Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rick's Discoveries Volume XXI

Over the last couple of weeks, I retried a tactic I had previously used to find new, undiscovered music--I randomly picked albums to listen to from my long list of "artists to check out." It actually helped me develop this semi-diverse discoveries article while simultaneously whittled down my list quite a bit. It's amazing how many bands sound good on paper or on one song, but once you listen to more than a track or two they're simply awful. So after deleting plenty of items from my to-listen-to list, here are 10 albums that actually warrant your attention.

I'm really surprised there hasn't been more of a mixing of hip-hop and dubstep. The two genres seem like they'd be ripe to interbreed (and not just in remixing hip-hop tracks). In my search to find a good mix of the two, Victor has stood out as a great example of how to successfully mesh the two together. There's a solid foundation of brostep and dubstep that anchors Omar LinX's raps. Instead of feeling like the two styles are slapped together for novelty's sake, this feels like the two artists actively collaborated to compose a set of dubstep-hop tracks.

Blind Ambitions - Breaking Free

I'm very easily reminded of The Ghost Inside and Bury Your Dead as I listen to Blind Ambitions, which are two solid comparisons in my book. Their straight ahead metalcore approach is augmented by some melodic passages that sound very Misery Signals influenced. The vast majority of this album is focused on energy and aggression, however. The only issue I have with this release is the occasional resorting to beatdown style breakdowns, which I'm not the world's biggest fan of.

Klaypex - Ready to Go

It's getting to the point in the electronic music realm that there are nearly as many, if not more, subgenres than in the metal world. I can easily consider myself a metal subgenre snob, but in the electronic world, not quite as much. With Klaypex, I hear elements of house, dubstep, straight up electro, and other nuanced elements. That can be used to describe a lot of electronic efforts, though, so maybe if I said it sounds a bit like Neroteamed up with Daft Punk to re-do the Tron: Legacy soundtrack with a heavier emphasis on meatier tunes while utilizing the gorgeous vocals ofSara Kay in a few spots. That should sound like a good mix to you if you like dubstep, and it definitely is quite the combo.

Cyclopian - Cyclopian

One of my biggest issues with most atmospheric sludge metal bands nowadays is that they all seem to be focused on making long, long, long, long songs that really don't do much over their runtime besides plod through the same movements over and over and over. Cyclopian do tread down the distinctly long track length path, but there's a sense of progression through each song. I feel like their tracks are actually going somewhere… just very slowly. It might help that they have some post-rock-ish influences here and there, which no doubt contribute to that sense of direction.

7 Horns 7 Eyes - Throes of Absolution

If this band doesn't set the progressive death metal genre on fire, then I give up on it. 7 Horns 7 Eyes manage to do it all on their debut album, showcasing extremely mature songwriting that encompasses all of the tenants of prog-oriented death metal, while intertwining elements of atmosphere, technicality, and math (dare I say djent?) into what they weave together. If you're looking for band comparisons, you might as well toss into a blender the likes of Miseration, Vildhjarta, In Mourning, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Be'lakor and imagine what that would sound like after 60 seconds on the puree cycle. This could easily land in a number of people's year end lists; just you watch.

Johnnyrook - From Remorse We Learn

I honestly thought that these guys would have blown up into the pseudo-mainstream by now. Having been around since 2002 and this being their third full length (along with an EP or two), they've shown they're dedicated to their craft, especially since each release is an extremely solid slab of emo flavored hard rock. On From Remorse We Learn you'll hear flashes of modern Thrice, classic Further Seems Forever, and a bit of a stripped down version of The Juliana Theory. The combination of Johnnyrook's ability to tap into my nostalgia and their just being damn good will keep this album in my rotation for weeks to come.

Adolf Plays the Jazz - Form Follows Function

This band is an odd, collective-style band, never having a set lineup and never worrying about having to fit into a particular mold. Having been in existence since 2002 and putting out 4 albums and 4 EPs, they definitely don't lack history. Their latest shows the band continuing to experiment with post-rock, shoegaze, cinematic influences, and a combination of both short and long compositions. You'll get everything from the sub-3 minute trip-hop number "Dust" to the 12 minute post-rock opus "Oddy." Diversity reigns supreme on this album, which is a fantastic thing.

Kill Devil Hill - Kill Devil Hill

I was turned onto this band since I saw that it involved Rex Brown of Pantera fame. Don't expect anything like Pantera from Kill Devil Hill, though. Instead of heavy-f'ing-metal, Kill Devil Hill play a grunge infused brand of hard rock. The best description I can come up with is saying they sound like a superhero team-up between Skid Row and Alice in Chains. It's not something you'd think would work all that well, but they manage to pull it off with aplomb.

Dumbsaint - Something That You Feel Will Find Its Own Form

This album starts you off thinking you're in for a traditional post-rock album with "Rivers Will Be Crossed," and a competent post-rock album at that. However, by the time you get to the middle of the album you'll have jumped beyond the standard post-rock tropes and experienced a healthy dose of post-metal and Isis worship (sans vocals). In fact, you could swear that the bass lines in songs like "Lying in Sign" were stolen directly from unreleased Isis tracks. Yes, copying another band is usually frowned upon, but there haven't been enough bands copying that Isis sound I so much miss that I'll take whatever I can get, whenever I can get it!

A.I. (d) - Disorder

This album is… all over… and it's awesome because of it. At its core, this is a mathy, djent-styled metal album. However, there are enough outside influences (tech death, dubstep, Animals As Leaders, breakcore, breakdowns, etc.) to make this worn out template new again. There're passages that are perfectly discordant, others that are seamlessly awesome… some moments of menacing electronic-addled ambience… industrialized nightmare fuel… let's just say that my brain wanted to explode from the crazy that is this album.

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