Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Sunday the 21st (of February): Thrice - Blood on the Sand

     In the vein of new music, I'm very excited to be able to write a post featuring new music from this band. I've been a fan of Thrice for longer than I've know most of my current group of friends; they're one of those bands that's been with me through a lot, so I was disheartened, to say the least, when I read about the band's hiatus back in 2012.

     Even though the band was clear about this not being the end of Thrice, we've all heard that one before. So last year's rumblings of new material from Thrice camp delighted me, and this year's news of title, release date, and first single have me just tickled. "Blood on the Sand", the first single from the forthcoming To Be Everywhere is To Be Nowhere, is a short, sharp slice of relatively straightforward post-rock that will likely once again polarize Thrice fans somewhat. Fans looking for a return to the band's older, heavier sound will continue to be disappointed here, but fans who've been willing participants in the band's experimental evolution should enjoy the new-but-familiar direction that the band seems headed in next. Have a listen and see what you think.

Saturday the 20th (of February): Circles - Sand and Wind

     Just because I'm super far behind doesn't mean I don't still get to feature the latest and greatest from some great bands. Imagine if I limited myself to stuff I'd heard by the supposed date of these posts? I'd be even worse off, no doubt.

     I am, however, definitely better off for hearing the newest track from the Australian prog djentlemen in Circles. No solid word yet on when their next disc will be out (other than a general "this year" posted in response to a question on Facebook), but if the band's latest single is any indication, it should be a fitting follow-up to the band's debut LP Infinitas. "Sand and Wind" is an expertly-balanced showing of melodic and groovy djent-prog. Album number two could be a big one for Circles; they just need to write a bunch more rockers like this one.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Friday the 19th (of February...): Sumac - Rigid Man

     Time for a big ol' Easter slab of crushingly heavy blackened post metal courtesy of supergroup-of-sorts Sumac (even though, yes, this is supposed to be a post for near the end of February instead of near the end of March...)

      Featuring members of Baptists, Russian Circles, and Isis, Sumac might just be the most super supergroup you've never heard of. Their bands of origin should give listeners a clue as to the talent at work in Sumac, but the best part of the whole thing might be that they sound here like their own own heavy-ass beast. Their sophomore disc What One Becomes drops in June, but massive first single "Rigid Man" can bludgeon you into submission right this minute. Of particular note is the big riff that brings things back from the breakdown late in the song -- tasty!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Thursday the 18th (of February): The Contortionist - Cortical

     I'm only going back a couple of years for this Throwback Thursday post, but that doesn't make it any less of a corker. Yes, I just said corker. I'm old. And apparently British inside. Any road, we're headed back to 2012 for a track from The Contortionist's sophomore LP Intrinsic.

     "Cortical" is a great example of the kind of progressive metal blend happening on Intrinsic -- soft synthwaves lapping up against angular space djent beaches. This song finds itself in a weird little groove by the end of it, with a sort of jazzy, down-tempo lead going over it, and it's all these disparate influences that seem to make a Contortionist record, cropping up here and there. Intrinsic is a different beast than 2010's Exoplanet, and different still from 2014's Language, so what new material from these guys would sound like is anyone's guess. But hey, that's a two-year album cycle right there, so maybe 2016 will see some new stuff, and a new twist, from The Contortionist.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Wednesday the 17th (of February): Wintergatan - Marble Machine

     There's a decent chance you've already seen my next pick for you, given that it's been making the internet rounds lately, even gracing "mainstream" news sites and Facebook feeds for a couple of days. But this piece of music is the product of such a feat of design and engineering that I can't help but point you at it again. And hey, this is a Wednesday post, so it's alliterative too!

     I've posted about eclectic Swedish indie band Wintergatan before (back when I discovered their beautiful piece of vaguely chiptuney instrumental electro-sounding pop "Sommarfagel") but the latest development from this creative group of Swedes is, if possible, more mesmerizing. "Marble Machine" (I don't know if this song of sorts has any other title than that) is a weirdly infectious track, a bass-and-vibraphone driven piece of lullaby-pop-funk. And if that weren't enough, the whole thing is produced by a hand-cranked Rube Goldberg-ian monster that took more than a year to design and build.

     This is one that you're really going to have to watch as well as listen to in order to get the full effect, but goddamn if it isn't awesome in the most legitimate sense of the word. If your crusty metal heart isn't moved to fall into the head-bopping groove of this one, well, I'm afraid I've done about all I can for you.

Tuesday the 16th (of February): Latitudes - Ordalian

     Any Loud Noises reader who's been doing their homework should know by now that I'm a fan of instrumental metal, which means that I'm always excited to find new instrumental bands who're doing something cool other than just eschewing vocals. And while the Brits in Latitudes aren't necessarily blowing the doors off the instrumental genre (hell, their latest release Old Sunlight blasphemes with some singing) they certainly have brewed up a cocktail that's right up my alley.

     Old Sunlight is a semi-instrumental slice of post-metal that's got all kinds of other genres and sub-genres mixed in -- there's some blackened bits, some cinematic swells, some gloomy sludge, and a whole host of other touches that combine into something balanced between heavy and beautiful. This album definitely benefits from being heard as one sprawling musical journey, so I'm going to let Latitudes do the convincing and just start you off with Old Sunlight's first epic track, "Ordalian". Enjoy.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Monday the 15th (of February): Valleys - Choices

     Unsurprisingly, my alliterative attack continues with a little Metalcore Monday for you, featuring a young North Carolina band called Valleys that happen to have picked an ambitious concept for their first LP. Experiment One: Asylum, out last month, is a fictionalized account of the Multiple Personality Disorder of it's main character Asylum. High-brow concept meets tasty metalcore? Colour me interested!

     The record itself is still in my listening queue, but first single "Choices" certainly entices and intrigues with its very modern-sounding brand of techy, djenty metalcore. The intensity of its riffing and its relatively short running time (less than four minutes) combine to give "Choices" a nice dose of energy and urgency. Throw in some added poignancy from the sudden death of one of the band's vocalists in a car accident shortly before the album's release and you've got a recipe for some emotionally charged listening. Check these guys out on tour in April if you get the chance.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sunday the 14th (of February): Scale the Summit - Balkan

     I don't have a love song in mind for your much-belated February the 14th post, so I'll default to my typical trope of alliteration for a bit of instrumental romance in the form of some Sunday Scale the Summit.

     Scale the Summit have released a couple of albums since 2011's The Collective, and they've been pretty good, but if I had to pick I think The Collective is still my favourite. One of the many reasons why is late-album number "Balkan", a demonstration of Scale the Summit's ability to go on soaring musical journeys that morphs partway through into ending section dominated by a cyclical, slightly off-kilter tapped riff complete with phat accompanying bass. If you're familiar with Scale the Summit, it'll probably make you go "yeah, that sounds about right", but if you're new to this instrumental party, maybe this'll set this hook in your wee little earhole.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Saturday the 13th (of February): Visions - Delete the Sky

     The vagaries of fate, combined with my own procrastinatory predilections, make my catching up on Songs of the Day for you guys seem next to impossible. But am I going to let that stop me from fighting the good fight, from raging against the dying of the proverbial light? Fuck no. The struggle to overcome impossible odds is what makes any hero's journey compelling in the first place, so when the odds around here get impossible, my only real option is to get awesome. Eat your heart out, Joseph Campbell.

     First up in my quest for new Loud Noises material is a song from a band that's on a quest for new material of its own (fuck off, it's either really late or really early at the time of writing, depending on how you slice it). British techcore types Visions have, if Facebook be trusted, finally finished their second LP, and are apparently preparing a new video to coincide with the announcement or release or what have you.We still haven't heard any of this new material, however, so while we await that first single and accompanying video, we'll just have to revisit 2011's Home for something to hold us over.

     To that end, have a go at "Delete the Sky", a slice of techy, angular metalcore that gives way to sparse ambience at its end as a lead-in to the following track on Home. If you're a metalcore fan like me, I think you'll find this record has held up pretty well, and hopefully serves as a decent appetizer for the new meal to come. (The link you're getting is to the album audio, not the music video, since the video understandably cuts out the ending interstitial stuff.)