Avante Garde

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

“There are two kinds of metal albums that tickle my fancy. The first kind takes a band’s trademark sound, alters it just enough to keep things fresh, but also retains everything that makes that artist or band unique, enjoyable, and otherwise impossible to do without. The other has mere glimpses of what made that band who they are, but throws so many curveballs, surprise left hooks, and a kitchen sink or twelve your way, and demands that you catch it all. Swiss avant garde spiritualists Schammasch most certainly fit into the latter with relative ease. Even after releasing a three-disc, exactly-100-minute monstrosity in the form of Triangle back in 2016, it still didn’t fully prepare me for what Hearts of No Light had in store for me.” That’s a big Schammasch!

Those Darn Gnomes – Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow Review

Those Darn Gnomes – Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow Review

“Imagine being at a party with your musician pals. They’re all very accomplished. Suddenly, they decide to put on an impromptu jam. Everybody joins in–like, a dozen people. They decide they’re going to play, oh, I don’t know, some weird number, like from Harry Partch or something. Only they all play a different Partch composition at the same time, and add some slam poetry, pound on some homemade instruments, and one guy starts growling death metal vocals. Now comes the choose your own adventure part: do you sit there mesmerized, in awe of the spectacle unfolding, or do you stand up and leave due to your churning stomach, unable to handle the confluence of disparate styles, rhythms, and sounds? Welcome to Those Darn Gnomes.” Chaos is a ladder.

K.F.R. – Démonologue Review

K.F.R. – Démonologue Review

“As I stare into the night sky, casting wishes and cigarette smoke to a lonely moon, a faint tapping sound breaks the silence and the grip of my reverie. I peer into the surrounding dark, curious as to who or what might be sharing this moment with me, but the hushed scenery offers no evidence of an intrusion. I shrug off this immaterial disruption and redirect my gaze towards my lunar companion, when something catches my eye; there, at the skirt of the moonlit lake that I’ve come to sit and think beside, stands a ghost. Before the icy grip of panic can steer my body into a flight of terror, I realize that this spectre is but a reflection in the water—and I am no less relieved.” Keep your sock puppets inside the ride at all times.

Lice – Woe Betide You Review

Lice – Woe Betide You Review

“So, yeah: Woe Betide You is a pretty sweet album. It’s not necessarily fighting for a spot on my current list of AotY candidates, yet Woe Betide You is one of the most dynamic albums I’ve reviewed to date, right up there with Great Leap Skyward‘s Map of Broken Dreams.” Infestivus.

Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It [Things You Might Have Missed 2018]

Rolo Tomassi is an enigma. It’s a band that feels like it shouldn’t be metal, yet it undeniably is. Frontwoman Eva Spence, with her petite stature, sharp fashion sense and pixie haircut, seems more at home in an eco-friendly coffee bar than a metal venue. They seem to hang more around the indie scene than denim-filled dive bars. Hell, they’ve been favorably reviewed by NME, and if that’s not a condemnation of metal cred I don’t know what is.” Cred is for posers.

Kontinuum – No Need to Reason Review

Kontinuum – No Need to Reason Review

“Last month, one of our devoted thralls loyal readers was bemoaning the fact that we haven’t used the “Non-Metal Metal Things” tag in a while. Well, here you go, courtesy of dark Icelandic rockers (and Madam X favorites) Kontinuum. Why is the Huckster reviewing this album instead of Madam X?” Icelandic mystery.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs Review

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs Review

“Back in ’12—when I was wearing an onion on my belt, as that was the fashion at the time—I encountered Diablo Swing Orchestra for the first time. These Swedish purveyors of the abstract and absurdly catchy had composed an album entitled Pandora’s Piñata that I downright lovedDSO went into hibernation after PP and resurfaced again with the news that their long-time vocalist AnnLouice Lögdlund was leaving the band. Lögdlund’s considerable lung capacity was replaced with Kristen Evegård, but unlike other band breakups when you lose a vocalist, DSO kept most of the rest of the band in place and produced a new album. 2017’s newest record is the wittily entitled Pacifisticuffs, which coming from Swedes is a great way of describing what appears to be the Swedish cultural state of nature.” Conscientious objections.

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid Review

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid Review

“It’s been a strange couple months for grumpy ole Grier. I’ve reviewed everything from cowpunk to Swedish black metal to non-metal/metal avant-garde to captivating power/melodeath. But, for all the ups-and-downs that come with this crazy rollercoaster ride, never am I more brain-fucked as when a new Igorrr record arrives in my inbox.” Putting the fist in fistula.

Område – Nåde Review

Område – Nåde Review

“Well, Område have done it again. Two years ago, I opened their Edari review talking about the marriage of an album to its artwork. What seems simplistic turns out to quite difficult. Finding the right artist and the right piece of art to match an album’s character is like food presentation. For instance, if not careful, you’ll turn your entire family against your amazing chili dogs. I thought the artwork of Område‘s debut was the perfect match to its sound, but Nåde takes the cake (or, in this case, a foot-long chili coney).” Of trippy music and penis-shaped meats.

Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine [Things You Might Have Missed 2016]

Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine [Things You Might Have Missed 2016]

“It’s about time we got to this. Since its release in April, Devil is Fine has exploded in popularity and earned accolades and interviews across the web, based on, as far as I can tell, little to no promotion from the artist. It has sold over 1000 copies on Bandcamp. But the album’s worth as a success story is just the beginning and even its contents don’t quite tell the whole tale.” This is a weird one.