Jeremy Soule – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Soundtrack

Oblivion is the fourth main game in the The Elder Scrolls series of fantasy role-playing and adventure games published by Bethesda Softworks. In contrast to the alien landscape of previous entry Morrowind, Oblivion takes place in the pastoral land of Cyrodiil – the seat of the Tamrielic Empire – and its large rolling hills, dark forests,…

The Body & The Haxan Cloak – I Shall Die Here

Sometimes, I feel like doom metal and death metal got their names mixed up. Sure, death metal might have lyrics about death and a band called Death, but doom metal actually creates the feeling of destruction, annihilation, and end-times. Take I Shall Die Here, the 2014 collaboration between sludge/doom metal duo The Body and dark…

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Japandroids took the positive-partying mentality of Andrew W.K. and filtered it through pop punk, garage rock, and noise pop to create the life-affirming ebullience that is Celebration Rock. Surprisingly sleek, considering its influences from Guns ‘n’ Roses1 and Hüsker Dü, Celebration Rock is eight tracks of high-energy, danceable indie rock. The album opens and closes…

OBN IIIs – Live in San Francisco

Now that is an album cover. Wide eyes, mid-snarl, sweat dripping down, grabbing a mic-stand like a set of hips mid-orgasm; what an excellent picture of the raw energy that is a live concert. The OBN IIIs are a garage rock band out of Austin, Texas who were featured as a part of Castle Face…

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

If heavy metal had standards like blues or jazz, then Paranoid would comprise about half of them.1 Is your band angry and political, maybe a little punk-ish? “War Pigs.” Crazy stage antics, frontman a little mental? “Paranoid.” Want some old psychedelic vibes? “Planet Caravan.” Don’t mind the pop realm, want a recognizable crowd-pleaser to start off your set?…

Against Me! – Against Me! As the Eternal Cowboy

Against Me! As the Eternal Cowboy is where Against Me! went electric, pissing off punks everywhere who were enamored with the Gainesville quartet’s folk instrumentation and unrefinedness on debut Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose.1 Whereas the latter album featured hand-claps, muddy production, and romantic odes to anarchism, As the Eternal Cowboy is cleaned up,…

Drudkh – Forgotten Legends

Low fidelity production in black metal can be an immensely efficacious tool in establishing atmosphere, with the most (in?)famous example being Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. Sometimes a lo-fi aesthetic is necessitated by financial constraints on behalf of the band, which is at least one of the reasons why Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal – Aatte Hymne til Ulven i Manden has…

Blank Banshee – Blank Banshee 0

The “vaportrap” subgenre of vaporwave probably wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Blank Banshee, who – erroneously or not – tagged his debut release Blank Banshee 0 as “vaporwave” on his Bandcamp page back in 2012, setting off an entirely new development within the subculture. Perhaps it’s fitting that so many vaporwave artists release their…

Radiohead – Airbag / How Am I Driving?

Airbag / How Am I Driving? is a mini-album by Radiohead released in 1998 only for American audiences, consisting lead track “Airbag” and seven b-sides from various singles off of the band’s landmark OK Computer. The songs are true to the band’s spacey-alternative rock themes from the parent album, along with two of Radiohead’s first…

Liturgy – Aesthethica

One thought I have is that black metal is absolutely pure, and yet at the same time it is absolutely corrupt. It is a space for honoring heritage and tradition, and also for the obliteration of all culture. – Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, interview with Metal Sucks (2009)1 Say what you want about the man behind Brooklyn…

Deafheaven – Sunbather

Deafheaven gets a lot of flack from trve kvlt metalheads for their perceived hipsterdom – not to mention their fondness for pink/orange cover art1 or the band members’ lack of long hair2 – which is ironic considering how the band is deeply ingrained within heavy metal traditions. Even from the Venom and Bathory days, black…

Sunn O))) – The Grimmrobe Demos

If the blueprint for a standard black metal debut is Darkthrone worship,1 then for drone/doom, the band to imitate is Earth. The group’s debut full-length – titled Earth 2: Special Low-Frequency Version – is a hallmark of the utilization of guitar textures to create a distinct anti-rock, even ambient sound. The shoegazers might’ve dealt in…