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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, X-Ray Rod, omne metallum
Published: 11.12.2022


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

October 2022
September 2022
August 2022

And now to the music...






Show Me The Body - Trouble The Water
[Post-Hardcore | Noise Rock]


Show Me The Body is the kind of band we might eventually add to our database. Threading into heavy genres like post-hardcore and noise rock that already are represented on our website but only dipping toes into something that can unambiguously be described as metal. And yet, they're absolutely heavy. And have been even early in their career when hip-hop influences were still very much prevalent, creating a pretty interesting mix of styles on 2016's Body War. 2019's Dog Whistle amped up the hardcore side of the sound, creating a pretty fiery and noisy album that's not very easy to follow up. And now that the follow-up is here, I'm glad to say that Show Me The Body are not staying in one place.

Though the core of their sound is still noisy post-hardcore, the dynamics on this one are expanded in both directions. On one hand, some of the band's most metal moments are here, with the slower paces leaving space for some sludgish moments, while the incorporation of electronics borders of industrial metal. On the other hand, it also finds the band finding more moments to lower the intensity of their hardcore sound towards something often closer to post-punk. Although the latter was always part of the sound, the rhythms here do accentuate the experimental nature of that genre pretty well. The vocal presence is corrosive and the sound packs a really mean punch.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Horse Lords - Comradely Objects
[Microtonal | Experimental Rock]


Placing the word ‘experimental’ in front of any musical genre is always prone to raising an eyebrow. How exactly is the band going to be experimenting, and is it an experiment that no other musical band have performed before? In the case of Comradely Objects, the fourth album from Baltimore’s Horse Lords, the unusuality of the album lies in the microtonality and seemingly disconnected instrumental arrangements, where three or four different instruments can feel like they’re playing different songs simultaneously. They’re not the first to dabble with these musical concepts, but it doesn’t mean that listening to Comradely Objects isn’t a challenging experience that leaves one pondering on the established conventions of music.

Some of these ‘experiments’ are more fulfilling than others. The various elliptical instrumental motifs coalescing and clashing on “Zero Degree Machine” are quite hypnotic, while “Mess Mend” feels like a musical interpretation of rush hour traffic, but somehow in a good way. On the flip side, “May Brigade” is an impossibly irritating composition that seems designed as a method of torture more than anything to be listened to with any degree of pleasure. Perhaps the greatest testament to the virtues of what Horse Lords are exploring on Comradely Objects is the 10-minute “Law Of Movement”, an eerie, scraggly slow burn that somehow uses the discordant saxophone notes as a source of intrigue more than irritation. Comradely Objects will definitely not click with everyone, but it mostly manages to straddle the line between ‘experimental enough for avant-garde nasal-gazers’ and ‘sufficiently recognizable as music as to not be impenetrable to most listeners’.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





EF - We Salute You, You And You!
[Post-Rock]


EF look both backward and forward on We Salute You, You And You!, and that’s entirely understandable, as they have plenty to look back on. This is the Swedish post-rock group’s sixth album across a 20-year career, but this one is perhaps the most significant of all those albums, at least since the debut, as it signals the resurrection of a group that seemed to have been consigned to history. With their previous record dropping nearly a decade prior, there were few signs of life following a 2018 performance at Pelagic Fest in Germany, as the simple realities of life got in the way of music; however, the pandemic that brought down the curtain on some bands’ careers reignited a passion in this group of musicians, who now find themselves making their debut on the Pelagic Records roster.

While Pelagic are mostly known for their post-metal, this is in no way a metal album, although the expanded use of vocals this time around does see EF dabbling with screamed vocals for the first time. Outside of this, though, this is a post-rock record that generally leans more towards the delicate and radiant edge of the musical spectrum, with some indie whimsy fitting into the equation. The shimmering piano and soaring strings bring a grandiose sense of euphoria to the opening track “Moments Of Momentum”, an extreme that is not really pursued again on We Salute You, You And You!. Later tracks veer more towards rock (“Wolves, Obey!”), ambience (“Leuven”), indie folk (“Apricity”), or a combination therein in the case of the longest songs; “Chambers” has moody tremolo, soul-touching trumpets, sad strings, and the aforementioned screams across a far-reaching journey that should appeal, along with other songs on the record, to fans of acts such as Crippled Black Phoenix. A band whose future once appeared downtrodden sound rejuvenated on this comeback record, with which they salute all those that supported them during the difficult years, who I imagine will be very pleased with this salutation.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Desbot - Pass Of Change
[Post-Rock]


As an instrumental post-rock band releasing their debut album 2022, Desbot are the latest drop to now fall into a vast ocean. However, the New Zealand trio are being introduced to the world by the Art As Catharsis label, so Pass Of Change has clearly caught someone’s attention even with all the competition. Influences stated by the band include Mogwai and Isis, but while there are some heavier riffs to be heard at times, it’s not really bordering on post-metal. Instead, Desbot span a range of reference points within the established post-rock territory comparable to what a band like God Is An Astronaut have explored across their extensive career.

Pass Of Change starts off on a strong note with intro track “Moonlit Forest”; between the atmospheric percussion, the ominous tone, and the teasingly protracted duration of the build towards something that could be considered a climax, it is a sumptuous slow burn. “Crying Eyes” signals an immediate change of pace with a much livelier approach, and subsequent tracks cover subdued electronica (“No Response Or Benefit”), cacophonic exuberance (“Youth”) and crunchy groove (“All Of Us Together”). Perhaps the strongest track outside of the opener, “Eclipsed”, spans several of these approaches, acting as a centrepiece mission statement from Desbot. Without really bringing anything new to the table, Pass Of Change is moving and hefty enough to appeal to genre fans who like their post-rock on the slightly heavier side.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Vengeur - Par Feu Et Par Flammes
[Witch House]


I, Voidhanger Records are self-styled purveyors of ‘obscure, unique and uncompromising visions from the metal underground’. Despite this, I find myself covering an album on the label for our non-metal series; it turns out that the label’s interests stretch beyond the immediate confines of metal (which the prominent position of Neptunian Maximalism on their roster already demonstrated). It’s fair to acknowledge that Vengeur, like Neptunian Maximalism, could be considered to be metal-adjacent; this is an electronic music album (the genre label I’ve seen used is ‘witch house’, which I will have to trust since I’ve never listened to anything with that tag before to compare with), but the percussion used on the album borrows plenty from extreme metal, punctuating Par Feu Et Par Flammes with blast beats a-plenty.

It’s an odd combination; there is a horror movie-influenced ominous tone to the synths used across the album, which does lend itself to flirtations with more extreme music styles, but the emphatic production of the percussion means that, even when sticking to trap rhythms, there is an urgent intensity to the music. The ceaselessly meandering nature of the synth and piano lines (the latter of which likely draws some inspiration from the baroque era) gives Par Feu Et Par Flammes a restless aura, which helps the blasts and other more metallic drum approaches to feel relatively natural when introduced into the fray. Still, across a whole album, the fact that these busy synth/piano arrangements never quite resolve into satisfying sequences (even if there are let-ups in intensity in certain tracks) does make it challenging to fully latch onto what Vengeur is aiming for here; it’s a very intriguing concept, but in its current iteration, I think it’s one that works best listened to in short snippets rather than as a complete album sitting. If you are looking for snippets to sample, I would recommend the flamboyant “Liquified Sexualities”, which runs the gamut of what is brought to the table on Par Feu Et Par Flammes.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Soft Pink Truth - Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This?
[Deep House]


Perplexed by having a DJ friend of his get asked by a woman during a set as to whether it was going to get any deeper than it was, The Soft Pink Truth's Drew Daniel adopted that as a mantra and envisioned Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This? as a conceptual answer as to what that woman might've hoped for. In these lands, The Soft Pink Truth are known for two things: one is 2014's satiric electronic takedown of black metal Why Do the Heathen Rage?, which includes this gem, while the other is being one half of the experimental and conceptual electronic act Matmos, who I've covered a few times previously.

The Soft Pink Truth were also covered themselves in our series, for a similarly conceptual album. Here, we have deep house that has a huge emphasis on the "deep" part, with rhythms not very prone to changing, but with plenty of nu-disco and nu-jazz and IDM embellishments on top to create something that's a bit more cerebral, psychedelic, and ambiental than merely danceable, while retaining the warmness and liveliness of house music. The album is more than just that, and with its extended runtime and genre-hopping nature, it does leave the result with a pretty uneven flow and varying levels of impact.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Rasha - Delírio Altar
[Synthpop | New Wave]


As the mastermind of Bríi, Kaatayra and Vauruvã, Caio Lemos is a busy boy, and a musically ambitious one at that. Of those projects, Bríi is the one that mostly strongly indicates an interest in electronic music, and it’s not surprising that Lemos’ compositional passions would reach a place entirely beyond the confines of metal. With Rasha, Lemos teams up with Raíssa Geovanna Matos to dabble in synthpop. What’s perhaps the most surprising thing about Rasha, in contrast to the projects mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, is how conventional they sound musically; Delírio Altar, the first full-length release from the duo, is very much a genre piece, but hey, not every innovator wants to always be innovating.

Musically, Delírio Altar is a collection of short but sweet tracks with a simple but pleasant new wave-style beats and warm synth tones, as well as some variety between up-tempo cuts like “Máquinas” and slower, more thoughtful songs such as “Logo Atrás”. The album as a whole is quite a short one, clocking in at under 30 minutes, and is poised to be a brief but satisfying blink-of-an-eye record to stick on, but it is unfortunately let down a bit on the vocal front; there is a lack of direction to the vocal passages consistently throughout the record and missing ear for pitch, with “Máquinas” arguably the worst offender for having dual vocals that seem to be singing to a completely different track to what’s going on beneath. It is unfortunate, as otherwise there’s promise here for Lemos to work similarly well outside of metal to how he has within it. Still, it's not a constant problem throughout (“Logo Atrás” features a more naturally fitting vocal performance), so there's definitely hope still for Rasha going forward.

Bandcamp

by musclassia





Lorraine James - Building Something Beautiful for Me
[Progressive Electronic | Ambient]


This isn't the first time a modern artist reinterprets the work of an older artist more than just making an album of covers. I instantly remember Makaya McCraven's reimaginings of Gil Scott-Heron or Madlib's invasions of Blue Note records. This time, we have IDM artist Lorraine James, whose album last year, Reflection, was one of my favorites that month; taking on the work of overlooked 20th century minimalist composer Julius Eastman. Overlooked as can be, since I had never heard the name prior to this album. But it does make sense why his work would be getting a second lease of life here, as both Julius and Lorraine are gay and black, and that relatability is contrasted with the varying approaches between Eastman's classical minimalism and James's complex electronica.

Building Something Beautiful for Me is, as a result of that contrast, James' most subdued and ambiental work. The synths and electronics are a lot softer, though they retain the repetitive sense of the original minimalist work, they do so creating a wildly different soundscape. The vocals are my biggest point of contention, even though they're somewhat fitting for such a fragile work, they're clearly not the work of a singer. That aside, the album did indeed build something beautiful, both as the transformative reinterpretation of a great body of work and as a standalone piece of gorgeous electronic ambient. The original pieces are named in the titles of each song, so this can easily be a springboard for exploration into Eastman's work as well, as it did for me.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





PVA - Blush
[Techno | House]


musclassia's pick


PVA were once labelled disco-punks, although in truth, it was more post-punk that popped up alongside electronica on their debut EP Toner. With Blush, that punk feels less involved, but there is nevertheless still a darkness and intensity to this first full-length record from the band. Opting for a partially live band approach to electronic music not dissimilar to other recent upstarts like Scalping, PVA shoot out the blocks with the high-energy industrial-tinged techno of “Untethered”, panic siren-esque synth hooks punctuating a needling, throbbing cut. Ella Harris’ understated spoken vocal delivery contrasts the intensity radiating from the underlying tracks, but the two mix together well.

The percussion on the record is a mixture of electronic sounds and live drums recorded by Louis Satchell, and having a proper drummer driving these tracks along with fast, busy drumwork adds a welcome urgency, even if the synths are a bit more mellow and euphoric, such as on “Hero Man”. The other vocalist in the band, Josh Baxter, first gets to show off his own spoken word approach on “Bunker”, a song that manages to encapsulate both the darkness and brightness featured on the previous songs, evolving from the former to the latter remarkably subtly. Not every track here quite works for me, with “Comfort Eating” a bit too quirky and vocal-driven, but the range of Blush (“Comfort Eating” is immediately followed by the jagged industrial cut “The Individual”) keeps the album feeling fresh and invigorating; as a band that built their reputation in the live setting, PVA have seamlessly transitioned to the studio for a solid outing here.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Mountain King - Collateralus
[Techno]


The Mountain King have been awfully busy this year. First there was WolloW, their experimentation with song flow in which the second half was the inverse of the first half. Then there was Tsunami Of Hope, a bitesized departure from post-rock/drone/ambient music towards the kind of lo-fi hip-hop instrumentals that anime characters study to on radio channels. The German duo have found the time to now produce a third record, Collateralus, which represents yet another shift in genre, and in this instance, similarities to Tool in the album title and artwork are not carried over into the music, which is first and foremost techno.

This latest genre-hop is one that The Mountain King have the capacity to pull off; the album sounds effortlessly natural for the style, with well-produced electronics and effective danceable beats. The wub-wub rhythms of “Death & Money” and “Fear Of The Angst” are dancefloor-worthy, while there’s a dreamier vibe to “Parabolantenna”. Initially instrumental, the record introduces rapping on the seductively moody “Driveby Mating”, although this is a one-off dalliance. There’s a couple of other one-time or infrequent elements brought into play, as some of The Mountain King’s metallic past can be heard in the backing guitars of synthwave cut “Dirty Bomb”, while “Cui Bono?” is a revival of some of the more annoying conventions of 00s/10s Ibiza anthems. At 69 minutes, this album is arguably overlong, and The Mountain King aren’t really coming in to do anything with techno that artists more embedded in the genre haven’t already done, but it’s a perfectly decent album in a new style for the duo.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Sarah Davachi - Two Sisters
[Drone]


RaduP's pick


Long ambient albums are already pretty hard to get into, so drone music, somewhat of an offshoot of ambient already that also works on longer forms is not making things any easier. Drone is more classical music oriented, and as an example, organist Sarah Davachi, who has been responsible for more than a dozen albums in her decade-long career, taken a more chamber music approach on Two Sisters. Her pipe organs and synths are joined by various strings, brass, and vocals performed by a myriad of musicians, making this pretty much a classical album, yet one stretched into a drone form. Slowly and all-enveloping.

I'm not familiar at all with Sarah Davachi's other work so I can't compare how Two Sisters stands in the grand scheme of her other work, but as a standalone piece, it is one whose ambient leanings and chamber instrumentation works well to deliver somber and ghostly soundscapes. Though its shapes are not cluttered and its paces are are not in a hurry, resulting in the music feeling very spread out over the 90 minutes runtime, the album never stops feeling enveloping. The album feels more spiritual that cerebral, spiritual both in a religious and supernatural sense (as much as those two overlap). While the experience we have with drone on this website usually relates to crushing distorted guitar hums, the more delicate extreme of the spectrum might take the same toll here.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Skullcrusher - Quiet The Room
[Indie Folk | Ambient]


musclassia's pick


Skullcrusher: now that’s a metal name right there. I know so, because there’s 19 hits for bands with that name in Metal-Archives, not to mention a Biohazard song. So naturally, the most famous musical project with this name is a one-woman singer-songwriter indie act that has only just now released its debut record; is there any justice in this world? While Quiet The Room, said debut record from Skullcrusher (also known as Helen Ballentine) is decidedly non-metal, this is no happy-go-lucky album. The opening song “They Quiet The Room”, despite being feather-light vocally and instrumentally, drowns in melancholia, Ballentine’s hushed singing, soft strummed acoustic and layered electronics evoking heartfelt emotions.

Fitting, given the album title, but Quiet The Room is on the hushed side; it’s not entirely so, there is a brighter tonality to the still slightly sombre “Whatever Fits Together”, and it is better for having variety (particularly when it’s as joyful as “Outside, Playing”), but its standout moments to me are those that make everything feel incredibly small and intimate. Beyond the title track, this can also be experienced on “Building A Swing” and “Lullaby In February”, which almost verges on post-rock, albeit of the most subtle and ambient variety, in the gradual growth in volume later in the track. With 14 tracks, this is an album that feels longer than it actually is (just a smidge over 40 minutes), and there is a small degree of inconsistency, but overall Quiet The Room is a really touching solo stripped-down album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Richard Dawson - The Ruby Cord
[Progressive Folk | Avant-Folk]


RaduP's pick


Before embarking on this album I have to warn you of two things: first is that Dawson's folky vocals can be incredibly grating, even for someone like me who is an avid listened; second is that the album opens with a 40-minute track and doesn't stop from there. That out of the way, The Ruby Cord is a pretty massive undertaking for Richard Dawson, whose collab with Circle from last year certainly showed that he was no stranger to prog rock, but this is the most that he's leaned into progressive folk in his own music.

The album does open very slowly, and it does show that the progressive side of the folk here is pretty adjacent to post-rock, though not entirely Godspeed You! Black Emperor-ish, it moreso reminds me of some GY!BE related projects like A Silver Mt. Zion or Set Fire To Flames combined with Dawson's storytelling, once again focusing on tales and scenarios of isolation and societal breakdown. The production on this one is as warm and organic as can be, which is only fitting for making this challenging listen just a bit more welcoming.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Natalia Lafourcade - De Todas Las Flores
[Chamber Folk | Singer-Songwriter]


After the success from her two-part releases Musas and Un Canto Por México, Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade returns with the first work featuring only original material since the release of Hasta La Raiz from 2015. Now, I feel bad rehashing some of the content from my review from last year’s Un Canto Por México, Vol. 2 because this is not a case of an artist re-doing the same thing over and over again. This is the case of an artist gathering all her inspiration and elevating them further. A cascade of melodies that embrace both heart-wrenching solitude and flirtatious playfulness. Her gorgeous folk compositions are sometimes based on her guitar and voice alone but as you dive deeper into De Todas Las Flores you can hear just how much she can bring to the table with chamber arrangements where the strings and brass instruments shine in most fabulous fashion while the slow jazz undertones bring a passionate, warm touch. Running for over an hour one could easily fear that the album would overstay its welcome but there is no risk for that when you have a release this polished and well-performed.

Speaking of polished, this might be the one of the best produced albums I’ve heard this year. It’s so pristine as every single detail can be heard yet it is not clinical. On the contrary: It is very much an intimate album. You feel like the whole ensemble is performing right in front of you and Natalia sings softly next to you. Obviously some tracks hit better than others but each one invites you to enjoy their sweet and charismatic tunes. My personal favorites are: The seductive title track, the dark and sorrowful “Pasan Los Dias” which erupts into a desperate cry for companionship and the relaxing “El Lugar Correcto” that cleverly adds jazz to enhance the easy.going vibe. Many of the things I say about De Todas Las Flores are enhanced by appreciating the poetry behind her words. Natalia Lafourcade was generous enough to release the entire album on Youtube with English subtitles. Now it’s easier than ever to get access to her beautiful words, voice and music. All of which I would gladly drink until my drunkenness makes the world spin in ecstasy.

Apple Music | Spotify

by X-Ray Rod





Weyes Blood - And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
[Baroque Pop]


One of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2022 comes courtesy of a musician that spent time in her early career as part of experimental and noise rock bands; And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow is a long way away from those days stylistically. Weyes Blood is currently writing music that manages to feel smaller and more intimate, while being fleshed out by elaborate orchestral arrangements. The second part of a trilogy based around the collective sense of impending doom brought about by current events and our reactions to them, with this instalment presented as a dispatch from the centre of a catastrophe, searching for optimism amidst a sense of hopelessness. To this end, Natalie Mering delivers a roster of gently delivered chamber pop compositions, a soothing voice in the centre of an ensemble of instruments (check out the musician credits list for this record).

Aside from a pair of interlude tracks, the bulk of the songs on And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow are upwards of 5 minutes; these languid compositions are in no hurry to tell their story, ambling along to unhurried rhythms as Mering’s central performance is backed up by pianos, harps, choirs, strings, and whatever else feels fitting to throw into the fray on a given track. The emotionally naked “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” ponders the connections between humans and how these connections are suffering in the current age, while “Grapevine” tells a more personal story of reminiscing about an ex-partner. There are some fluctuations in the energy of the songs; the more uptempo and seemingly upbeat “Children Of The Empire” incorporates an array of additional instruments in a Brian Wilson-inspired grandiose arrangement, while Mering dabbles with electronica on the new wave piece “Twin Flame”. Ultimately though, the album lives or dies on the quality of Mering’s vocal performance, and on that front she totally delivers.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Turnover - Myself In The Way
[Dream Pop]


Five albums in and Virginia's Turnover are masters of the lo-fi mellow flavour of dream pop. Listening to Myself In The Way is like drifting off into a light, serene nap, floating you away from the world outside. "Tears Of Change" washes away any stress from your mind with its lush guitar melodies and understated vocals. "Myself In The Way" will have you tapping along subconsciously with its infectious beat and proto-funk guitar riffs. Filtered through reverb and soft production, tracks like "Fantasy" fit like a soft blanket on a cold day.

New guitarist Rayfield picks up where previous member Moran left off, with the guitars serving to add brush strokes of colour to the tracks, painting images in your mind rather than smashing a picture frame over your head. Gatz's mellow approach to singing on "People That We Know" is the perfect tonic for relaxation alongside the soft saxophone passages. If you're looking for something to help you unwind after a stressful day, ease back into your comfiest chair and close your eyes as Turnover take the weight of the world off your mind.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by omne metallum





Sobs - Air Guitar
[Power Pop | Indie Pop]


To be completely honest, I don't really air guitar anymore, not even in my car with my father when we're both listening to Pink Floyd or Dire Straits (hint: it's because I'm driving). But I remember a time when that was one of the most obvious activities to do when listening to guitar music (which was basically all I listened to at the time). Though I didn't really listen to indie pop at the time, Singapore's Sobs do remind me a lot of the music that was around at the time, with a sort of sound that feels just so slightly anachronistic in the current era. Not quite a worship of any current era, but with twee pop and new wave and electronica that does feel placed in the past.

This is, despite the pop label and the various electronics on the record, a guitar record. There's plenty of moments that let you get washed in that distortion, but in a slightly shoegaze-y way. I'm reminded of the more dreamy and upbeat version of a lot of these pop rock sounds, but in an amalgamation that really emphasizes Sobs's penchant for fun songwriting. Not merely understanding what made the genre's that they're borrowing from great, but also how to combine these elements and create sections within songs that elevate them beyond background impact into pure joy.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Benjamin Clementine - And I Have Been
[Art Pop | Singer / Songwriter]


Benjamin Clementine has got quite a lot of hype as a piano-based singer/songwriter with a nice baroque pop touch and a recognizable tenor voice. But even though he's been releasing music for a little less than a decade, he's only had two full-length albums up to this point, with the latest, I Tell a Fly being over five years old. In the meantime, Benjamin got married and went through a pandemic, and that must've had quite an effect. Now, And I Have Been comes as an announced "part one" of a bigger set, with "part two" due sometime in 2023.

The one thing I noticed on first listen is that the piano has less of a presence on And I Have Been, with the latter half of the album focusing more on it while the first half has the baroque orchestration be a bit more expansive while also being completed with synths and the like. That does result in a bit of a disconnect which makes And I Have Been feel more song-focused while the album itself flows a bit weirdly. But as far as the songs themselves go, Benjamin continues to make gorgeous music, and the backing vocals from his wife are a nice touch this around. And yet, it is still the piano bits that continue to be highlights of his for me.

Apple Music | Spotify by RaduP





Nosaj Thing - Continua
[Trip-Hop | Downtempo]


Producer Nosaj Thing (Jason W. Chung) has worked with some pretty big names in his time; he’s produced songs for the likes of Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance The Rapper. Alongside his exploits producing for other artists, he has his recording career under his own name, and on album number 5 (released 5 years after its predecessor Parallels, Chung continues to revel in the opportunities afforded by collaboration. Significant names appearing on this album include Julianna Barwick, Toro Y Moi, and Eyedress, but it is Chung’s mellow, understated trip-hop/downtempo/soul compositions that star on Continua.

For those on the lookout for new trip-hop, “My Soul Or Something” is an up-tempo yet subdued charmer, with KAZU’s vocals floating in and out of the equation, while “Blue Hour” (featuring Barwick) kicks off with a beat similar to Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”, with Barwick’s vocals similarly tender to Liz Frazer’s classic performance on that genre staple. Chung varies approach across the album though; “We Are (우리는)” is more akin to afrobeat, while “Look Both Ways” goes in a darker hip-hop direction. There are a couple of moments in which I lose my connection with Continua, chief among them the effects-heavy vocal performance by Serpentwithfeet on “Woodland” and the flatness of “Grasp”, but at its best, Continua hits the spot nicely.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Backxwash - His Happiness Shall Come First Even Though We Are Suffering
[Industrial Hip-Hop | Horrorcore]


musclassia's pick


It’s taken a long time, but there’s finally emerged a hip-hop artist that I’m genuinely excited to hear new material from. And there’s been new material coming in on the regular; this is the fourth consecutive year in which Backxwash has released an album. The latter three of those records comprise a trilogy (all with extravagantly long album titles) exploring, in reverse chronological order, the trauma from Backxwash’s difficult upbringing and the resulting fallout. It’s dark subject matter, and it’s narrated in a dark, visceral manner, but it’s a manner that has evolved across records. In place of Black Sabbath samples, His Happiness Shall Come First... is framed with a number of church sermon samples, with the album clearly bringing the impact of a strict religious upbringing on Ashanti Mutinta to the forefront.

Musically, this record features the best things about the last two records while also representing a maturation and refinement. The industrial trap production in “Vibanda” is an ideal backdrop to an emphatic, impassioned performance from Backxwash, particularly as keyboards subtly bleed a delicate sadness into the equation, while “Nyama” (featuring Kate Davies from Pupil Slicer) follows on from Here I Lie Buried...’s title track in upping the intensity courtesy of screaming and metal influences. The mood is consistently bleak, even if gospel choirs lurking on “Mulungu” (not to mention the brash synth lines) are almost mockingly uplifting. Despite all of this, Backxwash throws a wildcard right at the end, “Mukazi” going full Motown in terms of production (strings, choirs, soul guitars) and offering an almost triumphant conclusion to a challenging record, the completion of a cathartic journey. The above songs are some of the highlights here, but this is a record that delivers the whole way through, and represents the culmination of an outstanding musical trilogy.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




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







Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 121 users
12.12.2022 - 05:26
A Real Monkey

Not totally related, but the passing mention of Madlib's Shades of Blue in the Loraine James section makes me happy. Such an underrated album in his discography.
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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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13.12.2022 - 04:03
Uxküll

Love this series, I need to broaden my horizons beyond mainly metal and classical.
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"Nullum unquam exstitit magnum igenium sine aliqua dementia [there was never great genius without some madness]."

Best of Metal A-Z: http://metalstorm.net/users/lists.php?user_id=158339
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13.12.2022 - 20:25
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
How many new core subgenres there are, now horrorcore?
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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13.12.2022 - 21:56
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Bad English on 13.12.2022 at 20:25

How many new core subgenres there are, now horrorcore?

Whenever you ask, we create another one
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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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13.12.2022 - 22:06
musclassia

Written by Bad English on 13.12.2022 at 20:25

How many new core subgenres there are, now horrorcore?


I've been trying my best to make Chelsea Wolfecore an official genre, I'm sure there's room for more things to become -core - it's the inevitable conclusion of all musical journeys. I myself am still waiting anxiously for doomcore, stonercore and grindcorecore to be brought to life
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14.12.2022 - 03:49
Snowfox

Written by musclassia on 13.12.2022 at 22:06

Written by Bad English on 13.12.2022 at 20:25

How many new core subgenres there are, now horrorcore?


I've been trying my best to make Chelsea Wolfecore an official genre, I'm sure there's room for more things to become -core - it's the inevitable conclusion of all musical journeys. I myself am still waiting anxiously for doomcore, stonercore and grindcorecore to be brought to life


Apparently there is a genre called doomcore. Though it seems to be a subgenre of hardcore techno rather than metal, which is relieving.
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19.12.2022 - 22:56
LordFezzington
Lost To Apathy
Very slowly (life, you know) working my way through these excellent articles (currently listening to Madrugada from the Jan edition...) alongside trying to catch up on all the metal releases I've definitely missed this year. A bit curious about where you guys look for upcoming non-metal releases? I use MS as a bit of a bible for what's coming up in terms of metal stuff but wonder if there's a decent non-metal alternative?
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"Pay no heed to anyone and do what seems right to yourself." - Franz Kafka, The Trial
2022 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=7001
2021 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6742
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20.12.2022 - 06:30
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by LordFezzington on 19.12.2022 at 22:56

A bit curious about where you guys look for upcoming non-metal releases?

Browsing either Bandcamp or RateYourMusic
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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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20.12.2022 - 08:46
musclassia

Written by LordFezzington on 19.12.2022 at 22:56

A bit curious about where you guys look for upcoming non-metal releases?


I find most music each week by going through the Metal Storm new releases and the Heavy Blog Is Heavy weekly roundup - the latter manages to unearth a decent amount of solid non-metal stuff, even if arguably the majority of what they include on the non-metal front are hip-hop and indie releases that aren't aligned with my musical interests
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20.12.2022 - 16:46
LordFezzington
Lost To Apathy
Written by RaduP on 20.12.2022 at 06:30

Browsing either Bandcamp or RateYourMusic

Written by musclassia on 20.12.2022 at 08:46

I find most music each week by going through the Metal Storm new releases and the Heavy Blog Is Heavy weekly roundup - the latter manages to unearth a decent amount of solid non-metal stuff, even if arguably the majority of what they include on the non-metal front are hip-hop and indie releases that aren't aligned with my musical interests

I figured it would probably be a simple answer, thank you both - and thank you for doing these articles, they're very handy for checking out stuff I would otherwise overlook. Haven't looked at Heavy Blog Is Heavy for a long time, but will give it a check.
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"Pay no heed to anyone and do what seems right to yourself." - Franz Kafka, The Trial
2022 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=7001
2021 List: https://metalstorm.net/users/list.php?list_id=6742
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