Saturday, 28 December 2019

My Top 10 Music Discoverys In 2019



Looking back at my thoughts and words from 2018, it seems I may repeat the same sentiment again. Maybe one of the years I'll actually develop a broader discovery of new music because as you'll see once again its dominated by Metal! I just can't seem to get away. In my defence life changes and my time devoted to music and this blog has been stretched so who knows what the new decade will hold! Anyways here is the years discoveries!

(10) Hunt The Dinosaur

They may be somewhat novelty and outrageous but that's the charm. I always love a bit of obnoxious chugging and Djent but these guys stand apart thank to their singers fiery guttural raps. The music is very textural and over the top yet in their first record, Dankosaurus, a couple of invigorating gems are to be found. If they work on their songwriting this group could really become something!

(9) Arkhtinn

Admittedly not the most impressive discovery but one that scratches an itch started by Darkspace over a decade ago. This breed of Black Metal is of epic proportion, an astral experience propelled into the abyss by its smothering wall of narrowing sound. Their newest release 最初の災害 seems to be the best of what I've heard so far.

(8) Shade Empire
 

An English band with lavish orchestration and brilliant song writing. Arcane Omega is practically a masterpiece of its own style and I'm surprised I'd not learned of them sooner. No doubt in the new years I will get through a few more of theirs however I am not so sure there sound is consistent but certainly hoping for more in this vein.

(7) Fairyland

Power Metal has never been my forte but this year Fairyland and Sabaton have begun to turn the tides. Of Wars In Osyhria is a record that fits so well into my taste, it has measures and fractions of tone and tune I've heard in many another project and together they make a magical adventure. The other two records don't get close unfortunately however they have been fun.

(6) Bæst

I adore Bloodbath and their era with Mikeal Akerfeldt. The Danish group Bæst have pretty much emulated that sound and style to the bone. Even oi they lack originality, its such a great execution and the songs they write are fantastic. It will be interesting to see if they take off in the Death Metal scene given the similarity but personally I am just glad this niche will continue onwards.

(5) Lil Peep
 

When I first heard of Emo Rap and Lil Peep I ignorantly turned my nose up at it. His music is sad, the fact that it sometimes takes someone passing to get your attention is sadder too but most of all his youthful passing is the saddest, almost haunting as the pains of his emotive music and storey of drug abuse and hopelessness seemed to have manifest. Besides the storey though his music is undoubtedly special and gloomily moody.

(4) Anna Van Hasswolf

I'm noticing that Scandinavian voices frequently seem to be my thing. I'm dead guilty of somehow not getting past this one record, Dead Magic, which I listen to often. Its beautifully ethereal, a fraction esoteric and moodily engrossing and spiritual. I will get to more of her records in the new years but lets linger on that album cover for a moment. Its utterly haunting. Having seen it countless times it still gives me a chill.

(3) Aurora

And here is another Scandinavian voice who's currently my addiction! Having only recently found Aurora I still have two records to get through. What a treat! Interestingly enough music was not her primary pursuit but given her talent she choose to pursue it for those who may need it and I did not know I needed to hear her voice until I did! A beautiful singer, can't wait for more.

 (2) Queen

It should be obvious that I of course already knew of Queen, rather well to in terms of their greatest hits. They make it onto this list as I've really come to know of them in a new light and have harvested an even bigger respect for these legends. It was kicked of by the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, a stunning tribute and I am determined now to get through every single record!

(1) Tool

This is the epitome of a turnaround. Without really knowing much about them, my youthful ignorance had cemented them in my mind as a smelly band I wanted nothing to do with. I missed my opportunity to see them live in 2006 because of this attitude but thanks to my friend Rendog I was convinced there was something about Tool and so I gave it a try. It was a slow process, it took a long time to find the spark but since discovering it I have come to adore them and seeing them live this year was a fantastic experience. The new record Fear Inoculum is a bit of a mixed bag though. Their return is a welcome one but I think they may need to get back in the groove before they reach the peaks of the past again.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

My Top 10 Albums Of 2019


 Its not been as active a year with time devoted to other things. I've got to start of with a mention to FKA Twiggs. Loving her new album and the moment and If I had more time with, I'm sure it would be on this list. Also need to mention Ghost and their Seven Inches Of Satanic Panic EP, two of their best songs to date but obviously a little short on the run time to call it an album. I don't think anything out of the ordinary has taken hold, just another year, another bunch of records and here are my favourites!

(10) Aeons Confer "Zero Elysium" link

This records theme and setting is colossal, a plunge into the expansive cosmos led by meaty metallic guitars and aggressive drumming to batter you through the abyss. Initially it felt a bit bland and straight forward but its riffs devoid of flash and flair have a lot to offer as it becomes familiar. I am so stoked they have gotten things together and somehow retained the magic they had sixteen years ago.

(9) Devin Townsend "Empath" link

If Devin releases an album, chances are it will make it to this list. I adore the man and his musical vision but with such a large catalogue of albums they new songs become a blur, the best of blurs. Empath however plays like a slice of everything rolled into one and elevated to another level. I think it could be among his best but only time will tell at this point. Its a huge record, loaded and layered, it may take more time to fully get through.

(9) Kanye West "Jesus Is King" link

Not his best work, a flawed ambition but fruitful its in new direction. Inspired by church music and Gospel, infusing elements of it with a dash of Hip Hop, Kanye forged a slice of something outside the ordinary to introduce to the masses and I personally loved it. Of course being somewhat of an agnostic the lyrics didn't move me much but the music and stunning voices at play did very much so.

(7) Slowthai "Nothing Great About Britain" link

The young Northampton rapper may be one to watch out for in the future. This statement led debut has a lot of attitude and vitality about it. The story telling is fantastic but it stems from many of the things that success changes. A lot of Rap artists I can recall have suffered from this, the escape of poverty diminishing the source of inspiration but none the less its a cracking album that I fondly frequent back too.

(6)  Slipknot "We Are Not Your Kind" link

I never expected it to be so but Slipknot have undoubtedly created something you can hold in a similar light to their classic arrival records. The eruption of chaos, aggression and frustration of them crash landing into the public conscious could never be the same again but twenty years later the group missing now three of the original nine tap into the very best of the bands sound with a solid record spiced with a bit of experimentation that has grown on me. Great to have he Knot back at it!

(5) Billie Eilish "When We Fall Asleep Where We Go" link

Its certainly nice to hear more advantageous, experimental artists capturing ears in the mainstream. She may not exactly be "out there", her songwriting has many of the decent tropes Pop music can have but the use of ASMR techniques and vocal distortions is fun, interesting and expressive. All in all a fantastic record I enjoy every time I hear but also one to follow closely in the future.

(4) Cane Hill "Kill The Sun" link

Kill The Sun is an example of why bands shouldn't be afraid to explore their other aspirations. Stepping aside from their metallic roots, the group explore an exotic breed of Americana. Its utterly infectious and may of been what sent me on an Alice In Chains binge this year, learning that group too made Americana EP's between albums. There is now doubt they were an influence and although this was a short record I've loved it over and over. Massively infectious!

(3) Little Simz "Grey Area" link

I've been blown away by the sheer talent that is Little Simz. English Rap music has often felt in the shadows of the states if not pursuing a cultural altercation like Grime or Drill. Simz stands firm with fiery traditional rhyme skills and impressive cadence, she also has a lot to say and thus delivers some serious lyrical substance alongside some boisterous, affirming bars. 

(2) Puppy "The Goat" link

I was anticipating this album immensely and on arrival it blew me away. Puppy have a fantastic sound, a mix of all the best bits from Alternative Rock & Metal of the nineties. This album delivered in droves however I may have over saturated it. With a year to binge on The Goat, another surprise came along to steal the show. It was my first record of 2019 and I was pretty sure it would take the top spot.

(1) Sabaton "Great War" link

Sabaton have done it, maybe only with the help of Indy Nidel! I've been converted. Knowing these guys are history buffs interested in similar aspects of war, this album animated into life as I knew its inspiration intimately. Having followed the week by week reliving of World War I, its songs took on a whole new meaning that let melodies and tuneful songwriting really take hold. It can be a bit cheesy in places but its always fun and riveting with metallic energy. Since I wrote about it, its been on frequent rotation and is still giving tones of pleasure. It was totally unexpected but they trumped The Goat for me.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

FKA Twiggs "Magdalene" (2019)


After a period of relative inactivity, FKA Twiggs returns with a monumental sophomore album. If I had more time with Magdalene, it could of well been my album of the year. Its a deep and dense record, the instrumentals revel in the Avant-Garde. Ambiguous synthetic noises and percussive abstractions forge beautiful songs through unconvention. Every spin yields magic yet each listen feels like I'm scratching at the surface. Some records are just like this, they let you know you'll be coming back for times to come and maybe one day all there secrets will be unearthed.

Of what I remember, Twiggs had a stunning voice and bags of talent but this time around her vocal articulation feels utterly exceptional. Commanding her chords like a truely classic singer, she is pitch perfect with this undeniable resonance of emotional meaning and outpour. Every note, word, inflection and gasping of her breath feels like an artistic vision manifested. The reverberations and sound design simply further expand her sweet but yet very vulnerable presence at the forefront.

That open wound is felt in her voice but more so in the words of this record which have a strong undercurrent of tragedy, heartbreak and loss bleeding into the moody, reflective atmospheres. The ranges she reaches with the emotive direction is sublime, particularly on the song Fallen Alien, the albums true crescendo. Across these nine songs, everything from these soaring peaks to breathy and ASMR alike voicings has Twiggs giving a remarkable performance that you wont be capable of forgetting.

The albums pacing and tempo is suspended in a limbo. Many of the songs feel like they are leading to something that never comes to fruition but that is simply its point. As a listener you are dangling in this ambiguous space, painted with an ambience that resists obvious melody. Even percussion is drawn to its minimal essential, dressed in echos and shadows. It does finds strides and musters growth on many occasions though, the pairing of Mary Magdalene and Fallen Alien is so satisfying as its brooding of one track bleeds into the next, erupting with claustrophobic climax.

The record does have a hitch with one track. Future turns up for a feature and his Mumble Rap autotune inflections and Trap beat dominates the vibe. It breaks up the flow and feels out of place. Other than that one hiccup, Magdalene feels like a complete experience, an artistic expression that's been meticulously orchestrated. Twiggs will mesmerize with her swaying voice and suck you in to this tender space that you can't look away from. I'm excited to know that this album is far from over, I feel like I'll still be discovering it again and again for years to come. Its magic!

Favorite Tracks: Home With You, Sad Day, Mary Magdalene, Fallen Alien, Daybed
Rating: 9/10

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Blut Aus Nord "Hallucinogen" (2019)


 French musicians Blut Aus Nord feel like a cryptic force you can rely upon to deliver esoteric Black Metal that allures and engulfs with its majesty. Thirteen or so albums deep into their artistic output, the group continue to forge intelligent music that is testament to their experience and yet still steeped in inspiration. Their Avant-Garde nature means each project spins a different wheel, their last effort Deus Salutis Meæ a maddening dive into Industrial and Noise. This time around the word traditional still can not be applied but their are echos of modern experimentation reminiscent of Batushka, Mare Cognitum, Chaos Moon and Oranssi Pazuzu.

A bleak smothering of dissonance collides with esoteric gleams of color as the rhythm and lead guitar duel in tandem. Alongside the rumbling rattle of vibrating blast beats they birth abstruse vibrato melodies flickering out from the churning wheel of thick distortion rhythm picking. The guitar work often alternates between conventional chugging metallic riffs and bursts of wavy chord dissonance. Its spellbinding, a roaring sound that moves like an amorphic abyssal movement often falling in to shape and form between stretches of spurious madness. Its lead guitar may even sound conventional or classic in phrases but its mastery of mixing and delivery yields it to this mysterious vision.

The vocals are a treat, on two fronts the same principal is applied. Its meaner shouts and gutteral cries bleed from the depths of a crowded mix, never encroaching the foreground. They arrive like a surge of energy from deep within, just adding layers to the hypnotic sound at work. Its counterpart can often be heard alternating. Also buried behind the guitars, spiritual choirs of monk like male voices call like spirits from beyond, sometimes so subtle they sound like a layer of keys added for atmosphere. Its arcane in nature, melodically savage and a touch psychedelic in places.

The band have forged another fine record, a solid seven tracks serving a sensational slice of something specific that's subtly sinister. Its cohesive and well crafted as the songs plunges you into its designed chaos. The musicians place careful moments of respite with acoustic guitars ridden in oozy reverb effects to guide you through its machinations of fiery madness and arcane wonder. It hits this note from the get go and every listen since has me concluding this is a fantastic record you can come to over and over again for its particular flavor of esoteric darkness.

Rating: 7/10
Favorite Track: Anthosmos

Friday, 20 December 2019

Aurora "All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend" (2016)


Peeling back from the subtle cultural Scandinavian chill felt on her debut EP Running With The Wolves, Aurora's first full length brings about ten new songs alongside two of old that steer the sails to warmer waters. This is no u-turn but a feasible shift from what is usually a draw for me, the darker things. It undoubtedly retains a moody gothic tinge but as the album gets into its stride the percussion livens up with EDM thuds to bolster the roots. Melodies sparkle and animate with color and a few energized tracks emerge between the often instrumentally steady approach that gives focus to Aurora.

Her voice is center stage and many a heart string she tugs with her personality as a singer. The choices in harmonization and delivery ooze with spirit and feeling, an infectious style that so easily sweeps you up and away, getting lost in the beauty of these elegant songs that stroll between melancholy and hope. With a heavenly spirit and mournful respite, her music can be felt like a lonely catharsis at many a time.

The bursts of pop melody and upbeat tempos carry a different form of charm and so the record tends to sway between its ends, soaking you up in color and warmth, then letting the frayed ends of a sorrow gone by wash over as the instrumentals subside to let her charm emanate. Subtly is king again, the accompanying instruments seem to linger in the balance, even taking ample opportunity to become focal in swells of emotional out pour. Its all simply brilliant with little to criticize other than favoring some tracks over others however each song in its moment feels like one of the best.

Favorite Tracks: Through The Eyes Of A Child, Murder Song, Home, Black Water Lilies
Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Fen "The Dead Light" (2019)


I've been somewhat torn over Fen on their last few albums. This newest sixth installment further illuminates the opposing forces at play and which one I prefer. The music walks the line many Blackgaze bands do, a bleak serenity and beautiful chill of nature swoons, masqueraded by swells of unearthed darkness and shadowy aggressors. The two toy with varying degrees of enchantment but ultimately the plunges into the latter are lacking in charm. The bursts of aggression, shrill vocals and pushes of pummeling loose blast beats pale in comparison to the beauty the band conjure with sorrowful melodies. It is consistently the alluring lighter moments, stretching to gorgeous oozes of shimmering acoustic guitars, that entrance with cold soil, a rooted earthly grace of mother nature. In these moments the music is king.

In a typically progressive style the songs structures have them swaying between the two and as you can imagine their is a lot of the less favorable Black Metal but it somehow gets by as those dazzling bursts of moonlight grace a darkly landscape the group forge with their music. Occasionally visited by charming chorals of heathen clean vocals, I'm to often reminded of how much a drag the shrill shouts and screams become. When not paying too much attention the general atmosphere carries it by but its upheavals of melody are really its best component and so grabbing. It leaves me with mixed feelings as the album is fine in the background but when giving it full attention its metallic half fails to match the charm of its counterpart. It does however pull of the chemistry between ends ever so well on its closing track, a fine closer.

Favorite Tracks: Witness, Nebula, Rendered In Oynx
Rating: 6/10

Monday, 16 December 2019

Logic "Young Sinatra IV" (2018)


 I can barely believe Ive sat on this gem of a album for a year! Considering I was burning through Logic's catalog of records, perhaps I wouldn't of appreciated it back then. There is no doubt he's gotten better with time but this record bangs hard. Best of all... Wu-Tang Forever! This eight minute epic is one of the Clan's best tracks! It kicks off with the classic 36 Chambers kung-foo flick samples and Logic rising to their level with the opening verse and cracking rhymes. Cappadonna, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, Method Man, with sick references to Digable Planets in his flow. The RZA, Raekwon, Scotty Wotty and U-God all step on the mic with brilliant back to back verses. Its been my addiction as of late, firmly a classic track.

That highlight is wedged between a string of songs in the first two thirds of YSIV that rolls so sweetly, so before we get to that lets talk about the last third. I could easily say this was Logic's best work however the last few tracks loose pace. At seventy six minutes its a shade bloated with a few weak tracks dragging in its finale lap before Last Call, a ten minute monologue of the stories hes told many times over. Its a bomb that fizzles out somewhere after the title track, which is another resurrection of Boom Bap with the classic AZ hook "Life's a bitch and then you die". He does the sample justice, once again Logic rapping over classic beats works every time.

It opens on a slow burn, the classic fan hotline answering messages build a little suspense for whats to come, Logic gets going with tight fast flows leaping of the clap and snap beats, self affirming his lyrical superiority and position in the game. The instrumentals are fresh and sharp, keen and lively as he continues to bring fiery rhymes at pace. One Day shakes up the flow with Ryan Tedder's voice adding a pop flavor to a track with lean thudding base kicks. After the WTC track things got exotic and spicy with a beachy beat. Logic goes ham, bringing technical proficiency as he spits his rhymes with clarity at stunning speeds. Its a total show off track that slams.

This forth and final chapter has such a volume of excellence, it feels like the first "go to" record of Logic's with a big chunk of play time that flows effortlessly, showing off his prowess on the mic and story telling at its best. Still working with 6ix, the beats are flavorful and vivid. Ironically my least favorites where the ones he didn't produce. Its fantastic to see how the two can keep the chemistry up for all these years... Loving this record, it looses me at the end but the rest is simply fantastic.

Favorite Tracks: The Return, Wu Tang Forever, 100 Miles And Running, YSIV, The Adventures Of Stoney Bob
Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Aeons Confer "Zero Elysium" (2019)


Fun fact, this is the 1000th post on this blogpsot! That's a lot of music, time well spent but time that has flown by fast. It also feels fitting this numerical milestone would land on the shoulders of a band with a personal origin story for me. Before the streaming and easy discovery days of the Internet, I stumbled across the German band Aeons Confer's website in a pursuit of music similar to Dimmu Borgir. It was their The Soul Of The Universe record that became this unheard of gem, a relic among my friendship group, yet probably reached a minute amount of ears globally. Out of the blue a decade later they return from silence with the almighty debut full length, Symphonies Of Saturnus, one that's grown on me as I frequent it to this day.

Another six years roll by and now we have the groups sophomore record, one that retains their spirit yet advances the Symphonic aesthetic into the edges of a bleak icy cosmic abyss of space that clearly inspires their music on many levels. Embracing a meatier approach to the rhythm section, deep tonal guitars, almost Djent in nature, chug and stomp along tightly between the battering drum kit that sounds slick and brutal. Its synths are steered into more electronic synthetic tones, the sort you might hear in Trance or Aggro-Tech. They play a subtle roll in building the unforgiving cosmic atmosphere, often in bursts of tonality, looking for texture rather than melody. Every song holds together this vibe for a very consistent listening experience.

Its tight performance and cold nature borders on Industrial at times as the meat of the music churns away with a unending mechanical precision. These songs progress and unfold with acute, timely variations of unrelenting intensities. Distortion guitars often deploy sterile grooves, sparing melody for outbreaks of respite and relief. The clean vocals resonate in these moments, giving glimpses of color from the otherwise mechanical pallet. Its cosmic theming is held together throughout, its constant arrivals of angered guttural shouts and shrill screams reinforce the nebula. It can further be felt again with a closer inspection of the lyric sheet.

With many short and brief sentences, the wording marvels in the forces of the universe. Smart and technical language conjures visions on a colossal scale as planets and spacial phenomena become the play things for story telling with a vast sense of epic proportion. Its vocabulary is dense and a great fit for the overall feel. After a fair few listens Zero Elysium started to strike me as a deep record, the sort that keeps giving the more you get to know. Initially its starkness had me feeling It may not be all that but stick with it and you'll find quite the inter galactic experience awaits!

Rating: 7/10

Monday, 9 December 2019

Aurora "Running With The Wolves" (2015)


Its has begun to dawn on me that some of the most enchanting feminine voices Ive heard in recent memory are mostly Scandinavian! Hailing from snowy Norway, Aurora Aksnes is a young singer with a simply beautiful temperament of voice, balancing strength and harmony in a striking tone you'll know as hers. She has a soaring grace and toying playfulness, so often bursting from words to melodies with a knack for infection as her tunes swiftly soak up your subconscious and dig in deep. Her performances are sublime, emanating with emotion and meaning, her soaring moments may take your attention but the soft spoken wording between the surges of power are mesmerizing too, she moves between the two with true direction. This her debut record, a short EP but one Ive adored.

Behind her, soft and spacious instrumentals flirt with electronic melodies, atmospheric synths and a percussion that broods in anticipation and unleashes momentous drive in tandem with Aurora. It swells and calms with precision, melodies never overpower and despite being mostly poppy, uplifting and welcoming their is a little bit of that northern chill breezing through. It is mainly felt in the drums. Despite being electronic in timbre, they rattle of tribal grooves in bursts of energy that feel ancestral and rooted. These are four wonderfully crafted songs, all unique, painting an authentic spiritual warmness in the places they take you to. I'm certain I will enjoy the next few records!

Rating: 7/10

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Can't Swim "Foreign Language" (2019)


Released as a short twelve minute EP, the emotive Post-Hardcore group Can't Swim of Kansas Missouri take a break in stride from their albums and vent frustrations with this loud and angry outlet of channeled frustrations. It hosts an array of guests, singers who you'd presume are friends of the band, brought on to throw a little spice into this mini project. Ultimately its lyrical themes feel a bit force fed, anger led, a spewing of emotions that don't particularly add to conversational depth but certainly enforce the aggressive tone felt on the instrumentals. Police brutality, wealth inequality, evil and corruption are some of the themes delved into at the surface level.

Their melodic song writing and knack for hooks that I grew so fond of on Fail You Again tend to be the fall back in breaks from intensity. Each song has a angle that tends to push the music towards Crossover Thrash territory. Spews of gang shouts come thick and fast, reminding me fondly of Iron Reagan. A couple of ridiculous break downs play up the fun between the onslaught of thrashing guitars. As a whole it blitzes by fast with a hurtling energy as these short songs burst at the seems in aggressive mania. It does lack depth and feels somewhat novel in the shadow of a sound they execute far better but as a side projects its fun and maybe not to be taken seriously.

Favorite Track: Shoot
Rating: 4/10

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Alcest "Spiritual Instinct" (2019)


Years on from the serine glory of Les Voyages De L'Âme, I find myself poised in a spot many bands put me in when they stick with an established sound. Spiritual Instinct is French Black Metal band Alcest's sixth full length album and it predictably retains its harmony between hazy, atmospheric Black Metal and melodic Shoegazing. It sways between the darkness of cold metallic aggression and upheavals of sunny relief to birth magic in the union of previously juxtaposed musical ideas.

Its the band at their best however the now established sound fails to dig in deep, many of its songs birth the same settings and moods that have graced us before. If anything is to be said of this latest installment it is perhaps the meanest at times with guitar distortions a touch more textured and gritty. There are also a handful of plunges into the shadows as the shrill howling screams come around with more frequency between the more common middle ground of opposing styles in unison.

Sapphire and the closing title tracks do hinge into lighter territories with Post-Metal guitars loosening up the intensity for the vulnerable melodic singing to muster spurs of lush and delicate emotional movements. Protection stands out as its mid section has a fantastic building of intensity. Maniacal string swell in the background, driving the music to its highest crescendo. Perhaps the one defining moment of the whole record because otherwise it is wholly enjoyable but lacks a challenge or shift.

Favorite Track: Protection
Rating: 6/10

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Fief "V" (2019)


Chapters I, II, III, IV didn't break stride with theme, timbre or temperament and V predictably continues in the same vein. Twenty eight minutes of lush, indulgent immersion in fantastical themes of medieval nostalgia, majestic magics and natural beauty. Once again an identical pallet of keyed virtual instruments programs layers of melodies on a variety of stringed instruments and airy synths. Its underpinned by a soft a subtle pace keeping bell or tambourine offering little rhythmic value or variation. Its a dull element once you pick up on it, the precise nature of these instruments already holds the tempo perfectly in their electronically perfected execution.

Its a small qualm mainly focused on because I simply have little to say I haven't already. The song titles indicate the common themes with Citadels, Mages, Dragons and Bards so there is nowhere to look for something new. The songs are beautiful and luscious, purely pleasurable for transforming an atmosphere to a positive and magical one. It simply slips right into the discography as it's songs play with the same structures. Layers build up, unravel a little and build up again with nothing unusual or progressive taking place. Whenever I want these vibrations I simple put the artist Fief on shuffle. I think next time I'd really enjoy a change in tone or direction as otherwise it will be simply more of the same, which is not a bad thing of course!

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Queen "The Works" (1984)


Far from the glory of their enigmatic origins, Queen keep stylistically challenging themselves with each project. Despite being on a dip in form, these records still throw up a classic song or two. I never thought I'd be radiating in the tone of Radio Ga Ga again. It's a childhood song now heard through adult ears with a birthed appreciation for its spacey keys, subtly Industrial drum beat and robotic baselines. The coldness between its gently simmering synths and Freddie's stunning voice when they drop out hits the reset button on its atmosphere perfectly each time, such a unique song.

It sets a mechanical undertone for whats to come in a small dose. Tear It Up retains the bold crashing drums of Arena Rock yet executed with a Industrial rigidity that will reoccur however its a moment where Brian May's roaring electric guitar riffs find unison with this mechanized experimental theme the band seem to be leaning into. Once again however, its only fully realized on Machines, a track with gittery synths and digital electronic tones in the vein of a Kraftwork b-side. The reset of the record tends to fall into the typical established styles that Queen like to dabble with.

Man On The Prowl simply sounds like a glossy piano led version of Rockabily track Crazy Little Thing Called Love. To be fair though these other songs bring the energy, Hammer To Fall resurrects the classic Queen sound with a touch of class as once again Brian May's electricity just lands well with his band mates, unlike on Hot Space. It seems that something was brewing among the drumming and robotic use of electronics on this album but it falls into the eclecticism of styles the band hinge on, leaving it short of something defining. It feels routine, despite being really enjoyable.

Favorite Tracks: Radio Ga Ga, Tear It Up, Keep Passing The Open Window, Hammer To Fall
Rating: 6/10

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Logic "Young Broke Infamous" (2010)


My mind has been blown... It's actually been over a year since our last Logic album here on the blog. How time flies. Having felt the itch for more Logic and to get back on track with the journey through his discography, we arrive at what I thought was his first mixtape, however the lyrical content and affirmations held within make it clear this is not his introduction to the world. With a little research I've found that took place under the name Psychological, a name you hear on the opening track.

With so many hours of his sound digested already its rather difficult to distinguish what makes these records stand apart from one another. The reality is they don't, it's become a blur. These early mixtapes recycle his common lyrical, emotional themes and instrumental approaches, especially with the straight rapping over classic beats, something he pulls off with an endearing flavor. Lord Finesse's Hip To The Game, Outkast's ATLiens and even Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. Like before, these tend to be my favorite tracks but he saves his best rhymes for them I sware.

Logic's production does however throw together a reasonable ensemble of beats. They incorporate some electronic synth tones of the times and also throw back to the 90s with unoriginal beats. They are mostly tone setters, little leaps off the page other than his words. At 20 his vocal talent is still undeniable but his output a little unfiltered, lacking curation. Some immature and obvious rhymes crop up on occasion but its mostly in a good vein. My problem is simply over saturation of his sound. I'm sure had I gone through these records in the other direction the progression to his current greatness would be more obvious. His album are miles ahead from here.

Rating: 5/10
Favorite Tracks: Nothing But A Hero, Young Sinatra, Backpack, Wordplay, Back And Forth

Monday, 25 November 2019

Fairyland "Score To A New Beginning" (2009)


Concluding our journey through the French Power Metal band's original trilogy of records, this final chapter remedies the vocal horrors of The Fall Of An Empire with a new approach to personal. Guest vocalists arrive in droves to color the music in a tapestry of voices. Theatric, occasionally operatic and frequently choral, male and effeminate singing lavishes this record with neither Elise Martin from Of Wars In Osyhria or Maxime Leclercq returning. The result is a pleasant one, an enjoyable variety of approaches typical to the genre, theatrical and empirical within its fantasy story telling setting which plays out in tales of war, exploration and adventure.

All Ive said before applies again, this record straddles the line between its previous two approaches yet didn't spark quite the magic I first heard on their debut. Gleaming triumphant music glistens again with uplifts and swells of glory and might as the music constantly ascends in a pursuit of epic it lands fairly well. Its a bit slow to get going but around A Soldier's Letter and Godsent it finds a stride. Its lavish and its symphonic component is usually the main propellant of its momentum through the record.

All the elements are there. The recording is gorgeous and instruments beaming with energy and color. Haven given it many spins I am not sure why it didn't stick. Perhaps the impact of a new sound has worn off, or maybe the songwriting wasn't quite there, despite seemingly like brilliant executions of fantasy driven Symphonic Power Metal with progressive structures. Score To A New Beginning ends up being one of those albums I can't criticize but just didn't quite click with as a whole experience, there are undoubtedly favorites in the track listing though.

Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Assult On The Shores, A Soldier's Letter, Godsent

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Queen "Hot Space" (1982)


Quirky, camp and kooky, Hot Space flips the deck as legends Queen make a hard pivot away from their roots in Rock, embracing Pop, Funk, Disco and Electronic music with a stern boldness. The Andy Warhol aesthetic is a perfect fit and I can't help but feel this wouldn't of been well received at the time. Retrospectively I wonder what sort of influence it had on acts at the time. Michael Jackson often sighted Queen and Freddy as a big influence are on this record we hear Queen approach the crisp, sharp instruments at hand similar to how MJ would on records like Bad and Dangerous.

All the instruments, drum included, are snappy and swift. Its all about bold punchy tones, rigid mechanical timings and simple arrangements drawing on the stark aesthetic style. One can hear all elements clear and divisible, the music is boiled down to a simple form. Brian May's guitar licks then haphazardly cringe and collide with these clean and slick sounds, often crashing in, amidst an attempt to elevate the moment. Mercury tends to suffer the stylistic approach as his muted singing repeats dull phrases the themes hinge on however his high pitch singing on the caribbean laid back track Cool Cat is simply sublime. The track before it isn't half bad too, Las Palabras De Amor, however it feels like a rehashing of Teo Torriatte. Maybe its just the foreign language selling that angle.

The track Back Chat reminds me heavily of a Daft Punk song. Just had to say that. As the record draws on the group find their natural ecclesiastic breaking free as their diverse set of styles come back around, fusing with the new approach and offering up their typical set of alternatives. It leaves the album meandering its way towards the Under Pressure hit with David Bowie, a timeless collaboration. Its a diamond in the rough. Hot Space is terrible because its just not good enough. Queen overreach and produce something that doesn't sit right with them. It would be a tolerable album if they stuck to the plan but its when their prior sound leaks in that the music suffers.

Favorite Tracks: Cool Cat, Under Pressure
Rating: 3/10

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Kanye West "Jesus Is King" (2019)


Always one to have a spectacle made of his life, Kanye has transcended from the madness of his own statements and pressures of the media questioning his mental health to this point in time. Reverence of God, solace in Christianity, he has indoctrinated himself for a salvation that's manifested into his music. This transition, theme and worship splits the record in two. The lyrical and conceptual side is an incoherent reactionary ramble, seemingly an emotional response to the mounting pressures of the bright limelight aimed on him at all times. Many of the themes and words seem lacking in depth and the bluntness of him appraising God for the reasoning behind his extraordinarily expensive merchandise has him scraping the barrel of substance, even is his cadence and singing is warming, digging into his words often has little to offer beyond atypical themes and words of worship, however the influence of church music to his instrumentals is strongly enjoyable.

On the other hand of production, we have Kanye creating amazing songs again. They come together like fractured pieces, a collage of musical ideas that resonate remarkably on the individual level. As an album in tends to jump all over the place but loaded with what he does best, I can't complain. Kanye has always had a knack for vocalization in the harmony of his music. Now with elements of Gospel and Psychedelic production armed, he produces swells of swooning voices. Manipulation and synthetic tonal instruments runs us through a gauntlet of indulgent music of praise with a Hip Hop flavor. That in itself often drops out as sparse use of beats becomes noticeable in the last few songs of the record. The vocals alone carry the music from start to end. Hands On in particular has a backbone of trippy vocal inflections.

At twenty seven minutes in continues the trend of short and sweet. This time its fractured nature, the issues and delays leading up to its release, gives the impression of an unfinished project. Even in this form his genius shines through these gorgeous organic compositions of inspired singing. Kanye to getting in on the act, letting his voice break on God Is was an endearing touch but again the hallow feeling of his fleeting to religion for consolation leaves the power of his performance purely in his own court. Its not something I can relate too yet the musical experience is wonderful. A very polarizing album, I'm glad I gave it plenty of time because it tends to give more the deeper you get into it. After many spins I still want more!

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Queen "Flash Gordon" (1980)


Its been a while since I covered the last Queen record, reality is Id only given this a handful of spins. Its been rather unappealing. Of the rare occasions I have indulged, I would find myself bored by its shifts and sudden turns if it were not for the mere spectacle of a band pinned into a creative corner. I don't know much of the backstory here, or how the music relates to the movie itself. I'd prefer to keep that a mystery as it plays like a band attempting to be drastically different but constants leave them unable to flesh out experimental ideas and directions.

The theme song for Flash is a classic, no doubt. Ive heard it many times but it makes a poor jump off point for the record as it never returns to that intensity and thematic richness until the very last songs. The biggest stirs of energy often spark from the themes erroneous rehashing back into future songs. Sporadic bursts of synthesizer zaps and symphonic upheavals reign out between lines of dialog that feel disconnected and bizarre in nature. Its hard to envision it being the direct soundtrack, more of a project trying to use the movie for an isolated soundtrack experience, either way its pretty disastrous.

So far I've been harsh and of the nice things I can say they are mostly little musical moments that occur on occasion yet do next to nothing in making the whole thing work. Brian May's metallic guitar stirs some rocking riotous energy on Football Fight, they command direction over the racing beat lined with gaudy synths. The audio samples in this case build up a tension but the song just dissipates without any conclusion and lapses back into a lull as seemingly unconnected spacey astral synths take over. It could of evolved into something but these songs lack progression.

The synths remind me of In The Space Capsule where the those nebulous synth tones provoke quite the mystique atmosphere. Once again though, its all to disconnected as the music meanders with sudden shfts. From here, many of its one to two minute compositions have interesting aesthetics and quirky sparks of chemistry but its all littered between sharp turns in tone and audio snippets that it becomes hard to follow along with. Battle Theme would be a great example of the band doing what they do best however the song is hampered by sticky laser zaps and ear grating synths that rub against the slick guitars.

It is perhaps possible to love this record for all its quirkiness, shifts in direction and musical experiments. For me I couldn't escape how its attempt to be some form of soundtrack was hindering the flow of ideas. Things were rarely fleshed out and when the music was calling out for some progressive story telling and journeying of the sounds, it felt forced and hurried along, as if sticking to a strict schedule. Poor record, It hasn't convinced me to see the movie although I am morbidly curious now as to how the two are related.

Favorite Tracks: Flash's Theme, Football Fight, The Hero
Rating: 3/10

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Front Line Assembly "Wake Up The Coma" (2019)


Having enjoyed the Canadian Electro-Industrial pioneer's recent Warmech soundtrack, I thought I'd tune in for a regular record. Right off the bat I have to say their is a lot of mediocrity at play, a passable record as background music but not mustering up much excitement in the forefront bar a few good compositions. Ive given it many listens over the months since its release but its failed to grab me, I can't be to critical though, its not terrible, just all too average to make itself known.

Far from the jolty, harsh and rigid machinations of their origins, FLA's slick production gives a modern aesthetic touch. Tight synth arrangements and punchy drum machines have a competent amount of variety and detail to bolster up the core components that build dystopian, mechanical atmospheres. Voices take on a mix of whispered cries soaked in echos and alien distortions, all playing into the altered human persona much of its charisma resides within. There are many breaks in flow, often using the textural tones of synths and clattering drum sounds to orchestrate physical, Industrial movements but its rarely exciting in anyway.

Most the songs tend to circle a theme. Progression don't amount to much and most of the tracks start where they end in terms of tone and setting. That's why I think its failed to get a grip on me. It does run into a few gaudy moments, the lyrical pondering of making love to an alien on Living A Lie is mostly an amusing line for a hook. Nick Holmes turns it around in the next track, lending his voice for a fantastic chorus on the title track. That's about all I have to say, its all a bit too routine, lacking spice.

Favorite Track: Wake Up The Coma
Rating: 4/10

Friday, 8 November 2019

Borknagar "True North" (2019)


Borknagar, I remember! The glum shed on a fog swept field, a typically unreadable and yellow band logo atop the image. Their first album came out right in the mid 90s boom of post-global exposure Black Metal. Knowing they had ICS Vortex in the lineup, once of Dimmu Borgir and Arcturus, I felt quite keen to find out what one of my favorite voices was up to. To little surprise, the band have matured a lot from what I remember of that atypical, dingy, carbon copy debut record, the sort that just fell off into the flood of new bands joining in on the act.

To my pleasure they now take on moody atmospheres of northern folk charm. With sprinklings, often climatic, of screams, blast beats and power chord shredding, the band evenly resonate a calmer side brewing luscious settings of serenity interwoven with metallic upheavals of momentum. Its a progressive fusion of styles, rather adjacent to In The Woods. Dark and earthly songs forged through thoughtful musical arrangements sap magic from its instruments with visions of natural beauty.

Vortex's singing is an absolute pleasure, still a master of the gleaming, manly "clean vocal", he glides over these scenic soundtracks effortlessly. Its organic music with soft synths and colorful lead guitars. The three tend to interchange on leading the music forth and its held together with superb drumming that's a little on the mechanical side with its industrious hammering of stiff drum rolls. Quite often does the rhythmic syncopation of Metal guitars drive the music too and with that True North offers up variety and balance between the extreme and melodic ends of this style. Inspiring!

Favorite Tracks: Up North, Voices
Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

BABYMETAL "Metal Galaxy" (2019)


My anticipation for this record was soured somewhat by lead single Pa Pa Ya. Its a tad obnoxious and overt but that's one of this acts charms, to dial its elements up! I still think its the weaker track but it has grown on me. The rest of this new record was a total hit from the get go. Da Da Dance blasts the listening experience into the stratosphere with its electrifying guitar taping illuminating the jolting synths and cutesy "Babymetal" chant. What a tone setter for a fun record that does what these musicians do best, bringing ferocious modern Metal together with sugar coated Pop in quirky memorable fusions. This time around a hint of worldly sounds creep onto a couple of songs, expanding the bands horizons, delivering another fine chapter in the journey.

Something about the way this record rolls out, a couple of its themes too, give a sense of arcade and adventure. Its almost as if each song has a linage with a video game. Each one I could envision a music video related to the arcade, perhaps the "don't give up, game over or continue" lyrics sunk in a little to deep. Every track arrives with a different spice, only Kagerou sounds like a leftover cut from Metal Resistance. Shine also echos of The One but mostly its new and bold territory for the band while retaining their distinctive musical identity and high octane production.

Japaneses exclusive tracks BBAB and BXMXC are wonderfully obnoxious in polar opposite ways. The first has its glossy Pop Metal charm and the latter an exercise in sheer rhythmic grooving on overdrive! Shanti and Oh Majini stand out with exotic cultural sounds, the latter dipping toes into Pirate Metal with bagpipes and rugged sailor chanting. Their is a noticeable growing presence of the backing musicians joining in vocally. "Kitsune Of Metal God" gets an entire track of demonic chants through its descending, eerie and tribal atmosphere on In The Name Of.

Its jam packed with variety and amazing hooks to get stuck in your mind. More voices may enter the fold but again its Suzuka Nakamoto who's voice soaks in the limelight, elevating every moment she is present. I particularly loved the songs where she gets to sing in a poppier context. It feels like this record has pushed its boundaries as the heavy side feels equally embellished. Maybe the drumming didn't ramp up the intensity with blast beats and the like but the Djent guitar tones are masterfully dense an tonal, bordering on guttural for comparison. Perhaps the meatiest Ive heard yet!

Much like their other two records, gems and numbers that don't stick as much make the sum of its parts. This time around the variety carries it and plays solidly with an arsenal of new songs. It has been a pleasure to indulge with and a reminder of why this band are so exciting. Anything is possible in Metal and these directions and avenues are so much more interesting that other bands grinding out the same old recycled styles. Babymetal's freshness is a real strength! It's hard to say if they have reached a peak but each record gives my that feeling they could reach higher peaks!

Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Da Da Dance, Brand New Day, BBAB, Distortion, BXMXC,

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Puppy "III" (2019)


With the years best album so far under their belt, The Goat, this surprise EP was quite the treat to feast on, I didn't expect new music so soon! The three piece band Puppy are one of my modern favorites, their fusion of nostalgic 90s Alternative Rock & Metal riffs is just my cup of tea. Its the songwriting however, that sets them apart from waves of bands that come and go, casting that rosy tinted look back into the past. Puppy take in a rich history of music, brandishing it with their own defining stamp.

These nine tracks, a brief nineteen minutes, initially felt as demoed as its presentation would suggest. Its mixing, rough around the edges, with roomy drums and earnest singing gave a casual impression that would flavor my first few listens as a mediocre yet fun set of songs. The songwriting however championed once again as the ear worms grew, driving the hooks and melodies into the subconscious. Its riffs, arrangements and lyrics became forefront. It wasn't long before I was asking myself just how good this record is? Right now it fits perfectly into their catalog.

Without doubt there is a handful of songs here that given the treatment would fit snugly onto a proper album. They all however have a charm that feels exclusive to this rougher garage demo sound and I think the point is to inhabit this moment the band are living in. The raw vocal harmonies and chunky guitar riffs with gristly distortion tones create a youthful air vibe that resonates through the colorful guitar licks that occasional deploy a bit of rhythmic groove. Its everything I like about Puppy, just with a less polished edge which makes it fresh and interesting.

Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Agatha, Serotonin, Charms

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Korn "Untouchables" (2002)


Recently Ive had to revisit a particularly turbulent time in my youth and now I find myself having the perfect opportunity to talk about a record I've always wanted to get around too. Its my favorite Korn record and there was a period many years back where I couldn't listen to a song from it without being brought to tears. Fortunately I got past that and learned to embrace what had once been, allowing me to enjoy the record again. Obtaining Untouchables a while after its release, I only briefly knew of Freak On A Leash yet immediately bonded with every word Jonathan Davis was singing from his soul. I felt as if each word was everything I was going through. This was right around some of the most difficult lows Id go through and as a troubled kid trying to find themselves it offered a bitter escape and meaning.

My appreciation of this record is obviously testament to those moments, however till this day I still think this is JD's apex moment as a vocalist. His lyrics, as angst riddled and raw with pain they are, are delivered in the most soaring and soul wrenching performance. That pain and its meaning embellishes itself in the scaling heights of melody he inflects on his words, turning song after song into a truly moody and moving internal odyssey. The highs and lows, cleans and growls seem to twist and turn in an endless stream of deeply emotive singing. He frequently layers his voice to add an extra instrumental depth and the hooks, inflections and catchy-ness of it all is sublime, getting me to sing and feel it every time.

Behind him the band bottle up their most heavy and ambitious sound to date, taking their stomping sense of groove to a smothering wall of sound that has a thick tonal assault. The classic rumbling slap base of Fiedly quakes from bellow and Silveria batters his kit in tandem. Many of the songs have thudding stomps of syncopated guitar assault and the Monkey Head dynamic is disrupted as the oddball noises and creepy melodies that usually defined them get channeled into atmospheric avenue instead of the back and forth. Brilliant song writing lets the heavy gives way to rich passing of melody deployed with the help of electronic sounds too, sometimes at the same time but with less of their iconic duality. Its the perfect stage for JD to illuminate.

The album plays sweetly with no weak links, the heavy tracks are periodically broken up by the likes of Hollow Life, Hating and Alone I Breaking, deploying drum machines and hitting heavy from another angle with JD delivering more utterly sincere and heart breaking lyrics. This record barely lets up on the depressing mood but its truly therapeutic, voiced by a man battling with his inner demons head on. Untouchables finds one moment of absolute fun with the crude and enthralling Beat It Upright, a favorite. Thoughtless plays like an anthem for the trodden down and it all ends on gut wrenching high with No One's There. I could rattle on about each of the tracks distinctions for time but that is for you to discover!

Its quite sad to think critics hailed it Korn's worst album upon release. I can't comment without a heavy dose of bias but seventeen years later its still utterly engulfing and sometimes all to vivid as these songs take me back to that moment. I haven't forgotten a line of JD's words and I think for a record to be this potent after so long its got to have something more to offer. The bands first five albums are all gems, so hard to pick apart but artistically I think Jon's performance is what tips it for me. Never did he before or probably ever again give quite the scintillating performance like here.

Rating: 10/10

Monday, 28 October 2019

Danny Brown "Uknowhatimsayin¿" (2019)


For his last major release Danny dazzled with a wild unhinged experimental Atrocity Exhibition. Its flamboyant nature and eccentric charm seems to have been turned on its head. This time Brown delivers a lean and fresh collection of songs that feel isolated from one another yet all land a strange dissonance. Selecting oddball instrumentals, his raw voice recording aesthetic adds this layer of separation between beat and rhyme that initially left me not knowing what to make of the project.

With plenty to say, the rhymes in the best moments are unbelievably sharp, witty and well articulated. Layered with elements of comedy, story telling, self deprecation and vulnerability he musters up some engaging flows that topically chop and turn at pace. Brown's cadence often feels a step off the beat, free and loose yet holding its own flow of continuous verbal packages to unwrap. It may also be the percussive grooves mustering this illusion as they are often untypical of a groove to rap along with.

The moods and temperaments of the samples and beats shift all over the place, never slipping into anything too banging or obvious, always focused on the power of subtler chemistry. Run The Jewels turn up to stamp their style on a JPEG beat and Q-Tip produces a couple of my favorite cuts that have the Jazz Hop lean. This wild variety in production aids producer White in delivering striking esoteric and Ethereal sounds that stood out among a lot of great instrumentals. With every listen this record reveals more, its got depth and substance rammed into its thirty three minutes.

Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Change Up, Belly Of The Beast, Best Life, Uknowhatimsayin¿, Combat

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Shade Empire "Omega Arcane" (2013)


I've sunk my teeth in deep on this one, enjoying its immersion over and over. Some albums present a charm that once familiarity sets in it can vanish. In the case of Omega Arcane it has a gift that will keep giving for years to come. So rather than write up my thoughts on this excellent record, I thought Id keep it in rotation for some time longer and with that has come a great appreciation for this meaty CD filling seventy four minutes of Orchestral Black Metal. Hailing from the UK, Shade Empire have out done Dimmu Borgir at their own game, specifically the Abrahadabra era where the Norwegians steered their iconic Symphonic incorporation of keyboards to actual in house orchestras. I do however feel they lost their charm in this transition.

Alongside the commonplace barrage of relenting blast beats, howling screams and aggressive guitar work, Shade Empire deploy a range of tonality in the symphonic avenue. String sections, brass instruments, trumpets and horns, even striking orchestral drum strikes. It has a rich depth that effortlessly blends into the metallic cascade of intensity. This also extends into more typical keyboard synths, electric pianos and on occasion furthering into the tonality of synth led music as no idea seems out of reach if it fits the billing. Its best heard in interluding journeys where drum machine deployment reminds me of the E.S. Posthumous fusion of Classical, modern indulgent Electronic elements and atmosphere aiding drum machines.

 This superb cohesion provides stunning depth with its rich layers of symphonic sound, underpinned by the crushing pummeling of crunchy guitars chugging tempered grooves. The slick rattling of rapid, dexterous drumming shudders like a pulse, slaming through it all with a commanding guidance to hold everything together. Its all rather intense, with each instrument the potential to overpower is present but they slickly achieve a balance and let the musical writing beneath elevate the aesthetic chemistry. The screeching vocals too have intensity but fortunately variety favors as deep guttural whispering tells tales, playing up the epic fantasy narrative the record has in droves. With a few voices at play, it shapes up well, avoiding staleness.

With such an engrossing musical construct, everything is set in place for endearing song writing to play out a rather diverse set of songs that meet in this fantasy realm of snow and storms. With many measures of temperament the songs can shift intensities while never letting up on a luscious layer of orchestral sound. It all feels rehearsed to deliver stunning swells of emotion as the so called crescendos and peaks seem to roll out in frequency. Its seventy plus minutes never seem to drag feet, each track firing up its unique take on the pallet available and with the start of each new number comes the reminder of the moments in store, yet to unravel there treausres. It also arrives between slews of ambience leaning atmospheric passageways that enrich the theme.

So far its all been praise and the reality is I can't think of anything to criticize. At first I may have had thoughts of preferring certain ideas to be executed differently but with time absolutely everything about this record makes sense to itself. There isn't even think there is a song worth gutting, the bar of quality is that high. The best tracks are however rolled up in the albums opening but even at the other end Slumbering Giant and the title track are very convincing songs that have just as much immersion.

What we have here on Omega Arcane is an excellent execution of intense Metal music but also a true understanding of the orchestral, electronic and atmospheric side. It feels like a mastery from its both perspectives, perhaps more so the latter. Rather than being used as an accent or aid, this thematic avenue has been fully realized. The chemistry between its two sides is sublime, that's where it stands apart from others who lump in synths as a layer of color. This is a gem I'll cherish for times to come!

Rating: 9/10