Joaquin’s Rapid Review Roundup 5
Should I just regularly contribute minis and write more full reviews? Yes. Am I going to keep procrastinating and just do a bunch at once when my inbox is bursting at the seams? Also yes.
Astronoid– Radiant Bloom
3Dot Records | June 3rd, 2022
I’m going to do this review on hard-mode and not use words like dream, ethereal, atmosphere, gaze, etc. I am always a little worried about bands that back themselves into a corner with a very specific sound, but without changing too much this time around, they still put out a suite of catchy tracks that avoids blending together.
Astronoid has always excelled in the staggering contrast between intent and surface-level reception. There’s almost a comedic feeling hearing “I just feel so tired / I don’t feel so well at all” with cheery clean vocals and a peppy melody. At the same time, it’s not an acceptable answer to that daily /r/askreddit question about “what happy-sounding song is actually depressing?” because there’s a very obvious melancholy somehow hiding beneath it all. The lyrics recognize the suffering we put on ourselves, and Brett Boland somehow emotes that through his high-pitched cleans.
I was excited to see they were working with the Periphery dudes (3Dot) since I always thought they could benefit from a little bit of messing with mixing, but it generally sounds the same, production-wise, and also with the huge negative of not being on Bandcamp. The guitars and drums are a smidge punchier which is great, so maybe it’s just not worth messing with something that achieves the goal. Sometimes a little mush is good for you. Great record.
Klabautamann – numbered
Independent | December 17th, 2021
I didn’t recognize this band until I saw their 2017 album cover and remembered they were the other band with the spooky toothy fish album cover that wasn’t Helms Alee. This new album is a nice balance between progressive and black metal with a touch of folk and avoids some of the more irksome components of all those genres. The prog fans will notice a lot of Haken similarities in the clean vocal performance and synth use, but it’s nice that they also can hit those tremolos and growls to mix things up a little. I also enjoyed the guest vocals from Cellar Darling’s Anna Murphy.
CHRMR– Low in the Glow
Independent | March 4th, 2022
CHRMR pull off a unique form of alt-rock that they bend into a sludgy metal instead. The off-kilter Alice in Chains vocals work on top of the bass-heavy riffs and feathery drum performance. They do a great job of changing the tempo over the course of the album, with some catchy vocal hooks over a slow groove. It’s a nice 30-minute bite of action-packed music.
Independent | April 1st, 2022
Here we have some mostly slow death-doom with nice melodic backing and subtle synths. Featuring Countless Skies guitarist and vocalist, the first track seems to lack any of that progressive flare that got me hooked on that album so I was a little underwhelmed until the melody kicks in early into “Beneath the Waves”. It’s a solid debut EP if you’re in a depressive death mood.
If I Die Today– The Abyss In Silence
Argonauta Records | April 29th, 2022
Oh boy do I love a sub-30 minute album that is dense enough to feel like a full LP. This metallic hardcore album wastes no time and maintains a grindy ferocity with a nice post-metal sludgy tone. The energy reminds me of The Atlas Moth’s most recent album, which nearly blew the roof off a small venue.
Banditt Media | April 29th, 2022
Delvoid are really hitting that early 2010’s clean prog metal spot for me, where bands like Karnivool, Leprous, and Caligula’s Horse used to dominate. There’s a nice tinge of psych to it all, which is pretty unique. The super-long, introspective tracks can sometimes meander too much where they really excel during their punchy choruses, but it never feels like empty space.