Obsidian tides will be nature's bane.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

REVIEW: Amenra - Mass V (2012)

Artist: Amenra
Album: Mass V
Country: Belgium
Release Date: November 26th, 2012
Genre: Post-metal

Read on to the review for a full description, but this is hands-down the best album of the year.

Review, tracklist, sample song, and link are after the jump. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

SotW 11/26/12: Downfall of Gaia - In the Rivers Bleak

Artist: Downfall of Gaia
Song: In the Rivers Bleak
Album: Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes (2012)

Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me: an unusually unique and astoundingly well-done mixture of crust punk, atmospheric black metal, and post-metal that will have a very high spot in my best of 2012 list. "In the Rivers Bleak" is a perfect showcase for this brilliant album, giving attention to the best parts of the three genres it's primarily composed of, all while removing all traces of the fluff that post-metal and atmospheric black metal especially are known for. Think a mix of Altar of Plagues, Amenra, and Full of Hell. Also, the video is pretty sweet.

Chelsea Wolfe - Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs

Artist: Chelsea Wolfe
Album: Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Country: USA (Los Angeles, CA)
Genre: Folk/acoustic

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, and even though I don't know when I am officially allowed to say this (this might be far too early), but Happy Holidays! Sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while: I've been caught up in schoolwork and going home for Turkey Day. I think the total consumed was in the realm of about 4000 calories in one hour... but I digress. I'll be back and active on this blog for a while, and from now on I'll post something when I know I'll be away for a bit. So without further ado, as a welcome back we have here Californian experimental singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe's latest effort. As can probably be deduced from the title, this album is much more stripped down than much of her other stuff, but it's just as good and it really fits the Fall-Winter transitional period mood well. Finally, it's just under 25 minutes long, so there's no reason not to give this a try.

Tracklist, sample song, and download can be found after the jump. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Pirate Ship Quintet - Rope For No-Hopers (2012)

Artist: The Pirate Ship Quintet
Album: Rope For No-Hopers
Country: UK (Bristol)
Release Date: May 25th, 2012
Genre: Post-rock w/ mild screamo influences

With their debut full-length, Bristol post-rockers The Pirate Ship Quintet join contemporaries Leech, Black Clouds, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and a few others as artists who have released truly exemplary post-rock this year. It's not anything really new or groundbreaking, largely influenced by the string-heavy, crescendo-based, classically-influenced brand of post-rock played by acts like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Yndi Halda, but it's pulled off so well that you won't really care about its lack of originality. That's not to say that this has *all* been done before, however: there are some mild screamo influences at work here, and a few brief sections with harsh vocals.

Sample song, tracklist, and link can be found after the jump. 

Oak Pantheon - From a Whisper (2012)

Artist: Oak Pantheon
Album: From a Whisper
Country: USA (Minneapolis, MN)
Release Date: September 25th, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric black metal/folk

Don't let the questionable cover art deter you, for this is definitely one of the better folky atmospheric black metal releases I've had the pleasure of listening to this year. First off, the vocals are excellent, going between piercing and harsh shrieks, Agalloch-esque whispering, and sparingly used, surprisingly tolerable, non-stupid cleans. It also doesn't hurt that these boys can write excellent riffs and that they are really adept at blending the folk sections into the metal sections without making the music seem gimmicky or forced.

Sample song, tracklist, and link can be found after the jump. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

SotW 11/12/12: Amenra - Nowena | 9.10

Artist: Amenra
Song: Nowena | 9.10
Album: Mass V (2012)

Yes, I know this is the second week in a row in which I've posted a track from the upcoming album Mass V (11/26/12, Neurot Recordings) from Belgian sludge metal band Amenra, but I just can't help it. Seriously, the more of this album I hear - they've actually released three of its four songs already, not counting a 5th track that will be on the vinyl edition - the more I'm convinced that it will not only be the best post-metal album of the year: it will also be one of its best albums, period. "Nowena" continues this trend of awesomeness, this time with a guest vocal contribution from some guy named Scott Kelly. It's also worth noting that this seems to be a shortened version of the song, as other sources list it as being a bit over nine minutes in total duration.

God damn it, I can barely contain my excitement. The 26th can not come quickly enough.By the way, the video is just as awesome and creepy (if not more so) than the one for "Boden." It's definitely worth watching.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Enabler - All Hail the Void (2012)

Artist: Enabler
Album: All Hail the Void
Country: USA (Milwaukee, WI)
Release Date: July 17th, 2012
Genre: Hardcore/crust punk

Extremely heavy, hard-hitting, downtuned, very well-executed hardcore/crust punk from the great state of Wisconsin. Honestly, there's not a lot more to say here (or maybe I just don't currently have the attention span to say it). Get this.

Tracklist, sample song, and link can be found after the jump 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

REVIEW: Toluca - Act I (2012)

Artist: Toluca
Album: Act I
Country: Russia (Moscow)
Release Date: October 12th, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric black metal/screamo

Summary: "Act I" is not only surprisingly good for such a new and underexposed band: it's also a standout among its renowned stylistic peers.

Review, tracklist, sample song, and download are after the jump. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Deftones - Koi No Yokan (2012)

Artist: Deftones
Album: Koi No Yokan
Country: USA (Sacramento, CA)
Release Date: November 13rd, 2012
Genre: Alternative metal/shoegaze

It's finally here, people.

Sample song, tracklist, and link can be found after the jump. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting ist krieg

Do it, brethren. Vote. Do it now.

Anberlin - Vital (2012)

Artist: Anberlin
Album: Vital
Country: USA (Winter Haven, FL)
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Genre: Alternative

And now for something completely different... Vital, the sixth full-length from Florida-based alternative rock stalwarts Anberlin, is one of the better things to come out of the genre this year. Combining the emotion of Cities (the Anberlin album considered by many to be their best work) with the maturity of 2010's Dark is the Way, Light is a Place, this album is probably the best thing they have put out since Cities. Opener and single "Self-Starter" is one of the catchiest alt-rock tracks of the year, while penultimate track "Modern Age" benefits from an absolutely fantastic chorus. Closer "God, Drugs, and Sex" brings to mind Cities closer "(*Fin)," and while it doesn't surpass that absolutely incredible track, it's still one of the more emotional and heartfelt things Anberlin have done in a while. Aside from minor gripes like a couple filler tracks and some very annoying production at times, especially with the vocals (see "Modern Age:" while it has one of the best choruses on the album, the vocals sound like they're underwater), I wholeheartedly recommend that you give this album a shot, even if it's not the sort of thing you normally listen to.

Track list, sample song, and download are after the jump

Monday, November 5, 2012

Toluca - Act I (2012)

Artist: Toluca
Album: Act I
Country: Russia (Moscow)
Release Date: October 12th, 2012
Genre: Atmospheric black metal/screamo

A short, emotional, 25-minute voyage of atmospheric black metal, screamo, post-hardcore, and post-rock, Act I is not a release that has received any attention, but it is one that deserves it. There's not much more to say about this except that its short duration and the fact that it's free from their Bandcamp page should mean that you have no excuse not to give this a go.

Track list, sample song, and download are after the jump.

SotW 11/5/12: Amenra - Boden-Spijt

Artist: Amenra
Song: Boden - Spijt
Album: Mass V (2012)

If you know anything about Amenra, then you'll already know that Mass V, due for release November 26th on Neurot Recordings, will be one of the best post-metal releases of the year. "Boden - Spijt" only reinforces this view, showcasing the band's characteristically dark, bleak, and foreboding brand of post-metal. Although very similar in style to the band's previous releases, this song is just as excellent, if not better, than anything else Amenra have done, largely due to a particularly stellar, bass-heavy production job that is an improvement upon their previous releases. The video is also very dark and creepy, becoming one of the most fitting music videos of the year.