Es Taut came out of nowhere in 2018 and blew me away. Its multifaceted sound was as impressive and emotive as it was accomplished and well-delivered. No wonder it appeared high on my end of year list. Due to this, Anthaupt had a great deal of expectation placed upon it before I even heard a single second of its 66-minute duration. Continue reading “Soldat Hans – Anthaupt (Review)”
Yes, it’s that time of year again! 2021 gave us some very, very good metal, and I feel honoured to have been able to have listened to as much of it as I have done. There are some notable absences, (for me at least), from the below list, but there’s just not enough time or space for everything, dammit!
2020 was a very blackened year for me; I listened to a lot of black metal, and the list for that year reflected that. At the start of 2021 I decided I’d consciously try to ensure I cast my net a bit wider again, reconnecting more deeply with some of many other styles of metal that I enjoy. 2021’s list reflects this. However, I’ve still ended up with much more of a black metal presence in the list than I was initially expecting. What can I say? I’m a sucker for all of the myriad blackened flavours of the style. However, there’s also a lot of other stuff here that I hope you’ll dig into and enjoy too. I felt that there was a notable absence of grindcore in 2021, as well as some of the more extreme styles of doom. What do you think?
I hope you enjoy perusing some of my favourite records from this year, and I hope you find something new to tickle your fancy. What’s your number one this year? Continue reading “Wonderbox Metal End of Year List – Best Metal of 2021”
None but a Pure Heart Can Sing is only 32 minutes in length, but this duration comes with more ideas than many releases double the length. The album is a loose mix of styles and genres, taking an experimental and avant-garde approach to music that finds them combining pretty much all of the post- styles, (metal, rock, hardcore, and black metal), with a diverse non-metal array of genres such as jazz and classical. Continue reading “So Hideous – None but a Pure Heart Can Sing (Review)”
It’s been a while since the vicious malignant dissonance of 2016’s False Highs, True Lows, so how have Plebeian Grandstand spent the time? Mutating and growing, it seems. Continue reading “Plebeian Grandstand – Rien ne Suffit (Review)”
Featuring ex-members of the mighty Usurpress, Gold Spire contains 40 minutes of progressive death metal. In many ways this album is the next logical step on from Interregnum, which is great to hear as that was such a superlative album. Continue reading “Gold Spire – Gold Spire (Review)”
Ephemeris offers a 56-minute journey into darkness. Spreading itself across a range of styles and genres, including post-black metal, dark ambient, noise, doom, jazz, and industrial, the album is a multifaceted collection of apocalyptic soundscapes brought to vibrant life by a talented act. Continue reading “Misanthur – Ephemeris (Review)”
Corpseflower is an intriguing and engaging collection of tracks that mix jazz, post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, and post-rock into a 31-minute progressive/post-black metal framework that also incorporates elements of blackgaze and depressive black metal. Continue reading “Cicada the Burrower – Corpseflower (Review)”
Solar Drone Ceremony was recorded live over a year ago, and consists of a single 54-minute track. The piece is performed by nine people and features a range of different instruments and sounds. Apparently it’s a Continue reading “Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony (Review)”
After enjoying 2015’s Rebellion and 2018’s Escape, when Johannes appeared I knew I had to sample its dark wares. Armed with a new lineup formed around the band’s core artist, Johannes is a 51-minute journey into thoughtful mood-driven darkness.
These new songs are layered explorations of post-blackened detail and nuanced soundscapes. The music is multifaceted and textured, drawing in a range of influences to build on the band’s black metal foundations. The five songs on Johannes are each masters of their own creation, while still fitting into the whole, and provide the listener with a creative and rich landscape to explore.
Each song boasts a lot of content, with a wealth of good ideas and enriching sounds ably showcased by the band. There’s an epic streak to Decline of the I’s music, more apparent than ever in their latest work. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight, while at others it ascends to malevolent prominence. Either way, a certain amount of majestic grandeur is ever-present in the music, and it works very well indeed.
The band’s ability to blend sharp aggression with menacing atmosphere is very effective. I really like the use of guitars on this release. Some of of the riffs and blackened rhythms feel like they cut to the core, and combined with the skilful and inventive use of melodies, contribute to the thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying musical experience that these five songs offer. Lighter moments appear, balancing the blackened heaviness of the distorted sections. Existing somewhere between post-rock, jazz, and experimental atmospheric ambient minimalism, these parts may not be too common, but they add value to the songs.
Piercing screams are joined by darker growls and choral accents. The singers all do a great job, and, like the music, the vocals are very accomplished.
Despite how much I enjoyed both Rebellion and Escape, I think that Johannes is probably Decline of the I’s richest, most complete and well-realised work to date.
Very highly recommended.