These posts are written by: Eden Kupermintz

SikTh – The Future in Whose Eyes?

Last time we reviewed SikTh, we were full of questions regarding their return. The future was clouded with fog, given that bands are prone to announce returns only to flare into action briefly before disappearing again, unable to recapture the spark that once motivated them to remain active. Even if bands do return, it’s unlikely that they’ll release material fast, gathering strength and getting into the beat of things. However, it appears that SikTh are quite done messing around and the period between their dormancy and their return to the waking world is set to be very short. Hot off the heels of their “mini-album”, Opacities, the group gives us The Future in Whose Eyes? which, where Opacities was good yet “safe” or “natural”, challenges their sound and mixes it with a lot of new. Lo and behold, it works, and the first true release of their comeback should return SikTh into the forefront of the community, if it knows what’s good for it.

Hey! Listen to Hugo Kant!

There are many genres out there who have a propensity for mediocrity. It’s not that the genre is bad. On the contrary, much of it is enjoyable. The issue is that not much goes beyond enjoyable, never quite scratching beneath the surface of the initial infatuation. Trip hop is one of those genres. Its essential qualities have their own, intrinsic allure: something about the rhythm schemes of hip hop merged with a chiller atmosphere just has its appeal. However, most of it has become routine, never doing anything interesting with the basic trip hop formula. Not Hugo Kant though who, reminding us of artists like Floex or even Devin Townsend’s Casualties of Cool in certain ways, blends guest vocalists, clever samples, a variety of instruments, and just an overall sense of cool into his trip hop. Get below for your first taste.

Forest Swords – Compassion

Musing on the future and musing on the present are much closer processes than we’d like to imagine. We think of ourselves thinking of the future as a special capacity, unlinking what is to come and how we perceive it from the ways in which we lead our day to day lives, the weird reality in which we live in. One of the functions of art (good art, that is) is to coupled what was uncoupled and shine a light on how what is it to come is mirrored in our present situations. Forest Swords has always excelled at this; the one man project’s approach to ambiance and electronics echoes with the haunting presence of what is now and the ways in which it is constantly flowering into what will be. In the process of conveying these ideas, the project utilizes a cavernous approach to sound, populating the spaces between its thunderous drums with rust-tinged electronics, cut off synth lines and other tools which serve to portray a lonesome, barren reality still somehow filled with dream.

MNHM – Of Empires Past

Mannheim, Germany (while an important industrial center) is not somewhere you’d expect to be given the “chic lettering” treatment but here we are. MNHM (who are not, in fact, from Mannheim) play a weird blend of math rock and post metal, perhaps somewhat hinting at the industrial prowess of their namesake. Their sound manages to be both bright and oppressive at the same time and, while their previous release featured plenty of progressive wheeling and dealing, Of Empires Past wastes no time on subtlety or too much nuance. Instead, the album leans heavily on its musical haunches, continuously battering the listener with its chromatic (in the aesthetic sense) styling. As a last effort to convey the sensation before we jump into the thick of it, imagine being pummeled over the head by And So I Watch You From Afar’s All Hail Bright Futures. Repeatedly. For about forty minutes. OK, now we’re ready to get started.

Hey! Listen to The Flight of Sleipnir!

Let’s get something out of the way first – Sleipnir is an eight-legged horse variously featured in Norse mythology, most prominently in the Poetic/Prose Edda. Skadi, likewise featured in that most seminal of texts, is a j├Âtunn most often associated with the bow and the hunt. If you have no idea what such references are doing on a metal album’s cover, please read this post by yours truly. Interestingly enough, The Flight of the Sleipnir have chosen unique and somewhat obscure Norse figures for their name and album title. Even more pleasing is the album itself. Skadi is a powerful exploration of the type of doom which draws its power from quiet, slow passages frequently interspersed amidst the tumultuous summits of its heavier segments. Unlike its fellow releases, however, Skadi manages to keep things fresh for the entirety of its run-time. Meet me below and let’s dive into the frozen landscape.

Hey! Listen to Soap Revelations!

A few months ago, DispersE pretty much destroyed the entire nu-prog scene (except for a few select artists, like Plini, bless his magic hands) with their Foreword, displaying everything that is sorely lacking within the sub-genre. Nothing was more blatantly on point than its structure, a thing which most bands in the genre have completely abandoned in favor of flash. Luckily, like DispersE, some bands out there are still concerned with making actual songs. Like Soap Revelations. If the band’s name, and the comparison to DispersE and Plini, doesn’t already tell you everything that you need to know, simply head on down below to listen to “The Willow House”. All your questions will be answered promptly.

Fortis Amor – Fortis Amor

When you look back at the history of metal, it’s funny and somewhat weird that so-called “bedroom studio projects” have gotten so popular. It’s weird only when given the retrospective of the present, of course, now that we’re past their rise and, somewhat, fall. What makes it weird is the seeming incongruity between metal’s origins, so founded in the concept of the band and everything that comes with it, and the aesthetic of the bedroom project. Of course, given what we know now about how the internet and better/cheaper production abilities would affect metal, it seems obvious. More people can make music and they can spread that music to larger audiences. However, even knowing what we know today, it would have been hard to predict exactly how this scene would look and the various mannerisms which it today exemplifies.

White Ward – Futility Report

Black metal is having a fantastic two years. Besides the sheer volume of great releases, the best tell-tale of this prolific outburst is the sheer variety of sub-genres actively contributing to the main genre. This year alone, we’ve seen more “straight-forward” contributions (like Orm’s excellent, self titled release), atmospheric releases (like Somnium Nox’s excellent Terra Inanis), and more avant-garde experimentation (like Dodecahedron’s death metal tinged kwintessens or netra’s weird Ingrats). To this latter category, of black metal blended with unusual influences, we can now add White Ward’s Futility Report, a third release from a relatively unknown band which should, hopefully, garner them more attention.