There are plenty of death metal, post metal and black metal bands that use the art of the aural assault to their advantage. It is not a new concept to just charge full speed ahead with little to no breaks along the way in order to convey an air of ferocity or ever-swirling evil. However it can sometimes fatigue the listener when all you have is this constant wall of sound blaring non-stop. Ulsect have a deft understanding of this on their debut, self-titled album. While quite a bit of the album is an endless barrage of sound, it uses select times to allow you to stop and take in the finer details before pulling you back under to struggle.
When bands return from 10 years away from the recorded word it’s logical for fans to expect *something* that sounds familiar. We want those echoes. The nostalgic pull at our heart strings for days of yore when we listened to “Band – Last Album” with such glee and aplomb that it would leave us wanting more, so much so that a decade later we will line up to ingest their latest offering. But realistically speaking, the question has to be asked how can we expect anything to be even remotely the same as it was after a prolonged period away from itself like that? Oxbow swaggers into the room to forcefully ask the audience this question on Thin Black Duke, their newest album coming hot on the heels of 2007’s The Narcotic Story (if Antarctica seems like terrific beachfront property to you).
During the mid-2000s, the UK hardcore and metal scene underwent a re-energisation of sorts due to the emergence of several bands who have since spearheaded the genres to modern popularity. Bands like Enter Shikari and Bring Me the Horizon resonated with mainstream crowds since their inceptions and have since established themselves as global institutions. On the other hand, Architects instantly occupied the forefront of an underground charge and, over the years, have also crossed over into popular realms. However, bubbling underneath the surface was (and still is) a whole scene of innovative, vital artists whose records define the country’s musical output at its finest, with albums that will undoubtedly stand the test of time among aficionados of heavy music. One such act is Devil Sold His Soul who, in this writer’s humble opinion, are one of the best bands the UK has ever birthed.
My relationship with jazz is complicated. I appreciate the musicianship and much of the aesthetic, but my ears need more structure than most jazz can afford me. That’s why I usually take my jazz blended with other genres, so that the influences and ideas that I most enjoy get tempered by outside musical progressions and structures. Enter Brazilian Pequeno Céu (“Small Sky”) and their Praia Vermelha (“Red Beach”), released just last month. This beauty of an album blends jazz, 70’s psychedelic rock, and math rock into an incredibly pleasing melange, taking the best from each genre and putting it into one cohesive whole. It’s an album which knows how to be smooth, startlingly beautiful, and intensely grooving while never losing its own thread. Let’s meet below for a listen!