Mestis – Polysemy ALBUM REVIEW

Remember Animals as Leaders? Remember how so many people complained that they relied on an excessive amount of notes, and were just a pure wank band? Well imagine all of that minimized, and played in an almost trip-hop format. What do I mean by that? I mean every song is structured literally like a trip-hop beat. You got a grief intro, then the introduction of an idea, repeat it a few times, expand on it, and then repeat back to the main theme. It doesn’t sound to different from a traditional song the way I’m explaining it, but trust me, listen to the album and it’ll make sense.

So how does this work? Like pure fucking magic. Mestis took everything good about Animals as Leaders and then corrected all of their flaws. Too many notes, it’s too technical! Bam, got down to the bare bones without taking off all the meat. It jumps around there’s too many ideas! Bam, simplified it to one main idea per song. Djent sucks, this isn’t trve Norwegian NS raw blackened death crust avant-doom slam-hop! Well fuck you, that black robe and skull cod piece is probably protecting your tiny wiener from shriveling in the sunlight. Point is, this took an already fantastic band, and made them better in every single way.

I initially thought of this as simply a great record, mostly as fun background music. I imagine listening to this while walking down a Florida beach at sunset, feeling the waves softly crash against my feet. However I couldn’t help but notice as I was listening to this that I was enjoying this record a lot more than what my original proposed score (around 8.75) would indicate. Like, REALLY enjoying this. I started to realize that I was grinning cheek to cheek from listening, and that all my anxieties and worries I had for today had simply vanished. I was transported to another world. A world of pure tranquility and joy. And I got that same feeling in me. That same feeling I get when I feel like a record is an AOTY candidate. A record that should go on my pantheon of great records. I spent a lot of timing thinking about these feelings, debating with myself whether an album with what I would consider relatively little depth (the record is below 40 minutes and every song is less than 5 minutes long) could reach this pinnacle. But I realized this doesn’t need depth. If this record were 55 minutes and had some 10 minute behemoths on it, it would lose so much of its appeal. It would lose impact, and it wouldn’t make me feel so god damn happy listening to this. I’ve determined this album is in fact my AOTY so far, due to one simple fact: I simply haven’t enjoyed listening to an album more than this in years. And what is music but a vehicle for enjoyment?


Gorod – A Maze of Recycled Creeds ALBUM REVIEW

Soft piano intros in metal albums are an almost universal sign of doom to come. It’s always the cheesy, neoclassical darkwave shit that totally kills the mood of almost any metal album that it touches. But there was something off here. Something I didn’t expect. Something that wasn’t quite right. There was this sense of subtle atonality with some jazzier undertones in the piano playing. I felt like I was at a cocktail party when the acid just starts kicking in. It was a bit unsettling, but I was still forcing myself to groan, making sure I was unphased by this stir and reacted in the way I normally would. Then the album hit.

After seeing a dark, black and white, foreboding album cover, looking like the ritual march towards the depth of hell, I was taken aback by the not so dark and gloomy music. Very much not like hell, instead I felt more as if I was in this limbo, constantly battling the darkness and the light through music. The music felt strangely upbeat, without actually being so. I didn’t quite realize why until… are they… no…. yeah. They’re using major chords in death metal. Who the hell does that? What kind of madman makes their death metal sound happy? Further who does that and makes it work? The fuck am I listening to? And why do I love it?

No, it wasn’t the fact that there was some jazz influences here that made me confused. It wasn’t the occasional use of deathcore chugging. It wasn’t even the multiple uses of blatant djent riffs. No, it was the fact that they used chords that made happy sounds and made it sound fantastic. Or rather, not happy. A Maze of Recycled Creeds has this sort of insanity to it in how not dark and depressing it sounds. The music is constantly moving, constantly going forward. The past is in the past, there’s no time to dwell on the sorrows of life, we need to get to the next riff. A lot of this is accomplished through, aside from the major chords, off-rhythm riffs. As mentioned before, there is a very blatant use of djent influences that I’m surprised I haven’t heard anyone else pick up on yet. What’s more, it avoids the common mistake that plagues the often ostracized genre, in that it doesn’t have that plastic, “poser” production. It doesn’t sound robotic, it sounds forward thinking. It sounds genius. It sounds insane.

I imagine the members of the band who created this music must live in some sort of other dimension, where everything is normal, except every angle is off by 1 degree. On paper that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but think of how much that would add up to lead to a totally chaotic and crazy world. Because that’s how I feel about this album. Gorod created something rich with beautiful, sweeping technical riffs, full of character and color. They created an album both simultaneously unsettling and moving. An album that let’s the instruments do the talking, and gives the humans a chance to take rest and let the ride carry them. This is an album both for those who are of serious and joyous disposition. An album for those who want technical shredding, and beautiful melody. But above all, it’s an album for those who are just a tad off. But only a tad.


Acrania – Fearless ALBUM REVIEW

This album would get an automatic 8 for the very fact that it mixed two outrageously different genres together and didn’t suck. It gets even higher when it mixes those two genres and excels way beyond any of my expectations. On the opposite spectrum of metal that’s based on the cold northern winters of the Scandinavia, this metal is based on the hot, blazing temperatures of Mexico. The guitars sound hot, and the tempo is lively and hot, with the actual latin jazz percussion section and beats. But despite the heat themed metal, what actually makes this album so amazing is how cool and relaxed it is. Yeah the beats can be rapid and scorching, but when this album really gets great is when it sits back and chills. At times it feels like it’s not even metal at all, and not in a bad way. It’s sort of like putting the AC on on a hot day. That always feels refreshing. This album is a breath of fresh air, and if you want someone not only really different, but really good, check this out.