Album Review: Erdve — “Savigaila”

Erdve - Savigaila

You already know I love music from around the globe.  I love listening to the way different countries shape the worldview of the people living in them and their own unique metal scene, and after some time of waiting, I can finally put a pin in Lithuania on my map of the world, thanks to Erdve and their stunning new stomper Savigaila.  I don’t often advertise my feelings on an album before the cut, but, then again, I also don’t tend to review albums I think I’m going to hate; this, however, surprised me in the best way possible.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Leila Abdul-Rauf — “Phantasiai”

Phantasiai is an album that sets out to answer the age-old question that I physically cannot stop tumbling out of my accursed brain anytime anyone utters the phrase “I’m dying”: “Is it blissful?”  Well, according to multi-instrumental wizard Leila Abdul-Rauf, while it might be like a dream, the answer is a resounding “NO.”  The album is a high-minded journey through ancient philosophy, existentialism, performance art, and much more all wrapped up in dark textures and eerie beauty that showcase her immense talent at a wide variety of musical fields.  Just be careful of how deep you go.

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Album Review: Ophidian I — “Desolate”

Speaking as a person who is, ahem, Technically Inclined (seriously, Buke, Hera, waiting for that guest spot) I enjoy music that is highly technical without any of the usual caveats like “but it’s not technical like that” or “but it’s at least listenable.”  Of course I enjoy music that is accessible and that is not a gigantic mess of sound, but…I also enjoy music that is technical for its own sake.  Maybe it’s the fact that like every teenager who had dreams of selling out arenas and putting on clinics (spoiler alert: I’m competent but not that great), I worshipped at the altar of Malmsteen, Becker, Vai and Satriani.  Maybe Ophidian I did too, because boy does Desolate reignite some of that indescribable wonder that electrifying lead guitar work sets in my soul.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Xasthur — “Victims of the Times”

Some of you reading this might be surprised to see the name Xasthur gracing the halls of our strictly no-metal-allowed column (even though that’s been…kinda not true, but still).  While the project might be best known for their lo-fi black metal albums from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, in the recent years, the project that was once called finished in 2010 has been reborn as a dark-folk, doomgrass experience, and in the intervening years it is quite fair to say that a lot has happened.  Victims of the Times tells the stories of this gap period.

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Album Review: Unendlich — “Paradox of a Broken World”

There are a lot of geographic regions that have become synonymous with black metal and the black metal aesthetics.  Scandinavia, obviously, the Pacific Northwest, Iceland, each have their own distinctive take on the genre.  There is one place, though, where the scene burns brightly but doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, and that is the American northeast.  They might not be household names, but the bands that call New England home have developed a style that seamlessly blends the raw fury of their northern brethren with the swirling, textural components of their western counterparts into something that is all their own.  Unendlich carry on this tradition with their newest release Paradox of a Broken World, which sees the project hone its already keen musical edges.

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