Monthly Playlist: November 2021

We’re back from our tour, we’re writing new music and there are lots of exciting things going on. One thing that never changes, though, is our love for blasting out tunes, so here’s what some of us have been listening to this month.

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Richard – Bass

Gozer – Crown Eater (this one’s not on Spotify – get it sorted lads. For now you can stream/download it from BandCamp here)

An obvious choice to kick things off with, following our UK tour with Gozer last month. These guys have been like family to us for years, so to spend a week on the road with them was sublime. Since coming back I’ve been absolutely rinsing this, their debut single under their current moniker. It goes hard like Amenra, with some filthy bass grooves to underpin it all. Having had a sneak peak at their upcoming material, I can say now that you absolutely need to keep a weather eye out for what comes next from this trio of lampshade enthusiasts.

Dødheimsgard – 21st Century Devil

This month’s edition of ‘legendary band that Richard has only just listened to for the first time’. It’s got the buzzing riffs of mid-career Dimmu that I love, mixed with tons of electronics and some dumb, fun industrial metal grooves. Hefty and silly in just the right measures.

Leftfield – Black Flute

Leftism is a record my partner got me into a couple of years ago and it’s one I’ve been blasting in my car recently. Unbeatable 90s dance vibes with some real power alongside the good times.

Deafheaven – Other Language

Deafheaven’s shedding of almost all of their black metal elements and their transformation into a fully-fledged shoegaze band makes total sense given the direction they were already heading in on the last record, and yet it still took me a little by surprise. However, a few spins in, I’m definitely a fan. Whilst I’m far from one of the deniers who think the only good bit of the album is right at the end when they briefly bring back the shrieking, I do think that the album’s highlights are when they add some quasi-metal weight into the guitar tones, and this is one of a few tracks in the middle where the balance is just right for me.

Ross From Friends – R.A.T.S.

Whilst I invest time getting stuck into his new album, I’ve also been revisiting the debut album from this Essex techno/house maestro and preparing to finally see him live next year, having had previous plans ruined multiple times by COVID. Good vibes, slick grooves, hard kicks. Get into it.

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Joe – Vocals

Sunken – Ensomhed

Taken from my favourite album of 2020, this track is masterfully paced and has one of the most crushingly anthemic and goosebump enabling closing sections I’ve ever heard.

Ellende – Der Blick Wird Leer

Solid atmospheric black metal from a consistently tremendous band. A real ear worm of an opening riff sets up a track I return to frequently.

Dreariness – Starless Night

The burgeoning sense of mournful despair is utterly palpable. Criminally underrated artist and a track that is morose but laced with beauty.

Swallow the Sun – The Ship

The closing track from my favourite album of theirs, the lyrics are absolutely gorgeous and I’m honoured to have seen them play this live.

Deafheaven – Great Mass Of Colour

Typically I’m very easy going and understanding about people having strong opinions on music. But if you don’t like the new Deafheaven you can fuck off.

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Chris – Guitar

Septicflesh – The Vampire from Nazareth

I watched Midnight Mass this month (it was very good), and I couldn’t get this song out of my head the entire time. Beefy symphonic death metal = YES PLEASE.

Green Lung – Old Gods

Really vibing with the new Green Lung – psych-sludge-doom with tasty vocals.

Zeal & Ardor – Götterdämmerung

At this point Zeal & Ardor could fart into a microphone for 3 minutes and I’d probably love it, but my bias aside, this new track off their upcoming 4th album absolutely slaps.

Florence & The Machine – Stand By Me

Florence & The Machine’s own songs are fantastic (High As Hope is a phenomenal album) but this cover, done for the videogame Final Fantasy XV of all places, really showcases just how impressively huge her vocal talents are.

Bolt Thrower – World Eater

Sometimes you just need to listen to sloppy, 80s, Warhammer 40K-inspired death metal. Blood for the blood god!

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Nick – Guitar

Biffy Clyro – Unknown Male 01

There are few bands that can adopt as many genres into their repertoire as seamlessly as Biffy Clyro, especially considering how uniquely like Biffy they always sound. The range on display on their new album is mesmerising, and I honestly believe they could release entire albums devoted to each of their stylistic bases and do so with as much creativity as most other bands could hope to achieve.

Wolves In The Throne Room – Spirit of Lightning

Wolves In The Throne Room are a band that I should love and yet I’ve never quite gotten into them as much as perhaps I could. Whether it’s because I’ve not been patient enough to engage with them or otherwise I’m not sure. Regardless, Primordial Arcana is the first album of theirs that I truly connected with (Thrice Woven came close). Maybe I’ve finally passed the threshold and will begin to appreciate them as much as their reputation deserves.

Aging – The Trapped Man

I’ve been consuming a lot of noir fiction of late, including watching a great Korean series called ‘My Name’ and getting completely lost within the world of ‘Disco Elysium’ on switch (sorry to my partner for being so absorbed in this lately). This album is the perfect companion piece to the grim mystique of this stylish genre. As I listened to this exquisitely smooth and intriguing jazz album, I couldn’t help but picture myself larking about in a trench coat and solving crimes whilst wrestling an addiction of some variety.

Monolord – The Weary

The kings of writing massive tracks devoted to the riff. This album ranks as perhaps their strongest yet in my opinion, with some genuine ear worms that I still haven’t shaken off. Hails.

Miki Matsubara – Stay With Me

Apparently this track has seen a massive resurgence recently and it’s no surprise because dang this shit is catchy. What a gem and I’m so glad I discovered it.

Monthly Playlist: October 2021

As we prepare for tour, we’re still blasting bangers at high volumes to all nearby parties. Here’s what some of us have been spinning of late, with our waffle on why we like it.

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Richard – Bass

Triptykon – Myopic Empire

Recently I’ve gone in on Triptykon for the first time, having remembered how much I liked the final Celtic Frost album, and I can’t believe this has been missing from my life all this time. Suffocating doom with a heavy gothic edge, filtered through Tom G Warrior’s signature buzzing guitar tone, housed in the trappings of black metal and backed up by some chunky riffs that are basically death metal beatdowns. UGH.

Kurupt FM – A Million

People Just Do Nothing very quickly became one of my all-time favourite British TV shows when I discovered it a few years ago, so getting the film and the album from The Best MC in the Galaxy and his crew within a few months of eachother has been a real treat. Yes, it’s very funny stuff, but the boldly titled debut release Greatest Hits (Part 1) is genuinely full of bangers that bring a shiny modern production to the sounds of UK Garage, early grime and dubstep from the Golden Era of 1997-2001. Kurupt FM: the rest are irrelevant.

Kimyan Law – Seven Ant Foley

Nominally a drum’n’bass artist, Kimyan Law’s composition are so much more free and technicolour than that tag implies. Restrained, atmospheric and yet full of bounce and groove, this is just my kind of electronic music: adventurous, but still focused on Big Beats, which, as we all know, are the best (get high all the time).

Gaerea – Whispers

Fiery and spirited black metal with the downtuned, meaty guitar tone of a sludge band and some of the sensibilities of post metal. Make no mistake, this is immediate and aggressive stuff, but it’s filthy underbelly will get it’s hooks deep into you.

Путь – Волос твоих пепел, Рахиль

Atmospheric black metal with an accordion. That sentence plus the hilarious painting of a skeleton playing an accordion in the snow on the album cover should have you intrigued enough to check it out. If you’re not sold, though, I’ll add that the accordion is far away from your usual, cheesy folk metal fare, and is actually a sparingly used and effective textural element to flesh out a convincing and pretty powerful atmospheric black metal sound. Come for the gimmick, stay for the quality.

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Chris – Guitar

Hail Spirit Noir – Visitors of Horror

The masters of spooky theremin metal are back! As ever, this is catchy as shit and I love their sound – coupled with the artwork, it has the vibe of a low-budget 80s horror movie, which is perfect for this time of the year.

Spiritbox – The Summit

“What if Taylor Swift did djent” is a sentence that popped into my head to describe Spiritbox after our other guitarist Nick recommended them to me – this track is the exemplar of that, with a vocal line that seriously wouldn’t sound out of place on a Tay-Tay album but crossed with BIG RIFFS. A delight!

Amplifier – Cat’s Cradle

Bit of a throwback here, for some reason the chorus of this track popped into my head and wouldn’t go away until I’d listened to it thoroughly this month. Fun psychedelic fuzz-rock, and the lead singer/guitarist has the distinction of possessing the most ridiculously OTT pedalboard I’ve ever seen anyone use.

Daniel Hart ft. Emma Tring – Aiganz O Kulzphazur

This track comes from the soundtrack of The Green Knight, one of my most-anticipated movies of the year (hell, I’ll say it: of all time) – the movie absolutely didn’t disappoint, because it’s phenomenal, and this song is a highpoint of a very good soundtrack. The vocal line is absolutely beautiful and haunting, and it perfectly captures the vibe of the film – lush greenery, tormented knights and the misty mountains of Albion.

Rina Sawayama – Enter Sandman

Controversial statement time: this is the best version of Enter Sandman that’s ever been done. Literally my only (minor) complaint is that it’s been brickwalled (like basically every mainstream pop song), but Rina clearly understood the brief because this is HEAVY, and her vocals are perfect for it. I feel no shame in the more basic elements of my music taste – have fun with your krieg two-man forest BM recorded at the bottom of a well, elitists, I’ll be over here singing along to Metallica!

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Nick – Guitar

Little Simz – Introvert

This track sets the tone for what is probably my favourite hip-hop album of the year. The production is amazing, Simz’ lyrics and delivery is amazing, it’s just generally amazing, so yeah, go listen to it.

Chvrches – How Not to Drown (feat. Robert Smith)

I think this new album is the best thing Chvrches have ever done, and this track featuring the absolute DON epitomises that. What else is there to say?

Lut – Mersmark

Maybe it’s a bit ignorant of me to say they sound like a cross between Kvelertak and the Hives based on their overall sound and the fact that they’re all very loosely connected geographically, but they do basically sound like that so I’m not wrong. I can only imagine these would be a sweet band to catch live, this album has so much frenetic energy which would translate so well to the kind of sweat box show that COVID doesn’t really allow for at the moment.

Sleep Token – Hypnosis

This week’s most polarising band just so happens to be a band I dig the fuck out of. Their new album is a solid continuation of Sundowning, offering a ton of haunting vocals from Vessel and a fair few stacked riffs. This track in particular is clearly taking notes from Deftones and is a definite highlight. They may not be everyone’s bag but if you like it then who the flip cares?

Biffy Clyro – End Of

Underrated may be a push given how popular and critically lauded they generally are, but I can’t help but feel like Biffy get overlooked when we talk about great bands of the last 20 years. Without doubt one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live and even after 15 or so years and about 8 albums, they’re still flirting with the mainstream AND dropping mental bangers, and they’re doing both better than most bands can even do one.

Albums of 2021… So Far

As we’ve passed the midway point of the year now, we thought we’d put together a list of some of our favourite albums of the year so far, if nothing else to make our final lists in December slightly easier. Read on for some of our picks, with a Spotify playlist of a song from each.

TRIBULATION | Where the gloom becomes sound - Nuclear Blast

Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound (Chris)

Tribulation’s last album (Down Below) grabbed me instantly, so I was excited for new material from them – and this album didn’t disappoint. Big, crunchy, melodic riffs paired with harsh death-doom vocals – it’s just great, okay?

ALBUM REVIEW: Savigaila - Erdve - Distorted Sound Magazine

Erdve – Savigaila (Nick)

Probably the heaviest shit I’ve heard all year, and with only a few months of the year left, 2021 is going to have a hard time topping it. If my brief research into the meanings of Lithuanian words was accurate, ‘Erdve’ translates as space, and if that is the case, they represent the chaos and discomfort of the great unknown.

Black Country, New Road: For the first time Album Review | Pitchfork

Black Country, New Road – For The First Time (Richard)

Hailed by many as the second coming of Slint, Black Country, New Road are purpose-built to debunk the jaded music fan who thinks all modern music is predictable toss. Bits of free jazz, klezmer, Oxbow, Swans, Black Midi, divisive and wobbly spoken word vocals and much more swirl around in this arguably very pretentious, inarguably very adventurous and subjectively very excellent post-everything album.

Dream Weapon | Genghis Tron

Genghis Tron – Dream Weapon (Chris)

Their first new release in 13 years since 2008’s fantastic Board Up The House, this came largely out of nowhere – I had no idea Genghis Tron had new material in the pipeline. It’s stunning – I can’t easily categorise their sound (glitchy electro-grind? Noise-rock? Other wanky genre descriptors?) but that doesn’t matter when the songs are this good.

Promises by Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra  on Amazon Music - Amazon.co.uk

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & the London Symphony Orchestra – Promises (Nick)

I’d heard talk of this album so frequently that it was bordering on being hyped to the point of disappointment, but I don’t think any number of superlatives will ever do this album justice. Just a perfect blend of grandiose classical, poignant electronics, and soulful jazz, lovely.

Yarost' I Proshchenie | WOWOD

WOWOD – Yarost’ I Proshchenie (Richard)

Veering between majestic post metal a-la The Ocean, monolithically filthy doom riffs and furious blackened hardcore, this Russian outfit really caught me by surprise by wrapping up some of my favourite metal sounds into a devastating and gigantically produced whole.

Ice Fleet | KAUAN

Kauan – Ice Fleet (Chris)

I discovered Kauan through Spotify – their last album Kaiho was a fragile, wintry thing of beauty, and Ice Fleet continues in that vein before building up to some beautiful post-rock crescendoes. Put it on, relax and let the atmosphere wash over you like the frozen waves of the North sea.

Bring Backs | Alfa Mist

Alfa Mist – Bring Backs (Nick)

A beautiful collision of jazz and hip-hop and a great compliment to a mellow Sunday afternoon. I picked this album at complete random whilst flicking through the Bandcamp charts. I can only assume that divine intervention led me to this album, I don’t think anything but fate could be responsible for such a pleasing encounter.

Empire Of Love | Violet Cold

Violet Cold – Empire of Love (Richard)

As I’ve mentioned in a previous playlist blog, this is the album that really got me invested in Violet Cold, my interest in them previously having been limited to “yeah they’re pretty good”. Of course I love how much the artwork and message of the album is riling the most closed-minded corners of the black metal world, but mainly I just love the impassioned melodies, soaring textures and lack of fear of experimentation with genres. At this stage in the genre’s existence it’s a great feeling to still find genuinely exciting new blackgaze.

Witness | VOLA

Vola – Witness (Chris)

I only discovered Vola this year – either through a Spotify recommendation or through our drummer, Luke, I can’t remember which. Nevertheless, this album is absolutely phenomenal – big riffs, big vocal hooks, catchy melodies. It’s the kind of thing you want to crank up loud and sing along to while driving through open countryside, or maybe that’s just me?

Arlo Parks: Collapsed in Sunbeams Album Review | Pitchfork

Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams (Nick)

Here comes the wholesome record of the year. Arlo has revealed herself as one of the most formidable voices in quaint, summery, lounge pop with stunningly arranged portraits of her brief but eventful life thus far. Loyle Carner vibes, which is never a bad thing.

Together in Static | Daniel Avery

Daniel Avery – Together in Static (Richard)

Known mainly as a big time UK DJ trading the largest of beats in the darkest of rooms, Avery’s newest outing combines his penchant for tech-house bangers with a surprisingly reflective, heart-warming and non-specifically nostalgic vibe that will catch you right in the feels whilst you’re grooving to the kicks. The industrial floor-fillers are balanced by some luscious ambient techno tracks and all bases are covered with an immense attention to detail.

Wretched Abyss | Noctule

Noctule – Wretched Abyss (Chris)

“Atmospheric black metal inspired by the videogame Skyrim from the vocalist of Svalbard” is a sentence that I never thought I’d see, and yet here we are. The result is a genuinely excellent album that rises above any sort of “videogame-inspired” gimmick – plenty of melody to build atmosphere, and it captures the frostbitten feeling of Skyrim’s locations perfectly.

Through Aureate Void | Five the Hierophant

Five The Hierophant – Through Aureate Void (Nick)

Post-metal album of the year for me (don’t have an aneurysm, Amenra stans!). Sits restlessly on the psychedelic deck of the riff bus and the destination is Anglosaxophoneland, the land of the Anglo-Saxophones.

JOYSVILLE | Ed Scissor

Ed Scissor & Lamplighter – Joysville (Richard)

The impending return of my favourite UK rapper and his inseparable producer has excited me all year and it doesn’t disappoint. As with all of his releases to date, Ed stands well apart from the rest of the UK hip-hop crowd with his dark and unknowable tales of grim and gritty reality delivered with his uniquely deep and despondent drawl. Lay these bars over Lamplighter’s atmospheric and no less abstract electronic tapestries and you have a sound I truly cannot get enough of.

Monthly Playlist: August 2021

With a semblance of normality gradually returning, we’re gearing up for gigs and the like, but we’re still blasting bangers at home. Here’s our playlist this month, featuring our newly unveiled guitarist Chris’ picks, too.

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Joe – Vocals

The Ruins of Beverast – Kromlech Knell

The Ruins of Beverast evoke the feeling of being trapped in an enormous ancient burial chamber where the dead may not be as restful as you’d hoped… and that’s really fucking cool.

Ondskapt – A Graveyard Night

More traditional mid-paced black metal, but it’s strength is in its subtly. It’s eerie, dark and brooding.

Together To The Stars – Timeless

Melodic blackened metal with a post hardcore vocal. It’s strangely beautiful and positive in its tone.

Iotuun – The Weaver System

Hugely grandiose, Iotuun have been a recent revelation for. The science fiction theme and gorgeous combination of operatic and harsh vocal is exquisite, topped off by the melancholic undertone of this particular track.

Slipknot – Everything Ends

Iowa was the soundtrack to my final year at secondary school and to embracing the notion that there was nothing wrong with being who I was. This song in particular captured the obnoxious defiance of that moment of realisation I had as an angry fifteen year old. RIP Joey.

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Nick – Guitar

Four Stroke Baron – Friday Knight

What a great piece of prog pop/metal. Cool riffs, great vocal lines and solid production from Devin Townsend. These are a band I’m completely new to so colour me delighted that they already have two albums released with a third on the way, from which this track is a single.

Puppy – Arabella

I’ve always wanted to catch Puppy live and on the two occasions I planned to go see them, my plans were scuppered by having to play gigs with Ba’al on the same nights. Every cloud and all that.

Møl – Photophobic

Their debut was one of the freshest black metal albums I’ve heard in a while and Photophobic sounds like another step forward. I’m loving the injection of more post-hardcore riffs and ideas on this track, I’m confident their new album is going to be off the chain.

Carpenter Brut – Roller Mobster

After occasionally dabbling with Carpenter Brut’s back catalogue for a while, it was playing Hotline Miami 2 that urged me to invest some proper time in it. Perfect synth wave soundtrack for assaulting a mob-owned nightclub with a machine gun in the 80s.

The Horrors – Lout

Did not expect The Horrors to release something this aggressive but I am 100% into it, they’ve nailed industrial noise rock, or whatever you want to call. A shame it’s only an EP but if their next album is anything like this it’s going to be much amaze.

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Chris – Guitar

Lola Kirke – Monster

Atmospheric, echoey folk-pop. For me, this is at the same table as Taylor Swift’s Folklore in the cafeteria of my music tastes, and the chorus is a catchy one. Fun aside: Lola Kirke is also an actress, and having devoured all 5 seasons of Mozart in the Jungle (which she starred in as a professional oboist turned conductor), I have a MASSIVE crush on her.

Omega Massif – Unter Null

The cover art for the album this is taken from reminds me of a Martian landscape, and the music is an appropriate soundtrack – spacey atmosphere leading into cascading sludge riffs in the vein of Neurosis or Cult of Luna.

Lingua Ignota – PERPETUAL FLAME OF CENTRALIA

Lingua Ignota is in a bracket of musicians I mentally categorise as “hard to listen to” – not because their music is too complex or avant-garde for me to follow, but because the raw emotion they pour into their work can be overwhelming. This new track off her upcoming album is outwardly quite simple (moody piano and vocals), but it perfectly illustrates the maxim of “less is more” and will dig it’s way into your head.

Genghis Tron – Ritual Circle

There isn’t another band like Genghis Tron, and I can say that with certainty. Their style defies classification (it’s rooted in rock/metal, but touches on electronica, noise, glitch, drone, ambient) and this track from their new album Dream Weapon brings all those disparate influences together into a transcendent ten minute whole.

Slipknot – Duality

I couldn’t not include a Slipknot track on here – the death of Joey Jordison was a shock, and it highlighted how much his playing influenced a lot of people my age. I struggled to pick a favourite Slipknot song (there’s a long list to choose from), but ‘Duality’ definitely gave Joey plenty of room to show off and that chorus is absolutely chef’s kiss.

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Richard – Bass

Slipknot – (Sic)

Had to include some Slipknot for obvious reasons. I was never as huge a Slipknot fan growing up as many of my metal friends were and are, but I still have a lot of time for the first two albums in particular, and the iconic half-time grooves and sick (!) fills on this banger stand up as as fitting a tribute to the maestro Joey as any.

Gruzja – Jeszcze nie mamy na was pomysłu II

Absolutely nailing an avant-garde mix of black metal and post-punk with a whole lot else besides, this album is a bizarre experience to which I was further won over by the fact that a Polish reviewer on Rate Your Music compared them to my other band, the considerably less-acclaimed Bleating Apocalypse. You’ll find bits that sounds like Rammstein, Shining (SWE), Mr Bungle, The Cure and a lot more… Go figure.

The Darkness – Hazel Eyes

Following the success of the hair metal excess and good time rock’n’roll of Permission to Land, The Darkness’ decided to make a second (and final pre-cocaine-downfall) album that throws away the rulebook entirely and goes off on several wonderful flights of fancy into absolute ridiculousness. This one in particular has been in my head recently, with it’s mixture of Celtic folk (with partial sincerity, but also large amounts of satire, and a comical Scottish accent) and the trademark big riffs and memorable solos. I say all this without a hint of irony, because The Darkness are one of the UK’s greatest exports and I will hear no other opinion.

Rafael Anton Irisarri – Bastion

A huge discovery for me this month has been the so-called ‘loud ambient’ of Rafael Anton Irisarri. Trading in overwhelmingly lush synthetic soundscapes, his music is made to get absolutely lost in. Truly superb.

AL-90 – Tvoya Pesnya

Like standing in the queue outside a club and listening to the catchy, rhythmic house grooves through the wall. Chilled out but with a pumping groove, this is 100% my vibe and another one I’ve had on repeat.

Monthly Playlist: July 2021

We’ve got an announcement coming very soon. In totally unrelated news that definitely in no way relates to that announcement, here’s another monthly playlist, featuring some more picks from our as yet unannounced new guitarist.

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Joe – Vocals

Voices – Footsteps

Emotional closer to the last album Frightened hits hard. Very much looking forward to the new album this year.

Raging Speedhorn – Me and You Man

I love Speedhorn, one of the first bands I saw live. Consistently great fun and down to earth attitude, deserve to be much bigger than they are.

Bloodyard – Mortem

Lancaster old school death metal. Their livestreams have been a shining light during lockdown.

Cannibal Corpse – I Cum Blood

Sometimes you just fancy a classic…

Draconian – Moon Over Sabaoth

I’ve had this stuck in my head for ages now. Gothic majesty, haunting cleans and demonic growls make for a gorgeous bit of dark metal.

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Richard – Bass

The Body – A Lament

Even by their own disgusting standards, the new Body album is pretty extreme in terms of pushing their equipment to breaking point in terms of volume and distortion, and it creates a really weird and uncomfortable extra edge to their already nasty sound. This track has a slightly Jesu-ish melodic aspect to it, too.

Hong Kong Express – Humid Summer

As is the case every year, the don of dreampunk/ambient vaporwave himself, Mr HKE/Hong Kong Express/Subaeris/about a billion other projects has released a stupid number of albums in 2021 already, and it’s a hefty task to separate out the stuff I actually want to listen to from his recent left turn into wilfully offputting nonsense. However, the album L.Y.F. is a step right back into his heyday of wonderfully atmospheric, melancholic, urban nostalgia.

Violet Cold – Be Like Magic

I’ve always liked Violet Cold but I’ve never been fully invested, and it’s the latest, strongly pro-equality, LGBTQIA+ focused album Empire of Love (and it’s inevitable pathetic backlash from the darkest and most closed-minded corners of the online metal community) that has prompted me to properly dive into the catalogue. This is my favourite off the new record, partly because it is just a gorgeous blackgaze track and also partly because of the troll-baiting electronic/rap section.

Kessler – Moonlight Branches

Take the euphoric, ambient-laden tech-house vibes of Bicep and turn up the drum’n’bass element and you’re pretty close to the infectiously melodic sound of Kessler. I simply cannot get enough of this new EP for big time vibes.

The Angelic Process – Coma Waering

It’s pretty unlike me for four out of my five tracks to be new releases, so I need to bring it back to the early 2000s here, and an enduring favourite record of mine that I’ve been getting immersed in again this month. Saturated to within an inch of it’s life, The Angelic Process’ sound is so sonically dense and overwhelming that Coma Waering feels more apocalyptic and overpowering than even the most outwardly evil and misanthropic of other metal bands could ever hope to be. If you’ve ever wondered what drowning in lava whilst having a religious experience would feel like, look no further.

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Nick – Guitar

Tephra – How The West Was Lost

Oh how I wish this band would reunite, though I suspect the chances of that are close to nil. Still at least I have this, one of my all time favourite sludge records to fall back on.

Sleep Token – Alkaline

A fairly brief taster of what is to come on their upcoming second album, with Vessel’s outrageously strong vocals as ever being the focal point of the track. Would like to see some progression from Sundowning in the next few tracks that drop but this is a nice opening flavour.

Ride – Leave Them All Behind

A gem from the early days of shoegaze before they broke up and one of them joined Oasis. Such a move is forgiven by the grace of how good those first few Ride albums were.

Boss Keloid – Gentle Clovis

Honestly don’t think any sludge band are as instantly recognisable from a single riff as Boss Keloid, barring maybe Mastodon or Baroness, and they have worldwide on their side. Family The Smiling Thrush is yet another intricate garden of vivid, phosphorescent flora with some of the most exquisite musicianship and vocal prowess you’ll hear on any album this year.

Baddiel, Skinner & The Lightning Seeds – Three Lions

I don’t think this one really needs an explanation.

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??? – Guitar

Sojourner  – Perennial

You’re standing on a hillside. Behind you, a ruined keep crumbles into the earth, swallowed by greenery. Ahead, giants stalk the landscape, a monolithic and mysterious presence. The air smells of wet loam and moss. Suddenly, an ethereal voice pierces the air, uplifted in song – adventure awaits. This song is 100% my shit!

And So I Watch You From Afar – BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION

I spent much of this month trying to remember the name of this song/band, only remembering that it had a long and ebullient title and I enjoyed it. Once I rediscovered the band, I remembered why it stuck with me – bouncy, instrumental rock with an ear for a good hook and some big, lovely guitar chords.

Hail Spirit Noir – Mannequins

Hail Spirit Noir are one of my favourite bands (their last album Eden in Reverse is fantastic, weird, and unique) – this new track from them goes in much more of a synthwave direction, which isn’t what I was expecting, but it works. Come for the synth beats and floaty vocals, stay for the theremin.

Clutch – Electric Worry (Weathermaker Vault Series)

Clutch have an insanely deep discography and keep putting out album after album of bangers, but this track will always be one of their best. This re-recording captures the magic of the original while freshening up the production for guaranteed good vibes.

Zombi – Mangler

Another instrumental track, this was a Spotify discovery that just slaps – big atmosphere, some groove and a lot of interesting soundscapes to splash around in. Plus the cover has flying manta rays on and they’re one of my favourite aquatic creatures!

Monthly Playlist: June 2021

More songs and words from camp Ba’al, this time featuring some tracks picked by our as-yet-unrevealed new guitarist. Guesses on a postcard, please.

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Nick – Guitar

Bossk – Menhir

This band. This fucking band. Bossk were my gateway to post metal and they’ve occupied a private room with a mini-fridge and snacks in my heart ever since. As one of the lucky few to have already heard their new album (low key journo flex) I’m here to say it proper slaps.

Erdve – Lavondėmės

Order yourself an ice cold slapuccino to go because this shit is heavy and it waits for no one. The Erdve bus has no designated stops, you just run and jump through the open windows and hope it throws you back out somewhere near your planned destination. It won’t matter once you’ve arrived though, your coffee is everywhere and you’ve been decapitated.

Eomac – What Does Your Heart Tell You?

This makes for a very pleasant interval. I asked some folks for something to fill my Max Cooper shaped IDM hole and Eomac delivered with a smile. Really great electronic album that flew under my radar.

Dystopia – Razernij, Deel I

A lot of people don’t like the brass instrumentation we’re getting more and more of in black metal these days, but I for one am completely hooked on that shit. Dicks out for the trumpet.

John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads

We watched Whisper of The Heart recently, which provides all the heartwarming whimsy that one would expect of a Studio Ghibli film, and this track gets played several times throughout (albeit with different lyrics). It gives me wholesome yankee-doodle-dandy vibes.

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Richard – Bass

Dodecahedron – Dodecahedron – An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness

At the online-only version of Roadburn in April, one of my favourite discoveries was the band Autarkh, who will no doubt end up in a future playlist of mine. However, looking into them I found that they are essentially an offshoot of Dodecahedron, a now-defunct Dutch avant-garde black metal band, whose last album I am now hooked on. Crushing, progressive, mechanical but also rich with melody and ambience – all boxes ticked.

Clown Core – End

Look, I get it. They’re basically a joke band, and both Nick and I have talked about them here before. But I am on a mission to make people realise that these two be-masked maniacs are actually musical geniuses. This song – funnily enough the penultimate track from their 18-minute 2020 opus Van – is a gorgeous ambient piano piece, which is a glorious composition on it’s own and only moreso when you take it in after ten tracks of insanely chaotic grinding electronic jazz metal played by two people in clown masks being driven around in a people carrier. Get with it.

Gjon’s Tears – Tout l’Univers

Though my Eurovision favourites this year were Go_A from Ukraine and Daði Freyr from Iceland (and yes, I did also have a soft spot for the unashamed nu metal of the Finnish entry), this soaring entry from Switzerland is the one that’s been stuck in my head since the big night. I was really rooting for it when it became clear it had a shot near the end, and I was sorely disappointed when it was beaten to the post by the Italian imitation of Buckcherry.

Anna Von Hausswolff – Deathbed

I’ve been slowly immersing myself in the musical world of AVH this year, and this is a choice cut from her most organ-heavy work. It’s ethereal, droning and artistic darkwave/dream pop driven by a massive church organ, and with vocals that have more than an air of Kate Bush around them.

Muse – Stockholm Syndrome

In the absence of live music, my partner and I have had more than a few evenings in the last 18 months watching big budget live DVD performances accompanied by and ill-advised number of beers, but the ideal crowd size (two). Muse’s HAARP performance was the latest, and I’ve been really hammering the riffiest tracks off Absolution since. Without any serious thought or consideration for other contenders, I’m going to go ahead and claim that this song has the best chorus of any guitar-based song in the 2000s.

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Joe – Vocals

Portal – Writhen

Lovecraftien cacophony and the musical equivalent of all that goes bump in the night sure to make you poo your pants.

Monstrosity – Remnants of Divination

Unfairly regarded as a training centre for musicians before they join a bigger death metal band, Monstrosity never get their due. This track is the perfect mid-paced combo of technical and catchy.

Grima – Rotten Garden

Fantastic Russian atmospheric black metal with added squeezebox and I Am Groot masks.

Show Me A Dinosaur – Hum

Another hit from Russia. Brilliant post black metal from the album Plantgazer that beautifully captures the feeling of life in lockdown.

Epica – The Skeleton Key

Nobody does symphonic bombast quite as well. Huge chorus, massive hooks and subtle use of a childrens’ choir make this track a joy.

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??? – Guitar

Heretical Sect – Ritual Inversion

Haunting melodies, guttural vocals, fantastic artwork and a powerful narrative underpinning their work. This blackened death-doom act from Santa Fe were a Spotify discovery and the album has been on rotation since.

Enslaved – Roots of the Mountain

For my money, RIITIIR is still Enslaved’s crowning achievement – monolithic and anthemic in equal measure. This sprawling 9-minute epic evokes Norse mythology and pairs it with a feeling of vast landscapes and defiance – try not to snarl along to “HARK! MEN OF FAITH!”

Sigur Rós – Brennistein

Sigur Rós aren’t known for being the heaviest of bands – they’re much happier to stick with uplifting and transcendent. This track, the opener off 2013’s Kveikur, was definitely a shift – a huge, stabbing bass line and some thundering drums lay the groundwork before the falsetto, soaring vocals take you to another world.

Lustmord/Karin Park – Hiraeth

Haunting, ethereal vocals over deep, droning atmospheres? Where do I sign? This is a collaboration for the ages and perfect music to relax to.

Zeal & Ardor – Run

Zeal & Ardor continue to evolve, with each album developing the themes and sounds of the previous one. This is the first track they’ve dropped from their upcoming third album, and if this is anything to go by, the album is going to blow some heads off.

Monthly Playlist: May 2021

As we inch slowly closer to getting back together in person and therefore being able to talk about things other than what we’ve been listening to whilst stuck in our houses, here we have another playlist of things we’ve been listening to whilst stuck in our houses, along with our thoughts on them. Enjoy.

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Richard – Bass

Marc Rebillet – One More Time

Loop Daddy, aka Marc Rebillet, has been an obsession of mine this month – check him out on YouTube if you’re unfamiliar. All his songs are done in one take with a keyboard, a mic and a loop station, and he has a virtually illegal amount of funk. He also looks like a mixture of Anthony Fantano and Nick, and does fully improvised music livestreams wearing just his pants. So there’s that.

Bliss Signal – Floodlight

James Kelly from much-missed post-black metal legends Altar of Plagues teamed up with grime/techno producer Mumdance for this collaboration in 2018, and it’s a wonderful collision of distant, hazy blackgaze with an ambient and electronic soundscapes not quite like any other.

Cocteau Twins – Pitch the Baby

There’s something beautifully unnerving about Elizabeth Fraser’s ‘lyrics’ that are essentially gibberish, but that form partially recognisable words every now and then. It’s a weird trick that only serves to amplify the otherworldliness of these influential dream pop visionaries.

Shabazz Palaces – Are You… Can You… Were You? (Felt)

In all the recent adoration for the likes of clipping., I’d all but forgotten about the debut Shabazz Palaces record, an album I copied from a friend years before experimental hip-hop was something I’d even begun to comprehend. Returning to it and remembering all of it’s fragmented, dark and strange stylings this month has been a joy, and I intend to make it my mission to remind everyone that it exists alongside Death Grips et al.

Thom Yorke – Black Swan

One of the more Radiohead-y cuts from Yorke’s first solo album, but still imbued with a slightly more unsettled electronic edge than his main band ever quite manage. Understandably a marmite artist, I’m finding myself pulled more and more into his solo career.

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Nick – Guitar

Glitterer – Try Harder Still

Honestly I was drawn to this little album based on its cover alone because it’s gawjuss. A quick google search and I found out that it’s one of the dudes from Title Fight, a band I have never listened to but am vaguely aware of. Anyway it’s a really great fuzzy grungy psychy poppy thingy and I will probably listen to TF at some point as a result of this.

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra – Movement 1

Possibly my album of the year so far, or one of at the very least. All three contributors are on absolutely stellar form and it’s such a multi-faceted album that perfectly weights sax-led ambient with orchestral splendour. A perfect way to unwind in the evening after a stressful day.

Wode – Serpent’s Coil

Wode are a UKBM band that seem to be everywhere at the moment yet I’d never listened to them. Seeing as this new album has some great artwork and was produced by none other than Joe Clayton of Pijn cough who also produced our album cough, I thought now was as good a time to try them out as any. And guess what, it’s great.

Purity Ring – Better Off Alone

My girlfriend keeps playing the video of a hamster dancing with a water bottle to the original track by Alice Deejay, and so I was reminded of Purity Ring’s refreshed version from last year which is a vibe.

Alexisonfire – Young Cardinals

A real blast from the past this one. I haven’t listened to Alexisonfire for a few years but was brought back to it after casually being reminded of City and Colour, the solo project of vocalist guitarist, Dallas Green. A half hour later and I’m up to my eyeballs in some of the best post-hardcore to ever get released. This track was a highlight for me.

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Luke – Drums

Nightwish – Dark Chest of Wonder

The first track off the Once album. What a fantastic way to kick off an album. Heavy riffs, catchy riffs, epic orchestration, solid backbeats, sing-along chanty bits, there’s just so much energy!

Turisas – Midnight Sunrise

Probably one of Turisas’ faster songs, making it a slightly more perilous jig around a drinks-laden tavern table on the dawn of battle. But oh boy is it fun.

Fleshgod Apocalypse – The Betrayal

What happens when Fleshgod try to write a ballad? Well it still ends up heavier and faster than most ballads but the orchestrations are lovely.

Gojira – New Found

Gojira released a new album and I am on it! I haven’t decided on favourite tracks from the album yet but this hits hard. I want to mosh to this in a field with all of you ❤

Owane – Born In Space

It Grooves! A nice chill, slow start, suddenly develops into jazzy, syncopated madness. It’s great, and oh so musical.

Monthly Playlist: April 2021

Another month, another slab of music and verbiage that we’ve been listening to. Check out the playlist below and read on for our thoughts this month.

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Nick – Guitar

Five the Hierophant – Berceuse (For Magnetic Sleep)

Is this the sweetest bass line I’ve ever heard? To answer that question one must first ask how we define the sweetness of any given bass line. I don’t really know the answer to that question unfortunately, but they play the same bass line for the entire track and it’s always disappointing when it ends, so there. Seriously though this is from such a great album and it’s in serious contention for my aoty list, it should be in yours if you like post-metal with lots of jazz in it. beemovieyoulikejazz.gif

Respire – Bound

Urgh, this is the band that I never knew I needed to hear and they’re the main contributing factor to me pushing for more orchestral instrumentation in future Ba’al tracks. As with many people, I heard Black Line last year and lost my shit over how good it was, so colour me ecstatic that they already had more material for me to lose my shit over. If you ever wondered if post-metal would sound better with a trumpet, the answer is a resounding yes.

Allan Holdsworth – Fred

Honestly I’ve never had that much interest in listening to guitar virtuosity. Maybe it’s because I’m quite unmotivated by nature so I’ve never had the urge to try and replicate that kind of fretboard wankery because I just couldn’t be arsed committing to the level of practice required, even though I wish I could, which says a lot more about me than I’d like it to. Anyway, as I’ve got older I’ve learned to appreciate extremely complex music without it being a reminder of my own deficiencies, so here’s 10 minutes of jazz-fusion from the king of obscure guitar scales. Enjoy.

Nothing – Catch a Fade

A lot of people didn’t like this album but I thought it was pretty damn great. Lovely waves of fuzzy shoegaze guitars and flowery vocals make for some extremely chilled vibes. Yeah it’s not particularly groundbreaking, but you know what they say about things that aren’t broken.

Yob – Atma

Last night I was reminded of just how heavy this album is. I’m usually fairly certain of the direction I want Ba’al to take in the future, but sometimes I hear something like this and I just want to grow my hair, consume some narcotics, and play unrelenting sludge in this vein.

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Richard – Bass

Steven Wilson – King Ghost

My thoughts on the new SW album are currently mixed, but this is an undeniable banger. Headline: 53-year-old prog rock musician does a convincing impression of Grimes, with a dash of Kid A-era Radiohead weirdness and a phat beat.

Death Grips – Culture Shock

I’ve been using my government approved walks recently as a chance to listen to more hip-hop, a genre that I love but struggle to find time to listen to enough of, largely due to the density of lyrics making it off-putting when working or doing anything else that involves my concentration. As such, I listened to Exmilitary for the first time in probably about 5 years recently and remembered that the reason it brought Death Grips notoriety is because it is flipping excellent. (Note – subsequently found out that Exmilitary isn’t on Spotify, which is a crime, so on the playlist I’ve replaced it with another one of my fave DG songs).

Jam Baxter & Ed Scissor – Sink

I’m very glad to have finally got round to this slice of dark but polished underground UK rap recently. Ed Scissor is a top tier MC in my books, and the pairing of flows here is stellar.

Slow Crush – Drift

Not much to say about this – it’s just lush, dense and heavy shoegaze, and it’s great.

The Streets – Who’s Got the Bag? (21st June)

A deeply stupid song, elevated to legendary status by the virtue of having been released by the absolute British institution that is Mike Skinner. An anthem for our times.

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Luke – Drums

Polyphia – Bad

Yes, it grooves. This song has the badass attitude found in rap tracks, but this is entirely guitars, bass and drums. If you manage to not bob your head while listening you probably need to see a doctor or something. (I am not a medical professional)

Dream Theater – Take The Time

A true masterpiece of a Dream Theater song. It starts off building up a polyrhythm layer by layer which leads into a metal riff, then into solos with a good ballad-y section followed by more crazier solos. All this but they still fit in a chorus which you will want to sing a long to. AND they make it all sound musically coherent… WHAT?!?!

Periphery – Lune

Do you feel the love? Yes I feel the love! This is the song they closed with the last time I saw them live and I was singing along at the top of my terrible singing voice. It’s full of energy and emotion, and the way the song evolves and develops just draws you in. Lovely.

Skyharbor – Temptress

This song is clearly the track of this album where they let their rage out. The guitars have a spacious syncopted chugging riff reminiscent of some Meshuggah tracks. Meanwhile the drums are grooving hard with some maniacal vocal gibberish on top. Add some slappy bass in and this track has some DIRTY energy. Give me more!

Between the Buried and Me – Lay Your Ghosts to Rest

These guys are honestly on the next astral plane of musicianship. The way they move through time signatures, polyrhythms and different musical styles all while making beautiful coherent music is phenomenal and this track is a great example of that.

Monthly Playlist: March 2021

It’s now a year since we were in the studio recording Ellipsism, which is, quite frankly, insane. Here are some of the tracks we’ve been staving off the insanity with this month.

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Nick – Guitar

Princess Thailand – Sonar

These are a really great post-punk/noise band from France. Their album And We Shine would have easily made my top 5 of last year, if only I’d heard it last year. If I can recommend any band for darker music lovers, it is these.

Boston Marriage – Know You Were

Damn this is one of the nicest sounding dream pop tracks I’ve ever heard. Gorgeous dual-vocals and soothing, tight production make this such a powerful and bittersweet sounding track. These are a pretty new band as well, so I’m looking forward to them progressing, not that they need to progress to sound amazing.

Show Me A Dinosaur – Sunflower

These are a really great blackgaze/post-black metal/Deafalcesteaven style band from St. Petersburg. Their latest album Plantgazer captures the sound of “gazing at house plants day in day out and trying to figure out answers to the many questions this new world has given rise to”. Having spent close to a year doing almost exactly that, I wish I’d been able to listen to this album sooner.

Arlo Parks – Too Good

Appropriately titled, this track is one of the many feel good vibes from her album, which is similarly chock full of wholesomeness and is indeed too good for my words to do justice to. Debut of the year anybody?

Mogwai – Ritchie Sacramento

Partly due to a slightly intimidating discography of what I thought would be an awful lot of post-rock, I’ve often glossed over Mogwai. I really enjoyed this album though and it may be the impetus to explore them more. This track really stands out as a gooey, grungey, power pop track, though I must say I feel like I’m destined for disappointment if the rest of their catalogue doesn’t sound like this.

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Richard – Bass

Fightstar – Palahniuk’s Laughter

As a child of Busted’s heyday, of course I grew up with a strange and mainly morbidly curious interest in Charlie’s ‘serious’ band. That interest didn’t get me very far, and as a teen I remember obsessively listening to precisely four early Fighstar tracks. A few weeks ago, I inexplicably had the urge to go back and rinse that same handful of songs again and remind myself that Mr Simpson deserved so much more success for his genuinely pretty unique voice. Yes, I did follow this nostalgia binge by falling down a hole of Busted videos. Yes, I agree, their reunion tracks are better than you’d expect.

Bardspec – Bone

This is Ivar Bjornson from Enslaved’s electronic project with Steve Austin from Today is the Day. I saw Ivar do it live a few years back at a mega Enslaved/Wardruna weekend in London, but it’s taken me until now to give the album the time it deserves. It’s part dance music, part ambient but with plenty of guitar too and a strangely hypnotic folk feel that is hard to put your finger on.

Urfaust – Trail of the Conscience of the Dead

Sticking with the long tracks, this entrancing, repetitive and doomy mantra, complete with a monastic vocal and some gorgeous strings, is just one example of the greatness of this deeply atmospheric sort-of-black-metal band I’ve been getting into of late.

Olivier Orand – Hours

Previously known as Hol Baumann, Olivier Orand trades in semi-psychedelic downtempo electronic music. It’s equally good to chill or groove to, and is infectious as hell. Good vibes.

Daft Punk – Crescendolls

I had to push another track out of this final position to honour the recent, premature departure of the French robots. Daft Punk were a hugely important act for me during my early 20s, when my music tastes were expanding at a rate I could hardly keep up with. Discovery is an untouchable album of bangers, and if this song doesn’t get you moving then I strongly suspect that you might be deceased.

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Luke – Drums

Sleep Token – Levitate

Starting with a nice unsuspecting atmosphere at lovely vocals, this song evolves into a high energy, heavy hitting groove fest!

Bleating Apocalypse – Corporate Buffet

From the bands latest EP, this song is a balance of heavy metal and corporate hold music. Admittedly there are some familiar faces here, but I assure you that the bias towards this band is only minimal.

Periphery – Have a Blast

Easily my favourite song from Periphery 2. I find it to be a great example of orchestral backed djent with melodic riffs supported by chugging guitar patterns and solid drums. It’s just too good.

Project Mishram – Nivaasa

What genre even is this?! Mishram blew me away with their mix of Indian musical styles mixed with djent. This song takes that idea but adds jazz, calypso and god knows what else… But oh boi is it good stuff!

Sungazer – Sequence Start

More commonly heard in Adam Neeley’s YouTube videos, this short song mixes bass shredding with Mario-style synths on top of a fast paced quintuplet drum beat. Yes, it does indeed groove!

Monthly Playlist: February 2021

We’re back on our usual monthly business, with some tracks we’ve been listening to recently and words to accompany them. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot else to do, is there.

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Nick – Guitar

Ashnikko – Slumber Party (feat. Princess Nokia)

I remember hearing about Ashnikko ages ago and since then she’s been hovering around my list of artists to listen to and now it seems she’s kinda massive so it was about time I listened to her. Her new mixtape is exactly the kind of neon-stroke-pastel pop/hip-hop that I dig so I’m gonna have to explore her discography. The production is super sugary, the lyrics are witty and fun (perfectly suitable for your conservative grandparents), and my word isn’t it just catchy AF.

SOPHIE – BIPP

Rest in power one of the most talented and forward thinking producers of our time. One of the most iconic instances of an electronic producer whose music you can recognise immediately whether it was her solo work or her work with artists like Arca, Kim Petras or Charli XCX, her eclectic electric touch will be missed. I’ve gone with a classic in the form of Bipp which was for me, and many others, the first track I ever heard.

Chthonic – Legacy of the Seediq

There is a riff in this song that is a solid 9/10 riff and it would have been a 10/10 riff if they’d put a hecking ‘blegh’ at the beginning, but they didn’t and I’ve become so accustomed to doing it myself that I often forget there wasn’t one in the first place. Brilliant song from a brilliant album.

Rachika Nayar – The Trembling of Glass

Music, it seems, has no limits to how it can vary, Rachika Nayar being yet another artist that composes and manipulates sound in such a way that I’ve never heard before. Comparisons to other artists are truly futile in this case, but it’s the sound of an endless, glistening cave of jewels blanketed by a calming sea, or like drowning in a bathtub full of popping candy and crack, I don’t know.

Vjuga – Rotten: Godforsaken

These are a Russian band that I just discovered on Bandcamp because their album cover looks like something Katatonia would release. Doesn’t sound much like Katatonia really, in fact it doesn’t really sound like any band. There’s a really unique balance of grungy shoegaze elements and blackened doom elements that work wonderfully together. Very good, very cool, very beautiful, I like it.

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Richard – Bass

Oneohtrix Point Never – Sleep Dealer

Finally spending some long overdue time checking out OPN, specifically his landmark album Replica. It’s equal parts uncomfortably glitchy and soothingly ambient, which makes for a wonderfully unsettling vibe that really seeps deep into your brain in a way I am more than happy to accommodate.

Harvestman – Levitation

Harvestman is Steve Von Till from Neurosis’ drone/folk/psych project, and it’s a sound that suits him and his fatherly voice down to the ground. This track is built on a thrumming wash of distant heavy guitars that filter through such a dense prism of atmosphere and effects that it all comes together somewhere between Jesu and Nadja.

Periphery – Ragnarok

Since Luke joined the band as a third member who likes Periphery, I feel I can finally be open about how much I enjoy their first two albums in particular – moreso than pretty much any other djent I know. Spencer Sotelo’s vocals get smeared in all corners of the internet, but if you can listen to this song and honestly tell me you don’t think he’s insanely talented then I’m afraid you and I are done professionally. Stellar stuff.

The Knife – Neverland

The Silent Shout album has been on constant rotation in my car on the weekly trips to the shops and it’s made the whole ordeal a much more palatable one. ‘Neverland’ is an unrepentant banger, filled with Karin Dreijer’s (aka Fever Ray) genderfluid playfulness with vocal pitch-shifting and all-round unique stylings.

Substance – Countdown

Substance’s 2019 EP of Berlin techno Rise and Shine is a straight powerhouse of clattering rhythms, minimalist progressions and a dark, industrial audio aesthetic. Can I swap “Working From Home” with “Vibing From Berghain”, please?

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Luke – Drums

Strapping Young Lad – All Hail the New Flesh

When I got into SYL I clearly missed out on getting the City album. This has recently been remedied and holy moly is it another powerhouse of a Devvy album! This song in particular demonstrates incredible talent and musicianship with Gene Hoglan absolutely killing on the drums as per…. This is an absolute belter of a song and the chorus is just so fun to sing along to.

Vola – Straight Lines

This song was released on YouTube an hour before I’m writing this, but I love this band and this song continues to fuel that even though I haven’t completely taken it all in yet. The gaps between the verse vocal lines create such tension while the underlying groove keeps persisting and it just draws me in wanting more. And then the chorus is beautiful with lovely harmonies. It pleases my heart

Humanity’s Last Breath – Dehumanize

It slaps, need I say more? This is their last teaser before the album release in a week and boy oh boy do they have my interest. This isn’t beautiful like VOLA, it is just filth. Lovely groovy filth. I need to headbang to this in a field of sweaty men. What’s the tempo? Oh it slowed again? SIIIIIIIICK

Devin Townsend – Borderlands

I have a good life, and this is a great song. I’ve recently been listening to this a lot more in a lot more detail and really appreciating the nuanced layers of orchestration that make this so incredible. Devin has an amazing ability to create soundscapes which capture the mind and this is a wonderful demonstration of that.

Liquid Tension Experiment – The Passage Of Time

They’re back! And they have not changed. This song sounds just like the prog rock/metal shreddy goodness that we’ve come to know and love. To me the song does sound a lot like the stuff they’ve done in the past, but I suppose when you’ve not released anything in a long time you have to reassure the existing audience that you’re still exactly who they remember you to be, and this absolutely does that. There’s the classic Rudess keyboards, Portnoy Drums, Petrucci guitars and Levin Bass that interweave with solos and rich chord progressions in such a musical way.