Devin Townsend

OU – 蘇醒 II: Frailty Review

OU – 蘇醒 II: Frailty Review

“Beijing isn’t known for being a hotbed of metal, and what bands do exist (documented) don’t really present many ways to listen on a global scale. But, being comprised of human beings, music persists in that region whether we realize it or not. And of that perseverance OU blossomed. Triumphant and glistening, their 2022 debut one wasted no time infecting and warping my listening consciousness with its unique blend of progressive metal, power pop, and dream-like ambient fusion.” OU81NOU.

Vintersea – Woven into Ashes Review

Vintersea – Woven into Ashes Review

“In the past 20 years that bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and Agalloch have been pioneering a shade of the American black metal sound, a few interesting things have happened: black metal got cool and, as such, has continued to add new notches into its total allowable expressions. Youthful bands, who likely grew up finding out about these bigger names alongside other 00s music trends, have erupted with melodic and even fairly accessible atmospheres defining their modern vision of what black metal can be. These visions can feel a little kitchen sink at times, but that doesn’t stop acts like Vintersea from continuing to try and find that special melodic thread that binds their wide-ranging influences together.” New blood, old blackness.

Ashen Horde – Antimony Review

Ashen Horde – Antimony Review

“The black/death/prog polymaths of Ashen Horde are back with Antimony, their latest subgenre-surfing full-length. The new one is a concept album that explores the unsolved Victorian-era murder of one Charles Bravo. Experts agree that Bravo perished from antimony poisoning, but his story spins out from there to embrace a cornucopia of credible suspects and motivations.” Clue Town.

Devin Townsend – Lightwork Review

Devin Townsend – Lightwork Review

“I’m a Devin Townsend fan. I first encountered his music when I was a fledgling metalhead and Synchestra was released, and I quickly latched onto the man’s back catalog, of which I still consider Ocean Machine, Infinity and Terria stone cold classics. But that doesn’t mean I love everything Devin has done. Z2 left me cold, and despite the critical acclaim, I never could get into Transcendence or his Casualties of Cool project. On the other hand, I vehemently defended the swimming pool-sized kitchen sink that was Empath. Since the production process of that monstrosity was understandably nightmarish, Devin announced that Lightwork would be a light, simple and poppy affair. That did not necessarily worry me; he’s done poppy before.” Light pollution.

An Abstract Illusion – Woe Review

An Abstract Illusion – Woe Review

“As the title might suggest, Woe is a record packed with bleak soundscapes and drenched in misery. Sprawled across almost an hour of beautiful depression, An Abstract Illusion’s latest work feels like a single flowing composition, rather than the seven tracks it’s presented as. Heavier and channeling a more blackened and atmospheric edge into the progressive death metal of its predecessor, there is a swirling sense of barely controlled chaos that lies just beneath the surface of Woe.” Woe to we.

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom Review

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom Review

“In the six years that have passed since Astronoid’s first LP, I have yet to hear a debut record spring from the ether as novel and fully realized as Air. While possessing a youthful vigor and innocence characteristic of an enthusiastic upstart, Air sounded like the product of several albums’ worth of honed identity. As Mark Z so eloquently summarized, however, that once-perfect brew of black metal, post-rock, and shoegaze became unbalanced with Astronoid’s self-titled follow up. Its songwriting was flat, its energy and atmosphere were tempered, and they took away the fucking blastbeats; an automatic point deduction for any metal record. I’m happy to report, then, that Radiant Bloom is something of a return to form.” Embrace the Noid.

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!

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat won me over before I even heard a single note, their pétillant persona piquing all the “must listen” bones in my body. On a scale of swell to swole, these proggy French funnymen are decidedly swell-diddly-umptious. Not only have they provided a boy-band-meets-bowling-league cover art for our supreme enjoyment, but also they have adorned their merch page for Ouh La La with silly posters, silly shirts, and reasonable prices. You can even send them your own shirt (or turtleneck or polo) that they will gladly screen print for you. Perhaps for this third outing, Tranzat has finally coordinated with a highly supportive label.” Prep-core.

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

Tersivel – To the Orphic Void Review

“Few bands in metal have the combination of popularity and totally idiosyncratic sound that Gojira enjoys. The first time I saw the band perform, it was still playing support for Fear Factory; nowadays that’s hard to imagine, and would most likely be the other way around. On top of that, its style is instantly recognizable; mechanistic, multi-stage, palm-muted riffs full of syncopation and odd time signatures combined with complex drum fills and patterns. It’s so readily familiar, in fact, that the band have begun to sound like a flanderized version of itself, and any band taking inspiration from the Frenchies is bound to run into copycat accusations. That didn’t stop Tersivel from trying anyway.” Ape the best, ignore the rest.