Djent

Minipony – Ajna Review

Minipony – Ajna Review

I’ve listened to a lot of metal. I’ve listened to a lot of very average metal. I’ve listened to some pretty bad metal. Despite all this, I was simply unprepared for Ajna. You see, Ajna is on another level entirely. True story: “Because of Ajna, I could not complete the train journey to work this week. It was halfway through my 5th listen when something cracked. “Why would the Boss Ape force this upon me?” I mused. “Is this a test of my loyalty?” If so, it was a stern examination. The pointless sound effects; the bizarre vocals; the bite-sized, jittery riffs; these all congealed into a force that simply overwhelmed my brain. I could no longer compute, and the only response was to laugh. So, I did. I howled and cackled and coughed up my coffee.” Small horse, big confusion.

Monuments – In Stasis Review

Monuments – In Stasis Review

“To my credit, I was prepared. For those who enter the prog trailer park via that sketchy patch of woods at the back called “djent,” the polyrhythm abusers can be easier to spot. Futuristic-looking album covers, scientific names, and vaguely mathematic monikers like Structures, Tesseract, Volumes, and Intervals greet the eyes – or Monuments, in this case.” Escape from 2003.

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah – Immutable Review

Meshuggah is often accused of failing to evolve or change. That accusation is misplaced. While it’s certainly true that their unique style means it requires just one guitar line from Fredrik Thordendal or a single snarl from Kidman to know it’s Meshuggah, exactly how they’ve deployed that has changed subtly from record to record. Immutable picks up where The Violent Sleep of Reason left off, feeling freer than Meshuggah‘s precise technicality has sounded in many a year.” Immutable, inflexible, inshuggahable.

Haunted Shores – Void Review

Haunted Shores – Void Review

“Washington, D.C. progressive instrumental duo Haunted Shores returns after a seven-year absence with second full-length, Void. This is the follow-up to 2015 EP, Viscera, and 2011’s self-titled debut album. Haunted Shores members Mark Holcomb and Misha Mansoor are better known as members of Periphery, where both handle guitars and Mansoor is also responsible for programming, synthesizers, orchestration and drums. And once you know that, you can’t unhear Periphery in what the duo turn out.” Crawling eyes and void fanciers.

Nothing Noble – Modern Dismay Review

Nothing Noble – Modern Dismay Review

“I’m not sure how everyone got their start with metal, but there had to be a bit of a transition to the more extreme stuff, unless you eat nails for breakfast while listening to Cryptopsy’s None So Vile. Unlike you sausage or oatmeal or vegemite shippers who are descended from the yesteryears of heavy, thrash, or doom, I enjoy my eggs with my bacon: my origins of Christian metalcore a la Demon Hunter, Haste the Day, and Oh Sleeper stick with me. While metalcore has not been the kindest to me thus far in 2021, I’m always rooting for any that may wander across my lap like a feral kitten. Is Nothing Noble available for adoption?” Dismay Day.

VOLA – Witness Review

VOLA – Witness Review

“Three high quality releases is the threshold. The point at which a band stops being an exciting upstart and starts being a respected part of their community. I previously enjoyed 2015’s Inmazes and loved 2018’s Applause of a Distant Crowd. VOLA’s unique brand of poppy, electronic, progressive metal put them at the forefront of the modern prog scene and now 2021 is seeing the release of their third album called Witness. It firmly establishes them as one of the most inventive and enjoyable bands in the scene and I’m delighted to publish a positive report on their progress.” Witness more applause.

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

Humanity’s Last Breath – Välde Review

“Just about a year and a half ago, I shocked the world by covering Humanity’s Last Breath‘s sophomore record, Abyssal. Djenty deathcore is not normally in my wheelhouse, but every once in a while, I get a craving for something über heavy. I really liked a lot of what I heard on Abyssal. Humanity’s Last Breath paint horrific scenes using an crushingly bleak sonic palette, and when things clicked on Abyssal, it shook the very ground. But as much as I loved most of what the band did on that record, it felt like it could have used some trimming to sharpen the impact. When I heard that followup Välde was scheduled for a February release, it immediately landed a spot on my most-anticipated albums of 2021 list.” Next to last breath.

Intercepting Pattern – The Encounter

Intercepting Pattern – The Encounter

“Just the other day, it occurred to me that I wanted to hear a very specific type of album. In exploring this desire, I began to understand exactly what type of album that was. I wanted to hear an experimental and progressive album influenced by Fredrik Thorendal’s Special Defects solo project that combined angular rhythms and flowing jazz-fusion with spacey atmospheres and a sci-fi concept about alien contact. I wanted the record to feature great drumming, perhaps by Defeated Sanity’s Lille Gruber, and adventurous guitar and bass playing from musicians with a brutal death metal sensibility, maybe the guys from Cerebric Turmoil.” Speak of the Devil…

Monolith – No Saints No Solace Review

Monolith – No Saints No Solace Review

“My tolerance for the often maligned deathcore subgenre received a boost of newfound optimism on the back of stellar 2019 releases from scene heavyweights, Shadow of Intent and Fit for an Autopsy. Both bands demonstrated the sick grooves and punishing, over-the-top brutality and technical chops, reminding me of a time long ago where bands like All Shall Perish and early Despised Icon tore me a new one. Yet, more often than not the style falls flat to my jaded ears. Perhaps an unsigned UK deathcore outfit may not be the best choice to pull myself out of a writing rut, but I’ll be damned if I’m not ready to take the plunge and hope for minor miracles.” Deathcore blues.