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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, Netzach, Abattoir, F3ynman2000
Published: 08.01.2023


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

November 2022
October 2022
September 2022

And now to the music...






The Sound Of Animals Fighting - Apeshit
[Post-Hardcore]


This month’s edition features an EP that represents the first music in 8 years from †††, but that’s not even the longest interval between an EP and the band’s previous music in this article. 14 years after The Ocean And The Sun, the oddball ‘supergroup’ The Sound Of Animals Fighting makes a return with a 4-song EP. The project has featured a variety of musicians from the post-hardcore scene in its time, although the supposedly anonymous collective has been driven by a core comprised of founding members of Rx Bandits, including Rich Balling (who Metal Storm users may know from Pyramids). The revival of this group appears to be purely comprised of the Rx Bandits core plus Anthony Green (Circa Survive), which given the lack of activity on the Rx Bandits front in recent years, should please two (presumably heavily overlapping) fanbases at once.

What one gets on Apeshit is a record of two halves, divided into quarters. The opening title track and song three “Sharon Tate, Despite Everything” are very much part of the math-y/emo Swancore area of the post-hardcore scene, with intricate guitar work, At The Drive-In-esque vocals, convoluted rhythms, and unpredictable song structures. The title track in particular has a compositional quality to rise above most of that scene, however. The other two songs here, on the other hand, completely eschew guitar music, with “Wolf” a synthpop cut serving entirely as a vocal vehicle and “Duche Das” bordering on ambient electronia. It’s a bit of an odd mix, really; two more songs in the vein of the title track and this would be a cracking little EP, but the other half of the runtime somewhat diminishes the overall appeal of Apeshit.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Apulanta - Sielun Kaltainen Tuote
[Pop Punk | Alt Rock]


Apulanta was one of the very first bands I started listening to as a young teenager who had just discovered the wondrous world of metal and hard rock. They've been around for quite some time; indeed, Sielun Kaltainen Tuote (A Product Like The Soul) is their thirteenth full-length album. Having started out as a very DIY punk trio, they reached their peak with the melodic and heavy Heinola 10 and later transitioned into something more pop rocky that yet showed a lot of influence from heavy metal.

With their previous release being an EP titled Make Nu Metal Great Again, you'd think they would go all Linkin Park on us here. There is some of that, for sure, in the electro-disco-pop of "60 Uutta Ongelmia" (60 New Problems), and sometimes rhythmically shouted vocals (they don't go full rap mode, fortunately), but there is also the classic Apulanta trademark vocal melodies and modern, heavy riffs that belie their punk roots, such as on the For a metalhead getting into this band, the best place to start is probably Eikä Vielä Ole Edes Ilta (And It's Not Even Evening Yet), but for a thirteenth album, this one shows a band that still knows what they want, and they still do it pretty damn well.

Apple Music | Spotify

by Netzach





Secret Shame - Autonomy
[Alternative Rock | Gothic Rock]


RaduP's pick


One of my favorite albums of the year was Brutus (BEL)'s Unison Life (read all about it), with a sort of post-everything rock sound that seemed to work really well with how emotionally resonant the vocalist was. When I listen to Secret Shame's Autonomy, I'm reminded a lot about that one, and weird as it is to talk about an album by comparing it to a completely unrelated band's album instead of the same band's previous album, both have something that I'm really looking for in music, and that is emotional impact that is so easily facilitated by its music and lyricism. And here there's similarities and differences in the approach.

For one, Secret Shame's Lena's vocals aren't as immediately impactful, but they're versatile enough to carry the sustained impact of a vibe more melancholic than angsty. It's the lyrics where a lot of the impact lies rather than the delivery itself, but where the impact is spread out over the whole song rather than in very powerful lines. The sound is also vaguely post-everything, with no clear genre definition, even if gothic rock seems to be the most prevalent of the few, but strong alt rock, darkwave, shoegaze, indie rock, deathrock, post-rock, dream pop vibes also remain, without making Autonomy feel like just a blend of genres but a seamless Secret Shame sound.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





OSA - Zzzzzzzzzzz
[Punk Rock]


This record wasn't really a random stumble, but an occasional "search and check" type of thing within this targeted genre. Croatian band OSA (eng. Wasp) stings with a straightforward punk rock approach that accumulates a fair dose of deviations from song to song. While they use their native language (Croatian) in lyrics, which I understand quite well, it can sound more amusing in certain songs. Especially in the 7+ minute long track "Junfer-Pervertit", which is basically a short storytelling with a light musical, in first part, a ska-sounding accompaniment. It’s not uncommon for punk/punk rock bands that they use a taunting and fun-like lyrics of certain themes as part of their music.

Regardless of intriguing contribution of the lyrics, it’s of course the music that got my attention first and foremost. So, despite a couple of distinctive punk rock tunes and vibes, you also get to listen to a one lengthier aforementioned song (fun as hell, especially as for the lyrics itself), as well as an acoustic (a bit more emotional) closing music piece of the album. Consequently they try to evade the lack of originality. The vocals are my cup of tea. Sounding strong without any weakness, not too hardcore and, from the other point of view, no too mellow or completely clean either. Osa set the tone equipped with a solid production over the course of all eleven tunes. And by the way… I fucking love the album's cover artwork.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Abattoir





The Battery Farm - FLIES
[Doom Punk]


The world is a battery farm, and our lives are as meaningless and expendable as flies that live for only a single day. These bleak, nihilistic images are what The Battery Farm have to offer with their newest release — simply called FLIES. Hailing from Manchester, UK, these four musicians have crafted 11 short punk songs that are as ugly and unforgiving as the violent world that surrounds us. But don't despair yet, because the beauty of dark music is that one can still find grim satisfaction in the gritty lyrics, an anguished vocal performance, and – most importantly – catchy melodies.

There's plenty of variety in the musical styles on FLIES, whether it's the techno intro of "Crud Oil Water", the catchy bass licks in "I Am A Man", the heavily distorted guitar screeching in "In The Belly Of The Beast", or the eerie background noises in "Everything Will Be Ok". Throughout, the lead vocalist shows how versatile he is in expressing various extreme emotions like depression, despair, and disgust. Overall, my favorite songs here are "Poet Boy" and "DisdainGain" as they contain groovy riffs that are soaked in palpable anger to match the empowered voice of the passionate singer.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by F3ynman2000





Tricot - 不出来 (Fudeki)
[J-Rock | Math Rock]


"Another Tricot album so soon?" I ask myself, completely ignoring the fact that Tricot released two separate albums back in 2020. Tricot have been mighty prolific, with eight albums in their twelve years of existence, and that's not counting the EPs. At this rate it's hard to tell how much of each album is B-sides from another album's session, especially since they're still very stylistically consistent, and maybe they're all B-sides of the debut EP. But Tricot are so enthusiastic in every moment that they're playing that they win you over regardless of how many times they give you a serving of their sound.

So here we have 不出来 (Fudeki), and I feel like this one is a pretty odd album even by Tricot's standards. A lot of it does sound in line with what they were doing on the previous 上出来 (Jodeki), which explains the aesthetic similarities between the two. But the intentionally messy and atonal way that the album opens, complete with moments like the very shoegazey "Crumb", the overwhelmingly noisy "アンドロイド", make these some of the weirdest and noisiest moments of the band. They always had a bit of a post-hardcore side that contrasted with the sugary J-Rock, but something makes the noise rock side even more prominent this time around.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Loop - Sonancy
[Space Rock | Neo-Psychedelia]


Making an exception of our "releases just from this or last month" to cover an album I missed back in March when it came out, since I had no idea Loop were making new music. Sure, I had seen them live at Roadburn back in 2019, but now it seems that they're coming out with their first studio album since their reunion and the first overall in more than 30 years. Somewhat, since they also released a pretty lengthy EP in 2015 that I coincidentally also missed. Also, Loop are back in the sense that Robert Hampson is back from the pre-breakup days, even if he was the only stable Loop member, but Loop have had a stable lineup since the reunion, and this was the lineup that I saw them live with.

The sounds that Loop make now are pretty in line with the sounds they were making prior, namely spaced out psychedelic noise. Blending Like a post-punk album made by Hawkwind, Sonacy is full of effect-laden distorted guitars over effect-laden echoey vocals over effect-laden effects, and all of that with more effects on top of it. Loops and textures and bursts of noise and psychedelic jams and shoegaze walls of sound, and though it prefers to be immersive rather than immediate, the atmospheres it creates are hypnotic, especially due to the way repetition is integrated in the sound. Plus, this is the cleanest Loop record, with all the modern ways we can make music sound like space.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Jesu - Pity / Piety
[Shoegaze]


In September, I covered Justin Broadrick’s Pale Sketcher project, which was initially created as an alternative outlet for the increasingly electronic direction that he was taking Jesu in at that point in time. There’s been a relatively steady stream of albums, EPs and collaborations since Jesu redirected back to guitar-centric music, and this output has been relatively varied in style (and arguably quality). However, despite the persistently grey and hazy cover arts, little of that output has bore all that much resemblance to the dreamy shoegaze that I mentally associate with Jesu, having discovered them courtesy of their 2006 Silver EP. Pity / Piety doesn’t necessarily bear too much resemblance to Silver either, but with the sedate tone, gentle atmosphere and absence of excess electronics, it’s perhaps closer than most of what Broadrick’s been doing recently.

Pity / Piety is a two-song EP, containing the tracks (you guessed it) “Pity” and “Piety”, both of which are around the 18-minute mark, so it’s one of those ‘could have been a full-length record if they wanted to call it one’ releases (see also Primitive Man releasing an ‘EP’ this year longer than their previous full-length). Those 17-18 minutes aren’t used for wide-ranging exploration; “Pity” is virtually the same song at the end as it was at the beginning, the whole track built around a fairly constant guitar sound and a dutifully plodding drumbeat (sans a little climactic build at the end). However, it’s not the destination but the journey, as “Pity” is a song to set your mind at ease and lose yourself in the vast expanses of. “Piety” covers a bit more ground, from the churning distorted undercurrent early on to through to the retro ambient synths and delicate clean guitars later, but is still rather glacial in its evolution. Not one for those in a rush, but if you’re looking for unhurried, uplifting-yet-sad atmosphere from Jesu, this might appeal to you more than a lot of their recent material.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Dead Meadow - Force Form Free
[Psychedelic Rock]


musclassia's pick


Dead Meadow is a name I discovered through watching the excellent desert rock documentary Such Hawks Such Hounds, but one that I’ve not really explored further before now. In the section of the documentary dedicated to the group, Dead Meadow’s featured music resembled that of a retro rock band with groovy riffs but also an inclination towards gentler passages. Force Form Free doesn’t particularly match this description; released on the verge of the group’s 25th anniversary, this record is a more repetition-based, atmospheric, psychedelic record.

The two tracks that really stick out to me on this album are opener “The Left Hand Path” and the title track later on; both are principally built around a single, steady fuzzy groove, around which the band subtly jam. It’s a really hypnotic approach and works really nicely on both songs, particularly the slightly more developed “Force Form Free”. Dead Meadow do have a vocalist, but vocals are largely absent from these two songs; in fact, they’re largely absent for the record, with only significant presence on the acoustic jam “To Let The Time Go By” and closing song “Binah”, which mirrors the stead jamlike approach of the tracks mentioned earlier without quite so much fuzz in the mix. With only “Valmont’s Pad” sounding particularly rocky, Force Form Free is very much built around establishing, appreciating and layering individual grooves per each track, but it works very nicely, with the understated instrumentation allowing oneself to get easily lost in the rhythm.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin - Ali
[Desert Blues]


Back in July 2020, Radu said that “Khruangbin is really the kind of band that listens to a lot of music from a lot of places, and that shows in their cosmopolitan and diverse music”. One of the places that they seem to appreciate music from is Mali, as Ali sees Khruangbin collaborating with Vieux Farka Touré on a record that serves as a reinterpretation of various songs from the catalogue of Touré’s Grammy-winning late father Ali Farka Touré, arguably the most renowned musician from the country internationally. The elder Farka Touré’s music was classed as a blend of traditional Malian music with blues that has come to be known as desert blues or Tishoumaren (this is not the first appearance of Tishoumaren in Wait A Minute), and these reworked songs do have a hint of the blues to them, even if it’s not exactly the leading genre.

The defining feature of Ali is languid, soothing yet intricate clean guitarwork that persists throughout most of this record, and with the tracks otherwise chilling out in a world of typically unrushed drumbeats and smooth backing instrumentals, this guitar is given ample opportunity to shine, such as on the particularly mellow “Diarabi”. The more upbeat, funkier “Tongo Barra” allow the bass to move a bit more to the center of attention, and also places the vocals (the lyrics for which are, across the album, typically written in a mixture of French and local languages such as Bambara and Songhai), which see Touré’s singing nicely backed up by Khruangbin, closer to the front of the mix, with some nice call-and-response between the different vocalists. Without knowing either the original versions or other material from Khruangbin, I can’t determine what impact Khruangbin have had on the new interpretations of these songs, but just based off of Ali, this seems to have been a very natural pairing of artists.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Gangar - Tre Danser
[Folk Rock]


Tre Danser (Three Dances) is the debut EP by Norwegian folk rockers Gangar, and features three rock (sometimes bordering on jazz and metal) adaptations of old Norwegian folk tunes. "Fjellets Melodi" (The Melody Of The Mountain) opens up with an energetic fiddle backed up by drums and guitars, and at first it sounds more or less like what you'd expect folk rock to sound like. Soon, however, the guitars surprisingly switch it up with a djent riff, saxophone is added, and it all ends on a very progressive note that still remains true to the folk roots in admirable fashion.

The progressive tones continue on "Gammel Vals Fra Rindalen" (Old Waltz From Rindalen) where the saxophone starts out with a Shining (NOR)-inspired jazz riff that duels with the more traditional fiddle, and on the third track, upbeat rhythm guitars back up a melody played in tandem by the fiddle and the saxophone until it's King Crimson-esque ending. Tre Danser is a short but sweet EP from a band taking much creative liberty in its adaptations of these folk songs. It showcases an intriguing blend of traditional music, hard rock, modern jazz and prog metal, and is a promising sign of things to come.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Netzach





Moondaughter - Phosphenes And Iridescent Lights
[Ambient Pop | Slowcore]


Phosphenes And Iridescent Lights is hosted on Sonhos Tomam Conta’s Bandcamp page; with the absence of any other information that I can find on the record, I have to assume that Moondaughter is a project of Conta’s. Having heard Conta’s music under their own name previously, Phosphenes And Iridescent Lights would represent a notable departure if it is by the same person. 2021’s Hypnagogia by STC was shoegaze that had a tendency to turn into blackgaze; Phosphenes And Iridescent Lights is not just softer that blackgaze, it’s softer than shoegaze as well.

The opening track “Phosphenes” is percussionless, a swell of soothing ambient electronic layers and floating ethereal vocals; in terms of percussion, the rest of the record follows suit, although on the electronic front, it sometimes takes a backing role to acoustic/clean guitar, such as on “When I Fall Asleep” and “Mais Vivida Que O Mundo Real”. The latter of these feels a bit closer to slowcore than the ambient ‘pop’ that the title track and “Midnight Prayers” present as. For the most part, this is an album built around dreamy soundscapes plus delicate and somewhat sparse vocals; I feel that as the album goes on, the appeal of this combination does begin to wane a tad as a feeling of saminess creeps in. There is an effort to address this towards the record’s end with 2 guest-featuring songs; “First Blossom Of The Evening” (featuring Della Zyr, who also appears this month with their own new record) opens with guitar that hints a bit towards Conta’s background in shoegaze, but it is closer “Lonely People / Neon Cities” that embraces this even more, with guitar layers progressively layered in until the album reaches the closest thing it has to a volume swell. It’s a nice change-up in approach that brings Phosphenes And Iridescent Lights to a fitting resolution.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Della Zyr - 모호함 속의 너 Nebulous You
[Shoegaze | Dream Pop]


I’ve mentioned in my Moondaughter write-up that Della Zyr is appearing twice this month, and this is the second appearance from the Korean artist. Like Moondaughter’s Sonhos Tamom Conta, Della Zyr is generally based in shoegaze, which makes the appearance of fellow South Korean shoegazer Parannoul on vocals here quite logical, but this shoegaze is very much on the lighter and dreamier side. The opener “Constellation’s Song”, comfortably the shortest track here, is deceptively upbeat, less shoegazing and more running along to the sound of a pounding beat, placing this song closer to alt/indie rock.

The rest of the album, while not entirely reluctant to pick up the pace, is of a more protracted and contemplative nature. “Concerto” is an assembly of euphoric guitar and electronic layers, typically dreamy but slowly building towards a dramatic grandstand post-rock conclusion (even if the delicate production does slightly hold it back from unleashing in the way it seems like it wants to), and it’s followed by an even more restrained piece in “What Orpheus Sang Before”, which features some guitar strumming but is mostly a subdued exploration of quiet soundscapes. The title track embraces uplifting ambience and, eventually, the slightly more voluminous shoegaze/post-rock of “Concerto”, but it’s the dainty piano/keyboard melodies scattered throughout that makes this such a heartwarming closing track. It’s not quite as gentle and ethereal as Parannoul’s own side-project Mydreamfever from the beginning of this year, but 모호함 속의 너 Nebulous You is an album that radiates warm, glowing light, as well as allowing time for more melancholic introspection.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Quadeca - I Didn't Mean To Haunt You
[Art Pop | Folktronica]


RaduP's pick


I'm probably pretty spoiled here since I Didn't Mean To Haunt You was the first Quadeca record that I listened to, so it was later that I discovered the "YouTube rapper" background that he had. The "albums with ratings lower that 2/5 on RYM" kind of YouTube rapper that I generally don't pay much attention to. There seems to have been a pretty big shift starting with last year's From Me To You, which saw Quadeca get into something more mature, more experimental, and a whole lot more emo, and that was, in retrospect, more of a transitional album to the sound that we're getting here, which is one that would be pretty unconceivable had I been first familiar with his earlier stuff.

This is the kind of album that needs at least five different genre tags. Hip-hop is far from being the dominant sound on the record, while it still has a lingering presence, mostly in its more experimental and abstract form. In its place, a lot of glitchy experimental electronica, art pop, alternative R&B, and obviously a lot of emo. The production here is lush and ambitious, in the kind of way that is shooting for something big and grandiose and narrowly missing, though I do prefer sometimes that to nailing a safe sound. The whole thing is an emotional and passionate, and you can tell how much of a labor of love this was, considering the entire thing (except maybe the Danny Brown feature) was written, produced and mixed by him, and to top it all off, the thing comes with an album movie that he co-directed.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Her Shadow - The Ghost Love Chronicles
[Dream Pop]


I found out about this Her Shadow project though Netzach's interview with Kuolemanlaakso, and I swear I'm not doing this just to prove that I listen to other people's interviews, but the prospect of a metal musician whose album I thoroughly enjoyed doing Twin Peaks inspired dream pop is pretty entrancing. The music of The Ghost Love Chronicles is indeed clearly inspired by Angelo Badalamenti's (R.I.P.) soundtracks for the series, but one can find plenty of Portishead, Thievery Corporation, and Chelsea Wolfe in the sound.

Obviously this being a dream pop album done primarily by a metal musician, you'll find some residual heaviness, especially giving credence to that Chelsea Wolfe comparison. Even if the album itself is not heavy and distorted and whatnot, there's a dreadful atmosphere that creates anticipation within the dark motown and gloomy pop, though the album does get into more straightforward ethereal dream pop songs. The vocals are a bit of a sharper version of Julee Cruise (also R.I.P.), which works more often than not. My only real gripe with the album is that it starts with a song called "Season Five", when Twin Peaks barely has three seasons.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Fievel Is Glauque - Flaming Swords
[Progressive Pop | Jazz-Pop]


A lot of genres have what I like to call a "bedroom" equivalent. You have the entire genre of "bedroom pop". You have black metal one man bands. You have folks making beats on their computer and/or rapping. But somehow, I can't imagine "bedroom jazz". Or at least I couldn't until I first heard Fievel Is Glauque last year. Coming early in the year, God's Trashmen Sent To Right The Mess was instantly charming and intriguing, with a bit of a "jazz band chilling next door" vibe, along a very relaxed pop vibe on top of it. And now Fievel Is Glauque is back with another piece of bite-sized oddly charming jazz-pop.

I say bite-sized both in terms of the album size, being in the 30-40 minutes range, but also most of the songs, save for the closer, being in the 1-3 minutes range. Thus, the band briefly explores an idea before moving on to the next, and the ideas generally stem around sweet vocals on top of some jazz that can range from progressive in an avant-prog way to something more smooth. As a whole, the album feels more intricate and fast-paced than its predecessor, as if all the rehearsals you've heard from your friendly neighbors are paying off, and even if the production is still very much lo-fi, there's a lot more clarity this time around. Did I mention how cool it sounds?

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Oiseaux-Tempête - What on Earth (Que Diable)
[Post-Rock | Krautrock]


RaduP's pick


The French have a pretty underrated post-rock scene. Metalheads might be a bit more familiar with the likes of Alcest, Les Discrets, and Year Of No Light, but bands old and new like BRUIT ≤, Natural Snow Buildings, Silent Whale Becomes A° Dream, Ulan Bator, FareWell Poetry or Lost in Kiev have continued to push the genre forward even in its third wave. Out of these, Oiseaux-Tempête does stand out both for the way it blends post-rock instrumentation, electronic soundscapes, dystopian emotions, and a bottomless pit of darkness.

What on Earth (Que Diable) does feel like the kind of album that followed a film score, which was what Oiseaux-Tempête did right before this, and a lot of it has a film score-like take on ambiance, emphasizing mood over melodies. But also there's a lot that goes into this dystopian sound beyond just Godspeed You! Black Emperor-esque post-rock, with the drones having an even larger focus, and the pulsating electronic soundscapes merging with the instrumentals to create an almost krautrock take on repetitive loops, with the spoken word bits further pushing the apocalyptic narrative of the album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Oren Ambarchi - Shebang
[Post-Minimalism]


Oren Ambarchi is someone I've known primarily as a Sunn O))) collaborator, someone who's performed on a lot of their albums and as a live member, as well as a member of the related bands like Gravetemple and Burial Chamber Trio and Nazoranai. He's also performed a lot with other avant-garde artists like Keiji Haino and Jim O'Rourke. But this is my first time delving into his work as a solo artist. And as someone who's been putting out solo and collab albums pretty consistently since 1999, Shebang might be a footnote in the grander scheme of thing, but it's still a very worthwhile listen.

The music that Oren seems to tackle is the more ambient and avant-garde side of modern classical music. Tags like "Post-Minimalism" and "Totalism" and "Electroacoustic" might not mean much to the uninitiated, but they can give a hint as to what to expect from here. This is music with a very minimal repeated groove, often a very weirdly syncopated one, something that's an even more subdued version of post-rock or krautrock, though the Steve Reich meets late era Talk Talk sounds makes me think that the cake on the cover is too straight-forwardly arranged to properly visually represent Shebang.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





death's dynamic shroud - Darklife
[Glitch Pop | Vaporwave]


I'm making another exception by covering an album that's a bit older, even though September is not that old. This time it's an album that I ignored upon release, but that I've given a second chance now that I've seen it pop up on a couple of year-end lists. I'm not the biggest vaporwave fan, having dabbled in the genre a while ago, but finding that a lot of it is quantity over quality. And given how death's dynamic shroud have roughly 40 albums out, about ten of which were this year, it's not hard to see why I had reservations about bothering with them. This is still the only one of their albums that I listened to, so I'm taking it in a void.

One thing that sets death's dynamic shroud apart is that it is a trio of musicians, each with their myriad of other projects, so it seems like there's multiple influences going into the music besides just vaporwave. A lot of IDM, dream pop, progressive electronica, post-industrial, synthpop, all have a bit of a share of Darklife's sound, but taken into such a futuristic and blending sounds in a way that sounds alien and out of our current scope. It's entirely something that feels optimistic about the future as much as it is very daring to try and push the current electronic landscape into the future. I don't know how much Darklife will make me want to dig deeper into their discog, but I'm pretty sure this won't be the last [b]death's dynamic shroud album I'll listen to.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





††† - Permanent.Radiant
[Alternative Rock | Darkwave]


Chino Moreno is a very active musician; a majority of people are most likely to associate him with alt-metal heavyweights Deftones, but his output has been unconfined to said group. Between side-projects (Palms, Team Sleep) and collaborations/features (including with the likes of Lamb Of God, Whitechapel, Soulfly, and a hundred other artists), hardly a year goes by in which one can’t listen to something new featuring his unmistakeable voice, and in 2022, that voice can be heard on the latest EP from another one of his long-standing side-projects, ††† (Crosses). The first new music since 2014’s self-titled full-length debut (itself a remastered compilation of the music from Crosses’s first three EPs), Permanent.Radiant is not the kind of substantial collection of music that puts 8 years’ worth of work on the table, but as the revival of a long-dormant project, it’s a solid return to form for Moreno and partner in crime Shaun Lopez.

Musically, the easiest label to put on Permanent.Radiant is alternative rock, although this is a primarily electronic form of rock, and one that is very much on the lighter end of the rock spectrum. Permanent.Radiant is principally a vehicle for Moreno’s as-always endearing vocals, particularly on a track as otherwise stripped-down as opener “Sensation”. Probably the standout cut here is lead single “Vivien”, a moody cut with slick drum rhythms, a low-end bass throb, and a seductive chorus. The song that was released as a double single with “Vivien”, “One Day”, is less to my tastes; the pop sensibilities and Samba rhythms are a bit too far from my tastes, although I’m sure there’s plenty more that they will appeal to. This is one example of the variety on Permanent.Radiant, of which there is a surprising amount given its 23-minute length, but the synth-heavy dream pop closer “Procession” is in my eyes a more successful form of diversity, rounding things off nicely until the next time Crosses release something, however many years that may take.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Tobacco - Skids and Angels
[IDM]


Tobacco is once again someone I'm reencountering after covering them on the first edition of this feature, and back then it was under the collab he did with Aesop Rock under the Malibu Ken name. And going by the looks of things, that album was the most well-received of his works, and that's including the stuff he did with Black Moth Super Rainbow. Some of that neo-psychedelia did seep into his other work, including the subject of our writeup, Skids And Angels. And since Malibu Ken, Tobacco hasn't been staying idle, with two more albums out in between these two, including a third entry in the trilogy started by his debut. But it wasn't until Skids And Angels that I got to get back in touch with Tobacco's music.

The way that Tobacco approaches electronica is really colorful and psychedelic, so even with all the cold intricacy that comes with the "IDM" label, this does give way to something more playful and quirky. It still retains a meditative touch, mostly through some Boards Of Canada-like downtempo, blended with some glitchy hip-hop instrumentals to contrast those with something more zany. As an entire album Skids And Angels is more cerebral and intricate than I remember Tobacco being, and even if there have been IDM touches in his music, I'm glad he's come to fully embrace the sound here. Because that also gave way to the most fun I've had with an IDM record in a while.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





JK Flesh - Sewer Bait
[Industrial Techno | Dub Techno]


Here we are again, talking about one of the many projects of prolific noise bringer Justin Broadrick, mostly known around these parts for his work with Godflesh and Jesu (hey, we even talk about the latter in this very edition), but with a myriad of other projects, some solo, some collaborations with other artists, and a huge chunk of them being not metal and tackling various styles of electronica. JK Flesh is one I haven't tackled as much, mostly just relegating myself to the industrial techno take on a sludge on the project's debut in 2012's Posthuman, it seems like the project has been mostly seeping in dub and illbient seasonings for the industrial techno since.

Overall, JK Flesh currently feels vaguely more techno than the very similar sounds he tackles in Zonal and Pale Sketcher already, but Sewer Bait reminds me a lot more of The Bug's latest album, and while Sewer Bait does not use the same riff in every song, it is an album that is very reliant on repetition and the maintaining of the same mood. The strong noise and industrial influence makes the heavy dub feel even dirtier, giving the title some justification, something that makes techno as slo-mo and painful as possible. But something that relies so much on textures and repetition does eventually leave something to be desired when put up against the rest of Broadrick's catalog.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Daniel Avery - Ultra Truth
[Ambient Techno | IDM]


musclassia's pick


During the dark early days of the pandemic, I covered a record by Daniel Avery for this article series. Love + Light was a combination of dancefloor techno and ambient electronica spread across two discs; his newest effort, Ultra Truth, feels like a condensation of both of these approaches into a single unified vision. With some stylistic diversions scattered across the record, Ultra Truth predominantly features mellow IDM/techno with a clear ambient orientation, the underlying beats paired with shimmering ambient layers and soothing synth melodies; the end result is something that I am more in tune with than either disc of Love + Light.

Ultra Truth opens by leaning purely into the ambient side (albeit quite a noisy variety by the time it finishes), but the title track that follows immediately after gives the first taste of that combination of mellow electronics and slick IDM/techno rhythms. The form of the electronica can vary; the warbling main synth line in “Ultra Truth” is a bit Rival Consoles, while “Wall Of Sleep” has more of a euphoric sheen layered all over it; “Devotion” is more of a overarching ambient layer, but the frantic drum n’ bass-leaning beat means that said layer is given a bit more of an intensity to it. “Wall Of Sleep” has some nice ethereal vocals weaved into the mix; one of the other songs with vocals, “Only” is one of the stylistic departures here, with the vocals of Jonnine placed center stage with only a slow noisy beat to back it up. I must admit I’m less keen on tracks such as this and others that deviate from the core focus of the album, but they’re few and far between, and between the gentle, sad “Spider”, quirky “Lone Swordsman” and rave-influenced “Chaos Energy”, there’s too many good treats across the record to allow the one or two slight missteps to detract. I’m struggling to think of any electronic music outside of Ott that I’ve clicked with this year to this extent; Ultra Truth is a really fine IDM album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Little Simz - No Thank You
[UK Hip Hop | Conscious Hip Hop]


I really wasn't expecting to hear from Little Simz that soon after last year's Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, an album that ended up among my favorite albums of that year, hip-hop or otherwise. It was the kind of grandiose orchestral and diverse piece that worked as a statement and had plenty of songs that made immediate impact, so having to follow-up something that grandiose would be a huge task for anybody. And going about it in a way that involves no promotional singles ahead of release, and announcing it barely a week before its release, and then releasing it in that month where I'm most busy and I can't reasonably carry it over to a next month, that makes it a weirdly difficult album to tackle.

No Thank You is really not grandiose, contrasting pretty heavily with its predecessor. It's not like a more subdued vibe is unheard of from Simz, with that being somewhat prevalent in her previous albums, even on SIMBI to some degree. But working the more soulful and orchestral sounds of it into a more subdued and less song-centric direction does make for a more mellow listening experience. And without anything you could call "a banger", No Thank You's impact is less direct and more like a growing afterthought. I'm sure I'll have more time to process this album next year, but this is a pretty nice contrast and a mix between a victory lap and a checkpoint in Simz experiences with life and the industry since SIMBI.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Nas - King's Disease III
[East Coast Hip Hop | Boom Bap]


I've been one to still consider Nas the kind of artist that had one really great album but then couldn't really match it and then lived in its shadows. He's made some disappointing and mid albums over the course of his career. But the streak he's been on lately starting with the first installment in the King's Disease trilogy, as much as I didn't gel much with that one, has made me reevaluate how I perceived his discography and status. To the point where his previous album, Magic, was my pick for its edition. Weird as it is for that album to come in between albums of a trilogy, now that the trilogy has wrapped up, King's Disease III is definitely the best of the bunch. It really feels like something this entire album run has been building up to.

There's a certain level one can reach nearly 30 years after their debut, so a Nas album at this level will obviously be filled with nostalgia and reminiscing. That is also matched in how most of the music has this jazz/soul samples-heavy boom bap old-school hip-hop production. But it's also more than just stuck in the past, both in its lyrical focus and in the way producer Hit-Boy incorporates newer hip-hop sounds in the mix in a way that feels pretty tasteful, in a way that makes King's Disease III contend with contemporary hip-hop rather than just being a good album by an old rapper. And for a hip-hop album that doesn't have any features, it does show why Nas is as revered as he is. As he still is.

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:








Written on 08.01.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 77 users
11.01.2023 - 03:07
Uxküll

Thank you for this 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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15.01.2023 - 08:39
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Battery farm is silt name hehe

Gångar Music stands out, maybe best from 2022 non metal article band, if we skip those super big, but super big only name remains
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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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15.01.2023 - 12:12
F3ynman2000
Nocturnal Bro
Written by Bad English on 15.01.2023 at 08:39

Battery farm is silt name hehe

Silt?
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15.01.2023 - 12:23
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by F3ynman2000 on 15.01.2023 at 12:12

Written by Bad English on 15.01.2023 at 08:39

Battery farm is silt name hehe

Silt?
silly
----
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
Loading...
15.01.2023 - 12:28
F3ynman2000
Nocturnal Bro
Written by Bad English on 15.01.2023 at 12:23

Written by F3ynman2000 on 15.01.2023 at 12:12

Written by Bad English on 15.01.2023 at 08:39

Battery farm is silt name hehe

Silt?
silly


I would say it's pretty bleak
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15.01.2023 - 12:38
musclassia

Quote:
Written by F3ynman2000 on 15.01.2023 at 12:28

Written by Bad English on 15.01.2023 at 12:23


silly


I would say it's pretty bleak


The mind of a Bad English is a scary place to try and understand - I imagine he was probably thinking of a farm for electronic batteries (perhaps akin to this
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15.01.2023 - 12:40
F3ynman2000
Nocturnal Bro
Written by musclassia on 15.01.2023 at 12:38

The mind of a Bad English is a scary place to try and understand - I imagine he was probably thinking of a farm for electronic batteries (perhaps akin to this

Yeah I guess so. Hopefully he'll have learned something new today
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