Ambient

postcards from new zealand – Nin-an-ak Review

postcards from new zealand – Nin-an-ak Review

“What does New Zealand have to do with Ancient Sumeria? Not a damn thing, but then again, the Brits didn’t play much of a role in the conquests of Alexander the Great and no one batted an eye when Maiden wrote a track about him. So the subject of choice for Nin-an-ak, an ancient Sumerian goddess of kink and war, doesn’t require much justification. Not as much as the name postcards from new zealand, anyway, nor their preference for not using capitals. And definitely not as much as the genre this promo came tagged with: post-sumerian-chamber-death-prog-core.” Dead tongues, dead letters.

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai is a “single-entity” project shrouded in mystery. Its secretive mastermind Trevenial offers twelve tracks influenced by folk music across the globe, equally evocative and primitive. With ties to England (mastered by Orgone Studios’ owner Jaime Gomez Arellano) and Finland (produced by Jaani Peuhu), and featuring a classical orchestra and world music artists, as well as a vast array of guests, from notable acts like HIM, Sisters of Mercy, Swallow the Sun, and The Rasmus, Sunir is a debut loaded with potential and questions in equal measure.” It takes a global village.

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!

Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine of Hell Review

Emma Ruth Rundle – Engine of Hell Review

“Getting out of your comfort zone is healthy. It opens your mind to new experiences and breaks down the walls of the overly familiar. This is just one reason why Angry Metal Guy sometimes discusses interesting non-metal albums. Still, there should at least be some connection — either via style or personnel — to our raison d’être. Emma Ruth Rundle has plenty, from her time in the post scene with Red Sparowes and Marriages to her collaborations with sludge royalty Thou. Her solo work is nothing to sneeze at either, with 2018’s On Dark Horses a particular favorite of mine. The full band that has accompanied Ms. Rundle in recent years has been dismissed for Engine of Hell, however. How does she fare on her own?” Engines of heartache.

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

Leila Abdul-Rauf – Phantasiai Review

“Can you hear that distant noise? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s… a modulated trumpet. Wow. Why did you think that was a bird? To be fair, “modulated trumpet” isn’t exactly a phrase I – or anyone around here, for that matter – use often, so I can see why it wasn’t your first guess. But it’s nevertheless the shining star of Phantasiai, the fourth full-length release of ambient music from California’s Leila Abdul-Rauf. Armed with little more than vocal melodies, a glockenspiel, and the aforementioned trumpet, Abdul-Rauf is primed to create unsettling atmospheres and cryptic journeys. How well does the listener fare in these hazy crossroads?” Modulated expectations.

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism took the metal world by storm last year. Éons was an absolute monument of an album, fusing drone, jazz, and psychedelia into one of the most evocative listens in recent memory. It spoke to something primal, something ancient that lived at the bottom of a listener’s subconscious, and snuck its way into my year-end list at number 2. Conjuring the likes of Sunn O))), Sun Ra, Swans, and Miles Davis, it was a concept album regarding the fate of Earth and its inhabitants, resulting in mass extinction and planetary destruction. Only nine months later, we’re treated with a new offering; can Solar Drone Ceremony continue where its predecessor left off?” Maximal effort.

Schemer Heer – The Dragon, His Angels and the Exaltation of Death Review

Schemer Heer – The Dragon, His Angels and the Exaltation of Death Review

“Imagine, if you will, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed black metal enthusiast hopping out of bed one bright January morning excited to rake the promo bin for some lovely blasphemous soundtracks for cursing dead gods above with outstretched fist. He sees Schemer Heer, scanning the promo: “Schemer Heer… brings bombastic, black metal and horror…” and he hungrily snatches it up. It certainly looks icy and blasphemous, and he gets all tingly inside, the way others might feel about that special someone or a hug from their favorite teddy bear. He presses play and…Dungeon synth.” Dungeon punked.

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

“Black metal is great at it, as its entire purpose is to conjure blasphemous and decrepit images of icy forests and iconoclastic rituals, but there are twists to your snow-crusted Norwegian fjords and the sounds of Hail Satans: Austere’s desolate Australian deserts, Blut Aus Nord’s hellish industrial landscapes, and Saor’s Scottish highlands, to name a few. While images painted are up for grabs, the general consensus is one of darkness, bleakness, and spiritual desolation. But what happens when the black metal is, ya know, not that?” Bright darkness.