You can call it Punk; you can call it Noise; you can, if you will call it Beat poetry. One thing that Manchester UK experimentalists Locean do produce is a thrilling, vibrant energy and Chav Anglais (Artificial Head Records), the band’s first full-length album, is full of such attitude: from crashing strings and rhythms to sparse, protesting, dominant sexuality. Continue reading
Carcass with Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast) in 2013, Behemoth and The Satanist (Metal Blade) in 2014, Ghost in 2015 and 2018 with Meliora and Prequelle (both Loma Vista), Magma (Roadrunner) by Gojira in 2016, and 2017’s Emperor of Sand (Mastodon – Reprise) is our legacy. Those incredible, scene-enhancing, ear-destroying releases are the standard-bearers by which Ghost Cult‘s albums of the year are to be judged. These are the albums of our times; and following another sensation year of great alternative, rock, and metal, the pantheon cries out for more, for another slab of wax, another Album of the Year to join them… the very best of 2019.
With a fully democratic poll of the views and votes of the length and breadth of Team Ghost Cult (including our photographers, reviewers, newshounds, podcast and YouTube contributors) taken, with no editorial steer or amendment, we present to you Part 1 (75-41) of the Official Ghost Cult Albums of the Year for 2019, for your vulgar delectation… Continue reading
If anyone seriously doubts the efficacy and emotion of what is essentially classed as Drone, then they have never experienced Canadian outfit Big|Brave. They have toured with bands more eagerly anticipated than themselves: but those bands oft flounder at the point of displaying true emotion. It’s here where Robin Wattie and Mathieu Ball, along with drummer Loel Campbell, find a real connection while exploiting the wondrous virtues of focus and silence. Continue reading
The haunting Goddess that is Emma Ruth Rundle just doesn’t know when to stop. Since releasing an EP as a founder member of The Nocturnes in 2008, she has released a product every year with Post-Rockers Red Sparowes and under her own guises. Oft mentioned in glowing terms alongside such powerful performers as PJ Harvey, Tori Amos and Lana Del Rey, On Dark Horses (Sargent House) is the LA chanteuse’s fourth album under her own name, and is again filled with deep, shuddering emotion. Continue reading
The first two albums from Church of Ra-affiliated Belgians Oathbreaker were fiery slabs of dark anger which nevertheless possessed hints of invention: gaining the band a reputation further enhanced with an incendiary set at last year’s Damnation festival. Nothing, however, pointed to the emotional might and unbridled creativity of new album Rheia (Deathwish Inc.) Continue reading
More than an odd Melvins comparison has been levelled at Montreal trio Big|Brave and indeed, the riffs within second full-length Au De La (Southern Lord) possess the squealing, throaty exhalations of Grunge. There is, however, a whole other weirdness going on here, which you might expect from a band just coming off a tour with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Not least the trend-bucking omission of a bassist from the ranks…
Vocalist Robin Wattie is Björk as a native witch-woman, intoning melodiously then yelping like a possessed shaman whilst managing to retain that harmony. Those riffs, meanwhile, purveyed by Wattie and fellow guitarist Mathieu Ball, carry a Drone-like pace: squalling and whining on the pregnant-with-tension ‘Do.No.Harm.Do.No.Wrong…’, yet groaning under the monstrous feedback of ‘Look at How the World Has Made a Change’. The muscle-tightening edge is maintained by Louis-Alexandre Beauregard’s tribal resonance, powerfully leading each track to a crescendo of noise in an understated yet marked fashion.
Here, however, instantaneous drops to silence raise the hackles as much as the violent explosions of agony. Staccato opener ‘On the By and By and Thereon’ seemingly comes to a premature conclusion before kicking on again into a terrifying sequence of double-hammers. The sampled undercurrent of ‘And as the Waters Go’, meanwhile, is initially pierced by a single crash of rhythm guitar, Wattie’s steadily building vocal growing from a high incantation into a demented wail, the whole continually punctuated by brief zephyrs of calm which pounce upon the listener and chill the soul. Flashes of atonal lead and a pulsing coda bring to mind Sonic Youth on zopiclone, truly bewitching stuff that shreds the nerves while attempting to kiss them better.
The early, soft Psychedelia of closer ‘(re)Collection Part II’ gives way to Wattie’s languid howls, the subsequent near-unbearable intensity of moaning leads and rhythmic drums running through an a Capella Punk centrepiece to a Freeform frenzy and a delightful, Shoegaze finale. An exercise in barely-controlled expression, this is a fascinating album – at times stunning, at others beguiling, but always compelling – and one that ensures Big|Brave will force their way into your memory.