Faith No More – Sol Invictus (listen)
Cult-status alternative metal band, Faith No More came roaring back after an 18-year absence to release one of the best metal albums of the year so far. There is a refined maturity in the sounds and style of the band. Mike Patton’s vocals are a calculated craziness that whirls around the instrumentations in an almost perfect manner. The time away seemed to do a lot of good for the band as they have come back stronger than ever on Sol Invictus.
Prurient – Frozen Niagara Falls (listen)
This album is huge both in runtime and in emotional depth and depravity. Dominick Fernow goes by many aliases, but in his latest release under the guise of Prurient he has taken his past endeavors in other genres and merged them together into 91-minutes of what ultimately will be remembered as his best work. Frozen Niagara Falls is riddled with blaring synths and electronic samples that are contrasted by soft pianos as well as heart-pounding percussions that resemble something Godflesh would make. On top of all of that are haunting, distant vocals offered by Fernow that resemble someone lost and calling out for help in the noise of a metropolis. Simply put, this is a noise masterpiece.
Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last (listen)
I’m fairly late to the John Dwyer party, I will admit. However, I have seen the light and the latest offering from Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees is stellar. Mutilator Defeated At Last is a shining example of garage rock. The psychedelic density lying deep within the up-tempo guitars and drums erupts into a vivid and frenetic arrangement that is catalyzed by the vocal range of John Dwyer. Songs like the 7-minute slower-paced ‘Sticky Hulks’ and the spastic and raucous ‘Rogue Planet’ put on display the diversity that makes this album so refreshing with every listen.
Obsequiae – Aria of Vernal Tombs (listen)
Minnesota’s Obsequiae takes the listener on a medieval, atmospheric black metal journey in Aria of Vernal Tombs. The inclusion of a medieval harp into the workings of the album enhances the imagery that Tanner Anderson and his bandmates wished to portray. The harp is accurately and wonderfully placed throughout the album as to not taint the heaviness of the music but to add a poetic hue to it. The album fluidly passes from one song to the next carefully blending elements of classical harp and black/doom metal ultimately resulting into a grandiose piece of art as beautiful as the album cover would suggest.