Avant Garde

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.

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

“I’ll admit right now that after almost nine years of listening to hundreds of promos for review, there’s a ton of music that may have left an impression during that time, but honestly doesn’t stay with me once the review is submitted. Call it lack of staying power or my own need to move on to the next promo for review, but with a few notable exceptions, many albums that I’ve fallen for on first listen end up drifting to the wayside, destined to be forgotten. An Isolated Mind‘s 2019 debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was certainly not one of those albums. An unflinching look at mental illness, I’m Losing Myself tackled a difficult subject with care and grace, and landed my top spot of 2019 in doing so.” Isolated but not lost.

Author & Punisher – Krüller Review

Author & Punisher – Krüller Review

Author and Punisher albums seem to alternate between anthemic and ambitious. Women & Children saw Tristan Shone’s transhumanist industrial drone-doom project spinning out singles with the force of a hundred pound steel drum, an approach echoed by 2018’s belligerent Beastland. But between them, the disturbing, experimental Melk en Honing took a slower, nastier pace, savoring the acrid stench of electrocuted machine-oil that the music produces. So does Krüller, Shone’s densest work yet.” Punishment and dystopian donuts.

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

“For the better part of the last two weeks I’ve done nothing but wrap my head around the entire output of Queens, New York black metal alchemists Krallice. This was difficult enough with their mathy, progressive first four albums, but the wildly experimental, technical second half of their catalogue knocked me slightly out of phase with this reality. I see in five dimensions now. I respond to things before they happen, because they have already happened and are never not happening.” Dimensional crosstrainers.

Beaten to Death – Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

Beaten to Death – Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos [Things You Might Have Missed 2021]

“Some of you may whine that Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos (Nevermind, I’m Moving to the Woods, if Google Translate is to be trusted) is not a 2021 release. True enough; it released on vinyl in September 2020. However, the limited run offered and timed vinyl-exclusive meant that very few people actually heard the record until 2021. Beaten to Death, in a fit of questionable genius, released the record digitally as 4 separate EPs released across 8 weeks, the last of which was only unveiled on 24 December 2020. Acquiring each of these and editing their metadata into the vinyl arrangement was quite the faff, let me tell you, and I heard the record in full for the first time on 1 January 2021.” Time is a human construct.

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

“It’s no secret that I love Neptunian Maximalism. Since the Belgian collective’s 2020 debut, magnum opus Éons, I’ve been craving more. For better or worse, its disciples and side projects have since attempted to fill that whack-ass void. With the likes of Sol Kia, Ôros Kaù, Wolvennest, and even NNMM themselves making metal-adjacent free jazz, however, I’ve met nothing but vague disappointment. As such, the NNMM offshoot Zaäar fell across my lap.” Zaäar she blows!

Altarage – Succumb Review

Altarage – Succumb Review

“I’ll just come out and say it; I have no clue what is going on in this record. As The Guy Who Explains Why Shit Like This Is Good, that really puts me in a bind. As a result, I’ve spent weeks putting off this review. But hey, maybe we can try something new; instead of me telling you what’s the point of Succumb, how about you tell me. For once, I’m going to read your comments and entertain the idea that your opinions are as valid as those of my own self, The Guy Who Explains Why Shit Like This Is Good. Go wild down there.” Late hit.

In Tormentata Quiete – Krononota Review

In Tormentata Quiete – Krononota Review

“What a profoundly odd band In Tormentata Quiete is. Plenty of Italian bands are grand, pompous, cheesy, and theatrical, but few do it like this one, sporting three vocalists in a range of styles but remaining light on orchestral elements. Their first foray into the halls of AMG was shot down with a 1.0 from Grymm for being unstructured and containing baffling, out-of-place elements like rap breakdowns in the middle of their semi-symphonic avant-garde drama metal. Their second, Finestatico, earned them a 3.5 from yours truly, seemingly fixing everything its predecessor did wrong. Krononota sees another change of the guard in the vocal department, but can they maintain the high standard of before?” Pomp in a weird place.

Völur – Death Cult [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Völur – Death Cult [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Völur is a thing that I too nearly missed this year. The Canadian folk/doom trio received a strong recommendation from Akerblogger some years ago, and returned this year to unleash their third full-length, Death Cult, upon the Angry Metal Masses this past November. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and the album was never picked up for review. Now I’m here to rectify the issue, because as far as doom metal goes, Death Cult is one of the best albums I’ve heard in some time.” Drinking the Kool-Aid.