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Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - January 2024


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, X-Ray Rod, nikarg
Published: 11.02.2024


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - January 2024
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:

December 2023
November 2023
October 2023

And now to the music...






Green Day - Saviors
[Alternative Rock | Pop Punk]


What?! A new Green Day album that's actually worth your time?!

Well, yes and no. It is probably the best Green Day record since American Idiot (or at least since 21st Century Breakdown), but given how steep and abysmal the band's decline has been since the mid 2000s, that isn't a high bar nor that big of an achievement. Perhaps the thing that works best in Saviors favor is that it followed Green Day's worst album by far, Father Of All, so anything would've been an improvement. Thankfully, Saviors is a bit more than just "not as bad as their worst album", and there is a very tiny bit of the same spark that made the band great in the first place.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the first couple of songs, something that blends a bit of Weezer-ish power pop with the more alt rock side of Green Day and borrowing enough loudness and rowdy attitude to pass as punk-adjacent. Then it became quite apparent that the duds in this record, like "One Eyed Bastard" and "Corvette Summer" would break that fragile impression that the band somehow got it back together. Even with barely 45 minutes of runtime, I still ended up just waiting for it to be over, a feeling only overturned by the ballad "Father To A Son", which even though it doesn't quite match the emotional highs of Green Day's ballads past, it offers a bit of diversity and a highlight of the record. The highlights of the record are some of the best I've heard from the band in two decades, and even with the few duds it had, the average song was mostly inoffensive and enjoyable enough to make me think that maybe Green Day might still be worth having some hope in.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Viva Belgrado - Cancionero De Los Cielos
[Emo | Post-Hardcore]


We are back with the sun and another pair of kidneys
Capitalizing on sorrow in new songs
Poet of consumption, flower of capital
At 30, everything seems so wrong to me


Cándido Gálvez starts Viva Belgrado’s fourth full length with somber murmurs and words that cut deep. This Spanish group has been around for over a decade now and I’m so happy to have discovered them with Cancionero De Los Cielos (“Songbook From The Heavens”). They sit very comfortable in between two moods that nicely complement each other. First, there is the calming, soothing yet highly melancholic indie rock/shoegaze. Cándido’s vocals are a real treasure on some of these sections as he sounds like a defeated and beaten troubadour with the somber music converging into an emotive wall of sound. Some of these emotional sections remind me slightly of acts like Nothing. I’m glad the band decided to put out English translations to all their lyrics on bandcamp because half the masochistic pleasure I get from these songs are from the painful lyrics that easily put me in a state where I just want to lie in bed in a fetal position. Many of the songs seem to take on themes of sorrow and how this toxic state of mind is paradoxically desired for artistic creativity. The heart-wrenching “Nana De La Luna Pena'' covers this perfectly. The guest singer Sara Zozaya takes the role of an anthropomorphic representation of sorrow as she calmly sings “If you cradle me one more night I promise you the best of your songs”. Heavy stuff, indeed.

This quiet desperation needs an explosive outlet and this is when Viva Belgrado completes their formula. Powerful riffs, thundering bass and frenetic drums take hold and the band turns into a savage emo/post-hardcore powerhouse. Cándido’s cries are so harrowing that the band could very well be classified as screamo, especially on “El Cristo De Los Faroles” and “Chéjov Y Las Gaviotas” which are my favorite songs from the album. The first one being particularly unique as its midsection suddenly turns into a flamenco-influenced interlude, demonstrating just how much work is put into the songwriting. To be frank, I’m more in love with their rawer, violent outbursts which are present mostly in the first half. But the calmer tunes do serve a purpose as they give some breathing room and make their aggressive sections stand out so much more. Do not let the language barrier stop you from enjoying Viva Belgrado. When artists wear their hearts on their sleeves in this fashion, it’s impossible to not pay attention.

If I never see the sky again
May someone search for me inside a song
If I never see the sky again
May there at least be a beautiful song


Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by X-Ray Rod





Glass Beach - Plastic Death
[Indie Rock | Emo]


The mishmash of alternative styles referred to ‘heavy indie rock’ turned Glass Beach into something of a cult sensation with 2019’s debut The First Glass Beach Album. After 5 years in the pipeline, the group have come up with a slightly more imaginative title for album number 2, Plastic Beach (which, like the band name, is stylized in lower case, in classic indie style). The range of styles namedropped in connection with the record include the likes of indie, progressive rock, jazz fusion, alt rock and even progressive metal, although the emo elements of the debut have drifted somewhat into the background. It’s a potentially tantalizing genre-hopping prospect, and across the record’s lofty hour-long runtime, those different styles are fused very effectively.

Opening song “Coelacanth” slowly works its way to the forefront of your attention, kicking off with somewhat twee clean guitar and gentle singing, before the drum rhythms become more complex, the guitars shift towards more elaborate, angular math rock technicality, and gradually some genuine distortion is woven into the band’s musical fabric. It would be errant to label Glass Beach as a metal group, but the band’s sound, which on average delivers a math rock level of heaviness, does have the capacity to integrate legitimate heaviness. With occasional brass instruments thrown into the fray, the album’s sound gives me a bit of a Thank You Scientist vibe, albeit with a generally more understated vocal approach (having said that, McClendon is capable of pushing the sound into post-hardcore territory with occasional screams). Plastic Death a very fun modern prog record, one that doesn’t compromise on complexity yet retains plenty of accessibility with its indie melodicism, not unlike an act such as The Mars Volta at their best.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Sprints - Letter To Self
[Garage Punk | Post-Punk]


And in the up-and-coming post-punk corner this edition we have Sprints, a four-piece from Dublin, Ireland, formed in 2020 and with two prior EPs. This is a sound that has had a pretty huge resurgence last decade and even though things have slowed down a bit, there are still plenty of new acts popping up and a demand for more. Needless to say Sprints are standing on the shoulders of giants and it won't be too easy for new post-punk bands like them to stand out, but I feel like there's plenty of potential in here. There's a lot to like about Letter To Self but a big enough chunk of it is potential more than anything.

Sprints play with a lot of loud/quiet dynamics, the loud parts being closer to something noisy like garage punk, and the quiet parts being more indie/alt rock-ish, a lot of it wearing influences on its sleeves, and pulling it well enough by writing some pretty catchy songs. There's a lot of emphasis on line repetitions in the lyrics, something that works more often than it doesn't because of how vocalist Karla Chubb sounds like a gruffer Hayley Williams. There are moments where the vocals or the instrumentation around them are still too rough around the edges for their own good rather than raw in a cathartic way, but there's potential for improvement and Letter To Self works more than it doesn't.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Sentries - Snow As A Metaphor For Death
[Noise Rock | Post-Hardcore]


You know how a huge chunk of black metal is basically lo-fi raw bedroom stuff made by one person? And you'd find lo-fi one man bands in other genres, like djent, but something about hardcore and noise rock and post-punk has all of them indicate the need for a full band. Well, Sentries is a fake band. They say it exactly like that in their Bandcamp bio. It's actually just one Kim Elliot doing everything. And it's lo-fi. And raw in the same way you'd expect a raw black metal band to be raw, expect for other genres that aren't as macabre. And very rough around the edges.

Somehow, even with how noisy it is, Snow As A Metaphor For Death ends up sounding more angular and dissonant than dense and heavy. There are moments on it that are heavy enough that they'd be worthy of inclusion on Metal Storm, but they're washed away amongst borderline psychedelia in the vein of A Place To Bury Strangers meets King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and moments that are more electro-industrial, and moments that are more post-punky, and one could find plenty of names to drop for each of them, but that only goes to show how Sentries can keep throwing left-field turns after left-field turn that make the most of the DYI approach of the album.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Ty Segall - Three Bells
[Psychedelic Rock | Garage Rock]


Ty Segall is a name I've kinda lost touch with after discovering around 2018, and the albums I've heard from him around that time like Manipulator, Emotional Mugger, and Freedom's Goblin were definitely highlights of the more recent psych rock branch, alongside King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, and Osees, and like a lot of these bands, it would also involve having a slacker sound that also went into loud garage rock, and also a very highly prolific output. Though there are bands even more prolific than Ty Segall, there have been nine of their albums since their last that I listened to. Giving a quick skim over the ones I missed, I think I found the perfect time to return to keeping up with Ty's releases as Three Bells sounds more engaging than most of what I've heard in my quick skim.

The loud moments of this album have some riffing and melodies that sound quite glam rock-y (see "Eggman") in a way that reminds me of Freedom's Goblin only even slackier. A lot of it is Ty doing what he does best, but the most interesting parts of the record were the ones where there was a stronger undertone of something more intricate and eclectic, either more prog rock leaning or more psych folk leaning, taking cues from more disparate retro styles and merging them in a way that feels in line with what he's been doing with his sound. However with how none of the songs go into more jammy long-form ventures, it feels like the runtime of the entire album being at over an hour isn't really justified, and with how sharp some of the material here is, it's a shame that the album as a whole isn't more focused on a tighter package of its best qualities.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Yīn Yīn - Mount Matsu
[Psychedelic Rock | Funk]


musclassia's pick


Yīn Yīn’s The Age Of Aquarius, with its unique blend of funk, psychedelia and disco, was one of the most fun albums I’ve covered for Metal Storm, so I was happy to be directed towards follow-up album Mount Katsu. The departure of founding member and multi-instrumentalist Yves Lennertz has led to a shift in writing approach, as other founding member (drummer Kees Berkers), who previously drove songwriting with Lennertz, has integrated the remaining musicians into a more democratic writing approach. Many integral elements of Yīn Yīn’s sound, including the Southeast Asian influences, psychedelia, funk, and disco, remain intact, as the opening one-two of the funky psych rocker “The Year Of The Rabbit” leading into disco/techno jam “Takahashi Timing” demonstrates, but the new writing room has led to further growth of the band’s sound.

One notable change is the integration of minor vocal presence; while vocal samples were used on one song on The Age Of Aquarius, this time Yīn Yīn members contribute frequent but important singing, such as on “Takahashi Timing”. The Asian influences come through consistently across the album, particularly on songs such as “Pia Dance” and (as obvious due to the name) “Tokyo Disko”, but the group do take their psychedelia in order directions, with a more classic Western psych rock/surf rock sound on “Tam Tam” and “The Perseverance Of Sano”. One notable shift on this release is that Mount Matsu is more of a psych rock album than its predecessor, but there’s further irresistible dance rhythms in “Tokyo Disko”. In spite of this shift in priorities, however, Mount Matsu remains as infectiously fun a listen as The Age Of Aquarius.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Zazen Boys - らんど (Rando)
[Math Rock | Funk Rock]


The idiosyncrasies of the Japanese rock scene should ideally not be unfamiliar to anyone at this point, with Japan having some of the most quirky and specific rock scenes. And yet there are still bands of pretty big renown that I only now get to find out about. I've stumbled upon Rando and figured it would be an interesting album without realizing the decades of history behind it. Zazen Boys actually go way back, with it coming out of the disbandment of a previous band, the more post-hardcore leaning Number Girl, whose first album came all the way back in 1997. Zazen Boys would be then formed in 2002, taking a more math/post/funk rock direction, and Rando is also the band's first album in more than a decade.

That's a lot of context, but it does seem like quite a neat comeback for the band. 2012's すとーりーず (Stories), itself a pretty good album, took a bit more inspiration from hip-hop and alternative rock, something that's less present on Rando. I could spend all day listing genre tags that Zazen Boys (and Number Girl) have tackled, but for this album specifically funk rock seems to have a stronghold on the album's grooves. The twirly math rock and the slight post-punk rhythms does make it feel a bit like Talking Heads meets tricot, but even more laid back.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Big Scenic Nowhere - The Waydown
[Stoner Rock | Psychedelic Rock]


Big Scenic Nowhere formed back in 2009 by Gary Arce of Yawning Man but became a full band releasing studio albums with the addition of Bob Balch of Fu Manchu fame in 2019. They also have Tony Reed of Mos Generator on bass and vocals and Bill Stinson of Yawning Man on drums. The Waydown is their third full-length album, and, just like their previous releases, it has a few very interesting guest appearances. Per Wiberg (Spiritual Beggars, ex-Opeth) plays keys on “Summer Teeth” and “100”, former Hall & Oates keyboardist Eliot Lewis is featured on the cover of “Sara Smile”, and, finally, Big Scenic Nowhere have added guitar loop transitions from Reeves Gabrels, known from The Cure and David Bowie.

The music on The Waydown is a psychedelic rock / stoner rock amalgam, with beautiful instrumental passages that feel like long jams tied together to become songs. Despite the fact that the album is instrumentally excellent, the vocals of Tony Reed make these songs sound even better, something which is really rare for this type of music. The album has great flow, with the songs bleeding into each other very naturally. The only exception, and quite a remarkable surprise, is the charming cover of the Hall & Oates song, “Sara Smile”. The opening and closing tracks are the most seductive of the album, but The Waydown is captivating in its entirety and as aesthetically satisfying as its mesmerizing cover art.

Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





The Smile - Wall Of Eyes
[Art Rock]


RaduP's pick


I don't think it'll ever be possible to not compare The Smile to Radiohead. Not only because two of the most attention grabbing Radiohead members: vocalist/guitarist Thom Yorke and guitarist/keyboardist Johnny Greenwood are part of this new trio but also because the art work stylings of The Smile aren't terribly far removed from what the two were already doing in Radiohead. It's not just that they share the same voice, you could pick any The Smile song and show it blindly to someone who only knows Radiohead and they'd have no trouble believing that this is just Radiohead's new direction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, Radiohead were always ones to experiment so a lot of different sounds can sound like them, and in this new formula the creative juices seem to be flowing much more easily given that the band's previous and only other album came out two years ago.

There are still things that can set Wall Of Eyes apart from anything Radiohead did. For one, joining the two in the trio is drummer Tom Skinner whose jazz-leaning background does create a percussive sense that is more specific to The Smile, and that's something that's noticeable even with how minimalistic the album often is in regards to how much percussion there is in each song. The general mood is quite mellow, often blending the art rock with some krautrock and ambient pop touches to make something to get lost in, but with the oddity that's specific to the band and with the slight jazz leanings. There are also some more guitar-leaning moments that go closer to alternative rock, with the most surprising moment being the The Bends-like explosion at the end of the post-rock-iest track in the form of "Bending Hectic".

The Smile | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Marika Hackman - Big Sigh
[Singer/Songwriter | Indie Rock]


RaduP's pick


Singer/Songwriter albums come dime a dozen and even though not all of them sound the same, there's still something quite common and it's often hard to really stand out despite sounding nice. Likewise as a listener and especially as a reviewer it's a bit frustrating trying to explain why something works and something doesn't when that very thing isn't instantly obvious. Well, out of the singer/songwriter albums I listened lately none worked the way that Marika Hackman's Big Sigh worked for me. Just the "this is it" feeling when scouting for new releases. While I have seen the name before, it's only now that I really gave her music its due, so here's me doing my best to figure out why Big Sigh worked.

I haven't paid much attention to the lyrics on my lyrics on my first listen, so great and introspective as they are, they aren't what drew me in. Marika's voice is neither fragile or voluminous, but has a specific softness that makes it very sweet to listen to, and the production works really effectively to push it upfront in both the mellower and the louder moments without it feeling invasive. The instrumental side and the ways the melodies support the vocals is more complex than I first imagined they'd be, with a very lush pop/folk/rock blend that uses pianos, acoustic guitars, chamber instrumentation, electronics to create some really compelling melodies that work to make the album feel even more intimate and almost slowcore-ish, while also reminding me a little bit of something like Kalandra. So I think what it comes down to is that Big Sigh feels like the kind of album with meticulous attention to detail, where everything is there for a reason, and everything works to lull the listener.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Future Islands - People Who Aren't There Anymore
[Synthpop]


Future Islands is a band I was familiar with before this album, but one I never really properly checked out. I knew what they sounded like, I know they played at a festival I was thinking of attending (I didn't), and I liked what I heart from the songs I heart from them. They weren't really the kind of band I felt compelled to go into checking their back catalog since their appeal seems to be pretty even from song to song, and surprisingly a lot of the songs that I did check studio versions for had a bit of a muddy production which really doesn't fit their sound. With this being their seventh album and the first to be released since my becoming aware of them, I figured I should give them their due, especially since I've seen praise for this album in particular, and I can kinda see why.

Songwriting-wise I can't really speak for certain how this fares to other Future Islands albums because I'm unfamiliar with them, and as much as I liked People Who Aren't There Anymore I don't feel especially compelled to prioritize diving in their back catalog. However something that is quite obvious is that the production here is lusher and more vibrant than what I have thus far heard from them, giving their vibe-y and emotional appeal a much stronger impact. A lot of what makes Future Islands appealing is the very specific warm timbre of Sam Herring, so having that be much clearer and potent here finally makes Future Islands click with me. There's still something that's quite same-y across the runtime of the record, even though it's barely over 40 minutes long.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Tapir! - The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain
[Folktronica | Indie Folk]


RaduP's pick


Do you like your folk to be modern? Do you like your folk to be warm? Do you like your folk to be conceptual? London's Tapir! cover all those grounds with their full length debut, The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain. There's quite an escapist nature to it, one that works hand in hand with the very warm mood of the sounds here, perhaps to counter the turbulent times it was written in, perhaps just to tell the tale of its titular pilgrim. Divided over three "acts", the first two of which have already been released as separate EPs, the album follows its character across "a journey across a mythical landscape of eerie forests, stormy seas and unholy mountains populated by beasts, injured birds and idealised eidolons".

Tapir! being a six-piece might be a bit of an overload, but the listening experience doesn't feel too overcrowded with sounds. Even with how much of the album does rely on electronic sound, hence the "folktronica" tag, it does feel like it makes the most of its instrumentation to create something that sounds very lively and lush. There's a little bit of a post-rock and chamber pop leaning in the instrumentals, but the atmosphere feels more static rather than dynamic, like spending time in a nice place rather than continuing a journey. Ike Gray's vocals drive the album, not quite the most voluminous of the bunch, but the crispness makes it very easy to get lulled into a bittersweet pastoral experience.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





J. Wiegold - At Breydon Water
[Singer/Songwriter | Chamber Folk]


Do you like your folk to be as airy as possible? Do you like your folk to be as intimate as possible? Do you like your folk to feel as fragile as can be? You're in luck, because that's exactly what J. Wiegold delivers with At Breydon Water. This isn't my first encounter with J. Wiegold, immediately recognizing their name when scouting for new releases after having covered their previous record, Norfolk Serpent, last year. Less than one year might be a bit too short of a gap between releases, but both of them are short-ish albums with a pleasant sound, so I'm not very bothered.

There is also a bit of a growth in between the two. Both At Breydon Water and Norfolk Serpent are very airy folk records, one where the focus on atmosphere includes a very ethereal feeling often backed by ambient and with very soft fragile vocals, but I feel like the guitar playing on At Breydon Water, sparse as it is, is still a bit more intricate and interesting than on its predecessor. The ambient usage is still there, most perfectly exemplified by there being a track with Katia Krow as a guest, leaving At Breydon Water to come together even more cohesively.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Roscian - The First Disgrace
[Industrial Rock | Noise]


To most users on Metal Storm, ‘industrial’ is so often used in connection with industrial metal that it might slip some people’s minds that industrial music exists outside of the confines of metal. However, even with that in mind, industrial electronic does linger on the heavier end of the electronic spectrum, as Bristolian duo Roscian on their debut album, The First Disgrace. The eerie sound layers and throbbing low-end beat set a moody tone, one that is taken in the direction of recent Ulver releases by the almost crooned vocal style of vocalist Jake Harding.

There are no guitars credited on The First Disgrace, but distortion is semi-regularly integrated into the electronic backdrop of these songs. In some instances, this taken on a quasi-metallic form (“To End, To Begin”); on other occasions, Roscian go in more of a noise direction, and on “What Cannot Be Soothed”, this noise is paired with a more extreme vocal style. Roscian aren’t metal, but they’re close enough to the periphery to easily appeal to industrial fans, particularly with a sound that is more inspired than a lot of the records that come out each year in industrial metal. Mellow semi-interludes such as “In Silence” offer pleasant lulls between thumping eeriness (“Altar Of Ashes”) and crunching bleakness (“Unhand Discontent”), producing a satisfyingly understated yet ominous end product.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Kinoteki - Faith And The Vessel
[Footwork | UK Bass]


Faith And The Vessel, the newest release from the prolific new electronic artist Kinoteki (this is album number 6, with the first only dropping in 2020), marks something of a departure for the New York musician; it is pitched as the first album in “The Sacred Vessel Program”, an initiative focused on a fictional dystopia. The album depicts the story of the character Faith attempting to escape her life in the cultural capital The Vessel (hence the album name), although the largely instrumental nature of Faith And The Vessel does mean that this story perhaps relies more of the album’s promo blurb than the lyrics. Kinoteki makes uses of several different hyper-produced vocal samples in the legacy of dubstep (see “The Line” for some good examples), but the album is primarily carried by its beats and soundscapes.

What style of electronica is Kinoteki playing here? Well, my ignorant mind felt it sounded like something of a mix between IDM textures and jungle/UK bass beats, which apparently is called ‘footwork’; it’s an unfamiliar term to me, but if Faith And The Vessel is a representative example of it, then it’s a style I’m quite warm to. I could maybe do with a bit less of the glitching on songs such as “The Line”, but I very much enjoy the blend of warm, mellow synth layers and sound effects with lively, at-times off-kilter rhythms and throbbing bass. When accompanied by dainty dance vocal samples on “BB/Heart+Soul”, speeding along on “Bystander (Everyone’s Dead)” or combining thick bass lines with delicate melodic motifs on “Foreverfaith” (which also features noise rock act Avenade, seemingly moving far away from their usual sound), it’s a compelling sound, and the album’s half-hour runtime flies by quickly.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Donato Dozzy - Magda
[Progressive Electronic]


Textures and bleeps. That's about how one could summarize all the more minimal forms of electronica. What Donato Dozzy is a mix of ambient techno and progressive electronica that isn't too far off from the "Berlin school". Is this Oneohtrix Point Never meets Klaus Schulze? Mostly yes, but there's a bit more to Magda than that. As the Bandcamp description puts it, it's an "homage to family and the Adriatic Sea", as well as "speaking through music and showing gratitude to his auntie, one of the strongest women in Donato’s life and a real life teacher", who seems to be this album's namesake.

The album does manage to be emotional as a result but not in a way that feels melodramatic or even excessively nostalgic. It's even quite space-y for how much it is supposed to be grounded in earthly themes, though a lot of that might be because of the way we've come to associate these themes with the album's direct influences. There's a simplicity about Magda in which very subtle changes happen over a soothing beat, neatly combining the elements of all the genres it plays with.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Acasia - Acasia
[Dungeon Synth]


There are music genres with plenty of connections to metal despite them not sounding metal at all. Neo-folk and post-punk are good examples of this. But probably the one with the most direct relation to metal is dungeon synth. It is arguably a child of black metal as one of its forefathers, Mortiis, previously played in Emperor and wanted to expand on what most metalheads viewed as “atmospheric intros/outros” to metal songs. Dungeon synth’s connection to the second wave of black metal as well as its medieval themes makes it somewhat eurocentric. Which is why it is both intriguing and commendable that a great project like Acasia actually comes from Chile.

With so much emphasis on the titular synths, the pensive and dark atmosphere, as well as the slow melodies, you’d be forgiven if you saw dungeon synth as a genre that lacks variation. But the thing to understand is that within the realm of music which heavily relies on mood-setting, immersiveness is key. Acasia is nailing this by creating a very vivid mental image that grabs the listener and throws them into a world of breath-taking forests filled with nostalgia and snow. These images are not unlike the ones created by some of the gorgeous ambient works by Paysage d'Hiver. The production has just the right amount of lo-fi quality to it to make the music sound ancient with that foggy, mysterious touch. Acasia’s debut album is clearly inspired by the works of authors like Tolkien, as an epic touch is present at times on tracks like “Invierno Eterno” and “Requiem”. Acasia manages to distinguish itself from other dungeon synth projects by having an infusion of neoclassical elements that really elevate the songwriting. The use of distant choirs and piano evoke a mournful yet solemn vibe, as if the music by Acasia carried your weak body to its final resting place. The piano and organ combo on "Susurros De La Luna" and the climax that is formed by the imposing wall of synths and bells on "Baile De La Eternidad" shows that this project is much more refined than the average dungeon synth project. It is my hope that Acasia’s debut won’t be just a short-lived project by its creator and instead continues developing its sound as there is a lot of potential in this work.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by X-Ray Rod





Philip Glass - Philip Glass Solo
[Minimalism]


It is perhaps unsavory of me to open up this writeup by mentioning that I was surprised that Philip Glass is still alive. For some reason the thought of classical composers who were innovating in the 20th century doesn't register to me as something that's recent enough, even with Philip's very old age, recent enough that it was concomitant with the other developments in popular music, of which there are plenty of musicians still alive. Classical music, unless it's so recent that I grew alongside it, has always felt like "past" to me, and so did Philip Glass' other works, so to find a new album by him, one where he is not only the composer, but the sole performer, is a bit of a reality check.

Philip Glass has performed on record a lot of times, most usually with his Philip Glass Ensemble, and even though he remained active it seemed like lately he favored not performing and only composing. That's not a conclusion I'm very confident in, given his massive body of work, but there is something about Philip Glass Solo that, even without any context, feels unique. Minimalist piano compositions being written and performed by a mean nearing and since surpassing 87 years of age can't possibly end up as anything other than personal and introspective, and it's no wonder why a lot of his work has been in the film soundtrack field, given how tangible the emotions in just one instrument are here.

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:







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11.02.2024 - 18:01
Vellichor

Hey I was just listening to that Sentries album this morning! It’s pretty good, I would also recommend the Bronson Arm debut from last month as well which I found similar. Definitely want to check out the Roscian, Acasia, and Glass Beach albums though. Thanks for putting these together.
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13.02.2024 - 09:48
RiouxMax

Just dropping by to say I love this series of articles. So many great discoveries every month.
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13.02.2024 - 10:00
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Few good choses here, but BelfastCeltic Green brigade Day is best one.
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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''
apos;'
[image]
I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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13.02.2024 - 10:37
JoHn Doe

Not much fits my tastes here.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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14.02.2024 - 21:36
24emd
Theory Snob
Surprised to find out Phillip Glass is still alive. Minimalism fell under my study of 20th century art music, but I always forget Glass's music was closer to the end of that century. Might check it out to see how it stacks up.
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"I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense." - Proverbs 30:2
"Music? Well, it's just entertainment, folks!" - Devin Townsend

Best 2024 Albums
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15.02.2024 - 16:52
The Galactician

Continue to love this series. Thanks to you all for making it happen month over month.
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18.02.2024 - 10:30
Auntie Sahar
Drone Empress
Hmmm, nothing for hip hop this time around? I think I may need to jump back on working on these with you guys. We can’t be having a lack of Dat Supah Hot Fiyah, now
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I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

~ II. VII
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19.02.2024 - 22:22
Tom Muller

Fun stuff to discover
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Can you see it
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