For whatever the reason may be, whenever I get round to making my end of year list, it seems the entirety of it is built up of well-established, well-known acts and the whole thing reads like a list of the most anticipated releases of the year. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I guess I’m drawn to the more refined and streamlined releases of a band who have found their sound and know how to utilise it. But when my taste is so predictable, it destroys the main point of these lists — to shine light on those elusive releases that blew up without anyone noticing. So in lieu of the standard records that I’m sure most people are enjoying (Meshuggah, High On Fire, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death… the list goes on and on), here are 5 records that don’t seem to be getting the attention they deserve and you might not have picked up on yet. But I promise you, they’re worth your time.
It seems that all things drawn out and epic are coming out on top this year — with great releases from If These Trees Could Talk, Frames and Pelican and even the recent reformation of legendary post-metallers Bossk all vying for attention for the past six months. To add to that, it turns out Metal Blade have recently signed Germans Downfall Of Gaia, whose crusty meanderings bring to mind a whole collection of influence including Isis, Humanfly and even the aforementioned Bossk. Having formed only in 2008, the band has released material in a multitude of formats, but most recently in the form of a split with Swedes In The Hearts Of Emperors, which you can listen to over at their bandcamp page.
Despite stretching two songs over twenty minutes, it’s a compelling listen that sways naturally from bleak and desolate guitar breaks through to crushing elephantine riffs. Definitely a band to keep an eye on and thankfully they have chosen to release their new concept album Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes later this year — another record to add to the ever growing list of things to look forward to.
04. Calm Wisdom
08. Don’t Stay Here
09. End Of A Decade
Instrumental music has always been somewhat of a ‘living oxymoron’. It seems that by taking away the one element of direct communication between the band and the listener, you unwittingly open up a packed toy box of ways to make the listener feel a whole palette of emotion, whether it’s through fanatic delay pedal abuse or even the oft-neglected use of dynamics. That ‘wordless expression’ is what defines post-metal/post-rock and the application is what separates the amateurs from seasoned veterans — Frames, for whatever the reason may be, have this down to a tee.