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The Best Ambient / Drone / Noise Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017





A side project of Wormlust's incredibly talented HV Lyngdal, Afsprengi Satans sees Lyngdal's sorcery manifesting in a more ritualistic, dark ambient formula. Replete with spooky atmospheric effects and otherworldly spoken word, and featuring an atypical use of percussion as the prime driver of composition, Djöful Leg is as powerful a howling to those primal Icelandic spirits as any.

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This legendary Japanese trio celebrated their 25th anniversary as a band by releasing Dear, an album that packs more variety and emotion than ought to be possible into a set of songs that, on their faces, still belong to this category of ambient/drone/noise. Dear moves at such a conservative pace that it might be difficult to tell, but these songs are full of melody; buried within caverns of menacing noise and distortion are structures resembling pop hooks, with groovy doom riffs and gorgeously expressive clean vocals shepherding the songs from sinister to sublime. Boris haven't spent 25 years just letting amplifiers whine; they've been learning how to write Dear.

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With drums that sound like they're just raring to go full-bore and bass-driven noise that feels like the calm before a hardcore storm, Qaal Babylon is almost sludge. Of course, the usual desert of activity precludes any classification other than drone/noise, and we've agreed that "funeral sludge" is not allowed to be a real term yet, but that feedback sounds suspiciously up-tempo, and those hoarse growls have a definite blackened flavor to them. The repetitive noise is, quite thankfully, oppressive and heavy enough to drown out any further discussion of what genre this should be considered.

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The massive drone doom of the Spanish Pylar stands as some of the most extensive and sonically diverse in the style. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to use the label "jazz drone" or something similar here, as a ton of nonmetal ingredients including horns, strings, chanting, synths, and more rear their head and factor into the meditative, doomy core. Always a band looking to try new things and expand people's conceptions of what music can be, Pylar only continue to impress with this one.

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After their massive triple album, Schammasch have decided to shake things up not with a return to their signature blackened death metal sound, but by further exploring the droney ambient music they put on the third disc of Triangle. The result is a hypnotizing journey surprisingly driven more by drum work than anything else, further embellished by interesting background effects and marvelous clean vocals. This is an album that shows, above all else, that this is a group of musicians dedicated to evolution.

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