Last year I wanted to tone down the amount of routine Metal records I delved into. I'm still yet to break that cycle but looking back over the past twelve months I am far happier with the short list of new discoveries. Narrowing it down to just ten, we have only three strictly metal outfits! Success... maybe, then again it should be about finding quality music, regardless of type. Anyway my plan for 2019 is to focus my efforts to music beyond what I normally gravitate to and not paying attention to releases from mediocre bands.
(10) Sleepy Sun
I only got into a single record of theirs but what an amazing listen Fever was! This American Rock band pull influences from many of the greats and put together an engulfing experience that ebbs and flows at all musical levels. It was a peach to engross in and Ill be sure to grab another record of theirs soon, I hope it will be as gorgeous as this one!
A fond discovery! Algiers are another act similar to Zeal And Ardor in resurrecting century old Blue and Chain Gang singing, fusing aspects with Post-Punk and Psychedelic Rock together, even Industrial accents encroach aesthetically. Its a real cluster of influences that has a clear vision and soul at the heart of their music.
(8) Janis Joplin
She's a legendary name in the history of music from decades gone by and I'm glad I found the connection at last but I am guilty once again of only getting into the one record! Pearl is simply stunning, a treat fueled by her passionate singing, a voice one can't forget easily. No doubt Ill pick up the other record she released soon.
Doom Metal most certainly goes a little beyond what clicks with me but one can really appreciate what this band do musically even if its not quite your cup of tea. Getting through the Pallbearer records has certainly lured me in closer and I am always fond of these scaling, epic songs whenever they return on shuffle.
I was blessed to hear her angelic voice live twice this year! It was first at Download Festival, a happy accident! I have since worked through their records of which the latest, Mareridt, is the best. This band show huge potential and her singing and cultural roots is at the heart of that. She is as good live as on record!
(5) At The Gates
The name is unmissable at Metal shows and finally Ive haven gotten around to checking them out. Their early records are far more interesting and their later, like Slaughter Of The Soul, firmly fit them into the foundations of the Melodic Death Metal sound I know all to well through bands that came after them. It takes the edge of somewhat but you can still hear the magic of the music at that time.
(4) Steve Roach
My exploration of ambient music is often thwarted by its palatable nature but Structures From Silence and Dreamtime Return are exactly the sorts of albums I seek out. Magical records stemming directly from principle and inspiration that birth magic from minimalism. I was fortunate to hear of Steve, he is a pioneer in the genre and these records are mood transforming magics from the 80s before the connectivity and accessibility of the internet.
(3) Old Tower
I adore the idea of Dungeon Synth. In reality its a genre bogged down with waves of low effort music and releases given the low bar of entry. That's made it hard to discover decent artists over the years and Old Tower certainly started in that low entry range but with The Rise Of The Specter the dutch musician excelled and birthed something unique to give meaning to the Old Tower moniker. Its a uniquely meditative and spiritual take on the sound.
I cannot get enough of this band right now. Having gotten through all their records Ive found a Hardcore band that excels at being energetic and passionate without barbaric machismo. Their lyrics get in your head while the music continuously propels the momentum. Its infectious and which each record they have grown leading to the fantastic Space & Time with made My Top 10 Albums Of 2018 list this year!
Who else could it be? With a firm collection of records in his back catalog Ive spent the year getting through them and growing to really appreciate this artist. His name does not carry as much clout as it should. Being of the Eminem inspired generation I think critics don't give him credit where his technicality outshines originality. Logic also lacks curation but there are plenty gems to be unearthed in his plethora of songs. As records I think The Incredible True Story and Young Sinatra: Undeniable are his strongest. Only a few projects of his left to get through now!