Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Rick's Discoveries Volume XX

As I look over the list of albums below, I am pretty sure this is the most mellow list of releases I've put together to this point. I must be losing my edge. Either that or I've been extra moody lately. Or maybe I'm having a harder time picking out solid new listens in the heavier genres? Yeah, it's probably that one. With the vast majority of what I listen to trending into the metal and hardcore realms, it all eventually sounds the same, but when I listen to genres I don't have as much experience with, it's a tad bit easier to be amazed by something. So let's call this my "branching out" phase.

Kaddisfly - Demos & Rarities

I know, I know, it's not really a new Kaddisfly album, but this collection of 7 tracks will remind you exactly why Kaddisfly were at the top of the progressive alternative rock genre while they were in existence. While the songs aren't as expansive or "deep" as Set Sail the Prairie or Buy Our Intention; We'll Buy You a Unicorn, they do capture the airy, smooth approach of some of their more accessible songs. If anything, this collection will remind you to go back and listen to their past albums and love them all over again.

Love Sex Machine - Love Sex Machine

Is there such a thing as bite sized sludge with some doom influences? I suppose it exists and some band has done it, but is it any good? *Listens to Love Sex Machine* Huh, I guess I can confirm it is, in fact, totally good. There's not a lot of good comparisons that roll off the tip of my tongue for this album, but since I listen to a lot of atmospheric sludge metal, it's easier to put it in terms of how Love Sex Machine relates to that genre--it's the complete opposite. This is aggressive, raw, dirty, and unrelentingly heavy. Every song goes for your jugular, with the sole goal of ripping into it and tearing you apart.

Anoice - The Black Rain

In most cases, bands that play around in the ambient post-rock subgenre stick to uplifting moods or to creating unobtrusive soundscapes. Anoice approach this subgenre from a different angle, creating a darker, melancholic, longing atmosphere. You get the sense that the inspiration for this album came from a heart-wrenching place, but the music, despite being melancholic in nature, doesn't tread into depressive territory; there's always an edge of hopefulness around the outsides of many of the songs. It's this melding of disparate feelings that drives this album.

The Best Pessimist - Love Is…

Unlike Anoice, The Best Pessimist do approach the ambient post-rock subgenre quite traditionally, looking to craft airy soundscapes and uplifting movements. It's a great counterpart to Anoice, actually. I found both equally enjoyable, but when in completely different moods. The Best Pessimist likes to go for the long build-up approach when putting together songs, which is a perfect way to construct post-rock songs with lots of ambient, moody passages. The two-part "Above the Fog" really shows the band at the top of their game if you're looking for something to sample.

sAuce - Forge Through Future

This album is all about the thick bass-lines, mid-tempo pacing, and booming sound. It's a great mish-mash of dubstep with some glitch, IDM, and other electronic influences. Unlike a lot of other dubstep, however, this album also created a very unique atmosphere that permeates the album. It feels like a cohesive composition instead of a collection of a bunch of disparate songs. You're not going to throw a bangin' party with this on, but you will have one hell of a chilled-out gathering if you keep this humming in the background.

When Nothing Remains - As All Torn Asunder

This album revolves around some pretty hefty, epic-sized tracks (most notably the two best on the album, the title track at 13 minutes long and "The Sorrow Within" at 12 minutes long) that the band uses to show off their mastery of melding the death doom metal genre with atmospheric and gothic influences. Imagine Swallow the Sun on downers… meeting up with My Dying Bride while they say hi to Paradise Lost. That gathering might start to give you an idea of what to expect with As All Torn Asunder, but you really need to take the entire album in as a whole, soaking up every brooding, dark minute there is.

State Faults - Desolate Peaks

I'll admit it, I've never been a huge Envy fan. I can understand how many would enjoy them, but they never clicked as well with me as they did with many others. But if you took the screamo focused portions of Envy's sound (removing the post-rock leanings) and mixed them with a bit ofPianos Become the Teeth, I think you'd get a good idea of what State Faults brings to the musical table. Their songs are taut, punchy, and aggressive, just the way classic screamo tracks should be.

Skyharbor - Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos

I was extremely sad to see Dan Tompkins depart TesseracT as his vocals were part of the appeal of the band for me. Considering One is what I look at as the pinnacle of djent albums, saying that Skyharbor remind me a lot of them is quite the compliment. Supposedly Dan Tompkins vocal duties on this album were a one-off thing, but I'm hopeful he settles down with the band since this feels very much like the second coming ofTesseracT.

Intandem - Demo EP Vol. I

For a supposed "demo," this 4-track effort feels pretty fully realized, spanning nearly a half an hour and showing a band that seems to have their "sound" pretty well established (it might help that guitarist Kyle McKnight is from Threat Signal). There's a lot of progressive metal leanings throughout the album, but there are also some nice touches of mathy metal, radio friendly nu-metal, and even some keys here and there. I'm most reminded of a proggier version of Sevendust minus the screams. For me, that's a positive comparison.

Edamame - Greenhouse

I've seemed to crave "chill-out" music a little bit more than usual lately and finding new albums that I can connect with isn't always the easiest thing. Fortunately, Edamame provided me with just the right combination of trip-hop, glitch, and instrumental hip-hop influences. There are even some great nature sounds added to the mix that give the album an earthy feel. Some tracks that focus a little too heavy on the glitch elements don't fare as well as the more trip-hop tracks, but it does keep the album from becoming too one-note.

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