Chris Olley of Six By Seven using perhaps the smartest name for a sideproject, well not really because his previous band stopped in 2008, but I love the way this name grabs back to his previous efforts. The sounds presented on here are hard to classify. It sounds like some singer-songwriter folky music played with a post-rock mindset and some 80s post-punk popping up around the corner. Awesome!
12th Planet - The End Is Near! 6,5/10
Good bunch of dubstep tracks that will attract the brostep crowd. Skrillex, Kill the Noise and more are featured on here so you can imagine what it would sound like. Nothing too much, over the top in a good way. It's hard to find anything new or exciting but it gets you pumped for a party pretty easy.
Abigail Williams - Becoming 3,5/10
atmospheric black metal
Probably one of the strangest bands in the current black metal scene. Starting out as some kind of hybrid between deathcore and symphonic black metal they have now dropped every bit of breakdown or keyboard part for a weak try at something more obscure. Not to say that any of their output has been enjoyable so far but this might just be their worst. Not only have they lost their own identity but they manage to play a shitty niche of black metal that I can not imagine anyone would like. They fall somewhere in between the current hype revolving around Wolves In The Throneroom and mix it up with pagan influences and violins. The production gets stuck along the lo-fi muffled down side of metal with some random effects added for no reason. Hard to finish in one listen.
Absolutist - Ave 7,5/10
blackened crust-metallic hardcore-sludge
Sometimes sounding like a more pissed off and depressed Black Breath this band manages to blend metallic hardcore, punk, metal and crust with heavy sludge riffing and black metal-like blasts. The result is a very dark and gripping release full of anger and adrenaline. Some of the vocals sound a bit off but I expect to be listening this one a lot more this year.
Aidan Baker - The Spectrum Of Distraction 6/10
Amazing concept that does not succeed. Normally playing music along the drone/ambient spectrum Baker changes up his game on this one. With help from a bunch of well know figures in the scene he has made an album with almost one hundred tracks(!). Meant to be played at random. The record clocks in at almost two hours and is extremely boring and hard to listen in normal playmode. Things get a little more interesting when shuffle is turned on. Kraut jams, free jazz, metal grooves and more are combined into tracks that constantly change up in every possible way. Is this a fun experience? Yes. Does it make this a good album? No. I do not plan on revisiting this at any time unless my attention span increases by at least 200%.
Alcest - Les voyages de l'Âme 8/10
atmospheric black metal-shoegaze
Continuing in the direction Alcest has been going this record contains even less screamed vocals and more of the lush and dreamy sounds they are know for by now. The ethereal parts definetly take the spotlight on this album with the flowing guitar pickings nicely complementing the vocals. It feels like they listened to a lot of dream-pop while crafting these songs. Not to say that it's a direct influence but they way they set the mood on the romantic and tear jerking parts of the songs show similarities. With this record their upcoming tour with Les Discrets seems even more like a perfect match.
Annorkoth - Annorkoth 7,5/10
atmospheric black metal-depressive black metal
A record that actually deserves the tag atmospheric. Truely moving, soft and lush moments slowly evolve into gripping bleak passaged. A very emotive listening experience that would have been even more captivating with real drums.
Apocalipsis - Apocalipsis 4/10
Slow, the fuck, down. I have no idea what's going on with these songs. It's as if some kind of bastard child of Alpinist and A Storm Of Light is taking a math-rock approach out of boredom. Most of the songs on here are below the three minute mark, which is something you don't see often with bands like this, and have way to many ideas cramped into that space. The result is post-metal that sounds chaotic and messy, riffs don't move you cause there over before you know it. It gets a little bit better on the last few tracks but still nothing memorable. Too much focus on a way to present clean guitar and the lack of some vocals to break through the chaos don't help this thing either.
As If - At Night 7,5/10
Very soothing and minimal slab of dub techno that manages to get me in the same mood as Echospace. Giving this a grade is very hard, it's executed really well but brings nothing new to the table. I'd say it's very good but I'm not sure how it will stick out in a genre like dub techno. Personally I would rather revisit the latest Andy Stott output because it shows way more personality.
Chip tha Ripper - Tell Ya Friends 6,5
Personally I was hoping Chip would go all out on this one and deliver something new but it's more of the same once again. Good beats, decent tracks. I'm glad there are some different producers on here cause some of the Big Duke beats start to sound really similar on repeated listen. Loving the Luger beat actually.
Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory 5,5/10
indie rock-noise pop
Trying to sound mature, failing miserably. It sounds like a summer record made in the winter. Shows some potential, could become more interesting over time when they find a nice way to combine this with their previous record. Best thing about this is the recording, done by Steve Albini.
Pop. 1280 - The Horror 7,5/10
Kinda saw this one coming with their previous work and 'Bodies In The Dunes' from this album. Although it's never as good as the previously mentioned track the album does not disappoint, sounds like Joy Division playing noise rock. Vocals could use a little more intensity but it fits the style in some way so I'm not really complaining.
Guided by Voices - Let's Go Eat The Factory 6,5/10
Has some highlights but overall feels to fragmented, clean and full of fillers. Getting more out of the weird interludes than some of the actual songs. Need to do some further listening cause more of their work has appeared bland at first while showing great songwriting at closer listen. Worthwhile effort but nothing close to their classic early stuff like Bee Thousand.
Liberteer - Better to Die On Your Feet Than Live On Your Knees 5/10
Such an unmemorable slab of grindcore is presented on this recording. I was expecting a lot more from Matthew Widener of Cretin and Citizen fame but this does not go above average on any level. Vocals are the same mid-tone death growls 99% of the time which lacks to give the lyrics the delivery they need. Musically it sounds like a bad mix of the later Napalm Death albums and Brutal Truth-esque sounds with more metal wankery added. The only thing this has for itself are the aesthetics and themes presented in the lyrics but it's nothing you've never heard before.
Love Sex Machine - Love Sex Machine 7,5/10
This has Black Sheep Wall and Admiral Angry written all over it but it's so fucking good. Both those band have only released a pretty limited output so I'm very glad to finally see some other bands manage this specific brand of heavy music, punishing as fuck!
Malmort - Vox in Excelso 6/10
Great drumwork, lots of d-beats and interchanging double-bass patterns. Kick drum sounds a bit flat at times and vocals fall somewhere in between low rasp and high shriek which doesn't work out for most of the riffing. Would like to see this in a more Bone Awl/Darkthrone direction but for now it's just a less catchy Kvelertak(The riffs and pumping drums on 'Templi Secretum' are the best example) gone really grimm.
Nutr - Al-Lahd 5,5/10
funeral doom-black metal
While I really like the compositions on this record I just can't get used to the flat sound. Half of the time it sounds like the guitar is just hit with a hammer instead of strummed, in a bad way. The 'ambient' passages are way too loud and digital, they don't blend in at all.
Pinch - Fabriclive 61 7/10
dubstep-uk garage-bass music
Pretty fast-paced 4/4 parts contrasting the better side of dubstep on this one, Pinch always finds a way to keep it interesting for the whole span of over an hour. Really excited about this, might grow on me even more with repeated listens. Postponing this until I get my hands on a promo-free version.
The Act of Estimating as Worthless - Amongst These Splintered Minds//Leaden Thoughts Sing Softly 7/10
The fact that some parts of this record are mediocore is quickly forgotten by all the great bands this brings to memory like Neutral Milk Hotel,The Moldy Peaches and many more. Probably gonna get bored with this soon but for now, lovely album.
Shyy & ... - The Path Toward Forgetfulness 7/10
post-black metal-shoegaze-depressive black metal
Somewhat strange transition from the haunting intro track to the second track put me offf at first but it's by far the most melancholic material I've heard from Shyy. Screamed vocals sound unnaturally forced but overall some very intense material, their best so far. 'Sobriety' is the absolute highlight, almost full on shoegaze with a soft touch of black metal progressing into an intense as hell build up before slowly dying out. On the other half of this ... play a style that seems like a constant switch between the Japanese way of post-rock(I can't help but feel like I'm listening to Mono playing Envy songs) and a very cleaned out black metal sound. Loving some of these parts but overall their songs feel unfinished, like a sketchbook presented as a painting.
Wilds Forlorn - We, the Damned 7,5/10
atmospheric black metal-neoclassical
It's been a long time since something out of the Netherlands really impressed me but this is coming pretty close. Blending neoclassical pieces with slow dirges that show similarity to the death doom of bands like Hooded Menace and mid-tempo black metal make for a really interesting mix. The final mood reminds me of something like Petrychor, sometimes closely bordering on tacky symphonic parts but overall very rewarding. Highlight is the nearly sixteen minute long title track.