Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Top 10 Worst Albums of 2018


It is that time again. Here we take a look at the worst albums of the year. They come from various genre's though most are sadly on the harder side and either punk or metal, with a few wanting to be metal. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking, on other lists I also used how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album , but since I only listened to these once and was glad to be done, we are just going by how low they scored. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top ten worst albums of 2018.

10-Pink Cocoon-"Alienation" 

 This band from Montreal plays a Feedback soaked style of proto-doom. Even with the raw sound of their mix some interesting guitar tones seep out. The vocals sound more like they are from an indie rock band than a harder rock band. The guitar solos consist of trickling chaos and melting effects pedals.While a finely tuned ear can pick out where all of this is coming from, hip teenage on drugs, who are into the Flaming Lips but want something with a more dangerous edge that is not as heavy as metal might latch onto this album. It might have been more common place in the 90s and would have appealed to the college crowd them. As it is this album started off a better listen then kinda fell off course when the drugs kicked in for them. 

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/06/pink-cocoon-alienation.html



9-Mammoth Grinder-"Cosmic Crypt"

  In music journalism there seems to be two schools of thought either paint the band into the picture of who you want your audience to be or if you are really into kissing a record label or P/R companies ass, paint them into being who they want them to be. I try not to play into either school and try to just call a spade a spade . It's what I used to like about rap from the 80s or 90s they had a quality control and used to call out rapper who were whack, These days that only happens in the comment section of music blogs and tend to devolve into trolling with not reference point or fact. I can say this band is not whack as they are good at what they do , however what they do is very easy to define. I think these guys benefit from the fact that they come in so heavy it makes it sound like there is more of an original flavor than might really be there it's not until the fourth song "Divine Loss" that I am able to hear a clear cut distinction between songs.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/01/mammoth-grinder-cosmic-crypt.html



8-Machine Head- "Catharsis" 


 While they are not letting freedom ring with a shot gun blast, the first song was aggressive enough to almost work though on the second listen it seemed like they were angry in the same way Slipknot is angry. If you think that is a good thing then we are going to have differing views on what we want out of this album. There were only two songs that did much for me. These guys know what they are doing I would expect something a little more mature from a 50 year old rather than teenage temper tantrums, that brand of angst could be more refined.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/01/machine-head-catharsis.html



7-Thou- "the House Primordial"

 I guess this album got my ears tuned up to review the new album from the Body that was sitting in my in-box.The Body was better and I normally don't like them. The first two songs were decent and the rest of the album is really heavy. Once again they latch onto heaviness without committing to writing an actual song. They have some good sounds and it's disappointing that they did not live up to the promise of the first two songs, but if you need heavy as fuck then this is for you

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/05/thou-house-primordial.html




6-Light the Torch -"Revival" 

 How is Howard Jones doing now that he is not in Killswitch Engage? Well that depends on what side of the band did you like?A- The side that owed more to 80s thrash metal than Myspace?Or B- the big hooky choruses that made them more accessible.If you answered B, then you can go check your friend's list on Myspace and masturbate to the girls that never talked to you on their in the first place on there because they were porn robots. Now for the rest of us who like heavy music. This album sounds more Sevendust than Killswitch Engage. This gets worse with each passing song

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/light-torch-revival.html


5-Portal-"ION"

 Things were getting weird. It was my first time sitting down and giving a solid listen to one of the albums from this Australian project albums. I have heard lots of good things, and caught a song here and there, but never immersed my self in them. These guys have said fuck accessible we are going straight for crazy as god damn hell.It opens with noise and then bursts into noisy discordant chaos that can be linked to the DNA of death metal. It's not something I need to listen to more than once. If you like both noise and death metal in a blender then this is more your speed

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/01/portal-ion.html



4-Ghost-"Prequelle"

 Everything following this band's first album has fallen flat. It's not been metal, which isn't the main problem. The main problem is the fact that it has sounded like Abba covering Blue Oyster Cult. Yep some real Satanic shit if you are a fucking pussy. So "Rats" the lead single off this album was encouraging as it sounds like they are now trying to rip off "Bark At the Moon" era Ozzy. since only the first half is worth a shit. If you think this is metal, the world doesn't need you and I encourage taking the needed measures like walking out into traffic as it is what Satan would want.


https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/06/ghost-prequelle.html


3-Cemetery Lust- "Rotting in Piss"

 If you put Venom, Possessed and early Slayer in a blender the results would be this band. Those are all bands I liked a lot in high school. The energy they recapture certainly carries the first song. Then things go down hill, it's so redundant it fades into the background. Thrash should hit you , have sharp enough hook to grab your attention and keep you coming back for more. If you are too young to know better then I would suggest checking out albums like "Show No Mercy" and "Seven Churches"

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/06/cemetery-lust-rotting-in-piss.html



2-Bullet For My Valentine- "Gravity" 

 If you are looking for these guys to get heavy this is clearly not the album for that. They are given you a collection of power ballads for millenials who missed out the 80s, but through a filter of slick production that makes most of the radio rock sound the same. They fully commit to bringing the ballads and break out the acoustic guitars on the last song. Selling out made sense back in the day when people bought albums , but now not so much. If your goal is to get on a tour with the Foo-fighters then maybe. I'll give this one a 4 as it wimps out at every turn and is not true to who they used to be, not that who they were was that hard core in the first place , but I prefer the more Motley Crue version of this band

. https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/06/bullet-for-my-valentine-gravity.html
 

1-Zeke - "Hellbender" 

 This one might have gotten the lowest score I have given an album, since lower than 3 means I typically can't get past three songs. Good thing they were short as it made it a little less painful. I would tell you if you are into this sort of thing to round it up to a 3, but chances are you will die of alcohol poisoning before you get a chance to make it through this entire album that for some reason Relapse records is seeing fit to release, I guess they need a tax shelter. I was about to say to take into consideration that I am not the biggest fan of punk, but that's not right as I do like punk done right with some thought put into the three chords it uses. https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/zeke-hellbender.html

The Top 10 Albums of 2018



It is that time again. This lists takes from the best of lists from all genres and lets the artists in the top slots slug it out. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking , but also how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new blood. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top albums of 2018.






10-Street Sects - "the Kicking Mule"

The Texas duo returns with a more aggressive effort, even when the vocals are not harshly screamed the sneering death rock like tenor spits out dirty pictures of humanity in his lyrics. More manically frantic the songs effectively merge chaos and songwriting. So creepy in it's intent the results are what I imagine to be the soundtrack to a serial killer's internal dialogue.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/gothtober-street-sects-kicking-mule.html



9-Voices- "Frightened" 


 Former members of Akercocke formed this progressive metal band. The dark sense of melody further into this album with each listen . It has a wide array of vocal colors. The metal core of what these musicians creates from doesn't hamper it from bringing other elements ranging from post-punk to post- hardcore, though I guess these post-men aren't just ringing twice as any other post-sub genre can also be found. This album is very impressive, when I got it back in April it was what I thought to be one of the first contenders for album of the year as I could not imagine someone bringing it in the dark and aggressive fashion these guys do, but alas three other bands did in fact do it better.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/voices-frightened.html






8-Ilsa- "Corpse Fortress"

 This band is refusing to hold back on  on their debut for Relapse Records. The band's 5th full length finds them continuing to hammer skulls in with the sheer density of their blown out sludge. Dirty and squealing with feedback. The vocals are phrased in a way that that give the coarse scathing shouts almost more of  sung feel. The lyrics cut through better with this delivery. They shift back into more of a low end pounding that owes more to doom when it comes to the ominous rumble as the momentum continues to build. The flatulent bass can be heard in the din at times, but it generally hits you as one frequency. This album earned multiple listens I think it is a huge step forward for the band


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/ilsa-corpse-fortress.html


 7-Dead Can Dance-"Dionysus" 

 It works more of the hypnotic atmosphere. It is not unusual for their songs to have this more sound track like quality. It is a wild juxtaposition to their previous album which was more accessible in it's song structure. "Liberator of Minds" does have a more serpentine groove that you could dance to if you were into touch with your more sensual primal side. In other words when it begins to move I immediately thought, my girl friend could dance to this.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/gothtober-dead-can-dance-dionysus.html



6-Hangman's Chair -"Banlieue Triste"


 This French band has been around for 13 years, so I am not sure how they have eluded me. In terms of conventional metal, they might not fit neatly into the box. They are heavy in the bleak mood they create. This depressing mood brings them closest to doom if they have to defined. The vocals are the key selling point for me as not a note is wasted and they really sell me on the lyrics. They are in a similar zip code as "Viva Emptiness" era Katatonia, but carrying even more despair. The reason they beat Evoken is while "Hypnagogia" is a beautiful album, it's so dense and grandiose, the songs don't hook me in to demand as many listens as this album did which what I need when I forget to take my meds in the morning.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/08/hangmans-chair-banlieue-triste.html


5-Pianos Become the Teeth - "Wait For Love" 

 There fourth album is another picture of this band's dramatic evolution. If you go back and listen to their first album it doesn't even seem like the same band. Gone is the explosive energy and the screamed vocals. They are capable of going at it with an almost Jawbreaker like drive on "Charisma". The vocals are plaintive, but well placed. The guitar don't told much in terms of distortion and works off of a dream like jangle more often than not. While other albums might have scored higher on the initial listen this one earned it's place in heavy rotation and I actually listened to it more than the other albums.


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/pianos-become-teeth-wait-for-love.html



4-Emma Ruth Rundle - "On Dark Horses" 

 It's not as dark and it's more of a straight up rock album. However over time this album grew on me. Sometime it made me think of Jimi Hendrix playing country music. In other words Dave Navarro. Loose jazzy jam quality, the vocals are a little moodier. I am open to her expanding her sound as I certainly didn't want her just to re-hash "Marked For Death". The least driving album on the list, but the most emotionally layered. 

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/09/emma-ruth-rundle-on-dark-horses.html



3-Chrvches- "Love is Dead"

 This band was my methadone to ween me off a violent addiction to Taylor Swift's "1989" album. For the most part it worked only to get me hooked on their sugary electro pop. Things are only getting worse in the best possible way from there. Lauren Mayberry has lost the goth trappings of her look, and this album might not be the same shade of gray we have heard from them previous.It's well crafted and stays true to what they do without coming across like a sell out. It has more balls than most of the pop these days and doesn't skimp on the sugar.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/05/chvrches-love-is-dead.html



2-Pale Waves- "My Mind Makes Noises"


 I've; described this band to friends as a mix of Taylor Swift with the Cure. The opener is pretty bubble gum, but well done for what it. You don't get to hear the meat of what they do until "There's a Honey". The hook in the chorus is subtle, but I've woken up at 4 AM with it in my head as I stumble to the bathroom. It's songs like this one that have provided a soundtrack to my summer and navigating the first feelings of a new relationship.This band proves Brit pop doesn't have to have anything to do with the Beatles.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/09/pale-waves-my-mind-makes-noises.html


1-Strvngers- "Amor Noir"

 Beating out well known goth icons, this new act out of Canada claimed the throne this year due to the hooky nature of their songs. The dynamic range of this albums goes from future pop to bouncy anthems coated grandiose and cinematic swathes if apocalyptic majesty. A pornographic kink them drips from the bump and grind of the more often darker industrial strength shadow stomp that rocks the dance floor.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/strvngers-amor-noir.html

The Top 10 Pop Albums of 2018



It is that time again. Pop is music that is fun, and sometimes after a day of listening to death metal for four hours I just need something to cleanse my palate. Pop is encompassing country and rap as well, as long as it's approached from a more mainstream angle. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking, though I did not review all of these albums so I relied more on how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new blood. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. But since all of these album's don't have reviews, I think you kids know how to use Google and find them if you want to check them out. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top 10 pop albums of 2018.




10-Culture Abuse- "Bay"

The traces of hardcore continued to be shed as the opening is a lazy British beach ballad. Even at this point calling it post-punk would be an exaggeration of the word punk. I can hear more Brit pop and new wave in the almost more 80's like sheen that is buffed out by a warm organic mix. Speaking of pop it is hooky and has more pogo in it's bounce than say the Drums, but the melodies do reach a similar zip code.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/07/culture-abuse-bay-dream.html




9-Ghost World - "Spin"


 Pop doesn't have to be an ugly word. This band from Finland draws from what it meant in both the 70s and 90s. Either that or this is what it sounds like to get stoned and play pop songs with actual instruments. The vocals have a touch of Stevie Nicks in how they warble with vibrato slightly. The guitar melodies glide with single notes in a manner that owe props to the Cure.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/08/ghost-world-spin.html




8-Travis Scott-"Astroworld" 


 This is the kind of album guys like Future and Young Thug used to make it. Both of those guys put out rather lack luster albums, so this kind of fills that void. Auto-tuned vocals that are almost sung than rapped. This is hip that is pretty accessible, trap for the suburbs for sure. With that said it hooks that keep themselves around and you returning for multiple listens and when it comes to pop that is what matters.
 

7-Kacey Musgraves-"Golden Hour"

This is another album I did not review as it's too mainstream. It is driven by "High Horse" which is a perfectly crafted. The other songs might not be album to touch this one but have a very lazy 70s feel to them and are more country than even Swift's earlier albums. Her voice is soothing though she sings in the same range for the bulk of the album, it's still relaxing and fun.





6- the Weeknd- "My Dear Melancholy"

 I was afraid that he might have become too preoccupied with being a TMZ personality and consumed with the celebrity to focus on music. He has  enough in the way of personal drama to fuel a song or two , but would this happen. If he pushed the pop envelope further I felt he was going to lose what set him apart from the other mainstream r&b singers, though artist could apply to him the same can't be said of his peers who are closer to being entertainers than musicians. My fears were laid to rest as picks up where he left off before "the Beauty Behind the Madness" . It has a much darker feel to it and employs some of the pitch shifted vocals that remind me witch-house

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-weeknd-my-dear-melancholy.html




5-Cypress Hill- "Elephants on Acid"

 It was on "Temples of Boom" where their music took a darker turn. There was a few shifts as the landscape of hip hop changed over the years , but for the most part they have retained a distinct sound. This is not them putting auto-tune on their voices , but taking what they do and putting against different sounds. It opens with more of a psychedelic feel and organic instrumentation. Lyrically they stay sharp. When you are a rapper from California , rapping about weed which was their stock and trade is like rapping about Slim Fast.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/11/cypress-hill-elephants-on-acid.html



4-Twin Shadow-"Caer

" Never got around to reviewing this one, and truth be told I could stand to spend more time with this album, but when I hear these songs they beg for more listens so it's easier to get stuck on one. I think it's not quite at the level of "Eclipse" but that is a pretty high bar and when it comes to pop this album is better than all but three.

3-Post Malone-"beer bongs & bentleys"

 Another one I did not review,as I am sure people who are into this guy know what to expect and while I know I do review artists like Taylor Swift, it's because of some odd left field obsession, but since we do have a pop list then its the right time and place to discuss this album. It's not hip hop, though this is where hip-hop would go...Cypress Hill any one? This is a fun album that is like Justin Beiber with more of a gangsta edge when it comes to the lyrics , though he does get his feelings hurt to much to be a gangsta, still it's a fun album.



2-Chrvches- "Love is Dead"

 This band was my methadone to ween me off a violent addiction to Taylor Swift's "1989" album. For the most part it worked only to get me hooked on their sugary electro pop. Things are only getting worse in the best possible way from there. Lauren Mayberry has lost the goth trappings of her look, and this album might not be the same shade of gray we have heard from them previous.It's well crafted and stays true to what they do without coming across like a sell out. It has more balls than most of the pop these days and doesn't skimp on the sugar.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/05/chvrches-love-is-dead.html






1-Pale Waves- "My Mind Makes Noises"


 I've; described this band to friends as a mix of Taylor Swift with the Cure. The opener is pretty bubble gum, but well done for what it. You don't get to hear the meat of what they do until "There's a Honey". The hook in the chorus is subtle, but I've woken up at 4 AM with it in my head as I stumble to the bathroom. It's songs like this one that have provided a soundtrack to my summer and navigating the first feelings of a new relationship.This band proves Brit pop doesn't have to have anything to do with the Beatles.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/09/pale-waves-my-mind-makes-noises.html

the Top 10 Metal Albums of 2018





It is that time again. This lists takes from the best of the other metal lists and is a cross genre best of list. The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking , but also how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new bloods. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top 10 metal albums of 2018.







10- LLNN- "Deads"

 Hard core might be at the beating heart of this monster. What I like most is the sonic intensity. They are brutally aggressive, but don't stop there possessing a wider scope of dynamics.Not unlike bands such as Nails or Hexis, where many different sub-genres collide. This band is powered by a dark metallic hard-core draped in cinematic ambiance.


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/llnn-deads.html







9-Ruin - "Human Annihilation"

 These guys offer a few things I like it my death metal. First and foremost their shit sounds dark. The opener is pretty dense and they do not rely on just speed. There is certainly an old school feel in what they do though it has a blown out quality that is not over produced so I can see how it might appeal to hipsters who were into punk last year. Also their songs are very short and to the point. But also well written



https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/11/ruin-human-annihilation.html


8-Messa - "Feast For Water" 

 My first thought when I heard them was this is like a metal version of Lana Del Ray. The tempo picks up and they fall closer in line to other "occult" rock of their ilk like Christian Mistress. There is more raw rumble going when they gain speed than what their peers typically muster. It's the dreary mood that kept them from just being lumped into stoner rock.


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/messa-feast-for-water.html



7-Totalselfhatred - "Solitude" 


7 years since their last album, they once has a more aggressive take on depressive black metal,but it is hard to complain about what goes down as it's so well done. My ears can not escape the fact that the first song falls neatly into the depressive black metal box, where their earlier work had more of a unhinged feral quality to it. I also don't remember synths and piano playing as big of a role as they do here. The album really needed to be played loudly in order to soak in all the layers. Maturity is one of this album's characteristics. Gone are the rock god solos, but everything well played, with no doubt they are excellent musicians who have grown up to serve the song. They are little more mellowed with time, but with a wider depth of emotion.


https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/02/black-metal-history-month.html



6- Evoken-"Hypnagogia"

 After six years of waiting the Jersey doom band proves why they are America's best when it comes to not only funeral doom, but doom as a whole. This finds them picking up where they left off with "Atra Mors". Sonically it feels similar from a production stand point. Mood wise the atmosphere might be thicker. It's pretty dark, though perhaps not as filled with despair as the previous album. Lyrically it uses World War 1 as a metaphor to things they were going through at the time. This is done without the need to maintain some contrived narrative that concept albums tend to have. These guys are masterful songwriters who don't feel the need to drone on to make their point. The beginning is dreamy with low goth like vocals to bring a darker shade against the music. It builds as needed to give them a big metal ending draped in mournful strings that gets better with each listen.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/evoken-hypnagogia.html





5- Pestilence - " Hadeon"


 Bassist / vocalist Patrick Mameli is carrying the torch for this band that dates all the way back to 1986. Even with all of the new blood this takes you back to the early days of death metal when it met at the intersection of thrash. This album won me over, it came out early in the year so it also gave me the false hope that this was going to be a good year for death metal, but only one album out shined it when it comes to death metal.


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2017/12/pestilence-hadeon.html





4- Necros Christos -" Domedon Doxomedon"


 A step in a direction that is more melodic and straight forward . They have come out from the murk of cavernous reverb to have a more organic sound. Gone is the darker Incantation worship. For matter there are few moments that sound like Morbid Angel. The vocals carry more of a croak, than the deeper growl I remember from these guys. Due to this the lyrics are more discernible. They are also more of a focal point with the opener being a clear cut take on the Jesus myth.In a genre that often is a one trick pony fueled only by aggression, this album has a range of dynamics and solid songwriting that proves death metal can be much more than that.


https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/necros-christos-domedon-doxomedon.html



3-Voices- "Frightened" 


 Former members of Akercocke formed this progressive metal band. The dark sense of melody further into this album with each listen . It has a wide array of vocal colors. The metal core of what these musicians creates from doesn't hamper it from bringing other elements ranging from post-punk to post- hardcore, though I guess these post-men aren't just ringing twice as any other post-sub genre can also be found. This album is very impressive, when I got it back in April it was what I thought to be one of the first contenders for album of the year as I could not imagine someone bringing it in the dark and aggressive fashion these guys do, but alas three other bands did in fact do it better.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/voices-frightened.html





2-Ilsa- "Corpse Fortress"

 This band is refusing to hold back on  on their debut for Relapse Records. The band's 5th full length finds them continuing to hammer skulls in with the sheer density of their blown out sludge. Dirty and squealing with feedback. The vocals are phrased in a way that that give the coarse scathing shouts almost more of  sung feel. The lyrics cut through better with this delivery. They shift back into more of a low end pounding that owes more to doom when it comes to the ominous rumble as the momentum continues to build. The flatulent bass can be heard in the din at times, but it generally hits you as one frequency. This album earned multiple listens I think it is a huge step forward for the band


 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/ilsa-corpse-fortress.html






1-Hangman's Chair -"Banlieue Triste"


 This French band has been around for 13 years, so I am not sure how they have eluded me. In terms of conventional metal, they might not fit neatly into the box. They are heavy in the bleak mood they create. This depressing mood brings them closest to doom if they have to defined. The vocals are the key selling point for me as not a note is wasted and they really sell me on the lyrics. They are in a similar zip code as "Viva Emptiness" era Katatonia, but carrying even more despair. The reason they beat Evoken is while "Hypnagogia" is a beautiful album, it's so dense and grandiose, the songs don't hook me in to demand as many listens as this album did which what I need when I forget to take my meds in the morning.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/08/hangmans-chair-banlieue-triste.html

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Mare : "Ebony Tower"



This is why I try to hold out on my end of the year lists as this album might have made the black metal one. They have always been slightly left of center from the other Norwegian black metal bands and this album takes some of the more traditional black metal trapping and merges it into more melodic form of metal without sacrificing any of the darkness.  Fast and aggressive without depending on blast beats to do all of their dirty work. The firs song stands out as they use sung vocals in a manner not unlike what Urfaust does.They have been around for almost 20 years and this is their first full length. With members of bands like Behexen and Vemod on board, they pursue his with clarity and class. The production serves the over all sound and they are not trying too hard to be cult.

The second song finds them getting more aggressive to the point of heading in a more death metal direction, due to the abundance of double bass and the low growls, they are good at this and walk a line with the darkness that keeps a black metal vibe to it even when racing in the death metal direction. "These Fountains of Darkness" finds them laying on a hammering speed that they smooth out into a more deliberate stomping melody. The vocals come closer to being sung then a croak or growl. The ten minute "Nightbound" opens with the rumble of bass. It lurches into a throb that is accented by double bass in spurts. The vocals fluctuate between sung and more guttural snarl that is more of a hint than a full commitment into being a Cookie Monster.  They are in a similar zip code as Rotting Christ on this one.

The album closes with the 12 minute "Labyrinth of Dying Stars" . They do some weird panning effects to create a thicker atmosphere while utilizing more of the stock and trade black metal sounds. The vocals are more of a narrative at first . The song ebbs into more of a throb with the vocals shifting into a chanted chorus and back down into a serpentine gurgle. By the midway point of the song it has taken on almost more of a doom feel. I'll give this album a 9, it was really satisfying and fans of black metal who are tired of the same old blast beats should certainly check it out.


the Top 10 Post-Punk Albums of 2018





It is that time again. While I have made the distinction before, for the sake of this list . These band are dark, but not goth and going more in the direction of punk or worker off a heavier tension.The score from my reviews to help determine the ranking , but also how many times Last FM told me I listened to each album.An album can have all the critical acclaim in the world but if it does not inspire multiple listens then how good can it actually be ? While the top ten lists for other genres were more balanced this list leans heavily on the side of new bloods. Rather than posting media of a track from each band I am leaving a link to the review, which will contain Bandcamp or Full Album Streams. Ok enough talking about it, the time has come to dig into the top 10 post-punk albums of 2018.





10-Way Out- "Arc of Descent"

 This Rhode Island band makes me happy because they are not trying to impersonate Joy Division. I love Joy Division, but I own those albums. The vocals were what I keyed in on, as they are the only aspect of this band that might cross over into death rock. They can be frantically tense as well as shoot into something with a high energy punk feel to it.


https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/08/way-out-arc-of-descent.html



 9-Burning Gates - "New Moon"

 They  blend their punk side well with their dark side, The song structure is dynamic and I get the feeling the guitarist grew up listening to metal as some of the riffs have a slight Randy Rhodes feel.  The more metallic punches are interesting and at times it sounds like they might be going into a guitar solo but use restraint in order not to.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/gothtober-burning-gates-new-moon.html




8-Wrekmeister Harmonies-"the Alone Rush"


This album is dark and introspective ,not far removed from Leonard Cohen or the more recent work of Nick Cave. JR Robinson possesses a rich resonate baritone. It anchors this song that would almost float away if not for his voice grounding it. I  am not sure I would call this goth, but it is heading in that direction. There is more of an organic almost Americana feel, that keeps it out of the bat cave.


https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/03/wrekmeister-harmonies-alone-rush.html






7-Trashlight - "Wilted" 


 They are dreamy, yet dark. Their guitar has that bat cave reverb without them sounding like thinly veiled Cure covers. Their strength is the inter play of the male and female vocals which keep them from sounding like any one band.The production is interesting while the album leans in the Bat Cave direction, the layers of guitar come across clearly. Even when it gets lost in the shadows of the back alleys they are haunting it's atmosphere is still compelling .

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/trashlight-wilted.html




6-Shitty Person- "Judgement"


   Meeting somewhere between doom and slow core, they set themselves apart with touches like a sax comes in to make you imagine Morphine coming back from the dead. There is a western swagger at times leaving The narcotic drone of the pacing as the only thing heroin to what they do. The male and female vocals are layer, both sound equally detached. Often falling into a depressed country feel. The vocals remain in the low end of his slacker baritone and lack the twang of country, but the mood is there. These would be better drinking songs than anthems for a shooting gallery.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/shitty-person-judgement.html






5-King Dude - "Music to Make War to" 

 This album comes from a place more like the shadowy paths the likes of Nick Cave or Micheal Gira normally walk down, but how far from there was he to begin with? There is a smoother touch to the croon of the vocals. Piano also plays a more dominate role. "Velvet Rope" feels like a more organic version of Sisters of Mercy.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/08/king-dude-music-to-make-war-to.html




4-Unmaker - "Firmament" 

 The opener takes many of the elements that made Beastmilk great and follows a parallel path. Some of this might be due to members of both bands having a background in metal. This gives them more punch than your average post-punk band.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/gothtober-unmaker-firmament.html



3-Dead Register - "Captive"

 There is a more soaring feel to this album. The croon of their lead singer sounds more nuanced and refined. It heads in more of an Interpol direction than a bellow. The metallic elements are more of a booming undertone and not the focus. They bring many layers together and weave them in a way that works well. While you can tell they are influenced by doom, they are not a doom band, at least not how we define doom around here. After additional listens the guitar melody really struck me and it became clear how much more polished of an effort this is.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/11/dead-register-captive.html


2- Lowfaith - "On Loss"

 The new face of what has become goth now shows up in hipster bars, in black but without the make up. That could also describe this band from Denver. At times more dream than pop, draped in more shadow than darkness. Then the bust into a more punk paced indie rock. This does have a Cure like darkness to it, that is more obvious when they slow back down a little for "Again, Again, Again". This moping take on shoe gaze is not with out dynamics and these guys have more balls than you might expect. They don't rely on being artfully melodramatic, and get actually heavy. This album continues to surprise me with each song.

https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/10/gothtober-lowfaith-on-loss.html


1-Heads -"Collider" 

 In the wake of the short lived post-punk revival we are beginning to get bands who might have been inspired by bands like Joy Division, but go deeper and pull out thoughtfully bleak work of their own. This is one of those bands. I like the fact it reminds me of  Swans, as its post-"Greed" Swans where most bands are stuck on that era. They do have their own personality and are not as pounding or sonic as Swans. There  are some angular guitar moments, but it comes from more of a rock n roll place. The vocals go into a slightly higher shoe gaze coo.

 https://abysmalhymns.blogspot.com/2018/04/heads-collider.html