…in english please!
While the sweeping impact of VHÖLs 2015 masterpiece Deeper than Sky has lost nothing of its energetic appeal, drummer Aesop Dekker has of course been busy on many other playgrounds: helping Lorraine Rath und Jessica Way to make Worm Ouroboros’ third album What Gracless Dawn into the etheric mediation it is for example, or introduced us to Khorada . All these projects do not only have Dekkers multifaceted drumming in common, but also share the same high quality standards his – and really all of his VHÖL associates – name is synonymous with. So make sure you don't miss his favorite records and recommendations for 2016!
With the autobiographically anchored Peripeteia, Anagnorisis emphazise their eyemplary status in the USBM scene: based on vocalist Zachary Kerr’s life, the band from Louisville, KY recorded pure catharsis, with unparalleled conceptual and lyrical consequence, all held together through gripping songwriting and intoxicating melodies. An album so intense, it hurts – but still, uniquely beautiful. Check ou the followong list by Samuel Hartman, keyboards for Anagnorisis.
Old Lines have always been a socially critical and political band. On the coop-EP To Build a Fire, these motives have seemingly been sharpened a lot though, with activist, author and lector Will Potter being given atmospheric space for energetic spoken word performances in between all that beastly hardcore. The result is a brave, haunting and important ten minute purification. And hefty reason, to ask Mitch Roemer for his five albums of the year.
If it needed any more proof, that the recommendations by Phantom Winter are to be counted on –Als Tier ist der Mensch Nichts delivers. And we never should have overlooked the Bielefeld band’s debut, too promising were the demo from 2013, as well as the splits with Sun Worship and Paramnesia. Furthermore, UNRU impressively elevate their dark melange of furious black metal and deeply atmospheric crust roots to a whole new level, which can compete in the heights of the genre across all borders. And one more proof of the sound-dainties the witches’ cauldron from the Tonmeisterei is able to cook up.
After 2015’s glorious highlight The Demon Joke, Mike Vennart and Richard A. Ingram take the British Theatre banner, and take it farther into electronica on Mastery, shining a new light onto their trademark sound. And not only do they manage to again create unique music on their long awaited debut, but also go strong regarding their moments of glory in songwriting – above all: Capra, nothing less than one of the most beautiful songs Ingram and Vennart have written, ever. One should hurry to pick up one of the remaining vinyl copies of Mastery, if only for these 5:30 minutes of pure sublimity. Even better: You'll get one of the most fascinating, detailed and emotional complex records of the year around this stellar song-beauty.
"R.E.M. and Luna meet up in Saint Etienne, and work in the Stereolab to research new formulas for the perfect pop song. The result is pretty cool!” is what Cis from Crush has to say in our advent calendar about Amber Arcades debut album, the highly praised Fading Lines. And indeed, the first record by Annelotte de Graaf is a varied procession of bright and dreamlike indie-pop tunes, that’s not only able to save summers, but lets the sun rise in your heart all year long. A stellar piece of music!
Landless marks the almost seamless sequel to The Captain’s Daughter, and continues to tell the tale of a soul lost at sea, that has to discover that there is no place to return to, equally depressing as it is captivating. Melynda Jackson expands the paths her band Eight Bells are walking in various ways beyond that: as unpredictable the swell between etheric melodies, opressive doom and bursts of black metal may be, as homogeneously Jackson manages to weave them together. And not only did Landless make a strong statement for one of the best albums of its kind in 2016, but also established Eight Bells as exceptional representatives of their genre.
Where we thought that the beastly Lowgazers already tightened the thumbscrews as much as possible, Plebeian Grandstand managed to refine their „dissonant and asymmetric blend of black metal, hardcore rage and apocalyptic atmospheres“ even more: the unsettling maelstrom False Highs, True Lows shows the band from Toulouse even more complex, engaging and intense than before. Plebeian Grandstand have always been an exceptional band, but now, they’ve fully arrived at the pinnacle of the genre.
As painstakingly slow Phantom Winter like to drill their amalgam of blackened doom and post-metal into open wounds – their working morale suggests a much higher tempo. While we haven’t even recovered from the nasty tour de force through damp ruins on Sundown Pleasures, the Würzburg five-piece is seemingly already collecting ideas for its successor. .
A lot of other bands probably would have crumbled under the experiences Crippled Black Phoenix were going through for the past few years. But Justin Greaves? Bares his teeth and pushes ever onward with projects like Se Delan, his works for soundtracks – and above all Criplled Black Phoenix, where he tightened the reins, leading to what eventually turned out to be the prog juggernaut‘s most ructious album to date. Bronze is a dark tour de force, that managed to connect its many dots – from the monstrously grinding riffs to Daniel Äghide’s impulsive vocals – to an uncompromising triumphal procession. The picture of the mythical bird rising from its ashes probably never fit Greaves band better than right now, and their (not so) secret motto - Rise up and fight! - has transitioned into way of life with the work around, towards and on Bronze at the latest.