There are albums which leave such an impression on you when you first hear them that it echoes out and influences all future plays of the album. It’s usually not just the music but a combination of presentation, your mood, what’s going around you, the weather, and more that sends shivers down your spine and jolts you awake. Production also plays a huge part in creating this kind of moment; composition can intrigue and even shock but tone, delivery, and volume are often the channels through which moving moments are often communicated.
When “Copper Wasp” by Night Verses opens From the Gallery of Sleep, this is the kind of electrifying mood which you can feel. Through the piercing and dexterous cymbal work, the plethora of notes which immediately descend on you and the sharp, glass shattering quality of the production, the track and album seize your roughly by the neck and keep going until you’re thoroughly pinned down, intent on everything going around you. Only then are you offered a moment of respite, through the ambience that hides industrial qualities, trippy moments and sounds which will return often during the album but not too much to overstay their welcome.
When spending more time with the album, the softer, more wide-ranging sounds start to become prominent, as your body and heart get a bit more used to the assault of the heavier parts. Finally, after diving deeply enough, the interaction between the two parts surfaces and you can appreciate this intricate album for the complex work it truly is. Naturally, getting into the mind of musicians who craft so many disparate sounds and approaches, welding it tight with tone and composition, is a rare treat. Which is why we’re super proud to host Night Verse’s Top 10 for 2018, a peak into some of the inspirations and sounds which go into their music.
Reilly Herrera (Bass)
Birds In Row – We Already Lost The World
We Already Lost The World has a feeling behind it that doesn’t exist often in music anymore. The primal energy behind the vocals and musical delivery is a perfect pairing. The vocals and lyrics are brutally raw and honest, and in a time where underground heavy music has been homogenized to shit – an album like this, for a person who grew up on records like I did – is a breath of fresh air to say the very least. The production compliments the honesty to a point where I wouldn’t want anything different. I’ve been a fan of Birds In Row for a long time and I’ve always been grateful that they remain unique, honest and raw while writing truly moving, emotive songs. This album is exactly that again, just better than before.
Idles – Joy As An Act Of Resistance
When I first heard this album, I was intrigued but wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. After I gave it some extra time and caught some more interesting lyrics – I dove in and listened closer. So glad I did, because the songs are refreshingly good. “Television” for example, has been on repeat every day since first listen. It’s a truly unique album, and similar to the Birds In Row record I also mentioned in this end-of-the-year list – the combined result of the songs and individuals themselves with their delivery and the album’s production, creates a very special record. The fact that it was made in 2018 makes all the more remarkable. Rock music in general would benefit a lot, in my small humble opinion, if more bands/artists focused on, or even tried to understand the energy and ethos of a band like Idles.
Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y, The Alchemist – Fetti
I listen to a lot of hip-hop. Not quite as much lately, mostly because the majority of the modern shit I hear is generally terrible. Freddie Gibbs however, is a complete exception. This album, with Curren$y and The Alchemist gave me hope in the genre itself. There’s no weird written-by-other-people-for-radio songs, or features that are there for clout. Just a few great artists, being true to themselves, writing an awesome record. It’s modern without being annoying, and hard without being fake or overdone. It even reminds me of Bone Thugs at times, which is always a good thing.
Aric Improta (Drums)
IAMX – Alive In New Light
IAMX‘s newest album Alive in New Light is one of my favorite records of 2018. I’ve been a fan of his work for a while now, even back when he was in Sneaker Pimps, so I had some pretty high expectations. Fortunately, he delivered and created a new chapter to his catalogue that feels as familiar as it does new. Much like his previous work, his music should be listened to exclusively while the sun is down. The songs have a generally softer threshold then his previous material, but the subtle dynamic works well, especially on the tracks featuring Kat Von D, who’s voice floats perfectly with the music.
As for Chris, his use of melody is second to none. He’s easily one of my favorite singers on the planet and this record has moments that feel emotionally inhuman, especially towards the end of “Exit.” He just possesses a freedom in his control that is almost hard to comprehend. My favorite tracks are “Stardust”, “Body Politics” and “Exit.” I’d give this record 8.5 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone that gets down with his previous work. I’d also recommend it to every normy that loves Muse because his voice is like if Matt Bellamy had better influences, a more fucked up outlook on life and dope goth/synth/industrial jams to sing over.
NIN – Bad Witch
Nine Inch Nails‘ newest record Bad Witch is another repeater of 2018. I’ve had this thing on loop since it dropped. Trent Reznor knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it at all times. This record is no exception to that statement. Great artwork, unpredictable production choices, ageless societal commentary, retro-futurisitc drum and bass vibes through out and even tasteful odd meter thrown in to keep things fresh. He’s the king of making other musicians say, “Damn, I wish I thought of that first.”
This record is also a pretty sick reminder that are still artists prioritizing the “art” over all else. Ilan Rubin also smashed it. I love the fucked up fill he hucks in “Ahead of Ourselves” right after Trent says, “Not quite as clever as we think we are…” This is easily some of my favorite work he’s done. The tracks I listen to most are “Ahead of Ourselves” and “God Break Down the Door.” I’ve skated to this record a ton this year and it definitely makes you push faster then you realize. Overall I’d give it a 9 out of 10. The only bust is that its short, if this were a full length, it’d be my record of the year.
Dead Can Dance – Dionysus
Dionysus by Dead Can Dance was hands my favorite record to listen to while touring through Europe this past month. Their music is inherently pretty timeless and I am fairly biased towards their work, but all that aside, this is a great record. Lisa Gerrard’s voice can raise the dead and Brendan Perry is the perfect contrast, reminding you that they are still goth, whether they want to be or not. Their instrument choices are incredibly unique, their melodies feel like they came from a different realm and this album has a hypnotic quality that most current artists are incapable of.
My favorite tracks are “ACT I: Dance of the Bacchantes”, “Act II: The Invocation” and “Act II Psychopomp.” I also love how theatrical the record sounds, not only in composition but also in performance. Nothing feels synthetic and knowing them, it would probably sound identical in a live setting, if not better. I give this record a 10 out of 10 solely based on the principle they are still making interesting music without following any of the current rules or formulas other artists are trapped between. As a musician, that is probably the most inspiring thing I can come across at this point in my career.
Nick Depirro (Guitars)
Unearth – Extinction(s)
I’ve always been a fan of this band, and their new album is a good throwback to what got me into them in the first place. In addition to writing memorable guitar riffs and melodies, they are the best in the genre at setting up their heavy moments / breakdowns. It creates an even more intense live show as well, because you are just waiting for those parts to drop. I also appreciate the fact that they haven’t really adopted any of the new trends in metal, as it’s refreshing to hear a heavy band have their own style.
Favorite tracks – “Cultivation of Infection”, “One with the Sun”
The Ocean – Phanerozoic I: Palaezoic
There are only a handful of bands that consistently capture moods/vibes that inspire me creatively. These guys touch on that quite often with their new record. They incorporate many layers into their music, which allows it to it either fall to the the background of whatever you’re doing, or be something you focus on and zone out to. It’s very melodic and atmospheric, but stays pretty heavy through out as well. The vocals are also easy to listen to, even when they are screaming.
Favorite tracks – “Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence”, “Ordovicium: The Glaciation of Gondwana”
Silent Planet – When the End Began
One of my favorite things about Silent Planet, is how they maintain a dark spacey vibe while also being heavy and melodic the entire time. The guitars are fresh, combining lots of different riffs and tunings to make some really interesting shapes and progressions. That, combined with very intense vocals, make them a band that will continue to stand out in whatever genre people place them in.
Favorite tracks – “The New Eternity”, “Afterdusk”