barshasketh - ophidian henosis

Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)

Here was the deal with this one: for about seven euros I could get the digital download for Ophidian Henosis, the third full-length from New Zealand’s Barshasketh.  Or, for a euro more (plus shipping, of course) I could get the CD.  I opted for the latter and here we are, although I still don’t rightly know what the album name means beyond it’s rough translation of “union of snakes” which is – admittedly – pretty metal. Continue reading “Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)”

baroness - purple

Baroness: Purple (2015)

Red mixed with blue give you purple, so it stands to reason there’s an element of mixing at play with Purple, the most recent release from Baroness.  Coming almost four years after Yellow & Green, and also after the traumatic accident that almost cost John Baizley his arm, there’s a sense of bruised urgency to the tightened song structures that make for a great return to form for the band, as well as a clarity of intent and identity.   Continue reading “Baroness: Purple (2015)”

baroness - yellow and green

Baroness: Yellow & Green (2012)

It’s something to see a band release a double album.  When I see it I have to wonder if the band really felt like they needed two albums to get their point across; are they that confident in the songs?  Maybe it’s a reflection of my own insecurity when it comes to making music.  Regardless, though we might never know the real reasons, Baroness went ahead and did that very thing, putting out the combined Yellow & Green in 2012.  And, well…it goes about like many other double albums: there’s a great single album in there somewhere, but I usually don’t stick around that long to find it. Continue reading “Baroness: Yellow & Green (2012)”

bad religion - the dissent of man

Bad Religion: The Dissent of Man (2010)

I used to think that Bad Religion alternated between great and okay records.  And at the time of picking up The Dissent of Man I thought this was proving the hypothesis: after the rage and aggression of New Maps Of Hell this felt lighter, less substantial.  Maybe the Obama years weren’t providing the fodder the band needed to thrive?  Closer, older listening over the weekend proved otherwise; here was a band moving into different sonic landscapes, but underneath a more relaxed rock vibe still lay the ire and rage of a much younger band. Continue reading “Bad Religion: The Dissent of Man (2010)”

austerity program - backsliders and apostates

The Austerity Program: Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn (2010)

If the sound and intent of The Austerity Program can be encapsulated in a single lyric, it’s this line from “Song 26,” ostensibly the title track to the band’s 2010 EP Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn:  “BLESSING YOU WITH AN AMPLIFIER!”  It’s the cry of rage and the crash of a blunt object, and while I appreciate and even dig it, I have to also admit it’s a cry I can’t quite feel deep in the marrow.  Continue reading “The Austerity Program: Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn (2010)”

asunojokei - awakening

Asunojokei: Awakening (2018)

The first true full length from Japan’s Asunojokei (明日の叙景) translates to Awakening, and it’s a marvel of a record, taking blackgaze, prog, and hardcore elements and injecting it with a kitchen sink approach that is anything but disorderly to create a vibrantly alive album that made my Honorable Mention list last year, but in reality should have been in the overall list.  Continue reading “Asunojokei: Awakening (2018)”

ash borer - the irreparable gate

Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate (2016)

The first time I heard Ash Borer, I couldn’t take how dense and cold the music was.  Here was black metal that didn’t cater to the fickle winds of the second wave, but through their own construction managed to evoke the icy nature of the music without being slavish to the genre.  Evoking drone and doom as much as straight ahead black metal, it was distinctly American in sound, even as its tendrils stretched to otherworldly planes.  When The Irrepassable Gate came out in 2016 I gave it another go and found my way in, through the winding melodies and cold depths of anguish. Continue reading “Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate (2016)”