Monster Magnet probably needs no introduction to anyone who has paid any degree of attention to the alternative rock scene over the last 25 years or more. The band has always been unashamedly and unapologetically rockist in their approach. Largely ignoring scenes such as grunge as they have come and gone, Monster Magnet have managed to pump out album after album of classic heavy rock, and they continue to play to huge audiences. Somehow they have always stood out from the crowd of rock revivalists and “stoner” bands. Whilst the music of many of these retro bands so often feels tired and trite when compared to the 60s or 70s bands they try to copy, they always exuded a special kind of conviction, authenticity and raw power that sets them apart. Maybe this has something to do with (singer, guitar player and only original member) Dave Wyndorf having been born in 1956 and so having actually lived through the 60s and 70s. Either way, the music has always felt just as legitimate and classy as records by Motörhead or Deep Purple.
James Kent, based in Paris, has released several records since 2012 under the name Perturbator. His music under this moniker can be loosely defined as synthwave but, in reality, Perturbator’s evades such straightforward categorisation. Incorporating elements of early synth-based music, as well techno, gothic rock, ambient music, and metal, Perturbator has been compared to Kraftwerk, John Carpenter, and Nine Inch Nails, amongst many others.
The concept of metal without electric guitars might feel like an oxymoron. After all, guitar riffs of one type or another have been the key bedrock of the genre ever since Black Sabbath. But Wreche is different. John Steven Morgan, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist behind the band, makes a kind of experimental black metal using acoustic piano as the lead instrument. All My Dreams Came True (Handmade / Acephale Winter Productions) is the second Wreche album and the first on which Morgan operates Wreche as a one-man-band (aside from two guest appearances), providing synthesizers, drums, and vocals as well as what the press release describes as an “88 key, 700lb behemoth running hot on distortion and space echo.” Morgan also recorded, mixed, and mastered the album himself.
Steve Von Till’s reputation precedes him. In addition to being a long-serving member of post-metal visionaries Neurosis, he has been releasing solo material for the past two decades. In 2020 Von Till released No Wilderness Deep Enough (Neurot Recordings), which marked something of a departure from his usual guitar-based, folk-influenced solo singer-songwriter material.
NOÊTA is a duo based between Norway and Sweden and consisting of multi-instrumentalists Ândris and Êlea, the latter of whom also provides vocals. Their music is an intriguing hybrid of dark folk and dark ambient styles, with just a hint of black metal seeping in around the edges.
Metal, for all its anti-establishment credentials, can often be quite conservative. Many of the same old tropes have been rolled out again and again for the past four decades or so. Whilst that’s not a major problem for many metal fans, it is arguable that the same recycled ideas just don’t have the same impact that they once did. What once seemed impossibly heavy, deafeningly loud, even shocking or transgressive, can now be played on mainstream radio without anyone raising an eyebrow.
To celebrate the holiday’s the Music Marketing Mixer group has released a MASSIVE playlist of some of the best up-and-coming musicians in the hard rock/metal scene. The five and a half hour playlist comes from the members of the group, which is free to join on Facebook, provides music industry marketing advice from industry experts, coaching, free webinars, and coaching for bands and solo artists. Brought to you by The Dumb and Dumbest Podcast, BDWE Media, Dewar PR, Dropout Media, and Ghost Cult Magazine, the group is free to join at this link here. The playlist has over 60 tracks and includes tracks from artists such as Lindsay Schoolcraft, King Gorm, Caustic Casanova, 20 Watt Tombstone, The Inferno Doll, Duncan Evans, Alpha Bootis, Gravehuffer, Gaia Guarda, Casket Robbery, and many more! Jam out to the list here.
2020 has been a strange and difficult year for most people, but that hasn’t stopped the release of some truly fantastic music. As we near the close of this tumultuous and trying year, here are the 20 albums that have resonated the most with me in 2020.
2R0I2P0 (Twenty Twenty RIP, Relapse Records) is a collaboration album from two luminaries of the Japanese experimental music scene, Boris and Merzbow. Boris has released a vast number of albums over the past 25 years, and their sound ranges from psychedelic post-rock to crushing metallic doom riffery. Noise artist Merzbow (the brainchild of Masami Akita) has been even more prolific, having released hundreds of records over a 40-year career.
Anna Von Hausswolff is a singer-songwriter who has always embraced a progressive attitude to creativity. Never unafraid to straddle genres as diverse as metal, Krautrock, and dark pop, and always remaining elusively undefinable, she has made waves over the past decade with her four previous albums and numerous illustrious collaborations. As well as following her own unique musical path, Von Hausswolff (to name just a few of her achievements and endeavours): runs a record label, has guested with Wolves in the Throne Room and Swans, has supported Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and has hosted visual art exhibitions.Continue reading