Ben Frost. Wolves in the Throne Room. Son Little. Chelsea Wolfe.
The Centre Cannot Hold
Atmospheric soundscapes. I’ve fallen asleep listening to this. It’s kinda nice.
Album highlights: A Sharp Blow In Passing, Trauma Theory, Meg Ryan Eyez, All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated
Wolves in the Throne Room
I’ve adored most of WitTR’s output over the years. This record is a bit of a reset and step back into their unique brand of black metal. It’s a great listen so far, but not charting new ground for them. Even if it takes them 5 or 10 years, I’d like their next record to be something truly remarkable. It’s no easy task given the quality of their first 3-4 records. I will remain hopeful.
Album highlights: The Old Ones Are with Us, Mother Owl, Father Ocean, Fires Roar in the Palace of the Moon
I adored and evangelized (to anyone that would listen) the greatness of Son Little’s self-titled debut record in 2015. It was even my favorite record of 2015. I loved it so much.
To think that this sophomore record, or any sophomore record, could live up to such a strong debut is a bit silly and unrealistic. This new record, New Magic, is not all that magical upon my first few listens. I want to love this record. The electric guitar work, layered vocal harmonies, rock grooves, soul, and more diverse lyrics found on his first record have been replaced by acoustic passages, stripped back compositions, less impressive vocals and lackluster hollow lyrics.
Don’t get me wrong, the incredibly talented Aaron Livingston isn’t trying to be a lyrical genius. That’s not his thing. But he does throw out some thought-provoking lyrics from time to time. More importantly he’s written lyrics that have resonated with me, in one way or another. This new record is missing all of that. The second single Demon to the Dark had me hopeful for the rest of the material on this record. It turns out most songs are more aligned in feel with the first single Blue Magic — which I can’t handle, really. That odd surfer vibe just doesn’t work for me.
I’m disappointed by this record after a handful of listens. Maybe it will grow on me? I’m excited to hear what he comes up with next.
Album highlights: O Me O My, Mad About You, Demon to the Dark
This might be Chelsea Wolfe’s best record to date. It’s so sludgy; rich and full of sound. The compositions have never been so complex, epic, grand, or impressive. Her vocals are also unreal. She seems more comfortable with the music she’s creating, writing, performing; more comfortable with her artistic voice. My initial feelings are that some of the emotion and intimacy is missing from the production or performance, here? At any rate, I’m impressed and hope this gets tons of plays in the coming months and through the new year.
Album highlights: Spun, 16 Psyche, Partical Flux, Twin Fawn, Offering