Plebeian Grandstand – False Highs, True Lows

I don’t know how a Post-Hardcore band turns into a fantastic black metal / mathcore blend band, but I’m enjoying every second of it. It’s just dirty black metal with some mathy riffs, but it works so god damn well. Don’t be a plebeian, give this a spin.


8/10

Cult Leader – Lightless Walk ALBUM REVIEW

It’s not secret that as far as imagery and atmosphere in metal, violence is a key component to the more harsh scene. This is especially prevalent in the more underground death metal, sludge metal, and then more ubiquitously grindcore, crust punk, deathgrind, etc. Lightless Walk is absolutely no exception to that, featuring mostly shorter tracks that beat your face in while making in a point in as little time as possible, then continuing on to the next track of mostly the same thing. While this is pretty standard for crust punk, even though it is especially well executed here, the major difference that makes this album truly great is the way they change up the emotional pace of the album, and utilize much more melancholy atmosphere’s to contrast the violent smashing of heads with a more reflective approach.

The shorter tracks are exactly what you’d expect from a crust punk band. Violent, abrasive, rebellious snippets of punk anger towards an unjust world. While these are executed well here, I feel like they’re more filler than the central part of the album. Not as if they aren’t need, quite the opposite in fact. It’s just I feel like they’re there more to supplement the more soft sections so as to create a proper conflict.

And boy what a conflict it is. Or rather, how little of a conflict it is despite the opposing atmospheres. While for the most part these approaches remain contained in separate tracks, the listener gets a glimpse of what could be in tracks like Sympathetic. The start of the song seems like a fairly standard track among what you’d expect in a crust punk album. However at around the halfway mark, there’s a subtle bit of melodic structure and soft tones interwoven in the harsh music, which creates probably the best moment in the album. It catches you totally off guard, and turns out just to be a teaser for what is to come.

Unfortunately, there is never another look at the two styles mixed together, however on tracks like How Deep it Runs, and A Good Life, you,  do get the change of pace of slower, doomy, melancholy pieces. I’ve always thought that tonality is best used sparingly in which it is mostly absent. That is, mostly atonal with some tonality for maximum effect. To me it feels like such a release to listen to, having listened to all those “unpleasant” tones, and then finally getting the sweet release of a major triad. Lightless Walk doesn’t do this enough, but when it does, it’s quite something to hear. But what really separates this album is not just the fact that it combines harsh with soft, but in how slow those soft sections are. Like I said earlier, this borders on funeral doom at times, going so slow that it forces you to reflect on the music, rather than just take what it gives you at face value. The repetitive riffs on these tracks add a hypnotic feel that lulls you into a sense of daydream, completely forgetting all the pain the previous tracks reminded you life can bring.

If there’s anything really wrong with this, it’s its length, clocking in at not quite 37 minutes. It’s not really a bad length, but I feel like an extra 7-8 minutes or so would’ve done a lot of good. They also could’ve spaced the longer tracks with the shorter tracks a bit better, as right now it seems a bit random as to when you’ll hear one, rather than being more evenly spaced and used as tactical breaks. Even so, this is a fantastic album that reaches just under the AOTY candidate category. Worth a listen to anyone looking for a different kind of crust punk album.


8.75/10

Oblivionized – Life Is a Struggle, Give Up ALBUM REVIEW


There are certain genres of music out there that I honestly, can’t tell how good a work from them is. Dark Ambient is a good example. I love dark ambient, and it’s probably one of my most listened to genres outside of metal. By now I know what bad dark ambient sounds like, and I know what below average to average sounds like. And I know what godly dark ambient sounds like. But anything from 6-9 is kind of a wash for me. It really just comes down to whatever mood I’m in at that moment. And this sucks because I’m the kind of asshole who tries to think of logical reasons why they like something, and come up with ratings based on those reasons. This is opposed to the common practice of “I like it, 10/10”. Life is a Struggle is certainly an album I like. It feels like the congregation of all of life’s struggle and pains into one album that’ll make you hate yourself and your life after one listen. Tracks like I Pity You are the kind that any depressed person could hear and think “Gee, suicide really does sound nice right now”. Mostly this is a result of the lyrics, as grindcore musicianship isn’t typically too stellar. The problem is, going back to what I was talking about before, grindcore is one of those genres that i can’t really differentiate between pretty good and great. So while yes, I like this album, I have a hard time giving it a score. Part of this is just inexperience with genre, the other part is… no yeah, it’s just inexperience with the genre. So I’m going to be a hypocrite and give this a high score because of like it. Because fuck having consistent standards.


8.5/10