I can already hear the masses asking "what track did the Töp fight over for
their August playlist?!" Well, this month did not disappoint as there were TWO track disputes. Durf and Tom duked it out over Hooded Menace with Durf emerging the victor while Mick snuck in to claim Møl, leaving Durf a bit salty (despite him already having a Deafheaven track!). We all see the common thread here, right? Durf came out swinging this month. That figure of speech about having your cake and eating it too comes to mind.
As a reminder of what this post is all about : Affectionately named after the Converge album, this monthly post will feature a collaborative playlist pinpointing tracks from this year that have been in heavy rotation for us. You may see some end up on our year-end lists. Some you won't. But rest assured they'll make for some eclectic listening. We'll try to keep the tracks as recent as possible, but you can at least bank on them being from this current year. Each of us will present 6 tracks because three 6s = well... you know.
Møl - "Photophobic"
I'll give it a few more tries before I completely give up, but the new Deafheaven has yet to connect with me. But that's ok because we always have Møl to fall back on. Their previous album, Jord, was fantastic and "Photophobic" seems to be a good sign of things to come. If you need that Deafheaven void filled, Møl is your answer.
Obscura - "Solaris"
For better or for worse, Obscura has always been my measuring stick for tech-death. Regardless of whether I dig or don't dig new Obscura output, I do consistently enjoy how it acts as a state of the union of sorts for the tech-death genre. Whether that notion is completely misguided or not, I'm a little lukewarm on this new track "Solaris" but that doesn't matter. It's good to hear new Obscura again.
Mountain Caller - "Beyond This Black Horizon"
What a great random Bandcamp find this was. Mountain Caller dishes out instrumental progressive doom but in a way that doesn't lean too heavily in either direction. It strikes an awesome balance of staying interesting while also keeping plenty of groove.
Dream Theater - "The Alien"
Despite Dream Theater being a gateway band for me that I will forever follow, I can say confidently say their last two outings were largely forgettable. "The Alien", while nothing earth-shattering, is a much needed redirect that is more in line with the kind of DT jams that keep me coming back.
Unreqvited - "Funeral Pyre"
This is captivating stuff here. Burying the vocal shrieks of black metal underneath these grandiose compositions of piano and intricate walls of guitar distortion, Unreqvited achieves the "depressive black metal" tag not by hammering on black metal's innate coldness but rather by creating uplifting movements that cross over into the sublime. Did that make sense? Perhaps I should have just said "it's so beautiful, it's sad."
Wolves in the Throne Room - "Underworld Aurora"
I'm not going to pretend like I'm some huge Wolves in the Throne Room fan, but Durf and I saw them play an intimate show at the Empty Bottle in Chicago 5ish years ago and I would easily rank it somewhere in my top 5 concerts ever...so I certainly "get it." Their new album, Primordial Arcana, is phenomenal and upon my first listen gave me instant flashbacks to that aforementioned show.
Between the Buried and Me - "Sfumato"
Colors II, the new album from Between the Buried and Me, is a lot. Like a lot. It's an ambitious album, so overstuffed with ideas that I wonder if anything got cut at all, or if the band made an eighty minute album just so it could fit everything in. Sadly, most of these big swings are misses, and in all honesty the callbacks to Colors were completely unnecessary and took me out of the new album experience every time. That said, the album is not without merit, and amidst all the bombast, all the kitchen sink AND THEN SOME approach, "Sfumato," a tiny, sub-two minute track at the end of it all turned out to be my favorite moment on Colors II by far.
Mossgiver - "Embrace the Wrath of Wind"
Listen, if you make an atmospheric, semi-ambient black metal album with songs over twelve minutes, there's a very good chance I'm going to dig what you're putting down. If you do said musical stylings incredibly well? Shiiiiiiiiiit, now you're just trying to make me fall in love, which is exactly what Mossgiver does on their debut Led By the Glowing River. I was hooked from jump street, and I think you will be too.
Hooded Menace - "Corpus Asunder"
Just insanely fun death/doom from a band that only ever puts out insanely fun death/doom. The Tritonus Bell is a really cool album, and it's great to have Hooded Menace back. I still think their name is an uncircumcised penis joke, and I need more people to know I think that. Speaking of dicks, I know I've been AWOL on Durf's Weekly Workout lately, and that sucks. I'm hoping it will be back next week; things in the Durf household have been super crazy as of late, but it seems like said craziness is beginning to come in to focus, so hopefully we can all get back to lifting and jamming together real soon.
Woman is the Earth - "Spiritual Rot"
Ever since I saw this band perform "Brother of Black Smoke" at Fire in the Mountains three years ago, I've loved them and wished more people would pay attention to them. Seems like they're having a bit of a moment now; their new album Dust of Forever is a fantastic listen, and I've seen it mentioned in a few places, so hopefully that traction continues.
Deafheaven - "Villain"
I know I did a Deafheaven track last month, but I don't care. Infinite Granite has continued to grow on me, and that's coming from a place where I tremendously enjoyed it from the get go. I've now listened to it half a dozen times, and it continues to unfold, revealing more and more, and I imagine it will continue to show its nuance the next dozen or so times I listen.
Thrice - "Scavengers"
I've talked about my love of Thrice before, and how their early albums were a big influence on my listening habits between high school and college. I haven't loved an album of theirs in a long time, but they have a new one coming out in a few weeks, and this first taste of it is incredibly promising. Of course, I thought the same thing about that Chevelle single from earlier this year too, and the rest of that album was... lacking. So I'm optimistic about Horizons/East, but in a cautiously guarded way.
Filth Is Eternal - "The Chain"
Seattle hardcore collective, Filth Is Eternal return with their first album since they changed their name from Fucked and Bound. Love Is A Lie, Filth Is Eternal is exactly what you want from a hardcore band with a metallic edge, vocalist Lisa Mungo is straight fire during the 20 minutes of this album and this is a quick hit of what the larger picture holds.
Beyond Grace - "Barmecide Feast"
Opening with a Barack Obama sample about trickle down economics, this track very quickly picks up steam with the band's own brand of modern meets classic death metal structure. Vocalist Andy Walmsley's guttural vocals are excellent and vary with the different tempos provided throughout the album. Kudos to their bass player as he provides plenty of tech death vibes by bouncing around in the background and in the forefront depending on which part of the song we are talking about. Our Kingdom Undone is the band's sophomore album, out on 9/3.
Mastiff - "Repulse"
Mastiff come as a new band to me even if their Leave Me The Ashes of the Earth is their third proper album. "Repulse" will sound familiar to fans of All Pigs Must Die, Converge and even Mantar to an extent. Ample amounts of doom intersperse the sludge and hardcore, making for an exceptionally muddy album overall, one that does what it sought out to do. The end of the track is vile with shrieked vocals and slows down to a pained crawl. This is what you want from this combination of genre.
Bummer - "JFK Speedwagon"
Kansas City, MO's Bummer are another new find and an oddity on this list. Bummer provide a very tongue-in-cheek version of noise rock with plenty of notable song titles like "I Want To Punch Bruce Springsteen In The Dick" for starters. The relatively tame "JFK Speedwagon" has all of the mechanics you come to expect from noise with stop-and-go riffs and their own vocal style for backup. A really fun album overall.
Wraith - "Cloaked In Black"
In a year without Midnight, there is Wraith whose sound on Undo The Chains comes across as a less fun, more satanic version of the aforementioned Midnight. This is black metal with a side of in your face punk attitude. This song and album as a whole is chock full of goodies like this and sure to get you to hell in an instant.
Carcass - "Dance of Ixtab"
Carcass' first album in 8 years comes out in a month, so excuse me if I went back to the band again. Torn Arteries is a great album in its own right, "Dance of Ixtab" is the latest single by the band, so I'm inviting you to follow the same journey as the rest of the populous has been. Relatively mid-tempo, this track tends to rock out with guitar solos and keeping it tame, I assure you the rest of the album isn't quite at this speed, but changing up the formula once in a while has worked for Carcass before, wouldn't you say?
- Mick, Durf, Tom