38 new releases finish off January 2022 in style!
That’s the first month of the year done and dusted, and this is January’ 2022s last chance to shine. We found so many releases again that we couldn’t help ourselves but pick 6, no 7! highlights that couldn’t be more diverse. Eclectic conceptual Deathcore with France’s The Dali Thundering Concept, some british Prog Rock from the international ensemble that is Big Big Train, progtronics with Josh Trinnaman from Luo, Haken‘s Ross Jennings acoustic and solo, some finnish melancholy with Dawn of Solace and finally a new album by guitar maestro Steve Vai himself! What are you waiting for? There’s a lot to discover! (And don’t miss out on the last minute math rock addition Catbamboo!
The Dali Thundering Concept - All Mighty Men - Drifting through a Prosthetic Era
While Leprous like to close their albums with some thundering riffs like ‘The Sky Is Red’, The Dali Thundering Concept from France are opening their new album “All Mighty Men” with a similarly crushing aural sequence. What ensues in the following 35 minutes couldn’t be further from the melancholic artrock sounds of the five Norwegians though. An eclectic post-modern conceptual tour de force touching on anything between deathcore, hip hop, pop, jazz, classical music and huge choirs juxtaposed with blastbeats – this amalgamation of seemingly disparate genres is definitely not for the faint of heart. TDTC are telling the story of Barry the Straw oscillating between ‘Lord of the Rings and Sausage Party’, as the press text states and as weird as it sounds, somehow that description does make perfect sense. Come follow Barry’s journey if you dare, dive into crazy musical melanges and let them stir up thoughts about humanity, the environment and our place in the world. Self-financed and -released with the help of their Patreon community The Dali Thundering Conclave, The Dali Thundering Concept’s third album “All Mighty Men” is a bold and daring artistic statement, reflecting these crazy times we live in their very own artistic language.
Big Big Train - Welcome to the Planet
Big Big Train. What should I do with you? Revered by many as a quintessential(ly british) contemporary progressive rock band, I have to admit that almost every single thing I tried from them prior to the arrival of the “Welcome to the Planet” promotional download couldn’t keep my attention at all to put it mildy (with the exception of the D’Virgilio instrumental ‘Apollo’ from their latest 2021 release “Common Ground” maybe). What made me dive into a full length album now? Well, sadly it was the shocking untimely death of frontman David Longdon that somehow told me: Dario, now it’s time, now you have to check this out. And while I’m still having trouble grasping the fascination many a progger might get with a majority of BBT’s material for myself, bits and pieces here and there begin to click with me and I’m finally starting to understand WHY. Why this band was and is beloved by so many prog fans. And I listen with open ears and an open heart and can finally make my peace with the reputation the international collective of musicians is enjoying. One can only hope that they will continue to bring their euphonius sounds to their fans for years to come – in honor and loving memory to their late, great frontman and friend David Longdon.
Josh Trinnaman - Heart Sonars EP
Josh Trinnaman is one half of the British electronic prog producer duo Luo, who surprised me with their killer EP “Convoluted Mess Machine” last year. With his solo EP “Heart Sonars”, Josh explores some overall more chill vibes compared to the hyperactive “Mess Machine” of Luo. The masterful juxtaposition of hypnotic electronic drum and bass beats and some math-y manipulated guitar stuff works perfectly and makes for a wonderfully relaxing listen that is still filled with many intricate details to explore if one feels inclined to do so. Since I am not really familiar with the scene of this kind of music, there’s very little I could compare “Heart Sonars” with other than Luo, Sungazer or Shwesmo, but it definitely serves well to tide me over until the next frantic sonic onslaught from the Luo-duo.
Ross Jennings - Acoustic Shadows
Easily the most prolific in terms of releases amongst his bandmates since their latest opus “Virus”, Haken’s Ross Jennings not only fired out two EP’s with Novena (“Live from Home” and “The Stopped Clock”) last year, but 2021 also marked his solo debut with “A Shadow of my Future Self”. To celebrate this occasion, he played an all-acoustic live-stream with stripped down guitar/vocal arrangements from that very album (with the occasional Novena surprise) last November. For all those Ross-fans who can’t get enough of him, a recording of this is now available as “Acoustic Shadows”, showing yet another side of this versatile and ever-hungry musician and performer, who has worked amazingly hard since the humble beginnings in cowboy boots and red pants with Haken over 12 years ago to become better and better at his craft. “Acoustic Shadows” is another testament to that, raw and naked.
Dawn of Solace - Flames of Perdition
Tuomas Saukkonen is a busy bee. After putting all his other activities on hold in 2013 to fully focus on his new band Wolfheart, he’s been getting back into action with a new Dawn of Solace album in 2020. This must have inspired him, because since then we have seen the return of Before the Dawn with a single in 2021 and an album planned for 2022, while there is also a new Dawn of Solace album, called “Flames of Perdition”.
While Tuomas’ other projects explore different aspects of melodic death metal, with Dawn of Solace, he takes a more mellow approach. Working together with vocalist Miko Heikkilä (Kaunis Kuolematon), the duo focuses on melodic doom/gothic metal with clean vocals and plenty of melancholy. Right from the beginning of opening track ‘White Noise’, it’s clear that “Flames of Perdition” follows the path of its predecessor, delivering typical Finnish melancholy that reminds me of bands like Sentenced, The Man-Eating Tree and, of course, Before the Dawn. I am sure that fans of Katatonia and Impure Wilhelmina would enjoy this as well.
It is clear that “Flames of Perdition” is not scoring any points when it comes to innovation, but that never has been the intention in the first place. Instead, the band has focused on solid songwriting and a dreamy atmosphere, making the album suitable for intense listening as well as background music. Miko’s vocals add the proper soothing touch to Tuomas’ guitar melodies, crafting a sound that is melancholic, but not overly heart-wrenching.
I am not very fond of the bonus tracks, acoustic versions of older Dawn of Solace songs ‘Lead Wings’ and ‘Dead Air’, but those are bonus tracks after all: nice extras for dedicated fans that can be easily omitted if you’re not interested in them. However, with songs like ‘Dying Light’, ‘Event Horizon’ and ‘Skyline’, Dawn of Solace shows that Finnish melancholy is still something special and that “Flames of Perdition” is an album that deserves to be heard. Now let’s see what Before the Dawn will bring us!
Steve Vai - Inviolate
One does not have to be a guitarist in order to be excited for new Steve Vai music. The maestro has proven time and time again that he can wrap his very flex-able guitar acrobatics in memorable, hooky melodies. Or is it the other way round? Well, it doesn’t really matter I guess. Ever inventive and forward pushing, but never losing sight of the song itself, the two singles ‘Zeus in Chains’ and ‘Little Pretty’ were a good indication of the diversity on “Inviolate”, where you’ll find some heavy rockers as well as that ultra-sexy swag only Vai is capable of evoking. But of course there is much more fun stuff to discover on “Inviolate”, be it from the master himself or his gang, a good mix of trusted collaborators like Vinnie Colaiuta and Terry Bozzio (drums) or Bryan Beller (bass) as well as fresh blood like Dirty Loops-slapster Henrik Linder. From whimsical and fun to ethereal grand gestures, any lover of guitar music should be able to find something to their liking on Vai’s 10th studio album. What a feast!
Catbamboo - Fervor
Imagine being just about ready to post your massive Releases of the Week list with 39 releases and 6 highlights, scrolling your feed again one last time, only to find out you missed out on one more important album that dropped today. Catbamboo’s debut full length “Fervor” is a fun little (for the most part instrumental) math rock thing that should definitely satisfy fans of the genre. Soft widdly guitars and cool guest spots from stellar players like Liam MacLaughlin, David John Levy (Unprocessed) or Charlie Robbins (Syncatto) indicates the type of smooth yet complex sounds you can expect if you’re familiar with these artists. But seriously, that is all for today, don’t send me any more releases that I might have missed. I’m done. Releases of the Week returns next Friday. Enjoy! /Dario
More releases for 28 January, 2022
- Xeons - Geode EP (Jan. 22)
- Macondø - II (Jan. 23) Bandcamp
- Xavier Boscher - Skyscapes (Jan. 24) Bandcamp
- Vile Rites - The Ageless (Jan. 25) Bandcamp
- Skwar - Wandering Haze (Jan. 25) Bandcamp
- Jethro Tull - The Zealot Gene (Inside Out Music)
- Celeste - Assasine(s) (Nuclear Blast) Bandcamp
- Earthless - Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Nuclear Blast)
- Aran Prog Project - EVO - A Progressive Journey Bandcamp
- Krallice - Crystalline Exhaustion Bandcamp
- Burned in Effigy - Rex Mortem Bandcamp
- Grivo - Omit Bandcamp
- Sartori - Dragon's Fire (Rockshots Records)
- Amoth - The Hour of the Wolf (Rockshots Records)
- Kisaragi Station - First Flame
- Larsen and the Coloured Dreams - The Bucket List (Apollon Records)
- Krosis - E.V.I.L.
- deathcrash - Return (untitled (recs)) Bandcamp
- Deeper Graves - The Colossal Sleep (Disorder Recordings) Bandcamp
- Det eviga leendet - Reverence (Dissociative Visions) Bandcamp
- Tine - Mergae Maris Profundi Bandcamp
- Mur - Cut The Rivers Vein Bandcamp
- Alvablot - Harmonic Dystopia Bandcamp
- Bye Bye Tsunami - Bye Bye Tsunami (Nefarious Industries) Bandcamp
- Blastanus - Beyond Bandcamp
- Narbo Dacal - Narbo Dacal EP (Piranha Music) Bandcamp
- Evergrey - Before the Aftermath - Live in Gothenburg (AFM Records)
- Siamese - Home - Instrumentals (Long Branch Records) Bandcamp
- Gavin Harrison - Sanity & Gravity (25th Anniversary Edition) Bandcamp
- Magma - MDMK (Vinyl Re-Release)
- Secondhand Depression - Secondhand Depression EP (Re-release)