|Artwork by Dusty Peterson|
Behold! The Monolith return with their third full length, Architects of the Void. This marks the first album with their new line up since the passing of bassist/singer Kevin McDade. Initially they tried to go as a three piece with guitarist Matt Price doing vocals and new bassist Jason Casanova. But the final line up was formed when Jordan Nalley was added to handle vocal duties.
It may have taken a while to solidify the new line-up. But this new album proves it was worth the wait. All the things you’ve come to love about this band are all still here. The outstanding musicianship, the heavy sludge, the progressive nature of the songs, and the balls out thrashing assault. An ass kicker from start to finish.
Blake Green is one half of Wolvserpent. He also has an Ambient side project called Aelter. We'll add one more to that list. His black metal project called Il'Ithil who’s first offering, Ia'Winde, was one of my favorites of 2015.
This is raw atmospheric black metal. Songs are bleak and fast paced. So cold and frostbitten you may feel the need to put on a coat. Buzzing guitars layered over beautiful melodies. His harsh vocals perfectly drowned in the mix. Only two songs, but it leaves you wanting more. For fans of Striborg and ColdWorld.
|Painting by Aron Briggs|
Volahn’s Aq'ab'al album was another of my favorites of 2014/2015. I saw these guys open for Wolves In The Throne Room in 2014 and was blown away. So when I picked up this album my expectations were high, and they were met.
Raw, uncompromising, in your face black metal. Vocals are throaty and remind me of a howling wolf at times. Songs feel progressive, never really staying in one place with one riff for very long. The addition of acoustic passages add great dynamics to the albums. Had the pleasure of seeing them live twice last year and the songs were even better live.
From Montreal come Big|Brave and their album, Au De La. To describe this album is no easy task. As they take from Post-Rock, DOOM, Noise and sprinkle in a few other genres for good measure...
A three piece with no bass. Songs are heavy and sparse. Guitars go back and forth from droning ambience to crushing riffs. Drums are HUGE in sound and scope. Vocals waver between chants and blood curdling screams. When brought together they become songs that hypnotize the listener. An amazing album.
|Illustration by Viral Graphics|
From my local scene comes Trapped Within Burning Machinery with a new album titled, The Filth Element. As you read the title I’m sure you are reminded of the film The Fifth Element. That is no coincidence. In fact each song title is a character from the film with each telling their story.
As they are a local band for me I was able to sort of witness the progression of this band from their first album and it is breathtaking. Hearing these songs for the first time I knew this album was going to be stunner. The emotions contained within this album are brought forth in way I had not heard from a band like this since the days of Asunder. The ability to go from these beautiful melodic guitar harmonies to crushing riffs is a thing to behold. With a single sustained note they go straight to the heart. They prove once again that even when quiet, music can still be heavy.