Once upon a time, there was a band called ETHS. This band did pretty much whatever the fuck they wanted, blending nu-metal with all sorts of influences. Did that mix work? Not really. The band were, somewhat rightfully, written off as another in the wave of post nu-metal hybrids that didn’t really hold water. However, it now appears that ETHS are back and that everything has changed. Nu-metal is no longer their mainstay and in its place, something much darker has seized center stage. Now, their latest album is called Ankaa, and its a brooding, massive piece of deathcore turned every other adjective from the dark spectrum of English. It has electronic breaks, oriental singing in Arabic, French nearly-spoken word, guttural growls, screams and whatever else you bloody well desire. This makes it a veritable monolith, eschewing cohesion for a narrative all of its own.
Look on Spotify, and you’ll see a billion and a half playlists dedicated for study help and productivity and the like. (Approximately one billion and a half; no more, no less.) And that’s great and all that some people have found music that works for them, but I’ve never been able to focus with classical music or smooth jazz or any of that “calming” stuff. It’s about balance for me, between something too distracting and too calm. I, like many other modern humans, can get diverted to other things pretty easily. But to make something boring to distract one track of your mind while leaving another one to work doesn’t really pan out well. I need something that figuratively tackles that other part of my mind that wants to go and look on Facebook and pins it there. The following list contains a few albums that I like to listen to for this very purpose. And trust me, these have worked; I’ve written an innumerable amount literary analysis just to these albums alone.
The structure is exquisite; instead of relying on the rise-fall-rise structure so common in post-rock, or relenting into a monolithic, single track structure, Stella Maris just flows. It’s easy to let your mind go and suddenly find yourself at the end of the album. So much has passed but any attempt to parse it into separate tracks or moments is futile. This is why you might feel me struggling to describe this album as I write this. There’re are really no words for how calm, silent and full I feel when it ends. Like yndi halda’s Under Summer, it is post-rock at what I’ve always felt was its best. Instead of pretenses to grandeur, instead of a mimicry of emotions produced by tried and true musical tools, it simply is.
Perhaps the most abrasive and extreme of the metal genres starting to bubble to the surface, atonal avant-garde metal has seen some big bands, such as Gorguts and Deathspell Omega, but by and large it’s mostly a thriving underground scene. Names like Pyrrhon and Gigan are starting to simmer and bubble up to the surface, and underneath lurk even more sleeping beasts just ready to awaken and take the world of heavy music to a harsher and more abrasive place than most would have previously thought possible. One such band, Shrine Of Insanabilis, brings this sharp edge to an already pulverizing take on black metal, leaving any listeners perversely curious for another listen even as they’re picking up pieces of their own skull from the ground.