Deftones had a banner year in 2020, dropping their impeccable Ohms (Reprise Records, review here) and celebrating the 20th anniversary of arguably their best album, White Pony. Unbeknownst to fans, and music journos, there is an entire secret history of White Pony the band revealed this year. For years we had been hearing that the band was interested in a remix album, either of an entire past release or perhaps a new album. It turns out, the band always intended White Pony to have a companion album or EP of remixes, called Black Stallion. Among the fanbase, this potential release lived in the lore of their minds, as much or more than the Eros sessions we may, or may not ever see the light of day (and we understand why guys). Now the band has capped off their year with the fleshed out and realized Black Stallion release (also Reprise).
Devin Townsend is a music extraordinaire who is well-known for his many different and successful projects that he has participated in over the last 25 years or so. Whether it be Strapping Young Lad or Devin Townsend Project the man has always thrown his heart into it.He is a Canadian machine that expertly and consistently generates epic-scale music in many diverse forms. Last year he released his latest solo album, Empath (InsideOut Music). He took his essence to a new level of eccentricity with a masterful embodiment of bonkers meets serene. Many cling to the wilds that is Dev for his honest presentation, whether that be in Jazz, Metal, or whatever genre he chooses to express himself with. His devotees gather in the masses at his shows for a guaranteed excellent and entertaining performance. Last December he brought his uncommon magic to England and much like his actual works, the presentation was a little unconventional. Dev is about to release his new live album, Order of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 (InsideOut Music) documenting that European tour. It will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD/Blu-Ray/DVD artbook package, a limited 2CD+DVD digipak, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box set, and more.
Sour Cherry Bell (Kranky) is the second full-length release from New Orleans-based artist Melissa Guion, who releases music under the moniker MJ Guider. It primarily deals in atmosphere. Guion uses heavily processed electronic textures, often drenched in thick treacle-like reverb, to create moody and evocative soundscapes. There are synthetic drum sounds, but this is certainly not dance music. The emotion-laden washy chord sequences recall the 1980s “Gothic” music and perhaps the “shoegaze” that followed in its footsteps, but this is music that doesn’t fit neatly into any category. Many of the sound-worlds have a lush warmth which lends them a meditative quality, but there is also an unsettling element of tension, as though dissonance and harmony are in competition with each other. Guion’s voice is tender and graceful and with it, she weaves flowing melodies. But the voice is often intentionally distant – buried in the mix and concealed by long reverb tails. It feels as though Guion has intentionally engineered a situation where opposing elements battle it out for dominance. These songs could have been presented in a radio-friendly indie package, but instead, the melodies and words only just lift their heads above the walls of noise that encase them. It takes audacity and boldness to attempt this sort of approach which flouts so many of the accepted rules of composition and music production. It seems that Guion was pushing the boundaries of her creativity and her tools: “I was curious to see how far I could go with them, even if that meant reaching the ends of their capacity to do what I wanted.”Continue reading →
Igorrr is the brainchild of the French musical genius, Gautier Serre and he made it to destroy the limitations of music. Originally a solo project, Serre dug into a variety of contrasting genres to proclaim palatable pieces of art that shouldn’t work, but do. In 2017, he broke barriers when the project gained more members and they released Savage Sinusoid (Metal Blade Records). Now, this bizarre band is back with the full-length album, Spirituality and Distortion (Metal Blade Records) where Serre and the other players are embellishing on the already oddball invention that is Igorrr. Continue reading →
It’s a fascinating time to be in the Code Orange camp. It’s been a little over three years since the bruising Forever stormed the Metallic Hardcore gates and they’re finally releasing the proper follow-up, Underneath (Roadrunner) to a hungry world. And the hype is certainly a factor. Continue reading →
Italian alt/electro-rock duo Soaware is releasing their new album, Soaware tomorrow. Founded by the duo of Damiano Bessi and Emanuele Grazioli, the inventive alternative rockers have hopes to infect the rest of the world with their songs. They first met in 1999 while playing in the band Mad Cobol, later splitting to join other groups. With Soaware, the band channels the familiar churning magnetic pulse of Industrial, the melancholy soulfulness of Goth, and the rawness of Metal. At the same time, they have experimental, undefinable elements that are purely Soaware music too. Stream their full album right now, only at Ghost Cult! Continue reading →
Newcastle’s latest Hardcore reprobates Starve To Survive are back after a whole three years with a new EP, Have Me To Waste (Caliber), hoping to make their own statement of intent and garner some of the attention that the northern Hardcore scene generates, specifically Loathe and God Complex who have been turning more than a few heads over the past year. Continue reading →
Electronic music comes in many waves. From new, to old to 80’s electro-rock, not many succeed in creating a memorable electronic record. For the French trio, The Sacrifice, it’s a point to revive the genre with nostalgic moments as they debut with their self-titled (Season Of Mist) on their own terms. They have taken synth-wave and incorporated classic 80’s pop and metal to produce this modern electro groove. The 11-track album is an experiment that involved a dozen of vintage synthesizers and drum machines, according to the band. But what listeners will gather here is a record that balances sonic synths full of color and life. The Sacrifice is here to make you dance.Continue reading →
Being able to sound fresh both within metal, and then within your own career, is a hard thing to achieve. So, credit where credit is due, The Browning are still leading the way with their brand of synth-heavy Metalcore. New album Geist (Spinefarm Records) shows the band cementing their sound and even bringing more extremity to the table. Continue reading →
Along with the likes of Dan Terminus and GosT, Perturbator has been one of the leading lights in the burgeoning Synthwave scene. The combination of retro, 80s-infused electronica played with the enthusiasm and tempo of Heavy Metal has become the not-so-guilty pleasure of metalheads looking for a reprieve from their usual playlists. Continue reading →