You’ve seen the movie “Branded” (IMDb)? The basic idea was simple and pretty cool: the public is manipulated to follow the brands and trends, not the brands follows the public taste. The consumer it’s modeled to satisfy the need of the products and not the products are build and developed to satisfy the consumers needs. Sick idea in twisted and sick world! But true!!
We can say now, 2012 was the year of the definitive death of MySpace. DeadSpace would be a more proper name for that mammoth cemetery. On the other hand, Facefuckingbook reached a total world domination, most of the people not even leave those pages anymore, but eventually giving likes there – mainly by default and completely uninvolved. We’re getting stupider? Yes we do! Because… yes we can! 😆 And because the cancer of the crises which will eat up the whole world while we were sold out to the world finances, Obama – not really surprisingly – was re-elected. We’re f*cked! Hard! Who thought that a democrat president will be even worst then John Bush Jr.?!! Anyway, while he won in advance a Noble price for peace, I’m looking forward to see what stupid excuse he will deliver to start the war on Iran!! al-Qaeda my ass! Argo (IMDb), the film directed by Ben Affleck might be the clue: Iranians are evil! The greedy bankers are the real terrorists while the politicians are only the marionettes in their hand!! Zeros are the poster heroes nowadays. Praise the TV! Praise the radio! Praise the internet! Praise the almighty goddamn Dollar!!
Musically, 2012 was the year of this new sort of dubstep and metalcore. 90% of the products were simple “copies of the imitations”, total waste of time to listening into it, effectively bloody boring and senseless. And this is kind of freaking frightening.
You know, kind of Lady Gaga management and media created delusion. We’re not talking about her voice, nor her songs, but about the circus comes to town, and we’re excited about the freak show!! But once again, I’m not gonna buy a CD for the dancers, the laser show or the weird backstage stuffs the tabloid press sell it and the public swallow it without chewing it.
While last year I had a quite extended list of 150 releases and even so, a few excellent albums were left out, the “harvest” for 2012 it’s considerably poorer. True, I admit, I lost my appetite to listening music while for discovering one interesting release, I had to listen ten or more mediocre, or even worst materials. No excuse, I know it, but music became terribly boring. And then again, I start singing an old Dead Kennedys’ song: “If the music’s gotten boring it’s because of the people who want everyone to sound the same”. And more and more bands/artists WANT to sound the same, WANT to fit into genres, fit into trends and tags, delivering extensively patterned, prefab, fancy, but fake products. Unfortunately, mostly with the loud support of the bought-up media and some influential labels. Not only the music dies, but the so-called independent media it’s not so independent as it seems and as they try to sell/marketing themselves. Everybody’s got to eat, have bill to pay, what use for a conscience, isn’t it? And really, I sympathize, I know what it’s starving and I have a bleeding heart too, but lately no difference between eating shit literally and writing nothing but bullshit constantly and, honestly, there is no excuse for this!
“Gangnam Style” became viral. What’s fucking wrong with this species?
Unfortunately thousands of brilliant, truly creative artists/bands remains totally anonymous and buried under the tones of junk releases – surprise!! – praised by the media. Although the internet seems a quite liberal and free space and we tend to think we got finally kind of equal chances, well, it seems this is just another illusion and just like in the real world, some people are always more equal than the rest of us. And well, I’m aware and conscious, it’s at least pretty hard – if not absolutely impossible – to push through a good release without serious support.
So, we’re doomed? Not exactly, we’re just running out of ourselves.
Some of the excessively praised artists did not made it to my list of preferences. I should mention Muse, Bob Dylan, Feeder, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Ill Nino, Kid Rock, Biohazard, Lamb Of God, Corrosion Of Conformity, Air, Front Line Assembly, Overkill, Madonna, Prong, Anathema, Iggy Pop, Slash, The Cult, The Offspring, The Smashing Pumpkins, P.O.D., Testament, The Darkness, The Gathering, Marillion, Skunk Anansie, Steve Harris, Green Day, Soundgarden, etc.
As always, unfortunately, some pretty cool artists, eventually less famous ones, did not make it to my list of preferences. Some of them were pretty close.
And then again, so little time, so many good bands, I’ve got over 350 releases I did not mange to listen yet and probably I will never make it… Kind of sad actually.
I got a few pleasant surprises, as well as some established artists delivered a few exciting releases in 2012 and I don’t lost completely my faith in artists and art. From the surprises category have to mention Acyl, Avishai Cohen, The Conjuration, Get The Blessing, Kabul Golf Club, No Omega, The Prestige, Slunq, Obselion, etc
Some of them are really cool, promising and eventually quite under-rated artists who really need and deserve our respect and support. Artists need our support to be free and careless and focus their mind on creation and not wasting their time worrying about bills… But then again, fuck! this in not a fair world!
I always tried to promote and encourage the newcomers because they represent the future. I love Deep Purple, but we need fresh blood to dare to hope that there is still a future!! Write about young talents, posting reviews, share their stuff it’s not much, I know, but it’s better then nothing and in a world with so many artists and a bored, disinterested and sold-out media, sometimes getting a decent review it’s impossible. Everybody play music, nobody care, nobody listening anymore…
Some of the veterans delivered some f*cking great, high quality products: Apollo 440, Between the Buried and Me, Converge, Eric Burdon, Fear, Future of the Left, Killing Joke, Kiss, Marcus Miller, Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, Ministry, Morbid Angel, Public Image Ltd., Rush, Serj Tankian, Soulfly, The Stranglers, Therapy?, Van Halen, Laibach with a fabulous double live release or John Zorn who’s featuring with not less then three marvelous albums. But Zorn’s creativity it’s not a surprise anymore and he’s definitively one of the most prolific artists these days! Actually I was seriousely considering a forth record of his to put in the list, the contemporary symphonic work “Music and Its Double”.
Regardless of genres, styles, fanciness and any other criteria you can think of, here’s my favorite 83 (83 – for no particular reason actually…) releases of 2012, as always, in alphabetic order:
Acyl – Algebra (2012)
Metallers start getting familiar, comfortable with Ethnic infusions in the 90s with the colorful sounds built in the Metal genre by Sepultura. More recently, System Of A Down introduced Oriental and Arab flavored shades into Metal and conquered the whole world with their music. Somewhere between the Thrash/Death gravity of Sepultura and the modern intensity of System Of A Down and revealing the beauty and mystic flavor of Arab music, the Paris, France, based Acyl delivered a brilliant debut album. This band find a very colorful and tasty path of sounds between different cultures and approaches. The marriage of their cultural heritage with the sound of modern Metal resulted in something intense, colorful and with powerful spiritual content – quite contrasting with the patterned, predictable and boringly empty nowadays musical products.
Amavo – Gracefool (2012)
In a “Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, a girl band on the Punk-Rock scene it’s always refreshing. And these girls have balls. Amavo merge some of the 70′s and 80′s Avant-garde/Progressive Rock and Psychedelia vibes with a healthy portion of Retro New Wave, and the energy of Punk and Rock. The result is a colorful, noisy, sometimes even contorted, but definitively edge cutting music. Prefer not to label it in any particular way. Sometimes they reminds me of a very exciting Hungarian band from the 80′s called Kontroll Csoport, a band also fronted by a female singer, Bárdos-Deák Ágnes who’s voice and style is similar to the performance of Silvia Lovo, but they also reminds me of White Stripes and The Dead Weather.
Acid Mothers Temple and The Melting Paraiso UFO – Son Of A Bitches Brew (2012)
Heavy Psychedelia this time merged with Electric Jazz with consistent Miles Davis aroma. References to key recordings or artists/bands of Rock/Metal/Psychedelic or Jazz were always incorporated in their works, but never so directly referential as this time. You need balls, or talent, or both to enter the musical world previously build by Davis, John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Bennie Maupin, and the list is extremely long and filled only with valuable artist. But these Japanese sonic samurais, got balls, got talent, but also the healthy craziness necessary for genuine creation.
Anti-Flag – The General Strike (2012)
Everything is politics. Can deny, can run, but can not hide. Anti-fucking-Flag is well known for its left-wing political views, focusing on anti-war activism, imperialism, class struggle, feminism, and various sociopolitical sentiments. From where I sit, left-wing is no better than right-wing and current consumerism is not quite different of fascism, but still, I love Anti-Flag.
“The General Strike” sound further anthematic, “The Neoliberal Anthem” will echoing in your ears after only one listening, and Anti-Flag although debating the same serious issues, seems to have a more “commercial” approach musically, this time they are more closer to a raging Green Day then to The Exploited, but still managed to keep their cutting edge sharp.
Apollo 440 – The Futures What It Used to Be (2012)
I was waiting this one for quite a while. Their previous album, “Dude Descending a Staircase” was released in 2003, nine f*cking years is over an eternity in music industry nowadays. Kids of today probably have not even the memories of “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Dub” as probably they don’t have a clue who the fuck is Eddie Van Halen! Still and unsurprisingly, Apollo 440 (alternately known as Apollo Four Forty or @440) came back with a powerful and fresh album, the trendy dubstep frequency oscilation and bass wobblings are incorporated into their noisy electronics and rocking construction, and definitively they delivered – once again – a mandatory killer album.
Archive – With Us Until You’re Dead (2012)
Some years ago, I was sitting in a bar, licking my drink, when something hit my ears: “Pray to God I think of a nice thing to say, But I don’t think I can so fuck you anyway…” I said, wow! Asked the bartender who are these guys, he actually didn’t knew, but searched on the playlist and told me: Archive. Fuck! So, I dig them out and I had one of the most wonderful surprises of that windy and rainy autumn, I had five albums to knock myself off. That song, “Fuck U” was from their “Noise” album released in 2004. “With Us Until You’re Dead” it’s another exciting, colorful trip through different styles and genres, one minute it feels like a sophisticated Sting album with a more edge cutting, experimental sound, in the very next moment they may turn into a dark ambiental exploration or a furiously raging Rock band.
Avishai Cohen – Triveni II (2012)
Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Avishai Cohen began performing in public in 1988 at age 10. Reviewing Triveni live at the Jazz Standard, The New York Times praised Avishai as “an extravagantly skilled trumpeter, relaxed and soulful. . . deftly combining sensitivity and flair.” The trio’s debut album, Introducing Triveni, set Avishai’s originals alongside standards, including classics by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. New York City Jazz Record called the album “easily one of the best jazz recordings of 2010,” and DownBeat listed it in the magazine’s year-end top 10. Although Triveni is a vehicle for high-energy improvisation, Avishai says: “My approach to this trio has been to challenge ourselves to stay lyrical and true, to balance freedom with self-restraint. The discipline of that is an art itself.” Both Triveni albums were recorded in the same blockbuster two-day session in Brooklyn, with Triveni II featuring not only more exciting originals by Avishai but inspired interpretations of tunes by Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman. One of the Coleman pieces had never been recorded before, with the iconic saxophonist teaching the tune directly to the trumpeter.
Bad Brains – Into The Future (2012)
When music becomes boring, going back to the roots it’s always an option. And the ninth studio album by Bad Brains it’s both a classic and a fresh breath of Rasta-Hardcore.
Originally formed as a jazz fusion ensemble called Mind Power in 1975 under the spellbound of bands such as Chick Corea’s Return to Forever and John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. Two years later, a friend of the band, Sid McCray, introduced the band to Punk Rock, playing for them bands such as the Dickies, the Dead Boys, and the Sex Pistols. They became obsessed with the new genre and changed their name to “Bad Brains”, after the Ramones song “Bad Brain”, but using the word “bad” in the sense of “good”. Released on November 20, 2012 on Megaforce Records, “Into The Future” it is a tribute dedication to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, a longtime friend of the band who died of cancer few month before the album release.
Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II Future Sequence (2012)
This is definitively “Future Metal” with some very “alien” perfumed “Scifi” taste. These guys eventually are form out of space. Offspring s of some killer breed.
After five albums, for for Victory, the debut for Lifeforce, BTBAM singed in 2011 to Metal Blade and shortly after released an EP entitled ” The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues”. Set to release on October 9, 2012, originally planned to be another EP, “The Parallax II, Future Sequence” consist of 11 tracks, an extremely contorted, but colorful, spectacular journey over the edge, behind the explored territories of the conventional Metal and the “comfort zone” of most of the people. Think of a musical blender where you can throw in King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Rush and Yes with VoiVod, Pantera, Metallica and Earth Crisis, but came out with an extremely compact, consolidated musical result. Although, they have some extremely biting Metal riffs and intense, brutal grindings, they shifting quite smoothly from extreme, Death flavored Metal to Jazz, Progressive Rock or simple, quiet, acoustic moments.
Black Light Burns – The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall (2012)
“The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall”, the sophmore album by the Wes Borland leaded and fronted Black Light Burns sounds sweat and dark in a quite David Bowish manner. It’s impossible to stick any label to this music, it’s impossible to squeeze it into any defined genre of style, this is post “something” without being typically finicky and selfishly obscure and pointlessly exclusivist, it’s simultaneously Rock, mainly noisy and garage taste-like, but sometimes Jazzy, and Industrial in a quite classic sense and approach, but avoiding all the cliches and mandatory conformity. It’s arty, but not abstract and it’s trippy without becoming shapeless. Wes Borland definitively founded a fascinating, very own flavored path here and delivered a pretty exciting material.
Vividly colored, changing moods and grooves, “The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall” it’s a bold, literally edgy cutting, modern (Industrial) Rock album, one of the finest of it’s kind.
Brad Mehldau Trio – Ode (2012)
As I previously said not only once, I’m not an expert in Jazz, but honestly, I’m so-so-so-so bored in most of the Rock/Metal, eventually so-called Rock/Metal (mandatory “core”) bands, that Jazz sometimes offers me the only reliable refugee.
“Ode” represents Mehldau’s first set of entirely original compositions for trio since 2005.
The two sides of Mehldau’s personality—the improviser and the formalist—play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos. Mehldau favors juxtaposing extremes. “Ode” is a smooth and complex ride of this two extremes, but Mehldau and his band mates manage to guide the listener through this sonar journey extremely joyfully.
Once you will push play it will be impossible to push the stop button.
Byzant At Sunset – Bang Ur Head, double EP (2012)
This is Jazzcore, Avant-garde and experimental, genres merging and envelope pusher music, weird for any average, comfortable and conservative listener, but definitively something intriguing and exciting for the people with open mind and open ears, bored of comformities and cliches.
While the album starts quite furiously with a grinding and contorted Tango followed by a genuine Punk classic in the vein of Dead Kennedys twisted into modern contortions and fueled by wildly improvising saxophone solos; the album rides in and out of genres from Post-Rock to Jazz and from Dubstep to Industrial only to quieting down to a Coltrane feel-like Jazzy smooth ballad as a closing act. Anyway, almost like a ballad. With Byzant At Sunset you never can be sure of anything. It’s unsafe and unpredictable, nothing like anything else on the market. But this is not a band, but a grenade, think of the result from the collision of the tour buses of King Crimson and Revolting Cocks!!
Celldweller – Wish Upon a Blackstar (2012)
Klayton, the sole brain behind Celldweller, not only ignores genre boundaries and creates a pioneering vision of the future of electronic music, but he’s also an excellent and subtle songwriter. So, “Wish Upon A Blackstar”, he’s second full-length studio album, was one of the most anticipated Electronic albums of the year. And while Celldweller is one of the most reliable artists as well, the new 16 tracks album satisfied all of his devoted followers – over 120,000 Facebook Fans and still counting – and eventually will bring him a brand new generation of fans. The whole album is a pulsing race between different sounds, smartly colored layers, subtle electronics and grinding heaviness. Klayton is a wizard of merging sometimes radically different sounds and styles into one seamlessly, but full of taste and in a very groovy way.
The CNK – Revisionnisme (2012)
The CNK started as a raw black metal group, named Count Nosferatu in 1996 by Nicolas St Morand (aka Mr Hreidmarr) and Jean-Sébastien Ogilvy (aka Heinrich Von B). The CNK now are back with “Révisionnisme”, a cover album taking on some famous pop, rock and metal standards. Released on October 19, we’ve got a deadly coctail of twisted off songs by diverse artists such as Beastie Boys, Leonard Cohen, Emperor, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Slayer, Guns n’ Roses, Impaled Nazarene, Mötley Crüe, Rammstein and Gary Glitter. Although Rammstein sounds pretty much as Rammstein, it’s sick to listen Cohen or Nick Cave contorted into black metal fueled industrial butcheries. “Sabotage” it’s a killer track – definitively the best from this anyway murderous collection; love also “Seasons In The Abyss” while “Too Fast For Love” make more sense in this new clothes.
The Conjuration – The Human Condition (2012)
This one was kind of “last minute” surprise, got to me in January 2013, but literally rocked my world. This is one of the sickest metal s*it I heard lately, and definitively one of the best releases of the genre in 2012! Anyway, for sure one of my favorites! It’s damn shame this band it’s not world-wide famous yet!! This is much-much better then 99.9% of the s*it that the media and the record labels pushing and selling lately under any (sometimes fake) metal moniker! Drawing inspirations from different bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Therion, Strapping Young Lad, Rush, Opeth, Cynic, King Crimson, Between the Buried and Me, Alchemist, Pink Floyd, Slayer, The Cure, Sigh, Atheist and ELP, they delivered a twisted in and out journey to the outer limits of metal. And well, this is a FREE DOWNLOAD, so, get your ass and grab it!!
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind (2012)
Sick as f*ck, fast and loud, Converge, one of the most creative and explosive metal bands emerged from the underground in the last decade it’s back with their eighth and deadliest album.
“All We Love We Leave Behind” it’s a new milestone in the history of the metal. This is metal f*ckers! True, raw, unpolished, stainless metal. Not that kind of s*it that the media call it metal(core) nowadays and the industry sell it labeled as “the real thing” to the naive teenagers. Surprise!! No electronic layers, no bass drops, no borrowed, Skrillex type of contortions. Fortunately! It’s fantastic how much energy they managed to capture to the tapes while they recorded these songs. And somehow Kurt Ballou managed something magical, something unique. He managed where Rick Rubin failed with Metallica’s “Death Magnetic”: he capture the essence, the power and the rawness of the underground sound and even further, managed to kept it alive on the recording. This genuine sound it’s raw, unpolished and grinding. This sound it’s actually a killer weapon.
DaCast – Dédale (2012)
Free stuffs are good stuffs? Not always, trust me, but this one is one of those really murderous shits you must definitively grab it and share it! DaCast coming on the wave of bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me, Meshuggah, The Shining, Tomahawk, and they are contemporaries to other edge-cutter French bands such as The Phantom Carriage, merging Extreme Metal with Post-Rock rawness, Jazz aromas and Industrial fueled Hardcore contortions. Where “no boundaries” are the limit, generally there are good chances for creativity and the unique results. And DaCast will satisfy any high demands and expectations. And well, once again, can grab for free “Dédale”, their latest album from their Bandcamp page.
Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (2012)
Formed in Melbourne, Australia, in August 1981, relocated to London in May 1982, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top World Music Albums Chart with their seventh, 1996 album “Spiritchaser” which also charted on Billboard 200, disbanded in 1998, reunited 7 years later in 2005, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry are path openers with their unique mixture of genres and styles, merging African polyrhythms with Gothic Rock, Gaelic folk with Post-Punk, Gregorian chants with New Age and Dark Wave, or Middle Eastern mantras with ethereal and Dream Pop.
“Anastasis”, the long awaited, upcoming eight studio album by the band is not different then the previous ones. It’s an exciting and colorful mixture of dark and Oriental vibes, minimalism and subtle, polyphonic build-ups, hypnotic mantras and addictive rhythms, Dead can Dance are once again a secret doorway to a lost and find universe of subconscious and superconscious. It’s a journey and an intimate, unique, mystical experience for each and every listener.
Enslaved – RIITIIR (2012)
The twelve studio album by Enslaved was declared both by most of the fans and critics “a classic” and a “masterpiece” even before some of them had the chance to listen it. It’s kind of comfortable and alarming simultaneously, on the other hand, yes, Enslaved is one of those bands you always can relay on, they are constantly there “to pushing the envelope” and “cutting the edge”, breaking down walls and wider the horizon. And yes, “RIITIIR” picking up from where they left off with “Axioma Ethica Odini” in 2010 and pushing things further. Some things are stay the same, this is Enslaved 100%, as well as they are still capable to generate new ideas and explore new possibilities, but staying in their own backyard, giving their fans the comfort of the modern Enslaved sounds and trademarks.
Between ferocious growls, deadly screams and cleanly sung choruses Grutle Kjellson find the perfect proportions and balance; Black and Death metal fueled riffs are switched to smooth acoustic moments; Enslaved seems to be still on a perpetual journey and not getting yet to destination and this make this journey exciting, fresh and surprising.
Eric Burdon and The Greenhornes – Self-titled EP (2012)
Released on November 23rd as part of Record Store Day’s “Black Friday”, this 4 track self-titled EP it’s a raw, pounding, powerful modern Blues release flavored with noises and garage feel. If this is not genuine, don’t know what it is.
The term “Black Dog” was borrowed by Burdon from Winston Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II, who referred to the “black dog of depression” to describe that period of dark despair. The song was born after Burdon injured himself slipping on a patch of ice and falling a few years back, and since then living in agony under a constant state of duress. “The only time I wasn’t in pain was when I was onstage” – he told to Rolling Stone.
I’m not a genuine Blues consumer, but this ride it’s truly fresh and refreshing.
Fear – The Fear Record (2012)
Originally recorded in 1981 in Sound City Studios, California, titled simple “The Record” and released by Slash Records on May 16, 1982, and it’s definitively one of the pillars of modern Hardcore, a milestone of Punk/Metal/Hardcore colored brilliantly with Blues/Jazz and all sort of unexpected, out of patterns inflections and infusions. So, why would Lee Ving decide to re-record it 3 decades away? One possible explanation might be a shity record deal with Slash and a better deal signed now with The End Records and the 30 years anniversary may be a great opportunity for some smooth and simple cashing-in. Anyway, this band and the original album deserves both respect and celebration. This re-recorded version surprisingly sounds pretty raw, the few small changes do not really makes any difference and as always, if you want the best, go back to the original.
Several songs have been rewritten to shock/offend less. The original it’s one of the definitive mile stones of the hardcore genre. This re-recorded version it’s less inspired, but still, it’s much, much better then most of the fake, but fancy, nowadays products!
Fear Factory – The Industrialist (2012)
At two year distance, following “Mechanize”, Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares are back, they still using the Fear Factory name although the other former half of the band, drummer Raymond Herrera and bass player Christian Olde Wolbers still did not give up on their right of using the name and still pretend they are, legally and morally, still part of the band, so, there are – at least – some “legal complications”.
Fear Factory have spirit, they have soul, they are a killer machine, but somewhere inside is a muscular, but kind, gentle, pumping heart. The perfect mixture of brutal and sensitive, mechanical and human, of heavy and contorted, noisy and pounding moments with trippy, cinematic, sometimes even abstract layers and soundscapes, musical constructions. There is a perfect balance between strength and subtle musicality, Fear Factory is a mature band now in their best possible form. Impossible to define if this is the best, but definitively one of the best release of the band.
Figure – Monsters Vol. 3 (2012)
Extremely noisy and contorted, settled in the trend of wobbling and killer drops of nowadays raging Dubstep, “Monsters Vol. 3” will definitively slaughter down not only your wall to wall neighbors, but the whole neighborhood.
“The Grave Yard” kicks in first and it’s hard to resist not to jump up and swimming around the room. “The Corpse Grinders” will definitively shaking the dance floor with its mad wobbling and oscillations, it’s incredibly noisy and heavy. “Otis” will bring the cops knocking at your door, it’s just that murderous! “Pounds of Blood” featuring MÖTLEY CRÜE’s Tommy Lee on live drums, a totally rocking piece which sounds like a Methods of Mayhem song on steroids. Total killer! And so on.
“No Turning Back” sounds like an air-strike alarm, massive synths, gentle pianos and epic arrangement finally leads us into the same destruction: “No turning back now”, isn’t it? “Dead or Alive” featuring Messinian brings some wild rapping into the scene, but the bases are the same sick and contorted noiseless hardcore Dubstep. “Michael Myers is Dead” is one of the most deadliest one of these 15 killers. Who the fuck is Michael Myers? He is a fictional character from the “Halloween” series. Bang!
Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense (2012)
I’m a Punk Rocker. Hell yeah! True, in my early forty’s, with considerably less hair and tooth then two decades ago, dragging with me several more or less chronic diseases, but still banging. Sometimes. On the other hand I had never believed in the values of the political left. Getting further, I do not believe there is any value in any political build-up and honestly, I do not trust anybody, sometimes not even my own bloody self.
I like Future of the Left and along with PiL, I think FotL is one of the very rare genuine (Post) Punk bands that managed to merge noisiness and aggressiveness with caustic content, intelligence and coherent message. I don’t think there’s anything left “politically correct” – like it ever was something -, but still, this is about music, and FotL still got both the magic and the bollocks to deliver some banging songs while the mainstream is drowning in its own emptiness.
15 tracks, the third album by FotL is a dynamic ride and musically the band covers a large area of genres from Noise Rock to Post Hardcore and from Punk Rock to Post Rock experiments while they managed to be definitively typically FotL, while the lyrics are kind of caustic radiography of what’s going on lately, in mainly sad, but let’s make fun of it manner. Hard not to love it, once you’ll insert the CD it will be almost impossible to shut it down.
Gallows – Gallows (2012)
Brutal, raw, merciless hardcore punk. Nothing fancy, nothing polite, nothing for the sake of the compromise, no sell-out. Singer Frank Carter left Gallows in July 2011 and former Alexisonfire guitarist/vocalist Wade MacNeil replaced Carter in August 2011. The result of this fresh blood infusion, the third Gallows’ album it’s a very nervous, very intense, aggressive and loud record. No fills, no breaks, no This “new” Gallows are picking up from where The Exploited left out, although this is less metal flavored and heavily hardcore fueled punk with a good sense of Brit indie rock infusion. “Outsider Art” it’s an excellent sing-a-long type of punk rock anthem with a brutal hardcore breakdown. Simple and brilliant. Memorable and brutal. And this spirit it’s running throughout the veins of all the 11 tracks of the new release and grinding you into the ground. Can run, but can’t hide, Gallows will get you!
This is not brain surgery, not some sophisticated, abstract, meaningless s*it for pussies, but real punk. Green Day fans might suffer a sever heart attack or even a deadly brain stroke!! But damn, everybody loves you when you’re dead!
Garbage – Not Your Kind of People (2012)
Getting older, stupider, dunno, but this is my kind of music. I was impressed by Garbage back in the mid 90’s, God knows how six years has been gone for good since Garbage’s last studio album, 2005’s “Bleed Like Me”, and almost out of the blue, “Not Your Kind of People” is like a fresh breath of air after spending too much time under the water, it sounds just like… Garbage.
Label it “Alternative Rock” or throw it in any other drawer or box, this is actually a quite genre-less music, Pop and Rock elements are perfectly melted into something new, charming, groovy, catchy music, designed for mainstream, but definitively not the fancy, usual, tasteless, predictable and forgettable plastic. If I would have to say only a very few words, I would say it feels good, sounds great and leave you with the taste of a thing well done.
Get The Blessing – OC DC (2012)
Winners of the BBC Jazz Award 2008 for their debut album “All Is Yes” (Cake/Candid), Get The Blessing is currently one of the UK’s most exciting live bands. Featuring bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer from trip-hop legends Portishead, plus the twin horns & electronic devices of saxophonist Jake McMurchie and trumpeter Pete Judge, GTB has forged an unique signature sound that defies genres and merged into one Jazz and Post-Rock instant and infectiously.
Jazz Rock might be the most appropriate label to stick to them, but their music it’s kind of more of everything: more electric, more Rock driven, more haunting…. There is a serious dose of Miles Davis, a nice twist of Morricone and a huge amount of raging, unstoppable Rock with roots back to the 60’s and 70’s, but digging wide into the future.
Killer release, by far one of the most fresh things I heard lately and one of the best albums of the year.
Gli Putridissimi / Luther Blissett – split tape cassette (2012)
If you’re looking for something different, this is it! The opening “Terrori nei boschi” (terror in the woods) delivered by Gli Putridissimi and the following “Paludi Ghiacciatissime” fits quite exactly the self-provided description: “Horns and Palms destruction for a black metal experimental jazz”. Actually, both sounds like an unstoppable Industrial fueled free-Noise-Jazz hurricane. Turbulent, but efficient, this band from Bari knew exactly how to start a riot and put the world on fire.
On the other hand, and other side of the tape, Luther Blissett propose a ride into the more experimental and darker corner of Avant-garde music. While the first “Scaffolding” keeps the spirit and the burning flame of bands such as The Fall and The Ex alive, the following “Staggering” it’s a totally abstract trip.
Gliding Soul – Travelling With Mr. Who, EP (2012)
Gliding Soul deliver a quite contorted and dynamic mixture of modern metal heaving roots back to death metal, but revealing nu and groove metal resonances and metalcore infusions as well. While singer Benoit Derat mainly sings as Maynard Keenan of Tool, sometimes he shift into Serj Tankian, but he’s also capable of some deadly or furious death metal howls. The band’s music it’s same colourful and intense. Technical, progressive death metal, brutal metalcore and twisted out nu metal with experimental edge are efficiently merged here. Brutal riffs and acoustic breakdowns, complex rhythms and aggressive grindings are smartly incorporated and build together. Think of a mixture of Tool, System of A Down with a twist of Korn and death metal.
Very intense, very efficient and creative. Although they definitively have some solid influences, the final output it’s expressive and efficient. Technically flawless, Gliding Soul it’s a name to keep in mind if you love experimental, but brutal, modern metal!
GMBC – Complete Omnivore (2012)
Completely disturbing, noisy and contorted, explosive, G.M.B.C. delivering the most dangerous type of Hardcore with Metal outfit in the footsteps of Converge and merging the furious attitude of Dead Kennedys with the overwhelming sound and energy of Pantera. G.M.B.C. are here to set the world on fire. The 8 tracks of “Complete Omnivore” are a merciless and compromiseless ride into the wild and once the pogo starts, nobody can stop it! But this isn’t only about energy and aggression, G.M.B.C. came up with some grinding you into the ground rhythms, some cutting to the bones riffs and at the bottom line they actually delivered a couple of great songs.
Definitively one of the best of its genre this year and already one of my favorite Hardcore albums of the year! This one have true guts and nerve, and have that very rare genuine sparkling of genius. Swear, you will hear from these guys a lot in the future! Good Morning Bleeding City!!
History of the Hawk – Future Ruins (2012)
Punk ain’t dead. Even more, the present it’s intense and murderous and definitively there are more then simple hopes for a future. And this is genuine Punk, I mean, not that soap-box/bubble-gum, Californian sun-burnt and Pop flavored “Punk” which the media and the multinationals selling for decades now. “Descending Light” explode like a grenade and the whole “Future Ruins” it’s a killer spiral of energy and aggression. With roots back to Black Flag, Minor Threat and Dead Kennedys, but related to contemporary challengers such as Gallows and Converge merging brutality and intensity, Hardcore energy and Post-Metal rawness, History of the Hawk delivered a truly unique and own flavored, pounding and crushing Punk album. It’s fresh, it’s furious, it’s colorful and re-inventing the heritage of the past to send it right into the future!
How To Destroy Angels – An Omen (2012)
Six new tracks, $5 download in MP3 or lossless format. There is no CD release for this EP, and the 12″ 180-gram vinyl it’s already sold-out. This is the second EP by Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan, while their long expected debut album probably will be released next year. Post-Industrial? Sort of, but not quite. How To Destroy Angels it’s an extremely slippery something, not related to any genre or style, but incorporates different musical elements from experimental Trip-Hop to Post-Rock and Post-Industrial explorations. Far away from the contorted and furious expression of anger so typical for Nine Inch Nails, but in some moments similar to the spirit of the 2008’s “Ghosts” series, How To Destroy Angels are in the search for new, unexplored paths, virgin, untouched areas of the music. Quite a temerarious task for 2012, isn’t it? But Reznor once again proves that everything it’s possible with inspiration and boldness.
Hypno5e – Acid Mist Tomorrow (2012)
In our times of deep turbulence and dissonances, the French Hypno5e re-paint with sounds this shattered world and pushing the musical borders further. This is Metal beyond Metal, fans of Cynic definitively will be delighted by the furious, but technical Death Metal moments, although the whole complex construction is further tripper, sometimes even abstract, quiet, meditative moments are twisted out by raging hurricanes, acrobatic riffs and pounding rhythmic, or the furious moments are break down by schizophrenic, echoing passages of slow, cinematic, but disturbed music.
Blending all Metal genres and adding ambiental and Jazz elements, Hypno5e build up their own and unique style of (future) Metal. Further, their mixing the music with video concept, the genius within HYPNO5E shows an all around approach to the arts, musically and visually.
Ihsahn – Eremita (2012)
Ihsahn – Vegard Sverre Tveitan, born in 1975, in the town of Notodden, Norway, began playing piano at seven and guitar at ten and began recording songs shortly thereafter. He began his career at age thirteen as a member of what would become fledgling black metal crew Emperor. As a band, Emperor would both define and refine metal, pushing the boundaries of what was considered possible within the most arcane of art forms and taking some of the most adventurous and extreme music of all time to a huge global audience.
Recorded and produced at Telemark’s Ivory Shoulder Studios, with additional tracking completed at Notodden’s Juke Joint Studio and Seattle’s Envisage Audio, Eremita was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth) at Fascination Street Studios in rebro, Sweden. Alongside Ihsahn, the album features performances from drummer Tobias rnes Andersen (Leprous), saxophonist Jrgen Munkeby (Shining-Norway), guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore), and vocalists Devin Townsend, Einar Solberg (Leprous) and Heidi S. Tveitan (Starofash).
I’m not actually a Black Metal fanatic, but hell yeah, I love several quality, edge cutter Black Metal artists. True, more then just listen and respect some of those artists, I really love Jørgen Munkeby and his murderous Shining, as I’m also a devoted Devin Townsend fan.
“Eremita” have the similar dark and “envelop pusher” sound as many of Devin’s projects, including Strapping Young Lad.
Not an easy piece to “chew and swallow”, but beneath the surface of madness and sonar turbulence is a shining, fabulous world to discover and once you will be sucked-in, you will be definitively hypnotized and will discover several dimensions and lots of hidden treasures.
Illogistical Resource Dept. – Catharsis (2012)
The apocalypse comes from San Francisco. Or just the catharsis. The nature try to get back at us? Eventually. God knows…. 😆 But wont save us from ourselves.
Dan Menapace – Bass and Synths, Jim Harris – Guitar, and Noa Appleton – Drums are explorers, soundonauts. “Speak” it’s a modern, reiterated “Astronomy Domine”, a tasty and gloomy evoking of past values, but also a brave step into the unknown and the future.
This is a groovy, sometimes blowing in your face, but mainly gloomy and atmospheric Rock machinery build to explore the universe of sounds and find new paths for creativity and expression.
It’s not a perfect album, but one with some brilliant moments, one which dare to surf into the unknown and explore the outer limits of the (Post) Rock genre without denying the influences and values of the Rock genre’s past and present. A balanced and tasty mixture of styles and moods, a bridge over time and genres, Illogistical Resource Dept. it’s one of the few names which worth to keep in mind. And “Catharsis” it’s an album worth to buy.
Jack White – Blunderbuss (2012)
Sex is probably the most powerful driving force in nature, in arts, implicitly in music. Some people believe that the power behind The White Stripes was the (sexual) tension between Jack and Meg White. When this flame faded out, Jack White moved over, eventually Jack find Alison Mosshart and we’ve got The Dead Weather.
The roots of “Blunderbuss” Jack’s first official solo album goes back several years when White was recording songs for several artists such as Tom Jones, Insane Clown Posse, etc. White was in contact with Wu-Tang Clan member RZA and they were going to do a recording session, but RZA couldn’t attend the session, so White recorded several tracks, which would ended-up into “Blunderbuss”. We’ve got 13 tracks, Jack delivering from raw blues to garage Indie Rock all the tricks and approaches he tried out in the last 15 years. Still, Jack managed to be timeless and fresh, shiny. This music is both simple and flawless!
Jah Wobble and Keith Levene – Yin and Yang (2012)
It’s something in the air, and I don’t mean love, this must be the year of P.I.L. (Public Image Ltd). First John Lydon teamed up again with former (and future) PiL members Lu Edmonds, Scott Firth and Bruce Smith and recorded and release the first new PiL album, “This is PiL” after two decades. Then founder PiL members, bassist Jah Wobble and guitarist Keith Levene revisited this year the PiL’s groundbreaking 1980′s album “Metal Box” – which they were the driving forces behind – with several highly-acclaimed shows performing “Metal Box in Dub live”. Now they make a step even further and they decide it record some new material which became “Yin and Yang”, a 10 track journey in the outer limits of Dub and Post-Punk/Modern Rock.
John Zorn – A Vision in Blakelight (2012)
Inspired by the spiritual mythology of William Blake, Zorn continue his endless exploration of the mystical work by all the means of the 21st century’s Jazz and contemporary music. This time Zorn is less noisy, less tumultuous and experimental, but further more sensitive and meditative, creating a cinematic groove smoothly flavored by Jazzy rides and the fluorescent play of these extraordinary artist collective. “An Island in the Moon” it’s a pearl, are breathing through standard already.
Gathering – once again – a quite selective collective of musicians: Cyro Baptista – Percussion; Joey Baron – Drums; Trevor Dunn – Bass; Carol Emanuel – Harp; John Medeski – Piano and Organ; and Kenny Wollesen – Vibes and Bells; “A Vision in Blakelight” it’s probably one of the most soft, most beautiful and chilled releases of Zorn in years.
John Zorn – Nosferatu (2012)
Nosferatu appeared as a synonym for “vampire” first mentioned by Emily Gerard and popularized by Bram Stoker. So, the album was released on 20th April 2012, on the 100 Anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death.
This is an exciting, groovy intercourse into the secret and unrevealed corners of the dark side. And Zorn just happened to be the perfect guide. Hypnotic and addictive, this 16 stations of ecstasy and revelations are part of an endless journey of knowledge and assemblage. Deeper you get, less you know and want to go even further, want to know more. So, close your eyes and listen with your soul and hopefully Nosferatu won’t get you. Over one hour of genius and madness.
John Zorn – Templars-In Sacred Blood (2012)
In 2006 John Zorn formed the hardcore voice/bass/drums trio of Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and Joey Baron which became known as the Moonchild Trio.
This time Joey Baron – Drums, Trevor Dunn – Bass, John Medeski – Organ and Mike Patton – Voice are back with the 6th CD in the Moonchild legacy. All songs was written by Zorn and they spend over one year in the making. Disturbing and tumultuous, sometimes extremely intense or silently subtle, the 8 songs of “Templars-In Sacred Blood” will take the listeners into another mystical journey.
Probably one of the darkest, but surprisingly, one of the most accessible albums of the Moonchild experiment by far.
Kabul Golf Club – Le Bal Du Rat Mort, EP (2012)
Contorted and dissonant, with roots back to Steve Albini’s Big Black and Shellac, reminding me of some pioneering bands such as Cop Shoot Cop, Cardiacs and H.P. Zinker, and being similarly psycho and sick such as some contemporaries like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Blood Brothers, Kabul Golf Club are the brand new monster children of Limburg, Belgium. Merging Noise Rock rawness with Post-Hardcore resonances, KGC might seems a quite unfriendly band, for the comfortable, “decent” listener eventually even not listenable, but this is so fresh, so wild, so honest, so uncompromising, that is hard not to admire their effort for genuine self-expression. This kind of rebellious, twisted Metal have a long and fruitful history already, “Minus 45” for instance could find its place easily on VoiVod’s legendary “Nothingface” album, but this whole aggressive raging incorporates the fury of a brand new generation which must be heard. KGC proves creativity and talent, all their dissonances and noises, all that madness and chaos perfectly reflect the world we are living in, on the other hand, at the end everything fits in and makes perfect sense in their compositions.
Killing Joke – MMXII (2012)
If Ian Curtis wouldn’t committed suicide on 18 May 1980 and Joy Division would be still around and playing, “In Cythera”, the leading single of the fifteenth studio album by Killing Joke uploaded to the YouTube on 6 March it’s exactly the kind of music we are probably expected of Curtis. Although, this is a classic Killing Joke album with classic sound, and with the classic line-up: Jaz Coleman on vocals, Kevin “Geordie” Walker on guitar, Martin “Youth” Glover on bass, and Paul Ferguson on drums. Some consider them an old smoking gun, but seriously, I honestly think this is still a deadly weapon!
Kiss – Monster (2012)
If I say this is the best Kiss album in decades, nobody will believe me, but folks, this is the naked, monstrous, true. And what it’s even more monstrous it’s the fact that Kiss are still more ferocious then 99.9% of the self proclaimed Metal-whatever, mainly “core”, bands nowadays. And dudes, we’re talking about a band active since 1973 and this is their 20th studio album so far. And honestly, their previous “Sonic Boom”, released 3 years ago, was also an absolutely fair and classy Kiss material, an ass-kicker mixture of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. “Monster” sounds even better, sounds as a perfect mix between two of their classic albums, the 1976’s “Destroyer”, respectively the 1992’s “Revenge”.
Sebastian Bach’s – former Skid Row vocalist – reaction regarding one of the new Kiss songs, “The Devil Is Me”, saying “it kicks TOTAL ASS!!” it’s not surprising and not exaggerated. Kiss gonna kick your ass off, or eat your heart out if you’re a girl.
Laibach – Live at Tate Modern (2012)
Although my affection for Industrial music started in the beginning of the 90s with several American bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and Malhavoc, I can trace the roots of my affection and affiliation back to bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten and Laibach. Even further, in my humble opinion the whole Neue Deutsche Härte (“New German Hardness”) movement it’s build upon not a German, but on the edge cutter and envelop pusher work of a Slovenian avant-garde music group formed on June 1, 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia, at the time SFR Yugoslavia: Laibach (the German name for Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana).
In an ocean of quite boring and predictable music, surprisingly, even a retrospective compilation by Laibach sounds fresh and edge cutting. Regarding the similarities with Rammstein and their influence upon the German band, they noticed that sometimes “good ‘copy’ can make more money on the market than the ‘original’ – and – “Rammstein seem to be a kind of Laibach for adolescents and Laibach are Rammstein for grown-ups”.
This release it’s just simply mandatory if you consider you are anyway related or resonate to industrial music!!
Lords Of Acid – Deep Chills (2012)
“Deep Chills” is the fifth studio album from the legendary Belgian electro-dance-industrial band Lords of Acid and marks the band’s first studio album in 12 years. With the exception of band founder Praga Khan, “Deep Chills” features an entirely new lineup from previous releases and marks the first time an American vocalist – Mea Fisher (aka DJ Mea) – to take on vocal duties for an album. The album also features guest vocals from porn star Alana Evans on “Pop That Tooshie,” as well as vocals from Zak Bagans, star of Ghost Adventures and host of Paranormal Challenge, on the track “Paranormal Energy”.
we’ve got 14 (included one hidden track) kinky, techno banger and hard rocking new tracks, an excellent balance between sex and humor, gloom and fun, industrial riffs and techno beats, some wobbling basses – just for their flavor and the rock’n’roll spirit, just the right amount of fun and energy to listen this till you’ll set the dance floor on fire.
So, this is a quite vivid, twisted in and out album, with several infectious tracks – as the floor banger “Long Johns” – disconsidering genres and crossing through styles. It’s something for everybody and each one of you. And this is a half-way positive, half-way negative thing. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I like it. It’s much-much better then most of the prefabricated, tasteless, strictly loop-based and boring throughout, nowadays fancy, but instantly forgettable products.
Marcus Miller – Renaissance (2012)
After last years fabulous “Tutu Revisited”, the bass-killer Marcus Miller (age 53) are back with “Renaissance”, 13 tracks of groovy Jazz and bass slappin’ where hard and smooth parts are merged into one as not too many musicians are capable to do. The shade of Miles Davis are constant and discretely present all over, but this is definitively and unmistakably Marcus Miller. Although “Renaissance” is – surprisingly – only his eighth studio project since his 1983 debut, “Suddenly”, Miller spent approximately 15 years performing as a sideman or session musician and he has played bass on over 500 recording on albums across different musical styles.
From the smooth, South American vibes of “Setembro” to the Jazz Rock Fusion hurricane of “Jekyll & Hyde”, “Renaissance” delivers everything what makes Miller so great, from gentle, meditative moments to groovy, pounding eruptions and build-ups.
Marilyn Manson – Born Villain (2012)
This is one of the albums of 2012 I really waited for, but on the other hand I was kind of afraid of. When Twiggy Ramirez was often quoted as saying “It’s our best record yet, I think. I mean, everyone always says that, but I think this is our best work so far… It’s kind of like a little more of a punk rock “Mechanical Animals” without sounding too pretentious.”, and since the previous “The High End of Low” it’s an almost four years gap, the expectations are pretty high.
“Born Villain” might be the most interesting and experimental album by far. On the other hand these 13 songs have some extremely classy, sometimes even kind of vintage feel. Manson gave up on Industrial Rock/Metal and this is a post everything, possibly Rock experiment, maybe from the Hell of his soul.
Can hate Manson, but no weak tracks, boring moments on this album.
Mark Stewart – Exorcism Of Envy (2012)
I wonder how many people still remember a band called The Pop Group? And generally speaking, anybody remember anything lately? Anyway, just for the record:
formed in 1978 and split up in 1981, this Bristol based British act pioneered the merged of punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae, released several singles, possibly their best-known was “We Are All Prostitutes”, and two albums followed by some bootlegs after their disbanding. They reunited in 2010 and since played several gigs. But “Exorcism Of Envy” it’s the seventh solo album by Stewart, released on March 26, 2012 through Future Noise. We’ve got 47 minutes of electronic fueled, smoothly pulsing, but twisted in and out, minimalist and finest dub and rawest industrial flavored post punk trip. While everybody try to f*ck up your loudspeakers with sicker then the sickest wobbling s*it while behind most of those beautiful contortions and noises there is nothing but annoying emptiness, Stewart once again delivered a record with content.
The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet (2012)
The sixth full-length studio album of The Mars Volta is scheduled for release on March 27th, 2012. It is the first studio album to feature drummer Deantoni Parks, and the first not to feature contributions from both long-time keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens (De Facto, Look Daggers, Free Moral Agents, etc) and guitarist John Frusciante (ormer lead guitarist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers). Cedric Bixler-Zavala – vocals, Omar Rodríguez-López – guitar, Marcel Rodríguez-López – keyboards and synths, Juan Alderete – bass and Deantoni Parks – drums delivered another colorful journey into the deep space of Progressive Rock having roots back to the 70’s psychedelia, but simultaneously looking into the big wide future. Lars Stalfors was in charge for engineer, mixing, but also for some additional synths, while Sonny Kay took care of the artwork and layout.
It’s a very unique experience. Scary and beautiful, captivating simultaneously. This is a spiral or the eye of a hurricane which gonna suck you in.
Paal Nilssen-Love, Mesele Asmamaw and Mats Gustafsson – Baro 101 (2012)
What’s the connection between two members of the avant-garde group The Thing (Paal Nilssen-Love – drums and Mats Gustafsson – saxophone), Ethiopian musician Mesele Asmamaw and the legendary Dutch post rock/avant-garde outfit The Ex? Room 101 of the Baro Hotel, Addis Abeba, Ethiopia on February 27th 2010.
The Ex has been going to Ethiopia for quite a while. And they also started a series of projects in Ethiopia. They bring several great saxophone players like Ken Vandermark, Ab Baars, and Mats Gustafsson, who performed in combination with The Ex members and Norwegian free jazz drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. And all cooperated with many amazing Ethiopian musicians and dancers.
Collaborations like this are common manifestations in the world of free improv/free jazz, but “Baro 101” goes far beyond most of them, this recording have both soul and energy, nerve and spirit, merged madness and harmony, traditional local folk motifs and contorted grooves, the trio take the listener into the eye of the musical hurricane straight to the heart of the mystic journey.
The European jazz improv and the Ethiopian musical tradition seems to find not only a common root, but sounds just like soul mates.
Brilliant it’s the least I can say.
Meshuggah – Koloss (2012)
Simultaneously avant-garde and extreme, Meshuggah not only rocked our world, but tear it down to pieces. Formed in 1987, in Umeå, Sweden, they became world wide famous with the 1995 release “Destroy Erase Improve” and for its fusion of brutal, fast-tempo Death Metal, contorted Thrash Metal and Dark, Progressive Metal, and Industrial build-ups with Jazz Fusion elements. They were labeled as one of the ten most important hard and heavy bands by Rolling Stone and as the most important band in metal by Alternative Press. They 2002’s album “Nothing” and the albums that followed have all charted on the Billboard 200, although Meshuggah has found little mainstream success, but staying a significant and influential act in extreme underground music. Meshuggah’s most commercially successful album, the previous 2008’s “obZen”, peaked at No. 59 and sold 11,400 copies in the first week and 50,000 copies six months after its release in the United States. In Sweden, the album entered the official album chart at number 16, and in the UK at number 151.
“Koloss”, the seventh album it’s a Hell of a trip. We’ve got 54 minutes of sonic slaughter and as drummer Tomas Haake stated: “best avoided by the faint of heart!”
Ministry – Relapse (2012)
Few words worth more then a couple of fancy, but meaningless phrases, so, Al Jourgensen – age fiftyfuckingthree years – is back with the twelfth studio album of Ministry and they are simply and straightly louder, faster and angrier then ever. And Mr. Jourgensen is not alone, he’s got serious back up from Mike Scaccia and Casey Orr of Rigor Mortis, Tommy Victor of Prong and Tony Campos of Static X. This time eventually they aren’t pushing the musical boundaries further, they doesn’t break any new ground, but definitively they delivered again the most murderous sonic sledgehammer and you can bang your head to it, get wasted or waste someone, or occupy the streets and markets of your city. Politically correct? The ulcers are gone and Bush is gone, the shit stays the same, the price of the gas goes upper everyday, but let’s stick for now to the music and to this 10 tracks and just bang on this for a while!
Mombu – Zombi (2012)
If you like the Norwegian Shining, if you feel the vibe of the experimental outfit The Thing, but you still a headbanger, Mombu will definitively grind you to the ground with this mind-blowing release.
I had listen this project last year and it nailed me down, Mombu’s debut effort made it to my list of favorite albums of 2011. They are back now and although “Zombi” seems to be the re-edition of the debut album, the only major difference is that “Intro 253” has been dropped and it was introduced the title track “Zombie” as a gift for the Black President Fela Kuti: mixed from Husky Hoskulds (Mike Patton, Tom Waits, Fantomas).
Innovative and absolutely exciting, this is hell of a ride, mandatory for free spirits and open minded people who love Music and do not think of it in genres and labels. If you miss somehow the last year release, this is your chance now!
Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes (2012)
Some conservative death metal fans definitively hated “Illud Divinum Insanus”, the last year released Morbid Angel album because Mr. Vincent and his band mates delivered also some industrial and modern metal sounds and fans considered this an act of betray. Those fans definitively should stay away from this double remix album set to be released on 28th February. Although, “Illud Divinum Insanus” made it to my favorite 150 albums of 2011, so I was quite excited about this remix project.
On this compilation featuring 39 artists and they pushing the butchery even further, twisting Morbid Angel into the more noisier, electronic, but quite sick area of music. From contorted industrial remixes to wobbling dubstep out-takes, “Illud Divinum Insanus – The Remixes” it’s definitively the ultimate trip to hell and back.
Motionless In White – Infamous (2012)
Who wants to look like Marilyn Manson? Chris Cerulli, Motionless in White founder member and lead singer might be one of the right answers. “The Divine Infection” sounds just like a filthy Manson anthem picking up from where they left off with their 2003’s “The Golden Age of Grotesque”. “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” it’s fueled by the same fury, although some nowadays fancy Metalcore infusions are making room here and there like the worm eating up an apple from the inside. “Sinematic” it’s another quite Mansonish track; for a change, it’s a sick ballad. “Hatefuck” sounds like a murderous mixture of Manson and Killswitch Engage. The title traack, “Infamous” it’s another 100% Mansonish Industrial Rock sickness.
“Puppets 2 (The Rain)” – featuring Bjorn Speed Strid of Soilwork – sounds like a collision of Cradle of Filth with Bullet for My Valentine; a brutal mixture of Death and Extreme Metal with Metalcore, death-growling vocals and melodious choruses. They smartly incorporated blast beats and breakdowns in their Gothic perfumed atmosphere and Death Metal fueled massacres.
“Infamous” it’s like a constant race between good and evil. It’s like the beauty and the beast, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were not three, but one single person. And obviously, a headbanger!!
Naïve – Illuminatis (2012)
Might sound a cliche, but Naïve delivering a colourful sonic journey where powerful Metal riffs are merged with subtle sonic textures; contorted, dark and tensioned moments are combined with smoothly sparkling, melodious hooks and build-ups. It’s like a constant struggle of good and evil, light and shadow, noises and melodies. Trip Hop Metal? Eventually. Labels are unnecessary. But to have an idea, this is sound like an explosive mixture of Deftones and Prong with Massive Attack and Sneaker Pimps. Pounding IDM, hypnotic Trip Hop, dark Alternative Metal, and Industrial flavored noisiness are smartly colored with subtle texture, addictive grooves, mysterious electronic layers and at the bottom line they are all equal ingredients of the unique universe reveled by Naïve. “Illuminatis” it’s an addictive journey, it’s something Magic in there, feels a dream from which you don’t want to wake up.
Napalm Death – Utilitarian (2012)
Slow and grinding, “Circumspect” gonna cut up your veins and left you to bleed out slowly. If you’re not gonna die, the follow up “Errors In The Signals” will definitively tread you to the ground and smash off your head. Still, worth to survive and listen to “Everyday Pox” and its murderous saxophone licks and obviously to everything after up to the closing “A Gag Reflex”.
The 15th studio album by the grindcore veterans formed in Birmingham, England in 1981, released in February it’s an extremely efficient killing machine in 16 pieces.
Navene K – Human Design, EP (2012)
Navene Koperweis (aka Navene K), is an American drummer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, best known as the former drummer of Animosity and Animals as Leaders. Koperweis started drumming when he was eleven years old. He has played for The Faceless, and runs his technical death metal band, Fleshwrought, where he plays all instruments.
Plays beside the drums guitar and various electronic instruments.
He is also a dubstep/electronica producer, and is currently working on his debut electronic album. A tasteful peak into his upcoming works it’s this free, four track EP aviable for free download from his Soundcloud and Bandcamp page.
Subtle and smooth electronic textures with roots back to Progressive and Trance music are twisted in and out by murderous wobbling basses and contorted synth blow-backs. This is a colorful and dynamic, 21 minutes incursion in the present and future of electronic music.
Neneh Cherry and The Thing – The Cherry Thing (2012)
Do you remember “7 Seconds”? It was a hit single back in 1996 and received a Grammy nomination, won the Best Song title at the MTV Europe Music Awards. The album was entitled “Man”, “7 Seconds” featuring Youssou N’Dour, the track “Woman” is Neneh Cherry take on James Brown’s 1966 track “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, “Trouble Man” a cover of a Marvin Gaye track, while another track, “Together Now”, featured Tricky.
In 2006, Cherry announced the formation of a new band, cirKus, releasing two albums “Laylow” in 2006, respectively “Medicine” in 2009.
Mats Gustafsson (saxophones), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (double bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums), knowned as The Thing, are one of the most incisive experimental/free Jazz bands of the contemporary Jazz scene.
This four artist together delivering the eight tracks of “The Cherry Thing”.
And when two rebellious, non-conformist artist such as Neneh Cherry and The Thing collide, the result is obviously dangerous as well.
No Omega – Metropolis (2012)
Extreme and brutal, dark and raw sounding, this Stockholm based post-hardcore band will rip your head off with tones of ferocious riffs and their chaotic, contorted, furious music. Both rooted to punk and metal, this pounding, post-hardcore genre became quite popular lately and many exciting new bands proved true creativity widening the borders of the extreme, avant-garde music. They call their music “hopeless and heartbreaking doomsday hardcore punk”, which actually covers quite consistently the noisy butchery and beautiful poetry they create.
No Omega manage to define their own sound and find their own path of express their fury and desperation, although, they are recommended for fans of Touché Amoré, Dead Swans, Killing the Dream, Meleeh, Oceana and Rise and Fall.
They are also promote and support vegans and vegetarians, as well as they incorporates political ideas and civilization criticism into their lyrics. They spreading these ideas in a very open and relaxed way, but you can still enjoy their music without agreeing with their views and opinions. Best thing come last, “Metropolis” can be downloaded even for free (“name your price”) from their Bandcamp page, or can order from there the hard copy, CD for 6 Euro, respectively the 12″ vynil for 10 Euro. As I always say, artist need and deserves our support and encouragement! No Omega it’s definitively a name to keep in mind!
Obselion – The Calm Fire, EP (2012)
The opening title track, “The Calm Fire” might be misleading. Wobbling basses and the smooth, but sober electronic layers only announce the storm to come. I think a smart exploration of those fancy elements and a proper use of them along the brutal riffing, the death fueled vocals and the metalcore flavoured build-ups would add a great support to the musical experiment of Mohammed Sawan, the brain and musician behind this Abu Dhabi project.
“The Oppressed” it’s an intense and exciting journey on the wings of progressive death metal with several metalcore taste like breaks and neo-classic, Yngwie Malmsteen flavoured, powerful guitar passages. If Malmsteen would ever try to play death metal, that definitively would sound like “FAIL! Try Again”. Even the clean vocals reminded me of the Swedish guitar hero. The breakdown it’s very classy, heavy metal fueled, but some of the riffs are also extremely power/speed metal fueled. Extremely technical, but still soulful and expressive mixture of styles and sounds.
This project definitely worth to be developed into a real band, Mohammed Sawan it’s an extremely talented artist and with proper, valuable partners, Obselion easily can become a leading metal act not only in UAE, but on the whole world!!
Panzerballett – Tank Goodness (2012)
Their previous album, “Hart Genossen von ABBA bis Zappa” was pointed out as his favourite record of 2009 by Clawfinger guitarist Bård Torstensen. About the same album Dweezil Zappa said: “Very well done. Normally, I don’t like people re-arranging my father’s music but this was a pleasant surprise.” Not at least, Randy Brecker said: “Panzerballett is the first band I’ve heard that really leads Music into the 21st Century!”
So, what Panzerballett are actually playing? This is an intense, extremely technical Jazz-Rock with some powerful Metal infusions. In-your-face type of riffs are smartly built-in into the classy, but modern flavored Jazz-Rock constructions. “Vulgar Display of Sauerkraut” sounds like Pantera versus Al Di Meola (I’m thinking of songs such as “Alien Chase On Arabian Desert”) – eventually. Double-bass drum slaughterings and killer riffs are merged with mystic flavored Jazz breakdowns.
Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol (2012)
Hopefully this will be a “lucky 13” – although this is quite a dark and heavy one. The 13th studio album by Paradise Lost is 101% classic Metal with strong roots back to Doom and Gothic and eventually since their 1991’s second album, “Gothic”, the band did not delivered something like this. Just like two decades ago the album was written by Nick Holmes and Gregor Mackintosh, drummer Matthew Archer left the band in 1994 and after several rotations, behind the drum kit since 2009 is Adrian Erlandsson, but although, the band seems totally unchanged. In a good sense. We know, the road back here was not so smooth and flawless as it might seem, but what’s matter it’s we are here now. Well, I’m aware, the journey might be much more significant then the final destination, but this is quite a different philosophical issue. So, I love “Tragic Idol” as it is, I loved it as I saw the cover for the first time.
The Prestige – Black Mouths (2012)
Back at the beginning of the 90s with all that Alternative/Indie/Grunge wave, I discovered several huge bands among all the trash praised by the media and pushed by the record labels and agencies. One of them was the obscure H.P. Zinker from New York founded by Hans Platzgumer. Their last album, “Mountains of Madness” released in 1995 and its cover design by Stefan Sagmeister won several design awards and it was also nominated for Grammy. “Black Mouths” strangely, but unrelated, reminds me of that record. This Parisian quartet featuring Alex – vocals & guitars, Raphael – guitars, Thibaut – drums, and Julien – bass, delivering a same kind of colorful post-punk/hardcore, adrenaline fueled music merged with lots of colorful, experimental moments and deviations.
Public Image Ltd. – This is PiL (2012)
What it’s like “This is PiL”? Damn if I can tell you! Sounds like… PiL.
The “Lollipop Opera” is filled with wobbling basses, modern grooves, but still it’s not what people nowadays calling “Dubstep”, and it’s spinning around for almost 7 minutes. And the following “Fool” is a genuine Blues Rock trip floating around and hypnotize you. And PiL take us to Heaven and Hell, through and back, once again delivered an ageless and definitively genre-less, edge cutting album filled with ideas and not cliches. By the way, anybody make real shit anymore? Well, this is for real!
This is something to listen, leave it on repeat for hours, to came back to it after weeks, month or years. It will be still fresh.
This album was quite uncertain, as Lydon stated in November 2009 “they may re-enter the studio if they can raise enough money from their tour”. I’m glad they did. On the other hand I’m frightened how much money goes up in smoke every day on production and promotion of totally shitty and useless, plastic products, while real music is dying or at best staying buried deep underground. PiL is still a trademark, but otherwise this album as many other brilliant releases would passed unnoticed… Welcome to the PiL zone!
Rabih Abou-Khalil – Hungry People (2012)
Jazz, Oriental vibe and an excellent sense of humor. “Music is all about enjoyment and that comes easiest when you laugh” says Rabih Abou-Khalil. Speaking of his new album and his band, Abou-Khalil said: “We’ve been playing together for nearly 16 years now. We know each other very well so, as you will hear, the band is very tight indeed.” This is also a quite multicultural project as well. Abou-Khalil – who plays oud – grew up in Beirut and moved to Munich, Germany during the civil war in 1978. Saxophonist Gavino Murgia are from Sardinian and sometimes he provide also vocals – for instance listen into “Bankers’ Banquet”. Frenchman Michel Godard is a phenomenal player of the tuba and its ancestor, the serpent, but he also plays bass. Luciano Biondini is a virtuoso Italian accordionist. Jarrod Cagwin sre form Iowa, USA, he is equally masterful with sticks and bare hands, and using both, western drum-kit and to Arabic frame drums.
Their music uses elements from Arab music traditions, together with many Jazz, Rock and classical references, particularly to the school of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, but also other influences include Frank Zappa, Bela Bartok, and such unexpected musicians as the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener from Trinidad.
Ribozyme – Presenting The Problem (2012)
Ribozyme means ribonucleic acid enzyme. A ribozyme is an RNA molecule with a well defined tertiary structure that enables it to perform a chemical reaction. Many ribozymes are catalytic, but some such as self-cleaving ribozymes are consumed by their reactions. It may also be called an RNA enzyme or catalytic RNA. Investigators studying the origin of life have produced ribozymes in the laboratory that are capable of catalyzing their own synthesis under very specific conditions, such as an RNA polymerase ribozyme. Ribozymes may play an important role as therapeutic agents, as enzymes which tailor defined RNA sequences, as biosensors, and for applications in functional genomics and gene discovery.
Since forming in Bergen, Norway, in June 1998, Ribozyme have toured extensively in Norway and throughout Europe, while producing a total of four full length albums. They has signed to Indie Recordings for their new album which was released in Europe on the 10th of February 2012, and in North America on the 14th of February 2012. Moving step by step away from their Hard Rock roots and incorporating modern Rock and Metal influences, but also electronics and Industrial elements, their 5th album, “Presenting The Problem” it’s a colorful, intense and exciting trip to the outer limits of modern/post Rock and Metal boundaries merging genres, styles and influences. Think of something between Tool, Prong and Alice In Chains.
Rolo Tomassi – Astrea (2012)
To be brutally honest, at the first two or three listening, I wasn’t quite impressed by this third installment of this tumultuous, but brilliant, experimental, whatever-core band from Sheffield, England. While their debut, 2008’s “Hysterics” shake my world and blew me away, the following, 2010’s “Cosmology” was a fair, but less shocking follow-up.
After the 2011’s departure of two of their founding members, bassist Joseph Thorpe and guitarist Joe Nicholson, Rolo Tomassi bring two new spirits into the band, guitarist Chris Cayford (current vocalist/former guitarist of No Coast) and bassist Nathan Fairweather (who plays in Brontide); and band leader James Spence stating that the new members “breathed new life” in the band, while the music was already 70% complete when they had come.
Ethereal, chill and large spaces are nicely interlaced with the bands disturbing and brutal grindings – and this seems to be the key to decoding “Astrea”. Very groovy, extremely smartly build-up and throughout tensioned, the 10 tracks of “Astrea” will keep you focused and connected.
Rush – Clockwork Angels (2012)
Not a clockwork orange, but clockwork angels. Ladies and gentlemen, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are back after a five years gap with their 19th studio album, scheduled to be released on June 12. They play in this line-up since July 1974, having 38 years of impressive and spawning career.
This times they find the right path and the perfect balance between everything what ever Rush meant to their fans. “Clockwork Angel” have an incredible live groove, have that glowing, modern sound they delivered at the beginning of the 90’s and have those incredible complex, but brilliant Progressive Rock build-ups which make them famous in the 70’s and 80’s. This is definitively the perfect album for all and any of their fans, they finally managed to blend into one all their fabulous colors and sounds, subtle and inspired textures and intense Rock heaviness, they dig back to their roots, but sounds absolutely fresh and looking forward.
Serj Tankian – Harakiri (2012)
Although to put together a Rock album seems a quite simple thing, to be honest, it’s been a while since I didn’t heard a good Rock album. Maybe because everybody pretend to be somebody else, maybe because music isn’t art anymore, but business and industry, or because everything became patterned, excessively target oriented, predictable and plastic taste-like. Tankian – once again – seems to put his thoughts and his soul on the table, while he’s completely cut off any ties to any particular genre, style and expectations and focused on the music and his message. “Harakiri” isn’t a “complicated” album, but a honest one. And “Harakiri” isn’t a classic Rock album in its pure conservative sense, but a colorful, tripping, searching and experimenting material, each and every song have its own soul and style while all together is absolutely and unmistakably Serj Tankian.
Silent Descent – Mind Games (2012)
In 2008 Metal Hammer proclaimed them “the trance metal juggernaught the world has been waiting for.” Well, I’m not so sure that the electronic and club addicted persons will actually appreciate the howling voices and the grinding guitar riffs, as well as the metal heads probably will hate all the trance and electronic s*its incorporated in the disturbed Metal by some of the trend rider youngster. But the British media really praised Silent Descent as one of the best new Metal acts, the band won the Kerrang!/MCN Unsigned Live competition, they performed at the Bloodstock Open Air music festival in August 2008, sold out the Camden Underworld along with Alestorm in 2009, headlined Thursday night’s Boardie Takeover at Download festival both in 2009 and 2010.
Following the trends, along the Trance perfumed electronics, the band on their newly released second album inserted some contorted Dubstep noises as well. Surprisingly or not quite, this sounds bloody right!
Slunq – Spoiled Portion (2012)
The music of Slunq is so genreless and quite post-everything that it is impossible to stick a label on it; to force it into one of the “casual” drawers of the “music industry/business”. But, against the general trends, this is music and not just “food for our iPods”, not just background noise to fill up our ears – and brains – and cut off any possible contact with the people we may crash into on our way back and forth between home and job.
The much anticipated debut album, “Spoiled Portion”, is a post-modern journey into some gloomy music with very different flavours including Post-Grunge and Post-Industrial. Think of Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) on a heavy Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels) diet, but adding an obvious, typical English flavour to it and although lots of influences are there, you can’t really pinpoint anything – the guys managed to twist everything into their own style and deliver genuine material for our listening pleasure.
The result of 2 years effort, the 11 tracks of “Spoiled Portion” paint not the present, but the future sound of Rock.
Soulfly – Enslaved (2012)
Another Soulfly release it’s a strong reason for celebration, but when David Kinkade describe this is gonna sound-like “Arise on crack”, the excitement and expectations are rising even higher. The 8th studio album by Max Cavalera’s Soulfly will definitively satisfy all the band’s fans and eventually will bring a few new ones. Max seems unstoppable and restless. Hopefully not because of the….. crack. 🙂
With artwork from Marcelo Vasco, who has designed album artwork for bands such as Borknagar, Obituary, and Dimmu Borgir and co-produced along max by Zeuss (previously worked with bands like Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, Bleeding Through, Throwdown, Chimaira, etc), “Enslaved” featuring for the first time new drummer David Kinkade (ex-Borknagar), and Tony Campos (former of Static-X, Prong, and Ministry) on bass, along guitarist Marc Rizzo and Max Cavalera on vocals, guitar, and berimbau.
Guests appearances on the album include Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber and DevilDriver and Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, and on “Revengeance” feataturing Richie Cavalera of Incite, Zyon and Igor Cavalera Jr. of Lody Kong. This is definitively the best Soulfly album by far. Know, generally the latest release is declared the best, mainly by the artist and the record label, but “Enslaved” it’s outstanding.
The Stranglers – Giants (2012)
Much more alive then most of the more or less musical products delivered by the nowadays not even fifteen minutes superstar kids, The Stranglers are kicking like a mule with their 17th studio album delivered in their 38 years of “constant success”. Just read it somewhere that the combined age of their current line-up totals 242 years, while Baz Warne (guitars, vocals) who joined the band in 2000 with his springing 47 years is the youngest of the band, while founder member, drummer Jet Black (born Brian John Duffy) is 73. And still, just as I said, this “old dudes” are fresher then many of plastic s*its the industry delivers on fake golden plates tagged and labeled as “best” of something. There is no auto-tuned screaming, no wobbling basses, no frequency oscillations, there is no make-up and no self-pity post-emo painted in black emotions, just four guys playing music. Simply, straight and for real.
Subsource – Generation Doom, EP (2012)
“Tales From the Doombox”, their 2010’s debut album was huge as a 10 tones punch right in the face. These guys from London just nailed the essence of wobbling noises filled Dubstep, the nerve and anger of Punk and the heaviness of Metal acts and merged everything into their own flavored music. Few artists can mash up different styles so smoothly and coherently as they did. Get Sex Pistols, Skrillex and Slipknot in the same room and make them bleed out the most intense possible s*it they can deliver, and then, eventually, you will come near to what Subsource sounds like. It’s dangerous and ferocious. Banger! This is the best result if someone ever trying to merge The Prodigy with Rage Against the Machine.
Liam Howlett of The Prodigy said: “These boy have a big, nasty sound. Dangerous to my ears” – and he definitively knows what he’s talking about.
Punkstep? Well, no label might match more appropriate!!
Therapy? – A Brief Crack Of Light (2012)
Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, once describes life as “A brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness”. The thirteenth studio album by Therapy? was entitled “A Brief Crack Of Light”, it was originally scheduled to be released in October 2011 , but delayed to be released on February 6, 2012.
The first single, “Living In The Shadow Of The Terrible Thing” is available for download since January 23rd and Therapy? have the same edge, sounds dirty and pounding.
The album was recorded in two separate sessions, the first from December 2010 to February 2011, and the second in June 2011 at Blast Studios, Newcastle, England, and it was produced by Adam Sinclair and Andy Cairns.
This is not the Therapy? of ’94, and this isn’t the follow up of “Troublegum”, probably they will not make it again to the Top of the Pops, but I still love them, and this is the logical follow up of their previous “Crooked Timber” (2009), a truly and deeply alternative rock album. The sound is quite unpolished, have a kind of garage taste and vibe, Andy Cairns, Michael McKeegan and Neil Cooper delivered a rough, noisy collection of songs, the best mixture of punk rock and alternative metal.
Thinking Plague – Decline And Fall (2012)
Generally empires are have this fate of decline and fall and I honestly believe that the Music Industry it’s an empire – and for sure it’s in deep and profound crises.
When music is only a product, sometimes quite secondary one of an industry self-titled “music” industry and all those products are pretty boring, predictable and tasteless, but similar pieces, bands like Thinking Plague are quite rare birds in the gray panorama.
Inspired by avant-art rock bands like Arts Bears and Henry Cow, as well as by contemporary classical composers, Thinking Plague has earned an avid international following by forging a singular synthesis of prog-rock with 20th century classical, folk, and jazz.
The end is near and it’s never sounded so good.
Tiamat – The Scarred People (2012)
After a quite long break and the announcement of Thomas Wyreson quitting the band back in 2008, Tiamant’s tenth full-length studio album, “The Scarred People”, was released on November 2, 2012 through Napalm Records.
The current line-up consist of Johan Edlund – vocals and guitar; Anders Iwers – bass, Roger Öjersson – guitars; and Lars Sköld – drums.
This is a solid, mainly Gothic Rock rooted, absolutely fair Tiamat album. The band have the same freshness, the same strength and delivered a couple of dark, but both soulful and driven anthems. Once the seeds of their songs are placed into your ears (and heart), it’s hard to get rid of them. Dark, but delightful, as always, Tiamat delivered another quality release.
Highlights: “384EKteis”, “The Sun Also Rises”, “Thunder & Lightning”, “Messinian Letter”, “Winter Dawn”, “The Red of the Morning Sun”.
Trioscapes – Separate Realities (2012)
Trioscapes started in the summer of 2011 when Dan Briggs(Between the Buried and Me) contacted Walter Fancourt (Casual Curious, Brand New Life) and Matt Lynch (Eyris) about working up a rendition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra classic “Celestial Terrestrial Commuters” and messing around with a few original ideas with the intent of playing a one-off show. “Blast Off,” the first song released a few months back impressed both the media and the fans and the expectation of the promised debut album raised to boiling high. Released on 08th May, 2012, by Metal Blade Records, “Separate Realities” will blow your head off.
Maybe this is too “spiritual” for ordinary Metal fans, eventually too heavy for traditional Jazz listeners, but extremely tasty for open-minded music lovers and listeners, this is a hell of a trip to take and each and every single moment is bloody exciting!
Tweaker – Call The Time Eternity (2012)
Tweaker it’s the side project of drummer/programmer Chris Vrenna started after his departure from Nine Inch Nails in 1996.
Crossing genres, mixing sounds and vibes, Tweaker it’s a musical exploration which incorporates from Synthpop and Industrial through Progressive Rock to modern Jazz and smartly layered electronica all kind of different styles. While the “Doom 3” theme was Heavy Metal-oriented and inspired, most of the Tweaker tracks are generally characterized by an unique vibe of melancholy.
“Call The Time Eternity” it’s another, chill, but simultaneously quite refreshing collection of 11 Vrenna branded tracks. My favorite is the wicked “I Don’t Care Anymore”, but really hard to pick among them while each have it’s own special taste and flavor, also love the hypnotic shades of “Grounded” or the pounding and pulsing, Nine Inch Nails feels-like “Areas Of The Brain”.
And quite nice to listening an electronic release which it’s modern, edge-cutting, but not Drum’N’Base/Dubstep flavored.
Vajra – Pleroma (2012)
If you were thinking how a melange of Dead Can Dance with Tool would sound like, don’t dig further, Vajra is the most perfect possible match for it. Singer, composer, producer, writer, and keyboard player Annamaria Pinna formed Vajra during her self-imposed exile in India and “Pleroma” is kind of a collection of 10 “sonic postcards” which painting up by sounds this mystic journey to self-conscience filled with hypnotic mysticism and some explosive sonic hurricanes.
The opening “Inside The Flame” have that ancient driven power which made magic the debut Tool album and it’s a perfect attention grabber. “Almost One” have the touch of Godsmack, it’s a mixture of gloom and groove with Rock strength, hypnotic, but simultaneously kicking. “India” is a meditation/reflection, a subtle cinematic prayer which lead us directly into “Blind”, another Post-Grunge and Dark Rock filled anthem with pulsing guitar riffs and pounding drums, evoking Godsmack’s “Voodoo”, but adding a further Oriental and mystic tone, color to it.
Vajra’s music is hauntingly dark and hypnotic weaving Eastern Indian themes with melodic, progressive rock creating foreboding and mysterious lullabies. Vajra building her own temple and she is the High Priestess.
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (2012)
I am the first to admit, I was 101 % skeptical about this reunion and album. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Lee Roth, some of his bluesy solo releases are absolutely killer cuts, but definitively the best moments of this band were with Sammy Hagar. And well, Hagar teamed up with guitar-God Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and classic Halen bass player Michael Anthony to form Chickenfoot, one hell of a successful hard rock supergroup. So, “the other half” already proved vitality, the expectations were pretty high about this and the comparison – unfortunately for both sides – is almost unavoidable.
And “A Different Kind Of Truth” rocks like s*it, eventually this is one of the best Van Halen albums ever released. The key word it’s “vitality”, the other it’s “energy” and not at least strength, simplicity and feel-good. This is rock’n’roll, power and soulful, filled with humor – verses like “I’ve got Elvis on my iPhone….” or songs as “Stay Frosty” – but played with guts. It’s not brain-surgery, but pumping, pounding Rock’N’Roll. Van Halen scored.
Zardonic – Vulgar Display Of Bass (2012)
Federico Augusto Ágreda Álvarez, best known as Zardonic, is a Venezuelan DJ, producer, remixer, composer and keyboardist, known for his drum and bass act as well as his dark ambient, Black Metal and minimal techno side-projects as Blackholepit. His remix work include tracks for Nine Inch Nails, The Berzerker and Gorgoroth, as well as original releases on Dieselboy’s Human Imprint label and on Skrillex’s OWSLA label.
Expect, harsh, contorted, intense, noisy Dubstep, up to satisfy all the public expectations. This music is extremely groovy, sometimes dark enough, noisy and heavy in almost a Rock/Metal sense, high energy and even a sort of violence. And Zardonic definitively knows exactly what will hit you right in your face and what makes this s*it really banging. “Vulgar Display Of Bass” is a genre bending album of collaboration with a series of other artists and producers such as Counterstrike, Reid Speed, Messinian, Mark Instinct, NumberNin6, Run DMT, Krusha, Omar Santana & Voicians. Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Industrial and Metal are forged into one and will blow up your speakers. If you’re a fan of deadmau5, Skrillex, eventually The Prodigy, definitively you will bang your head off on this one too. I’m just not so sure about the…. revolution. Still, this is a good one, might be even the best in its genre and, on the other hand, “Revolution” is a huge song and not the only, a possible anthem for a future… revolution.