Two weeks into 2017, the weighty new releases are already starting to arrive with some frequency. We’ve picked our three favourites here, but if you’re a thrasher you could do worse than spending a few minutes with the new Impalers EP. If you’d prefer something that’s best described as “all over the shop”, We Go To War With The Weapons We Have by Swarm Of Eyes is madness bottled.
Slaves Of The Vast Machine
Hypnotic Dirge Records
[Released February 16th]
In a musical world where the big sellers are so often devoid of substance, and even some of the most artistically credible works conform to an accepted structure, it’s important to applaud those who look at their art differently. Last year, a two-track album made Chris’ Top 20. This year, Swedish black metal duo Obitus have gone one better. Slaves Of The Vast Machine is a single 45-minute track. It’s intense and challenging, unwaveringly bleak and often wantonly aggressive. But it’s ultimately rewarding, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
The Great Upheaval
It’s nearly thirteen minutes before The Great Upheaval switches from ambient gloom to its short-lived first and only ‘heavy’ part, which arrives in the middle of the stunning ‘Menace And Portent’, but not a note of what comes before or after it is wasted. Labeled as an “imaginary soundtrack”, this instrumental and almost classical Oikos record is at once minimalist and complex, electronic and doomy. Its background drone gives it a negative energy that defies its surface beauty, and the virtue of repetition is cleverly harnessed by sole creator Rafael Femiano. These five tracks weren’t made to be danced to, that’s for sure.
It’s too early to be talking about Album of the Year, right? That may be so, but after one listen of Code Orange’s new album it deserves to be spoken of in the highest terms and a place on our ‘best of 2017’ lists is almost assured. Forever is a triumph, full of chugging riffs and off-kilter time signatures, and it spits aggression from start to finish. It shows a band really coming into its own and making something truly special. And it isn’t all crushingly heavy stuff, although tracks like ‘Kill The Creator’ are wonderful. On ‘Bleeding In The Blur’, Code Orange show off a new side with melody and calm. This album is marvellous. It’s going to take some beating.
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