Back in the UK again, after the fun and games in Chicago, it is time to return to the normal routine.
So here we go with the best tracks of past month, and perhaps unexpectedly, there is more of a metallic slant than usual.
Track of the Month
Monstrum in Animo
Now, I could swear that about three albums back Anaal Nathrakh called it quits (but maybe I imagined that). Not that I’m complaining that they are still around hearing this – it is filth. And absolutely fucking great. Grimy, pummelling industrialised black metal with vocal roars from the depths, hyperspeed blasts of drum machine, and nasty, ugly riffage that culminates in the realisation that extreme metal doesn’t get a lot better than this.
Devin Townsend is set to continue his – frankly fucking bonkers – Ziltoid project with the sequel Z2 soon, and this, the first thing I’ve heard from it is amazing. This is Devy Metal by way of 80s hair metal choruses, riffs to straddle planets, and a sense of fun lacking in just about any other metal band. After all, this is about aliens invading Earth in search of the perfect coffee. I had also, I have to confess, underestimated demand for the upcoming RAH show, too, which of course has now sold out…
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Also forthcoming, and also rather more at the serious end of metal, Irish metal titans Primordial are returning – with what is promised to be a “heavier” album. I had mixed feelings about this statement before hearing this track, as Primordial are one of those bands who manage to be crushing without ever really thrashing too hard nowadays, the crushing majesty of their doomy metal and real-world themes doing that for them. But you know what? This is harder and heavier, with Nemtheanga’s vocal bellowing and roar that more pronounced, and the band backing his vocals are that bit rougher-edged, too. As always anthemic, too, there is another of their rare UK shows coming up in the new year…
Electric Elephant EP
Ten years, and more, already? Amazing how time flies. But Rotersand are one of the few industrial/futurepop artists to have seen their stock rise over that time, going from an intriguing newcomer to festival headliners in a short space of time, and then to nearly vanish for a while – last full album Random Is Resistance was released five years back. This brand new track is a precursor to a total re-working of their still-brilliant debut Truth is Fanatic, the latter of which I’m still a little reticent about (it really doesn’t need “touching up”, or remastering, that’s for sure). But if they are going to keep returning with singles of this quality…not a lot has changed, either, it is simply another killer Rotersand pop tune with added elephant samples. Yes, elephant samples.
Also returning with new material, but without the lengthy break, is this French industrial band who made quite a splash at Infest a year back. The first track released from the forthcoming new album shows that their unwavering intensity has been retained, both musically and lyrically, the song itself being a manifesto of sorts for the album title, a world where everyone takes responsibility for change and does something themselves. Musically, this is providing the marching, pounding soundtrack to what comes after the words have been digested. Stirring stuff.
CRL Studios Presents: The Fourth Wavelength (Lost)
From one of a pair of compilations released by CRL Studios (James Church from Lucidstatic), this is one track that leapt out at me and it is quite fascinating. It is definitely industrial at the base, with marvellously dark synth washes and a muscular beat, but where things get really interesting are the neon splashes of acid techno that sweep across the track. Incidentally, I know nothing else about this artist and I’ve love to hear more (which appears to be only on Spotify so far)
A number of friends in the US have been raving about this artist recently, and now I see why. The latest in a long history of scorching industrial noise artists from the West Coast of the United States, I should have had an idea what I was in for by seeing the logo (kinda Black Metal). This track actually starts out relatively restrained, before layer after layer is added and they only truly explode for short bursts, adding to the intense effect. Here is an artist that understands the idea of maximum impact.
It has been a while since I’ve really paid that much attention to Dean Garcia’s current project SPC ECO – debut album 3-D was interesting, but I’ve found much of the later material a bit bland, a bit too ethereal, something his previous band Curve never fell into the trap of (they always had more than a bit of bite). This, though, strikes a balance nicely, being full-on electronic shoegaze that retains a melody and retained my interest throughout, too. The video is quite clever, as well.
Real Bad Day
Yes, another band I missed earlier in the year. One of the latest additions to the Glitch Mode stable, they are from rather further south than Chicago (Arizona, as I recall), but their sound fits in well. So, glitchy electronics, thundering rhythms, and as here, titanic riffs that at points make this sound like Prong if they’d taken an even more electronic direction than that on Rude Awakening…
I’m fairly sure that if I told you first that this is the project of Reza from Intertia/Killing Joke, and Will Crewdson (Rachel Stamp/etc), you’d then be surprised to find that they’ve done a dark country album, one more infused with the americana in films, perhaps, than with authentic country. But this is strangely compelling, that guitar sound is great, Reza’s vocals work well, and the song is a catchy one. It will be interesting to see how this works as an album.