Thursday, 30 January 2020

Robinson - The Great City (Repress - Wax Vessel)


Labels: Wax Vessel (Distribution by Zegema Beach Records)
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 20 Oct 2019

Tracklist:

1. The Great City Of Salvation Part I
2. The Great City Of Salvation Part II
3. The Great City Of Salvation Part III
4. The Great City Of Salvation Part IV
5. The Great City In Peril Part I
6. The Great City In Peril Part II
7. The Great City Of Desolation
8. The Great City Of Ruin Part I
9. The Great City Of Ruin Part II
10. The Great City Of Ruin Part III

I'm doing things a little bit out of order here, as Wax Vessel's repress of Robinson's only album The Great City was actually the labels fourth release; however, it's the third release from them that I've picked up. The album was originally released via Debello Recordings in 2006, but was repressed on vinyl for the first time last year and was limited to a run of 200 copies. Wax Vessel have been killing it with their represses and they've brought stellar mathcore back into the minds of many, while their releases are highly sought after (even if that does mean higher re-sale prices online). For anybody who's interested, my copy is on opaque yellow centerburst swirl in natural PVC with red "rise and grind" splatter. All copies were distributed with the help of Zegema Beach Records.

On the back cover of the LP sleeve, the ‘Salvation’, ‘Peri’, ‘Desolation’ and ‘Ruin’ parts count for four tracks, though it does consist of ten songs in total. I understand why they did that because the first six songs alone don’t individually breach the sixty-second mark. I also have to add that the artwork (by Ben Hoagland) and the general aesthetic of the album sleeve is perfect.

Diving into the album opener ‘The Great City Of Salvation Part I’, you’re greeted with thirty-seconds of grinding drumming and guitar. No vocals yet, but things are just warming up and already the heat is intense. ‘The Great City Of Salvation Part II’ is no safe place either as Robinson’s full-on approach takes hold with the addition of those shrieked vocals. ‘Part III’ is an immediate continuation that really accentuates their mathcore. The riffs and time-signatures are head-spinning. ‘Part IV’ tops off this first assault with aplomb, giving absolutely no cause for rest. Brutal isn’t the word.

By the time you reach ‘The Great City In Peril Part I’ you’re already nearing the mid-point of the record. The songs are getting ever so slightly longer here but still just as ridiculous. The perfect mix of old-school grind meets modernity. ‘Part II’ is a cacophony of tech riffs and metallic tones, that rest underneath the crazy drumming and vox. It’s amazing how engaging these short bursts are.

‘The Great City Of Desolation’ is the solitary movement of the record and it’s mix of mathcore, sludge and black metal works so well. Don’t let the sludge and black metal descriptors throw you off though, as this is still fast when it needs to be, but the relaxing of tempos do make it a more varied listen. Following that with ‘The Great City Of Ruin Part I’ and ‘Part II’, Robinson once again moves in pacier strides. Their blasting and off-kilter mayhem taking pride of place at the forefront of the recording alongside the white noise-like screams. I say that because of the rasping nature of them at times. 

Album closer “The Great City Of Ruin Part III’ is where Robinson really lets fly (creatively speaking). It makes up over half of the record’s playing time on it’s own and once again it’s served by big sludge riffs and angular phrasing. Musically, out of the three Wax Vessel releases I’ve reviewed so far, this one if my favourite and the reason why is summed up in this song. It’s haunting with a slight Deftones vibe going on. Add to that some raw black metal-like screams and music that’s more stripped down .and you’ve got yourself what could be a completely different band altogether. With ringing feedback leading you into the song’s final couple of minutes, you’re left with one last glimpse of the madness that was Robinson, distilled through a Crowbar mash. 

My weekend starts tonight and oh my god what a start! I can’t think of a better release that’s received the posthumous vinyl treatment than this one. Hats off to all involved with this. Fantastic!

You can stream and download "The Great City" as part of ZBR's special discography package below:-



Ridiculously, there are still copies of the LP available via Wax Vessel's store here: - 


Monday, 27 January 2020

Agvirre - Interview + Slience EP Review (Trepanation Recordings/Surviving Sounds)

(Photo Credit: Christian Manthey Photography)

In 2019, I embarked on an interview series called Mental Health In Music: A Musician's Perspective. I have no idea about the impact of that set of interviews; however small, until Frenchie from Manchester's post-metal band Agvirre wrote to me and expressed his thanks for doing it. We talked and that talking turned into an interview about the band's new EP and also about the themes around mental health, which have been woven into Agvirre's music. Below is that interview, along with a review of Silence, which was officially released last Friday. Please read on and I hope that you can get something from it, just as I did.

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TNIO: Please can you talk about how Agvirre formed and who is in the band?

Frenchie: Agvirre kind of came to me in April 2018. I was going through one of the scariest bouts of depression I had ever experienced. I'd been making and performing noisy industrial and electronic music under the name Hexagon Trail for a couple of years and I'd started to lose my tether with it, and ultimately packed it in after a show supporting GosT in the same month. It felt like everything was falling apart at this time and I was being swallowed into an abyss, but I was very determined to not succumb to my depression and fought hard to keep my brain active. I distinctly remember feeling miserable and numb on my couch, staring at my dusty electric guitar which I had barely touched in the last two years because I had been playing synths instead. I decided to plug it in and the basis of the songs that make up the Silence EP came pouring out of me very quickly. They came together faster than I'd ever written songs before and in a weird way it felt like those songs had already existed somewhere inside of me and were just begging to be poured out. It's safe to say that Agvirre really helped to lift me out of my depression and in return I've poured my heart, soul and energy into it ever since.

I went to see my good friend Ricardo who I'd already made music with over the years and played him these songs and he felt that they had potential, so throughout 2018 we worked on making demos for them. We originally decided it would be a studio only project called Aguirre, The Wrath Of God, named after the 1973 Werner Herzog movie, but it proved to be a bit of a mouthful to say out loud so we shortened it. Somewhere along the line, we felt that we were really proud of how these demos were sounding and that they deserved to have proper studio recordings and also be performed live.

Later on we found our lovely and wonderfully talented violinist and vocalist Robin by reaching out online. When we first spoke she was a Jersey girl living in Germany, but happened to be moving to Manchester soon. The first day we met, I took her to a Deafheaven concert where we went back-stage and interviewed drummer Dan Tracy. We hit it off and she agreed to help us out. From the start we wanted to work with another good friend known in the local scene as Badger. He is the go-to extreme metal drummer 'round these parts and was already playing in about four or five bands at the time so we were scared to even ask him, but luckily he ended up coming to us and said he wanted to get involved and was looking for a new challenge. We're still fine tuning our live line-up right now so who knows we might see more performers joining our ranks in the future!

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You’re about to release your first EP (Silence on 24th January). How does it feel to be releasing it and what was the writing process you all went through to create it?

We're all incredibly excited about it. It's been a long hard road. We all perform in other bands and have jobs and busy personal lives, so things have come together slowly, but we feel that it has been worth the wait. We said from the start that we wanted to have a finished record to release to people before we ever performed live and we've stuck with that. We're incredibly happy that two wonderful DIY labels have got behind us, with Trepanation Recordings releasing the CD and Surviving Sounds releasing the cassette tape, and their very first release no less. Dan and David respectively have been very patient, very hands on and have worked really hard with us, as well as being super passionate about what we do from the first time they heard us. We really hope other people get into our strange music and connect with the themes that Silence expresses.

As for the writing process, I guess it's a bit strange. We aren't at all a jam band and nothing is written in the rehearsal room. Both me and Ricardo will write our own songs at home, play them to each other and then add our own little insights and fine tune them. If we think it sounds great, then we will work on recording demos together, and once that is done we'll pass them down to the other band members so that they can inject their own magic. Even when we came into the studio, there were parts that ended up growing and changing right at the last minute, which keeps things exciting.

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I originally wanted to interview you as part of my “Mental Health In Music” series and you mentioned that the topic was one of the main subjects that Agvirre covers. Can you expand on this and talk about how you’ve woven it into your music?

I was really drawn to the interviews you have hosted on This Noise Is Ours, and I would like to commend you for bravely taking on such an important subject. The reason the EP is called Silence is because I feel like this word in particular has been following me and haunting me for a few years now. Agvirre wouldn't exist if I hadn't have fallen into a deep and dark depression, so I knew from day one that this is what our lyrical themes would be about. Being a diagnosed sufferer of mental illnesses, it's something I have to live with and think about every day, so I very much wanted Agvirre to talk about real, every day, down to earth things. It's been a very, very cathartic journey for me and I feel like the intensity of our sound and our performances reflects this. It's a safe place where I can pour my heart out and we also want to connect with other people through our music.

Silence can be a killer for those struggling with anxiety, stress, depression and suicidal thoughts and it is even more prominent in males who feel like they cannot talk about their deepest, darkest feelings of sadness and fear. We live in an overly masculine world where society can look down on men who express their deepest emotions. Of course this doesn't just affect men, but a lot of people feel like they can't truly express their darkest feelings for many reasons. It could be out of fear of becoming vulnerable around their friends and family, or perhaps not wanting to burden others, or even the fear of looking like a "woe is me" kind of attention seeker. But in reality, the worst thing a person can do is bottle up their feelings, because that shit can end up devouring you from the inside out. This was very much the lyrical basis for our song 'Muzzle & Mask'; it's about how people might feel awful inside and overwhelmed by these negative feelings, yet still they feel this need to put on a fake smile in order to face their friends, family and colleagues and try and cover up what is really going on. The suicides of Chris Cornell, Robin Williams and Chester Bennington really, really shocked and affected me. Nobody really knew about the internal turmoil that these men were facing, and we knew there had to be a change in the way society perceives mental illness to stop deaths like these happening further. The message hit home even harder when a dear friend and local scene legend, Eytan took his own life. Our record is dedicated to all four of these men.

We think of Agvirre as a collective and because our songs talk about the experiences and struggles of living with mental illness, we chose to reach out to other people who are struggling. Because I work as a music journalist, I really wanted to find a way to incorporate my experiences of journalism into our music, so I held interviews with friends and asked them about their own experiences with mental illness. Some of these responses have been incorporated with permission into our teaser trailers and into key moments of the songs themselves, adding extra texture to the record.   

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You’ve played alongside and personally know some of the people who I featured in that interview series previously. How important do you think it is to keep talking about mental health, especially amongst the DIY and underground “scene”?

It's incredibly important that everyone who may be struggling feels like they should have someone to turn to and not keep their feelings locked inside. We need to lift this stigma that if people are talking about their pain, sadness and personal woes, they are in no way weak, they're not failures and they're not bad people. Talking openly about sadness, depression, mistakes, regrets, anxiety and negative feelings in general is one of the strongest and most empowering things a person can do, and this strength should not be dismissed or looked down upon by anyone.

I'm glad that there are meds, therapy and hotlines available to help people who may be struggling, but that is not enough. Even though we have those tools to help people out, there are still many people out there who are frightened to be vulnerable and feel like they can't open up about their struggles. It is so very important that we think about others as well. It's not good enough to just post up a status on Facebook with a suicide hotline number and then be able to go to bed and sleep soundly, we need to get active. People who are depressed or feeling suicidal have their own subtle ways at hinting about it, even if it is through humour or something as small as an Instagram post. It is important that we learn to recognise when other people may be struggling and reach out to them. It's not hard to just take a minute to check in on someone, ask how they are doing, maybe even send them a meme or crack a joke that will get them laughing or smiling. We've got to look out for each other and those little things can go a long way to helping out somebody in need, but we also need to know how to look after ourselves. It may sound cliche, but it really is okay to not be okay.

Once again I think the interviews you have conducted have been phenomenal and it is great to see that more musicians are opening up about their own experiences with mental illness. In particular I was really drawn to your interviews with Paul Priest and Andy Curtis-Brignell. I joined Paul on tour last year when Hundred Year Old Man asked me to fill in playing synths across Europe. It was a mind-blowing experience because I'd been a total fanboy of HYOM for a couple of years and befriended the band, so to play in a band I adored so much was a dream come true. Paul is someone whose reputation I'd known about long before I'd actually met him as he has played in more bands than anyone I've ever known! His dedication to music is unparallelled and he is a total legend in the UK underground heavy scene. We got on really well on the tour and he is a very gentle and humble guy. We bonded as we were the only vegans in the van, so it was great to have a buddy to help me stay on track travelling across nine different countries! As for Andy, I used to live on the same road as him in Salford, and I've been a fan of Caina for quite a few years and even supported him a couple of times. Caina was one of the first bands I'd ever heard described as "post-black metal" and he is so fearless and has bravely opened up about his own experiences and struggles with mental illness in both his art and in the public eye, so he is a very inspiring person and another local legend. 

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While writing these questions, I was listening to 'Muzzle & Mask', which is currently available to stream via your Bandcamp page. It struck me that there is much more to Agvirre’s music than just post-black metal. Can you talk about what influences your sound and about what other instruments/effects you use in it, besides the usual guitar, bass, drums and vocals?

The common thread that links all of us in Agvirre is that we aren't really full blown metalheads as such. Most of us do really love metal of course, and have played in other metal bands, but we love so many other music genres too and it was important that Agvirre's music reflected this. Both me and Ricardo have made electronic music in the past so we knew that we wanted to incorporate synths and electronic elements into Agvirre. I've always had a fetish for rock and metal bands that incorporate non-rock instruments in interesting ways too, which comes from my love of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Maudlin Of The Well and Kayo Dot, so I began looking for string players and discovered Robin, who comes from more of a folky background. We don't think of Agvirre as strictly "a metal band", but we knew from the start that our music would be heavy, intense and chaotic. I feel like in the future, non-metal genres will play an even greater role in our sound. 

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Once Silence has been released, what are your plans for the rest of 2020?

We're playing things by ear really, but what we can confirm is that we have been back to Noiseboy Studios to record a new song that we hope to release later in the year. We are already very much thinking about our debut full length album, with enough songs already written, and we have already started demoing them.

Our first live performance will be in support of OHHMS and Hundred Year Old Man in Manchester on March 7th and we want to travel further afield, so if you like what you hear and would like to see us play your town, please get in touch!

We have other big plans in the works too but for now, we really hope everyone connects with Silence.

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Labels: Trepanation Recordings/Surviving Sounds
Formats: CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 24 Jan 2020

Tracklist:

1.  Radio Silence (Fill In The ______)
2. Muzzle & Mask
3. Abandonment

Having read through Frenchie's interview answers and felt really moved by the honesty and candour presented, it feels like I'm not going to do this EP justice. It's was officially released last Friday and it marks a big step in the band's progression. Having previously only released a couple of single tracks, including an edited version of 'Muzzler & Mask'. Silence has been released on CD via Trepanation Recordings and on tape via Surviving Sounds (as well as digitally via Agvirre themselves). 

I don’t think people realise how much of a help music can be sometimes. It’s no substitute for talking but it’s always there when you need it. EP opener ‘Radio Silence (Fill In The ______)’ is very much a harrowing intro, taking from the band’s history of noise and injecting it with similarly stark voice samples and haunting violin.

‘Muzzle & Mask’ is where Agvirre’s post-black metal begins to show itself and while the band doesn’t want to be confined to that sub-genre, it easy to hear why it’s been described as being part of their sound. The violin played by Robin is effective in adding a calming edge to the music, while the percussion performed by Badger nestles neatly in the background, allowing the rest of the instrumentation and vocals to take more of a central stage. Musically, there are comparisons I could make here but that would be entirely missing the point of Agvirre’s music. The clean, choral vocals that adorn the song are scary and sobering, but even more so are the samples that Frenchie talked about in the interview above. The various movements of the song that are formed by heavy black metal, soothing instrumental passage and an intelligent mix of both of those, turn it into a journey and one that brings a whole host of emotions to bare.

Following ‘Muzzle & Mask” was going to be a hard task indeed but with 'Abandonment’, which also stretches past the twelve-minute barrier, Agvirre once again uses countless layers and textures to bring their sound and their message to life. It proves that it’s not always the heaviest, most aggressive music that hits home the hardest. Sometimes, it’s the more subtle and melodic music that reaches you. That’s definitely the case here. As the previous song was born of a place more angry and violent, ‘Abandonment’ feels more positive and homely. It’s amazing how all of the music contained on Silence can make you think, yet by the end it leaves you not with dark thoughts but with bright and happy ones. That’s really all we can ask for in life. 

You can stream and purchase Silence digitally below:-




Physical CD and Tape versions can be purchased from the links below:-

All that's left if for me to say a massive thank you to Frenchie for taking the time to answer my questions and being so gracious. Also, thank you to everybody who reads this. 

Also, if you want to speak to somebody, know someone else who does or just want to donate, please go to either of the below links:-

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Lychgate Releases New Song (New EP due for release in March via Debemur Morti Productions)


March 2020 will see the release of new EP "Also Sprach Futura" by UK black/doom metal experimentalists Lychgate. The artwork that will adorn it's cover is above. As a precursor to the EP, Lychgate has made the song Progeny Of The Singularity available for streaming. Nearly two years have gone by since the release of their last album "Contagion Of Nine Steps" and this time the band will be working alongside Debemur Morti Productions. You can stream the new song and pre-order the new EP on all formats below:-



Lychgate’s forward-thinking approach to black metal and indeed extreme metal has been well documented since the band's inception and Progeny Of The Singularity takes it to the next level with a sound made up of uncomfortable orchestral tones, rabid black metal and song-writing that takes you down both extreme and comforting paths through the song’s playing time. It’s not an easy listen but Lychgate has never been a band that focuses on that. It takes educated extreme metal and pushes it forwards, away from the black metal roots that gave birth to it. This should have you captivated and  help to prepare you for the full release of “Also Sprach Futura”. I will have a full review of the EP coming soon.

Special limited vinyl box sets, standard 10" vinyl and digipack MCDs are all available via bandcamp above, alongside the digital version.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Bile - Demo (Self-Released)


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 14 Jan 2020

Tracklist: 

1. Serpent
2. Humanity
3. Parasite Society
4. Club Ratz

Next Friday evening (31st Jan) will see the first gig by new Harrogate-based promoter Snicklefritz Promotions. Alongside Dregz and Fatalist from Leeds, newly formed Harrogate powerviolence band Bile will make their live debut at the show. They released their first EP digitally about a week ago now, so it seems like a good time to give it a pre-listen before the gig next week. P.S. I've been asked to review the night in question, so depending on my booze intake you can expect some cobbled together words and blurry photos or something that actually resembles a well thought-out article.

PV is best served fast and loud, which Bile does straight off the bat. Screeching feedback/electronics lead to raging grindcore madness and sludgy riffs on EP opener Serpent. The instrumentation and vocals alike seem unhinged (which, ironically is also the title of Bile’s first ever song. See what I did there!). Humanity follows directly on in true violent fashion, but amongst those raw vocals they leave some room for introspective, slow mosh.

Their social commentary is mixed with metallic, avant-garde flourishes on Parasite Society. Strains of mathcore can be heard amongst the filth and it’s over before you know it. Bile might have written final song Club Ratz about the very place they’ll be playing next Friday, but then again maybe not. Either way, they leave you with a hammer blow to the skull and a severe case of whiplash (if only I had long hair). 

Too many local PV bands have come and gone in recent years; for example NxAxA and Scum, but it’s good to know that the sub-genre is still giving birth to new faces. This demo is short but it doesn’t need to hang around too long, that’s not how it works. Bile will be as engrossing live as they are recorded.

You can stream Bile's demo and grab it as a name-your-price download below, where you can also check out Unhinged:-






Also, here's the event page for next Friday's gig at Retro bar in Harrogate. If you're in the area, get down and have a great night - https://www.facebook.com/events/.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Basic Bitches - Relatable Content EP (Hell Hath No Fury Records)


Labels: Hell Hath No Fury Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 25 Apr 2019

Tracklist:

1. You Know I'm Right
2. Real Nice Guy
3. They Oughta Put Us In Lights
4. Cat At The Party

It's a Monday evening and I can't wait for January to be over. It's not been the easiest of months in my day job so far and I've been self-medicating with music (even though I haven't necessarily written about all of it). Tonight, I'm writing the second in my mini Hell Hath No Fury Records series, focusing on NY queer riot-grrrl duo Basic Bitches and their 2019 EP "Relatable Content". These two empowered women are exactly why Hell Hath No Fury Records was set up in the first place, so the least we can do is listen and enjoy the heartfelt music they play!

This is fucking great. Straight away, it’s loud and angry. You Know I’m Right is the perfect take on the guitar/drum-duo with a mix of danceable punk and palpable grit. Going by the stance that Basic Bitches take towards men, Real Nice Guy is telling those “dudes” exactly how they shouldn’t act. It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek fashion but it’s message is clear. Remember, you’ll earn more respect if you respect women.

The pop sensibilities of They Oughta Put Us In Lights are plain to see because of the riffs, percussion and sassy garage rock vocals. I apologise if sassy is seen as an insult in any way, it’s not meant to be. What I’m trying to say is that this is so simple in structure, but perfect in delivery and catchy as hell! Final song Cat At The Party carries on the second-half of the EP in the same fashion as the number it follows, by being great fun. As you can tell by the picture at the top of their bandcamp page (if you look), Basic Bitches really like cats so this is no surprise.

This EP shows both their serious and not-so-serious sides. You don’t have to employ ample amounts of reverb, feedback or harsh vocals to have a good time. Basic Bitches manage to get your under skin without any of those things and boy are good!

You can stream and buy "Relatable Content" digitally via bandcamp below:-



CD copies can be purchased from Hell Hath No Fury Records via their webstore:-

Saturday, 18 January 2020

2019 End-Of-Year List From Mikey Ortega (This Noise Is Ours Contributor/Reader/Noise Musician)

Here's the second EOY list, this time from longtime overseas friend, noise musician and occasional review contributor Mikey Ortega. Mikey provided a list last time I did this early last year, so it only seemed right for me to include another one of his lists, as his music taste is way more varied that mine. I hope you enjoy this one.

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Another year has gone by, and in a few days not only will we be starting a new year, but a new decade. The 2010’s has been a really interesting one. Lots of bands and artist I would have never thought I’d be a fan of. Doom Metal and Noise have mostly dominated my music collection. But as the years gone by, post-punk, indie, and folk, have been creeping up into my playlist. While compiling my list for Best Of 2019, I’ve noticed that my Top 10 doesn’t consist of Metal bands. Of course there’s some heavy bands and artists, but I wouldn’t consider them “METAL”. I have to admit, this is a list that I’m very proud of and I hope someone will take the time to check out some of these albums.


10. GOLD - WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING?



When this Dutch band put out OPTIMIST back in 2017, I thought they were a killer addition to the Post-Rock/Post-Metal scene. With WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING?, Gold have established a sound that can only be there’s. Once you listened to “He Is Not”, you can’t mistake that what you’re listening to is a Gold song.




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9. ANGEL OLSEN - ALL MIRRORS




If there’s one thing to say about ALL MIRRORS, it’s that it shows how much Angel Olsen has grown as a musician and a songwriter. Every track was composed with a very dreamy tone that only an inspiring singer-songwriter can dream of. It’s awesome to see all the attention that it’s brought to Angel Olsen, which goes to show what an amazing album ALL MIRRORS is.



Angel Olsen Website - https://angelolsen.com/

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8. VR SEX - HUMAN TRAFFIC JAM



Never in my life did I ever thought a post-punk album will make me feel dirty. Not only by the lyrics but the music arrangement and tone. Even though this features a member of Drab Majesty, VR Sex is nothing like Drab Majesty. This is more raw and dark, but still you can still dance to the songs.  HUMAN TRAFFIC JAM will make you feel like you’re in a dark underground club in NYC or London.




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7. SUN BLOOD STORIES - HAUNT YOURSELF



One of many bands that cemented my love for the Boise music scene. After listening to IT RUNS AROUND THE ROOM WITH US back in 2017, I’ve been anticipating for what Sun Blood Stories will brew up next. And HAUNT YOURSELF did not disappoint.  It’s everything that you expect from Sun Blood Stories. Not that HAUNT YOURSELF sounds like their previous album.  It’s that it goes to show that Sun Blood Stories are capable to take their sound and songwriting to the next level.



Sun Blood Stories Website - https://sunbloodstories.com/

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6. CHELSEA WOLFE - BIRTH OF VIOLENCE




I did not think that BIRTH OF VIOLENCE would be on this list. But after many many listens, this album has become a favourite of 2019. Of course this is nothing like HISS SPUN. But this is a perfect combination of Chelsea Wolfe’s early acoustic stuff and her current work. The album was promoted as an acoustic album, but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be a “return to roots” album, but BIRTH OF VIOLENCE turned out to be more than that and goes to show why I will continue to be a Chelsea Wolfe fan.



Chelsea Wolfe Website - http://www.chelseawolfe.net/

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5. BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT - VEILS OF WINTER




One of my favourite finds of 2019. VEILS OF WINTER by Blackwater Holylight is a heavy album that you will find yourself singing along to. This Portland band made a killer album that crosses doom and 90’s indie/alternative rock. The riffs are awesome and the harmonies are amazing.  It’s one of the reason I love the PNW scene. Definitely one of the best releases that Riding Easy Records has put out.



Blackwater Holylight Website - https://www.blackwaterholylight.com/

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4. SWANS - LEAVING MEANING

Another album that I’ve been anticipating for 2019. A while back, Michael Gira mentioned how the recent Swans line-up was coming to an end. So it only made me wonder how the new line-up was gonna turn out like. Upon hearing the first single “It’s Coming It’s Real”, it really made me excited for LEAVING MEANING. Swans continue to bring a whole new experience to the listeners and take them on a trip to the mind of Michael Gira. Gira’s vocals still bring a chill to my spine and with the way the music was composed, it really made for a great experience that only Swans can create.



Young God Records/Swans Webstore - https://younggodrecords.com

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3. ORVILLE PECK - PONY



Holy shit! I have not been excited for a country album since Nico Case. Really surprise to see Orville Peck on a legendary label like Sub Pop. And after listening to PONY, I can see why Sub Pop added Orville Peck to their roster. This isn’t the kind of country that you hear on mainstream. This is very old school and very fresh to hear. Orville Peck has a voice that you hardly hear anymore and with adding elements of indie and shoe gaze, it really makes PONY stand out, not only in country, but music in general. Yee-haw!



Orville Peck Website - https://www.orvillepeck.com/

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2. THE FRENCH TIPS - IT’S THE TIPS



This is a band that KRBX in Boise, Idaho really got me hooked on. The French Tips created an album that is a perfect combination of melody and attitude. IT’S THE TIPS is a album with some bad ass tracks and catchy songwriting. With songs like “Buzzkill” and “Burn It Down”, it does bring me back to the days of college, watching bands playing at a DIY venue. Just hearing the album, you can tell they put their heart and soul into this and because of that, I was really able to connect with the record and it is why it made my list.




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1. LINGUA IGNOTA



Any Extreme Metal band that put out an album in 2019, I like to think that they knew they would be no match to what Kristen Hayter was going to unleash. For a couple of years, there have a been a huge buzz surrounding Lingua Ignota. 2017’s “ALL BITCHES DIE” left a huge impression on me. It reminded me of why I love experimental music. With “CALIGULA”, this album exceeded all of my expectations. It not only shows that Hayter is a amazing composer, but that she really knows how to think outside of the box. And because of that, “CALIGULA” sounded very refreshing. The rawness and dark atmosphere are taken to a whole new level. It’s not a album that tries to scare you, but make you understand of the World we live in.



Lingua Ignota Website - https://linguaignota.net/


Mikey eluded to this in his opening paragraph, but his list is probably the "least metal" list that you'll read on a site that covers the genre. That's okay though, because with the lines between genres continually being blurred, so it makes complete sense. Thanks to you Mikey for sending this in.