So, I’ve been off again; mostly due to family stuff and weather related shenanigans. Ultimately, I was never able to get to full reviews on a number of albums, so I’m going to do a series of five reviews each week for the remainder of the year. Simply put, this is to round out the releases I’ve heard over the course of the year.
Agrimonia’s “Rites of Separation”: Back to Sweden, Agrimonia offers a full on death metal assault of the senses. It is dark, grimy, stomping and gloriously heavy all around. The singer’s howls rip straight into your skull, allowing the music’s crushing riffs to shatter you. Yet, it maintains a level of grandiosity that death metal has seemed to lose of late. A wonderful release, Rites of Separation is deserving of at least one listen for any metal fan.
Àrsaidh’s “Roots”: Scotland’s Agalloch, Àrsaidh brings folk and post-black metal together to construct their sounds. Song structures are reminiscent of Agalloch, clearly, but the use of Scottish pipes, flutes, and drums accentuates the points they are trying to make on this album. They understand subtlety and restraint as much as they do fury and windswept crags; the album’s well written and focused. Again, being similar to Agalloch, the band is going to draw in comparisons to Wolves in the Throne Room, Fen, and perhaps even Nine Covens. Ultimately, it’s the folk instrumentation that’s going to make you like it or hate it.
Being’s “II: Nix”: I totally apologize for this. I missed it in my inbox and meant to do a full review sooner, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. That said, if you’re looking for really intelligent genre bending post-black metal assaults with a singer that uses a deep, thick clean vocal, then Being’s totally your cuppa. I really, really enjoyed this album. For keeps and so you don’t jump in midway, also check out Being’s first EP “I: Odes to Nothing” from 2010.
Ayreon’s “The Theory of Everything”: A metal opera album containing 42 tracks with approximately 10 characters, lasting approximately 1.5hrs and is openly referential to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Yes, please. I don’t get Ayreon for the most part and enjoy a smattering of songs, or a concept here and there. However, the interplay of voices and really developed musical concepts on this album really make it.
East of the Wall’s “Redaction Artifacts”: Okay, okay, I get it now. I tried on “Ressentiment” and enjoyed bits and pieces before the slammed back into their ‘Core element. This album really hits it for me, but revealed that unfortunately I’m still not a big fan of the band. While they are interesting and the inclusion of clean singing croons is welcome, ultimately when they really pop into their metal I can’t get past the focus on rhythm instead of melody.