Avant-garde Metal

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.

Thy Catafalque – Vadak Review

Thy Catafalque – Vadak Review

“Few musicians have as long and varied a career as Tamás Kátai of Thy Catafalque. The one-man outfit may have attracted an entourage of impactful guests over the years, but the end product was always, is always him. The throughlines of his writing and personal touch continue to persist even now, a decade since he struck out on his own. However, his most recent outings, Geometria and Naiv, lacked that certain je ne sais qoui essential to his kaleidoscopic sound. Vadak marks Thy Catafalque‘s fifth entry in seven years, a common cause of too much lack and not enough luster. Of course, just as I was ready to pass on Vadak with the same half-shrug as 2020’s Naiv, Kátai starts dropping bombs.” Thy bomber.

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

Portal – Hagbulbia Review

“There are a number of cool things about Hagbulbia, but on my first listen, I figured the coolest was that Portal won’t ever have to make it again. By my fifth, I was convinced that they should. After two decades muddling death metal and noise, the release of thirty-eight minutes heavily skewed towards the latter is not just obvious; it’s almost required. As such, Hagbulbia is a burning distillation of Portal’s less musical humors, but the band have chosen a canny strategy for its release. As an unannounced companion to the more traditional Avow, it can be at worst a novelty rather than nuisance for fans, who may be far more receptive to the cocktail than a shot.” There may be cake.

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

“The phrase “avant-garde” spliced with “metal” is so confusing. Much like similar descriptors “extreme” and “modern,”[1. *shudder*] it’s an extremely broad term that implies much and is much abused. Describing the Children of Bodom-esque Messora to the weird-as-shit Maudlin of the Well, overuse quickly becomes Inigo Montoya’s second most-famous quote: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” So, what does “avant-garde” actually mean? Beats me! Nevertheless, the newest crew to throw their avant-garde hat into the ring is Germany’s The Circle.” Larva-core.

Non Serviam – Le Coeur Bat Review

Non Serviam – Le Coeur Bat Review

“It’s not uncommon for fans of metal to lovingly describe an album as a “tough listen.” There are releases and sometimes entire discographies that can only be appreciated once a specific taste has been acquired. Given enough time and the right mindset though, what once may have been a shock to the system can become as comfortable as slipping into a warm bath or taking off a virus-splattered mask at the end of a long day. Don’t take my word for it; you don’t have to look far to spot avant-garde, genre-fluid bands like Imperial Triumphant gaining attention and garnering praise. This line of thought kept recurring again and again as I listened to Non Serviam’s latest release Le Coeur Bat.” Spiteful sounds.

Duma – Duma Review

Duma – Duma Review

“The self-titled debut by Kenyan duo Duma (meaning “darkness” in Kikuyu) is a most peculiar rara avis, carrying the sort of art difficult to distill into words, let alone narrow down to a single genre indicator. So while “grindcore” might be easiest to associate with the often rhythmically driven and dark work of Martin Khanja (aka Lord Spike Heart) and Sam Karugu, any expectations or points of reference go out the window within the first ten seconds of Duma’s opening track.” World metal.

Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville Review

Imperial Triumphant – Alphaville Review

“No one screams “unique” quite like New York City’s Imperial Triumpant. Over the course of three fantastic albums and a handful of EPs, we’ve seen them morph from French-inspired black metal to the jazzy-yet-brutal, grimy-yet-regal golden-masked monster you see today. However, their signing to Century Media worried a few of us staffers here. With each subsequent single being dropped online, our fears were slowly dissipating as Alphaville approached release.” Big city frights.