Records of the Week With Ted and Jon – Week #28
Each Friday, Editors Ted Nubel and Jon Rosenthal [usually] will share their picks for Records of the Week—not necessarily what's out this week, just whatever's on our mind or on our record players.
The Jester Race
Much like site founder Cosmo Lee, who stood on a soapbox for classic metal band Metallica, it's time for my "old man yells at cloud" moment. Melodic death metal is good! I mean, you all like Majesties, right? Ever wonder where that came from? Congratulations, you like a melodic death metal album. Now, let's talk about a classic: The Jester Race existed before the Gothenburg riff became a thing, instead this album is guided by heavy metal sentiment and dual lead guitar majesty. A big selling point for this album (and followup Whoracle) are Anders Fridén's vocals–a low howl, bellowed from deep within his core. As a whole, The Jester Race might not be as groundbreaking as In Flames' debut record, but it was the beginning of a new era and sound. Let the passion envelop you!
ALSO, since this is the album version which contains the Black Ash Inheritance EP, go ahead and skip all the way to "Goliaths Disarm Their Davids" for what I feel is the best In Flames song ever recorded. Why it was relegated to a small-run EP is beyond me!
Midwife & Vyva Melinkolya
We usually don't cover recent releases here, opting instead for a cocktail of old and/or obscure stuff, but thanks to The Flenser's relentless orbposting on Twitter I decided to give this record a try and I feel like it's a great fit here. [Note to bands: yes, social media IS important]
I was immediately captivated - opening track "Miss America" sets out this landscape of quiet melancholy that's easy to sink into and sort of float in. When the next track "Hounds of Heaven" adds in drums, that quiet melancholy becomes irresistibly catchy. The rest of the record plays with the formula, but there's a constant sense of fuzzy, distorted numbness. The hushed vocals and overall softness of everything, though noisy and lush, is both soothing and depressive, but it's a familiar depression. It's easy to connect to Orbweaving and resonate with it.
There's a lot of thoughtfulness behind this record, and I don't want to boil it down to a single sentiment. Still, if I were to summarize: Orbweaving feels like the type of spiraling sadness you get from thinking too much, and I'm an old friend of that particular feeling.