5. Smash Potater – The EP
Showing the forum some love, here. Smash Potater are a crossover/thrash band featuring poster metallicbrian666 on guitars and back up vokills. These guys write speedy songs that are short, sweet, and to the point. Fast riffs, speedy solos are abundant along with an array of vocal styles, from typical crossover shouted vocals to death growls. Every song starts with a sample of some sort, which ties in the song lyrically. Speaking of lyrics, these guys have a good sense of humor and use in their lyrics. Lyrical themes are mostly centered around food but they also have hilarious thrash commentary. It’s hard not to chuckle when listening to this EP. If you like quick thrash and funny lyrics, check this out.
4. Chrome Waves – Chrome Waves
Post-black metal super group Chrome Waves, featuring members of Wolvhammer, Gates of Slumber and The Atlas Moth, step foot into the metal realm with their self-titled debut EP. Their style of post-black metal is definitely a bit on the slower side, definitely taking on emphasis on the rock in post-rock. While the songs they write are slow in feeling and atmosphere, the do have an upbeat rock groove with constant chord strumming, similar to Agalloch. That sets them apart from many of their colleagues in the post-BM game. The only real line that connects these guys to black metal is the heavy use of minor chords do build a melancholic atmosphere and of course the blackened shrieks. Blast beats and unrelenting double bass passages are kept to a minimum on the record. The vocals are delivered with tons of emotion, and sound very tortured, as good black metal vocals should. Guitar and bass work on this album sound great with rich fuzzy tone and cool use of acoustic guitar, whether it’s strumming are arpeggiating chords. Over all this is a great post-black metal record more in the vein of the neo-folk sound that Agalloch produces.
Height Of the Rifles
3. TNGHT – TNGHT EP
I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m the only person to include this in their year-end review. Or if I was the only person who listened to it. TNGHT (pronounced “tonight”) is a collaboration between producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice. TNGHT create beats that quite energetic, bass heavy, loud, sample heavy, and could be described as ignorant or obnoxious. Considering bass, wonky, and trap are some of the tags on their last.fm, I’m not sure this is going to attract many people on there, but I really like it. Every song is different in feel and actually showcases some musical knowledge. There is obviously a lot of work put into these beats, because they’re pretty layered with a lot of sounds and pretty impressive rhythmic work. They also use a lot of cool samples that don’t seem common in hip-hop like babies, bubbles popping, cars crashing, video game sounds, and more. If you like fun, energetic electronic music, give it a shot.
2. Light Bearer - Celestium Apocrypha; Book of Watchers
Technically this is a split with Northless, but I only downloaded the Light Bearer side, so I’m considering it a single. Light Bearer start yet another music series, the Celestium Apocrypha, which will be a compilation of side of what’s going on in the Æsahættr Tetralogy, with the first installment: Book of Watchers. The song start with about 4 minutes of feedback and static then drums fade, later joined by guitar, then bass. An excellent riff is established and played for a bit then changes as vocals come in, but it then returns to the main riff, this time layered with guitar leads. The riff evolves into a behemoth of a riff, then calms down for a bit, only to return to its previous stature, only to die down again. At this point there’s only noise and vocals that are harmonized. Slowly, piece-by-piece, the band enters back in and introduces a really slow, dark lead and pummeling drums that sound like a primitive warning that something dark and evil is coming. That eventually happens with an enormous, slow riff that blasts in, aided by call and response screamed vocals. Again, it dies down to a clean chord progression. It then ends in loud crescendo on a riff used earlier in the song. Light Bearer prove that they are masters in the craft of writing evil atmospheric sludge that pulls you in, sits you down, and tells you a story.
Celestium Apocrypha; Book of Watchers
1) Agalloch – Faustian Echoes
Agalloch release the finest EP of the year with their 20-minute song, Faustian Echoes. The song shows Agalloch furthering themselves into black metal as we saw on their last LP, Marrow of the Spirit. After a short sample, the song comes blazing with a back metal riff, full of tremolo picking and blast beats. It soon goes into the dark neo-folk kind of passage we’re used to from these guys, but heavier than before. The chord progression is soon met with an arpeggiation of chords layered on top. But they Agalloch doesn’t stop there, adding even more layers, such as a tremolo picked melody on top of what has already been set. All of this is not 6 minutes into the song, and you have some of the best writing we’ve seen from these guys, with awesome guitar layering, audible bass with a good tone and good bassline, and Aesop’s drumming is ace. All of this is halted with a quick break with one of the catchiest riffs in Agalloch history. And like before, that riff is accompanied with an awesome melody and great backing section. That soon dies down, with a heavy and slow riff. After all comes to silence, we’re met with samples from a movie that I can only assume if about Faust, which is what the song is also about. They band returns to the song with a fast and furious black metal passage that is as much evil as it is beautiful. That evolves into less distorted black/folk metal riff. All of this then returns to a variation of that sweet riff that happened early in the song, around the 6:40 mark. They then introduce one last idea, accompanied with an awesome guitar solo, and then the song dies down to a sample from the movie mentioned before. Agalloch may have written one of their best songs to date with Faustian Echoes. It combines everything there is to love about their last two records and more.