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


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, nikarg, F3ynman
Published: May 12, 2024
 


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

March 2024
February 2024
January 2024

And now to the music...






Towers Of Jupiter - Echus Chasma
[Post-Rock | Slowcore]


I’ve covered my fair share of post-rock bands for these articles in the past 5 years; among them, Towers Of Jupiter have stood out more than most. Their 2022 album III shared common elements with the typical bands in the genre, with shimmering guitar textures and evocative dynamics, but incorporation of brooding metallic influences and tender clean vocals added some novelty and emotionality. This new EP Echus Chasma is their first release since, and it perhaps sees the band’s self-claimed metal influences brought a touch more into the fray.

One also can’t attribute all of Towers Of Jupiter’s rock leanings to post-rock, and the sedate, gradual opening song “Concursus Solium” owes as much to slowcore, ambling through subdued, soft soundscapes before letting loose with full-sounding metal-tinged distortion. Echus Chasma is by no means a post-metal record, but there is a density to the heaviness in these songs that pushes a bit further beyond the usual parameters on post-rock. On top of this distortion, Towers Of Jupiter also utilize nice, memorable guitar leads, with a particularly standout one in the latter half of “Morsus Frigoris”. Probably the most conventional post-rock song here is the title track, with a livelier and lighter sonic palette that brightens up the EP, but it is the brooding, evocative closing minutes of “Longe A Terra” that arguably serves as the peak of the record.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Idoru - Undertow
[Progressive Post-Hardcore]


musclassia's pick


With a genre tag of progressive post-hardcore and album art reminiscent of some of Protest The Hero’s records, I was intrigued by Undertow even before I pressed play on The Idoru’s new album, which comes 15 years after previous release Face The Light. However, pressing play saw me initially greeted by a punkish energy and vocal style that reminded me as much of 2000s Rise Against as the Canadian trailblazers. The Hungarian group is apparently comprised of members from hardcore bands, and the punk origins can definitely be heard in Undertow; however, as their songwriting ambition begins to reveal itself across the duration of opening song “The King Is Naked”, the comparisons to Protest The Hero gradually start to feel more apt.

Despite the band’s hardcore heritage, The Idoru predominantly opt for clean vocals, and their singer has a satisfyingly passionate and vital feel to his performance, which is ably supported by gang shouts. Having such a delivery from the frontman is important in matching the explorative energy of the instrumentalists on songs such as “Sewn Shut” and “Extremes”, which are primed to appeal to old-school Coheed & Cambria fans. The lively, hooky guitarwork across the record is a consistent pleasure, particularly when more elaborate leads trade-off with straightforward punky drive, such as on “This Ship Will Sail”, and there’s also brief flashes of more metallic crunch that can be heard too. As a long-time Protest The Hero and Rise Against fan (albeit less so lately with the latter), Undertow occupies an enjoyable middle ground between the two bands in terms of its appeal, without necessarily rivalling either group.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





With Sails Ahead - Infinite Void
[Progressive Post-Hardcore]


Like The Idoru, With Sails Ahead are another band this month to which the tag ‘progressive post-hardcore’ could apply, but their debut album occupies distinct musical territory under that umbrella when compared with Undertow. For one, math rock seems to play a greater role in their writing, particularly on the vibrant anthemic opener “Every Day The Sky Falls”. Additionally, while I would hesitate to lump this release with the ‘Swancore’ moniker, songs such as “Honey” and “Darting Eyes” do feel somewhat reminiscent of acts like Hail The Sun and Eidola thanks to the consistent busy guitars.

While there is a fair amount of clean math guitar tonality used throughout to match vocalist Sierra Binondo’s boppy clean vocal style, With Sails Ahead do have heaviness and aggression in their arsenal; “Darting Eyes” is a good showcase of their range, with outbursts of screams, jagged mathcore riffs and a beefy double bass sound from the drums. The group also have satisfying breakdowns in their arsenal, with a particularly tasty one in “Ryn”, and as much as the complexity in their songwriting is overt, With Sails Ahead do have the capacity to deliver memorable hooks; “What If I Fail” is one good example of a song with a chorus that makes a real impact. Infinite Void is an album that slots nicely into the math/post-hardcore scene popularized by Dance Gavin Dance.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





VR Sex - Hard Copy
[Deathrock | Gothic Rock]


RaduP's pick


Most of us know Andrew Clinco as Deb DeMure, Drab Majesty's mainman, or as the drummer in the Emma Ruth Rundle led Marriages, but a more obscure project of his is VR Sex, objectively the filthiest of the bunch. I covered them before, with their previous album, 2022's Rough Dimension being such a degenerate album about as dark, dirty, and rotten as a band called VR Sex could be. But to give yourself the right idea, imagine the gothic tinges that Drab Majesty already has, but instead of melodic and ethereal synthpop, all of that replaced with some scummy deathrock.

It's very gothic indeed, and a lot of it does stem from a dark atmosphere and those specific goth rock tinges in the melodies and in Clinco's (here under the Noel Skum pseudonym) vocals. But as a whole it is a lot punkier, sometimes closer to the post-punk that birthed goth rock but also punky in a more direct way as well. Hard Copy is a lot more guitar driven, with the synths being driven more in the background, which might also explain why it sounds a lot punkier as a result. And that also allows for a lot more interplay between the musicians, with the music feeling a lot more organic and collaborative too.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Eunuchs - Harbour Century
[Symphonic Prog | Avant-Prog]


I'm a pretty huge fan of these long noisy avant-prog albums that take a lot from the all these different iterations of experimental music from the past 50 years, and I know that's a very very vague statement to make without going into nitbitty subgenre namedrops, but it's basically what makes the prog rock explosion of the mid 70s, the post-punk explosion of the early 80s, the post-hardcore explosion of the early 90s, and the post-rock explosion of the late 90s all fall into the same lineage, of being both forward thinking and of taking cues from sounds in that lineage. There's also a danger within this niche of being too entrenched in your own mystique and place within that lineage, and calling your album "the most important record since the sea" can make eyes roll pretty easily. Harbour Century does take its role very very seriously though.

The closest comparison I can make is Sprain's The Lamb As Effigy, mostly in the sense that both albums work with these experimental rock sounds to create something that is gargantuan and also feels self-aware of its own gargantuan-ness. Harbour Century is a lot more focused on 70s prog sounds and it's not as objectively gargantuan, clocking in at a bit less than an hour, with a lot of that illusion of size coming from the 17 minute closer, and there's plenty here to give it its own personality, from the gruff dramatic vocals to the jazzy zeuhl-like oddities. Size also comes from the instrumentation and all the sense of theatricality that comes from it and its aquatic concept.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





The Dredge - Torches
[Alternative Rock]


Torches, the long, long-awaited debut album from Norway’s The Dredge (Bandcamp reports that they formed in the 90s), is one of several releases in this month’s article that comes from a project featuring a musician better known for involvement in a metal band; in the case of this group, it is Frode Rødsjø, the drummer of Helheim, that tries his hand at a different sound. Despite the involvement of Enslaved’s Iver Sandøy on the production front, there is no hint of black metal in the DNA of Torches; instead, The Dredge acknowledge influences such as Jane’s Addiction, Queens Of The Stone Age and Mogwai.

After the quiet introductory song “Boredom” makes way for “Whales”, one is inclined to look towards the latter of those influences as perhaps contributing most to the instrumental textures of this song; however, vocalist Kjetil Vikene’s baritone style perhaps owes more to post-punk. There’s a very faint prog slant to some of the writing here, but the overarching umbrella that Torches falls under is probably that of alternative rock, albeit with some more languid dad rock in the form of the title track. The songs featured here have apparently been written across the decades since the group’s initial formation, which might explain some of the song-to-song jumps in style, which takes listeners towards funk (“Brake”), noise rock (“The Oil Has Reached The Delta”), and whatever “Hotel Drunk” counts as. There’s perhaps a slight haphazard vibe to the journey through the album, but The Dredge do deliver some solid moments, and “Torches II – The Future Is Burning” makes for a good ending to the album, featuring pleasant keyboard and guitar melodies within a modern prog framework.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Ornamental - Verwandlung Im Schlaf
[Psychedelic Rock | Krautrock]


musclassia's pick


Originating as the solo project of Sidney Jaffe, Ornamental has evolved into a four-piece in time for the creation and release of debut album Verwandlung Im Schlaf (translated to ‘Transformation In Sleep’). This is a concise debut album at 32 minutes in length, but it’s lively and exciting enough to make a lasting impression by the time it’s run its course. Creating loud psychedelic rock that goes via krautrock and Neue Deutsche Welle, Ornamental remind me of a heavier W. H. Lung, or perhaps some of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s more conventionally psych rock-based material.

Opening song “Erosion” effectively establishes the album’s foundational style; up-tempo drums, brash guitar soloing and an escalating intensity that culminates in a frenetic climax is accentuated by extensive and creative use of different synth and keyboard sounds. Ornamental aren’t afraid to dial up the volume, as they unleash some serious distortion in the latter stages of “Esoteric Warfare”, but they’re also not constrained by the search for heaviness; “Maelstrom” and “Disciple” ultimately shift into rock heaviness in their closing stages, but each of them is more than happy to spend the majority of their runtime exploring quieter psychedelia, instead playing around with different percussion and rhythms while exploring different instrumental textures. Verwandlung Im Schlaf doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to psychedelic rock, but it has enough energy and personality to it to afford it a certain engaging freshness.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Sleepmakeswaves - It's Here, But I Have No Names For It
[Post-Rock]


For all the instrumental post-rock bands that I’ve covered for WAM!TNM!, my interest in the genre ultimately lies with a small handful of bands, and chief among them are Sleepmakeswaves. Their self-titled 2012 EP has some of the best songs in the genre, and 2014’s Love Of Cartography was an excellent album, but admittedly I’ve drifted away from them in recent years; in particular, the 2020 EP compilation These Are Not Your Dreams left me fairly unenthused. With It’s Here, But I Have No Names For It, the Australians are back on form, and arguably heavier than before.

Sleepmakeswaves aren’t a post-metal band, but they have flirted with heaviness enough in the past to end up on this site, and songs on this latest album such as “Ritual Control” and the title track bring the volume. Still, one of the band’s charms in the past is the uplifting, joyous tone of their writing, and “All Hail Skull” is one of several songs here written in a way that radiates positivity. Additionally, amongst all the loud guitars, they do leave space for gentler vibes, such as on “Black Paradise”, where primarily acoustic guitar is accentuated by jubilant synths. There’s no breathtaking highlight here at the level of “Keep Your Splendid Silent Sun” or “One Day You Will Teach Me To Let Go Of My Fears”, but it is an album that reinstates Sleepmakeswaves as a name worth paying attention to.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





The Cosmic Dead - Infinite Peaks
[Psychedelic Rock]


If an album is coming to you courtesy of Heavy Psych Sounds Records, you can usually have a good idea of what’s in store even before you’ve pressed play; it’s going to be heavy, fuzzy and meandering, or it’s going to be slightly less heavy, fuzzy and meandering. Infinite Peaks, the ninth record from Glasgow’s The Cosmic Dead, is in the latter category, and with it being comprised of 2 songs that both break the 20-minute barrier, it certainly is meandering. If you’re looking to give Infinite Peaks a listen, you have to be willing to get lost in a repetitive, slowly evolving vibe, but if that’s up your street, this album is easy to get lost in.

A lot of the initial evolution on opening song “Navigator #9” is driven by the increasingly lively drumming, as otherwise the extensively repeated opening guitar motif remains understated, and the overladen guitar solos and synth layers still don’t go to excess. There’s no real tipping point; at some stage, they just decide enough is enough and pull everything back in favour of a new gradual jam. “Space Mountain” is more energetic and rocking, but also shakes things up compared to its predecessor in that it winds down in its final few minutes rather than ratcheting up to a grand climax. The end result is that Infinite Peaks slowly ambles its way from quiet origins to a moderate peak of lively volume, only to slowly amble back to softness by its end; if you’re willing to amble along with them, however, you’ll probably enjoy the journey.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mount Kimbie - The Sunset Violent
[Indie Rock | Indietronica]


Out of all possible genre transitions, the one from future garage to indie rock might not be that common of a change, nor one that's really that surprising. Mount Kimbie started out as an electronica duo, whose style of dubstep was closer to the future garage of Burial, mixing in downtempo and glitch hop, but a particular flavor of indietronica as well. That's something that became more and more of a focus, to the point that the group's third album, 2017's Love What Survives reduced the amount UK electronica in favor of something with more of an indie rock leaning, bordering at times on post-punk. Around that same time, the duo also recruited live members for a full band, and now those live members have became full members just in time for this album.

It's still very visible that electronic music is a very important ingredient for Mount Kimbie, and their soundscapes are still very rooted in electronica melodies and synths and processing that's still very much in that lane, but it's also the one album that's most clearly done as a full band. The neo-psychedelia/krautrock side lines really well with how the electronic lineage in the indietronica sound works, creating a very dreamlike record, creating a gorgeous blend of guitars and electronica, and it makes so much sense that out of all the people that Mount Kimbie collaborated before, it is King Krule that returns here as a guest too.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Lethe - Alienation
[Experimental Rock | Trip-Hop]


musclassia's pick


It’s been quite a while since we’ve heard anything from Lethe, or indeed from most of the projects that its members are involved with (see also Cellar Darling, Manes, or Nucleus Torn), but Anna Murphy and Tor-Helge Skei have finally returned to this fascinating, genre-bending project. Alienation remains as hard to pin down as their previous efforts, incorporating subdued, trippy electronica comparable to Perdition City alongside jazz experimentation, moody rock textures and occasional hints of metal. The opening song “Anhedonia” establishes the unique fusion of styles very effectively, building upon a base of understated beats and droning synths with floaty, ethereal vocals, plus enchanting flute, trumpet and keyboard melodies, and shimmering electronic layers and motifs, and finally distorted guitar chords that add extra depth and intensity.

“Anhedonia” could well be the best song to come from Lethe thus far, as it finds an excellent balance between so many different sounds and produces a fascinating atmosphere as a result. Subsequent songs exhibit further ambition, from the trippy electronic beats on “Brighter” and throbbing bass pulses on “When It’s Over”, through to the rap in “Eternel” and dubstep vibe of “Sedator”. The experimentation with different electronic rhythm and foundation styles does a lot to develop the diversity and eclectic vibe of Alienation, but it is arguably Murphy’s vocals that bring the most to the record, as she ranges from ethereal, atmospheric croons to more full-voiced poppier hooks (as can be heard on “Erosion”).

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Eye - Dark Light
[Dream Pop]


Eye is a new project from a name familiar to some, having been formed by Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard singer Jessica Ball. In discovering this project, I also learned that MWWB are currently on pause following a Covid-related stroke suffered by guitarist Paul Davies, to whom I wish a full recovery. In Davies’ absence, Ball reunites with MWWB producer Chris Fielding (with Gid Goundry and Johnny TK filling the other instrumentalist roles in the band) to create debut album Dark Light, a record that is for the most part detached from metal, but also exhibits some tonal overlap with Ball’s existing band.

The album’s promotion namedrops dream pop, dark folk, IDM and psychedelic doom as constituent elements of Dark Light’s sound; Eye’s music doesn’t fall cleanly into any of these categories, but the joining of synth-shaped soundscapes, understated guitar textures, dreamy vocals and electronic beat using tones reminiscent of IDM results in songs that have the capacity to appeal to fans of any of those styles. Hints of self-described influences such as Chelsea Wolfe and Portishead can be detected in gloomy compositions like “Window” and “In Your Night” (the latter of which being, along with “See Yourself”, one of few songs here to incorporate heavier distortion that hints at Ball’s MWWB background), but there’s also tracks such as the title track that have a cleaner, lighter sonic palette that veers towards post-rock. While I hope that Davies will be back in action and able to make more music with Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard soon, Ball has very successfully transitioned into a lead songwriting role with Eye.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Thief - Bleed, Memory
[Electro-Industrial | Darkwave]


RaduP's pick


It is somewhat weird to cover albums here that are released by predominantly metal labels. In this case Bleed, Memory is out via Prophecy Records, and though that's a label that never shied away from things that are not necessarily riff-focused, it's still weird to see an album from the metal-adjacent world making its way to this series that's more often separate. Sure, we also cover albums literally released by metal bands on occasion, and that's an even weirder situation. But I guess the best way to look at it is how this goes the opposite route to gatekeeping towards getting people into metal interested in other adjacent genres (something that I also kinda wanna do here). Also, it's not like it's just the label. I saw this cover art, the band title, and the album title, who uploaded the YouTube stream when it showed up in my recommendations and I could have bet that it was a doom metal album. Maybe because it reminded me so much of another album.

Aside from the things around the music, the music itself is also really interesting because of how hard it is to categorize besides being vaguely "dark electronica" and how many disparate styles it pulls from. I hear industrial leanings, sometimes heavy enough that it borders on extreme metal, most of the times the electronica goes into darkwave territories, but also in trip-hop, IDM, and I've even seen witch house named among influences. For that it's an album that feels more immensely versatile than disjointed, and one that's capable of delivering some really hard-hitting tracks. Though not instantly obvious, there's a permeating emotional angle to the album, with how much of it is conceptually revolving around dementia and the loss of memory, sprouting from mainman Dylan Neal's personal experience in his family.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Silent Weapon - Demonology
[Industrial Electronic]


For all the releases covered this month that come from musicians with backgrounds in metal bands, perhaps the harshest, noisiest, most sinister entry in this edition comes from Silent Weapon, who to my knowledge don’t have an obvious metal background, although producer/vocalist Umair Chaudhry has done sound engineering in the past for Undersmile, among other acts. Demonology, the second full album from Silent Weapon following 2022’s Purge, is bleak, menacing and clanking; although the particulars of the style evolve over the record, at an overarching level, Demonology is most easily categorized as industrial electronica, with mechanical darkness, pounding beats and harsh vibes, along with a bleak distorted noisy edge.

Opening song “Purgatory” serves as a fittingly ominous introduction to the project’s sound; an initial noise base is used as a foundation for slow, pounding beats, sinister synths and malevolent distorted vocals. It’s quite a steady song in terms of pace, but Silent Weapon for the most part sticker to faster tempos, and do so right from the next song; “Switch” has a slicker, faster beat and groove, along with synth elements that perhaps owe something to synthwave. Later on, “In A Spell” opts for more overt synth hooks, along with deep-register clean vocals suited for a darksynth or goth rock project, along with pulsating rhythms fitting for an alternative rave. Honestly, I’d be intrigued to hear more tracks in the slow, dark atmospheric vein of “Purgatory”, as only the grim, churning “All God’s Angels” really reprises that approach, but Demonology is fairly consistent in quality as its style evolves, and Chaudhry does a good job at exploring longer-form writing with the eerie, repetitive 11-minute closer “Return To Source”.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Einstürzende Neubauten - Rampen (apm: alien pop music)
[Post-Industrial | Ambient Pop]


Einstürzende Neubauten, one of the longest running acts in experimental rock, with one of the most iconic symbol/logo in this field as well, have started out as industrial pioneers with 1981's Kollaps. It's true that 40 years later they don't sound exactly like they did back then, having taken in more experimental rock and art pop sounds into them, without completely abandoning that oddball industrial approach, but now it's more present as a more ambient kind of atmosphere inducing post-industrial rather than the more opressive original industrial. But still, you might have noticed I mentioned "pop", as well as it being in the actual album's title. Well...

The concept of "alien pop music" might be intriguing if I had to suspend my disbelief that aliens spoke German (and sometimes English), and though that might've been easier if I didn't understand a lot of the words, the vibe of the record is a very strange one indeed. Not sure if I'd call it otherworldly the way the title intends it to be, unless that's a metaphor (it probably is). But the instrumentation here is very sparse, hence why it has such an ambient feeling, but also often goes into these very weird ways of adding texture or adding experimental soundscapes that make it a difficult listen for people who are not into this kinda thing, plus there's way too little happening if you're not into the lyrics to justify its runtime.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Eventide - Waterline
[Drone | Experimental Jazz]


As mentioned in a couple other of my write-ups, this month’s article has strong representation from non-metal bands featuring musicians known more for their work in metal groups. Perhaps the most remarkable contrast between projects that one can hear from any of them comes in the form of Eventide, a spontaneous spin-off from the truly extreme Epitaphe. Both Epitaphe’s recent II and Eventide’s debut Waterline feature lengthy songs, but instead of frenetic death metal and grim doom, Waterline is jazzy, droning and ambient, built upon an electronic rather than metallic foundation. Still, there were some bold experimentations towards such sounds on II, so perhaps the musicians deciding to create a more dedicated outlet for said experimentation isn’t too surprising.

Waterline is bookended by its two longest songs, which together span 33 minutes (in contrast to the combined runtime of below 10 minutes that the two tracks sandwiched in between run for). The first of these, which shares its name with the band itself, is very much geared towards ambience, opening with several minutes of shimmering synth/organ tones that are only occasionally punctuated by faint vocals or other instrumental cameos. Eventually, that dreamy aura does turn slightly harsher and darker, with droning guitar feedback taking over from the synths. In contrast to the very structureless opening that is “Eventide”, the title track that follows right after is more fleshed-out, driven by jazz drumming and explorative saxophone that form a musical core fleshed out by further droning ambience. The mellow tone of “Waterline” pleasantly reminds me of acts such as Portico Quartet, and it would be intriguing to see Eventide commit further to such a sound; as it is, the remainder of the record moves the jazz further towards the background as it returns to a primarily ambient approach, albeit one that more fully incorporates the saxophone.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia





Mannaseh - Tunneling To Paradiso
[Dark Ambient]


Mannaseh's debut album, is another manifestation of the inspiration of Patrick Brown, also known from Howls Of Ebb (with whom he released some of the most interesting experimental black/death metal of the previous decade) and Herxheim. The cover art by Gerard Trignac forewarns of the nature of the album, which feels like a descent to twisted catacombs and dark dungeons. Released on the same date as Herxheim's Contrapasso, Tunneling To Paradiso acts as its acoustic and ghostly sibling.

This is a journey into eerie depths, providing a peculiar blend of unsettling beauty and haunting soundscapes. The atmosphere is captivating and the mix of dark ambient, dungeon synth, and neofolk make it a rewarding listen for those who appreciate the more nightmarish and nocturnal side of music. Dark melodies, esoteric acoustic guitars, and shadowy synths create an instrumental tapestry for the listener to feel at the same time uneasy but curious about what will come next. The lack of explicit lyrics leaves the music itself to tell the story, and this story is immersive and alluring. Both deranged and evocative, just like the voice of Klaus Kinski on “Spire Of Wayward Will”, Tunneling To Paradiso has an unsettling charm because it explores the most unlit corners of the human psyche.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by nikarg





Mountain Realm - Frostfall
[Ambient | Dungeon Synth]


If you’re a fan of intimidating ambient atmospheres, you may be familiar with Cryo Chamber, a label run by Simon Heath and dedicated to releasing music that can transport you beyond the bounds of space and time. Cryo Chamber’s new little sister label Cryo Crypt continues this philosophy, while focusing this time more on medieval and dark fantasy themes. Simon Heath is well-known for his own personal ambient project Atrium Carceri. With Cryo Crypt’s most recent release, he crafts his own haunting aura with his newest project Mountain Realm.

As should be expected in dark ambience, there are no lyrics uttered to help guide the listener. One is left alone in a world with no human voices: a realm of everlasting winter and ethereal soundscapes. With patient, simple keyboard playing, the ghostly wailing of synths, and the thudding electronic drum beats resonating from deepest dungeon depths, the 35-minute-long Frostfall sends the listener on a hypnotic journey through sinister lairs and forgotten forests. Whether pursued by the blaring “Horn of the Goblins” or greeted by the magical brilliance of “The Crystal Palace”, each track provides a deceptively simple yet immensely effective atmosphere to put any listener into a cozy, meditative trance.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by F3ynman2000





Šamane - Solstice
[Dark Folk | Ritual Ambient]


RaduP's pick


If the name "Šamane" isn't instantly familiar too you, you're not alone. Though this is the band's third album, it kept a pretty low profile so far, and the only reason I stumbled upon it was Roadburn. The project didn't technically perform at Roadburn, but two of its members, singer and mainwoman Saara Šamane and guitarist Aleksi Kiiskilä, performed with Mat McNerney in his Hexvessel Folk Ensemble for the Music For Gloaming: A Nocturne commissioned piece. If the name "Aleksi Kiiskilä" does ring a bell though, it is because he plays with Mat McNerney in Grave Pleasures.

Lineup connections aside, how's the actual music on Solstice. Well, I call it "dark folk", but the truth is that it's much more ambiental and ritualistic than just folkish. It's music that's very sparse and ethereal, something that feels equally ancient and otherworldly, often relying on Saara's floating vocals to achieve that vibe, but also creating a soundscape with the sparse percussion, the oud (a kind of lute) that achieves that ancient folk feeling, and sometimes taking that instrumentation into very ominous territories. The production and mixing is airy enough that it never feels raw and oppressive but rather organically immersive.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Adrianne Lenker - Bright Future
[Contemporary Folk]


Sometimes it's easy to forget that Adrianne Lenker was a solo artist before Big Thief was a thing. It's usually the latter that seems to come up more often in the musicsphere, so it's easy to make that mistake, especially since Hours Were the Birds only came out two years earlier than Big Thief's debut, so timelines can be fuzzy. I discovered Adrianne Lenker through 2020's aptly titled Songs, at that time already a Big Thief fan, so that's a thought pattern that's still happening. However, I'm already starting to see the solo work as more than just Big Thief without the rest of Big Thief but its own admittedly related but separate thing. And so far she has yet to put out anything underwhelming.

The thing about her solo work and Bright Future is that it's very patient and stripped back music. I know this isn't surprising for folk and singer/songwriter stuff, but this sparseness and lack of urgency makes the listening experience work best when you're ready to linger in the feelings of each track, often in that very lyrical melancholia and introspection, things that make the songs feel longer than they actually are. Sure, there's more than just voice on the record, some pianos and acoustic guitars the strings and the slight country twang are layered pretty nicely to create a nice backdrop, but the emotional heavy lifting is the intimacy of the voice itself, and all the lovelorn words.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





Vampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us
[Indie Rock | Chamber Pop]


Out of all the indie rock bands that came to prominence at the end of the noughties, there's none that have that weirdly specific appeal that Vampire Weekend do. On one hand you have the absolute prepiest aesthetics, and on the other hand you have some of the most unexpected world music injections, and this very combination should make them feel absolutely obnoxious. And sometimes they are, but it's the songwriting that really kept things together and somehow made that contradiction work and made their 2008-2013 run such a fun one. Sure, influences from Talking Heads and Paul Simon were abound, but it was also something that felt very specific to that very millennial time, sometimes having more in common with Animal Collective than their indie rock contemporaries.

Well, notice I specified their 2008-2013 run being good. They have had one other album since, Father Of The Bride, which was not bad but clearly lost something of what made the band special in the first place. It was kind of a breath of relief hearing Only God Was Above Us recapturing some of that magic while also expanding the sounds. I already mentioned the AnCo comparison, but I feel like this time the neo-psychedelia is even more expansive, the instrumentation is even wilder with it sometimes bordering on noise pop in texture and baroque pop in nuance. It's the songwriting that still keeps things together for Vampire Weekend, making all that quirkiness not feel obnoxious, making all the political statements not feel ignorant, and keeping things both eclectic and still very accessible.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




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







Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 61 users
13.05.2024 - 16:25
Meteorandaz
Wow that Mount Kimbie one was really good! Really enjoyed it
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I'll probably judge your teeth
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14.05.2024 - 22:01
A Real Mönkey
King Dude released Vol 3 and 4 of Songs From the 1940s, fyi.
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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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17.05.2024 - 02:03
Crème fraiche
Dang, a lot to go through here. Thank you guys for all the digging! Always giving me something new to try
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20.05.2024 - 20:23
Uxküll
Thanks for these.
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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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23.05.2024 - 18:07
Blackcrowe
I’ve always watch this great post and I have to said it, Great Job. This month it’s much better than the previous in terms of production of materials or records that really interest me,
This month Im really pleased with
Šamane - Solstice
Mountain Realm - Frostfall
Eventide - Waterline
Silent Weapon - Demonology
Sleepmakeswaves - It's Here, But I Have No Names For It

And surprisingly amazed with the new record of Einstürzende Neubauten

Again great job
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Maybe as his eyes are wide.
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