This is the first Editors’ Picks introduction that I’m writing from quarantine. Will it also be the last? No one really knows but the odds are heavily against it. Sure, it seems like we in Israel have a better handle on this pandemic than a lot of other places. But even those that are doing better than us are far from lifting the aptly named “non-pharmaceutical interventions” that seem to be our best (and only) line of defense against this bastard virus. Bastard. It’s funny how many emotions this thing invokes; perhaps “funny” is not the right word. But certainly there’s a whole range of feelings, from sadness to fear and, yes, to anger, a bitter anger that is directed against nothing at all, an anger (and hope and sorrow) that needs a place to go.
But hey, guess what? It turns out that we have something that’s very good at taking directionless emotions and channeling them in healthier ways. It’s called music! Good on you, you guessed it. I’ve said repeatedly on here that music and the blog saved my life and would you look at that, it’s doing it again. In this sprawling mess that my day to day has become, where work (which I am incredibly privileged to still have) and home have all but blended together, where the usual markers of the day and the night (how loud the city is, how many people are outside, how the weather affects me) have all but eroded, music and the blog gives me a pace. They give me an ebb and flow to things. They gave me recourse and respite and, yes, they give me console.
I don’t want to talk about escape. I don’t want to talk about a terrible world made to go away by a fantastical, musical one. That’s not what music is doing for me these days; the outside world (a distinction of physicality that is even more relevant these days, as the outside becomes forbidden) is still very much there. Instead, what I mean when I say that music gives me recourse is that it gives me a place to put all of these things that I’m feeling, and feeling powerfully, into a place where they can come back to me in a kinder light. Into a place where they come back to me with less fangs and daggers that flash in the night. Through music, my complicated, intense, difficult feelings over the situation we find ourselves in come back to me in ways which I can better process and sort out, in ways which feel less alien and more kind.
Lastly, a non-sequitur. I can’t not use this platform I have, I can’t not use this voice that I have, to say what needs to be said: our way of life is fundamentally broken and unsustainable. This virus shows us what many of us have already known for a while: capitalism is an utter and complete failure. Now, if we were living under socialism, we don’t know if the virus could have been avoided. But as we watch states, countries, and municipalities outbid each other on masks and ventilators, when we watch our elderly (and non-elderly, don’t forget) be sacrificed on the bloody altar of the NASDAQ, we must be angry. We must remember what drives this suffering. We must remember how our sense of communal belonging, how our inherit desire to cooperate and protect each other, have been eroded under the thankless gaze of neo-liberalism and austerity. We must recognize how the systems we put in place to defend us have failed us, miserably and totally. And we must be angry about that. We can’t just shrug and say “that’s how things have always been and how they always will be” because those “things” are the death and suffering of millions of people.
And so, below, please find a whole bunch of excellent music to help you do both of the things I mentioned above. First, music to help you process what’s going on now, to help you process your own feelings, to help you not shutter away the world but to come to terms with how you feel about what’s happening. Music to, maybe, remind you that people still exist out there, that something a stranger halfway across the world wrote and recorded can resonate with how you see the world, with how you feel. Music to help you remember what binds us.
Then, secondly, music to help you remember that anger is an important human emotion. To help you remember that humans like to work together. To help you see that what we have as people is worth preserving and that we must fight for the things that we love. To, maybe, help you see that another world is completely within our reach. To, I hope, help you demand the world we deserve, the world that was taken from us by men and women who told us that society doesn’t exist, that markets must reopen, that stocks are worth more than your parents’ lives, that profits should drive our lives instead of the things we feel passionate about.
To help you remember that we’re all in this together and that I love you and that there will come a time when we shake all of this off and demand the utopia that we all deserve. Long live music. Long live the people. Death to capitalism.
Afterbirth – Four Dimensional Flesh (brutal death metal)
On the whole, I would say 2020’s been a pretty fucking awful year. Not for music releases necessarily but like, you know, everything else. On the other hand, there is a new Afterbirth album, so that’s one solid and good thing to point to. This might come off as a little ridiculous, but it’s kind of amazing how much the fact that Four Dimensional Flesh exists has lifted my spirits and allows me to continue to keep on truckin’ some days. If Afterbirth can come back after being banished to Demo Purgatory for twenty fucking years then yeah, I can get through another day of self-imposed isolation in my one-bedroom apartment.
When Afterbirth returned in 2017 with The Time Traveler’s Dilemma, I wasn’t necessarily blown away. I liked the album enough, sure, and I thought they were an underrated band, but I was not chomping at the bit for new material from them on a daily basis the way I was in the span between, say, Starspawn and Hidden History of the Human Race. I was excited enough when I received a promo copy of Four Dimensional Flesh, if mostly because I thought it was awesome that they were still around. And then I downloaded it, added it to my music library, and hit play.
Holy fuck. Wow. Right out of the gate this one is hitting you over the head. “Beheading the Buddha” is an opener most bands can only dream of; it goes right for the jugular. The opening 20 seconds of this album have more weight and motion and sheer heaviness than some bands have managed in their fucking careers. If I had to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with this album, it’s 31 seconds in: it’s the first subversion of the expectation of how a brutal death metal album should sound. The first few riffs of “Beheading the Buddha” play it fairly straight, but then out of nowhere you get these tantalizingly bright, beautiful, shimmering notes for less than a second, tossed up into the air before everything slams back into the earth and continues to roll along mercilessly. The rest of the song plays it close to the chest, as if to signal to the rest of the death metal world that Afterbirth are more than capable of writing the best and most competent straightforward brutal death metal you’ve ever heard.
But they choose not to, and that’s what makes them special. While Afterbirth certainly bear the genre’s hallmarks – simple tremolo-picked melodies; fat, chugged, shotgun-blast power chords; a highly audible bass – they look to the firmament for inspiration and tear away the stars in search of beauty to add to their music. The first time the band really leans into the more psychedelic side of their sound is about halfway through “Spiritually Transmitted Disease.” They quickly return to brutal death metal, but everything is altered afterwards, transmogrified by this cosmic contact. Third track, “Girl In Landscape,” is where we really tumble headfirst into the void: led by what sounds like a mellotron (on a brutal death metal album!!!) we get what some might call an interlude track but is really just as important to the texture of the record as anything in the two tracks that have led up to it. Thus is the tapestry of Afterbirth; no singular element is more important than any other, and each part reaches its apex in a form that sublates all of them into one entity. Over the album, the vision expands and reaches further, but never betrays this scheme of unification.
What makes Four Dimensional Flesh such a treat of an album is this sense of wholeness. Certainly there are different sounds woven in – the elements of space rock and psychedelia here are obviously from a fiber other than brutal death metal – but it’s all melded together into an album that is one cohesive vision of death metal that isn’t torn apart by its contradictions or by the desire for both beauty and heaviness. Neither interferes with the other; they meld into one true piece of art that is cosmic and brutal, spacey and heavy, ugly and gorgeous. It’s cinematic, refreshing, inspiring. Most of all, it’s fucking awesome.
Aronious – Perspicacity (technical death metal)
I generally espouse the virtues of a good debut album. They bring a raw energy to the table that artists usually lose on their subsequent work. And if one word could be used to describe Perspicacity, it would be “energetic”. Aronious are a tech death outlet from Wisconsin who are making strong moves with their first album that has already turned some heads and keep turning more.
What’s so interesting about Perspicacity? Well, this is a very dense album. The sound is, for the most part, comprised of two guitars, bass, drums and screamed vocals. The tones are dry, the drums are snappy. The complexity doesn’t come from the instrumentation. The playing here is definitely the star – every moment is a flurry of ascending/descending licks and rapid chords. But that doesn’t say much about the band, one can say that about most tech death bands. No, the defining characteristic of Aronious’s style is the complete dismantling of pace. Of course, such a claim bears an explanation.
Fellow technical metal geniuses Gods of Eden are what come to mind here. Each riff, each lick, fill and flourish make complete sense on their own as a unit. However, instead of just jamming groups of these constructs together to create a series of 4/4, or even some more “fancy” time signatures like 7/8 (yes, I know, it’s not that fancy but the tech death world isn’t that jazzy) is completely out of the question. Instead, both the Australian virtuosos and Aronious employ a rolling sense of rhythm. Every measure just keeps going, guitar runs don’t end, drum beats don’t just neatly wrap up. They never resolve a segment in a way that you’d expect, they just keep dragging it out until you’re utterly dazzled, and then abruptly cut it off when you least expect it. This is pure musician’s music, playing with established conventions and relishing in intentionally disregarding the expectations.
If you’re looking for something recognizably tech death but also completely off the rails, Perspicacity is the shot in the arm you need. It’s definitely way too much for anyone who isn’t neck deep in the genre, but for grizzled veterans like myself, Aronious show that there’s still surprise and delight left to be mined in this old hole.
Read More: Interview
Code Orange – Underneath (metalcore, industrial metal)
Pittsburgh’s Code Orange has been the subject of much media hype since 2017’s Forever. The album landed them critical acclaim among many legacy industry publications and was a runaway commercial success for a band that was just a few years prior an up-and-coming underground hardcore act. The album landed them a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2018, bolstered by a fairly excessive PR campaign from Roadrunner Records. Following Forever, Code Orange were on top of the world, and nobody believed that more than Code Orange themselves.
Not everyone was a believer of the Code Orange hype, though. Heavy Blog have collectively been fairly lukewarm about Code Orange and their mantle as the face of contemporary harcore since 2014’s I Am King. This writer in particular took their sets in support of the final Dillinger Escape Plan shows as an opportunity to catch up with friends between Daughters and Dillinger, and a much needed rest. And truth be told, the ski masks were a little hokey. Forever was fine, sure, but it didn’t even graze our Top 25 of that year, so the collective industry obsession over Code Orange was, around these parts, kind of a head scratcher in the same vein as Gojira’s Magma the year before.
So I was fully prepared to let their widely anticipated follow-up Underneath float by without disruption. That was until early single “Swallowing the Rabbit Whole” dropped and blew the door wide open. The growing industrial and electronic elements were pushed to the forefront, as was vocalist and drummer Jami Morgan in his ascent to legitimate frontman, allowing new opportunities for the band to expand their sonic palette and experiment with their sound further. Finally, it would seem, the band have lived up to their promise and potential!
Underneath feels like a seamless hybridization of Miss Machine, Iowa, and With Teeth, with perhaps the potential to be held to those standards as genre classics. There are no shortage of bangers that rage between grungy industral rock (“Autumn and Carbine”) to arena-sized nu-metal (“The Easy Way”) and stuttering, mind-bending hardcore (“Cold.Metal.Place”), and they balance these sounds without losing a sense of focus and cohesion at an album level. The mostly-gapless playback and the consistent horror-soundtrack atmosphere keeps the album feeling strangely cozy and highly listenable.
Code Orange have surely developed their sound as a realized marriage of hardcore and industrial rock, with the songwriting chops to keep things interesting. They brought riffs, hooks, and a highly curated album experience that, while not perfect, is a sign of a band achieving their potential, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Read More: Review
Feminazgul – No Dawn For Men (atmospheric black metal)
When I reviewed Feminazgul for the first time, I tried to encapsulate the many different ways in which the album nailed black metal. I mean, the purpose of a review is to try and describe something indescribable right? Namely, the holistic and enveloping experience that is music. So, while trying not to be too long-winded (yeah, right), we attempt to aim at the whole, at the disparate parts which come together to make the complex unit that is an album. Which is one of the many reasons that I love Editors’ Picks; it gives me another chance to look at a piece of music but, this time around, without the onus of trying to grasp the album as an entity but rather to try and shine a light and what makes the album so unique.
And for No Dawn For Me, that has to be the vocals. It’s really hard to overstate what a fantastic job Laura Beach does on this album; from the visceral, slow-moving, undulating growls on opener “Illa, Mother of Death” to the punchy, epic cries of defiance on “The Rot in the Field Is Holy,” Beach is both power and subtlety, conveying the ferocity of black metal alongside the emotional depth and pain that the genre channels so well. But instead of, once again, trying to encapsulate the vocals throughout the album, like I would do in a review, I want to draw your attention to one moment. This is he absolutely blistering scream on “Bury the Antlers With the Stag,” slaying the intro and ushering in the main body of the track.
It is such a cathartic, powerful moment. It draws a lot of its power from how it works with the drums coming right in after it, how it works with the almost post-rock instruments on the track, but mainly it draws power from itself, from how utterly convincing and captivating Beach’s work with this vocal moment. Crying out the name of the track (with all its feminist symbolism and defiance) sounds like it takes eveything from Beach and so it should; this is the guttural, powerful potential of black metal condensed into a few moments and it damn well should feel painful and draining.
This is all, of course, within the context of the album and the build-up, background, and tone which it imbibes into this moment. But it is also a powerful moment in and of itself. Ah, the mystery of music! The momentary in the ongoing, the simple and the complex, the delicate and the mighty, the aggressive and the wounded. God, I love black metal.
Read More: Review
Honey Harper – Starmaker (alt-country, dream pop)
Country was the last domino to fall in my endeavor to appreciate every major genre. Despite loving several elements of country’s core sound, I’ve had trouble relating to the heartland American values and lifestyle that have become so intrinsic to the genre. Of course, we all have a tendency to lean on confirmation bias, and what’s presented on mainstream and classic country radio hardly represents the totality of the country’s output over the last century.
Sure enough, a Pitchfork article on my newsfeed introduced me to “the first country record by an openly gay person,” which subsequently served as my gateway into the genre. What Lavender Country offered with their ’73 self-titled debut was a stark rebuke of everything I thought country was about: lyrics of love, acceptance, and hardship amid the “American” values country frequently espouses, all over instrumentation that felt surprisingly close to genres I’ve grown to love like folk and more progressive iterations of Americana and bluegrass. From there I was hooked. Along with buying classic albums from songwriters like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, I dove headfirst into the discographies of alt-country mainstays like Richard Buckner, k.d. lang, and Lucinda Williams.
Fast-forward to the last couple years, it seems like my appreciation for country has evolved into full-on adoration, as albums from the genre have vied for the top of my AOTY list. Orville Peck‘s Pony landed #2 overall on my 2019 list, and it’s looking like a major upset will be needed to overtake Starmaker as my belle of the ball for 2020. Since my fellow editor Jonathan Adams recommended the album last month, I’ve been obsessed with Honey Harper‘s (William Fussell) attempt to “revitalize country music for people who don’t like country music.” His self-described brand of “cosmic country” blends the genre with elements of psychedelia, dream pop, and indie folk, using these gorgeous palettes to surround introspective, cleverly written lyrics.
At first, Starmaker hardly sounds like a country album at all, what with the vocal effects draped over synth-soaked acoustic guitar on “Green Shadows.” Fussell has a bit of twang to his voice, but the track ultimately leans more on the dreamy, cosmic soundscapes billed as the album’s signature compositional lens. For me, this feels like a means of setting the stage for the genre bending to come. “In Light of Us” picks this up immediately, with a drawling, melancholic guitar line leading into a chorus straight out of the country songbook. Fussell sings “In light of us/There’s a light that lasts/Tonight it just/Reflects in glass” before the refrain of “In the light of morning/You find two of your dimensions/But nothing scares you more than your own/You today.” This reads as the narrator looking in the mirror and reflecting on their own role in an on-again/off-again relationship.
Lyrics about complicated emotions continue on “The Day It Rained Forever,” one of my favorites on the album. It’s hook is sweet without being saccharine; a beautiful, twangy melody that highlights Fussell’s gorgeous vocals. “Something Relative” incorporates strings with an effective, stirring arrangement, something Fussell doubles down on with “Suzuki Dreams.” The lyrics on “Something Relative” speak to the pitfall of viewing a new lover’s storied past through rose-colored glasses (“When I look into your eyes there’s a garden of fortune/Where the true heart inherits the truth that it wanted to know”), and then longing for that honyemoon phase to return once it starts to fade.
There’s so much more to say about the album but not enough space. “Tired Tower” is perhaps the closest the album comes to pure country, coupled with a bitter heartbreak narrative (“In my tired tower you were hard to forget/And then you taught me how to get down/And taught me how to regret”). I love the honest portrayal of love amid depression on “Vaguely Satisfied,” and especially how Fussell flows the lyrics on the chorus (“I was like a cup of rain/That came to cover up the spring/And you were almost everything/And I was vaguely satisfied”). Fussell takes a more favorable view of love on “Tomorrow Never Comes,” a country-rock anthem with shades of ’70s rock that celebrates the yearning for a never-ending day with our significant others (“As I left you in bed/Did you stay there all day like I said?/Endless days of flowing lace/Like the tears in your eyes when I’d fade/I wish…”). Finally, the title track closes out the album with a gorgeous country ballad, a perfect foil to “Green Shadows” as it conjures a similar atmosphere with a pure country focus.
In every way, Starmaker is simultaneously emblematic and defiant of its source material. Fussell crafted an awing success with his debut as Honey Harper, an album that will likely evolve into an innovative country classic over time, or at least an essential deep cut for fans of the genre’s artistic potential. Again, I’d be genuinely surprised if anything surpasses Starmaker as my album of the year. It’s an exceptional album that will surely become a staple of my record collection for years to come.
Read More: Unmetal Monday
Vredehammer – Viperous (blackened death metal)
March was an amazing month for new music. I’ve been completely enamored with multiple records over the past 30 days, and if I could include every album I wanted to in this section it would be a long and winding read indeed. But alas and alack, I’m forced to choose one, and there was no record this past month that got more spins than Vredehammer’s Viperous. So it is this most excellent album that will get a most poorly written (yet utterly enthusiastic) recommendation from yours truly. Let’s go.
In case you aren’t familiar with Vredehammer, these fine Norwegian folk peddle a blackened death style that focuses almost exclusively on the dispensation of almighty riffs. It is not an exaggeration to say that, pound for pound, Vredehammer deliver on a consistent basis some of the most expertly performed and infinitely blastable riffage on planet earth. Their first album, a solo effort by mastermind Per Valla, remains to this day an infinitely listenable affair, but the band have only gotten better and stronger as they’ve added more performative firepower. Now a trio, Viperous shows Vredehammer at the absolute top of their already outstanding black/death game, with nary a dud in sight across the album’s polished and blistering 42-minute runtime.
It’s honestly hard to choose a stand-out track on Viperous, as they are all excellent in their own way. But if I had to pinpoint the album’s strongest offerings, it would be impossible not to highlight “Suffocate All Light”, “In Shadow”, “Aggressor”, and the album’s title track as absolute barnburners. In “Suffocate”, Vredehammer unleash black metal hell in a more powerful manner than you will find anywhere else in their discography, while the record’s title track is an utterly punishing death metal assault on the senses. These two tracks in particular highlight the vast range of styles Vredehammer have honed and perfected over the last decade, and combined with the rest of the record make for one helluva listening experience.
There’s literally nothing I would change about Viperous, it’s chunky, fast, punishing, and agile all at once, culminating in what is undoubtedly my most thoroughly enjoyable listening experience of 2020 thus far. Vredehammer only gets better with each new release, and their third full-length does nothing to hinder their ascendancy toward extreme metal elite status. If you are a fellow slave to the riff, there isn’t a better album for me to steer you toward. Highly recommended.
Whale Fall – It Will Become Itself (post-rock)
Improvisation-based music can be both a wonderful and terrible thing. On face value there is seemingly nothing wrong with creating music out of freeform and unstructured sessions. If anything it is the purest form of music as a kind of communication. It represents an open dialog between musicians. It also opens the door to new ways of playing and thinking about playing. As a composition tool it can break people out of ruts or returning to the same bank of sounds and ideas over and over again. It freshens the well, so to speak. The problems with writing music this way though are equally myriad. For every gem of an idea that is born from this method, you likely have many more minutes of meandering sounds, half-baked ideas, and things that just simply don’t work. The trick is knowing the difference between all of those and sorting the wheat from the chaff. For people who like jam bands, perhaps this isn’t as much of an issue. But if you’re like me and crave structures with clear arcs and well-defined themes, then it presents a much higher hurdle to clear.
Once in a great while though, a band can perform alchemy and wring out something so wonderful, open, and pure that it simultaneously seems impossible that it could have been spontaneously produced and yet almost equally impossible to imagine it occuring any other way. LA’s Whale Fall hit such gold during one such session June 4, 2018. Finding themselves together in one place for the first time in a while, they decided to take advantage of the opportunity and record a no-pressure session just for the heck of it. It wasn’t until months later that they realized the truly special thing they had. The resulting album, It Will Become Itself, is a somewhat condensed and polished version of that original recording. There are distinct beginnings and ends to pieces, with each song embodying a distinct mood, but it undoubtedly sounds like a singular work split into movements. And it is nothing short of stunning.
The album actually begins with a brief piano-led intro that was recorded separately from that particular session. This title track does an incredible job of easing the listener into this fluid musical landscape, piano painting a beautifully serene picture and cello providing an additional air of wispy atmosphere, like a perfectly breezy spring day. “El Caracol” picks up wonderfully from there, introducing the full band and establishing a light and jazzy theme that would sound perfectly at home within Tortoise’s TNT or most of Do Make Say Think’s catalog. The transformation from this place of serenity to hard-edged ferocity throughout the first half of this 18-minute epic is so gradual and subtle that you somehow don’t see it coming even though it’s been telegraphed for so long. Touching upon Grails-like groove-based dark and hazy rock and eventually into straight-up GY!BE bombast, “El Caracol” is a monumentally epic journey unto itself.
Though “El Caracol” is clearly the highlight and most sweeping piece of the entire album, It Will Become Itself is superb front to back because it maintains that same sense of flowing wonder throughout. “The Well” is a lovely waltz that provides a nice moment of quiet introspection before “A Street Scene” ups the ante again into a cacophony of gritty sound and noir-inspired and sax-led beauty. The ease in which the group shifts gears and transitions into new ideas without losing all of the energy and meaning from what they already played is a massive credit to a group of musicians who are intimately in tune with one another. Closer “Pacific” encapsulates that ethos perfectly as it manages to synthesize the breadth and various moods of the whole piece in a microcosm while existing as its own living, breathing thing. For an album built out of spontaneity it somehow still manages a kind of cohesion and structure that most bands pre-composing this kind of music could only hope to achieve. To do all of that while still maintaining all of the openness and organic feeling that the best improvised music can provide is an exceptional feat, one that has placed Whale Fall and It Will Become Itself as likely one of the seminal post- releases of 2020.
Read More: Premiere
Ground Patrol – Geophone (experimental math rock)
On their third release, Ground Patrol once again prove they’re among the most innovative and downright entertaining groups in experimental rock. With Geophone, the duo retains their improvisational and adventurous spirit while writing arguably their most accessible record. So if you haven’t listened to them yet, you’ve now run out of excuses not to rectify that oversight.
Read More: Review
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion (avant-garde metal, breakcore)
I once wrote that listening to Igorrr was like witnessing a protracted, bloody war between Count Chocula and Lucky (he of the Charms), and Spirituality and Distortion does absolutely nothing to change this opinion. It’s big, bold, epic in scope, and patently insane. It’s also one of the most thoroughly enjoyable and (dare I say it) accessible records in the band’s discography. It’s a real hoot, and a sonically impressive achievement.
Read More: Review
New Primals – Horse Girl Energy (noise rock, post-hardcore)
One of my surprise discoveries of the year doubles as one of the wildest rock records I’ve heard in some time. Even by the standards of the genres they operate in, New Primals blows me away with just how much energy, personality, and creativity they bring across every song on Horse Girl Energy. Fans of rock music and good times won’t want to miss this.
Read More: Review
Old Man Gloom – Seminar IX: Darkness of Being (sludge metal)
Old Man Gloom have been full of surprises (both pleasant and not-so-pleasant) over their career, but the early release of Seminar IX most certainly falls in the former category. But release gimmicks can only be as well-received as the content itself, and here Old Man Gloom deliver what is one of their most exciting and inspired efforts. This is an incredible record, and I cannot wait to see how it fits with its companion piece, dropping in a few weeks. But even if we never got to hear it, Seminar IX stands tall on its own merits. A great record.
Skalpel – Highlight (nu-jazz, trip-hop)
They’ve come a long way from being two Polish DJs spinning classic European jazz samples over hip-hop beats. On Highlight Skalpel have never felt more like their own unique and fully-formed thing, and that thing is the ideal music for a late-night chill session.
Telepathy – Burn Embrace (post-metal)
With every release, Essex’s Telepathy have managed to outdo themselves, and their third full-length Burn Embrace continues that trend as their brand of inky black post-metal hits the exact right level of soaring aggression.
Read More: Premiere
Vaisseau – Horrors Waiting In Line (synth doom, progressive electronic)
A synthline tears across your ears as the eldritch portal to another realm tears open and your very perception of space and time is torn asunder. The hellish landscape beyond is punctuated by punchy drums and a sense of dread. You’re listening to Horrors Waiting In Line.
Read More: Premiere
Warp Chamber – Implements of Excruciation (death metal)
Every form of ’90s democore stitched together into a single menace of truly epic proportions. A perfect assimilation of everything that makes classic death metal great under one banner.
Read More: Death’s Door
Aeternam – Al Qassam (melodic prog metal, symphonic metal)
Azure Emote – The Third Perspective (avant-darde death metal)
Cable Ties – Far Enough (post-punk)
Fange – Pudeur (industrial metal, death metal)
The Flashbulb – Our Simulacra (IDM, breakbeat)
Four Tet – Sixteen Oceans (microhouse, indietronica)
Grift – Budet (black metal, folk metal)
hubris. – Metempsychosis (post-rock)
Human Impact – Human Impact (noise rock)
Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear (progressive doom)
If Anything Happens to the Cat – Kingdom of Roots (post-rock, darkwave)
Irreversible Entanglements – Who Sent You? (jazz poetry, avant-garde jazz)
LAC – Yolanda (math rock, post-rock)
LEYA – Flood Dream (avant-garde, modern classical)
Little Dragon – New Me, Same Us (trip-hop. R&B)
Lychgate – Also sprach Futura (avant-garde metal, progressive black metal)
Magic Sword – Endless (dark synth, synthwave)
Orphan Donor – Old Patterns (mathcore)
Pestifer – Expanding Oblivion (progressive tech death)
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier (atmospheric black metal)
Rotting Kingdom – A Deeper Shade of Sorrow (death-doom)
Georgia Ruth – Mai (alt-country, Welsh folk)
Serpent Column – Endless Detainment (dissonant black metal, mathcore)
SouphL – CommérageS (avant-garde death metal)
Sutrah – Aletheia (atmospheric tech death)
Svengahli – Nightmares of Our Own Design (progressive tech death)
Wake – Devouring Ruin (blackened death metal, deathgrind)
Waxahatchee – Saint Cloud (alt-country, indie pop)
The Weeknd – After Hours (R&B, pop)
Zelienople – Hold You Up (post-rock, space rock)