Mystique is a huge part of what draws us to musicians and to bands. Cultivating that mystique is a fine art which affords bands no clear paths forward; like being cool, some bands just have it and others just don’t and it’s not clear exactly why or what actions make or break the allure of bands. What’s safe to say is that Thou have carefully cultivated such an air of artistic passion, occult obfuscation and DIY dedication over the years. Their move in 2018 to publish not one, not two, not three but four albums has certainly amplified that sort of image; Thou stand as one of the most interesting and engaging bands in the spaces of doom, sludge, and the blackened varieties thereof. But, when all of that aesthetic is discarded, what are we left with when we approach Magus, what most consider their main offering for 2018? How does a full length Thou album sound like on the backs of the three inherently different EPs which came before it?
To be honest, this list makes me feel happy because it mentions Iced Earth’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Early Iced Earth is criminally underrated in the contemporary progressive/power/heavy metal community; while their later works leave a lot to be desired, their early albums are downright incredible. Add more common, but still excellent choices like Dream Theater and Metallica to this list and you’ve got yourself one sweet Anatomy!
December is a shocking month to release music in. If you’re thinking about doing so, don’t. Most publications have already settled on their end-of-year list, and if they haven’t been published yet they’ll be coming soon. Music journalists are going into shut-down mode as they give themselves some time off and try to recover from the mountain of listening they did in preparation for their end-of-year list. Listeners are on holidays and are enjoying their time off with loved ones. If they’re listening to music it’s going to be their personal favourites and not some new record that’s dropped. What this all means is that albums released in December are likely to get lost, falling into an abyss from which escape is near-impossible even for those with a formidable PR machine behind them. When you’re independent you’ve almost got no chance. That’s my theory for how an album as great as Fleshmeadow’s debut Umbra slipped through the cracks in late 2016 and why they’re still a largely unknown quantity. But we’re trying to fix that because these blackened death metallers are ready to rip your face off.
It typically takes me a few listens to find out whether or not (or how much) I enjoy a particular piece of music. Many times have I been bitten by the newness bug, only to be let down considerably on repeated listens. My initial reaction to Imperialist’s new track “Advent…