Eleven years on – to the day – from the very first Tuesday Ten, and very first Tracks of the Month (Tuesday Ten: 001), this is Tuesday Ten: 326. The Tuesday Ten series always takes a break for about six weeks during December and into January, so there have been 506 weeks where I could have posted – and seeing as I run this website myself, 326 posted out of 506 isn’t too bad (pretty much an average of a Tuesday Ten two weeks in three).
Tuesday Ten: 326
Tracks of the Month (March 2018)
2018 in Review
Long-time readers will know my musical interests often dig into metal, and unusually this month there is more of that side of things, simply as that was what piqued my interest while I was digging through the virtual pile of new music that I had to listen to. Indeed there was more I wanted to include this month, so a few things have been held over until next month’s post.
In the meantime, here are ten great (and one not-so-great) songs that come amodelofcontrol.com recommended this month.
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Track of the Month
Take A Long Hard Look
No One Will Ever Know
We might have wondered, even after the live shows nearly six (!) years ago (Into the Pit: 131 and Into the Pit: 147, which feel like distant history now), whether this fabled second album would ever see the light of day. Rob and Monti’s work with various other bands have continually delayed progress with their own music, but finally, it’s done, there are live gigs again, and you know what?
This song is great. One of the songs that they played back at those shows, it was an obvious highlight then, and some more work on it since has made it even better. It barrels along at a vicious pace, there is all kinds of digital glitching in the mix, it remembers to have a tune, and it makes me want to bang my head and throw stuff across the room. Mission accomplished, then. The album follows in the summer.
The outstanding return of MLc last year with Would You? (#05 in Countdown: 2017: Tracks here), a dark, brooding track that exploded into life like their best moments of old, had me hoping for more, and just last week, another new track appeared out of the blue. This one is less brooding, more direct (that chugging opening riff, for a start), but it still sounds like MLc, with another awesome chorus, and it continues their ability to explore a niche where no other band in metal sounds like them – taking in metal, industrial, goth and more melodic elements to fantastic effect.
Something we’ve noticed in recent weeks is a sudden improvement in the music programming on Kerrang! TV, as if the penny has finally dropped that endless repetition of the same fifty pop-punk and nu-metal videos just no longer cut it. In has come interesting retro hours, but more importantly a “primetime” (i.e., straight after when I and others get home from work) slot that seems to be highlighting much newer bands and new releases – and they are certainly daring to go heavier than I’ve heard on the channel in a while.
Exhibit A is this track, that we stumbled across last night. OK, so it wasn’t especially appealing to my wife, but even she was admiring of the chutzpah of K!TV playing this at 1900 on a Monday evening. There are nods to Meshuggah, Gojira, and more importantly, Iron Monkey and Raging Speedhorn here. So, no surprise, then, to hear that this is filthy, bass-heavy sludgy metal, with an absolutely brutal line in breakdowns and the distinct feeling of a band who are unlikely to be anything other than killer live.
Hewed With The Brand
Of all the bands dumped with the “post-hardcore” tag (among various others), Will Haven always felt like they existed outside the sphere of metallic music that you could accurately describe or categorise. Their rolling, relentless rhythms and furious power (not to mention Grady Avenell’s awe-inspiring howl) are not to everyone’s taste, particularly live where they are scorchingly loud and desperately intense (in fact much like being run over by a unstoppable bulldozer), but on record they are often more melodic and interesting than many people give them credit for. In fact, this opening track (forty seconds of barely audible synths and feedback, before all hell breaks loose) pretty much encapsulates how brilliant this band still are in just three minutes, and sets the scene for the album, which, as one friend put it, is their best since Carpe Diem without a shadow of a doubt.
Exile Amongst The Ruins
Exile Amongst The Ruins
It’s fair to say that Primordial may have wrong-footed a few listeners with Stolen Years, the first track from their forthcoming album (a surprisingly delicate ballad), but the rousing title track is Primordial doing what they do best. This is a battle cry for the ages, possibly about soldiers in war, but most of interest to me are A.A. Nemtheanga’s vocals, that sounds hoarser and more battle-weary, than before, and it gives this track a soaring majesty, particularly in the awe-inspiring final couple of minutes as the track rouses itself for one last flourish.
How the hell did I miss this? Somewhere in a chaotic autumn of 2017, I managed to miss what appears to have been a few emails from their label WTII Records about the return of the vastly underrated Italian group. Yes, they are a throwback to the futurepop days – just check those synths, which sounds like Assemblage 23 in about 2002 – but I’m willing to forgive just about anything for their way with vocal melodies, and not only here, but also on staggering early single Western Rust. This is maybe a little more reserved and less expansive than that, but once again is proof that melodic synth(future)pop still absolutely has a place when it is done this well.
A Tribe Of My Own
A Tribe Of My Own EP
Two legends of Belgian industrial and electronic music put their heads together for an intriguing project that very much works to the strengths of both of them. De Meyer’s vocals take centre stage, as they often do as his voice is so distinctive, and time hasn’t dulled the impact. But behind that, Lederman offers a perhaps surprisingly light-touch backing that impresses in subtlely. The elastic beats and gentle piano touches provide a heft to back up De Meyer’s delivery, but at no point overpowers the vocals and instead provides a balance that is pretty much spot-on.
Remarkably, it seems the brillance of OKOVI (a reminder: on Countdown: 2017, #1 Track for Siphon, #2 Album, #2 Gig) wasn’t just confined to the album itself – even the tracks that didn’t make it were worthy of release, too, and they come next month in the form of four more songs and four intriguing-sounding remixes. The first – and so far only track released from it prior to release – is Bound, a track that uses skittering, lightweight breakbeats and synths that bounce from the walls, with her wonderful vocals taking the spotlight when they appear. That said, the brighter, lighter feel of this track perhaps explains why it didn’t make the final cut for the album, as maybe it might have imbalanced it amid the darkness within OKOVI.
A mutual appreciation for each other’s work has finally resulted in a collaboration between John Grant and Wrangler (who of course feature the vocals of Stephen Mallinder, previously of Cabaret Voltaire). Perhaps not unexpectedly, this very much plays to the strength of both parties, with squelching analogue synths, an undercurrent of dirty electro-funk, and wry lyrics delivered by both Grant and Mallinder – and there is the distinct sense of them having great fun making this, as this seemingly light-hearted song reflects it.
Street Sects / portrayal of guilt (split 7″)
I’ve known Street Sects to be a group specialising in nail-sharp, brutal industrial-punk for a while, but they have perhaps surpassed themselves here with a track on a split seven-inch that hits like a jackhammer. Apparently a song taking an abuser to task (at least from what I can glean from the roared vocals), this track absolutely spits fury and disgust from every pore, and the music backing the delivery is equally threatening – pummelling rhythms, industrial synth hooks, panel beating samples, and other elements of noise all swirl around the mix in a disorientating storm. This is like the Young Gods if they were raised as streetfighters.
I know Dimmu long since left Black Metal behind, but now they’ve even left their symphonic BM sound behind for what appears to be a sincere tip of the hat to The Sisters of Mercy’s work with Jim Steinman. This is overblown, ridiculous and frankly rather ripe for parody, and it makes me very sad indeed. After all, at their peak Dimmu Borgir were one of the trailblazers, perhaps more than most bands in extreme metal they were able to cross-over into a vastly bigger fanbase, and at least for a while they barely tempered their sound at all in doing so (Death Cult Armageddon, recorded with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, still sounds both immense and threatening as all hell). But this is a poor relation, and eight years on since the last, dreadful album, this is careering even further downhill.