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!
Abstract Void – Wishdream (blackgaze, synthwave)
Want to start your Friday with something a little different? Maybe need some energetic background music to keep you going on that end of week grind? Abstract Void should meet both of those requirements. One of few artists to successfully pull off the unique fusion of shoegaze, black metal and yes, you read correctly, synthwave. (A combo I’ve tried to coin as “blackwave” but we’ll see if that catches on). The genres work incredibly well together in how they operate with the same general tempos, and often similar song structures. Those highly textural, sprawling landscapes of sounds, highlighted by post-rocky build ups and climaxes.
Wishdream feels like the best realization of this sound I’ve heard to date, up there with Violet Cold‘s strong flirtations with this style. Often the tracks feel written more from a blackgaze perspective first, with synth leads harmonizing and taking on a more lead-guitar role for a cool retro sound. Yet the more synthwave focused songs with throbbing bass and black metal vocals hit just as hard. It’s rare to find unique genre-fusions that work out this well from every angle.
If you’re into both of those genres and haven’t heard this yet, I hope it’s the dream come true that you’d imagine it to be.
See Also: The Body & BIG|BRAVE – Leaving None But Small Birds (folk rock, heavy psych)
Frontierer – Oxidized (brutal/chaotic mathcore)
Having pushed the mathcore sound so far already, I wasn’t sure what I really wanted from a new Frontierer record, until I heard the singles from Oxidized and knew that was exactly it. These songs are every bit as heavy as the material from Unloved and Orange Mathematics, and arguably even more intense, but there’s a clear sense of restraint and structure that reminds me of the last Car Bomb record or later Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza albums this time around as well. I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but if the rest of Oxidized keeps up the quality of “Glacial Plasma” and, especially, “Opaque Horizon,” we could be looking at their best album yet.
Last Week’s Best Album: Rivers of Nihil – The Work (progressive death metal); not all of The Work is successful, but those parts that are are every bit as impressive as Rivers of Nihil’s previous material. It takes a bit of time, and perhaps a bit of restructuring, to get the most out of it, but if you’re willing to pit in the, uh… work, then the rewards are well worth it. More on this next week, maybe…