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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, X-Ray Rod, Netzach, nikarg
Published: 16.10.2022


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

August 2022
July 2022
June 2022

And now to the music...






The Chats - Get Fucked
[Garage Punk]


Given how much punk has evolved and bred offshoots in the past 50 years, and how it's weird to call some of its most distant offshoots like goregrind and cybergrind as "punk", the term "punk" still feels like it first and foremost refers to "punk rock", even if bands that just play punk rock feel far and in between. And probably because of that, it feels like garage rock is the one subgenre that actually feels like punk rock more than punk rock itself. And here's an Aussie band that perfectly exemplifies that. Especially in the sense that you could be perfectly fooled that this album came out in 1980.

I choose 1980 specifically as a reference point not only because Get Fucked sounds especially authentic as punk in both songwriting, performance, and production, but also because it sounds very specific in the nastiness of late 70s punk but combined with some of the tongue-in-cheek angularity of the emerging post-punk sound and the grittiness of the emerging hardcore punk sound, the latter two being in a very incubated version within Get Fucked, but both act both to make it feel authentic and more than just just punk rock. Plus, the very simple and straight-forward album title really shouldn't have worked and been cringe worthy, but somehow the stars aligned and it fits.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





My Hair Is A Rat’s Nest - The Longing Machine
[Screamo | Post-Hardcore]


“Self-destruction and the rust that coats the wheels”: the simple summary offered on Bandcamp for The Longing Machine, the latest EP from Albuquerque’s My Hair Is A Rat’s Nest. MHIARN (as I will refer to them from now on) are a one-man screamo project; I assume a one-man band in this style is less of a frequent occurrence than in black metal, but apparently there’s similar compositional ambition by such solo projects in both genres, as this record is a single 24-minute song. Created with the assistance of Sammy Gurule (Warren Of Ohms, another one-man project) on bass and Nick Sanfe (Encarsia) behind the mixing desk, The Longing Machine is but the latest of a number of long songs attempted by project leader Jake Campbell, who it turns out has a knack for pulling off such ambitious musical efforts.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a song that sprawls far and wide across those 24 minutes, but there’s not mass stylistic chop-changing going on; it’s a track that flows fluidly and logically through a few different points in the post-hardcore and related styles’ playbooks. The slowly building intro utilizes the intricate guitar layering of post-rock, eventually giving away to mathy post-hardcore that gives off an uplifting cleanliness despite the pained nature of the vocals (who are given a fitting roughness by the aptly un-pristine production). Beyond that, there are deftly built instrumental detours that could have slotted into material from bands such as Isis, angular chords, various passionate peaks, and passages of full-on furious blasting, all culminating in one last shimmering emo climax. Fans of acts such as Envy and the more post-rock/metal-leaning post-hardcore acts should make sure to give this epic a spin.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Youth League - Somehow Those Were Days
[Emo | Math Rock]


musclassia's pick


Somehow Those Were Days is advertised as the debut full-length from North Carolina emo trio Youth League; one could question what makes this 21-minute record a full-length, when their First and Second records were marketed as EPs despite being 4 and 2 minutes shorter, respectively. There’s not a whole lot of content on this album, but it’s a ‘quality over quantity’ affair, as what appears on this emo/indie/math rock/post-rock record manages to overcome my indifference to several of those styles and tap into my blackened heart.

Predominantly instrumental (with some scattered softly sung and group vocal segments), Somehow Those Were Days utilizes the emotive potential of the gentle guitar tones associated with the aforementioned styles to their fullest. “Nineteen Ninety Nine” offers a fine example of this, as the tender emo rock riffing of the first half builds into a brief but very impactful post-rock ending, right down to the tasteful crescendocore guitar. Beyond this, the math rock clean guitar dancing in “Rondo” is very charming, “Blush” makes excellent use of glockenspiel in a way that is tender but not twee, “Bedrooms” builds and layers on the emotions and guitars throughout, and “Hospital Coffee” pushes the heaviness and darkness to really gripping levels. It may be only 20 minutes, but not a moment is wasted as [band]Youth League[/b] announce themselves as a real gem of a group.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





King Dude - Death
[Post-Punk | Neo-Folk]


It ends with Death. Of course it does.
King Dude is the artist that has influenced me the most in the past decade. At Roadburn festival 2012, I got a label sampler from Van records for free. In that sampler I heard “Lucifer’s The Light Of The World” from his album Love. That was my first contact with The Dude. It took me another 3 more years to finally see him perform. I had the pleasure to see him two other times after that, with the last one being the very last concert I witnessed before covid restrictions took hold. All three times have been different. He has been alone, with a band or in a duo. As for me, I’ve also been in different stages of my life each time.

As you can see, this is getting personal. Because it ends with Death. His four offerings to the world are finally presented in full with the albums Love, Fear, Sex and now Death, which closes it all as the project will be put to rest. How can you properly end it, though? Well, as cliché as it might sound: You end it all by celebrating all your accomplishments. This is a project that has transcended its’ neo-folk, “gothic country” beginnings. It has done so with albums filled with powerful post-punk, groovy goth rock and touching blues. Death arrives and with it we hear some final surprises from The Dude. The tracks “Sweet Death”, “Out Of View” and “Pray For Nuclear War” carry an electronic/darkwave tone that is deadly catchy. “Sweet Death” in particular will grab you by the collar with its desperate cries for love. The Dude sings along with Shannon Funchess’ dark and soulful voice and I can’t help but dance as the black tears run down my face. It is clear The Dude knows which female singers can perfectly match his voice. Next duet is no different. “Black And Blue” sees The Dude under a far more optimistic light along with Nicole Estill. A folky tune which is the perfect track for when you leave all your pains behind and take on a new adventure with your soulmate.

Sure, there are 2 more songs after it that properly close Death but “Black and Blue” paints the final image I want to have of this project: King Dude is satisfied. He puts on his backpack and rides his dark horse into the distant sun. See you, Luciferian cowboy.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by X-Ray Rod





Julia Jacklin - Pre Pleasure
[Singer-Songwriter | Indie Rock]


The truth is that I listen to a lot of music, and even if I get to write about something, there's a lot of instances where I don't get to revisit it afterwards. Julia Jacklin's Crushing was no such case. Even though I don't think I listened to the album in full again after writing about it, more than a couple of songs entered heavy rotation in my indie listening. There was something about its post-breakup look at relationships in Julia's lyricism and mood that resonated with me even before my breakup and I can quote quite a few lines from that record that stayed with me. So when a follow-up was around the corner, I knew I couldn't just write some write-up to be done with it the same way I admittedly do for some records. Because of the way Crushing resonated with me on a song basis, I tried to get into Pre Pleasure's singles before actually listening to the album.

I was very afraid that I'd self-sabotage myself and not resonate with any of Pre Pleasure's songs. And indeed that was my first reaction to each of them, but the familiarity I had with most of them on my first full album listen did remove some of my fears. I admittedly didn't have as much time to spend with this as I'd want to, hence why none of the songs here have the same impact that "Don't Know How To Keep Loving You" or "Head Alone" had on the previous album, but this one also has a bit of a different tone. Toning down the indie rock moments in favor of a more singer/songwriter sound, with its introspection going a bit beyond that post-breakup vibe of Crushing. Pre Pleasure is still very much about romantic relationships, but also more general in its approach to relationships, from childhood memories to friendships dissolving, and while I keep waiting for something with more of an immediate impact, it's still Julia's lyricism and bittersweet sound that keep me engaged.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Dérives - Ferae Seves
[Post-Rock]


musclassia's pick


Another month, another instrumental post-rock album that I have to try and find a new way to discuss. Dérives certainly don’t give me much of an angle to work on in terms of background information; hailing from Lille, France, there’s not a whole lot of info about the band available online (except for a webpage for an artistic director indicating an association with the band, albeit named Rives on the site). With only the music to judge, it’s time to look into Ferae Seves and the reasons it’s worth the strain of writing this.

The band play post-rock, and probably the most distinctive element of their style is the extensive use of piano, which persists throughout all these compositions and often in a leading role. The group carry ‘neoclassical’ and ‘ambient’ genre tags, but unlike fellow French group Bruit ≤, strings appear only on occasion, such as during the stirring final minutes of “Procession Sauvage” and “Vers La Lisière”. Most of the album features piano, layered guitars and drums creating vast, evocative vistas, whether on the softer (“Mormal”) or louder (“Nébuleuse”) ends of the spectrum. While the building blocks are unremarkable for the genre, there’s something about the way that Dérives bring them together that has a ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ outcome. Bursting with emotion, beautiful melancholic melody and dramatic dynamics, Ferae Seves offers a journey that can really engulf and embrace listeners, really highlighting just how resonant post-rock can be when on top form, and why so many others dabble with the style (often less effectively).

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mogwai - Black Bird: Season 1
Soundtrack / Instrumental Rock


Mogwai return with yet another soundtrack album. They have been quite prolific with making soundtracks in their career; from the Zidane documentary to Les Revenants, Atomic, and ZeroZeroZero, they are one of history's rock bands who have always opted for the cinematic touch. It is always a bit of a tough job to judge a soundtrack without having seen the visual material, but Black Bird: Season 1 is full of moody, very Mogwaiy music.

Many of these tracks are based on the electric piano, and the times when the guitar-based power of Mogwai's studio albums comes through are pretty rare. A very nice exception to this is one of the longer cuts, "What If", which builds up into a grand distortion that sounds like not much else you'd hear in a TV series. This makes me curious as to how the soundtrack fits into the series as a whole, but since it’s on Apple TV+ I have no real chance of finding out.

As far as Mogwai albums go, Black Bird: Season 1 is not all too interesting, building mostly on electric piano swells and enveloping synth pads, and leaving very little room for the noisy guitar mayhem the band is known for. This is really something you could say for most of their soundtrack material, and it is not so surprising considering it is, indeed, a soundtrack to something else. However, I have to say that listening through it all on a stormy autumn walk makes for a very fitting soundtrack also to other things than this particular TV series, and it is always great to hear new music from these guys, whatever form it may take.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Netzach





The Lovecraft Sextet - Miserere
[Dark Jazz | Black Ambient]


It was actually just a few months ago that I was musing over the general band name pattern that darkjazz acts take, while talking about The Lovecraft Sextet's previous album, Nights Of Lust. I was not expecting the outfit, which isn't even a sextet, to come out with a new record so few months after their previous, but Jason Köhnen is a busy man, having also came out with a pretty cool Bong-Ra and a serviceable Celestial Season this year as well. With The Lovecraft Sextet having less of an established sound than the rest of his projects, I was expecting more Badalamenti woship.

And Badalamenti worship is pretty unavoidable when making dark jazz, but this one is fundamentally a different experience from the very sensual (as the name implies) Nights Of Lust. The dreadful nature that is available herein in both records takes a neoclassical somber vibe with Miserere, and whose influx of black metal-ish harsh vocals takes it within black ambient. The band styles Misere as a "doomjazz blackmass", taking inspirations from the psalms of one Gregorio Allegri. Though jazz is not really my first guess when thinking of 17th century psalms, The Lovecraft Sextet find common darkness between all of these, creating a dreadfully penitential record.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Nouns - While Of Unsound Mind
[Experimental Rock | Noise Rock]


RaduP's pick


There are indeed moments where your mind may not be sound. For better or worse, it may feel like an overload of thoughts. Cluttered, overbearing, anxiety-inducing. But Nouns manage to make those moments sounds joyful and exuberant. Having been around for more than ten years, Nouns have been the kinda band that requires many many genre tags to properly describe, and While Of Unsound Mind is no exception. I tried to narrow it down to the most obvious two, since the music is rock music at its core, played in a very experimental and noisy way, but it's also very punky, takes cues from a lot of experimental rock music genres like prog rock or post-rock or math rock, while also being very emotional in its punkness.

Something this wild and diverse, and especially something that has a runtime going over an hour does have the danger of becoming too disjointed and exhausting of an experience, so it's a testament to Nouns' skill that the album manages to constantly sound exciting and akin to a rollercoaster of emotions and sounds. It's like the Lightning Bolt version of 2000's emo post-punk merged with Black Midi's neo-avant-prog and Ada Rook's noisy emotions. There's something very infectious about the passionate authenticity of this record, that makes its more rougher edges much easier to handle, something that makes While Of Unsound Mind feel pivotal and sincere.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





The Comet Is Coming - Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam
[Nu Jazz | Jazz Fusion]


The Comet Is Coming quickly became one of the leading new acts in jazz, not only because of some people calling them the Death Grips of jazz for some reason, and also not just because the membership of saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (of Melt Yourself Down, Shabaka And The Ancestors, and Sons Of Kemet), but also due to the way they blended a jazz that feels like it traced its lineage to the spiritual jazz of the 1970s with a lot of electronica that created something like the jazz fusion version of space rock. 2019's Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery in particular quickly became one of my favorite albums of the previous decade, jazz or otherwise, so anticipation for a new The Comet Is Coming album was pretty high, especially seeing as to how the aesthetic on this one is even more technical.

Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam strikes a pretty good balance of keeping in line with what made Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery while also evolving the band's sound to something that puts more emphasis on the electronic side rather than the jazz one. With more influences from progressive electronica, as well as some more dance-y styles of electronica, the end result is something simultaneously psychedelic and lively, though not always at the same time. There are tracks that focus more on the atmospheric side, while others are a bit wilder, and the blend between the electronics and the jazz rhythm section continues to be incredibly hypnotic. It may not reach the same highs as Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, or at least it hasn't had the time to grow on me as much as that did, but this is an act that continues to evolve and amaze.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP






Gematria - Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity
[Progressive Rock | Avant-Garde Jazz]


Gematria’s full-length debut, obviously titled Gematria II (in fairness, Gematria was already used for their debut EP), is perhaps a more exuberant musical experience than one might expect from a member of Six Feet Under. However, in addition to playing guitars in Chris Barnes’ questionable death metal outfit (and also in Cannabis Corpse, Ray Suhy has shown a progressive streak before as part of East Of The Wall. Joining forces with Steve Honoshowsky from prog/experimental outfits Daughter Vision and No Use For Humans, the duo concoct instrumental-only compositions that allow them to display their instrumental and musical virtuosity.

Honoshowsky plays drums and Suhy plays guitars, but both are also credited with bass and synth responsibilities on Bandcamp, and this is an album with plenty of electronics thrown into the equation. A metal background can be heard in some moments, the first time being midway through the elliptical, twisting opener “Spindle Of Necessity” during the culmination of the crescendo that rises throughout most of the track. However, musical peaks are just as often delivered using electronics and other instruments, such as the dramatic choir towards the end of “Unconquered Sun”. A lot of the album does involve a technical approach built around elaborate oscillating motifs, but it’s not a constant barrage of such sounds, with a gentler retro-prog opening to “The Taming Power Of The Small” and funky bass underlying “The Elusive One”. An elaborate mesh of guitars, synths, technicality and a fascination with several prog and electronic styles, Gematria II: The Spindle Of Necessity certainly keeps one intrigued while listening.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





James Norbert Ivanyi - The Sine Intimation
[Progressive Rock | Electronic]


Justin Broadrick is not the only musician associated with metal to pop up in this month’s article with just cause. James Norbert Ivanyi has a profile on our website, and his place in our database is justified by the heaviness of his early material. On The Sine Intimation, however, there is scarcely a metal note in sight. Instead, the prog guitarist is exploring an interest in electronics this time around, while still keeping one foot in prog-rock territory.

That foot can’t really been seen during “Intimation Part One”, an electronic-only composition built around a series of repeating ascending motifs; I’d say that it’s intended to oscillate like a sine wave in reference to the title, but sine waves go up and down, so that theory falls dead. Closing track “Intimation Part Two” also remains electronic-only (although, in this instance its defining motif does oscillate up and down); in between, though, there’s three songs that bring Ivanyi and collaborator Mike Avenaim’s other instrumental talents into the equation. These three prog instrumentals very much hark back to retro-prog times, from the keyboard/synth tones to the melodies, but there’s enough to enjoy from them, between “An Uncial Replicant”’s funky bass and the occasional flirtations with louder, more intense sounds in “The Rune Beacon”.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Secludja - Stilled
[Ambient | Instrumental]


It’s no secret that Be'lakor is one of the most favourite bands of Metal Storm and Metal Stormers. So, it comes as no surprise that we were quick to find out about the piano-driven, solo side-project of Steve Merry, who is the man playing piano and synths in the Aussie kings of melodic death metal. According to Secludja’s Bandcamp page, the name of the band comes from: a) an imagined place found deep in nature, b) a state of calm often brought about by seclusion, c) a timbre or quality of sound. All three explanations apply to the music of Secludja, whose influences include Mike Oldfield, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, and Mark Knopfler.

Stilled is a short instrumental album, based on piano and synths, and has a cinematic character. It could very well be the score of a film, or simply an ambient piece that you can listen to, while endlessly staring at the sea in an autumn afternoon. The title is quite apt, because it really feels that time stands still while it plays. The music is beautiful; it is calm and peaceful, very atmospheric, and even a little gloomy at times. If you are a fan of Be'lakor’s more tranquil moments and of the band’s more introspective piano passages, you definitely need to check this one out.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Pale Sketcher - Golden Skin
[IDM]


Justin Broadrick’s had quite the career in music; first coming to prominence as part of metal acts as extreme as Napalm Death and Godflesh, his various subsequent projects and collaborations have taken him into lighter strains of rock (Jesu) and, on numerous occasions, away from guitar music altogether. One such project was the short-lived Pale Sketcher, which Broadrick established in 2010 as an alternative outlet while he redirected Jesu’s output away from its at-the-time trajectory into electronic music. Pale Sketcher, whose first meaningful output was a remix (or demix, as it proclaims) of Jesu tracks, produced a couple of EPs before going into hibernation in 2013 without a full-length debut. Said debut was actually being worked on at the time, but its intended release on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex Records was blocked by the collapse of that label. Nearly a decade later, Golden Skin has finally surfaced courtesy of GIVE/TAKE.

With all the background out the way, let’s move onto the music, which is close enough to Aphex Twin’s sphere of IDM to make a feature on the now-defunct label logical, while still having some differences. A mixture of energetic techno drums, serene ambient electronics and ethereal vocals kicks the record off in euphoric style by way of “Today”, and the likes of “Have Faith” and “Golden Skin” follow very much in the same vein. “I’m Your Possession” features similarly frenetic beats, but has slightly more emphatic dancefloor electronics surrounding it; the louder electronics also appear on the synth-pop “A Joy Only We Know”, while closing cut “Hymn For Light” dwells in moodier, more subdued trip-hop environs. It’s a nice mesh of serene danceable electronic tracks that fluctuate from the moody to the blissful; it’s not the most remarkable project Broadrick’s ever been involved with, but it’s a further demonstration of his versatility.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Bug - Absent Riddim
[Ambient Dub | UK Bass]


I've already covered The Bug's previous release, last year's Fire, an album whose huge array of dub-adjacent styles it handled. Though Kevin Martin's connections to the metal scene are only tangential, having collaborated with Earth and having been in groups with Godflesh's Justin Broadrick, this is music whose heaviness is certain to appeal to metal fans, hence why The Bug's performance at Roadburn was a personal highlight for me this year. Having a follow-up this early is evidently cause for anticipation, but Absent Riddim is a pretty different kind of album.

Fire was also the kind of album that relied on the combination of heavy beats and various features. But Absent Riddim actually takes it further by having a single beat in the entire album, albeit one that is twisted for each song to fit its feature. This is obviously pretty alien to me, but it is supposedly a tribute to "one riddim" albums of the same concept that have been a staple of Jamaica's musical output. There's plenty in terms of variety as far as the features go, and hearing so many different takes on the same beat is very admittedly a really cool concept, and the beat itself is huge, but I can't imagine ever wanting to revisit such an album in full.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Boucle Infinie - Summit
[Synthwave | IDM]


I’ve already reviewed one album from Rémi Gallego this year; however, although Summit is hosted on The Algorithm’s Bandcamp page, it is not another album from The Algorithm. That much can be made clear by comparing “Distance” with the remix of the same song by The Algorithm at the end of this record, the ending of which is one of the few moments on Summit in which the metallic grooves from Data Renaissance can be heard (side note, it’s a curious thought, crediting one of your projects with remixing another one of your project’s songs, when you are the entirety of both projects).

This is an EP, although it reaches full-album length courtesy of three remixes at the end. The five original versions of these songs show that Boucle Infinie is, in certain ways, a vehicle for Gallego to dabble in ‘The Algorithm without the metal’, with a fair amount of ‘hacker soundtrack’ synthwave in the equation. However, it’s not just this; even the track most akin to this style, “Contemplation”, has IDM and Ulver-esque synth-pop elements as part of the equation, while “Solitude”, “Monument” and “Distance” are augmented by an ambient electronic serenity. These added components really help to elevate Summit beyond your regular dystopian sci-fi synthwave album, while still possessing a lot of that insidious, subtle intensity that makes such records so exciting when done well.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Naked Flames - Miracle In Transit
[House | Techno]


Should be a surprise to no one that most genres have a sizeable underground scene, though some more than others. EDM, having once been the dominant music genres, is one of the main ones, hence why its underground has specifications for "outsider" EDM for music for something lo-fi and amateuresque, whether intentional or not. Naked Flames' belonging to this movement and their already numerous discography, along with my increasing realization that I'm listening to music made by people younger than me, is something that is a bit far from what I'm usually accustomed to. And yet, here I am.

There's something very nostalgic about the sounds of Miracle In Transit. A combination of early 2000s video game soundtracks and ambient club sounds to give raise to something that finally injects joviality into nostalgia. As much as it definitely shares a knack for ambient, it is cluttered with sounds without feeling overcrowded, from drum & bass to house to techno to trance to cloud rap to synthpop and all the mashups between these, all slowly building upon loops of lo-fi synths alongside fuzzy basslines. It's quite amazing how something can sound so lo-fi, yet so meticulously crafted.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP






Sudan Archives - Natural Born Prom Queen
[Alternative R&B | Art Pop]


RaduP's pick


It's fair to say that a lot of R&B, regardless of how artsy or alternative it is, has a pretty predictable instrumental palette. The fiddle may not be something that you'd expect as a main part of it, unless part of a larger orchestral arrangement. The Sudanese fiddle that sort of gives the name to the Sudan Archives project will probably deserve a mention for every Sudan Archives release writeup due to how unique it makes the record just by its inclusion. But if it was the main reason why I liked the band's self-titled debut when I covered it, it was also the versatility that was herein in the sound that promised even more potential for versatility in the next album. Well, the next album is here, and it's a really big album, both in sound and presentation, and in its runtime. And it may only be the grandest Sudan Archives record yet.

Trying to name all the genres in the genre fusions here would be suicide, but the alternative R&B and art pop and neo-soul and folktronica bits feel like they have the strongest presence here, with anything from disco to hip-hop also having a share. Because of how grandiose and stacked the album is, and how it avoids repeating the same sounds too much, it is a bit uneven. It shifts in sound as well as in mood and lyrical focus, but it feels like different nuances of sensual, uplifting, and ethereal. It's not just that the genre fusions are interesting, or that there's a fiddle in the sound palette, the songs themselves are just damn good pop songs. They're catchy, they hit the right energy you'd expect from this side of mainstream music, and its eclectic tendencies don't feel like they take its pop appeal out of the comfort zone, but enhance that said energy, all with some very gorgeous production.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Björk - Fossora
[Art Pop | Electronic]


RaduP's pick


It's pretty uncontroversial to call Björk one of if not the greatest art pop artist of all time, with her 1993-2001 run being especially legendary and a highlight in all of music. Her music has always been experimental, but that seemed to really take precedence with the 2000s, giving rise to some very interesting but not as consistent albums since. 2015's heartbroken Vulnicura was the first new Björk album for me, and that was contrasted with the triumphant Utopia in 2017, creating a duo of albums that worked very well in their emotional contrast and evolution, that in a way worked better in synergy than apart. It does make some sense why it took so long for those to be followed up, with Fossora following the longest gap between albums since the start of her solo career. But there's still plenty of emotional narrative in Fossora, being an album more centered on motherhood than any in Björk's career.

Musically, Fossora feels a lot like a medley of Björk's post-Vespertine career, having noticeable nods to the a cappela of Medúlla especially, with the abstract electronica sharing nods to everything else since. The mellowness especially reminds me of Vulnicura, though with less of a sorrowful mood enveloping. The most obvious nod to Utopia comes in the form of "Allow", an actual outtake from that album. Björk's voice continues to amaze in its emotional impact and mix of a divine ethereal and playfully quirky vibe, all the while the beats range from gabber-ish EDM to abstract IDM to avant-folk to chamber music, all of which is backed up by a very strong production job. Even without as much to feel grandiose and epic about the songs themselves, Fossora's sound is a joy to listen to in itself. WIth Fossora also being more self-contained than the overly long Utopia, the impact that it has lingers for the longest, and I'm pretty sure this will grow to be the nu-Björk album I'll return to most often.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Diamanda Galás - Broken Gargoyles
[Experimental]


You know an album is terrifying when the video that explains the album's concept is creepy in itself. Broken Gargoyles is the latest work by Diamanda Galás, the scariest-sounding woman in the world. I discovered her work through her interpretation of the famous song “Gloomy Sunday” (the “hungarian suicide song”). More than a decade later, it remains one of the most haunting performances I have ever heard. Her own works like The Litanies Of Satan, The Divine Punishment or the notorious live album Plague Mass serve as a testament to Diamanda Galás’ abilities as a singer with a thousand voices. And all of them scream at you.

Throughout her career she has campaigned for many social causes, most notably AIDS education, mental illnesses and war crimes. Broken Gargoyles follows this tradition of giving the spotlight to the tragic aspects of war history: Mutilated WWI soldiers trying to find a place in the world after the war. The album features poems written by Georg Heym, a German poet. Although he lived before the WWI time-period, his words on soldiers suffering from yellow fever seem to match the album’s theme. Another major influence for Broken Gargoyles is War Against War by Ernst Friedrich. A photobook showing the horrors of war, with these broken gargoyles/soldiers being one of its main features. I can also mention that this album’s first iteration was performed inside a medieval German sanctuary for the ones affected by leprosy. I mention all this to state the obvious: This is fucking dark and disturbing. So what type of music is it then? Well, if you are aware of her work you won’t be too surprised. This is mostly drone/ambient with some focus on the piano and violin among other classical instruments. But the main focus of course is the voice of Diamanda Galás. There is an obvious language barrier that makes it difficult for me to gain access to this album. That being said, this work remains monstrous. A true nightmare to behold. Diamanda Galás shrieks, whispers, laments and cries in the most harrowing way possible and the odd electronic effects that are used to distort her voice every now and then only makes the whole affair more unnerving. The piano is low and beyond morbid while the strings are simply horrifying in their high-pitched, desperate delivery. This is obviously not an album you can easily get into. But it is brilliant at delivering its tortuous message. War is hell.

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by X-Ray Rod




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: 7   Visited by: 101 users
17.10.2022 - 15:32
Karlabos
Meat and Potatos
Woah, there's a new The Chats? I bet it's as good as the previous ones. Need to listen to that one now
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Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.
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17.10.2022 - 18:09
The Galactician

Thanks as always to the contributors for the exposure to new music. I genuinely love this series and appreciate you all for making it go month after month.
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25.10.2022 - 20:33
A Real Monkey

Aw, damn it. I didn't know King Dude was ending. Gotta check out that album pronto, but truly a sad day.
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"Change the world. My final message. Goodbye."

~Last words of Harambe, seconds before he was shot, according to child he shielded from gunfire
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28.10.2022 - 03:56
Uxküll

Great line up, watching Black Bird right now, great mini series!
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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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29.10.2022 - 07:53
Metal Rambo

Great picks as always. Keep up the good work, guys!
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You've got a lot of guts. Let's see what they look like!
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29.10.2022 - 22:04
X-Ray Rod
Skandino
Written by A Real Monkey on 25.10.2022 at 20:33
Aw, damn it. I didn't know King Dude was ending. Gotta check out that album pronto, but truly a sad day.

Hope you like it, man. To me it felt like a honorable way to say goodbye but still... Super sad about it. I can safely say I love all his albums.
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
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30.10.2022 - 00:56
A Real Monkey

Written by X-Ray Rod on 29.10.2022 at 22:04

Written by A Real Monkey on 25.10.2022 at 20:33
Aw, damn it. I didn't know King Dude was ending. Gotta check out that album pronto, but truly a sad day.

Hope you like it, man. To me it felt like a honorable way to say goodbye but still... Super sad about it. I can safely say I love all his albums.

Just spun it yesterday. Not sure I'd call it as good as the rest of the series, but if he's going out on that, guess you couldn't do better. "Pray For Nuclear War" is an absolute bop, all my homies in the zoo spinning it.

Truthfully, I'll probably be spinning the two Songs from the 40s EPs that came out earlier this year more. There's some awesome renditions on there, especially with me being fan of that old time music. But 100% hard agree with loving everything he's put out. "Rosemary" still gives me chills since the first time I heard it.
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"Change the world. My final message. Goodbye."

~Last words of Harambe, seconds before he was shot, according to child he shielded from gunfire
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