Over the past several releases, New York-based White Suns have crafted an abrasive and esoteric noise rock formula. Rather than operating in the genre’s standard fare of “noisy rock,” the trio of Kevin Barry (vocals, guitar), Rick Visser (guitar, electronics) and Dana Matthiesen (drums, electronics) have opted instead for a seamless marriage of noise and experimental rock, with an elevated mood of unease conjured by Barry’s cryptic lyricism and spoken word delivery. It’s a peculiar formula which unfolded spectacularly across nine disorienting tracks on the band’s previous effort, Totem (2014). The album presented an abundance of these unhinged noise rock bastardizations accented by extended passages of dark ambiance and industrial noise that created a painful degree of suspenseful dread before the band finally released the listener back into its chaos-ridden assault. It’s the styling of these moments that composes the bulk of Psychic Drift, a four-track bludgeoning anchored by a nightmarish lyrical* journey as disturbing as the music that engulfs Barry’s narration.
As I wrote in my review of LA post/math-rock enclave Arms of Tripoli’s recent sophomore album Daughters, I have a particular soft spot for the band not only because they clearly pull influence from so many instrumental and progressive bands that I already love, but also because they were the first band I came to know and love specifically through writing for Heavy Blog back in 2014 for their debut full-length Dream In Tongues. In my mind the band are just about everything that is good about instrumental post-rock without any of the bloat, mediocrity, and tediousness that plagues so much of the genre and its heavier cousins in post-metal. I’ve been following them closely since and eagerly awaited their next release. So when Arms’ bassist Mike Bouvet reached out to me personally about the upcoming release of Daughters, I knew that I wanted to talk to them about a whole bunch of things. Over a few e-mails we discussed their formation, their collaboration and improv-focused writing process, what sets them apart from most post-rock bands out there, and, of course, eggs.
This year charges on and doesn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. As we near the six month mark (and our own Top 25 of 2017 So Far), it’s becoming apparent that 2017 hits on broader fronts than 2016 did. While the previous year was an amazing year for some very specific genres, there were others that suffered less than stellar performance. With 2017, there’s very little that’s left untouched, with great releases coming from left and right. The list below is a great example of this; it contains post rock, grindcore, jazz, psychedelic electronics, death metal, stoner and oh so much more. Each of these sub-genres have been producing great releases this year, giving 2017 the illusion of a siege. From us, the nominal besieged, a measure of elasticity is required; we must keep our ears open and listen to new places, places we might have abandoned up until now.
One of synthwave’s major problems is length and staying power. For some reason, the genre’s artists seem to constantly overextend, creating albums well over the optimal run-time. Repetitiveness soon sets in and the genre’s power, which is the main reason most people listen to it, gets lost. Luckily, some artists there appreciate the power of brevity. Such power can be witnessed in spades on Das Mörtal’s Always Loved. Who’s Das Mörtal you ask? Honestly, I have no goddamn clue; I got this tidbit via my inbox and had never heard of the artist before and you know, I like it that way. It adds mystique to an already compelling album, an album which we’re super happy to premiere a track from right here.
In case the title wasn’t clue enough, this week we have Max Phelps of Exist, Defeated Sanity and Death to All (also ex-Cynic) as our guest! We discuss his creative process, touring with Gorguts, and of course, the upcoming Exist album So True, So Bound, which comes out this week! We also discuss new music from Origin, Bloodshot Dawn, Rings of Saturn, Vintersorg and more! We also discuss Fredrik Thordendal’s hiatus(?) from Meshuggah and Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry replacing him. Finally, we talk about how Spotify artist payments have been decreasing despite their financial growth. Enjoy!