James takes a look at new music from nine highly varied artists that he’s been listening to this past week. There should be something for everyone here, ranging from dungeon synth and blackened thrash to darkwave, shoegaze and noise rock. So dig in and we know that you’ll find something that you enjoy.
Written by James Sweetlove
Sadistic Force – Midnight Assassin
ARE YOU READY TO GET YOUR THRASH ON!? Well if your answer is no, then you had better get ready, because Sadistic Force are bringing pure speed and aggression your way regardless. To be a little clearer, the band are bringing a highly melodic but equally as aggressive blend of blackened thrash/speed metal and black ‘n’ roll. This is catchy, powerful extreme metal that will make you pump your fist if you’re seeing it live or break the speed limit if played in your car. Prepare for furious riffage that at times brings to mind Motorhead, paired with harsh barked yet understandable vocals and unrelenting high-energy drum work. If you’re a fan of Toxic Holocaust, Midnight or Grave Ripper then this will be right up your alley.
NO STATUES – CAUGHT IN THE WEB
Melbourne goth rock/darkwave act NO STATUES present us with brooding contemplative album both musically and thematically. The release explores vocalist and guitarist Ali Mustafa’s personal experience of being Pakistani-Australian post 9/1, looking at identity, profiling, marginalisation & nostalgia. The band nail the key points of the genre, with moody yet entrancing synth elements and programmed drums, minimalistic jangly guitar and thick faded bass. The vocals on the album have that perfect blend of depressive energy mixed with a hint of spooky occult venom. While this is my introduction to the band and it only features a handful of shorter tracks, its left me wanting more.
Joaquín Cornejo – Más Allá Que Acá
Ecuador’s Joaquín Cornejo gives us a highly textured and transportive offering of cumbia and dub infused bass driven electronic music. The world music vibes woven into the music work to amplify and elevate its somewhat psychedelic energy and mysterious, almost mystical undertones. Each track presents a vastly different tempo, sound and energy, making the album somewhat of an adventure to listen to. While I prefer some tracks over others, I feel that the album as a whole is solid and is cohesively assembled and well thought out. This is no surprise given that Joaquín states that it took him over two years to create the music on the release. If you’re a fan of atmospheric electronic music that marches to th beat of its own drum then this will be for you.
Rites of Fall – Venoms
Poland’s Rites of Fall presents us an unsettling offering of almost alien sounding experimental industrial working in elements of noise, dub and drum and bass. Each track is an auditory journey in itself, with the songs running between 3 and 7 minutes in length. Haunting eerie moments give way to epic synth laden segments before exploding into complex chaotic noise or giving way to almost psych tinged moments. The music feels as if it could easily serve as a Nicholas cage horror/sci-fi movie soundtrack, even seeming right at home on Mandy. The album’s themes looks at chaotic nature – developing through self-destruction, generational trauma or subconscious behavioral patterns and I feel like auditorily the listener can easily take these things away. If you’re a fan of older Ulver then you will appreciate this album.
Pyrex – Noise For No Reason
Australia’s Pyrex give us a smooth and contemplative psych tinged blend of grunge, dream pop, folk and shoegaze with their debut EP. The album presents the listener with a varied blend of the above genres, with each track having a different energy and tone to the last. While some songs are slow, smooth and stripped back others are punchy, bass driven and energetic. What keeps me coming back to the album are the relaxed, spacy guitars that have an unusual beauty to them but pack just enough punch to add a little spice. The other element I love are the silky smooth vocals that are equal parts soothing and engaging, as well as being perfectly suited the instrumental elements. If this is the band’s first offering then I see a bright future ahead for them, because they killed it here. I feel as if they have already found their own unique sound without even needing to spend a few releases polishing and refining it.
Nesting – Drag All the Lights Inside
Seattle, Washington’s Nesting present us with a stripped back, barebones approach to folk rock/slowcore on their debut album Drag All the Lights Inside. If you don’t like simplistic, ultra sad folk music then this one probably won’t be for you. However if you’re a fan of artists such Jason Molina or Matt Elliott, then this will be right up your alley. Personally I can’t get enough of artists like Nesting who manage to express such massive amounts of emotion in such a minimalistic way. The fact that the album only needs acoustic guitar, piano and some minimalistic electronic and string elements really shows that less can be more when done right. Aaron Kasson’s vocals are a perfect fit for the album, carrying an impressive amount of emotion and captivating the listener despite his reserved delivery. Each track has its own unique sound and energy too, which is refreshing for indie folk music, which often runs the risk of losing my interest from tracks bleeding together.
Blood Command – World Domination
I’ll just come out and say it, if you don’t like Blood Command, you don’t like fun, because at the hear of it that’s what this album is… a good time in audio form. World Domination is like Blood Brothers meets crossover thrash with some pop elements worked in and I’m all for it. Its a blend of catchy, high energy riffs mixed with thick, groovy bass, furious drum work and my favourite element Silje Tombre’s biting high pitched vocals. The band’s key draw is their ability to give equal spotlight to catchy melodic segments as they are to raw aggression or artsy experimentation. They lean into this balancing act as they offer up highly varied tracks that each give the listener a different listening experience. I can immediately see some thrash elitists refusing to listen to the album due to its pop/indie driven tracks such as Decades or World Domination, but that’s their loss. To summarise, if you enjoy having a good time then listen to this album
Facet – Facet
Facet give us a fantastic technical and experimental blend of hardcore and noise rock with some mathrock elements in the mix. You’ll be reminded of acts such as Big Black, Shellac or The Jesus Lizard but with a less aggressive sound, rather focusing on atmosphere. I know what you’re about to ask and yes, there is downtuned, groovy as all hell bass that sits high in them mix. Vocally we get a style that’s shouted but has almost a spoken quality to it, which really works for this music. The guitar work is chaotic, technical and at times a little trippy and really ties all of the elements on the album together. I almost pick up elements of Slint in the more atmosphere focused segments, but that could just be me projecting my love for the band onto other artists. In summary if you enjoy noise rock and hardcore then give this album a listen, this band deserves far more love and attention than they are getting.
Cosmic Nightmares – #1
To close things off I wanted to look at one of the most atmospheric, immersive albums I’ve heard in some time. I’m speaking of course of Argentinian dungeon/horror synth/dark ambient artist Cosmic Nightmares‘ #1 HP Lovecraft album. This is an entire album of 50 tracks all themed around and inspired by the works and world of the master of cosmic horror. This album has a haunting quality to it that is truly captured by the word “spooky”, it goes beyond that, its deeper, darker and more mysterious. The texturing on the tracks is don masterfully, each element is allowed to breath but all work cohesively in unison .If you’re looking for a Halloween soundtrack this year you can forget the Monster Mash (but don’t actually though, because is goddamn treasure), this will be your new score for the spooky season.