Monthly Playlist: March 2020

More tunes from us, this time with some sexy new photos and the identity of our drummer revealed. In case you hadn’t heard, he’s called Luke, and he is excellent. You might recognise him from Bleating Apocalypse, where you might also recognise Richard. Or you might not. Anyway, check out the tracks below and read our ramblings…

Nick

Nick – Guitar

Loathe – Is It Really You?

I think it’s almost guaranteed that these are going to end up massive in the same way Code Orange have blown up. I liked the first album but this new one has so much more personality. They’re still in that noisy hardcore vein but with a melodic textural side similar to peak Deftones.

Azealia Banks – Anna Wintour

One of the catchiest tracks she’s released, really strong vocals with great beats.

Leeched – Earth and Ash

Disgusting track from a disgusting album. The really gnarly production is great and adds a lot to an already great hardcore record.

Malevolence – Keep Your Distance

Another great track from Malev. Just when you think you’ve heard all the riffs you remember they exist and will consistently slap you with some more.

The Elijah – I Loved

An amazing band that is still sorely missed. Definitely a highlight of the late 00s melodic hardcore boom and one of the most emotionally intense bands I’ve ever heard.

Richard

Richard – Bass

Grimes – So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth

Miss Anthropocene is the first 2020 album I’ve heard this year and it does not disappoint. I’m very pleased that Grimes has gone back to making properly outsider music, and this track is a winning combo of spacey and melodic.

Sear Bliss – Forbidden Doors

Who knew that the trombone worked so well in black metal? Brilliantly produced heaviness that has vital cathiness in its blasting, alongside some atmospheric passages that are uniquely textured thanks to the brass.

Bring Me The Horizon – Nihilist Blues

IT’S DOUBLE GRIMES TIME. Amo is the first BMTH album I’ve actually given any time, and this year I’ve been absolutely smashing this track in my car. The production is brilliant, the marriage of pop and riffs infectious, and Grimes slots in weirdly perfectly.

Laster – Tot De Tocht Ons Verlicht

Holland’s Laster have an intriguing take on the lo-fi atmospheric black metal school of sounds, with some real instrumental experimentation. This track hits all the emotional spots whilst remaining progressive, incisive, and managing to include a choral/church organ break.

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

Continuing the black metal/pop alternation, I’ve had this song stuck in my head on and off for a full calendar month. It’s classic LDR: sumptuous melodies, top-tier pop production and dark lyrics. Hail the queen.

Joe

Joe – Vocals

Alcest – Voix Sereines

Beautiful track off the bands least popular album that really plied the Slowdrive influence. Always makes me smile.

Green Carnation – Pile of Doubt

Sumptuous rock song, brilliant vocals and a real toe tapper.

The Gathering – Kevin’s Telescope

One of the most criminally overlooked bands from the Netherlands that were doing what Within Temptation and Delain have done a decade earlier and better.

Drudkh – Wind of the Night Forest

Quite simply one of my favourite black metal tracks of all time.

Ruins of Beverast – Mount Sinai Moloch

Got to have a bit of darkness this month too. Nasty, dense and grim, just like your mum.

Luke

Luke – Drums

Humanity’s Last Breath – Like Flies

Starting off with what I’d consider one of the heaviest bands I listen to on a regular basis. This song has a grim grooves with sickeningly heavy guitars and hard-hitting drums. A lovely song for a horible day.

Dream Theater – Dance of Eternity

After finally seeing it live this month with the monster that is Mike Mangini behind the drums, I just have to put this on this month’s list. A classic instrumental prog track which has given me many hours of enjoyment trying to learn the drum parts.

Dirty Loops – Sexy Girls

When this jazz fusion group were announced as the headliners for 2020’s Radar Fest I had to check them out. I mainly just enjoy playing this song when giving lifts to work mates who are expecting me to belt out some incomprehensible metal!

Tesseract – Of Matter – Resist

I’ve mainly been listening to this lots because its been my alarm for the past few months. Great atmospheric intro (perfect for a light and breezy wake up) but builds into a classic Tesseract groove which you should all love. LOVE IT.

Strapping Young Lad – You Suck

I feel like I remember this just coming up on shuffle a lot lately, and it is just an incredible yet hectic song which hits super hard and super fast. Also just great fun to sing along to if you’re feeling miffed with people!

Tom

Tom – Guitar

Torche – Admission

I’ve always had a big love for this band. Floaty shoegaze guitar pop meets huge sludge riffs.

Smashing Pumpkins – Behold the Nightmare

The Adore album was a quiet, low-key oddity in the midst of the Pumpkins’ catalogue, and yet my favourite Pumpkins record.

Touché Amoré – Is Survived By

Heartfelt post-hardcore doesn’t get much better than this and it’s a great book end to the album that got me into this band.

Deafheaven – From the Kettle Onto the Coil

Dark and savage single post- the Sunbather album that set the tone for the New Bermuda album that followed.

The Mirimar Disaster – If Lockheeds Could Speak

Old tune from some good friends stacked with some monster riffs.

Monthly Playlist: February 2020

New year, same monthly playlist post… New drummer. As usual, we’ve all picked 5 tracks – including our new drummer, whose identity is yet to be revealed. Guesses on a postcard please.

Mirror attempt 1 bw

Nick – Guitar

Under – Traitor’s Gate

You can file this one under ‘simple riffs that slap so hard that you really wish you’d written’. There is also plenty of the sort of off kilter affair you’d expect from Under. Looking forward to whatever weird-as-shit metal they release next.

Max Cooper – Perpetual Motion

I have Richard to thank for this one. Only started listening to Max on his recommendation but I’m glad I did. Minimalist techno that is nonetheless vividly illustrative and euphoric. To draw his music would be to draw a massively intricate landscape.

Michelle Branch – Everywhere

Classic early 2000s pop-rock anthem. Unfortunately Michelle is no longer a household name it seems but The Spirit Room nonetheless is still an absolutely stellar album. They don’t write pop songs like this anymore.

Frigoris – Aurora Stirbt

A potential early contender for album of the year. Beautiful German post-black metal with an anti-NSBM stance. What is there not to love?

Allie X – Science

I’m picking the stripped back ‘analog’ version she released last year purely for the ridiculous pitch her voice reaches towards the end. Regardless listen to the original too. The phattest sounding dark synth pop with astounding production.

Mirror attempt 2 bw

Tom – Guitar

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Sleep

And we used to sleep on the beach here, sleep overnight.
They don’t do that anymore.
Things changed…
You see
They don’t sleep anymore on the beach

Jesu – Christmas

Waves of electronics and guitars crash over eachother in ways that are instantly recognisable as Broaderick’s work. A twisted combination of industrial and shoegaze.

65daysofstatic – Safe Passage

The synth swells and blooms are glorious. Emotive and uplifting that always makes the hairs standup on my arms.

Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us

Just absolute savagery commited to tape. A gloriously nihilistic way to open an album and a statement of intent.

Neurosis – Stones From the Sky

Bleak, hypnotic, no frills simplicity. Neurosis at their absolute crushing best.

Mirror attempt 4 bw

Joe – Vocals

Les Discrets – Le Mouvement Perpetuel

Pleasant yet haunting post black metal from Alcest’s bezzie mates. Actually quite soothing.

Fen – The Gibbet Elms

One if the UK’s finest atmospheric black metal bands. Oozes malevolence.

Drakonis – Let Us Pray

Northern Irish black metallers who have a full length album on the way. Traditional and catchy.

Monstrosity – Remnants of Divination

Best known for being the training ground for musicians to join bigger death metal bands. But this track is a tech-death banger.

Slipknot – Eyeless

Classic track that was a highlight when I recently saw them live for the fourth time. YOU CAN’T SEE CALIFORNIA WITHOUT MARLON BRANDOS EYES!!!

Mirror attempt 3 bw

Richard – Bass

Ashbringer – Solace

This album, Yūgen, made a bit of an underground splash when it came out a few years ago. Brilliant atmospheric black metal, with some powerful harmonies and masterful acoustic passages. It’s a bit like Wolves in the Throne Room meets Mike Oldfield.

Jesu – Silver

As is often the case, I’m very slowly filling gaps in my knowledge with artists I definitely should be more familiar with… After just one listen, the title track on this EP has shot up to amongst my very favourite Jesu tracks. Heartwrenching, reverberating, heavy and so distinctive.

Steve Hauschildt – The World is Too Much with Us

I recently came across this Berlin-School-influenced electronic artist via a BandCamp reccomendation email, and then found out he’s playing in Sheffield next month – double winner. His work is like a blend of simplistic synth-based soundscapes with Jon Hopkins-like hooks and sound, and this one is just great and textured ambience.

E-L-R – Above the Mountains There is Light

Though they didn’t make it into my albums of 2019 list, seeing them live in December with Hundred Year Old Man (twice, including playing with them once) has kept E-L-R in my mind. This track – featuring Colin from Amenra – is the pinnacle of the album for me, reaching some brilliant, chordy heights.

Thy Catafalque – Vashegyek

This is a band I’m really only just properly investing time into, having had them on my radar for a long time. There’s some truly nasty, deathly sludge riffs on display here, alongside influence from Hungarian folk and electronica, and you could also argue there’s some of the SOAD brand of melody in there too. Can’t wait to get stuck into more of their albums.

Image result for anonymous person

??? – Drums

Twilight Force – Hydra

Soooo, I like cheesy power metal and have a big ole soft spot for orchestral elements in metal. This is an absolute belter off Twilight Force’s latest album, which is sure to lighten up any day!

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Monnalisa

Following on the orchestral theme, Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Monnalisa comes in from the heavier end still with a fantastic combination of musicality, epicness, and looming ominous tones.

Arch Echo – MukDuk

This instrumental prog/mathsy band bring the grooooooovvvveeeeeee to extreme proportions. Great fun talented band with amazing energy.

Devin Townsend – Borderlands

It’s Devin… Need I say more? I see this as a brilliant example of all the stuff that makes Devin Devin. It’s got heavy, silliness, proggy stuff, a crying child… IT’S GOOD.

VOLA – Whaler

VOLA were my most recent love at first sight band, and this song off their latest album is a beautiful comination of heavy and with the beautiful loveliness which makes VOLA one of my favourite bands.

Albums of the Year 2019

Last year was a big one for music, sounds and noises. Below you’ll find Nick, Richard, Tom and Joe’s picks of the bunch, after hours and hours of pain in stripping the lists down to a measly 5. We’ve also got one track on from each release in a handy little Spotify playlist…

Mirror attempt 1 bw

Nick – Guitar

This was a very strong year and putting this list together was very difficult (isn’t it always?). I only undertook the voyage into 2019’s back catalogue in mid-November, so I’m pleased I managed to squeeze around 140 in before the year was out. Several honourable mentions this year including Alcest, Cult of Luna, Cranial, Violet Cold, Mizmor, Ultar, Oh Sees, The Grey, Skepta, Seizures, Rorcal, Anderson Paak, Billie Eilish, Boris, Charli XCX, Hannah Diamond, Herod, Hobo Johnson and the list goes on and on. Here’s the five I wanted to mention in particular.

5. Norma Jean – All Hail

Image result for norma jean all hail

A slightly tongue in cheek album title perhaps? Regardless of intention, it’s an apt name for a now legendary metalcore band showing us how it’s done.

4. James Blake – Assume Form

Image result for assume form

A typically strong outing from the James the Blake with consistently compelling features. Considerably more pastel coloured than his previous releases (he’s not miserable as fuck anymore) and with that it’s one of the most interesting alt-pop records of recent years.

3. Sūrya – Solastalgia

Image result for surya solastalgia

This one took pole in my very tight post-metal round-up. Cult of Luna, Alcest and Cranial all came close but none of them drew my undivided attention quite like this. Essential listening for any fan of the aforementioned bands and the wider post-metal world.

2. 65daysofstatic – replicr, 2019

Image result for 65daysofstatic replicr 2019

A bleak Orwellian nightmare is the perfect soundtrack for the future, now that we live in a bleak Orwellian nightmare under the fat blonde goblin.

1. Lankum – The Livelong Day

Image result for lankum the livelong day

Incredible follow up to their similarly incredible second album. It’s difficult for me to describe this album, as I make no claim to being a connoisseur of Irish folk. What I can say is that there is a brooding intensity to this album, a grim foreboding the likes of which you might otherwise hear on a Sunn O))) album. In a pinch I’d say this is my album of the year.

Mirror attempt 3 bw

Richard – Bass

I’m notoriously useless at keeping up with new music, and spend far more of my time digging into old things I’ve missed over the years, but this list was a fun excercise in trying to catch up. Although it’s nothing on Nick’s total, I managed 30 albums from 2019, which is loads for me. About 15-20 of them could have made the top 5, but ones that came especially close were Cult of Luna, HANA, Max Cooper, N/UM, New Ghost, Earth & Pillars, A-Sun Amissa, Mic Reckless and White Ward.

5. Earth Moves – Human Intricacy

Image result for human intricacy

Ever since I first saw them in 2017, Earth Moves have been one of my favourite UK heavy bands, and their second album near enough manages the seemingly impossible task of matching the quality of their first. No one else dares to get so rawly emotional and dynamic with post metal, and if anything there’s more variety and power this time around.

4. Archivist – Triumvirate

Image result for archivist triumvirate

A massive step up from the second record which was a bit of a mis-step in my opinion, Archivist have returned to doing post-black metal better than almost anyone else. Two vocalists (with both clean and harsh vocals), lush chord progressions and, crucially, plenty of straight-up battery, all topped off with frontman Alex CF’s brilliant artwork. In truth, you need to check out the full trilogy.

3. FKA Twigs – Magdalene

Image result for fka twigs magdalene cover

It took me ages to get around to this one after both Nick and my girlfriend told me for months that I’d love it – they weren’t wrong. This is pop music twisted into bizarre shapes, retaining the hooks and beats that keep you plugged in. It’s one of those records that reveals more every time. Highly recommended.

2. Lingua Ignota – Caligula

Image result for lingua ignota caligula

Speaking of twisting things into painful shapes, Lingua Ignota’s voice is just something else. There’s a lot more to digest here than on her first outing, but once you put in the time, it’s incredibly powerful. Classical meets noise meets drone meets metal meets liturgical music meets abject pain meets fear of god meets brutal revenge on all those who have wronged you. See her live, you won’t be the same afterwards.

1. Dizraeli – The Unmaster

Image result for dizraeli the unmaster

Continuing to prove himself a totally unique voice in UK hip-hop (/folk/experimental/spoken word/something/everything), this one caught me totally by surprise with how much I loved it. It’s so eclectic, personal and powerful, whilst also being full of danceable bangers. Dizraeli’s own flow is only getting stronger with time, and it sits at the centre of a wild symphony of electronic and acoustic instruments, plus some totally out there vocal performances.

Mirror attempt 2 bw

Tom – Guitar

There were many that could have been on this list and a few that were very close, including Cave In… As much as I love ‘Final Transmission’, you can’t help the feeling that it could have been so much more if it wasn’t for the sad passing of Caleb. Russian Circles, Torche, Iggy Pop and A-Sun Amissa were all standouts and in that order would round out a top 10, but these are the 5 that really grabbed me this time round.

5. Boris – LφVE & EVφL

Image result for boris love and evol

Walls of fuzz and noise collide with a surprising dash of calm and quiet. What’s not to love.

4. Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear

Image result for a dawn to fear

Monolithic riffs combine with atmospheric passages in ways nobody else can manage.

3. Mono – Nowhere Now Here

Image result for nowhere here now

A masterpiece of soundscape, texture and expression, with a depth lost on so many other bands of their ilk over the years. Spanning fragile to bombastic walls of sound effortlessly.

2. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

Image result for nick cave ghosteen

Stripped bare compared to early Bad Seeds material and continuing on from the last couple of releases this is as beautiful as it is dark and haunted by loss. Was my album of the year for a long time until…

1 . 65daysofstatic – Replicr, 2019

Image result for 65daysofstatic replicr 2019

I don’t really know how to describe this record. Each and every time it gives up a bit more from the vast soundscapes within that feel more like one vast piece than individual tracks. Just stunning.

Mirror attempt 4 bw

Joe – Vocals

I’ve been a bit out of the loop on newer music this year; most of what I’ve heard has been random bits of obscure black metal performed in deep, dark Siberian woodland, recorded onto a potato by hedgehogs that probably have unconfirmed but potentially troubling political ideaologies…. So instead of trawling through reems of spikey logo’d bands that sound like dense atmospheres within a tub of particularly evil marmalade, I’ve picked out the stuff that others may have actually heard of. Honourable mentions go to Mayhem’s album ‘Daemon’ for being better than expected and Slipknot’s ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ for it’s grade D at GCSE graphics artwork and, despite being aggravatingly underwhelming, still supplying me with an adequate coaster for my mug of fancy pants coffee.

5. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
Image result for cattle decapitation death atlas

The best album since the game changing Monolith of Inhumanity. Further experimentation, diversity and even a sense of emotion rarely experienced in tech death.

4. Mgla – Age of Excuse
Image result for age of excuse

Released to almost zero fanfare this album just turned up one day. A powerful follow up the the masterpiece that was “Exercises in Futility”.

3. Veldes – Flameless
Image result for veldes flameless

More spectacular atmosphere from Slovenias workhorse black metallers.

2. Blut Aus Nord – Hallucinogen
Image result for blut aus nord hallucinogen

Coming somewhat out of left field this album is a mind bending experience that demonstrates Blut Aus Nords progression along with their spacey cosmic trademark.

1. Grima – Will of the Primordial

Image result for grima will of the primordial

Extremely cold atmospheric black metal that truly resonates a sense of eternal winter.