Friday 29 December 2017

2017 End-Of-Year-List - Nicholas Wojcik (Idre)

Oklahoma City's Idre released one of 2017's best post-metal records in the form of "Unforgiving Landscapes" (in my opinion), so it's a great honour for me to bring you an end-of-year-list from the band's drummer Nicholas Wojcik. Here's what Nicholas had to say about his list - 

"Thanks for all your support for Idre. While 2017 was an exciting year for us and the release of our 2nd album, "Unforgiving Landscapes," it was also definitely a year that I found myself, yet again, spending countless hours listening to new releases by other artists. So I'm pleased to be sharing with you some of my personal favorites along with my Top 10."

I hope you enjoy it...

10. Northumbria - Markland (Cryochamber)

There were a number of great releases on the Cryochamber label this year but this one seemed to resonate with me the most and may be my all-time favorite release from this Canadian instrumental two-piece. "Markland" is the second album in a trilogy centered on the Norse discovery of Canada. Comprised of only improvised guitars and bass that take on a variety of tones and textures, the sounds are expansive, organic, and hauntingly mystical. Superbly composed.

9. Fuoco Fatuo - Backwater (Profound Lore)

Fuoco Fatuo are based out of Italy and this is their second LP. This album sees them progressing deeper into their distressing, abyssal dirge that not only calls to mind the solemn, epic, funeral-laden textures of Mournful Congregation and Evoken but the raw, down-trodden atmospheres of Incantation, Portal, and Disma. An enveloping and suffocating opus.

8. Throane - Plus Une Main A Mordre (Debemur Morti)

This is the second full-length from French photographer/illustrator/designer/musical extraordinaire Dehn Sora, often known for his work with Treha Sektori, Ulver, and Deathspell Omega, and features guest vocals from CHVE of Amenra. Fusing elements of dark industrial, doom, post-hardcore, and discordant beauty, the end result is full of tension that pulls you back and forth between quiet and chaos. Perhaps the artist describes it best - "this is a record of cities as tombs, of failing industry, corroding capitalism, fractured lives, divided peoples, isolationism and lack.

7. Perturbator - New Model (Blood Music)

France's Perturbator unleashes a truly unique and exciting EP blending technical, experimental darkwave and out-of-the-box industrial music that continuously shifts and turns in tempo and shape, devoid of comfort and stagnation.

6. Black Mare - Death Magick Mother (Magic Bullet)

This is the second full-length release from Black Mare, the product of its mastermind, Sera Timms (also of Ides Of Gemini), and one of my personal most highly-anticipated releases of this year. Full of all the gothy-gloomy hallmarks of its predecessor, its execution comes off a bit more raw and dark. Additionally are the hidden nuances that not only contribute to the overall sense of mysticism and atmosphere, but continue to lure me back in to see what else I can find hidden below the surface, forcing this album to stay in regular rotation in my daily playlist. A focused, enigmatic, and graceful release unlike anything else I've come across in recent years. Fans of Faith/Pornography-era The Cure, Lycia, Fvnerals, Chelsea Wolfe, etc. take heed.

5. Immolation - Atonement (Nuclear Blast)

I've been a fan of Immolation for more than two decades and can easily attest that for a band that's been around since the good old days of death metal, they really haven't changed their approach to their craft that much. But something about the execution of this record not only led me to put this album in my top 10 of 2017 but it's my favorite release of theirs since the late 1990s. The album is full of speed, technicality, valleys and peaks, and a masterful performance by guitarist Robert Vigna who delivers some truly crushing and dissonant melodies, leads that accompany rather than quash its counterparts, and unique, almost otherworldly harmonics. Fresh, yet familiar, an outright classic in my book.

4. Harvestman - Music For Megaliths (Neurot Recordings)

"Music For Megaliths" is the latest release from Harvestman, the brainchild of Steve Von Till (Neurosis/Tribes Of Neurot). Fusing acoustic and electric guitars, bass, synthesizers, effects, and a hurdy gurdy, amongst other instruments, "Music For Megaliths" is a sonic journey that transcends the realms of folk, drone, noise, psychedelia, and krautrock. A beautiful, meditative, and eclectic masterpiece that's spellbinding and awe-inspiring, this album resides in a unique place where sounds are both ancient and ahead of their time.

3. Godflesh - Post Self (Avalanche Recordings)

Textured synths, buzz-saw bass lines, pounding electric beats, and distorted, down-tuned guitars at times, hazy, forlorn ambience at others, "Post Self" is arguably an album that leans more on the side of their industrial post-punk influence than anything metal but still doesn't fall short of encompassing all the elements of Godflesh's insurmountable discography. A genuine, cathartic, uncompromising work. 

2. Blut Aus Nord - Deus Salutes Meæ (Debemur Morti)

It's safe to say that every time Blut Aus Nord put out a new record, it's guaranteed to make my "best of" list for the year - and there's no exception here. On "Deus Salutes Meæ" we see a continuation to push the boundaries of their strand of electronic-infused avant-garde black metal and crush any conceptions of what their capabilities might be. Each listen proves to be a mind-bending, nightmarish journey of deranged and unsettling disharmony; sounds that penetrate, lodge, and unhinge ones stream of consciousness, only to fill the void with dark hallucinations. Glorious!

1. Spectral Voice - Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (Dark Descent)

After several demos and splits, Colorado-based band Spectral Voice finally delivers their first full-length - a dark, ghostly album with incredible composition, multiple textures, and the ability to hit that sweet spot with every listen. It's the kind of album I continuously search for, rife with classic old school death metal riffs blended with thick, moody, droning, schizophrenic doom, atmosphere, vocals that range from guttural churning growls to screeching whispers, and a raw production that places this album alongside the likes of old Incantation, Grave Miasma, and Disembowelment. Living up to its title, "Eroded Corridors..." conjures images of ominous halls, eerie passages, and cavernous landscapes full of wonder and intrigue. And while I could go on and on trying to properly describe the sheer greatness of this record ad nauseum, perhaps it's best that the reader drop what they're doing and experience it first hand.

Honorable mentions:
A-Sun Amissa - The Gatherer (Consouling Sounds)
Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith (Season Of Mist)
Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper (Profound Lore)
Bagarre Générale - Tohu-Bohu (Music Fear Satan)
Innerwoud/Treha Sektori split EP (Consouling Sounds)
Orannsi Pazuzu - Kevät / Värimyrsky (20 Buck Spin)
Prurient - Rainbow Mirror (Profound Lore)
夢遊病者 (AKA Sleepwalker) - 5772 (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
Karger Traum - Such A Dream (DKA)
Loss - Horizonless (Profound Lore)
Amenra - Mass VI (Neurot Recordings)
Statiqbloom - Blue Moon Blood (Translation Loss)
Monarch - Never Forever (Profound Lore)
Unearthly Trance - Stalking The Ghost (Relapse)
Fister/CHRCH split EP (Crown and Throne Ltd.)
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun (Sargent House)
In The Company of Serpents - Ain-Soph Aur (Self-released)
Come To Grief - The Worst Of Times (Fuck Yoga)
With The Dead - Love From With The Dead (Rise Above)
Tyrannosorceress - Shattering Light's Creation (Tofu Carnage)
Wolves In The Throne Room - Thrice Woven (Artemisia Records)
Wrathprayer/Force Of Darkness split EP (Nuclear War Now! Productions)
Nightbringer - Terra Damnata (Season Of Mist)
Crawl - This sad cadav'r (Red River Family)
Cult of Luna - Years In A Day (Indie Recordings)
Bestia Arcana - Holókauston (Dark Descent)

You can stream and purchase both of Idre's albums, including "Unforgiving Landscapes" via their bandcamp page below:-

I would just like to say thank you once again to Nicholas for allowing me to publish his list. This is the last post of the year. I plan to make 2018 bigger and better, with more reviews, interviews and the newsletter, which you can subscribe to via the pop-up form on here or via the link on the blog's Facebook page. Thanks for the support and interest in 2017.

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