Continuing our rundown of our mostest favouritest BANGIN’ CHOONS OV TWO-ZERO-ELEVEN INNIT, I will be throwing my particularly opinionated and smarmy hat into the ring. But, like, it’s not like I even care or whatever – today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There’s no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we’re the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.

Circles – “Clouds Are Gathering

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrERhGW5SyM]

One of 2011’s hottest newcomers, and signed by the ever-vigilant Basick Records, Circles combine the ever-present aesthetic of the djent scene with elements of electronica and the soaring vocal talent that is Perry Kakridas – as well as some bloody fantastic riffs.

Clouds Are Gathering” is all most people have heard, yet it’s managed to spark a lot of excitement, and with good reason. I really can’t fault it; everything works in unison, exuding clarity and efficiency at all times. It also contains one of the best one-chord riffs in living memory. This song is a perfect snapshot of the Circles sound, and I dare you not to love it.

Glassjaw – “Black Nurse

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOtZwKaH7H8]

I was about to include one of the tracks from Glassjaw‘s January 1st release Our Color Green up, but stopped myself becuase all of those songs have been floating around for years. Charade you are, though, motherfuckers; they put out another EP recently! The Coloring Book EP is being given out free to everyone who attends their shows, and continues their bold new direction, which although not as heavy as Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence and Worship and Tribute, these more recent songs are just as awesome.

It should be no surprise that they ‘grew up’ musically either – the most recent of those albums came out almost a decade ago now, but I’m glad Palumbo and co. are back and making new music of this calibre. “Black Nurse” kicks off the new EP in style, Palumbo’s opening yelps and a threatening bassline marrying with an almost black metal-esque staccato riff to make yet another Glassjaw classic.

The Matador – “Parallax Error”

A relative newcomer to my playlist, The Matador are nevertheless a fresh of breath air and more than deserving of a mention. “Parallax Error“, the shortest track from their debut EP Descent Into The Maelstrom, encapsulates both the aggressive and almost lucid post-metal sound found on the rest of the record. The riffs are fairly simple, but driven and effective, in the manner of great sludge – crank it up loud and get hit with a ten-foot wall of sheer awesome. There are no breakdowns, guitar sweeps or, as they so eloquently put it, “jogging-on-the-spot guitarists” – this is metal with substance. It’s all rounded off by vocalist Danny Godson’s great range and ability – his growl evinces the likes of Aaron Turner and Steven Brodsky, with the ability to use softer vocals take to accentuate the atmosphere.

Returning We Hear The Larks – “Vendetta

From one of the more sedate of my favourite tunes this year, “Vendetta” is a slow-building, delay-tinged exploration of the English civil war from the young British talent that is Jak Noble, AKA Returning We Hear The Larks. Proud England, the EP from which this comes, is a fantastic step forwards, incorporating Jak’s vocals for the first time with palpable success. It’s a very dichotomous track, what with the repetitive chugging riff in the background, accented by both harsh and harmonious vocals and an awesome hook melodic hook played by an instrument I can’t place.

TesseracT – “Eden

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGCn6g95PBY]

We love these guys; it’s no secret. Last year’s veritable cocktease Concealing Fate whet our appetites something fierce, and I still love it to bits, but debut album closer “Eden” condenses those twenty-six minutes of expansive ideas into ‘just’ nine. The fusion of rhythm and aggression, soaring vocals and crystalline clear popping bass, beautifully accentuating drums and thoughtfully-toned atmosphere. Just beautiful.

White Arms Of Athena – “Creationed“/”Recreationed”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gosKA2vuc0]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPpTfqlERzE]

Sounding like an invigoratingly fresh take on the Between the Buried and Me model of musicianship (a comparison that I’m sure will continue to both plague and catapult them throught these formative years of their career), Texan quintet White Arms of Athena‘s forthcoming album Astrodrama is split into four ‘acts’

I love the second act, ‘Esoteric Allusions’ not just for its sunny, organic sound and exploration of interesting compositional techniques, but also for the tone of the lyrics. Lines like “Take the things you believe you need to succeed” and “You will know when, and you will know how. Find your creation, create, or be created.” Metal, not known for its positivity or self-belief, could learn a thing or two from these guys.

It really needs to be heard in its entirety, and luckily for you both parts are available on Youtube. Astrodrama should drop sometime this summer – rumour has it July.

That’ll do for now. I’ve only been super-impressed by a few bands this year, and the columns so far have covered the rest. Let’s see what the next six and a half months bring, eh?

– CG

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