet harrowing nature of an album such as Wolfe’s Abyss. This Is Oblivion also distinguishes itself by eschewing the use of guitars; this isn’t an album that ever explodes with metallic aggression (the closest the record gets to metal is some blasting from the drums on closing track “Litany”), but one that chips away with its oppressive atmospherics. That’s not to imply that there’s not variety in approach, however; the likes of “Elegy” and “Offering” place the strings further towards the front, with ominous pizzicato or niggling overlap of menacing string scratches, while “A Reckoning” veers far more towards the industrial end of the band’s musical spectrum, Black’s vocal approach bordering on rapping on this cut.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Executioner's Mask - Winterlong
[Post-Punk | Gothic Rock]


Executioner's Mask is a pretty unique kind of non-metal band, because I'm not only writing about them here, in the feature specifically meant for writing about non-metal music, but I also interviewed them, to my knowledge the only interview with a non-metal band that's not in our database. Why that is? Part of it is because the band is fronted by Crowhurst's Jay Gambit while also having The Howling Void's Ryan Wilson on guitars, but it's not just the band connections. I'm generally a pretty big fan of this kind of gothic post-punk, so when somebody nails the atmosphere I'm down for it.

I'd say that two things work in Executioner's Mask favor. First Jay's vocals have such an downtrodden feeling caught between the melodramatic and the blasé, and whose monotony somehow isn't as big of an impediment, but it is still something I'd love to see worked with. And then that downtrodden feeling infects the entire soundscape, from the melodies to the gated reverb on the drums, moving it between the early death rock of Christian Death and the almost noisy psychedelic nuance of bands like Sex Church. Vibe is great, but it's also a testament of quality how easy it was for me to get familiar with the songs here.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Zola Jesus - Arkhon
[Art Pop | Darkwave]


RaduP's pick


Inhabiting a pretty similar space to Chelsea Wolfe and Emma Ruth Rundle, but whose darkwave often landed in art pop territories, with her discography ranging from the punkier The Spoils to the glossier Taiga to the ethereal Okovi. The latter particularly has become one of my favorite darkwave albums of all time, because I've had plenty of time to really digest it and it's soundscapes. But it was weird for a 2017 album to be an artist's latest record for so long, so naturally the anticipation for a new Zola Jesus record after the longest gap in between album was pretty high. Especially since she collaborated with Matt Chamberlain (who worked with anyone from Fiona Apple to David Bowie) and Randall Dunn (who produced a bunch of Sunn O))) records).

And considering both the talent involved and it having to live up to the already expansive and dark Okovi, it's no wonder that Arkhon sounds like an even larger version of that album. Nicole Hummel's distinctive vocals continue to be enchanting, even or especially during moments of repetition like on "Desire" or "Fault". And they're supported by the expansive soundscapes that rely a bit more on live instrumentation and the ethereal atmospheres herein. The moods vary from song to song, and so far I'm really curious how songs from Arkhon will stack up to Okovi ones in the long run once I've had more time to digest them, but so far I'm enjoying the familiarity I'm getting with them a lot.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Poliça - Madness
[Art Pop | Indietronica]


Poliça allegedly chose their band name as it is the Polish word for ‘policy’ reflects the unwritten code that guides the band; I’m not sure who decided to share this story publicly in the internet age, considering a quick trip to Google translate reveals this to not be the case. However the name actually arose, the Minnesotan electronic pop group have been making waves since their formation in the wake of the (then-)break-up of vocalist Channy Leaneagh’s folk band Roma Di Luna. The band’s previous album, When We Stay Alive, offered Leaneagh the opportunity to muse lyrically in the aftermath of a near-fatal injury. On Madness, lyrics are far less central to the listening experience.

Leaneagh’s vocals are still very clear in the mix, but a mix of pronunciation and production makes the lyrics very difficult to discern. That production is realized this time around using, ‘AllOvers’ a new production tool designed by producer (and Leaneagh’s husband) Ryan Olson. This approach allows the warm synthpop of Poliça to fondly embrace listeners, particularly on the catchy anthem “Alive” and the almost-wordlessly evocative vocal-driven “Violence”. Not everything hits the mark on Madness, as the centrepiece and longest song “Madness” is a bit threadbare and empty, and considering this record is only a half-hour in length, the loss of momentum from this underwhelming 5-minute title track is keenly felt, but in its best moments, Madness sounds quite lovely.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Yoo Doo Right - A Murmur, Boundless To The East
[Krautrock | Post-Rock]


musclassia's pick


Yoo Doo Right’s debut record made a very positive impression on me upon its release last year. The Canadians have wasted little time in following it up, with A Murmur, Boundless To The East coming just over a year afterwards. This time, I was prepared for its arrival, and once again Yoo Doo Right have left me very much impressed. With a band name taken from krautrock legends Can, there is unsurprisingly a significant krautrock influence to be heard across this album; however, the combination of influences and styles across A Murmur, Boundless To The East results in a final product that is very much more than the sum of its parts.

Opening track “Say Less, Do More” has post-rock inclinations in its slow atmospheric builds and brooding tom-heavy percussion, but Justin Cober’s vocals take plenty of cues from post-punk and noise rock, while the wild, louder explosions of guitar are more from the realm of psychedelic rock. Across the record, there’s a variety in style and tone; “SMB”’s mischievous guitar motif gives off feelings of space and the unknown, pulling off that classic challenge of taking the listener on a journey. However, the longest and widest-spreading journey on A Murmur, Boundless To The East can be heard on 16-minute closer “Feet Together, Face Up, On The Front Lawn”, a song that shifts and progresses like a post-rock song, but uses intense instrumentation and noisiness that leans more towards the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor than the crescendocore post-rock sound. With this review only scratching the surface, Yoo Doo Right’s sophomore is an excellent way of confirming the promise of that debut album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Towers Of Jupiter - III
[Post-Rock]


musclassia's pick


Another month, another post-rock album, but for once it doesn’t feel like I’m reviewing the same type of album for the 50th time. Montreal’s Towers Of Jupiter have been very inspired with their album titles so far, with III following I and II; the curious thing is that, unlike a lot of post-rock bands, they do actually have lyrics that could be used for the album title, as Towers Of Jupiter include vocals, and rather successfully at that. Gentle, tender and heartfelt, the singing goes nicely with the brooding gloominess of “Le Palais De Cristal” and the subdued textures of “Royal Lake”.

This duo do fall easily under the post-rock umbrella; the clean tones, snare march and shimmering textures in “Le Mycologue” would be right at home alongside songs such as This Will Destroy You’s “The Mighty Rio Grande”. However, there is more to the band than just twee crescendocore. Their Bandcamp mentions doom and stoner influences, and while I’m not necessarily hearing the latter, there is a heaviness to certain songs, particularly “Le Palais De Cristal”, that does veer towards slightly more metallic territory, much in the way that a record such as Jesu’s Silver does. This heaviness works particularly well on the clear album highlight, “Charge Of The Light Brigade”, a brooding slow-burner with Western-tinged guitars, spacious environments and an incredibly cathartic climax.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Sound Of Ceres - Emerald Sea
[Dream Pop | Indietronica]


More than most albums, Emerald Sea merits the ‘ethereal’ label. From the bright, mellow synth textures to the soft, angelic vocals, Sound Of Ceres create soundscapes that are mythically serene, with a fantastical edge that is only accentuated on this album by the narration from veteran performance artist Marina Abramović. Sound Of Ceres, formed by Ryan and K Hover following the disbandment of Candy Claws, are onto their third record, and have only made their dream pop dreamier with each new album.

Given what I’ve said so far in this summary, it’ll be unsurprising to hear that Emerald Sea is a very gentle album, with muted percussion taking a backing role behind the layers of synths and electronics, while K’s singing floats within these layers. To some, there may be portions of Emerald Sea that feel as if the style and aesthetics take on greater import than the actual substance of the tracks; for those, the back-to-back of “Deeper Surround” and “Enchanter” might be a bit too aimless. However, there are a few slightly darker cuts with more immediate hooks, with “The Fawn” the leading example of this, the memorable vocal melody in the chorus backed up with some more emphatic harpsichord chords. With its relatively short length, Emerald Sea does float by quickly, but makes for soothing listening in the process.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Asian Glow - Stalled Flutes, Means
[Emo | Noise Pop]


RaduP's pick


You might remember that a while ago we covered the Downfall of the Neon Youth split album between Parannoul / Asian Glow / Sonhos Tomam Conta. And while we did manage to cover Parannoul and Sonhos Tomam Conta in this feature, this is the first time we cover an Asian Glow record. Like the rest in this group, it is a one-man project, this time of one Gyungwon Shin from South Korea. I haven't managed to dive too deeply into the other albums they released, but Stalled Flutes, Means is a massive tour de force for this type of lo-fi bedroom shoegaze, and it's definitely the best of what I heard from Asian Glow.

I say "shoegaze", but there's a lot of different branches of shoegaze at play here, particularly noise pop. All of it merged with a couple of folkish moments, electronica, post-rock, and neo-psychedelia. Though the album is a bit under an hour in runtime, it feels much larger than that, not in a "when is this ending already" way, but it feels like it packs so much within it. The shoegaze production obviously makes the wall-of-sound feel overwhelming, combined with just how beautiful Asian Glow makes each aspect of the soundscape feel, this just feels like an emotional maximalism. It's emo in a very bittersweet way, not letting it fall too deep into despair or lethargy, but keeping some aspects of that intact.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





The Family Crest - The War: Act II
[Indie | Baroque Pop]


According to Wikipedia, The Family Crest are made up for seven core members and several hundred additional members. I’m sure the extended family of this band would have a great time trying to fit together in a band photo, but it seems that the term ‘member’ loosely applies to the vast majority of these individuals. Nevertheless, that more manageable core of seven people still sound nicely grandiose when joining forces on The War: Act II, the Californians’ fourth full-length record and a follow-up to 2018’s The War: Act I.

With tags such as indie rock and orchestral pop, there’s potential for some overlap with The Dear Hunter, that unicorn of projects when it comes to indie-adjacent records that I actually like, and lo and behold, there’s a definite similarity between songs such as “Baby, You’ve Got Your Legs” and the combination of indie, rock, folk and symphonics on The Dear Hunter’s own Act albums. However, although there are parallels between the two groups, The Family Crest have their own tricks. The irresistibly catchy “Hearts On Fire” shows off the poppier, anthemic side of The Family Crest and the singing skills of frontman Liam McCormick, while the folky twee of “Her Song” nevertheless shines through the beauty and charm of McCormick and flautist/vocalist Laura Bergmann’s duet. Less enthralling is “A Love Song”, an exhaustingly banal acoustic ballad that could’ve maybe been tolerable if it was a 2-minute interlude-esque track, but which at over 5 minutes is a disastrously dull momentum-killer immediately following “Hearts On Fire”. The War: Act II isn’t quite up at the zenith alongside The Dear Hunter’s Acts II-IV for this kind of music, but it’s certainly one of the most enjoyable efforts in its stylistic realm that I’ve come across.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





iamamiwhoami - Be Here Soon
[Art Pop | Ambient Pop]


It would be very hard to choose a favorite pop album of all time, but iamamiwhoami's Blue would be a massive contender, containing a lot of the elements that make the genre appealing to me while maintaining some underground appeal. The duo has been terribly silent since that album, releasing some live and demo albums, with singer Jonna Lee resuming her solo career under the ionnalee name, and the two albums she's released since were pretty good, but nothing that really reached the same heights as this project. So seeing the two of them reunite and revive it did make me anticipate it greatly.

And somehow, I feel about Be Here Soon more closely to what I feel about ionnalee's solo stuff than previous iamamiwhoami, which I could summarize as "very beautiful but not very exciting". A lot of what I loved about the project is here: namely Jonna's gorgeous vocals and the superbly intricate layered production that make the listening experience feel very immersive. These alone make this album worthwhile, but I find that the more sparse direction they took here borders too much on ambient pop, leaving Be Here Soon without any moments that really get stuck in my head. Less of a showstopper, but it feels like it is authentically what iamamiwhoami want to do now, and I'm still along for the ride.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Hollie Cook - Happy Hour
[Pop Reggae | Lovers Rock]


Armed with the 80s neon artwork, a genre tag of ‘lovers rock’ and the knowledge that Hollie Cook is the daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, and the more genre-naïve among you might be expecting some brash, loud 80s-style rock balladry. As it turns out, lovers rock is a style of reggae noted for its lyrical content, which, unsurprisingly, is romantically-oriented. Cook’s Happy Hour is her latest step in reviving the style, with its easy-going poppy reggae sound tantalisingly inviting. While the arrangements on the album find that fine balance between being well fleshed-out without becoming distracting, it is Cook’s singing that dominates the listening experience, for good reason.

The title track sets the tone immediately for the record that is to follow; trumpets, keys and drums fill out the sound while Cook sings tenderly, longingly in the wake of being jilted. More forthright and determined on “Moving On”, an ode to leaving a toxic partner is accompanied with a brighter, prouder backdrop of triumphant strings. I find the more mellow and tender cuts (“Full Moon Baby”, “Love In The Dark”) to be the ones that catch my attention the most when listening to Happy Hour, but as someone with a near-minimal interest in reggae, I found the album as a whole to be a pleasantly enjoyable listen.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Perfume Genius - Ugly Season
[Art Pop | Experimental]


Michael Alden Hadreas's Perfume Genius project has been creating some of the most subtle and understated art pop of the past decade, even though one could clearly trace an evolution from more lo-fi beginnings to a more lush instrumentation that peaked on 2020's Set My Heart On Fire Immediately, an album with a pretty dynamic and entertaining array of sounds and moods. Around the same time, Hadreas also worked on a dance stage production, something that had its own unique soundtrack, which underwent some changes to become Ugly Season in its album form. So the fact that it sounds quite unlike anything Perfume Genius has made before is an understatement.

Don't be fooled by that "art pop" tag, as this is the least poppy of all of Perfume Genius' works, keeping only the sparsest of what could abstractly be considered art pop. Being a soundtrack to some experimental stage production while also being an album that one should listen to in isolation does make this a bit weird flow-wise, but all that weirdness is more than completely compensated by how lush and eclectic the mix of sounds is on here. Taking more from chamber music while keeping a sparse and psychedelic soundscape at the ready slowly building through experimental operas and ambient pop that never stops feeling surreal. A bit curious how this worked as a soundtrack, but as an album it still works pretty well.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Lettuce - Unify
[Funk | Jazz]


Celebrating their thirtieth year in 2022, Boston jazz-funk group Lettuce commemorate the milestone with a 70-minute double album, Unity. They are on a mission to “Keep The Funk Alive”, recruiting genre veteran Bootsy Collins to cameo on the song with this name. This is one of only a small number of songs on the record with vocals; the bulk of this 16-track beast is instrumental, but with funk as funky as this, full of fun trumpet, saxophone, keys and guitar jams and solos, one doesn’t really mourn the absence of vocals.

It might be a tad arrogant to finish one’s album with a song titled “Insta-Classic”, but this is just an all-round good time pretty much throughout. “RVA Dance” comes out right away with plenty of bright sounds, but beyond that point Lettuce explore some different flavours, from the Western-tinged spacious moments in “Hawk’s Claw” to the Latin influences on “Vámonos”. Truth be told, the songs that do feature vocals are probably amongst my least favourite on the record, having a bit too much of a gospel vibe at times for my tastes. Still, as already mentioned, these songs are infrequent and scattered across the record, so if you end up feeling similarly to me, you can rest assured that there’s more instrumental goodness lurking right around the corner.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Neupink - Dopamine Helldreams
[Synth Punk | Digital Hardcore]


My brain is now salad. Let me elaborate.

I'm not the only one on whose brain Neupink did quite a number, with Netzach being plastered by the extra-psychedelic nature of Neupink's previous record, Seaweed Jesus. And that one already could trace itself on a lineage of other great digital hardcore Neupink albums, all more colorful than the others, but with some slight twitches. Neupink wash their music in a bunch of metal-adjacent and nonetheless noisy genres, and the one that feels like the most common ground-like of them is digital hardcore, a genre whose very name is the perfect balance between punk and electronica.

You'll notice neither punk nor electronica are actually metal. But if you mix synth punk, neo-psychedelia, noise rock, post-hardcore, electro industrial, EDM hardcore, dance-punk, the end result is something that feels noisy and dense in a way that isn't entirely dissimilar from some metal. It's wild, chaotic, and truly quite an overwhelming experience. Guitars distorted to the max to the point where you wonder if there's actually any guitar to begin with. Overbearing synth melodies. Drums that feel like taken from the punk version of a D&B song. A sound that feels like the mix between Lightning Bolt, Angerfist, Machine Girl, Street Sects, and Boredoms, and that's not even counting all the left-field moments on Dopamine Helldreams, Neupink are bound to plaster more brains in the future.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Ada Rook - Ugly Death No Redemption Angel Curse I Love You
[Electro-Industrial]


We've already covered Ada Rook's music quite a couple of time, some of it more metal-tangential than others. First as part of the Black Dresses electro-industrial duo, then as her grind Crisis Sigil project, as well as different times she was featured on Backxwash's and Health's music. The electro-industrial on Ugly Death isn't that far off from her previous material nor Black Dresses' previous stuff, but it is at the leanest and meanest in a while, with the album clocking in at a little over 30 minutes in runtime. Is electro-industrial metal? Nope, but this is definitely the kind of music that is so close and tangential to metal that it's almost almost.

A lot of the harshest moments border on industrial metal without the riffs, especially of the aggrotech variety. There's a lot more electronic sounds going into Ugly Death, from glitch pop to trap to cyber metal to EDM hardcore, but the album still feels pretty cohesive, especially by the standards of the previous releases. It's chaotic, full of rage and other destabilizing emotions, all of which seep through the desperate vocals, clean of otherwise. The music ranges from the wildly danceable to the punishing, often clashing within itself, distorted and lo-fi to great lengths. Considering its themes, it's not really a "fun album", but it's definitely the kind of album that manages to channel all those negative emotions into something bewildering and entertaining.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Angel Olsen - Big Time
[Americana | Singer/Songwriter]


For a singer/songwriter in the indie folk field that has been at it for a little over a decade, there's surprisingly lots of variety in Angel Olsen's discography. Starting out folkier, then moving into more of an indie rock sound that became my favorite era of hers, and then the grandiose All Mirrors with its stripped-back demo counterpart Whole New Mess, and a synthpop cover album. So plenty of indie rock, slacker rock, slowcore, dream pop, heartland rock all having bits of her sound, but a part of her sound that also had a significant share was alt-country and americana, even if none of the albums felt like they had these as the primary genre. Now, that happened, Big Time.

Even though I'm still a bit disappointed that both Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten released their new albums close to each other yet none of them capitalized on the "Like I Used To" collab song they did last year, out of the two, it is Big Time that met my expectations more warmly. Part of it is because I wasn't too endeared by All Mirrors, at least not as much as I'd have liked to, so a change of sound from that felt pretty welcome, but also because Angel finally diving deeper into alt-country sounds added another album I love to a genre that I'm still to distant to, with the sweet, soft, and ethereal sound and the introspective lyricism all finding great footing in the genre.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





I Built The Sky - The Quiet Place Away
[Acoustic | Instrumental]


When I first heard Rohan Stevenson’s one-man project I Built The Sky on Coalesce, last year’s collaborative EP made in tandem with Jake Howsam Lowe, it was clear that they were one of many musicians around at present recording instrumental djent/modern prog metal, and while Coalesce was a pleasantly heartfelt take on it, it was nevertheless conventional in its approach. From I Built The Sky’s move to our non-metal article series this month, it’s clear that Stevenson’s next project was not entirely in the same mould. Instead, The Quiet Place Away trades in the electric guitars and distortion in favour of an acoustic approach.

Now, the more twee-prone artists in this sphere of music, such as Plini and Sithu Aye, have often imbued their music with a blissfully joyful tone that makes softer transitions somewhat natural, and with The Quiet Place Away, I Built The Sky manages to retain some of the vibes of its previous music, even if the acoustic guitars, keyboards and strings owe far more to indie folk bands than anything approaching Meshuggah. Stevenson’s high technical proficiency on guitar comes through as naturally on acoustic as electric guitar, with the likes of “Where Sea Meets Sky” and “Time Travel Experience” featuring impressive licks and sequences that could have been transposed note-for-note into his metal music and worked just as well in a bright-and-shiny prog context. Still, this is clearly not a throwaway dabbling on the side from I Built The Sky; the warmth that radiates from the music across The Quiet Place Away comes from a place of conviction, and the end result is a pleasure to listen to.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Ianai - Sunir
[Alternative Folk]


Ianai is the personal project of Elitha Treveniel, and, although it is not metal, it is quite metal-adjacent. It comes out through the well-known label Svart Records, it is produced by Jaani Peuhu (Swallow The Sun and others) and mastered by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Ulver, Paradise Lost) at the famous Orgone Studios. Ianai is joined by a large number of musicians from the world music scene and from classical orchestras, but also people from modern bands, such as Massive Attack, Client, HIM, The Sisters Of Mercy, Theodor Bastard, Lord Of The Lost, Swallow The Sun, Souvenir Season, and The Rasmus.

From the very beginning, it is clear that the album is a folk affair. Not the cheesy folk, but the atmospheric, ethnic, and multicultural folk. The compositions are very vocal-oriented, and along with the percussion, the strings, and other instruments, they offer a mystical and immersive experience. Throughout its runtime, Sunir takes you to different parts of the world and travels to Scandinavia, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The music is carrying flavours from indigenous musical cultures around the globe and wears darkly, indie garments. It is a 70 minute-long journey, which can be a bit overwhelming, but I guess you need to take your time if you are to cross that many borders.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Munly & The Lupercalians - Kinnery Of Lupercalia: Undelivered Legion
[Progressive Folk | Gothic Country]


RaduP's pick


I'm not super familiar with Jay Munly's work, and by "I'm not super familiar" I mean that I hadn't heard of him before this album. But his Wikipedia page that he is known for his role in the development of the Denver sound (he's from Denver), a page which redirects to the "gothic country" page, so he must be a pretty big deal in the history of the sound. Indeed, with his work going back as far as 1995, there's quite a back catalog to explore, though not one as large as expected. This isn't the only time he's performed as part of Munly & The Lupercalians, with another record under the project from back in 2010. Undelivered Legion is apparently the first in a series of three Kinnery Of Lupercalia albums to be released by different projects of Jay's, with the following two to be released by Slim Cessna's Auto Club and DBUK.

Folk with progressive leanings and folk with gothic leanings are two of the folk directions that I seem to enjoy a lot despite not diving into either too properly, so hearing both tackled simultaneously is a pretty amazing experience, the only thing that would be missing from a perfect trifecta would be a more psychedelic leaning too. Neofolk's pagan aesthetic is present as well, all with some pretty catchy songwriting that works really well in tandem with the post-punk inspired soundscapes, all flowing with a progressive sense of songwriting and excellent performances from everyone involved. This is such a fun time with an unique sound, and I can't wait to see how the other two upcoming records in the trilogy live up to it, and by then I'll try not to be as unfamiliar with Jay's work.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Montparnasse Musique - Origins
[Afrohouse]


musclassia's pick


Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their name, but Montparnasse Musique formed following a meeting of two producers at Montparnasse train station who decided to produce music. However, this isn’t a local Parisian affair; although Nadjib Ben Bella is French, Chobolo Manyelo is from South Africa, and this transcontinental affair makes its African roots very clear. On Origins, the second EP from the duo (a far less logical name in comparison with the band name), club dancefloor-ready techno/house tracks are infused with Afrobeat rhythms that offer a distinctive flavour.

Given the genre, these techno tracks are gradual and repetitive; however, while the bases of each piece is stable and unwavering, Montparnasse Musique incorporate some different ideas above these foundations. These range from the subtle-yet-effective synth motifs in “Maatla” to the brighter, shimmering tones in “Sasumatoshu”. Standing out from the rest, “Lasobela” embraces Afrobeat as its core component, moving it to the forefront while it had otherwise been a cog in a larger machine. Across this EP (and at 37 minutes, it could well be considered their first full-length), Montparnasse Musique show the early results of this chance collaboration to be highly fruitful.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Satyricon - Satyricon & Munch
[Dark Ambient | Darkwave]


Contrary to popular belief, this is not a collaboration between Norwegian black metal band Satyricon (1991-pres) and Norwegian expressionistic painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944). This is Satyricon's Satyr creating a dark ambient soundtrack for an art exhibition of Munch's works. A bit of a difference that I found funny when this album was first tagged as a collaboration, since otherwise imagine how many metal bands Tolkien and Lovecraft would've collaborated with. It does make sense that Munch would be among the painters that would end up as such an inspiration for a black metal band, especially with both of them being Norwegian. Obviously I'd recommend looking at some of Munch's work while listening to it, since his work and life served as such an important inspiration to this.

Satyricon & Munch is a single 56 minutes piece that sounds closer to something Ulver would do than anything Satyricon-related. Ambient in approach and dark in sound, a lot of this relies on orchestral instrumentation like cellos, theremins, pianos, fiddles, merged with some darkwave-sounding analogue synths, all the while the usual black metal instruments take more of a post-rock approach. A lot of these were elements that did appear in the background of some of Satyricon's work, so it is interesting seeing them at the forefront, with the band working on the flow and the sound design to make them stand on their own. By ambient standards, this is a pretty eventful album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




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: 10   Visited by: 76 users
22.07.2022 - 02:33
Blackcrowe

👏👏👏👏👏 great job
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25.08.2022 - 11:18
18Beginner

I encountered some errors while browsing.The June shows pictures from July
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音乐是越听越广的,专注于音乐本身
The more you listen, the more you understand .Focus on the music
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25.08.2022 - 11:45
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by 18Beginner on 25.08.2022 at 11:18

I encountered some errors while browsing.The June shows pictures from July

Fixed. I have no idea what happened.
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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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25.08.2022 - 12:30
JoHn DoE

The Yoo Do Right album cover says Regina Spektor.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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25.08.2022 - 12:33
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 12:30

The Yoo Do Right album cover says Regina Spektor.

Try a Ctrl+F5
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
Loading...
25.08.2022 - 12:35
JoHn DoE

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 12:33

Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 12:30

The Yoo Do Right album cover says Regina Spektor.

Try a Ctrl+F5


why? So it's something wrong on my end?
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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25.08.2022 - 13:18
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 12:35

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 12:33

Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 12:30

The Yoo Do Right album cover says Regina Spektor.

Try a Ctrl+F5


why? So it's something wrong on my end?

I fixed the images, so now it should appear correctly, but you still have the old Regina Spektor image in your cache.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
Loading...
25.08.2022 - 13:28
JoHn DoE

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 13:18


I fixed the images, so now it should appear correctly, but you still have the old Regina Spektor image in your cache.


ok, it seems I fixed my cache.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
Loading...
25.08.2022 - 13:29
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 13:28

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 13:18


I fixed the images, so now it should appear correctly, but you still have the old Regina Spektor image in your cache.


ok, it seems I fixed my cache.


And now you have to listen to the album.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
Loading...
25.08.2022 - 13:44
JoHn DoE

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 13:29

Written by JoHn DoE on 25.08.2022 at 13:28

Written by RaduP on 25.08.2022 at 13:18


I fixed the images, so now it should appear correctly, but you still have the old Regina Spektor image in your cache.


ok, it seems I fixed my cache.


And now you have to listen to the album.


I did, I even put it in my 2022 list.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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