4.5

Ou – one Review

Ou – one Review

“Fuck the rules—that’s the rough translation of OU‘s mission statement. Steeped in the streets of the Beijing jazz scene, OU (pronounced “O”) has emerged with a debut that challenges head-on the stagnant energy of the modern prog space. Striking a masterful balance of joviality, tranquility, and ferocity, OU have emerged from the underground to spread their idiosyncratic brand of futureprog.” The future is NOUW, olde man!

Darkher – The Buried Storm Review

Darkher – The Buried Storm Review

“I still remember the initial impact Realms, the 2016 full-length debut from singer/songwriter Jayn Maiven, aka Darkher, left when it was first released. Her stripped-back instrumentation, multi-layered vocals, and hefty command of atmosphere reshaped what doom metal could be if a little bit of creativity were applied, and in doing so, set one hell of a bar for similar acts to try to surpass. Thanks to numerous delays, word on a follow-up was sparse, and it looked like anything that would follow such a tremendous album would be a letdown.” Dark expectations.

In Aphelion – Moribund Review

In Aphelion – Moribund Review

“I’ve declared my undying love for Necrophobic (or Necrop4.0bic, as I affectionately refer to them) in the past, and I’ve described how their melodic blackened death sound was what paved the way for my burgeoning love of black metal. Mark of the Necrogram and “Tsar Bomba” left an indelible, five-pointed mark upon me, and I was absolutely delighted when follow-up Dawn of the Damned ended up being just as great or better. Between those two albums, I fell head over heels for the guitar playing of Johan Bergebäck and Sebastian Ramstedt, and I even went so far as to describe Necrophobic’s music as “blackened Judas Priest,” mostly because of that duo’s ability to infuse the band’s sound with classic heavy metal swagger. So you can imagine the violence of my excitement when I discovered that Bergebäck and Ramstedt had joined forces with Cryptosis drummer Marco Prij to form a pure black metal project named In Aphelion.” Are you Moribund?

Sylvaine – Nova Review

Sylvaine – Nova Review

“I’ve become a jaded man-cat over the last few years or so. I can blame Covid, or humanity’s lack of… well, humanity towards one another, or a myriad of other reasons. The fact of the matter is whenever I turn on the news or see yet another impossibly bad hot-take on Twitter, the anger that begins to well up inside me can power my home city for months. So, what’s a grouchy man-cat to do? Listen to Nova, the fourth full-length by Norwegian/French multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kathrine Shepard, aka Sylvaine, that’s what. Having reviewed not one, but two, albums of hers, I knew what to expect. Or so I thought.” Prime Nova.

Spider God – Black Renditions Review

Spider God – Black Renditions Review

“Every once in a blue moon, an album comes along that speaks to me so deeply that I break the rules to cover it. This year, that honor belongs to what is perhaps the most thoroughly unexpected album to ever grace these spongy orifices: UK one-man-band Spider God‘s Black Renditions. I say mad science experiment because Spider God offers no new material whatsoever on Black Renditions—this, my friends, is a covers album. A pop covers album. I’m talking about Britney SpearsThe Pointer Sisters, Backstreet Boys, among others.” Spider infections and burnt credibility.

Clouds – Despărțire Review

Clouds – Despărțire Review

“You could hardly find a more autumnally appropriate band than Clouds. Their name not only describes the most prevalent meteorological phenomenon of the season, their past catalog, and a band roster filled with members from legendary Funeral, Saturnus, and Shape of Despair has established them as a master of atmospheric doom.” Sure, it’s winter. And yes, this record dropped in October. Did you miss it?

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Swagger & Stroll Down the Rabbit Hole Review

“This album is probably my most anticipated release of this year. To me, Diablo Swing Orchestra don’t simply play avant-garde metal—they are avant-garde metal, owing to the fact that they were my gateway into the genre with the incredible Pandora’s Piñata. And yet, Pacifisticuffs never really drew me in. I blamed the production at the time; something about the sound of the album kept me at arm’s length. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Diablo Swing Orchestra octet is a machine of creativity, talent, and ambition. However I may have felt about their previous release, a new album by them is a special occasion.” Rabbit revenge.