Alright, let’s say you’ve got an album by a band called Rivers of Nihil (spooky), and they’ve got a real spiky logo (at least it’s legible) and the album cover is a Dan Seagrave (he’s done all their album covers)–you, and most everybody else, will probably conclude that this is a metal album. But from the very first chord, if you’re even remotely familiar with the genre, you can further guess that Where Owls Know My Name isn’t going to be just another metal album (and if you’re not, you’ll come to the same realization around when the first saxophone solo kicks in). Even then, you still might not expect how beautifully written, how emotive, how powerful an experience it ends up being.
Buckle up: this is the one that almost got away from me, and it’s my favorite non-metal album of the year.
I’m probably past the point of providing an unbiased review of a Nine Inch Nails release. Over the years, I’ve immersed myself in Trent Reznor’s music to such a degree that I feel I can address his work in totality, with a scope encompassing the ongoing life cycle of Nine Inch Nails, and, to a degree, industrial music in general. Given that, I regret to report that Bad Witch is kind of a lackluster release, and presents a less-than-fulfilling conclusion to the trilogy of EPs that began with Not The Actual Events and continued with Add Violence.
Since The Faceless started falling apart and Meshuggah had a brand-new genre label foisted upon them, Beyond Creation have been my go-to band for technical death metal. The Montréalais quartet don’t sound like every other tech death band, and honestly, given how samey tech death tends to be, that’s enough to get me interested. But Beyond Creation went beyond getting me interested and got me well and properly hooked.
Broadcast 3: Yorushika
Welcome back to O!susume RadioBeat with our 3rd broadcast, after a bit of a hiatus! You’ll be happy to hear that a small-ish part of this haitus was spent perusing the rental aisles of Tsutaya and GEOS in Saitama, Japan, and Nagi (that’s me) has returned with a whole new haul of recommendations for y’all.
Years Active: 2017 – Present
Core Members: n-buna (guitar/composer), Suis (vocals)
Point of Origin: Gifu Prefecture
Summer as a season of explosive energy is one of the oldest big moods. Summer blockbusters, summer vacation, summer camp, summer jams–it’s a time to cut loose, go on adventures, be maximalist. In particular, the summer jam is an exciting concept; it unifies us, but also acts as a statement of our individuality, for while we might all go nuts when the latest huge hit drops in July, we’ve also got our standby songs to sing along to at the top of our lungs while driving with the windows down. This week, our panel of contributors shares their summer jams on a playlist, and writes about their picks.
Broadcast 2: Anly
Welcome back to our second broadcast of O!susume. I started off with an older band, so this time I decided to go with someone (much) fresher on the scene. Gotta hit those, uh, younger demographics or something.
Years Active: 2014 to Present
Core Members: Anly (singer/songwriter)
Point of Origin: Ie, Okinawa
Broadcast 1: Do As Infinity
Welcome to the very first broadcast of O!Susume RadioBeat, Nagi’s personal music blog project that lets him jaw on and on about his fav Japanese artists and tries to get you, dear readers, to give them a spin as well.
After a lot of deliberation about who would take the honorary spot of this inaugural episode, Do As Infinity won out.
Do As Infinity
Years Active: 1999 to 2005, 2008 to present
Core Members: Tomiko Van, Ryo Owatari, Dai Nagao
Point of Origin: Tokyo
Turns out I had a little more to say about each of these albums than I though. It also turns out that rapid-fire publishing nine posts over eight days isn’t a great idea, so I’m clumping most of my favorite albums of 2017 into this post on this final day of the year. Here are my takes on weirdo-pop icon Fever Ray, prog theatrics from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, a slab of supermassive riffs from Ground, a lightning-fast thrash assault from Lich King, and Igorrr, dear god, Igorrr, what have you wrought?
It’s not every day that an album like Melodrama arrives. It’s not even every year.