Metal, usually black metal, that’s made under the avant-garde auspices tends to have this grandiose flair to it which seems to come from opera and from the theater, in vocals and instruments both. In that sense, Lychgate are perhaps not the best example of the genre. While enough touches of the avant-garde style exist on The Contagion in Nine Steps to merit the moniker (like the synths on “Republic”, which open the album or the vocals on the selfsame track), those touches are enveloped in so much sounds from atmospheric black metal and doom that they often lose definition. But this might not be a bad thing; it makes The Contagion in Nine Steps a more approachable album than, let’s say, Dødheimsgard’s A Umbra Omega and less overbearing than album like Aenaon’s Hypnosophy.
These posts are written by: Eden Kupermintz
Scenes are a funny thing, right? They’re basically just another form of narrative, an attempt by human brains to quench…
Maeth’s Shrouded Mountain, released in 2016, was an excellent addition to the progressive doom milieu. It wove drippy guitars, overladen with distortion and overdrive, amazing flute segments and ambitious track and album structures into one bewildering whole. This is why it is my very distinct pleasure to premiere their next album today. It goes by the name of Whaling Village and is comprised of three incredible tracks which further cement Maeth as one of the more important voices in this mini-scene of progressive doom metal. This release doubles down on their sound, handing us a more refined and yet, somehow heavier and more oppressive, version of the Maeth sound. It is contradiction all but also harmonious and melodic in heart wrenching ways.
Alright folks, hold on to your seats because this one is going to get wild. Allow me to introduce you to Alters, an extremely interesting band from Poland. Nominally, their thing is a blend of progressive rock and post rock. The progressive parts take a very distinct influence from one Steven Wilson, with the opening tracks to their most recent album, Dawn, sounding a lot like Porcupine Tree. “Hypnagogia” and, even more so, the self-titled track which open the album have all the unique identifiers you’d associate with this style of progressive rock. The drums are loud, the vocalist seems aloof and depressed, the guitars are influenced by classic progressive rock but with an exceedingly modern sound. So far, so good; things are pleasant and well made, if not totally original or mind-blowing.
The third track, “Klechdawa”, starts in the same manner. Indeed, it goes on in that manner until its mid-point. But then, there’s a break and everything changes.
As we keep saying, experiences and context play a huge role in our appreciation of music. That’s what makes pretense…
But lo and behold, here we face the Post Rock Post for May and there’s not a lot of meat on them bones. Previous months have been pretty stacked, so what’s to explain this sudden scarcity? Perhaps it’s a desire by introspective bands to hit peoples’ ears when they know they crave “inside music”, when Winter is in full force and keeping you aside. Maybe it’s just coincidence and I’m reading way too much into this. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because Nick has been away doing Life Things™ and I’m flying solo again. Who knows? What a mystery.
In any case, the lack of quantity should by no means imply a lack of quality; the albums listed below are as excellent as they are varied. And varied they are: running from a type of dark post rock that flirts constantly with post metal, through forest dreams and ambient sojourns in pastel lands, all the way to nu-prog influenced guitar lines and the saccharine joy they bring with them, this months’s post rock post brings with it a mood to suit all colors.
We’re often late to bands on the blog, since there’s just so much music being released. But we’re not often quite this late; we’ve only just heard of Epiphany From the Abyss as they released a self-titled EP to find out it’s their last. Epiphany From the Abyss’s latest album is a farewell, a last gesture for the fans of the band. Beyond the poignant beauty of such a gesture, it’s also a damn fine album, comprised of the kind of technical deathcore that you don’t hear often these days. It’s a true throwback to the halcyon days of deathcore, when the genre was still fresh and solid. As such, even if it is the band’s last, it is definitely a worthy release. Perhaps even more so? In any case, head on down below for your share of guitar licks, guttural vocals and no shortage of blastbeats.
Toundra have an interesting career. This Spanish post rock/metal band have been operating in the same semantic fields as bands like If These Trees Could Talk, Sleeping Bear or Afformance making their way through the uncertain and, sometimes, downright disastrous, genre of heavy post rock. They were making music way before the current resurgence of the genre and, in Heavy Blog circles at least, were often cited as a light in the darkness, something original and fresh in a genre which seems to have lived out its welcome. Their second album, aptly titled II is a masterpiece, one of the best groovy/heavy post rock releases around. But now, when plenty of other bands are making fantastic music in the same vein, are Toundra still relevant? Following up on some releases that weren’t as powerful as the all-mighty II, are Toundra still up there with the best of them when it comes to making expansive, instrumental music?
At an early age, I fell in love with the myths of England. It was a combination of spending two years there (and in the relative North of the country, near Wales, a place steeped in beauty and folklore), reading Tolkien and the beauty of myth, which is especially effective with teenagers. Moving away from there only made that connection stronger. That’s no surprise, considering that English myth is steeped in the ideas of “the other shore”, home sickness, and something lost. All that being considered, it’s a wonder I’m not a bigger Winterfylleth fan, an atmospheric black metal band that has made English legend its bread and butter. Now, they’ve released an album that immediately grabbed my attention; The Hallowing of Heirdom is a stripping away of their sound, leaving behind an acoustic core of longing, a sense of another world, and a deep connection with the legends I love.
Sometimes, all you need is good stoner rock. I find that there are moods when nothing else suffices; it’s usually hot and languid outside. Maybe (definitely) I’m hungover because I haven’t yet realized that I’m 31 and I can’t pull off stuff like drinking an entire bottle of whiskey before a work day anymore. Whatever it is (a mystery!), stoner rock really vibes with those sensations of being stretched thin and does a lot to soothe me, chiming away at the same temp as my struggling mind. Arbouretum were the latest band to provide me such respite, with their 2011 album, The Gathering. Let’s head on over the jump for your first taste and circle back to do some more talking. Enjoy, and bring your best “Sunday afternoon mood”.