Editor’s Note: Do you think we “missed” an album this week? Click here.
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year-end list. Enjoy!
Craven Idol – Forked Tongues (blackened thrash, death thrash)
Those who follow our Into the Pit column will know by now that I’m not the biggest fan of black(end) thrash metal. I find a lot of what the genre has to offer very regressive and often repetitive. Every now and then though an album comes along that takes the fury of the two genres and blends them together so perfectly that even I can’t resist. Forked Tongues is one of those albums. The added death metal elements certainly help smooth things over, but there’s an expansiveness to this record that you don’t usually find on many black thrash records that sets Craven Idol apart. Expect to see this again sitting prominently among next quarter’s Big Four.
Darkside – Spiral (neo-psychedelia, experimental rock)
Similar to GY!BE’s new record, I was pleasantly surprised to see my pre-order of Spiral from Matador come in earlier this week (I also added Too Bright to my order so I could finish my Perfume Genius collection). Instead of sharing my thoughts on the lead singles, I can actually share a mini-review of one of my anticipated releases of the second half of this year.
Darkside burst onto the scene in 2013 with their exceptional debut Psychic. The excellent cover art certainly grabbed my attention, and the track list solidified the album as one of my favorites of the year. Ambient electronic producer Nicolás Jaar and experimental rock guitarist David Harrington synced up for an unlikely but exceptional collection of artsy neo-psych, featuring as many mystical soundscapes as vintage psych rock vibes.
After my first few listens, Spiral feels like a more subtle affair, which is odd to say considering how Psychic was just a slow burn. Yet, like Psychic, the duo’s sophomore outing offers its greatest reward at the end of an engaged listen. All the watery atmospheres cascading over psychedelic guitar licks feels like an art pop producer remixing warped Pink Floyd records. I’m looking forward to unpacking more of those moments as I continue spinning Spiral, which is already shaping up to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps on my AOTY list.
See Also: Emma-Jean Thackray – Yellow (jazz fusion, nu-jazz); A fresh, contemporary fusion of jazz with elements of soul, funk, big band, gospel, and more.
Alexis Marshall – House of Lull House of When (experimental rock, industrial rock)
House of Lull House of When is the debut full-length from Daughters’ frontman Alexis Marshall (also of As the Sun Sets and Fucking Invincible). It’s nearly impossible to discuss this album without comparing it to Daughters’ latest highly acclaimed 2018 album, You Won’t Get What You Want. That album marked a distinct shift away from Daughters’ mathcore roots to a pure noise rock/industrial rock sound. House of Lull House of When appears to stylistically be much of a continuation of that sound, but with even more emphasis on experimentation and the avant-garde sides of industrial music, comparable to Lingua Ignota.
Alexis’ distinct maniacal delivery continues to be at the forefront of their sound, echoing his passionately bleak mix of shouts and distorted spoken word vocals into the void. His unique style pairs perfectly with the sort of ritualistic, repetitive industrial instrumentation we’ve been exposed to on the two singles. It feels like being pulled into a spiraling mechanical black-hole of ominous nothingness. We’ll see how the rest of the album holds up over time, but Alexis appears to have dug even further into his well of noisy, anxious gold that’s equally terrifying as it is engaging.