Shape of Despair - “Descending Inner Night”
When we were loading into Highline Bar in Seattle last Thursday, there was a really epic-sounding doom metal song being played over the sound system, and Wes and I immediately started banging our heads. The staff there was awesome and very excited to tell us the band was Shape of Despair. I am up and down on doom metal, but this band really takes the things that I love about symphonic black metal and makes it work. Overall, it is a pretty slow and doomy run through each track, but there are constantly escalating moments that I find particularly to my liking. A lot of synthesizers and epic choirs are mixed into the brooding guitars and steady drums. The clean vocals in “Descending Inner Night” just add to the fire that is already started in the long and drawn-out intro.
SØLVE - “what remains”
If you haven’t heard already, Brant Showers (of ∆AIMON and the European Tour edition of Bestial Mouths) is an amazing sound designer. SØLVE is his solo project and I can really feel the raw power that he put into these tracks. There are a lot of elements that are similar to ∆AIMON but taken to their most extreme level and thrown through a crisp overdrive. The first little EP that came out for this project was mostly atmospheric and, while I believe that this full album (out on Audiotrauma in just a few weeks) has some of those elements, it was a different mindset – more of a developing model. To me, the negative feels tight and emotional. There are subtle shifts in the background of “what remains” that are so crisp and well-tuned that they almost go unnoticed. Those background sounds, though, are what makes Solve stand out from other rhythmic noise/Ant-Zen/Hymen projects.
Spectres - “Strange Weather”
I really love the punk feel to this track. It moves along at a great pace, and while it has a definite post-punk vibe in the guitar tone and the vocal delivery, there’s something about it that just feels like it’s pulling from the punk roots a little more than your average post-punk track. That punk feel might be the crunchier feel to the rhythm guitar; it really has that drive that you might hear from a late 80s, early 90s era punk track. Don’t get me wrong though, the punk feel isn’t the only great part of this track; the vocal delivery, drenched in reverb, helps the drive of the track and the lead guitar is wonderful - it tears along, demanding your attention.
Gazelle Twin - “Blood Gushes I”
I am a huge fan of Gazelle Twin. This particular track is a great example of what makes her such a great artist. The track slowly builds from a bass line, pulsing like a heartbeat. There is discomfort - an unnerving soundscapes starts to build beneath the pulsing beat. Breaths. As words take form, the track beings to change faster; the beat picks up, the heartbeat fading behind the percussion. While the track was made to accompany an animation, the construction of the track builds a feeling and a mental image that rivals the Lynchian visuals of the film.