Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jarost Marksa - We the People

Artist: Jarost Marksa
Album: We the People
Genre: RABM (red and anarchist black metal)
Year: 2008
Origin: Russia

Jarost Marksa means "Fury of Marx" in Russian, and this is the most 'traditional communist'-leaning black metal I've heard. This three track EP concludes with a cover of Sacred War by the Red Army Choir, a song about World War II. Between the sickle-and-hammer and the World War II reference, I was a little worried this would be Stalinist-authoritarian in nature, but the lyrics are very much about self-liberation through revolution and it seems the band members met in an anarchist commune, so all my fears have been assuaged. The music is pretty raw in the underground black metal tradition, but there seem to be melodic complexities that keep it interesting for me. I'd recommend Panopticon over this one, but I think it's still a good find. I look forward to Jarost Marksa's future releases!

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

No Cops for Miles - A New Diction

Artist: No Cops for Miles
Album: A New Diction
Genre: Ska-core
Year: 2008
Origin: USA

California punk/riot-ska band No Cops for Miles is clearly influenced by Choking Victim and the resulting "Crack Rock Steady" scene, but I feel like they bring something fresh to the songwriting. The production is fuzzy and DIY-tastic, and the album is very short, but worth a listen if you're interested in this style.

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Dreams of the Drowned - Demo

Artist: Dreams of the Drowned
Album: Demo
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2008
Origin: France

Dreams of the Drowned play black metal with surprising hardcore / post-punk influences. Solstafir did something (a tiny bit) similar with Masterpieces of Bitterness, which I might post later, but it was much more traditional in terms of black / viking metal. I love black metal bands that are doing things I've never heard before. The band plans to release a full-length in 2009, and I look forward to it.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Revocation - Empires of the Obscene

Artist: Revocation
Album: Empires of the Obscene
Genre: Death Metal
Year: 2008
Origin: USA

Revocation comes up big with this debut album, a very thrashy death metal release. As you may know, I'm not big into death metal unless it has something special going for it. And this band does, with brilliant songwriting and thrash riffs that should really make anyone wonder why people buy that monotonous crap from Cannibal Corpse and the host of other generically br00tal death metal bands.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Kaki King - Everybody Loves You

Artist: Kaki King
Album: Everybody Loves You
Genre: Instrumental Rock
Year: 2003
Origin: USA

Kaki King is a guitar wizardess unlike anything you've seen (watch this to see what I mean: ,, and she doesn't succumb to wankery (maybe it's a gender thing?) but writes quality songs instead. She also has songs about the LGBT experience, which always counts as a plus for me. At least on this album she's the only musician.

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The 3rd and the Mortal

Artist: The 3rd and the Mortal
Album: Memoirs
Genre: Doom Metal
Year: 2002
Origin: Norway

The 3rd and the Mortal play very experimental doom metal; in the case of this album it is very jazzy, with some electronica parts as well. The female vocals are great, and they fit the downtempo music as well as the poetic male spoken-word. I've heard that this band was a big influence to the multitude of Nightwish-esque female-fronted gothic metal bands, and I can believe it, but The 3rd and the Mortal are way outside the box compared to those bands. I like this one a lot more than Painting on Glass, which is the only other 3atm album I've heard.

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Top Albums 2008

Here are twenty albums I enjoyed from 2008. There were tons of good albums this year, but not very many that I would call brilliant - 2007 had more of those. This made the ordering very difficult, so it is still very approximate (in some cases arbitrary).

I'm certain I'm forgetting some important releases, and also I just like to hear other people's opinions, so you should all comment with your favorites! And if anyone would like to hear an album from my list, let me know and I'll post it.

1. Menace Ruine - In Vulva Infernum AND ALSO Cult of Ruins AND ALSO The Die is Cast
  • unique drone and ambient black metal. 3 albums in one year; how prolific!
2. Panopticon - Panopticon
  • awesome anarchist black metal
3. Nachtmystium - Assassins: Black Meddle pt. 1
  • very good sludgy metal. Not much black though.
4. Toxic Holocaust - An Overdose of Death
  • crossover-style oldschool thrash
5. Boris - Smile
  • it's Boris.
6. Slug's Revenge - Revenge is Never a Four Letter Word
  • anarchist folk music played at a punk tempo
7. Revocation - Empire of the Obscene
  • thrashy death metal that actually makes me enjoy death metal
8. Orange Tulip Conspiracy - Orange Tulip Conspiracy
  • instrumental experimental rock/fusion that's actually quite interesting. Also has the best album cover of the year.
9. Keny Arkana - Desobeissance
10. No Cops For Miles - A New Diction
  • riot ska, short but very good
11. Satumnaisuus - Kaleidoskopedelia
  • very trippy Finnish psy-trance
12. Black Anvil - Time Insults the Mind
  • really good black thrash; not afraid give a Megadeth style solo
13. A Forest of Stars - The Corpse of Rebirth
  • black metal with very nice use of violin
14. Dreams of the Drowned - Demo
  • interesting addition of hardcore elements to black metal
15. Cynic - Traced in Air
  • neat melodic death metal
16. Quest for Blood - Quest for Blood
  • weird japanese folk black metal with a prominent manic, improvised flute
17. Coldworld - Melancholie
  • beautiful, depressive black metal
18. Draconian - Turning Season Within
  • gothic doom metal done right.
19. Grouper - Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
  • acoustic shoegaze/ambient/drone
20. K'naan - The Dusty Foot Philosopher
  • African-Canadian hip-hop

EDIT: I have now listened to Torche - Meanderthal (sludge, doom metal), and I think it deserves a spot in my list as well.
EDIT EDIT: Ufomammut, Gojira, Genghis Tron, and probably others I'm not remembering also deserve honorable mention.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oi Polloi - Fight Back!

Artist: Oi Polloi
Album: Fight Back!
Genre: Oi!
Year: released in 1994, but the material was recorded in 1986
Origin: Scotland

This is a rerelease of songs from a couple splits from 1986 by anarcho-punk/oi! band Oi Polloi. The band was very interested in working class unity, particularly in mending the conflicts between punks and skinheads, the band having members identifying with both groups throughout the years. As well as being antifascist they have also supported direct action in response to environmental issues. More recently it seems they have started singing in Gaelic, but these songs are all English. The tracks on this album are all very catchy chant-along stuff with the energy you'd expect from an anarcho-punk band.

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