In a bad or a great way, here are 5 albums that didn’t go unnoticed in the last 12 months.

1

DEATH GRIPS – Interview 2016

(Third World Records)

death-grips-album

Another obscure album from the Deathgrips.

Following their last year’s project “Fashion Week”, this time Death Grips uploaded a video on YouTube called “Death Grips – Interview 2016” (2 months prior to the release of their full length 2016 album “Bottomless Pit” ), and although the video starts with the band performing in a studio in front of Matthew Hoffman that (intentionally in my opinion) looks like a polished high-class journalist or host, the music doesn’t actually match the video, it rather accompanies it in a sense. And what is missing here is MC Ride, who can be seen on the video rhyming and doing his maniac expressions along with rest of the crew, but his voice is nowhere to be found on the tracks, plus the direction of this EP has been mostly electronic with tons of break-beats, multilayer sound effects and electronic sounds molted together. It’s a drumming chaos that won’t let you relax not even for a second or so and a production madness from the trio’s amazing producers.

The video is a great visual work of juxtapositions and obscurity that surrounds the music perfectly. It exposes that perfectly shaped actor in the role of a journalist, a journalist though who is nicely taken care of well out of these darkened and corrupted vibes, being exposed to Death Grips violent style and edgy sound. At several points in the duration of that “interview” Hoffman seems shocked from the band’s intensity and aggression, but simultaneously he seems somehow sadistically curious to proceed and discover even more about them, a feeling that most of their fan-base would empathize. It’s weird, because Death Grips are weird and they know that very well. And although when you see the title “Death Grips – Interview 2016” you expect some enlightenment around the band’s profile or a better understanding of them through talking and answering questions, the video itself and the absence of MC Ride, raises more questions than it actually satisfies to answer, and despite the absence of dialogues and the presence of edgy electronic music, in a sense it tells a hell of a lot of things about the band’s perception around their projects and fans.

 

What really impressed me on that one, is that since the band has never shown any signs of giving a fuck for anything happening around it, the fans the press, even for their own music, they managed to grasp that feeling of curiosity their fans seem to have had and managed to satisfy it and by giving the title “Interview 2016” to their album they self-promoted it in a way that they had nothing else to do than just drop it. And then all of us (fanboys) searching and following the band, would be like “let’s check a couple of interviews of Death Grips for 2016” aaaaand bam! There you have it, their new EP fully released and available for listening, accompanied with inextricable visual context that is part of its title. No prerelease promotion, or anything. Just “Death Grips – Interview 2016” because come on, interviews are hyped and great promotional tools in 2016, and yes they know it too.

Although as I mentioned before MC Ride is missing from that project, I totally understand it as its whole meaning and direction of it, was – for one more time – different and progressive in terms of what “Death Grips” do. Radical, heavy, with exceptional details on the sound molding some lo-fi elements with their progressive electronic beats they impressed me for once again and built some great anticipation for what was about to come out just two months later, their fifth studio album “Bottomless Pit”. Do yourselves a favor and go listen to it NOW…! And more on this coming soon!

2

DEATHSPELL OMEGA – The Synarchy of Molten Bones

(Norma Evangelium Diaboli Records)

deathspell-omega

( expectations met – Impressed )

Deathspell Omega have been one of the most influential black metal acts of the 21st century, despite never having performed live and their low profile keeping.

When I was firstly exposed to their fifth album “Paracletus” released in 2010, and although I am not a metal fan, I was immediately charmed by their aggression and richness in sound. Six years after, they released their sixth album called “The Synarchy of Molten Bones”, one more of these albums that can stand for the whole genre they “represent”.

It’s like I am being sucked into oblivion when listening to it. Their violent sound along with their complex compositions create a very dark space and feeling. I very much like how the album starts and ends with drone-like elements, it sounds like prologue and epilogue for the album, which I find very interesting and catchy. The album artwork combined with the band’s lyrical themes mostly focused on religious and metaphysical subjects, reveal their dark perception of metal, and complete their pitch black image both in terms of visual and audio content!

 

The Synarchy of Molten Bones proudly stands for the Black Metal genre, and reflects how this scene is still progressing. Not in terms of form or musical elements, but in terms of quality and volume that is yet to be crafted and released for its fans to enjoy.

One of the genre’s top for 2016.

3

BOSSK – Audio Noir

(Deathwish Inc. Records)

bossk-audio-noir-cover

(did not meet expectations – Impressed in a bad way)

When I heard Bossk for the first time I was surprised by how deep and weighty their sound was. Especially on one of their singles named “Pick up Artst” released in 2013, the drums sounded massively heavy and the kick was actually felt kicking inside your lungs. And that led me to have some expectations while awaiting for “Audio Noir” their most recent album to come out in 2016.

Now the post-metal, sludge scene is not a surprising one, meaning that in a way, it has reached its maximum potential, in my opinion. It already has some standards that undoubtedly define it and when building anticipation on the approach of such a well-constructed and rooted genre it is better that these expectations are met. And although expecting somewhat 3 years for a debut album to be released for a an act that exists over than 10, along with their previous single it created lots of expectations, expectations that were not met when I first listened to “Audio Noir”. – I mean, you can’t have a massive audience, having toured all around the world and not having released a decent album in the genre, it’s like a part of the puzzle is missing here. –

It is a very medium album with polished sound production that puts it even more in between the thick lines of their genre, leaning dangerously towards another commonly post sludge metal album, very carefully produced with tones of effort on creating an atmosphere that the synthesis sometimes doesn’t seem to deliver. I was expecting something more progressive inside the genre from Bossk in a way that drives its limits a little bit further, and I was surprised to see that although the band did so in the past, their debut full-length album didn’t quite express that feeling or it wasn’t actually going to.

 

Though I find it very hard to believe that it wasn’t aiming to drive the lines a little bit further on post-sludge metal as inside “Audio Noir” in the middle of it actually, Bossk have placed two of their best – by far – songs (Kobe) and ( Atom Smasher), that reflect not only their uniqueness – just like their previous single did, in terms of their approach to the music they make – but also exceeds the limits of that classic heavy sludgy post-metal music already existing out there. It feels like it adds a little bit of a gazing feeling into it.

The rest of the tracks felt to me as filler tracks, fulfilling the overall atmospheric sense that the band tried to stimulate, mostly, except for the last track that seemed to somehow project their older steamier and more unpolished style.

For the genre in which it falls “Audio Noir” is a very decent album with nothing missing from it and it is pleasant to listen to. However I am afraid it would be another post-sludge metal album to listen to as many others, with little to make it differ.

4

CHILDISH GAMBINO – Awaken my Love

(Glassnote Records)

childish-gambino

( Impressed )

Not a fan of Childish Gambino at all, but the hype around “Awaken my Love” was great and impossible to avoid and rightly if you ask me. After all you don’t expect from an artist that was nominated for two Grammy Awards for the best rap album and performance in 2014 to release such a great 70s-like album. And yes as soon as the second tracked dropped before the actual release of the album, there was the realization that Childish Gambino was about to release some great black-power music.

Awaken seems like it was forgotten to be released back in the 70s when funk and the soul scene were still holding strongly onto their positions. It is not that it doesn’t fit its current space and time, on the contrary, it is that well constructed and inspired that is surprising that it was released just recently and not back in the days.

With strong elements of funk, soul and afro, and influences driven from artists like Funkadelic, this album delivers a very mellow feeling, with cool and groovy vibes. I like the electronic aspect of the compositions and the synthesizers used that match nicely the light feeling that the album delivers overall.

What I really don’t like is the use of the auto-tune on one of the tracks wholly composed by Bambino (California) and although I get it, it is intentionally pointed out, I feel it takes the spirit of the album in paths that don’t match its overall direction.

 

Generally it is a very relaxing and mellow album to listen to, with many elements from the 70s found on the grooves, the keys and vocals, that will certainly fool you and let you believe you just travelled in time. It is greatly dependent on the heritage that previous decades of music left us and one that takes that heritage, respects it, and reincarnates it in a way that either if you are a fan of it or of Gambino’s work or not, you can’t help but enjoy it.

5

RADIOHEAD – Moon Shaped Pool

(XL Records)

radiohead A_Moon_Shaped_Pool

I really don’t know where to start with Radiohead, as their compositions have always been multidimensional and deep in terms of both music and lyrics, and is hard to mention every aspect of their final album “A Moon Shaped Pool”. Moreover they have been so solid and accurate on pretty much everything they’ve done, that every time they do something new, it is even more condensed and inclusive of all of their elements and previous characteristics that is hard to resume it to its very last bit without leaving something out.

The sounds that the band has been comprised on “Moon Shaped Pool” are once more exceptional. From small details, like bell ringing sounds or back synths and echoes that surround the listener, to choirs and orchestras blending with the weird art composed rock of Radiohead, “Moon Shaped Pool” illustrates a sense of magnificence and melancholy that is very coherent and alike to what the band has already been offering to its audience. In addition to that the production of this album sounds like classic Radiohead and remains true to the band’s art rock style, due to their unique and loyal producer Nigel Godrich. His production over Radiohead’s albums has placed this man as one more of the band’s essential components that when coming together form that distinct whole that stands between obscurity, poetry, melancholy and alienated spaces.

 

The lyrics on this album – as the whole album itself – are very conceptual and metaphorical, about marginally surreal and heavy stuff that listeners can derive many conclusions from. I would characterize them as poetic and spiritual as many times they seem to be abstract yet so self defined by the composer’s psychic. And that’s one of the many elements that have accompanied the band for so long, and helped audiences to coincide with their style and aesthetics. The context of the lyrics which is anything else but uplifting, for the first time feels like it’s being summative in a weird way (not so weird after all if we consider that this more of a collective of unreleased and finally finished pieces of music) although I hope I am wrong. Alike the musical melodies and sound production, the lyrics complete that concept of daydreaming and lightheadedness that triumphs when listening along to “A Moon Shaped Pool.”

 

In total I found this album not to be very exceptional in terms of the time it was released according to the band’s long way up until now. I think it very well reveals Radiohead’s recipe on crafting such a specified and unique feeling along the years, through music, which on the one hand can be very pleasant and satisfying to people that want more of this, but on the other hand, however good Radiohead might be on being Radiohead, they will – or even better, have been since they have a 20+year course already behind them – retain the expectations of their audience, expecting something very distinct yet so specific. It is not a cheerful album ( and why it would be, we’re talking Radiohead here), it is rather deep and depressing, easy to listen to when down or tired but due to its weird nature, it draws the listener’s attention making it hard to be heard as background music or anything.

Check out our “2016 Review” special section here!

Réagissez à cet article / Comment this article

commentaires / comments

About The Author

Ioannis Patronas
Collaborator - RREVERB

Ioannis Patronas is a 24 year old UK based artist manager in the making, studying the music industry, artist management and promotion. He has been running his own company of live shows organizer and webzine editor since his early adulthood. He is fascinated by people who express their feelings through music. His true passion is trying to grasp these people’s drive to be expressed, and understand it through their compositions.