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From The Bandcamp Vaults #17

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Welcome to the first installment of From The Bandcamp Vaults for 2019! This year already holds tremendous promise across the spectrum. Send your Bandcamp discoveries to

Metal and Metal-ish

January 10, 2019

After enduring YiY’s 40-minute runtime, you won’t necessarily walk away whistling melodies, but you will respect their commitment to fashioning chaos out of chaos. Wxyz clearly take heavy cues from Mick Barr and Ruins, with additional influence from Lightning Bolt, Mars Volta, and 1970s prog as they shift from spazzy instrumental noise to fusion jazz to clamorous soundscapes. Despite its complexity, they hurdle these styles with passion and maintain the driving pulse necessary for such experimentation. This album demands a lot of listening for a product designed for artists and art spaces; I found myself asking, in a non-patronizing and largely philosophical tone, “What genre and audience is this for? What compels someone to create music so difficult to grasp and in such antagonism of the mainstream?”

Quiet EarthDesertion / Migration
March 16, 2018

Accompanied by huge tones and powered by large chord changes, Quiet Earth emerge from the Big Business school of driving heavy rock with elements of stoner pop a la Torche. Coming back to those tones, their producer deserves an award for capturing those massive snare and bass roars that could loosen a molar. The vocals, barked more than screamed, remind me of fellow Canadians KEN Mode and seemingly originate more from hardcore than metal. Desertion / Migration, also the respective names of the two-tracks, complement one-another in a pithy manner.

Helium Horse FlyHollowed
January 18, 2019

From the opening moments of “Happiness,” driven by a brooding bass line throbbing in 7/4, Hollowed announces itself as dark, demanding, and worthy of attention. Throughout its duration, Helium Horse Fly regularly pit soothing ambience against jagged chords and dense percussion, forming a marriage of fusion jazz with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum minus their quarks. The compositions center around vocalist Marie Billy, who captures both bleakness and beauty with every note and takes influence from Tim Buckley and Toby Driver. Despite this high level of processing, the Belgium band avoids tedium and sounds much heavier than a group relying solely on volume to achieve unease. Ultimately, the music doesn’t cement itself into one genre but rather adheres to its own parameters and results in what I predict will be one of the year’s best.

AstrosaurFade In // Space Out
April 28, 2017

The general public perceives academia and heavy metal as rivals, but Astrosaur, whose members studied at the Conservatory of Music in Kristiansand, lean toward the intellectual without sacrificing any authenticity. Fade In // Space Out tips its hat toward The Dub Trio, Kongh, and Trans Am in their quest to bond instrumental prog and stoner rock and ensure that each track transfers a mood, whether influenced by scorching classic rock, heady space rock, or scathing blackgaze. The Norwegian trio perform in synchronicity and balance a jazz influence between the rockier and more mentally taxing sections. The title track features beautiful guitar playing and gorgeous restraint that builds up to a cathartic church-like crescendo.

May 3, 1993

At the tender age of fourteen, I purchased Spheres from Blockbuster Music shortly after its release on cassette tape. I enjoyed Testimony of the Ancients well enough but read about the fusion jazz transition Pestilence undertook and, going through my first jazz phase, sought out any metal that bridged the two worlds. Upon the first few listens, I wished for something heavier but it sounds plenty brutal in hindsight and remarkably catchy — the riffs stick and the compositions, especially the guitar solos, do a great job of framing themselves around unique harmonic patterns. The album boasts strange production with stiff drums, farty bass tones, and dorky keyboards but they sound charming when combined to form a whole. Patrick Mameli brings the most metal element and sings with what sounds like a terrible case of laryngitis. Death metal took more risks during its formative period and, while not every leap works on Spheres, it reminds me that modern old-school worship overlooks bands who sought to expand its palette.

Not Metal

Gaye Su AkyolHayal Hakikattir
October 26, 2018

Rarely does adhering to precedent breed such inspiration, but Turkish group Gaye Su Akyolexpertly recreate psychedelic Turkish rock that delivers exactly what you would expect. Combining the sounds of the 1960s with modern pop influence and the occasional prog flair, Hayal Hakikattir transports you to another world with perfect mood music that fits nicely in the background and subtly guides the scene. The song “Gölgenle Bir Başıma” beautifully embodies all of the album’s strengths.

carpartsnew switches
August 5, 2018

new switches reminds me that math rock still holds the power to drive the future of rock-‘n’-roll. Rather than rely on an endless barrage of crazy chords and finger taps, carparts present great rock riffs led by fantastic guitar work that finds the sweet spot between Rye Coalition, Faraquet, and Turing Machine. They perform the riffs freely, despite their odd phrasing, and sound as tight as a veteran band.

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