Music Quickies

Quick and dirty reviews. Sometimes formed after the 1st listen, sometimes after 10 years. Reader discretion is advised.

My Reflection – Homeland – Epic symphonic melodic metal

Out of the blue My Reflection published the best song of their history. Extremely symphonic melodic metal with a graceful music video that was shot in a time span of one year to portray Finnish nature and the seasons. The track celebrates the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence.

Homeland should satisfy the fans of bands like Wintersun and Nightwish. The 2 minute intro already cuts the mustard and it warms my heart that the soaring female vocals are paired with strongly grunted, black metallish rasp and some good ol’ blast beating sections.

Before this My Reflection could have been called just another melodic female fronted metal band. They were established in 2007 but only their 2012 album Dreamland Drowning really showed their interest in playing around with the elements. It was a rather good effort, especially as this basic melodic metal album had a few instances of progressive deathcore in the midst. The compositions in general did not cut corners but had ambition and that did bring a few high points. After Dreamland Drowning, My Reflection published a few singles in Spotify that were considerably more poppy melodic metal.

My Reflection has been on hiatus for a few years, this majestic symphonic metal song could not have been more of a surprise!

Lauren Bousfield – Fire Songs – Music Quickies of sorts

a4189338573_10Nero’s Day At Disneyland’s breakcore/gamemusic mesh developed into more artistic and feminine, even electronic indie-pop flirting Lauren Bousfield. BUT the 2017 EP Fire Songs takes a step back towards Nero’s sprained breakcore instrumental music, the electronic indie-pop is largely gone. Is IDM (intelligent dance music) the correct term? What a douche genre name that is by the way. 19 minutes long Fire Songs EP seems like easily the best Lauren Bousfield release. It is a quick starter too, I was really digging it immediately on the first listen. There’s way too little love for EP’s in the world…

Little Half Dead Fire Exits Hi and Piles of Black Dresses… are A-fucking class melody spectaculars with heaviness on beats too. Little Half Dead Fire Exists Hi is almost a melancholic piece, remember the time you got badly burned and were forced to crowdfund your medical bill? Those were the days…

No One3 and CirlGocks (with Omiinindustries, collaboration?) are a step into more atmospheric electro. Girlcocks, i mean Cirlgocks, even does rave beats. The beginning of the album is a strange deja vu “I know this melody from somewhere on her releases, is it a remix?”. Creative continuity of sorts, I dig that. It’s kinda fresh to hear familiar parts in a new context after a long pause from Lauren Bousfield’s music. Here I am on the 4th listen of Fire Songs, 3rd in a row and the album developed into really fucking good. The glitching is gradually getting more pronounced on Lauren’s releases, there’s really a lot of that and it works wonderfully.

Personal crisis often makes musicians give the best out of themselves and it seems this fire certainly did that with Lauren Bousfield. Can we get more good musicians burnt up a bit? Anyone? Please? I’ll pay for the gas.

Best of all, Fire Songs is on Fire Sales! The release is pay what you want in bandcamp! Free download if you so wish:
https://laurenbousfieldanyev3r.bandcamp.com/album/fire-songs

Genghis Tron – Board up the House – Music quickies

R-1242139-1500594095-7229.jpegThe lost bastard brother of The Dillinger Escape Plan slowly created a unique style and broke up after their definitive album Board Up The House in 2008. Genghis Tron mixes mathcore with hardcore and grindcore but with a surprising twist electronic / industrial elements too.

Expect frenzied boosts of speed followed by ambient, sonic mid-paced sections, twisted leads, riff-jams, then an atonal keyboard melody, groove-metal… Just come with an open mind and expect all things in metal, pop, rock and electronic canons. That’s how diverse Genghis Tron is and boy do they make it work. Vocals are mostly very aggressive growled/shouted hardcore vocals, paired with sky-soaring cleans.

9-/10

High Points: City on a Hill, Colony Collapse.

https://genghistron.bandcamp.com/

Summoning – With Doom We Come – Music quickies

R-11361677-1515085236-7610.jpegSummoning has drawn Lord of the Rings influences since the early 90s and does it without resorting to annoying cliches. Sure, the music is pompous, repetitive and doomy but in the right way. If one didn’t happen to know their themes come from Lord of the Rings, it couldn’t be guessed.

As they’ve been really deep in the mythos for a long time, there’s no artificial Merri and Pippin or Aragorn bullshit. But there is a feeling of vastness, glorious mountains and adventure. The slight casionism’s in keyboard sounds can propel some people away but to my delicate casio-ear it is not bad. I guess it helps that the compositions are really strong, unique and epic metal tracks. Monumental, one could say.

Tar-Calion draws middle-eastern influence, showing that they should continue to experiment with melodies. Carcharoth‘s main riff is pretty much the riff of the year. Night Fell Behind sports an extremely atmospheric piano melody with a great riff in a composition that keeps developing and adding new melodic layers. All of these three are in my top 2018 tracks. Silvertine and With Doom I Come are both also really easy to label as very good. That doesn’t leave much to not like in the album. One of the best albums of the year for sure.

9/10

Best music just now – Music quickies

Best music just now, Aether Realm (melodic death metal), Iglooghost (some crazy wonky electronic artist), Carpenter Brut (synthwave/retrowave), Radien (sludge metal) & Saimaa (Finnish progressive poprock for sportsmen).

Æther Realm – Tarot (2017)

a4166387068_10-500x500My face when I was listening to a random rather praised American metal band that turns out sounding a lot like a mixture of Wintersun, Insomnium, Ensiferum and Kalmah. And they do this Finnish melodeath thing supremely fucking well. Every other year I lose my hope on ever finding really good melodeath anymore, then I am proven wrong…

The Fool is probably their most original and best track, but by no means the only great track in the album. Full review of the album has also been released in Like Music To Your Ears.


Iglooghost – Neō Wax Bloom (2017)

669158533299_T35318255470054If you don’t like bright complex electronic music, you might still dig this crazy Irish guy. Must be a love it or hate it artist. As a very raw definition one could say Iglooghost combines IDM, trip-hop / wonky, breakcore, dubstep and bright and fucked up vocal sounds. It has also been called a maximalist album which fits really well as there’s a shit ton of stuff happening.

Once more I didn’t know music like this could exist and be so goddamn logical and mind-boggling at the same time.

I am almost ashmed on how much I dig Neo Wax Bloom, the album does not wear out with tens of listens. Bug Thief is the best electronic track of 2017, hands down. The background story is also worth a mention: “It’s a story about a void named “Mamu” and its destruction by two falling eyeballs. “… OK OK.


Radien – Maa (2016)

Radien-maaFinnish sludgepulverizing. Very hypnotic, mostly based on gigantic riffs, but Radien also flourishes in good spareful use of melodies. Even if you don’t speak Finnish, this is a supreme release. Also free to download from bandcamp!

 

 


Carpenter Brut – Leather Teeth (2018)

R-11608612-1519344046-6788.jpegI am not as taken aback with Leather Teeth, as I’d like to. I expected it to be a full time heavy as shit electronic retrowave joyblast like Trilogy but… It is good but the ridiculously strong melodic themes are not as apparent as on Trilogy. On some tracks like the title track everything sticks together like it should. Bringing in two great vocalists in Ulver’s Kristoffer Rygg and Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures Mat McNerney also helps the case.


Saimaa – Urheilu-Suomi (2018)

R-11561131-1518526844-2996.jpeg

Finnish progressive poprock with full-on sports theme. A lot of 70s/80s resembling instrumental material infused with nostalgic clips from the past, and spoken word sections that somehow remind of electronic occult band Tähtiportti. The totality sums as a really competitive album. It is really not just a classic rock album, but nearly a big-band album too. There’s an array of wind and bowed string instruments and synths. I don’t think a mixture like this has ever been made.

There’s a lot of humour like the over of the top hero story Kuningas (footballer Jari Litmanen). 99 % of the album is really far from normal depressive Aki Kaurismäki like Finnish music tones. Yet out of the blue Saimaa crafts a supremely touching track in Suo Porkka ja Suksi. It tells the tragic story of cross-country skier Mika Myllylä like a Kalevala poem. If you want just instrumental goodness, I recommend the crazy bass leads of Pikataipale.

Even the first part of the double album is too long (77 minutes), hence I made a better 41 minute version of it to a Spotify playlist under this paragraph. You are welcome Saimaa, next time maybe hire me ;)?


Bandcamps:

https://aether-realm.bandcamp.com/album/tarot-2
https://iglooghost.bandcamp.com/album/ne-wax-bloom
https://carpenterbrut.bandcamp.com/album/leather-teeth
https://radien.bandcamp.com/album/maa

Bloque del Sur, BVBEL, Kaschade, Samuel Bone, Fross – Small free download artists – Quick reviews

Bloque del Sur – Periferia

a0021724405_10Groovy easily accessible electro with samples and obscure voice clips. What would industrial be without voice clips! Periferia has both lighter and darker beats and melodies.

The artist describes Periferia as a fresh approach to EBM/industrial, taking elements from 1982-88 golden era and adding tropical bass influences. I’ll be the first to admit that the “golden era of industrial” and “tropical bass” are completely foreign to me. The band hails from Argentina which may explain the tropical but also why my girlfriend without knowing anything of the artist commented about the “weird latino music”! I honestly didn’t even hear the latino influence on Periferia!

Megaperiferia first appeared as a monotonous track but upon checking the video it started to actually benefit from the monotone atmosphere that welcomes new elements sparingly but interestingly. The starting Diagrama is refreshingly more polymorphous with all kinds of textures appearing in the first few minutes.

The subtle background melodies help a lot and affect spontaneous headnodding. Intercommunicador is refreshingly more exotic. I liked Bloque del Sur’s down-to-earth approach upon submitting the release and thus decided to share these few words.

In total an enjoyable small release which I’ve been listening the most of the 5 releases in this post.

Bandcamp:
https://pakapirecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloque-del-sur-periferia
Video of Megaperiferia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kZEyxEfsKI


BVBEL – PRDX2

Cover (1)Beats, the eternal problem. There’s great rap lyricists with lacking backgrounds, then there’s great backgrounds with lacking lyrics. Where does BVBEL come in then? He produces pretty damn stellar backgrounds, but unfortunately without any lyrics at all. Even though it sounds good there’s definitely the vocals missing.

For the most part the beats are pretty memorable. I see no reason why they wouldn’t be good enough for a rap release. The production values aren’t huge but there’s a nice glitchy atmosphere that makes up for the lack of booming. Some clever hooks like the 2nd track 不要 (English translation: Do Not). Most beats that I hear I end up liking a lot less than BVBEL’s. I could love this release with the right lyrical substance.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro792Bvbel-Prdx
BVBEL seems to be very productive as his bandcamp is filled with releases:
https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/
On quick listen tracks like DV-useless show a lot of melodic potential: https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/track/dv-useless


Kaschade – Performance

kaschade-entity-beHei, I heard you came looking for semi-improvised avant-garde saxophone electronic ambient noise, right? Grab Performance immediately! The rest of us, we might just want to take a peek now and then behind a safe distance. Listening 53 minutes in one go without finding other means of entertainment at the same time proved to be quite a task. Even with skipping the 8+ minute harsh noise closer, Golden Balls. But man, is the cover art beautiful!

I’ve had my chaotic noise phase but usually I dig structure. In semi improvised music there tends to be less of structure. But there’s plenty of sound to keep interest up in Kaschade’s Performance: cascades of whizzes, booms, knocks, scratches and most of all ambients. Usually there’s quite a steady beat or a coming and going melodic pattern or certain sound, so it’s not like there’s no structure. There’s definitely an underlying structural sense, but it’s in there deep. Also the organic saxophone adds plenty of value. It’s an interesting ride from psychological spacehorror to psychedelic intergalactic procession.

The spacey feel is ever so present; it feels there’s a vast blackness but it’s not overbearing. The tension is psychological, no sudden senseless loud sounds.

The description at the weblabel Entity’s site is very fitting: “Indeed Performance might well be the soundtrack to an imaginary film, perhaps in the style of film noir or a collection of surreal scenes, as experimental soundeffects produce a constant string of plottwists while spiraling through a wide range of lasting impressions.” If Alejandro Jodorowsky had ever finished his Dune film adaptation, the music could have been something similar to Kaschade’s Performance!

Bandcamp: https://kaschade.bandcamp.com/album/performance-2016
Direct zip download link: https://archive.org/compress/ntt084/formats=VBR%20MP3,JPEG,ARCHIVE%20BITTORRENT,METADATA
Entity Weblabel: http://www.entity.be/entity/


Samuel Bone – Fluctuous

A-SmallCoverFluctuous
marked as obsolete except in archaic usage.
a.
Watery (obs.).

b. Full of, or resembling waves, lit. and fig.

Urban dictionary:
Fluctuous
used to describe a nice ass.

Experimental electronic with solid rhythmic background. Beeps and twerks (not the butt-kind) keep appearing. Quite enjoyable really, some tracks are surprisingly quiet in the mix. Especially Hrathlemore really needs some volume finetuning by the listener to be enjoyable. Like water Fluctuous keeps spilling out of my hands listen after listen.

The release does bring watery substances in mind, first track Drool Cam starts with water burbling sounds.  The next track Chonie has the best melody with a keyboard sound that sounds to be coming from just below the water surface. Uhl is nicely relaxing when Kringle Kan Surplus is really a distorted affair nearing noise. Hrathlemore is quiet, so is the title track, Fluctuous but it is also less noisy, more rhythmic and nicely minimal electro. Quite pleasant really.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro793SamuelBone-Fluctous


Fross – Sombrio

a0453013625_10Fross, from Costa Rica brought some melodic dark ambient with misty woods and mountains to my e-mail box. In the start of his 2016 record Sombrio, there’s something that reminds me of Agalloch. Ilusión Distante also has a hint of low bitrate and minimal ambient in it’s gentle chords. Desolacion is still melancholy but as the album progresses further the last few tracks are quite oppressive.

In total Sombrio lacks depth though. There are some great somber passages like (Desvanecerse) En la Oscuridad. I can hear twinkling and gentle noises in the back that aren’t there but in my head they’d fit there so perfectly.

The use of organic instruments like violin and guitar is most welcome but it does not have much dramatic impact.

The first listen was surprisingly tense as I was waiting for the organic instruments to take the lead and on Petricor I was finally rewarded. The echoing guitar and background blooming sounds great but keeps minimal.

The tension keeps the listen interesting and mood surprisingly fluid. Dark ambient in its oppressive forms is not really my thing but luckily Sombrio is split into airy elements that work well as a gentle background.

Girlfriend’s comment on El Abismo: Submarines and death.

I picked Fross to review by random but also because I liked his approach, not demanding a review but asking if I happened to have the time!