Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Migos "Culture" (2017)

I wasn't moved by their break out hit Versace at all but having heard the Migos mentioned so often recently I figured I would give the American Hip Hop trio a try. I didn't expect much but walk away really surprised with how much I enjoyed this record. Its one half dope beats and another half comedy as these soon-to-be-dated over stylized trendy vocal sounds utterly dorky and ridiculous to the point where I find myself chuckling away at the "skrt skrt" noises and other comical sounds they conjure up, not to mention a rap from Lil Uzi Vert who sounds slightly concussed in his rhymes.

The production here, handled by many hands, is tight, crisp and modern. A spacious approach leaves lots of room for the excessive reverberations to bounces around in the space between instruments. Trap influenced hi-hat grooves rattle away over sub base kicks that snappy snares pop off of. Simplistic short melodies play steadily on pianos and similar synthetic sounds with occasional symphonic strings and the like in the backdrop. The tempo is steady and track after track sounds sharp, slick, laid back and oddly relaxing with a slight air of danger and eeriness on a handful of numbers. Its just the right atmosphere for the Migos to do their thing.

Lyrically... the verses are lacking substance, not a lot of the lines stuck with me beyond acknowledging the excessive braggadocio however I felt these modern and triplet flows were pulled of really well, lots of the vocals resonate in the atmosphere and the use of auto tune and pitch shifting effects felt aesthetically pleasing. Some of the records most memorable lines were essentially borderline gibberish but the delivery kept getting them wedged in my mind however the most fun was with the strange sound effect alike vocals making "pew pew pew" and other strange noises over the shoulder of the rapper on the mic. It amused me greatly.

Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Bad And Boujee, Deadz

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Machine Head "Catharsis" (2018)

 Four years since their last effort Bloodstone & Diamonds the American Groove Metal outfit return with a lengthy seventy four minute record that has divided opinions across the board. I was somewhat unexcited about Catharsis for the aspects that Ive ended up enjoying it for. Machine Head peaked with The Blackening back in 2007, a riot of a record that's worthy of being mentioned alongside the best Metal records ever unleashed upon the world. Since then their output has felt like stagnation, more of the same sound and so I went into this record hoping they would do something new. Whats ironic is there attempts to broaden their horizons are an utter turn off and the predictable Machine Head is here in droves sounding pretty wild and fun!

Stomping, chugging grooves, bendy, bouncy riffs and the razor sharp gleam of stiff guitar leads wail away in their typical uniform. The opening three tracks throw together some cracking riffs held together with lyrics to sing along to. These numbers will fit great into the live show but the next stretch from California Bleeding to Bastards sees singer Robb Flynn attempt to break the mold firstly with his voice, embracing the rougher, grouchy and musky, liquor stained attitude. Plain language, the blunt vulgarity and graphic story telling weighs down the atmosphere with its downtrodden tone. Going into Bastards the instrumental tries to come along with him into uncomfortable territory, reaching beyond their grasp it falls flat.

The soreness of failed experimentation casts quite the shadow over this record as the reasonable portion is great if not atypical of the band who are sinking into a broad range of ideas they have covered before in the past. They do however get their experimentation right on Behind A Mask, echos of Spanish guitars and the gentle build up to soothing, soft vocals, soaring in the moment is wonderful. Given its length and lack of unification in theme, Catharsis is really just a big cluster of songs from a band saying "here you go, have fun". If I were to cut the time in half and fill it with my favorites It would make a killer record, however its bogged down by a lack of filter and purposeful direction they were able to maintain on previous albums.

Favorite Songs: Volatile, Catharsis, Screaming At The Sun, Behind A Mask
Rating: 5/10

Monday, 26 February 2018

Saturnian "Dimensions" (2012)

Plucked straight from the mystic realms of symphonic darkness, the Reading based band Saturnian leave us with just a single record from their short four year lifespan. Fans of Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child and Aeons Confer will rejoice in these Britons classy execution of the sound the Norwegians pioneered and popularized. Sharp, crisp Black Metal fused with the wondrous sounds of astral symphonies give us a rich experience with all the hallmarks, including a helping of clean vocals breaks and keyboard led interludes. There are no surprises here, just quality songs performed and recorded like the best of them do it.

And so the album unfolds with a temperate pacing, a measured consistent intensity. The drums batter away with pacy blast beats and plenty of double pedal rolls as they continually shift between the common beats of this sound. Its involved, always having a hand in steering the direction but never feels to upfront, a good balance for the overall feel. Its the keys and guitars that steal the show. They have a formative chemistry, the guitars shred out tremolo leads and linear grooves while the airy synths enrich the atmosphere, however at any moment either can jump into focus as the driving melody of the music with orchestral symphonies and blazing solos.

The raspy, scowling vocals aren't much to be desired, more of something Ive become accustom too, they taunt at the forefront of the sound with little sinking in. Its the choral chants of burly men and the effeminate clean vocals that are most illuminating for the music as a whole. Its expansive melodic sections leaning into Gothic territory in brief moments very akin to fellow Britons Cradle Of Filth. In summary its simply a great record exploring a well established sound. It brings nothing new to the table but that doesn't stop it from being very enjoyable and engrossing.

Rating: 7/10

Friday, 23 February 2018

Childish Gambino "Awaken, My Love!" (2016)

Upon its release I was immediately drawn to the memorizing, neon yet tribal album cover, It sucked me in, I wanted know more. After hearing just a single track on Youtube I was buzzing with excitement and then some how... its two years later. Only now have I finally gotten around to this record and I have clearly missed out on music that will keep giving for years to come. The multi talented Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, who got the persona name from an online Wu-Tang name generator, ditches his rapping and follows his gut for a truly inspired wild ride.

"Awaken, My Love!" Is a bold and vivid, psychedelic journey through shades of 70s sounds re-imagined with a bright, colorful intensity that's lively and engrossing. Its a luscious tapestry of sounds, never static, always animated, going through the motions as a wide pallet of instruments get involved between songs. The infectious grooves of Funk, sensibilities of Jazz, soothing vibrations of Soul, the jive of Disco and singing voices of R&B all echo through a trippy, humanistic soundscape. The union of electronic and natural instruments is effortless and a keen ear can hear such a wonderful array of sounds working in tandem, it all sounds gorgeous.

As a record its a fun experience but its not without its flaws. Despite every song having its own flair, a lot of the tracks slip into feeling more like jams than songs built on direction. As a result much of the record feels interchangeable, sometimes grounded and other times loosely themed. Where Donald moves from rapping to singing his presence isn't that powerful and his full singing voice is not far off the mark but it feels like he compensates with artistic inflections and stylized, softer vocals on most tracks. As a result he is rarely the focal point of the music and all to often his backup singers outshine him. When he comes to the front, his quieter approach lulls as the music often outpaces him.

This is a small picking in a big package, this album is loaded with goodness but sometimes these details let you understand whats holding it back from becoming greater. There's a lack of hooks or punchy moments and little of the singing gets stuck in the mind. The music plays like an ooze of flowing awsum that's just to fall where it may. Its needed a bigger helping of direction and focus but despite that its still really wonderful. Shame its the last from Childish Gambino who has retired the project.

Favorite Tracks: Me And Your Mama, Riot, Redbone, Terrified, Baby Boy
Rating: 8/10

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Brockhampton "Saturation III" (2017)

This third chapter in Brockhampton's hasty trilogy has been the least exciting of the three. Its another thick jam of voices with a variety of beats showing little if any overarching themes or concepts to hold the songs together. The return of Spanish spoken interludes and serine singing over gleaming acoustic guitars on "Team" affirms some consistency in approach but with frequent listens I find myself unable to be sucked into their world, or whatever it is critics are raving about. For me, the lyrical substance falls short of making itself known and clever rhymes and keen ideas fall flat without a punch of meaning behind the rap facade, it comes across as a cluster of ideas.

The record does however kick of with a banging tune, "Boogie" is a wonderfully energetic song with a lot of hype and animation about it. It edges being noisy and slightly chaotic yet I could totally envision heating it on the radio. Its "wow wow" siren goes on and on yet never gets irritating! Everyone jumping on the mic has a lot of energy however I feel like the beat carries a lot of mediocre lines on this track and again for most of the record. That's about all I have to say, its made the least impression on me out of the three, Ill be curious to see whats next but I'm not really feeling where its currently at.

Favorite Tracks: Boogie, Team
Rating: 5/10

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Harm's Way "Posthuman" (2018)

Hailing from Chicago Illinois, Harm's Way are a Hardcore five-piece outfit who have been at it for twelve years, recently putting out this release, their forth full length record. I can't decide if its the music of Posthuman, or my apatite for excessively aggressive music dwindling that's minimized my enjoyment. Harm's Way are just a step behind the cutting edge and thirty three minutes of this dense, meaty pummeling anger echos too many shades of other bands for something unique to emerge.

Coming from Hardcore and Metalcore roots, one can hear a pursuit of aggressive aesthetics overtaking the core of their sound as the continual barrage of fiery riffs assaults on a tonal level before the music itself, in other words mediocre riffs propped up by intense textures. Mammoth crunchy guitar distortions and punchy drum strikes hammer away in unison through a production that compresses as much sound into tiny spaces as it can, giving the music a claustrophobic, suffocating power when its guitars chug away at full pelt. It doesn't go to the extremes that a band like Nails do but one can hear the creaks and groans of extreme distortion ready to burst at the seems.

In a guitar dominated record, their Hardcore riffs often feel extenuated with a touch of Grindcore's ferociousness. The syncopation of Nu Metal riffs from days gone by delineates its influence and the bounce of Groove Metal jumps into more persuasive breakdown riffs. A couple of songs exhort Industrial Metal tonalities, pounding beats with mechanical, industrious drives from the drummer. The song Temptation feels like a direct response to Code Orange who have been experimenting with mixing atmosphere guitar dissonance leading into sonic beat downs, the song is akin to some of theirs and despite being decent feels like a carbon copy.

The album plays through with a very consistent intensity, which is much the same of their one dimensional singer. In the first half its more in sync with my words so far and as the last few songs roll around it feels as if their roots come across stronger. The Gift however sounds very inspired by Godflesh. All in all there is not a lot that stands out here for anything other than being too similar to sounds I'm exhausting my apatite for. Its a fair record with little to criticize but without that spark of excitement for something new and fresh it quickly becomes dull.

Rating: 4/10

Friday, 16 February 2018

AZ "Doe Or Die" (1995)

A year beforehand Brooklyn rapper AZ made his debut with Nas on Hip Hop's finest record, Illmatic. Although its mark as the epitome of smooth 90s beats and Nas's poetical flows take much the praise, critics rarely fail to mention AZ who illuminated himself with an unforgettable opening verse on "Life's A Bitch". The pair team up again on a couple of tracks for his solo debut "Doe Or Die" which follows in a similar vein, smooth jazzy samples complimenting rugged grooving drum beats with a barrage of swift, intelligent lyricism that rolls of rhymes faster than you can digest them.

The album defines itself through the lyrical vibes of an emerging Mafioso Rap sub genre, AZ's slick technical flow is idealistic for the fast flipping of crime family imagery, he drops names of known criminal figures between that of expensive brands, luxurious goods and of course plenty of word play in the firearm department. Talk of excessive wealth, luxury living mixed in with the contrasting world of government agencies spying and the paranoia of Illuminati organizations paints the tone intensely. Samples clipped from mafioso movies and slick instrumentals find themselves on a similar wavelength however the production is rather varied, the title borders on a West Coast G-Funk sound with its ghetto whistles for a song fondly reminiscent of Skee-Lo, while other tracks like "Sugar Hill" move on different vibes with deep rumbling low-fi baselines and R&B singers in the choruses.

Eleven tracks handled by nine produces is understandably mixed but a few weaker cuts have it falling short of variety as a strength. It strikes pure gold when AZ and Nas team up on "Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo Homicide" the two teeing up their best rhymes, sweating out luxurious criminality spoils between the violence and murder. Much like Nas, AZ paints a vivid picture with his words, and that technical, swift flow of his is engrossing, especially when he drops into story telling. He brings a wealth of material to the mic but somewhere between his abundance of talent and varying degrees of production it feels as if the brilliance is only glimpsed at. Immensely enjoyable record but leaves me feeling it fell short of being truly special.

Favorite Tracks: Gimme Yours, Sugar Hill, Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo Homicide, Doe Or Die
Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Röyksopp "The Understanding" (2005)

Röyksopp are a Norwegian duo of producers in the realm of Electronic music I found through fellow Norwegians, the Black Metal group Enslaved. Their cover of "What Else Is There?" had my curiosity sparked but imagine my excitement when none other than Karin Dreijer aka Fever Ray is the lead vocal on the track. It instantaneously felt like a song close to my heart and one I known I'll enjoy for years to come. I am a little saddened that she was just a feature on that track alone. I thought I had unearthed another project of hers but alas I wanted to listen to the whole record anyways.

The Understanding feels very much of its era, a post-Daft Punk Discovery world of Electronic pop music echoing shades of Techno, House, Downtempo and Trip Hop. It finds its feet with an appropriation of gentle, unobtrusive, calming music to politely invite you into its smooth and simple world. Temperate drum patterns groove on steady, repetitive beats and the range of synthesizer sounds drift from obscure and quirky, electronic and robotic all the way to light soft airy synths that linger in the atmosphere. A few songs into the record it builds up some gusto as the music expands with lively energetic drums and jiving baselines that play off Disco vibes of times gone by.

Alpha Male sticks out us a lengthy track that lures you in with its soft cinematic opening, slowly building its pace an intensity into an explosion of Electronic Progressive Rock on a exploratory tangent ever so similar to the ideas executed by Contact on their records. Its a warm, inviting record with little to fault other than being somewhat too subtle at times. Its always interesting, never quite engrossing bar a handful of songs that step away from the slow start the record kicks off with.

Favorite Tracks: What Else Is There?, Alpha Male, Dead To The World
Rating: 6/10

Monday, 12 February 2018

Goodie Mob "Soul Food" (1995)

 Welcome to the Dirty South! A term supposedly coined here on this debut record from the four piece group Goodie Mob, closely associated with fellow Atlantians Outkast. Both Andre 3000 and Big Boi feature on the record, their voices but mostly production by Organized Noise, home in on those laid back, smooth southern vibes they established a year beforehand. Soul Food is a rugged affair, tight punchy beats charmed by the accent of Jazz, Soul and R&B set a serious tone for a weight of rich, meaningful substance entirely fitting of the records title.

Its a decisive collection of reflection and introspection, the usual topics of street life, the drug game and racial tensions in American life feel urgent, on the edge as the energy of these four rappers bring has words bursting at the seems as emotions spill over the mic from their intensity. With deep burly voices pushing powerful pronunciations as they flow, the message in their words is felt with sincerity. Unlike a lot of other Hip Hop records, they stick very firmly to their point. Barely an inch of braggadocio or flaunting makes its way into the lyrics which track by track approach an abundance of topics, dissecting, reflecting, providing the listener with a wealth of thought to dive into.

As Cee-Lo says on "fighting" featuring Joi, the name Goodie Mob stands for The Good Die Mostly Over Bullshit. It illuminates the statement and intention of the group who debut with a classic record. The whole sixty minutes stay on track with a consistent string of indulgent beats that set a laid back tone with an under current of sorrow fit for fruitful expression through rhymes. There is little to flaw here other than my own enjoyment which has been a little muted as of late, possibly due to other stresses in life. I think this record is fantastic now but when I return to it in the future I'm sure its going to click on another level of appreciation.

Favorite Tracks: Dirty South, Guess Who, Live At The O.M.N.I., Goodie Bag, Soul Food
Rating: 8/10

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Pallbearer "Heartless" (2017)

Smooth, serine harmonies and scenic wonder wrapped in sadness, Arkansas based Pallbearer reinvent the Doom metal sound to their own liking, at least to my ears. Having not had a lot of experience with the genre Ive mostly come to know it for sluggish pacing, dense morbid atmospheres and gaunt guttural vocals that explore a romanticism with sadness and depression. Pallbearer on the other hand seem to explore that plane from a balcony of gleam and glory, turning this undercurrent of wallow into a luminous, uplifting crusade through the epics of the soundscape we traverse, of course that feeling of burden and melancholy lingers not far behind.

With an inviting, tonally pleasing yet dense and thick measure of distortion guitars we are lured into a dazzling arrangement of riffs, licks and leads that melt and ooze over one another in an endlessly animated, yet steady, movement of music. Guiding the motion, tight crispy drums pack a crunchy punch as the gorgeous production gives them a spacious, primed setting to work around the involved riff work. Coursing over the ornate arrangements of unfolding magic, singer Cambell illuminates much of the record with serine vocals that saddle the lines between power and vulnerability, sadness and gleam as the instrumentals lure us into spotlights for him to overwhelm the musics persuasion.

What is most charming for me is the attraction of opposites, the doom and gloom finds itself rubbing up against beaming guitars with potent a brew of indulging melody. They have the tone and texture of aggression and force, the rumble and grit of distortion cries out yet its execution is delicate and measured, finding dimension for the anger to bleed out and the meaning prevail. This feels like a record ill have fun with for some time, it has certainly made an impression and as a friend pointed out, it has that faithful re-imagining of Metal ideals much like the band Ghost. Definitely getting their first two albums now, which I have heard are supposed to be even better than this!

Favorite Track: Cruel Road
Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Kaitlyn Ayrelia Smith "The Kid" (2017)

Its an involved, vivid experience... zany, eccentric and astral, "The Kid" is wild ride through a tapestry of electronic quirks and swirling synthesizers reminiscent of Tangerine Dream, engulfed in an intelligent, synthetic Art Pop construct. I saw this release in a few lists, noticeably in some "Avant-garde" sections. Its American composer Kaitlyn's sixth full length in as many years with a consistent output that seems to be building steam among critics. Unfortunately I do not share their praise, for all its vivid intensity and use of marveling sounds, I found such sounds mostly novelty with little emotional cohesion between her voice and the accompanying journey through sounds. Some passageways have direction, a sense of rise and full but a large half load in a calamity of colliding sounds that don't visualize anything too obvious.

"An Intention" Is the one song where passion and emotion pervade in the instrumental which scales back its quirkiness and gives focus to Kaitlyn's synthesized voice, always heard through some mix of multi harmonized pitch shifting. The human robotic tone is utterly engrossing as words and sung notes sway between the two ends. Its atmosphere is mysterious, nocturnal and very akin to the Fever Ray self titled record, yet it has as greater freedom in its instrumental to explore as winds whoosh and alien organ synths gleam maddening melodies over the steady, slow murmuring bass kick.

Its the a rare time across all thirteen tracks that balance is achieved, for in most the other tracks her voice plays second fiddle to a swarm of quirky, adventurous, playful sounds exploiting the dimensional space of the listener with mysterious manipulations and smothering them in a dense web of intricate noises which mostly have little melodic value. It could be considered an "experimental" approach but it feels as if the point is missed. A lot of the synthesized noises, often imitating natural, jungle sounds, feel messy and unorganized, the result yielding little spark or pizzazz to get excited about beyond aesthetics. It has certainly been an interesting experience but its hard to enjoy what feels like a deliberate move away from convention when the convention clearly works wonders. There are plenty of fruitful ideas and interesting compositions here, to often do they seem to steer away intentionally.

Favorite Track: An Intention
Rating: 4/10

Monday, 5 February 2018

Brockhampton "Saturation II" (2017)

The second of three released in 2017, Saturation II is unsurprisingly very much in the same vein as its predecessor. Hip Hop collective Brockhampton from Texas hastily put together this record just a couple months after their last and in terms of production you wouldn't of guessed it. Sixteen tracks of tight hitting quirky beats and banging grooves make for a lively, energetic album that's mostly a ton of fun, with a sprinkling of illuminated instruments like "Sunny" that leaps to your attention with its glorious, luscious acoustic guitar conjuring soothing vibes counterpart to the hyped energy on the microphone.

Lyrically the large assembly of voices and styles fall wayside in patches as the commonplace cursing and excessive braggadocio dominate the premise of the groups weaker rappers. Much like the last record the album frequently drifts into streams of forgettable nonsense but luckily the gifted few wage in with substance. The track "Junky" is a milestone in terms of topics in Hip Hop, one of the group being openly gay and questioning how homophobic rappers can be. In the same track the topic turns to another progressive train of thought, questioning another trouble of the genre, misogyny, and males attitudes towards women when rhyming on the mic without a filter.

There is a lot of creativity flowing from this group. Their passion, excitement and youthful resilience leads to a freedom unleashed in fruitful ideas, not always hitting the mark but there are great hooks, rhymes and compositions that ooze with fun. Moving forward an ear for filter would suit them well, cutting out the weaker raps, rhymes and dimes this forty eight minutes could of been a killer thirty as it is a little bloated in places but certainly a big step forward from their first endeavor.

Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Queer, Jello, Junky, Fight, Sweet, Sunny, Summer

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Bell Witch "Mirror Reaper" (2017)

Seattle based Doom Metal band Bell Witch have topped many lists for best Metal album of 2017. The artwork so reminiscent of Zdzislaw Beksinski and heaps of praise lured me into a record fondly familiar, its acoustic drones reminding me of Earth's Hibernaculum. Packaged as a double album it comprises of two lengthy songs totaling over eighty minutes of deathly slow and bleak Doom Metal that goes to the extremes of pace with several seconds marking the distance between the striking of snares and cymbals. It flirts with temporal timing and lets notes ring out and bellow as the distortion guitars, despite being fairly soft, drone out into a textural fuzz before the next strike is drawn. Its performance is impressive, the art of playing slow seems flawless as the group coordinate immensely slow tempos that seem organically stretch and sway but it is the lethargic nature of the music that makes these instantaneous shifts dissipate from focus.

Tempos aside, Mirror Reaper has a strong current of sorrow and sadness in its atmosphere which drifts between other worlds as the slowest moments yield little presences for melodies to pervade this somber dismay. In doing so an enticing atmosphere is illuminated by distant, sinister chants sung with a choral cleanliness. It does find its counterpart in drawn out gruesome growls, rumbling like a textural layer in the aesthetics. A few grisly howls an shrill screams erupt in one violent, conflicted moment in the music but it is mostly an instrumental affair as the sluggish drones of elongated notes crawls onwards.

For me, this album is interesting, indulgent and oddly soothing, however it never musters anything that quite hits the nerves and that is the same for most Doom and Drone music. The first track's opening twenty minutes is rather enchanting but as the song drifts inwards for grit and gusto its melodies and musters of aggression dispel that atmosphere. The second song is stripped back with faint guitars and ambient echos painting a chilling setting for a lone voice to sing a serine sadness with an almost heavenly voice. For all its beauty, the slow, spacious and minimalist approach sucks much of this away but that is a person preference. It drifts into a morbid, dirge organ solo that really drives home a current of sadness but at this length into the record my attention is a little worn out. I enjoyed checking it out and very much appreciate the brilliance on display but its not quite for me.

Rating: 5/10

Friday, 2 February 2018

Cane Hill "Gone To Far" (2018)

Labelled by some as Nu Metal, New Orleans based Cane Hill represent a handful of bands who in recent years have been resurrecting some of the principles and aesthetics from the millennium era music which has been subject to much mockery and hate within the Metal community. To my ears Cane Hill come forth on this sophomore record as a group still figuring out their identity, yet writing fun and cohesive music, wearing their influences proudly for all to see. They bring the best guitar work from Metalcore, Groove Metal and Nu Metal. It collides in a whirl of excitement with a spark of Industrial Metal in the noisy, full on wall of sound, giving these tunes a weighty clout of forceful metallic power with a dense aesthetic.

On first listen singer Elijah Witt makes a very distinctive performance with a variety of approaches to his presence that bares sometime uncanny resemblances to other Metal singers, his range can throw out fiery screams of vengeance to soaring, soft, soothing Chino alike "ohh"s on "Singing In The Swamp". The prior track "Lord Of Lies" chorus sounding like its pulled straight from the Masatdon catalog as his voice elevates the bouncy groove that rumbles and crunches away beneath. Echos of Corey Taylor can be heard but most noticeably Chad Gray of Mudvayne frequently dominating the tone of singing. The slower, crushing moody track "Erased" sounds completely akin to Cray's style in both the unleashing screams and introspective clean moments.

Its no criticism, Elijah has a wonderful talent that's perfectly complimentary to the instrumentals. Being a fan of these bands the record became immediately inviting and appealing. Behind him the chemistry is tight, shuffling bombastic grooves drive the music from the driving seat of drummer Devin Clark who has a knack for finding the right intensity to direct the atmosphere. The guitar work explores all the tropes of the aforementioned genres, slamming in with big chords, chugging gritty grooves and plenty of greasy guitar dissonance with the splicing of harmonics and squeals. The occasional break downs echo some Deathcore ideals but the eruption of racy, dexterous guitar solos keep the music feeling like it can go anywhere and not hedge itself in to one particular vision.

At thirty five minutes with a ripe pallet of ten energetic songs, Gone To Far is an impressive release that shows a ton of promise for the group. I would be somewhat critical to say there is a lack originality or something definitively new about their music but the ability to bring together the best of Metal's most criticized era and make lively music, brimming with excitement, is something to behold. Depending on what the group go on to do next, this could be seen as either a high point, or just an old record that proved they always had it. Definitely going to be keeping up with this band in the future!

Favorite Tracks: Erased, Why?, It Follows
Rating: 7/10

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Dead Can Dance "Into The Labyrinth" (1993)

After a string of five records, Australian duo Dead Can Dance take a little longer to get their next effort out with a compilation released just a year after Aion. It follows a familiar construct of the two exchanging the lead roll as a sole voice over enchanting, cultural instrumentals. Two mesmerizing accapella's make an appearance in the eleven tracks mainly distinguished by an Mediterranean persuasion. First heard in slapped bongo grooves and steady tambourine alike percussion it grows with the record as the melodies feel increasingly sun soaked and the rich tapestry of instruments grows increasingly exotic and foreign with a desert sand tinge.

Its mostly Gerrard who indulges in these traveled voices. Sublime might be an understatement, her singing was under no contest but one has to be taken back by the cultural echos she inhabits with an ever expanding set of voices. Rich in texture and flawless in execution a emotional resonances illuminates her songs. Perry on the other hand often pulls the record back to the mystical, fantasy, medieval side of their sound, choosing to sing on the tracks rooted in sounds previously explored. They two are equally enjoyable but certainly fitting into whats been heard before.

Into The Labyrinth has little surprise. The excellence and inspiration this band can achieve is performed again and perhaps where they could of fully dove into new territory they have tread the lines between two strong ideas for an album most excitable when exploring the aforementioned cultural sounds of heated climates. With balanced measures of complimenting instruments, they once again muster together another set of magical songs to transform your imagination and take you on a journey through other worlds, times and beyond.

Rating: 7/10