Thursday, April 05, 2012

Rick's Discoveries Volume XVIII

I'm on the 18th volume of this article series now, which means this series can finally buy lottery tickets, smokes, and serve in the military. It also means I've recommended 180 different bands throughout the course of this series, which is not a small amount, and I'm already also hard at work on volume 19. Before you know it, I'll be on volume 25… 30… 40… who knows how many bands will eventually get recommendations from me. It's actually pretty amazing to think about, that there's so many bands out there that I want to tell you about. I can't very well listen to everything, though, so I've added a section to Decoy Music for you to give your band recommendations. Let's all celebrate our diverse, varied love of music!

Ascariasis - Ocean of Colour

I'm not sure what to classify the genre that Ascariasis plays within. Deathdjent? Djentcore? Pro-djent-ive deathcore? Whichever way you want to slice it, Ascariasis melds deathcore and djent together to create a mechanical, progressive, aggressive, unrelenting set of 5 tracks on this EP. It's kind of like Periphery got into a bar fight with All Shall Perish. So if that sounds interesting to you (trust me, it is), then go get this from the bandcamp asap.

Scorned Embrace - Enclosures

Talk about wearing your influences on your sleeve. Scorned Embrace are a mix of equal parts All That Remains and Killswitch Engage. Every song, every passage, and just about every moment of this album screams out either one band or the other (and sometimes both). Be it the vocals, the guitars, or the song structures. I usually abhor bands that blatantly rip off other artists, but in this case… it's actually pretty damn listenable!

I usually am not a huge fan of straight-up deathcore (a lot of it sounds too contrived for my tastes), but I'll make an exception when something really interesting comes by. And Mirrors is definitely an interesting entry. This is very much a tried and true deathcore album, but there are some traditional metalcore elements that shine through, as well as a few mechanical, progressive elements. Don't doubt for a moment, though, that this album ever lets up--it doesn't. This is full-on, aggressive, face-smashing deathcore, but done tastefully.

Gypsy - Giant's Despair

Wow, talk about hitting a nostalgic nerve. Gypsy perfectly encapsulate the classic emo sound, embodied so well by bands like Jawbreaker and early Further Seems Forever. I also hear some hints of Puller and/or For Love Not Lisa during more than a few of the songs. But who they sound like specifically isn't that important. On a strictly genre-based level, Gypsy recreate the emo sound of the 90's from song structure, to chorus hooks, to production values. I feel like I'm in high school all over again.

The Sun Aesthetic - Composure

Between all the metalcore and progressive metal albums I listen to, I occasionally need something to bring me down; I need an album that is a calming hand on my shoulder after hours of smashing face. Composure is the most recent album to fit that mold. Imagine, if you will, a more ambient leaning God Is an Astronaut and you'll get a pretty good picture of the general feel of this album. Content with creating soundscapes and calming moods, there are few large crescendos, but plenty of movements that ebb and flow with ease. It is quite the relaxing experience.

Milo - Milo Takes Baths

I'm not quite sure if you could really call Milo nerdcore or not. He has some tendencies to rap about nerdy topics, but he also hits on pop culture, his personal life, and general thought-provoking topics. His approach is also much more laid back and relaxed than most nerdcore. Imagine, I guess, a combination of MC Frontalot and Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons… for a general idea of what to expect. The combination of the mellow approach and rapid, yet flowing, lyricism creates a nice, breezy EP to listen to.

Caulfield - The Feast

Ok... so this is a deathcore heavy article... I must have been a little more aggravated than usual, but bear with me. In regards to this album, I'm just going to call this melodic deathcore. I'm sure that's a sub-genre, right? Imagine deathcore where the guitars (despite chugging along) at times take on some melodic progressions and undertones. Obviously not during the pre-requisite breakdowns, but during verses and bridges there's some hints of melody to be found. It feels a bit like Caulfield wanted to dive into the deathcore scene, but also was trying to hit the Misery Signalsdemographic. I won't complain about it since I'll take anything Misery Signals flavored.

OSI - Fire Make Thunder

Having been in existence since 2002, the duo of Jim Matheos (of Fates Warning fame) and Kevin Moore (who was the original keyboardist forDream Theater) have now put together 4 top-tier progressive rock/metal albums, and I'll fight anyone who thinks differently! Fire Make Thunderdoesn't stray too far from what's been established on their first 3 albums, so if you're a fan you know what to expect. If you're not, then imagine a mix of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, The Pineapple Thief, and a healthy dose of electronic undertones. That may make OSI sound like an also-ran or copycat band, but they're definitely not. Their influences can very much be felt, but these songs have their own life.

Transcends - Breathing in Oceans

When you compare one band to another band, one that is a leader in their genre, it's hard not to get some flack if the band you're talking about doesn't live up. So let me state right off the bat that even though Transcends at times reminds me of a more deathcore-y version of Misery Signals, I acknowledge that they don't quite measure up to that high bar. However, if you enjoy deathcore, breakdowns, and some atmospheric metalcore, there's a ton to like here. The vocals are really the only aspect of the band that I think could use a bit of an overhaul. The yelled vocals seem forced and don’t come naturally in spots.

Falloch - Where Distant Spirits Remain

Man, do I love me some blackglaze when it's done well. Falloch brings forth an epic mastery of the -glaze with, fortunately, little of the black- in their debut album. Multiple tracks span the 10 minute mark weaving together a mesh of equal parts Alcest, neo-folk, Agalloch, and Celtic influences. Most blackglaze lovers will be saddened by the lack of harsh vocals, but the softer melodic tones provide a melancholic feel that suits the overall pallor of the album. If I would have discovered this before now, it probably would have been a contender for my year end top-10 list of 2011.

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