As lockdown continues, music also (thankfully) continues to exist. Cutting down to five tracks each was a struggle this month, given the excess time available to blast out tunes… Anyway, here they are:
Nick – Guitar
Dawn Ray’d – The Ceaseless Arbitrary Choice
Among my favourite UKBM bands and a standout album of the late 2010s. Folk and black metal (indeed any metal sub-genre) can be a precarious pairing but on this album in particular, I think they get the ratio bang on. Simon’s somber violin work compliments the savage impact of their vehement lyrical themes and explosive riffs.
Recondite – Mirror Games
Foreboding track from an album that is sinister and serene in equal measure. A fitting sonic accompaniment for these despondent times.
Karnivool – Life Like
Potentially the starkest evidence of their early nu-metal influence. Karnivool have since distanced themselves from this style whilst retaining the progressive groove and psychedelia that make them so interesting. Certainly an under-appreciated band.
Christian Löffler – Haul (Max Cooper Mix)
A stirring, resonant track, beautifully reimagined by Max Cooper, of whom I owe my discovery to Richard. A slow-burning, ambient euphoria and champion of harmony.
Låpsley – Operator (Koze Disco Edit)
A chart topper that never was. This track has all the hallmarks of a hit but sadly never quite reached the heights it deserved. Koze’s work on the track is fairly subtle, embellishing the already present disco elements, but it’s Låpsley’s vocals that are the true focal point.
Richard – Bass
Grouper – She Loves Me That Way
If the idea of sad indie folk songs drenched in reverb within an inch of their life appeals to you, then look no further than Grouper. Liz Harris’ atmospheres are so deep and unique, and I’ve been getting totally lost in them this past few months.
Diablo – The Preacher
Following a Ba’al group chat a few weeks back about our many and varied opinions about melodic death metal, I revisited this unsung band who are one of only a very small handful of melodeath bands I still listen to. This is the first song I heard of theirs and it is a great intro to their Meshuggah-infused take on the genre.
Craven Faults – Slack Sley & Temple
BandCamp keep proving themselves to be one of the best music-related companies going at the moment, but one thing they’ve always been great at is recommendations based on your taste. Thanks to one of their electronic/ambient roundups, I picked up one of my early 2020 album highlights here, and this track is like wandering through a deserted factory made entirely of lovely sci-fi synth sounds.
Bismuth – Weltschmertz
The ‘B-side’ (if you can really call it that) to 2018’s drone masterclass ‘The Slow Dying of the Great Barrier Reef’ sees Bismuth shift their formidable torrent of tone into groove mode and churn out some unstoppable, flattening riffage.
Heavy Heart – The Way Home
Lockdown has seen me catching up virtually with some old Sussex pals from my school days, and Heavy Heart are a dream pop/shoegaze/indie band from London containing some of said friends. They released one song per month in 2016 and compiled them into an album in 2017, and the uplifting guitar that drives this track is just bliss to me. Self-plug: I actually play viola on the previous track…
Luke – Drums
Vola – Stray the Skies
GROOOOVE. Awesome groovy song with a great sing a long chorus. This song makes me feel like I’m floating in groove.
Polyphia – Amour
This song has come up a few times in my listenings, especially while I’ve been getting my government approved drum exercise! A really nice song to jam to.
Tesseract – Luminary
If I listen to this enough I might eventually pick up the drums so Nick and I can spend all our practices playing this and annoying everyone else!
Igorrr – Nervous Waltz
Yes I am putting Igorrr again. No, I don’t get out enough, but that’s just life at the moment and this is a great album 😀
Devin Townsend Project – Divine
Mainly because of seeing him play this for his virtual live shows raising money for for the keyworkers such as the NHS. Brilliant song, still epic when virtually live for such a good cause.
Tom – Guitar
Telepathy – Pariah
Absolute monster set of riffage from one of the best UK bands around.
Trap Them – Savage Climbers
Almost pedestrian in tempo compared to most of Trap Them’s output, but no less snarling and savage.
Cursed – Head of the Baptist
Never saw Cursed live sadly before they broke up, but an absolutely perfect back catalogue left in their wake.
Mamiffier – So That the Heart May Be Known
Beautifully layered slow burning piece with an almost folk edge in places.
Neurosis – The Last You’ll Know
The opening riff is just a sledgehammer of savagery.
Joe – Vocals
Her Name Is Calla – Pour More Oil
Probably one of the most emotive pieces of music I’ve ever heard, takes me back to an extremely sad time in my life but that’s partly why it resonates with me so much.
Deafheaven – Violet
A earlier track that is often overlooked, but a great sign of incredible things to come.
Allegaeon – Dyson Sphere
I’ve always been very particular about tech death, especially the squeaky clean style, but Allegaeon have some exceptionally well composed tracks, this being a favourite.
Anorexia Nervosa – Mother Anorexia
Criminally underrated symphonic black metal, tragically no longer active.
The Axis of Perdition – Entangled In Mannequin Limbs
Absolutely terrifying Silent Hill-style noise. The churning atmosphere, nightmarish landscape and the screams just conjur images of hell.