9 Dec 2016

Somnam: "Melancholy's Masquerade"

Appealingly demented ventures into electronics and ambience
Somnam began some time back in 2005 in Finland, but the one-man project has miraculously endured the passing of time with bravour, having released a full length album as recently as 2015.

7 Dec 2016

Drug Honkey: "Ghost in the Fire"

Ample supplies of derangement in sonic form
Drug Honkey evolved from the 1997-project Chronic Illogic with Paul Gillis (also of Morgue Supplier) and Adam Smith at the helm, handling vocals and drums respectively. The band was designed to merge together several musical currents, most of which would be considered metal. Ever since the first album, the self-titled 2002 release, electronics in the form of excessive sampling and abrassive synths as well as an industrial, sludgy death metal sound have been the heart and soul of Drug Honkey. Through lineup changes and live performances the band from Chicago has endured to see several album releases, each one pushing the boundaries further than the last.

5 Dec 2016

Countess: "Ancient Lies and Battle Cries"

This album is the very definition of hit-and-miss
Countess from the Netherlands has released an almost unbroken line of black metal albums since the early 90s, each being met by the band's cult following with enthusiasm. The band has for the most part been a one man project by songwriter Orlok, but the release of Ancient Lies and Battle Cries in 2014 marks the return of Countess as an actual band with the return of guitarist Zagan to the lineup, who had previously played on a 1997 EP.

2 Dec 2016

Philip Glass: "Koyaanisqatsi"

The stuff of legend compressed into one of the best and most iconic film scores in history
Philip Glass is of course widely reknowned for his involvement in an alternative approach to classical music, and the genesis of experimental minimalistic music and ambient. The crowd he associates with includes other legendary musicians and composers such as Steve Reich and Moondog, and both David Bowie and Brian Eno, among many others, have expressed their enthusiasm with his music.

30 Nov 2016

Ancst: "The Humane Condition"

Exceptionally well-crafted but for a few missteps
Ancst are exceptionally productive, having produced several releases every year since their creation in 2012. More often than not this is an indicator of the shallowness of a group's efforts, where quantity weighs heavier than quality, and productivity holds a seat above creativity and originality. A shame it is that this goes especially for black metal bands.

28 Nov 2016

AK-11: "Legendary, Demonic & Invincible"

Northern blasts of black metal warfare
Black is traditionally stripped down to the bare necessities of extremity, but this goes especially for AK-11, a self-proclaimed "triumphant black war metal" band from 2011. The project, fronted by - at the time - sole member Valak, never lets a breath go to waste with no effort spilled on fancy solos, lofty orchestrations or overly complex compositions.

25 Nov 2016

Charles Bradley: "Changes"

Deepfelt vibrations from the soul of a man
Though Black Sabbath's Ozzy-fronted version of Changes will in all likelihood always remain my favourite rendition of the original Black Sabbath track, Charles Bradley and company have in every way breathed new life into the old classic with their own soulful tropes. Bradley's rough vocalisation - courtesy of his dry voice - is not without power, and definitely not without soul and heaps of personality. But Changes, as his 2016 album is called, is much more than just a Black Sabbath cover song. It is a soul album that aspires to be much more than just that, but he never betrays his roots as a fan and impersonator of James Brown.