Hello again. After a long break, I’m back, live and in person (well, only if you’re in the same room as me, I guess). If you’re someone who has been wondering about my absence, I do suppose I owe you an explanation. The truth is, this hiatus was not planned. My life as of late has been a long series of events and personal things ranging from tedious annoyances to music-listening ruts to matters troubling enough to temporarily turn me off of writing, or anything else, for that matter. To put it simply, writing has regrettably not been a priority for me during this past month. Fortunately I’ve never been one for self-pity. I can explain this hiatus as much as I want, but in the end, it’s not going to help any new and noteworthy albums make their way out into the world, which is my main purpose.
With regards to the posts I’ve missed, including my monthly summary post for April, I’ll be having a go at those in the next week or so. I’d like not to miss covering any weeks of the year for any reason. Of course, that’s mainly for my own personal gain, as I’d like my AOTY list for 2017 to be as complete as it possibly can be, but oh well. So be it.
5. Maggot Bath- Flaccid Discharge
I must admit, Flaccid Discharge was my first Maggot Bath experience. It’s hard to describe what a tangled load of what-the-fuck I had tumbling around in my head after listening to this album for just twelve minutes. Indeed, this full-length does clock in at just over twelve minutes in its entirety, but it only took about two of those minutes for this filthy pile of sludgy Australian grindcore tracks to win me over. Flaccid Discharge is an endearing sort of mess, charging headfirst into oblivion with a spectacular range of samples to guide you along the way. In fact, the album opens with a sample you can’t miss on the track ‘Ass Piss‘, highlighting exactly what you can expect from Maggot Bath’s latest masterpiece. With instant classics such as ‘Bloated Goat‘, ‘Ernie’s Balls‘, ‘Cesarean Fart‘ and the unforgettable ‘Chicken Wing‘, Flaccid Discharge‘s rudimentary allure makes for an album to be appreciated equally as much for its comedic value as it should be for the music it builds on.
4. Seide- Beyond the Fallacy
Seide are a French black metal outfit. Beyond the Fallacy, their second full-length, is an atmospheric black metal album which originally caught my eye due to the number of guest artists it features on various tracks: Rune ‘Blasphemer’ Eriksen, Louise Leverd and most notably Niklas Kvarforth, who provides guest vocals on the track ‘Ångest‘. Despite it being adorned with obvious talent, I had mixed feelings about this release until partway through my second listen; the reason being that Beyond the Fallacy is a longer-winded album–the sort you can really sink into given adequate time and focus. Its hypnotic nature and meandering feel makes it a natural slow-starter. By that, I mean it may not hook you right away, but if you’re in the right frame of mind, the atmosphere will pull you under and it won’t let you go without a fight.
3. Evoke Thy Lords- Lifestories
Oh, how I’ve missed stoner doom these past few weeks. If there’s any genre with headroom for quirk, it’s stoner. This album has all of those quirks and then some, incorporating outside influences into a seriously trippy stoner death/doom package bound tightly together by riff-work that is nothing short of ingenious. A quartet from the Russian Federation, Evoke Thy Lords have a rather unorthodox lineup which includes a flutist (Irina Drebushchak), making for music that bounces back and forth between sounding meditative, urban, smooth and downright gritty. The addition of the flute provides a different kind of versatility not commonly found in the field of stoner doom. If you’re looking for something unique that stands out in a crowd, this is definitely it.
2. Enisum- Seasons of Desolation
Perhaps the most publicly hyped up album on this list, Enisum have adopted a mesmerizingly introspective approach on Seasons of Desolation–an album toying with artistic repetition and very deliberate contrast. Musically, balance is a key theme with this release. Smoother, warmer passages are outlined with icy distorted veins, blossoming into more aggressive segments laced together with delicate ambient and distant production. Harsh vocals invite the equilibrium of Epheliin’s dreamlike vocal accents on several occasions. Yet, Enisum’s understated use of repetition creates an unidentifiable trancelike atmosphere that gives off a muted sense of familiarity and recognition, even on the first listen. For an album with so many components and different emotional appeals, that is a real feat. This aspect of balance may not be welcomed by those who were hoping for more aggression out of this release, but overall, Seasons of Desolation is well worth the listen.
1. Wolfbrigade- Run with the Hunted
This week, it appears we have finally been blessed with Run with the Hunted, a new full-length from Swedish crust/D-beat gods Wolfbrigade. This release was surely a sight for sore eyes being that the band has not released an LP since 2012’s Damned, and it certainly begs the question: just how much can we expect from this release after half a decade of silence? According to Wolfbrigade, quite a bit. Largely crusty in nature though packed with bursts of straightforward, no-nonsense D-beat, Run with the Hunted is a heavy-hitting release destined to become a memorable highlight of 2017’s punk repertoire.
Genre Note: crust punk and D-beat are subgenres of punk largely enjoyed by fans of metal, which is why I’ve included this album. Essentially, as described by a good friend of mine who worded this far better than I could have, “crust punk is an evolution of anarcho-punk gone hardcore. It mixed in some metal influences (particularly from speed and first wave black metal) and ended up having a completely unique sound. D-beat is just a direct evolution of hardcore, more or less.”
• • • In Summary • • •
Generally speaking, this week has been a slow one. I would normally be quite annoyed at that, but it turned out to be a good thing just this once to help me ease back into writing after such a long break. Despite the lack of content, this post spans quite a few genres, encompassing black metal, doom metal, grindcore and punk in a series of just five releases. As we head into the month of May, I’m definitely hoping to hear more from certain genres that produce fewer great works in a year. Thanks for reading!