Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - October 2020


Written by: RaduP, musclassia, Starvynth, Mr. Doctor
Published: 16.11.2020


Wait A Minute! This Isn't Metal! - October 2020
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:

September 2020
August 2020
July 2020

And now to the music...






Greg Puciato - Child Soldier: Creator Of God
[Alternative Rock | Electronic]


The Dillinger Escape Plan may be over, but Greg Puciato's involvement in music certainly isn't. Album number two by supergroup Killer Be Killed is impending, synthwave project The Black Queen already have two records out, and now Puciato is going solo, with Child Soldier: Creator Of God almost completely his own work (Chris Hornbook, Chris Pennie and Ben Koller help out on drums, but Puciato does guitars, bass and synths on top of his vocal duties). Child Soldier is both similar to and distinct from all his projects; there's synth-dominated tracks leaning towards/rooted in pop-oriented genres, but also intense songs bordering on extreme metal. It's diverse, it's substantial (15 tracks to be found here), and it's also really damn good.

Child Soldier: Creator Of God is diverse, covering different genres on almost a track-by-track basis, but it doesn't feel eclectic in a way that comes across as disjointed; with the way the album peaks and troughs in intensity, it comes across as a natural, cohesive journey, whether there's thundering drums and vicious metal trudges ("Fire For Water", "Do You Need To Remind Me?"), smooth poppy synth-heavy tracks ("Temporary Object", "A Pair Of Questions"), or something in between like the Nine Inch Nails influences on "Evacuation" or something that leans towards the calmer, more insidious songs by The Dillinger Escape Plan like "Roach Hiss". Puciato sounds great here, whether shredding vocals on "Fire For Water", crooning on "Temporary Object" or espousing passionately on "Heartfree". The Dillinger Escape Plan and other projects already showed what a quality musician Puciato is, but Child Soldier: Creator Of God demonstrates that he can write excellent music by himself.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Health - DISCO4 :: PART I
[Electro-Industrial | Synthwave]


Health's discography to date has gone album, compilation of remixes from that album, album, compilation of remixes from that album, album, compilation of remixes from that album, album and collaboration record. DISCO4 :: PART I, the fourth entry in the DISCO series, departs from the trend from the previous release cycles and took a different approach, bringing in an array of impressive collaborators, from metal(-adjacent) acts such as Full Of Hell (with the wonderfully titled "Full Of Health", which was already released over the summer) and Perturbator, to hip-hop acts such as Ghostemane and JPEGMAFIA, and even the rising indie star Soccer Mommy. It's a strong array of features, and DISCO4 makes good, if not stellar, use of these artists.

The sound on DISCO4 fluctuates throughout; the opening one-two of "Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0." and "Body/Prison" (featuring Perturbator are clearly rooted in synthwave, with the soothing vocals, slick, 'cool' grooves and electronic soundscapes. Beyond that point however, there are more flamboyant electronic tracks ("Power Fantasy"), which dabbles with trap, dubstep and more, as well as the hip-hop tracks "Judgement Night" and "Hate You", which both work well, if running a bit short in the process (neither exceeds 2 minutes). Length in general is one of the biggest limitations I find with DISCO4, as several tracks feel like they may have benefited from the opportunities an extra minute would provide to develop them further. "Full Of Health", perhaps the most intriguing track from a metal fan's perspective, leans far closer to Health than Full Of Hell sonically, with only some harsh vocals and breakdowns bookending the track to highlight the presence of the latter; again, perhaps if the song had been afforded more time, a greater synthesis of the two acts may have occurred. Beyond this issue, however, most of the collaborations work well; Soccer Mommy's "Mass Grave" is soothing and atmospheric, as is the album's longest track "Delicious Ape", featuring Xiu Xiu.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Touché Amoré - Lament
[Post-Hardcore | Screamo]


I was a bit let down that the latest Touché Amoré record was a re-recording of a previous album instead of a follow-up to the excellent Stage Four. Well now I got that, and it was definitely worth the four year wait even if it's hard to live up to such a record. Being just over a decade into their career, you can't really call Touché Amoré old, but it would be around this time you would expect their youthful energy to start showing signs of depletion. I can't say that happened yet, so Lament finds them still overwhelming us with their pent-up anxiety and sweet sweet release from it. However, Lament is also clearly a different Touché Amoré record than most of what came before it.

Naturally the closest thing to it is the predecessor, Stage Four, but it seems like even compared to it, Lament dialed up some of its post-punk and indie pop sensibilities, as can often be expected of screamo bands. Don't let this fool you into thinking that they've gone soft, since the vast majority of the vocals are still in the screamed spectrum, but more often a guitar melody sounds close to a post-punk revival one, like in "Limelight" or "Savoring", the latter of which perfectly contrasts the postier moments with aggressive moments of drums blasting. The contrast between lighter and heavier touches does drive Lament into being very emotionally and sonically dynamic, and for a screamo record, the former is especially indispensable, but the latter is a nice touch as well.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




METZ - Atlas Vending
[Noise Rock | Post-Hardcore]


METZ are a Canadian noise rock trio, meaning that they specialize in that type of punkish rock music that is really keen on making everything as noisy as possible through massive amounts of guitar feedback. And if previous albums would cap that at 30 and then 35 minutes, Atlas Vending is at a comfortable 40 minutes, short enough not to get tiring, long enough to get your worth. Noise rock is obviously the biggest part of their sound, but even by itself it's quite an umbrella term, so you'll find post-hardcore, post-punk, industrial rock and alternative rock sprinkled throughout.

There isn't a lot here that has been changed from previous releases, mainly they maintain the same exuberant and boisterous energy, oozing of chaos and anxiety, stretched over a slightly longer runtime. Even at its most meat-and-potatoes, its execution and energy is poignant and visceral, so the bits of outside influences only feel more welcome when they hit, so the grooves of psychedelia of something like the closing track complement the rest of the album really well. And production-wise this is definitely the best they've ever sounded, so this is definitely a really fun listen, but one that doesn't leave as much of a mark as it potentially could if it was a bit more experimental.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Frankie And The Witch Fingers - Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters
[Psychedelic Rock | Garage Rock]


Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters (let's make that MEPEM from now on) is the 6th full-length album by LA psychedelic outfit Frankie And The Witch Fingers; not bad for a band that only put out their debut album in 2013. Frankie and his witch fingers appear to be prolific; however, that level of output doesn't seem to translate into a drop in quality, as album number 6 has plenty to write home about on it. FATWF play a garage/psychedelic rock blend, with some tracks veering more towards one than the other. I find myself enjoying the more psychedelic tracks more, such as the excellent opener "Activate", an up-tempo acid-tinge powerhouse with slick guitar leads and echoing vocals that never lets up the speed for 8 minutes straight.

"Activate" is the best track on MEPEM for my money, but there's not a notable dip in quality to "Reaper"; far more chilled with clean guitar, it's very pleasant and still brings the volume in the instrumental chorus. "Sweet Freak" and "Where's Your Reality?" show the garage rock side of the band more with the dirty riffs; personally, I don't care for these tracks, but I can see anyone with an inclination towards garage rock liking them a lot. My interest in the album is revitalized with the groovy "Simulator" and raises again with the abbreviated title track; the longest song and closer to the album, "MEPEM" isn't quite the powerhouse that "Activate" is, but it has some really enjoyable guitar leads, as well as effectively structured ebb and flow of dynamics. Altogether, MEPEM is a solid psychedelic garage rock record with enough here for fans of either style to enjoy.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Osees - Metamorphosed
[Krautrock | Psychedelic Rock]


Seven names and twenty-odd albums deep, Osees (formerly Oh Sees, and Thee Oh Sees before that, and OCS before that) are clearly not a band that likes to meticulously plan out albums for months at a time, particularly seeing as Metamorphosed is not only not their first album released in 2020, but may not be their last, with Panther Rotate scheduled for a December release. Avid followers of this article series (using the plural under the assumption that we have at least 2) will recognize this band from last month's article, as well as an edition from last summer. Much of what Radu said about those albums, particularly Protean Threat can apply to Metamorphosed; it's unfocused and unbalanced, but also generally rather enjoyable.

Possessing probably one of the most uneven tracklists in terms of length that I've ever encountered, Metamorphosed is comprised of 5 tracks, but the first three of these combined only just break 5 minutes. Following the angry punky noise of "Saignant", is a fun little psychedelic rock track with some exciting guitar harmonies and driving riffs, and "Weird And Wasted Connection" continues in the same vein. Once these three are out of the way, however, you can sink your teeth into two extensive psychedelic jams, and they offer plenty to get stuck into. The drums on "The Virologist" plug away as an array of guitars, keyboards and sound effects come and go on what is a fun, if rather ill-defined instrumental track that won't necessarily get you hankering for more, whilst "I Got A Lot" brings in the vocals and attempts to be slightly more structured in its approach, despite the increased length. Osees are clearly a band that just likes to make and share music, and those that enjoy psychedelic rock, particularly with Krautrock influences, should find this enjoyable, but similar to Radu's assessment of Protean Threat, I'm not sure it offers much more to elevate it above the numerous similar efforts out there.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Trees Speak - Ohms
[Krautrock | Progressive Electronic]


Sumptuous Krautrock from Tucson, Arizona, Ohms is the second record by Trees Speak and what a fine sophomore effort it is. The initial build-up of Hammond organ, electronic pulses, guitars and more in the opening stages of "Soul Sequencer" nicely sets the scene for the psychedelic, seamless journey Trees Speak take listeners on across the 17 tracks that comprise Ohms. "Soul Sequencer" eventually becomes a fairly minimalist Krautrock track, but the varied application of electronics on subsequent efforts, such as the synth arpeggios of "Shadow Circuit" or the shimmering nostalgia of "Sadness In Wires" (which seems to draw from a similar source of inspiration as I Break Horses did on their album Warning earlier this year), make the subsequent 40 minutes an entrancing and captivating journey.

Ohms is broken up into a large number of tracks, but given the way each track segues into the one that follows, it gives off the impression of being a single entity comprised of multiple phases. If you're not paying attention, you can go from those synth arpeggios in "Shadow Circuit" to the spacious, subdued psychedelic rock of "Blame Shifter" without even noticing. The tone across Ohms is consistently subdued, meaning that the album makes for very satisfying background listening, but the precise compositions make more attentive listening similarly rewarding. Trees Speak have actually released their second album of 2020 since I finished writing my first draft of this review, and given how much I enjoyed this album, I'm excited to cover Shadow Forms in next month's edition of this article.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Autechre - SIGN
[Ambient | IDM]


Autechre is probably the biggest name in IDM next to Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada and probably the most consistently IDM between the three. Though their pioneering records came in the 90s, it is the 2010s that saw a huge turn towards the grandiose in terms of record lengths. 2010's Oversteps might've been more familiar territory for the band at the time, but once they hit double album with two hours of runtime with 2013's Exai, there was no turning back. The sound palette would be stretched even further on the five discs of the four hour long 2016's elseq. But the duo just had to break that record too with 2018's NTS Session's eight hours. Now finally I can recommend you a new Autechre album to listen to without taking out your entire day.

Even SIGN might not have escaped the runtime trap, as a sibling record, PLUS, was released a few weeks later (more on that in the next article). But regardless, SIGN shows no sign (hehe) of the duo being in creative danger even after swathes of material released. Not all of it is as top notch as their peak stuff, or as the best moments of the previous behemoths, but it provides a lot of harmonious futuristic synth infused IDM that shouldn't be too unapproachable even for inexperienced listeners of electronica. It is definitely great to hear Autechre with a more focused released compared to their jammy decade.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




JeGong - I
[Post-Rock | Ambient]


Coming courtesy of Pelagic Records, I is the debut outing of JeGong, a collaboration between Dahm Majuri Cipolla of Mono and Reto Mäder of Sum Of R. The duo certainly didn't leave much on the cutting room floor, packing I with 75 minutes of material. If I'm being honest, the album could've probably benefited from being a tad shorter; however, the material that they do fit into it is consistently good. A spacious, ambient-heavy post-rock album with slow paces, steady, repetitive percussion and different electronic approaches to generate ambience, it's quite easy to get lost in its meditative aura.

The first track begins slightly surprisingly, with almost a post-punk vibe right early on, but it eventually moves into a sea of hazy ambient synths, carried along by a one-dimensional drum pattern on loop. The percussion is often content to follow a single pattern for a prolonged time, giving "Sir Bell" something of a mechanical feel. "Frames Of Reference" is more post-rock-oriented, with lots of swirling distorted sound going on; like the album as a whole, this track is a bit too long, but decent whilst it lasts. They do throw in occasional novelties as far as different sounds go, such as the brash synth sounds on "Ghost City" or the stringed instrument featured sparsely on "Stable Off", which help contribute to the emptiness and bleakness I exudes. A promising debut effort for this collaboration, I is a good port of call if you're looking for something to stick on and just zone out to.

Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




KTL - VII
[Ambient | Drone | Electronica]


For the uninitiated (and for those who simply missed our Sunn O))) articles): Stephen O'Malley teamed up with electronic musician Peter Rehberg to create KTL during the mid-2000s. The project has been notorious for releasing vast, formless works of ambient music with electronic touches as commissioned pieces for theatre works or for other outside parties. This is the first time in quite a while that the project unleashes a work that has not been previous commissioned. The duo began working on their own in what they referred to an "unexpected extended stay in Berlin" as Covid-19 began spreading and forcing people to stay where they were. In the wake of the pandemic, KTL captures this claustrophobic situation down to a T. The album is filled with ascending and descending drones drenched in neo-classical undertones. Tracks like "Tea With Kali" are looming yet soothing and certainly makes for a very Interesting soundtrack to a lockdown. It's a very quiet experience interrupted by alarming moments. This results in a sensation of uneasiness and vertigo that is very palpable.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Mr. Doctor




Summer Of Seventeen - Summer Of Seventeen
[Ambient | Noise]


We've heard about metal supergroups all of the time, and we certainly have no shortage of them. Noise and ambient musicians do often collaborate with each other, but a noise supergroup isn't really something I had envisioned until now. Enter Summer Of Seventeen, a quintet made up by spouses Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, Sumac, ex-Isis) and Faith Coloccia (who has worked with Aaron in both Mamiffer and House Of Low Culture), along with big underground names like Monika Khot, William Fowler Collins and Daniel Menche.

Thankfully there is a lot of chemistry between the musicans, both because of previous collaborations between them or because of a similar vision, Summer Of Seventeen is perhaps one of the most brutal ambient albums out there, not brutal in the sense that harsh noise is brutal, but a constant dark looming threat radiates from it. It is not subtle and patient about it, you feel like you are in danger now, but the record manages to make your spine tingle in a very nuanced and beautiful way. As the name suggests, the album was recorded in the summer of 2017 right as fires were starting to set the East coast aflame. A looming doomsday indeed.

Bandcamp

by RaduP




Poppy - Music To Scream To
[Noise | Ambient]


So... Poppy just made a noise album. Yep, you read that right. Though it shouldn't be really that surprising, since the Poppy gimmick already ran a little bit deeper than pop art project going in a metal direction, with Music To Scream To running on the same thread that Poppy's previous ambient releases 3​:​36 (Music To Sleep To) and I C U (Music To Read To) did. But considering the "metal" part of this point of her career, it isn't that surprising that she went into the abrasive part of ambient music as well. It's just surprising that she managed to make a pretty creative noise album as a genre virgin.

Noisy as it is, this isn't really harsh noise, with a lot of the synth noise being fairly tame, more interested in exploring textures, rhythms and patterns. Starting off more on the dark ambient side, it quickly turns into these noise sound explorations that go from a feature from Ghostemane's side project GASM, a section of silence followed by an audio jumpscare, and generally what can only be described as a popular musician probably introducing some poor souls to one of the most inhospitable musical genres out there. Not the best noise album out there, but certainly its context makes it the most significant.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP



Moor Mother - Circuit City
[Free Jazz | Jazz Poetry]


Moor Mother has been quite a busy bee these past few years. First getting to know her from her collab with Justin Broadrick in Zonal, her work has gone through free jazz, spoken word, industrial hip-hop, post-punk and dub, constantly expanding the palette through collaborations. On Circuit City even though it is a solo record, a lot of credit must be given to the horns, bass and drum players that give this album such an urgent feeling through its free jazz sound. Add to that the electronics and Moor Mother's striking poetry and you've got an album that demands your attention.

The jazz and electronics that give the album its urgent mood only do as much of the work, as Circuit City is a four act play that is mostly focused on the poetry. Moor Mother's themes of Afro-American revolt and liberation aren't new by any means, but her Afrofuturism and, on this album, emphasis on gentrification and the housing crisis only make it more hard-hitting. The album seems to have been written before the pandemic, but the housing situation has gotten a lot worse since then, and that came just around the time one of the most famous recent cases of police brutality got linked to a gentrification plan.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma And Divorce
[Hip Hop | Jazz Rap]


On Anime, Trauma And Divorce, Open Mike Eagle lays bare the fallout from a disastrous 2019, featuring the loss of his collaboration with record label Hellfyre Club, TV show The New Negroes and, most significantly, his marriage. There's no hiding from these things and their effects on Eagle (the title is fairly blunt), with the mundanity and difficulties of the real world contrasted with anime-inspired fantasies. Namedropping superheroes (X-Men, Spiderman) and popular animes (Neon Genesis Evangelion, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), Eagle adds an element of the absurd to serious matters with songs such as "Headass" ("Ass on my head-head, ass on my head") and "The Black Mirror Episode" (in which Eagle suggests the show is partly responsible for the collapse of his marriage). The contrast between Eagle's comedic instincts and the vulnerability he exposes on Anime, Trauma And Divorce offers a relatively novel take on what is well-travelled lyrical subject matter in music.

Beyond the lyrical side of the album, Anime, Trauma And Divorce is one of the small number of hip hop records I've found myself enjoying in recent years, which is more impressive given that it doesn't come from the same place of aggression that the music of Death Grips and Backxwash, other musicians under the hip-hop umbrella that I've enjoyed, do. "Death Parade", as bitter and profane as the lyrics are, makes for relatively mellow listening, between Eagle's smooth vocals and the lo-fi hip-hop channel vibes to the backing music. "Headass", for all the self-roasting going on, is a bouncy track, whilst "The Edge Of New Clothes" is slick and groovy. Eagle brings in guests here, with Video Dave offering a nice sonic contrast on "Headass", whilst Kari Faux trades off her soulful vocals with Eagle's moody rapping on "Bucciarati", referring to a character from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure to reflect on his struggles to keep his life from falling apart; there's also guest spots for Eagle's son Lil A$e on two tracks here. Short and (bitter)sweet, with swift runtimes for both individual tracks and the album as a whole, Anime, Trauma And Divorce is bleak yet witty, and a creative triumph born out of tragedy.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Black Thought - Streams Of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane And Able
[East Coast Hip Hop | Conscious Hip Hop]


Already approaching his 50s, Black Thought is mostly known for his work with hip-hop group The Roots, which often fused their sound with neo-soul and jazz, but it is really Black Thought's witty lyricism and powerful flow that is of interest here, and for out of all the rappers his age, he is among the ones you can still get excited for a new project. And as a new project this one is actually in between a full length and an EP. Though it is "Vol. 3", this one is the only one of the series to actually be a full length, with the previous ones being EPs, and even this one only has around 35 minutes, which isn't that big of a difference.

And for such a short album, it's even more damning when around a third of the album feels really out of place or sub-par. I can't say I blame Black Thought for jumping out of his comfort zone, but did this album really need three Portugal The Man features? I like Portugal The Man as much as every other millennial, but their sounds clearly don't blend together that well and ruin the flow of the album, and those aren't even the worst tracks on the album, with "We Could Be Good (United)" probably having the worst lyrics I've heard from Black Thought. And it's a damn shame, because outside of these four subpar tracks (and some interludes) we have five tracks that perfectly showcase Black Thought's strengths, with guest spots from Pusha T, Killer Mike and Schoolboy Q. Hearing those alongside Black Thought elevates the record a lot, but even the tracks with no features make this one something to revisit, as long as you know which tracks to skip.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Ghostemane - Anti-Icon
[Industrial Hip Hop | Industrial Rock]


Ghostemane's stuff was always dark and edgy. I'm alright with hip-hop that is dark and edgy, but his previous release, N / O / I / S / E kind of elevated that industrial trap sound into something with a lot more influence from 90s industrial rock. And just when I thought that would be the apex of him blending the trap sound with rock and metal, Anti-Icon often feels closer to the latter than the former. It feels more like a Marilyn Manson album than anything Marilyn Manson did since 2003, and if it wasn't for The Pale Emperor I could even say it might be better than anything Marilyn Manson did since 2003. But for a Ghostemane album, it feels weird talking so much about another artist, but he really wore that influence on the sleeve for this one.

Ghostemane still has his own fingerprints over this one, from those moments of high pitched rapping, the whispered vocals, the noisy trap beats, even if a lot of them also feel like they take their lineage from horrorcore stuff like Gravediggaz and Three 6 Mafia, but those blended with alternative / nu / industrial was something that has sort of been tried since the late 90s, but very few things felt as willing to give it such a head on approach, or as successful doing it. It feels like his entire career has been leading to this moment, and even if Anti-Icon still feels a little bit rough around the edges and lacking a dash of maturity in its edginess, if a pattern is emerging, is that the follow-up will be even more impressive, maybe with the influences blended even better as something that feels less like a newer version of something else.


Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Lady Ehepr - Gloatre
[Horrorcore]


Hip-hop and black metal aren't exactly the two genres you'd often envision being blended together, but after seeing so many rappers being fans of black metal, and after hearing that Mora Prokaza that proved that it goes the other way around to, so Gloatre doesn't exactly arrive in a void. But something about the idea of having a female MC from Kentucky taking equal inspiration from the Memphis hip-hop scene (Three Six Mafia and Al Kapone) and the French Les Legions Noire black metal collective (Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes, Belkètre) still feels a bit out there.

As far as Gloatre is concerned, though the aesthetic seems more inclined towards the black metal side of things, the music itself actually sticks more to the horrorcore part of the Memphis sound. Lo-fi as lo-fi goes, violent as violent lyrics can get, aesthetically dark as aesthetics go, at least those are things held in common with black metal, so it kinda feels like the dungeon synth of hip-hop. Lady Ehepr is far from the best rapper out there, but she can hold her own and her flow works pretty well with the entire aesthetic of the record. Actually Gloatre is the kind of album where if a part of it sucks, it actually adds more to the appeal. Either you get it or you don't.

Bandcamp

by RaduP




clipping. - Visions Of Bodies Being Burned
[Horrorcore | Industrial Hip Hop]


clipping. have definitely been one of the most interesting hip-hop groups to watch the past decade, being pretty much the ones to best incorporate noise and industrial elements into it, while also being absolutely amazing on the lyrical front. But even if up until 2019 they've already had a bit of a dark horrific vibe at times, 2019's There Existed An Addiction To Blood took a left turn towards a horrorcore sound. Now comes the sibling record, Visions Of Bodies Being Burned. And if the trademark "It's clipping, bitch" in the intro gets cut out by a burst of harsh noise, you'd better now this one is not fucking around. This one is as dark and horrific as hip-hop can get.

Though not really embracing the horrorcore sound through it's crypt-like lo-fi vibes from the Memphis sound, clipping. instead use their usual noisy industrial soundscapes that feel very meticulously crafted to make your spine tingle, being disorientating and immersive. Diggs' delivery works both as a rapper and a narrator of blood curdling stories and as the potential perpetrator of said blood curdling. Visions Of Bodies Being Burned finds new ways to keep the sound fresh, from the incorporation of the Geto Boys song from which the titles is borrowed being sampled, to constantly changing rhyme measures, to features from Cam & China or Ho99o9. So pretty much, Visions Of Bodies Being Burned proves why clipping. are one of the most creative hip-hop groups of the last decade, while also providing one of the best Halloween soundtracks.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




21 Savage & Metro Boomin - Savage Mode II
[Trap | Southern Hip Hop]


Out of the two I find myself being more of a Metro Boomin fan than a 21 Savage. Metro is definitely a contender for the best trap producer at the moment, and Savage Mode II is only further proof than that. 21 Savage though has also evolved quite a lot since the first Savage Mode back in 2016, which also found the two teaming up. Savage Mode II is leagues ahead of Savage Mode in terms of performances on both sides, and it's generally a lusher and more fun album to listen to, even despite it not being as cold and raw as the original. See, they got that in common with most metal bands.

The features here aren't very numerous, but having Drake, Young Thug, 21's cousin Young Nudy and lastly Morgan Freeman narrating the interludes is about as quality over quantity as one can get. 21 has always had a pretty lethargic and cold delivery despite his raunchy and violent lyrics, which isn't really that appealing for everyone, but ever since "A Lot" dropped last year, that turned a lot into something closer to emotional burnout. But he is a lot more versatile within that framework, and a lot of that is helped by the creative sampling from Metro that gives it just enough of a jazzy undertone.

And just take a look at that tongue in cheek old school hip hop cover art.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Dorian Electra - My Agenda
[Bubblegum Bass | Electropop]


Recommending a Dorian Electra album for listening feels a bit incomplete just because of how much you're missing out on by not watching the videos too. Their previous album, Flamboyant was among my most listened to albums of last year purely because of how often I watched the videos for "Flamboyant", "Career Boy", "Live By The Sword" and "Man To Man". My Agenda is probably going to get videos made for a few more of its tracks (the title track absolutely needs one). But if Flamboyant worked so well based on its gender deconstructionalist lyrics and... uhh... flamboyant videos, My Agenda is less pleasing musically, but absolutely drowning it in collaborations.

The thing is all over the place, with dubstep, noise pop, nu metal, rave, bubblegum bass, and Lord knows what else thrown it at ease. Most of the songs are short, feeling a lot like brainstormed ideas than fully fleshed concepts. My Agenda is definitely a lot rougher bot musically and production-wise, but that is the vibe it is going for. Where else will you find a glitch pop song that has both The Village People (you know, the "YMCA" guys) and Pussy Riot on the same track talking about turning frogs homosexual. Joining collaborators also include Rebecca Black (of "Friday" fame) and Gaylord (of no fame). But probably watching the "Gentleman / M'lady" video on repeat is a better experience than listening to this album with no context.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




King Dude - Full Virgo Moon
[Neo-Folk]


Ah, Neo-folk. A well-known "ally" for many metalheads and metal bands alike. King dude comes from a metal background and his connections with black metal acts have be consistent. Be it as a support act or performing together on splits. The Dude's brand of Satanic Americana had evolved throughout the last couple of albums which saw the project encompassing more musicians and releasing heavier, darker hardrock releases that almost served as a reason to be featured on Metalstorm. Full Virgo Moon on the other hand is a return to roots. Short like the first couple of releases, it is a stripped down, back to basics type of Neo-Folk with added production value and colorful atmospheres to boot. Acoustic guitars and piano/keys serve as King Dude's solid weapons of choice. They carry a powerful melancholia where songs of love and the occult meet. The songs are emotive, catchy and stay with you for quite some time with their simple yet heartfelt melodies with The Dude's evocative voice as the icing on the cake.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Mr. Doctor




Fleet Foxes - Shore
[Indie Folk | Chamber Pop]


The image of a beach isn't the first thing I'd have associate with Fleet Foxes whose indie folk sound seems more rural forest-like, but Shore does bring their sound the closest it has been so far to actually emanating the sound that the cover art suggests. Not as much a surf bar sound, but one that is definitely brighter and sun-soaked that before, partly through sounding a lot more like The Beach Boys, but also through the vocal harmonies, the twang and the synths, and just through how groovy some of the rhythm sections are. I mean, as groovy as indie folk can get.

Obviously the album still mostly impresses in the vocal department, not through having the best vocals, but the most compelling vocal harmonies, and a voice warm enough to actually make me feel my feet in the sand. The sound is a lot more streamlined than I remember it being on their previous record, Crack-Up, but Shore has a distinct sound on its own that keeps it from feeling like a disappointment. And also because The Beach Boys (especially the more Wilson-centric parts) are far from the worst to get inspiration from. The album feels as emotionally satisfying as it is atmosphere setting.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Kalandra - The Line
[Alternative Pop/Rock | Folk]


Imagine you have 2.5 million views on YouTube and two of your tracks have just been selected for a new TV series - and all of this happens nine years after your formation but before your first full-length album has even seen the light of day. Norway's Kalandra have experienced this very situation and while large parts of the international music world are crumbling down in view of the current crisis, these four young Norwegians have of all things chosen the year 2020 and the peak of a global pandemic to release their debut album and to present their music infront of a wider audience than the community of Wardruna fans on YT and the potential viewership of the HBO Nordic series "Beforeigners".

Nine years is a long time and under similar conditions, many renowned artists have already faced the risk of losing focus and getting lost in their search for a musical direction and their own artistic identity. After having listened to their 2017 EP Beneath The Breaking Waves, one can only come to the conclusion that Kalandra must have experienced something totally different than a demoralizing and unnerving developing process. Rather, it can be assumed that their first LP's title should be taken literally, for there clearly is a common thread running through the entire album, like a line connecting each of the band's influences and their experiences since their foundation in 2011. The longer one listens to The Line, the more obvious it becomes that the attribute "pop" is just a weak and vague description of its sound, at least if you take the usual level of contemporary pop music's superficiality for granted. What constitues The Line is the exact opposite of happy go lucky party-music and shallow entertainment to be played in malls and elevators, instead its ethereal melodies could rather serve as the eerie soundtrack of an epic fantasy saga, where elves and fairies are performing their most touching hymns in order to praise the wild but fragile beauty of nordic nature. Obviously, Katrine Stenbekk's angelic voice, located somewhere between Aurora Aksnes and Ellie Goulding, is the most significant key element of Kalandra's special charm, her vocals are so clear and intense that it almost hurts. Yet the musical accompaniment cannot be praised highly enough, Katrine's fellow band members do never fail to create the atmospheric soundscapes and the energetic interplay of loud and quiet passages that her outstanding vocal performance needs in order to fully unfold. Needless to say, The Line is a very strong and confident debut. Eleven self-penned compositions, two of which in Norwegian language, ensure that there's is no room for fillers, the band didn't even consider to include the aforementioned and very admirable cover of Wardruna's "Helvegen". Who needs cover versions anyway when you have songs like "The Waiting Game" and "Brave New World" in your repertoire?

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by Starvynth




Rïcïnn - Nereïd
[Art Pop | Neoclassical Darkwave]


I'll be honest, I don't have much of an understanding of what 'neoclassical darkwave' is, but based on Nereïd and Katie Gately's Loom from earlier in the year, it seems to be a subgenre with a lot of good music to offer. Nereïd is the sophomore effort from French act Rïcïnn, who fans of Igorrr may already be aware of, given that they feature his regular collaborators Laure Le Prunenec (performing under the Rïcïnn name) and Laurent Lunoir (aka Öxxö Xööx) on vocals and guitar, respectively. Le Prunenec is the star here, channelling a range of influences throughout, but most obviously Björk, particularly on "Doris". Beyond the vocal similarity on this song, "Doris" is also notable for demonstrating the range Rïcïnn can cover as a project; for a long stretch it's an eerie, muted effort that's primarily a vehicle for Le Prunenec, but later on the intensity of the percussion ratchets up, until the band transitions into something altogether heavier and more sinister for its conclusion, perhaps highlighting the ties of members of the project to metal acts.

A lot of the rest of the album fluctuates between these extremes; softer, eerie stretches where vocal choirs, strings and other soft elements form the background to Le Prunenec's vocals (such as on the Kate Bush-esque title track) contrasted with heavier territory (distorted guitars lend doom metal vibes to the end of "Artäe"). The drum work of Sylvain Bouvier (also of Trepalium) is the unsung hero at times on Nereïd, injecting the impetus to drive certain tracks forward with bursts of tom-heavy percussion. All these things combine to make Nereïd a thoroughly atmospheric record, one imbued with feelings of melancholy, longing and haunting bleakness.

Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

by musclassia




Annie - Dark Hearts
[Synthpop | Dream Pop]


I did give Annie's previous albums a listen after checking this one out and these seem like two different artists, just with a similar voice. So if you were already familiar with Annie from those two albums more than 10 years ago, you'll probably be taken aback by the maturity on this. But if you weren't familiar with her, this is the kind of album where the background of the album will not help you much. It's best for you to approach this as a dream pop album than as a electropop artist gone dream pop. It's kinda like the opposite of selling out, because I really don't imagine ever hearing any of these on the radio.

This is a synth/dream pop record, but feels like a retro artist taking heavy inspiration from that era rather than something that could be mistaken for something done in that era. The vibe of this album is definitely more noctural, and not the dancefloor type. There isn't much here that is that thrilling or makes you move in any way, instead focusing on making a seductive bittersweet vibe. Less about making bops and more about making a cohesive album, the result is something that is more mature, in both the good sense and the "boring" sense. As much as I like Chromatics, Julee Cruise, Ultravox and Lana Del Rey, all of them made music that's much more exciting than anything here.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP




Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine
[Nu-Disco | Deep House]


Relistening to Róisín Machine for the first time in a while after only listening to the bonus disc was quite weird. Previously being unaware of this artist and then easily getting into both her solo career and her work in Moloko, the trip-hop duo, Róisín Machine easily rose up to my top 3 most listened to records of the year. Along with Jessie Ware's latest, it seemed to herald a throwback and a revival of those disco sensibilities, but Róisín Machine is less about the high-class gloss and more about the repetitive and psychedelic club-like parts that eventually wound up in 90s house as well. Hence why Róisín Machine throws back to both eras, but it comes in the completely wrong time. This is a club album. I'm not much of a club person, but it's becoming somewhat painful to listen to this sober and alone.

The deluxe edition comes with a bonus disc where some of the songs (the best ones actually) are given extended versions that work even harder on the repetitive club-like feeling of the songs. These aren't songs that you can listen to quietly, nor ones that you can resist moving to. Some of the rhythms might be a bit awkward, and there's definitely better dance albums out there, but none felt as aching for a night out than this one. It's really weird recommending the bonus disk over the actual album, but it is what it is. And that bassline in "Jealousy" is absolutely crazy, it might be the rivaling the one in Dua Lipa's "Don't Start Now" as the best bass line of the year for me, and this album as a whole is a perfect companion to Jessie Ware's equally compelling disco revival.

Apple Music | Spotify

by RaduP





And that was it. You've made it through still alive. Congrats. See ya next month.



 


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 33 users
20.11.2020 - 06:34
jaunt
Beautiful, thank you to all involved.
Lots to digest over the weekend.
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21.11.2020 - 00:14
Batlord666
This Health album is quite nice so far, thank you for sharing this stuff! I'm also excited to hear this new Autechre, I haven't enjoyed a lot of their material past the original three albums, but they've got some really good stuff.
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21.11.2020 - 00:28
JoHn DoE
Kinda funny to see two American bands called Krautrock. Makes no sense to me.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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21.11.2020 - 03:58
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by JoHn DoE on 21.11.2020 at 00:28

Kinda funny to see two American bands called Krautrock. Makes no sense to me.

It's like Bay Area thrash or Gothenburg metal. Initially named because of the established regional sound, but the style eventually spread beyond those confines.
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I have no memory of this place.
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21.11.2020 - 22:31
LedZep
Great stuff. I really love the new Touche Amore, Clipping and Open Mike Eagle. Visions of Bodies Being Burned is probably top 5 of the year imo. I've completely missed that Greg Puciato solo album, gotta listen to it. Another album that blew me away was Benny The Butcher's Burden Of Proof. I've seen him described as "The only current rapper who could survive in the 2Pac time".
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