Because you don’t get that many chances to look back on a whole decade.
It’s high time I finished my 2018 favorites list (or at least the thorough reviews).
Every year, I try to get into a new style that pushes my appreciation of extreme music just a little bit further. In 2017, I took a deeper dive into grindcore with some classic Napalm Death and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. This past year, I attempted to grasp the appeal of the super-dissonant side of death metal. Portal are probably the best known band in this style right now and are still well beyond me, but I think I’m more invested at wrapping my head around Gorguts at this juncture, as their melodic sensibilities are more pronounced and I’ve been a Colin Marston fan ever since I first heard “You Will Be Reincarnated As An Imperial Attack Space Turtle”.
That said, after 2018, I think Anachronism might have been the band I was looking for this whole year. After hearing the first couple tracks of Orogeny, which I believe to be their second album, I was pretty sure Anachronism would be a great gateway into the thick, murky, dissonant ends of the death metal spectrum. Orogeny ended up exceeding my expectations on every front and was one of the strongest albums I heard this year. (Also before the cut I need to tell you that this album shares a name with the magic system in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy, which you absolutely must read if you’re up for some heavy-hitting fiction.)
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