Deafheaven – Roads to Judah

Blackened shoegaze wasn’t exactly an unknown concept before Deafheaven came onto the scene. French group Alcest had been producing such music since at least 2007’s Souvenirs d’un autre monde; fellow countrymen Bosse-de-Nage’s debut self-titled predated Deafheaven by at least a year. So when Roads to Judah dropped on Kurt Ballou’s Deathwish label, there wasn’t really…

Sunn O))) & Ulver – Terrestrials

At first glance, Sunn O))) and Ulver seem like a match made in heaven. Both are masters of the genre roulette: the former practicing in drone metal, spoken word, blackened doom metal, art rock, and jazz; the latter, black metal, glitch music, trip-hop, and progressive metal. Just like with Sunn O)))’s collaboration with Scott Walker…

Burzum – Belus

In appreciating his contribution to the evolution of heavy metal, it’s easy to forget the horror that is Varg Vikernes. This is a man who killed his bandmate by stabbing him over twenty times,1 set fire to at least four old Christian churches,2 incited a potential “major terrorist act” in France,3 and escaped prison while…

Darkthrone – Soulside Journey

Now one of the longest-running acts in modern heavy metal, Darkthrone’s humble beginnings as a technical death metal band were chronicled in their 1991 debut for Peaceville Records,1 Soulside Journey. A far cry from the “Unholy Trinity”2 that inspired a whole generation of sound-alikes and became necessary listening for any black metal enthusiast, Darkthrone’s debut…

Behemoth – Bewitching the Pomerania [EP]

Bewitching the Pomerania is proof-of-concept death metal by Polish extreme music elites Behemoth. Produced and released in 1997, the extended-play marks the group’s shift from harsh, volkisch¬†black metal to philosophically-inclined death metal – with which the group has remained for their past two decades of existence. Although not an essential addition to anyone’s death metal…

Datavision Ltd. – Vector Tables [EP]

Released two weeks into 2011, the Vector Tables extended-play by Datavision Ltd. is one of the earliest examples of the broken transmission subgenre of vaporwave, which samples late-night television, advertisements, and bumpers in typically lo-fi form through “garbage muzak” aesthetics.1 The project consisted of Will Burnett and Leonce Nelson – the former of which would…

No Anchor – The Golden Bridge

No Anchor is a desert rock band from the land down under inspired by groups such as Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, and Acid Bath. The Golden Bridge is their fourth full-length record, self-released on digital format and vinyl. In contrast to the long-form expositions of previous albums Steam and Real Pain Supernova,…

Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short

Drudkh is one of the leading bands in the world of v√∂lkisch metal. The Ukranian group has been active since 2002, releasing nine albums of blackened fury in love of their homeland and one album of folk music. The band is notoriously secretive, giving no interviews and publishing no lyrics; they didn’t even have a…

My Bloody Valentine – This Is Your Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine is an excellent band for the music critic. Not necessarily because they’re good – and they’re usually very, very good – but because their career adopted so many styles and changes in their first decade of existence that each full-length, compilation, and extended-play1 is a novel experience. Listening to the Dublin quartet2…

My Bloody Valentine – Geek! [EP]

Before My Bloody Valentine became a paradigm of shoegaze and indie music, they were a deeply derivative post-punk band with gothic rock vibes. Fronted by vocalist David Conway,1 early releases were little more than The Cure worship with slurred Bauhaus-style vocals. The Geek! EP is the band’s second release, and it is the first demonstration…

Joy Division – An Ideal for Living [EP]

Had Martin Hannet not discovered the band when he did, Joy Division could’ve been just another straightforward punk rock outfit with slightly erudite lyrics, which would forever alter the timeline of sad British pop music and drastically change the requisite material for crying indie kids everywhere. There are four tracks on the An Ideal for…

Get Rad – I Can Always Live

Get Rad is a hardcore punk band out of Milwaukee, home of Liberace and The Violent Femmes. Notable extreme music label Gilead Media released I Can Always Live on vinyl (now out-of-print) and compact disc; the album is also available as a free digital download through both the band’s and the label’s Bandcamp page. At…