Zhea Erose – Icosahedron

Side projects are a funny thing: mostly, we go into them with a curiosity as to how exactly the result will be different than the artist’s “main” band or musical output. That’s not to say people don’t get excited about the music, just that typically the main draw for new projects from artists we’re already familiar with is to see how they take what we know to be their strengths and shape them into some sort of new sound.

Mantar – Ode to the Flame

Most music fans have a section of their digital and/or physical library dedicated to boisterous background music; albums that digest quickly and provide instantaneous satisfaction. The inverse of spinning Tangerine Dream after popping melatonin, these albums provide the sonic stimulus of the body without necessitating the involvement of the mind. German sludge duo…

The Room Colored Charlatan – The Veil That Conceals

It’s time for another review that throws everyone’s favorite trigger word around with reckless abandon. A word with so many meanings that using it is akin to farting during a job interview or calling your significant other the wrong name. Progressive. Yes, The Room Colored Charlatan are a progressive deathcore band. Or are they? Over the course of the last few years and releases, the band have pushed square riffs into isometric structures – somehow coming away with something pretty cool each time. The Veil That Conceals is the next part of this band’s journey and it definitely goes somewhere. It’s just unclear what the scheduled destination was/is.

Mamiffer – The World Unseen

Typically, having Aaron Turner on a band’s roster is a sign of unquestionable success. His work in Isis alone is deserving of endless admiration, let alone his output as a solo artist, collaborator and one third of the phenomenal Celestial-worshiping Sumac. Yet, Mamiffer may be an exception to this standard, but not for the reasons apparent from a surface-level understanding. Mamiffer’s music most obviously solidifies this observation, as the project’s headfirst foray into organic, droning ambiance resembles only the fringes of Turner’s typical work. But more importantly is the fact that Mamiffer is a duo, with Turner’s actual other half truly dominating the conversation. Faith Coloccia pours herself into Mamiffer, which is especially true on The World Unseen. The ambition of the album emanates from sonic and emotional channels derived straight from the depths of Coloccia’s soul.

Erra – Drift

For a band that’s been plagued by a number of member changes over the past two years, Erra have still been making quite an impressive headway into metalcore’s masses. They’ve gotten to tour with bands that have unquestionably influenced their sound, picked up plenty of fans of their own, and have landed themselves on one of the most buzz-worthy metal labels out there at the moment. Now with their first Sumerian Records LP and new frontman JT Cavey (Texas in July), the band has returned with Drift, which is unquestionably their most accessible batch of songs to date. While on the surface this is not a complete shift in style for the band, Drift feels like it’s lost some touch with what made people take notice of the band in the first place.

Haken – Affinity

Calling the past back into the present is a tricky endeavor. In music, it can often lead to the opposite of what a band intended, leaving their music derivative rather than innovative. However, for those bands who manage to skillfully reach back to bring some part of what made past…

Long Distance Calling – TRIPS

Allow me a personal note for a minute; I did not expect to like this album as much as I did. Long Distance Calling were always one of those bands that I almost liked but did not quite manage to fully embrace. Their sound seemed obvious to me and the last album, Nighthawk, did nothing much to assuage that. Their definition as post rock always seemed erroneous to me, my mind wanting to catalog them as simply another progressive, instrumental band. Sure, they had some good track on Avoid the Light, “The Nearing Grave” with Jonas Renske (Katatonia) was my favorite, but nothing was really awe inspiring. However, it would be a good idea to keep the above quote in mind before pressing play on their latest album. While it should be obvious by now that this band has been undergoing changes for some time, what with the addition of a vocalist to their last album, the extent of their transformation is perhaps not readily apparent from the cover of TRIPS. This album is an intriguing experiment in what happens when you take your core sound and throw it out the window, instead focusing on the dynamics and interactions that existed beneath it.

Lord Mantis – Nice Teeth Whore

Lord Mantis is a changed beast. After the band released their masterpiece Death Mask, front-man and bassist Charlie Fell was dropped from the roster along with Abigail Williams mastermind Ken Sorceron. There are certain bands who can go through line-up changes and come out on the other side unscathed, but, Fell and Sorceron were key…

Fallujah – Dreamless

Bay Area death metal act Fallujah have become a controversial act of sorts; the group’s emphasis on glossy atmosphere and flashy prog as well as their open love of shoegaze and dreampop have caused the group to become maligned by some genre purists. The fact of the matter is that Fallujah do not fit neatly into specific genre boxes, and this gets trickier with their latest record Dreamless, a cinematic experience that takes them to new heights while further alienating them from those expecting an unadulterated genre entry.