Rick's Discoveries Volume XXVIIPosted 09/21/2012 09:07AM by Rick Gebhardt as Rick's Discoveries
With fall arriving here in the Midwest, the hustle and bustle of summer is slowing down in favor of the more stress-less fall activities. I find myself spending more time just enjoying the cool days, early evenings, and having to wear a hoodie to go outside instead of bouncing from one activity to another (which is every summer for me). This is my time of year. And with it usually comes a relaxing of my musical choices, which you can probably see in this batch of discoveries as the majority of the albums stray into slower tempo territory.
Latitudes - Individuation
Does it sound weird to use the descriptors "tasteful" and "sludge" for the same band? I hope not, because Latitudes provide just that--tasteful sludge. Unlike some sludge bands focused on being as thick as they can, Latitudes temper the sludge approach with some greatly placed atmospherics, a healthy dose of restraint, and some gorgeously placed light melodic vocals. The vocals, however, are rare and often lower in the mix, giving them an ethereal, otherworldly feel as they float behind the churning, ever-changing sludge landscape the band creates.
Visionaries - The Corrupt Mindset
Let's add some deathcore to The Acacia Strain, and then we'll mix in a bit of progressive guitar tones and start/stop moments… hmm… yeah, that's about the correct combination of elements to get Visionaries. As you can imagine, this is a pretty pummeling, unrelenting album, which makes it absolutely perfect for pounding out reps at the gym. You should have absolutely no problem getting your adrenaline pumping while listening to this album!
Syqem - Reflections of Elephants
It's pretty safe to say that Syqem are trying to touch all of the bases when it comes to popular musical trends. They're an alternative metal band at their most basic, but you'll find some hints of djent-like guitars, call-backs to nu-metal of yesteryear, keys & dubstep components, and even a bit of radio-friendly rock. It's a heck of an amalgamation, but it definitely works. More than a few songs are incessantly catchy and the album never gets old. These guys deserve to be heard, so don't skip over Reflections of Elephants without at least trying out a few songs.
In the Silence - A Fair Dream Gone Mad
This album really caught me off guard. While I was patiently awaiting Katatonia's new album, I was in search of anything to hold me over, and A Fair Dream Gone Mad was exactly the holdover I needed. Sporting a number of similarities to Katatonia, In the Silence oozes moodiness, but they don't simply carbon copy what Katatonia has done. Instead they add some flourishes that wouldn't feel out of place on an Opeth album, which only adds to why I love this album as much as I do. The overt sense of melancholy that covers each song will make this a perfect fall album as everything around me starts to die off in preparation for the cold, harsh Minnesota winter…
Vanisher - Unbound
Some albums are just plain catchy. Vanisher's Unbound is one such album, stealing bits from Bullet for My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, and 10 Years. The band never delves too far into the heavier elements embodied by the aforementioned bands, but does utilize many of the more melodic, catchy pieces to put together 8 rather infectious tracks. It's a treat to hear a band that sticks with you because they're fun to listen to without being cheesy as all get out.
Islands - Islands
You are going to want to give this one your attention. This album might only be 5 tracks long, but it is a full-on 50 minutes of post-hardcore and post-rock influenced sludge metal. Sharing many similar traits with Cult of Luna, Islands lets songs build naturally, flowing from one movement to another, not concerning themselves with time. While exploring the musical landscape of Islands, be prepared to hear things that might sound like they'd be out of place, but actually work in the context of the songs. There are Explosions in the Sky-esque twinkling guitars, Hands inspired passion, and battles with pieces of the modern post-hardcore approach. All of this helps Islands separate themselves from the rest of their peers.
Yppah - Eighty One
Trip-hop is such a hit or miss genre. It takes a certain something to make an album in the genre really stick out. With Eighty One Yppah show they have that something. With a heavy bass undercurrent, spacey guitars, glitchy moments, and subdued vocals swirl around you. Punctuating the mix is the use of some exquisite drumming that is not often heard in this genre. You can't necessarily relax to this album, but you can certain be chill and cool while you listen to it.
Outline in Color - A Jury of Wolves
If a band ever fit the Rise Records template to a T, then Outline in Color would be it. You have soaring highs over post-hardcore a la Dance Gavin Dance or Sleeping with Sirens. You get the melodic metalcore of The Air I Breathe or The Color Morale. Finally you get the synth-metalcore of Abandon All Ships or In Fear and Faith. I'm surprised that these guys aren't already snapped up and being sported as the poster-child for the label. Now if you hate Rise and their roster, then stay far away, but if the label's sound is appealing to you, even in the least, you should not sleep on this album.
Anchors - Lost at the Bottom of the World
Remember Nitro Records? For a while I was obsessed with that label since they were the home of such great melodic hardcore/punk acts as A Wilhelm Scream, No Trigger, and Crime in Stereo. If you dig any of those bands, or similar bands, you should be all over Lost at the Bottom of the World. Anchors would have fit in perfectly alongside the aforementioned bands, sharing so many similar traits and the aesthetic to perfectly encapsulate the Nitro Records sound.
Kyoty - Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past
Eesh, that album title is a mouthful. Thankfully the album itself goes down a bit smoother. It's hard to think about an atmospheric sludge metal band as being calming, but it is because of the way that Kyoty paces their album and keeps a very deliberate tempo throughout songs (and when they change tempo it has a purpose!). When they add flourishes to the standard sludge or post-metal template, it is often in such a way to make a song smoother and easier to digest than to be abrasive. It's a nice change from the norm.