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…

Drudkh – Eastern Frontier in Flames

Eastern Frontier in Flames is a compilation of rare music by Ukrainian black metal group Drudkh, released in 2014 through French extreme metal label Season of Mist in anticipation of the band’s 2015 album A Furrow Cut Short. This album consists of two extended-plays originally available through limited-edition vinyl runs and one split with English…

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…

Ride – Nowhere

Nowhere seems to be the perennial second-placer to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless in “top” lists.1 2 3 4 5 That’s not entirely fair. Nowhere is different than Loveless; the latter album made the “shoegaze” genre tag synonymous with swirling guitars, whirling fuzz, and tremolo pedal abuse; but Loveless was an outlier even within My Bloody…

Big Black – Bulldozer [EP]

Bulldozer is Steve Albini’s second release through Big Black, and it’s miles ahead of Lungs. For starters, there’s an actual amp for the guitar instead of an old TEAC augmented by a Casiotone, which made Lungs sound like a cheap-ass record on Fisher-Price. He’s a got a real drummer on the beats too via Pat…

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,…

Big Black – Lungs [EP]

Lungs is 19-year old Steve Albini playing every instrument except for a drum machine and “sax bleats”1 as Big Black. What would become a household name in noise rock started off pretty rough on this extended-play, with fleshless songs and angular guitar strums against incredibly simple (and nigh-identical) percussion loops. Albini’s voice is extremely reverbed,…

Swans – Filth

Filth is the debut full-length album and second overall release of Swans, a musical group (although better described as a “collective” with how many members come and go) fronted by Michael Gira. Released in 1983, Filth is quite different from the post-everything experimental rock music that characterizes Swans’ famous Soundtracks for the Blind and The…

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…

Weekend Nachos – Still

Apart from having one of the best band names this side of “Piss Vortex,” Weekend Nachos are one of the leading purveyors of the modern powerviolence/crust punk scene. Well, at least they were. They broke up earlier this year and released the teaser for their final album as I was writing this article.1 Still is…

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…

Burzum – Fallen

It is cliché to say that the post-incarceration Burzum albums suck. It’s also cliché to say that it’s cliché. Whatever. I really don’t care to write about Fallen, but I refuse to consider this album properly approached until I have some words published about it. Fallen is the second album (eighth overall) released by Varg Vikernes following…