Harakiri for the Sky - "Calling The Rain"
Forever in search of new black metal sub-genres, I found a band that efficiently and powerfully bridges the gap between two of my favorite genres - black metal and melodic hardcore. I originally discovered Harakiri for the Sky through the post black metal tag on Bandcamp - which is an entire can of wonderfully weird music that I have yet to fully open - and found their music to be perfectly melancholy and aggressive. Starting with their second album, Aokigahara, I found the style and construction of every song so beautiful and particular to a set of influences. III: Trauma takes so much of what made Aokigahara such a dynamic album and escalates it both in production and quality. The songs are tightly executed, impacting every moment with a brutally sad hammer, chipping away at what Cascadian black metal bands like Agalloch or Ghost Bath have so rightfully sent to the top of my list. “Calling The Rain” is the ideal opening track: slowly building forward, setting the stage for what is about to come. There are so many emotions packed into the first eleven and a half minutes of this album - death, despair, self-hatred, blame - nothing is spared. I am anxiously awaiting the July 22nd release date.
You can pre-order Harakiri for the Sky’s new album III: Trauma from Art of Propaganda Records through their Bandcamp.
La Dispute - "Hudsonville, MI 1956"
La Dispute so accurately fills the void that emotional hardcore bands like Have Heart or Verse (which are both currently inactive) have left. “Hudsonville, MI 1956” is an entire world built in four short minutes. The storytelling in this song is incredible - there are so many lines in the lyrics that are poetic in their nostalgia. I have never been in a tornado, but through this song I can picture the horror of the experience vividly. The music behind the lyrics, equally important to the feel of the song, is so accurately impactful - both beautifully melodic and full of great moments of aggression. Each instrument has its own space and is spotlighted with great talent. I wish that more people would focus on this style of storytelling in their music - it is so honest and the imagery is powerful. Take the first stanza as a brief example: “There are bridges over rivers, there are moments of collapse, there are drivers with their feet on the glass, you can kick but you can’t get out, there is history in the rooms of the house.”
La Dispute is a melodic hardcore band from Grand Rapids, MI. You can pick up their 2014 album Rooms of the House on their Bandcamp page.
Lakker - "Maelsantkering Gating"
This song moves slowly. It starts with an aural premise and carries it through, building from a series of simple clicks and pads into more driven and weighty percussive elements. Bells, or maybe some form of improvised struck metal, rings out a tone to accentuate the pads and tones of the percussive elements. It seems simple, but it is compelling. The simplicity lends itself well to the weight of the track, and when new elements - vocal stutters, twitching synth lines - are introduced they feel more impactful; the space they take up is noticeable immediately.
Lakker is an electronic project based in Berlin, Germany. Their latest full-length, Struggle & Emerge, is available on Bandcamp.
Proux - “Just For Me (Original Mix)”
Sometimes I just want to turn something on that is going to cheer me up. This track makes me want to dance around, smiling, and not thinking about all the awful garbage that has been happening over the past few weeks, months, years - however long your ruler for despair is. Proux does a good job of pulling in elements from disco and juke, putting together a funky, dancey track built of electric piano, vocal sampling, and slappy bass lines. While the track is short, and ends a little abruptly, while it’s going, it goes strong.
Proux is a nu-disco project from Tijuana, Mexico (according to their Soundcloud at least). Their latest release, Just For Me (Single), can be found on Bandcamp.