Chuck Loesch's Picks (So Far)
Agalloch – The Serpent and the Sphere
There are few bands that have been able to transcend genres while navigating them at the same time. Agalloch have an uncanny ability to write blackened Avant sounding albums that survive multiple listens for all audiences. Unlike many of their shoegaze black metal counterparts that leave you wishing you never started their 22 minute song, Agalloch have a way of enticing you into their soundscapes without ever knowing you spent the last hour listening. The Serpent and the Sphere differs in many ways from their last album, yet their direction they chose will grow them into something even greater.
Black Anvil – Hail Death
Brutal blackened hardcore, simple songs, gang vocals, and approachable attack lull you into numbness then Hail Death will subsequently sucker punch you in the dick. Doubled over in pain, you still can’t stop loving what they deliver with every resounding note.
Cynic – Kindly Bent to Free Us
Gradually slipping away from metal proper, Cynic has drifted into the void of unclassifiable progressive music that purifies itself in the cool pool of rock. No one album could describe what Cynic has been able to accomplish in their odd career. From the beginning Focus stood out as something no one else would be able to achieve, but many would emulate without even knowing they were doing it. Traced In Air brought them back into the fold after almost two decades and Kindly Bent to Free Us is their masterpiece defining all of the possibilities on one record.
Trap Them – Blissfucker
Hands down, album of the year. Don’t need to describe it, you just need to let it fuck your earholes and enjoy.
Vallenfyre – Splinters
When a group of musicians gathers together after successful careers and comes together to create music as a super group, the results vary greatly. Vallenfyre exemplifies how it is done. Members of Paradise Lost, At the Gates and My Dying Bride formed a death metal outfit with no rival in today’s scene. I will go as far to say this may be a perfect album in the way it conjures the tread themes of the genre, yet codifies it into something fresh and new.