If you've been on board with us since mid-2014, you'll remember I used to do a segment called Bandcamp Buried Treasure. I'd hunt down records for "Buy It Now/Free Download" price on Bandcamp and post up a brief article about one of my finds every Friday. It was a lot of fun, but ultimately the rules of the feature became too constricting for me to consistently talk about music I had the utmost faith in.
Now I've got a way around that. Here's how the new segment works!
- Quarterly (and maybe eventually monthly) I'm going to post up a bunch of albums that came out during this year you might have missed or forgot to get around to.
- The albums are not all "Buy It Now/Free Download," nor are they specifically hosted on Bandcamp. Get ready to throw your money at your screen!
- Each entry will include either a full album stream or a great song off an artist's new record.
- If you don't see an album you enjoyed from this year on the list, leave a comment letting me know I should listen to it! If it didn't come out by today, then I purposefully did not include it this time. These are only albums that came out between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31 this year. The next feature will deal with albums that came out between Jan. 1 and whatever the next quarter start date is, etc.
Ur Draugr – The Wretched Ascetic
Ur Draugr is a difficult band to define- on one hand the music has a lot of slow, clean/acoustic sections with implied melodies and creeping darkness. On the other hand, the group is disgustingly heavy in the vein of groups like Gojira and Ulcerate. Ultimately, Ur Draugr can loosely be defined as an atmospheric death metal band that isn't afraid to throw you a curveball.
Inquinamentum – Void
Looking for a good genre argument? Put this on and ask if it's black metal or melodic death metal. I'm sure opinions will differ enough between the people who that kind of thing matters to and some type of debate will ensue. Inquinamentum is the sound of a gray day right as the snow starts to melt and the skies churn with a restless need for spring.
Exgenesis – Aphotic Veil
Aphotic Veil should be on the playlist of every single person who loves doom or who loves melodic death metal. For its first appearance to the world, Exgenesis combines sludgy riffs with hooky, slow-burning melodies and fills in the gaps with spaced-out atmospheres. For a genre that's been done and done a thousand times over, Exgenesis is a breath of fresh air.
Human Improvement Process – Enemies of the Sun
Human Improvement Process blew me right the hell away with the incredibly heavy "Tortured Hands of Reasons" and now the album is on at least once per day on my commute to or from work. Granted the Enemies of the Sun EP is only three tracks long, but apparently that's all Human Improvement Process needs to bludgeon you into a disgusting, pulpy pile of blood organs and shattered bones. Don't hit play yet- be sure you've got a helmet and some protective gear nearby first.
Thurisaz – The Pulse of Mourning
I think the best way to describe Thurisaz is a slightly slower Insomnium with a little less reliance on atmosphere. There's a lot of riffs without much in the way of repetition or a general theme running through the writing style. Thurisaz essentially does what it wants throughout, knows that and makes it work. What started off as a curiosity based off the group's name has blown up into a bit of an obsession for me.
Beardfish – +4626-COMFORTZONE
Beardfish has been one of my favorite bands for years now, so for what it's worth I think this is hands down the best record the group has put out to date. +4626-COMFORTZONE is a progressive rock record that doesn't fear to tread where its predecessors have gone, but in doing so it refines the band's sound into something completely unique and new. If you're looking for a timeless masterpiece on this list, here it is.
Barren Earth – On Lonely Towers
Featuring current and former members of bands like Amorphis and Moonsorrow, Barren Earth is what would happen if Borknagar decided to become a death metal Deep Purple cover band. The music is stocked with memorable melodies, but the thing that gets me about the record is how seamlessly is transitions between genres and oddly placed sections. Organ solos, doom metal and soaring choruses in one song? Your wish is Barren Earth's command.
Thulcandra – Ascension Lost
Did you know Obscura vocalist and guitarist Steffen Kummerer has a side project that pulls out some killer blackened death metal? Welcome to Thulcandra! How this group has been generally sliding under the radar since 2008 is completely beyond me, but that's kind of the point of this feature. If there's one thing you'll get out of this Thulcandra album, it's that Kummerer can write a ridiculously catchy, yet simple, riff.
Irreversible Mechanism – Infinite Fields
I'm not much of a technical death metal dude unless the music is seriously compelling. So it was a bit of a shock to me that this is Irreversible Mechanism's debut record! The duo, rounded out with the addition of ex-The Faceless drummer Lyle Cooper, brings a whole slew of instrumental proficiency to the table, but within reason and keeps the writing confined to sensible compositions.
Special Providence – Essence of Change
Progressive rock and metal done as an instrumental record is usually a very hit or miss situation. Fortunately, Special Providence is very aware of how to write a solid tune without venturing in wank territory. The group combines elements of jazz, progressive rock, straight up metal and even a little fusion here and there, to bring your ears an album jam packed with great, memorable tunes.
God Mother – Maktbehov
God Mother is what happens when bands like Nails and Xibalba decide to do what they both do at the exact same time, with the addition of a few extra tasty riffs. That or this is an excellent soundtrack to moshing around your living room while still appreciating that the music is written well enough to be dissected and learned by any guitarist. Did God Mother just drop an album for smart hardcore fans?