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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg
Published: 12.09.2022


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

July 2022
June 2022
May 2022

And now to the music...






Heilung - Drif
[Neofolk]


musclassia's pick


If there’s any one band that has come to be the face of the Nordic neofolk surge of the past decade or two, it’s probably Wardruna; if there’s any one other band, it’s probably Heilung. The multinational ensemble have certainly made their mark on the music scene, as the 32 million views of the live performance of their song “Krigsgaldr” demonstrate. The troupe have arguably built a reputation as a live act first and foremost, and with good reason, as the performative nature of those shows is something to behold. Still, they are not solely a live act, and album three Drif is their latest attempt at translating the audiovisual experience into a purely auditory one.

The core trio of Heilung comprises producer Christopher Juul alongside vocalists Kai Uwe Faust and Maria Franz, and it is Franz who stars early on with the incredibly atmospheric and evocative “Anoana”, in which her passioned calls seem to carry across epic landscapes. It is followed by the longest song on the record, “Tenet”, which sees Faust reprise his trollish chanting from “Krigsgaldr”, but in a more ambient setting; as someone who’s always found the middle of “Krigsgaldr” to be pretty hard to love, “Tenet” is a far more fitting vehicle for this vocal style. As an album experience, it loses my interest a bit with Keltentrauer, which is effectively an 8-minute radio play that will presumably be more effective as part of a live performance. As an album experience, I do feel Drif peters out a bit after this point, but while I’m keener on the record’s first half, it does work nicely as a complete package, and the lush chamber piece “Nikkal” and dark mystique of “Marduk” shouldn’t be overlooked.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Jack White - Entering Heaven Alive
[Folk Rock | Singer/Songwriter]


Jack White?! What the hell are you doing here?! Didn't we just hear from you a couple of months ago? A new record this quick?! Ok, this one is a different genre though, being the folkier counterpart to the very very electric Fear Of The Dawn. This took me by surprise since I didn't really keep up with preview singles and whatnot, so I was just greeted with the fact that there was a new Jack White already, and giving it a listen, this is so much mellower. It's not like Jack didn't have plenty of mellower folk and blues in The White Stripes, and even in his solo career, but having them concentrated in a single album is pretty new.

There's still some electric guitar here, subdues as it is, so there's still plenty of cool guitar licks to accompany the pianos and the vocals to give a neat alt blues rock feel to the album that land it pretty clearly within Jack's zone. Alongside those you have the folkier acoustic songs. That alone is enough to ensure that this wouldn't feel like a snoozefest compared to the fireworks of its companion album, but a lot of the tongue-in-cheek fun that Jack is known for is sprinkled as some eclectic quirky touches all throughout. Even with how overtly romantic the album is, there's still plenty to appreciate the album for, even if its subdued nature sometimes works against it. I mean, it's great, but we just had a fireworks album, and I know which one I feel most compelled to return to.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





King's X - Three Sides Of One
[Alternative Rock | Progressive Rock]


King's X have been around since the ‘80s and have been a very influential band for many musicians. The whole grunge movement, in particular, owes a lot to them. Three Sides Of One comes fourteen long years after the band’s previous full-length, due to medical issues of the band members and other reasons, but it has finally arrived. King's X are renowned for their sweet vocal harmonies, the great bass lines, the soulful solos, and the unpredictable songwriting; all of that stuff is present in this release, but said songwriting feels a bit iffy at times. Still, we should be glad that these guys are back.

The new album is an enjoyable non-metal listen. There are some good rockers like the opener “Let It Rain”, “Give It Up”, and “Watcher”, while the heaviest riff is heard on “Flood, Pt. 1”, which is an otherwise super soft song to the point that it comes off as being quite odd. King's X give their best credentials in the longer tracks, namely “Nothing But The Truth” and “All God’s Children”, but unfortunately they have some weak moments, like “Festival” and “Holidays”, which are silly really. For a band that’s really into prog rock, the songs are quite short and sometimes they even feel unfinished, and this applies especially to the last two tracks. “She Called Me Home” has a fantastic long solo, but finishes right after that, when you expect to have another chorus or something, and the closer “Every Everywhere” is only 2’40’’, and definitely feels like it should be longer. Overall, Three Sides Of One is stronger in its beginning and ending, but it’s somewhat underwhelming in the middle, which makes it feel uneven.

Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Motorpsycho - Ancient Astronauts
[Progressive Rock]


Another year, another Motorpsycho album. The output of this group is remarkable, with the prog rock nearing 30 full-length albums across a recording career that’s just over 30 years long. Record number 26, Ancient Astronauts, comes not long after Kingdom Of Oblivion, which quickly followed 2020’s The All Is One, my introduction to the band. My third taste of the Norwegians is as satisfying as the first two, and represents a full-fledged dive into unadulterated prog rock after the more song-oriented Kingdom Of Oblivion.

4 tracks across 44 minutes averages to 11 minutes per song, but of course, this is a prog rock band, so what you end up with is a 2-minute interlude-style track (“The Flower Of Awareness”), and half the album being taken up by a single 22:22-long odyssey (“Chariot Of The Sun”). “The Ladder” is more compact, but no less proggy, with a relentless active technicality bringing all the volume and energy. There’s more of that to be heard on “Mona Lisa/Azrael”, even if there’s a long, long ambient introductory lead-in, one that Motorpsycho are seemingly eager to make up for by throwing the kitchen sink into the remainder of the track. “Chariot Of The Sun” is more measured, an arrowhead of a song that builds slowly to a climax, only to just as slowly fade away from it. I’m not quite as enthralled by this latest endeavour as I was with the last two albums, but Ancient Astronauts is still a darn solid prog album.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs - Awakening:Sleeping
[Alternative Rock]


There is a type of sound that a band called Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs would be expected to produce; “Dramatic” is not that sound. It’s bold to start off an album with such an unabashedly accessible shoegaze/indie cut when newcomers are going to be expecting some kind of vulgarity or peculiarity. Fear not though, because “Dramatic” is a red herring; there is similar material to be heard later on the album, but before you encounter it, there’s a few other things to navigate first.

I suppose “Dramatic” might count as dream pop, but if anything, “Melt” is closer to nightmare pop; this jagged noise rock cut already has an awkward jaunty swagger to it with its main riff, and that’s before the wildly distorted and noisy guitar solo gets thrown into the fray. Even further away from “Dramatic” is the churning nu metal energy of “Helluva” and pop punk of “No Need”. As a first taste of Mass Of The Fermenting Dregs, Awakening:Sleeping is a bit of a weird one; each individual style in isolation sounds completely normal, but thrown together it’s a bit of a haphazard collection of sounds, and one that I’m not entirely convinced by.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Nightlife - Fallback
[R&B | Alternative Rock]


Who knew that R&B and heavy rock sounds were destined to overlap so much? In this year alone we’ve had VRSTY coming out with their debut release, and this month there’s not only the latest Unprocessed record, but the next offering from Nightlife. Last year, Nightlife were the first band to open my eyes to this fusion and the promise it entails with their amazingly catchy New Low EP and associated title track. A year on, and while the Baltimore trio aren’t quite at the point of smashing out a full-length, they’ve come out with another EP to show just where they can take the promise shown on that first set of tracks.

There were 3 songs on New Low, two that had a clear mesh of R&B sounds with rock/metallic instrumental sections, and one that was untampered R&B. Across 5 songs here, Nightlife keep a similar ratio, but the way that those unexpected fusions in the former category happen show some variation from New Low. Opener, “Nightlifetypebeat” would, in most bands’ hands, be a simple funk/soul cut, but the added oomph provided from the hard-hitting percussion and chunky guitars gives it an intriguing dimension. “Fallback” is more in the vein of “New Low”, alternative smooth R&B mellow verses with weightier guitar in the chorus, and it delivers a very similar sense of fun. The dense instrumentation in “Fool Me Once”, my favourite song on the EP, is the closest Nightlife go to slightly metallic waters, while there’s a slight post-hardcore vein running through “No Pleasure”; in contrast, “Hard For Me” is a bit of an odd one out in terms of being straight R&B, and perhaps shockingly, is probably my least favourite here, even if Hansel Romero’s lush singing continues to shine on it.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Unprocessed - Gold
[Alternative R&B | Djent]


Unprocessed don’t have a profile on our website; that’s definitely an oversight on our part. However, the Germans probably aren’t too offended, as their current trajectory is taking them far away from the djent/tech-metal of their early days. Unprocessed are approach the R&B/rock fusion from the opposite direction to Nightlife, and the band’s technical pedigree does rear its head on more than one occasion (see “The Longing” for an apt example), as does their capacity for heaviness, which, while very much muted and lurking beneath the surface for the most part (with exception, again see “The Longing” to hear the band switch into metallic mode), has plenty of texture and depth to it.

While VRSTY brought together metal styles with pop/R&B sounds in a very direct and hook-oriented manner, Unprocessed take a more meandering journey, putting as much emphasis on poised atmospherics as it does on Manuel Gardner’s soulful singing. While the instrumentation, more often than not, shows the band’s heritage, there are shifts into trap beats on “Mint”, peculiar electronic distortion on “Snake”, indietronica with “Velvet” and twinkling math rock on opener “Rain”. I feel Gold shines brightest on the songs that mesh the soul and heavy sides together fairly evenly, such as “Fabulist”; “Berlin” is a bit too metal-heavy, while “Scorpio” swings too far in the other direction, at least for my tastes. Still, variety is necessary when your album is 16 tracks long; Gold does feel longer than it actually is, and a bit of editing may have worked to its benefit. Nevertheless, Unprocessed are onto something here, and a bold step such as this will likely help them stand out more in a crowded tech-metal scene.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Bloc Party - Alpha Games
[Post-Punk Revival]


Time has not been very kind to the post-punk revival bands of the early 2000s. Bloc Party were a bit late to the proverbial party, with their 2005 debut, Silent Alarm already arriving in the middle of the decade. And with EPs and singles only going as far back as 2004, they were caught somewhere between the first explosion of bands like Interpol and the even later emergence of Arctic Monkeys. Though some of the bands in that movement still retained a lot of relevancy and appeal, like The National and the aforementioned Arctic Monkeys, though none of them really do the post-punk sound anymore, some of the others fall in the category of having one clear best album in their debut. Bloc Party fall in that area. Alpha Games changes none of that.

And just like the predictable trajectory, the band's second album still remains the only one that really feels like it still has stood the test of time alongside the debut, with everything else feeling increasingly insipid and uninspired. Alpha Games is far from recapturing old glories, but as far as it is concerned, it is a much better listen that their previous one, 2016's Hymns. Six years is a lot to wait, and they seem to have Bloc Party willing to be a bit more snappy and experimental. However, I don't really think most of the experiments here, anything taking them a bit closer to dance-punk, are really working in their favor, so I'm still drawn to the more straight-forward tunes ironically. Maybe next time.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Interpol - The Other Side Of Make-Believe
[Post-Punk Revival]


Time has not been very kind to the post-punk revival bands of the early 2000s. Interpol were pretty early to the proverbial party. Though they were not the first in this wave to release an album, 2002's Turn On The Bright Lights really opened the floodgates for the entire post-punk revival movement. I'm a bit more of a fan of their 2004 album, Antics, though both albums are about as close as you can get to the top spot in the genre. And, since most bands either abandoned the sound towards something more indie rock, or slowly diminished in quality, each subsequent Interpol album was less interesting than the previous. That trend continues with The Other Side Of Make-Believe.

Though no Interpol has really been horrible, with some of their peers having even lower lows, the downward trajectory that The Other Side Of Make-Believe reinforces does leave that possibility open in the future. Like the rest of their albums, there are salvageable good songs or at least moments, but as a whole, this is the band at their least interesting, most passionless, and most dreary. But it's not horrible, and it's not overly long. So I guess that counts for a perfectly listenable album, but one without much in terms of dynamics or excitement. To the point where I'll call it aggressively unexciting.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Metric - Formentera
[Alternative Dance | Indie Rock]


RaduP's pick


I have talked about the peril of many post-punk revival bands in this article quite a bit. Metric managed to avoid that by only having been tangentially associated with the movement, always seeming like a more eclectic indie rock/pop band that used that post-punk revival sound as one of its flavors. Some of their albums, like their 2003 debut Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? and their 2009 highlight Fantasies had the strongest post-punk leaning of them, and ironically those are the most fondly remembered Metric albums too. But the trip-hop indietronica of 2007's Grow Up and Blow Away and the synthpop of 2015's Pagans In Vegas show enough of a variation from that.

Speaking of variation, alternative dance and dance-punk have been parts of Metric's for a long while. More of the latter than the former. But here the former gets to have most of the share of the sound, at least more relative to the rest of Metric's albums. Though there's more of a apocalyptic pop version of this alternative dance sound than anything else, with the nocturnal feeling of this record balanced between a cinematic and a melancholic feeling. Formentera is quite an album of balances. Enough dance to dance, enough foreboding synths to create an engrossing atmospheres, enough dark lyricism to create the necessary mental image, and enough big choruses to work as pop. With all this talk of downward career trajectories, it's great to hear a band from this scene still hitting creative peaks.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Foals - Life Is Yours
[Alternative Dance]


Foals and dance music is a combination that has going on as far back as Foals was a thing, but usually to a fairly limited extent. There was always some dance-punk in their alt rock / indie rock / math rock mix, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that their debut, 2008's Antidotes wasn't the most eclectic as far as this mix of styles goes. And then you have the duo of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost albums in 2019 which turned the dance-punk to something closer to alternative dance, and now finally Life Is Yours dedicates the album almost completely to that sound. Sure, some of the old sound still remains, but it's washed back quite a lot.

So instead of indie rock or whatever, I'm hearing more early 80s in this album than anything else. Like Talking Heads, or some new wave and synthpop and a more 80s brand of funk. It's pretty snappy and seems a bit more straight-forward in its desire to actually get the listener to dance. It's quite uplifting as far as music from the indie sphere goes, which isn't surprising considering the sounds here, but this is legitimately very summer-feeling album. Would've loved hearing more of this in the heatwaves, since this is the kind of album that is very direct, giving a lot on the first listen. Fun, quirky enough to stay interesting, but most of all fun.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Culprate - αριθμός τέσσερα (Number Four)
[IDM | Experimental]


When I first clicked on the Bandcamp page for αριθμός τέσσερα (Number Four), saw that Culprate was from Bristol and that the album had genre tags including ‘electronic’ and ‘psychedelic’, my immediate response was to expect another psybient record like Messages From The Resonator by Globular & Geoglyph. As it turns out, while αριθμός τέσσερα is psychedelic, it is not in that way, and the ‘experimental’ tag on Bandcamp is equally applicable. A crowdfunded release several years in the making, αριθμός τέσσερα is the long-awaited sequel to Culprate’s (aka John Hislop) acclaimed 2014 release Deliverance, a musical tour de force encompassing Trentemøller-esque downtempo, Perdition City-style saxophone, new age trippiness, bouncy techno and a litany of other styles. After its long gestation period, αριθμός τέσσερα shows that Culprate remains unrestrained by genre.

Opening track “Anza” makes me think of a different Bristol act, the trip-hop legends “Massive Attack”, with its glittering layers above a moody, trippy beat, but “Koloni (MaiTai)” does away with beats almost altogether, with a dazzling array of different sounds and shimmers overlapping with one another like a wind chime. αριθμός τέσσερα is primarily electronic, but there’s room for Spanish guitar on “Fly” and “Muerte De La Dama”, as well as a moody guitar solo on the former. Rounding off the album, “Nammu” is a 12-minute meandering through an array of different electronic styles, from wub-wub dubstep to glitchy IDM, with some jazzy saxophone tossed in for good measure. I think it would be fair to refer to αριθμός τέσσερα as ‘eclectic’, and as with many eclectic albums, it’s not necessary a start-to-finish love affair, but there’s some cool sounds within this package.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Shades - From A Vein
[Dubstep]


As much as metal revels in the position of being arguably the darkest musical genre tonally, there are certain shades in which it plays second fiddle, and Shades dwell firmly within those shades. The London duo have certainly opted for album artwork in that vein thus far, and that continues for their second full-length, From A Vein. The artwork matches the trimmed nature of their music; the dubstep brought to fruition by Shades is not a form that rumbles with thick bass and extravagant drops. Instead, From A Vein exhibits a style that revels in sinister subtlety, the album’s various compositions allowing the stripped-down rhythms and muted mixes to leave space for the darkness to fill into.

There are some vocal samples scattered across From A Vein, but for the most part this is a wordless scattering of bouncing glitches, rumbling bass, slick acid beats and ominous dark ambience. That ominous element is what I find most alluring in the album, which is why tracks like “Into Stone”, “Dark Wing” and “As Wax By Seal” rank among my favourites featured here. The more eclectic or abrasive offerings, such as “Seek The Throat” and “Bleed”, offer different dimensions, but perhaps highlight why dubstep isn’t my favourite electronic music genre. Still, it’s easy to appreciate the menacing atmosphere created by Shades.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





700 Bliss - Nothing To Declare
[Experimental Hip Hop | Deconstructed Club]


Ironic how I literally covered a Moor Mother in the previous edition, and she's an artist whose prolific nature I've touched on before, as well as her collaborative nature. These two merge here once again in the form of the 700 Bliss duo, where Moor Mother is joined by DJ Haram. Thus, 700 Bliss is the blend of the former's experimental hip-hop with the latter's deconstructed club production. I'm obviously more familiar with the former, so hearing her over a different kind of production is always a plus, which is especially the case on Nothing To Declare, since it's the group's leap to full-length status.

I've always wanted to hear something from Moor Mother that I could describe as "fun". Nothing To Declare is dark, ominous, abstract, sparse, noisy, and pretty industrial too. But it's also not taking itself too seriously, at least compared to the very serious and somber stuff that Moor Mother usually does, so this one has a bit of a tongue-in-cheek sense. Her bellowing vocals still spit some very serious verses, but they finally contrast with some playfulness. This is a bit all over the place, despite the short length, but there's a lot here in terms of forward-thinking-ness and atmosphere that makes this an equally unsettling and intriguing listen.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Mitch Murder - Selection 6
[Chillwave | Synthwave]


Plenty of 80s retro-revivalist electronic music goes in the dystopian sci-fi synthwave direction. If you long instead for the smooth new wave/synthpop a la “Steppin’ Out”, you may want to sample Mitch Murder’s latest Selection record, part of a compilation series of sporadic uploads and unreleased tracks (quite how that is differentiated from a normal album which has had singles released from it, I don’t know). Nitpicking over its official classification aside, Selection 6, the first entry in four years, very much scratches that itch you may have for that ‘late night malibu’ kind of sound, for lack of a better description.

There are some modern touches to be heard here, such as the drum n’ bass-style breakbeat in “Apex” and the pounding bass pulses in “Type R” (plus, the “At Doom’s Gate” cover is taken from 1993’s Doom soundtrack), but most of the rest you can hear on this album is quintessential bright flashy synths, funky bass and peaceful mixes. There are brief tonal changes, such as the more brooding synthwave cut “Fiend” and the uptempo aerobics-worthy “Peak Burn”, but most of this record stays in the same gear; it’s a pleasant gear, and makes for very worthy background listening, even if it’s not going to be the most memorable of listens.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Kokoroko - Could We Be More
[Afrobeat | Jazz]


musclassia's pick


Prior to the release of debut album Could We Be More, London jazz octet Kokoroko had accumulated upwards of 60 million streams on Spotify from only 7 songs, so this debut was more hotly anticipated than many. A large proportion of those millions of streams can be attributed to one song, “Abusey Junction”, a mellow guitar jam with 50 million YouTube streams; it’s curious, therefore, that there’s not much of Could We Be More that resembles “Abusey Junction”. The album is still mellow tonally, but it’s a very different sound; with the guitar firmly in the background, this record is dominated by Afrobeat percussion and brass Jazz ensembles. Whether those that got turned onto the group by that breakthrough song connect as strongly with this album remains to be seen, but as a newcomer, I find it to be a very pleasant listen.

It’s an understated opening with “Tojo”, a chilled-out cut with some nice trumpet motifs and interwoven interactions between trumpet, saxophone and keyboards, and while there’s fluctuations in tempo, the next few tracks follow suit. Where the album changes track is with “We Give Thanks”, a lively cut with emotive vocals and upbeat percussion; it’s a nice change of pace, even if the introduction of vocals in a leading role results in a somewhat dour song immediately afterwards, “Those Good Times”. I feel the album perhaps loses its way as it enters its second half, with only the brash “War Dance” rivalling the best material from the first half, but overall, Could We Be More is a solid first full-length outing for the ensemble.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





DOMi & JD Beck - Not Tight
[Nu Jazz]


So, mostly instrumental jazz, made by two names I haven't heard of, managing to get guest spots from Anderson .Paak, Snoop Dogg, Thundercat, Herbie Hancock, Busta Rhymes, and Mac DeMarco. Boggles my mind. But considering just how talented these two seem, I can't see it as impossible that they would get noticed by someone who'd make these connections happen. As it is, this is such a playful jazz album that I can't think of how someone wouldn't be won over by how much these two's playing completely contradict the album's title. I mean, false advertising much??

I can't say that I'm approaching this songwriting-wise, but performance-wise there's some immense jamming chemistry to be observed. Even when a guest is there to expand the palette a bit, it all flows so smoothly. As expected, the solos are gorgeous, the grooves are tasty, the syncopation is pretty interesting, so there's a lot going for this. But you can also tell that this is a debut, in terms of how some ideas seem to be underdeveloped and how much of it relies on mood. Mood they have in spades. I'd even call it "vibes". Certainly that's something that hits an aesthetic and that can be improved upon in future albums.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Obongjayar - Some Nights I Dream Of Doors
[Art Pop | Neo-Soul]


Obongjayar is a name that kept popping up lately, though I mean that more in a very select way, as the features that were graced by his presence were few and far in between but always left an impression. From spots on recent Danny Brown and Moses Boyd records, it was still his appearance on Little Simz' "Point And Kill" that really turned my head. Nigerian-born Obongjayar had already released a couple of EPs at that point, with 2020's Which Way Is Forward? being a particular highlight, but it wasn't until now that a full-length would come. Some Nights I Dream of Doors is still pretty close to an EP length-wise, barely having over 35 minutes, but packs a bit more of a unique vibe.

As far as soul and pop goes, there's not a lot of it that feels as ethereal or floaty as Some Nights I Dream Of Doors does without veering into dream pop. That is this album's most striking quality, not quite dreamlike, not quite psychedelic, but delivering a relaxed vibe that is somewhere in between, flowing a bit more freely even within some more seemingly structured moments. Choruses would feel like balloons ready to pop in someone else's voice, but the suave vocals coupled with the more abstract instrumentals work to create a very intriguing combination. Though this does lead to some moments feeling underdeveloped or like they halt the momentum, it still leaves a really strong impression from a name I hope I'll keep hearing of.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Ghais Guevara - There Will Be No Super-Slave
[Conscious Hip Hop | Hardcore Hip Hop]


Hip-hop albums getting insanely popular on Rate Your Music out of nowhere is not a new phenomenon. I try to cover some of them whenever possible, but I'm still not enough of a hip-hop head to really properly parse their relevancy and impact. But something about the entire presentation of Ghais Guevara's There Will Be No Super-Slave instantly won me over. From its overtly political title and alias to the genre tags that promised something both thoughtful and sonically impactful, I was really not disappointed. Turns out that Ghais Guevara did previously perform under the Jaja00 alias, with this being the first under this new alias.

I've seen a lot of what Ghais Guevara does here being compared to Jpegmafia, which is a pretty worthy comparison, with how it playfully uses its protest music, and the slightly abstract takes on production combined with boastful sounding flows. But it doesn't feel like more than influence and there's plenty to give GG a unique identity here, with how it managed such a tight balance between sounding cinematic and lo-fi. It manages to keep a very experimental edge in its production, keeping things pretty unpredictable and wild, sometimes in a hardcore way, sometimes just left-field. Lyrically, it's less of the concept album I expected going in, but a lot of it rises up to the promise of the political presentation.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Danger Mouse & Black Thought - Cheat Codes
[East Coast Hip Hop]


RaduP's pick


Hip-hop of all shades and energies has been done, and sometimes it is the least experimental that really vibes with me. I like forward-thinking-ness as much as the next guy, but it's still a pretty intense feeling hearing an old sound done right. Cheat Codes is about as straight-forward as underground rap goes. Lyrical, abstract, plenty of jazz and soul samples in the production. The entire thing just oozes of that old-school. You have producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse, who I've come to know after that collab album with MF DOOM, and rapper Black Though of The Roots fame, whose debut album I covered two years ago.

For one thing, pretty much all of the features here come from the pretty famous in the underground that do break a bit into famous famous, like Run The Jewels, Conway The Machine, Joey Bada$$, Raekwon, and even a posthumous feature from MF DOOM, and if any album is worthy of a posthumous feature of that caliber, it's this one. The chemistry here, both between the two main artists and the features is amazing, the whole thing is colorful and immersive, and all those buzzwords you'd associate with a great experience. I'm not sure how much this will stack up among hip-hop albums by the end of the year, considering how standard it is, but so far nothing did standard better and to this high level of quality this year.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Megan Thee Stallion - Traumazine
[Southern Hip Hop | Trap]


I remember there was a time when Megan Thee Stallion seemed like the contrarian third alternative to the really odd just-one-female-rapper-at-a-time feud that Nicki Minaj and Cardi B had. Well, Nicki completely fell off since, and I don't feel like Cardi ever felt like the one that all eyes were on, so it's weird that now it feels like Megan is the one that's actually the most mediated of the bunch. I don't even follow celebrity stuff that much, but out of the three it's Megan's name that pops up the most. From that "W.A.P." song with Cardi that became Ben Shapiro's personal 9/11 to songs with Beyonce and whatever else, her profile kept rising. And now just look at that cover art. That's someone who's been in the spotlights, for better or worse.

What I like about Megan's music is not just that it's horny and raunchy. If it was just that, it'd be just a-dime-a-dozen sexaholic music. It's also pretty angry. Can't blame her. It's like she wants to be hot but she can't be just hot because of how pissed off she is. Which is a pretty interesting vibe, and something that this southern brand of hip-hop seems to be most adept at portraying. Usually I'm really looking forward to the guest spots on these kinds of records, but other than the Rico Nasty and the Jhene Aiko ones, they feel pretty underwhelming, simply because it feels like Megan and whoever's energy don't mix together as well, especially not on the way too poppy closer.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Beyoncé - Renaissance
[Dance-Pop | Contemporary R&B]


I barely really listen to the radio anymore. I don't keep up with the Billboards, I don't really know what's trending, so I don't have the authority to say how relevant Beyoncé still is. I know that everyone in the music sphere online that is interested in pop music has been really into her past few records, ironically the ones I heard zero airplay or mainstream splash for. That means that, you reader, an avid metal fan, has the chance to be a bigger Beyoncé fan than your average Joe. Sounds intriguing? Not really? Ok, how about this. Here we have Beyoncé, riding what is probably the white horse from Twin Peaks (ok, probably not, that's not even white), coming with a new album six full years after her last, and here she is at her most genre-adventurous.

It's not like Beyoncé was limited to a single genre before, though mostly in the realms of R&B and pop, with some shades of soul and hip-hop. But Renaissance goes much harder on the dance-pop direction than anything she ever did. And when I say "dance-pop" I mean all kinds of it. From electronic techno beats, to 90's house, to nu-disco, to afrobeat, to everything in between. Needless to say, this is the most interesting I've ever heard a Beyoncé album be production-wise, managing a pretty seamless transition and blend between all these various dance styles, superimposing her usual R&B form over it in something that feel pretty vibrant. The whole thing has a really great flow that makes it work pretty well as an album, but I can't for the life of me imagine why any of these songs would not be immediate hits if not at least dance floor bangers.

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: 3   Visited by: 45 users
15.09.2022 - 21:51
nikarg
Mod
I quite liked Kokoroko and still need to listen to Heilung. I had no idea Bloc Party and Interpol were still active; I never thought highly of either, even when they were in their heyday.
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20.09.2022 - 14:30
Blackcrowe

Motorpsycho it is one of the best band in the last 20 years
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Not
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21.09.2022 - 20:06
Spawdophonik

Those Megan Thee Stallion songs are so good
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