Back in December 2017, I published the first column of Auditory Reflections. While this was a recollection of 2017, my hope was to publish this column on a monthly basis (into 2018 and beyond) so as to provide insights on intriguing albums discovered across Bandcamp. The monthly iterations obviously did not happen as editing podcast audio is rather time consuming. But in an effort to restore this column and subsequently discuss and muse over these auditory gems, I recruited Connor to help me diversify the albums written about and also add a new voice to the mix.
In Auditory Reflections, we write succinct reviews (100 words or less) for nine albums. Beneath each write-up are the respective social media links for each band/artist so you don’t have to seek them out. The goal is to illuminate a large swathe of records in addition to those covered on our Voices From Corners Unknown podcast. The frequency with which we post is not firmly established, but we are aiming to publish these about every four weeks to perpetuate recommendations we think you’ll enjoy.
Please feel free to suggest us albums you think we should write about here as the two of us could easily overlook some phenomenal releases. Thank you so much for your continued support. On to the list…
Campaign Committee – Bill of Rights (Boston, MA)
Chaotic, spastic hardcore punk is one way to describe the irregular sounds of the Boston, Massachusetts based band Campaign Committee. Embrace the insanity of “Let’s All Say We’re Nihilists Then Cry When No One Likes Us”. Aggression vocally bleeds forth as an assault of rapid filthy instrumentals lacerates from all directions. Take a darkened turn in “Desperate Places”, as doom and sludge create a depressive layer over hardcore. Blackened sludgy grooves emit from the anxiety within oneself as “Fledgling” leaves us in the cold. Bill of Rights is full of variety and drips with justified anger. — Connor
EIGHT SINS – It’s a Trap (Rhone-Alpes, France)
Party hard in the rambunctious thrash filled hardcore release It’s a Trap. The exuberant French band Eight Sins creates one head banger of an EP. Jump into a maelstrom mosh pit of thrash-laden guitar riffs in “On Tour”. Brutal waves of instrumentals hammer down on the mean vocals of “Faceplant”. Scolding drums blast away over captivating chants in “Deathstroke”. As our recently deceased amphibian admiral once said, “It’s a Trap!” Yet it’s one worth getting snared by while playing on repeat. — Connor
Frequency Eater – Finite States (Flanders, Belgium)
From Owen Swerts’s (Ikea Mutilation Manual) unrestful mind comes his newer project, Frequency Eater—a progressive, djent-drenched instrumental endeavor exuding ethereal, skin-tingling atmosphere. Kaleidoscopic are the first four tracks as their intricate layers swirl between robotic chugs and airy melodies, transmuting effortlessly with utmost delicateness. It’s in “Giant Arthropod Creature” and the subsequent “Hapless” that Owen unfurls jet tendrils; the former, a pulsating helix of brooding and gorgeous timbres and the latter, a tumultuous tide of blast beats crashing against fierce riffs. Finite States attains an emotional weightlessness, melancholic yet profoundly immersive and moving. Its depth feels anything but finite. — Ryan
GraveCoven – Coughing Blood (Sacramento-Oakland, CA)
Ensconced about a weathered granite slab, two hooded monstrosities execute their blackened death-doom ritual. Putrid bile spews from James’ lips and Phillip consumes the stifled air with vindictive riffs and bone-hammering drums. “Summoning Vengeance” unearths rotten, cavernous bellows whilst a seething, tremolo-dripping riff writhes in dissonance to then coil into head banging malaise. As the EP progresses, these funereal wails singeing each track tumefy. And at its final resting coagulation in “The Ecstasy of Hatred”, Coughing Blood retches its most vile incantation. Those morbid howls, that barbaric, driving drum pattern. It’s an endorphin flood of ancient, malignant power. – Ryan
Lider Alene – Petrified Depression (Melbourne, Australia)
Deep does Petrified Depression burrow itself in your nervous system. Fathomless are its unsettling reverberations. So isolated does it leave you, stranded in the windswept expanse of loneliness harboring your mind, clawing for a way out but to no avail. The Stygian churns of “Chained to Seclusion” shackle hopelessness to thought as shadow drones gnaw your psyche. Chasms of static and morbid knells suffocate with no reprieve during “Debilitating Sorrow”. Despite its everlasting dread—a lurking phantom persistent to petrify—these three brooding compositions elicit an uncanny sensation of catharsis. — Ryan
// Bandcamp //
Mire – Shed (Denver, CO)
Hailing from Denver, Colorado comes a technical death metal masterpiece. The new two-piece Mire delivers a heavy hitting debut release named Shed. The pair create a memorable lumbering sound consisting of merciless melodic guitar riffs by Ryan Glisan (Pyrithion, ex-Allegaeon) and diverse vocals by Benton McKibben. Become consumed by the undaunted riffing that rips through “Lightless”. In “Solar Being” we are taken on a progressive journey into a celestial state of being. The tempo shifts to an enchanting melody in “A New Found Rain” as McKibben shows his raw vocal talents. Escape into the melodic mire. — Connor
Paleowolf – Primal Earth (Belgrade, Serbia)
Bellowing deep within the ancient layers of our planet lurks a tribal/dark ambient album known as Primal Earth by Paleowolf. This Serbian project transports you millions of years into the past to various stages of Earth’s development. A deep hallowing drone reaches out as you are mesmerized by throat induced ritualistic chants. Tribal drums beat over primordial chirps of insects in bubbling marshes long dry. Mysterious thundering groans emit from colossal reptilians of the Paleozoic-Mesozoic era. Avian chatter is heard in the immense humming forest of ancients. These are the atmospheric sounds of a primal Earth long before humans inhabited its landscapes. — Connor
REA – EXIGISI (Terni, Italy)
Italian slowcore trio REA concise remarkable heftiness and bleak atmosphere into their taut debut, EXIGISI. Their own words go unspoken until the second track “Odos-Ou”—a mammoth stomp of shattering drums and depressing yet moving guitar melody. It is from the opener “Engrafí” that “Odos-Ou” achieves its impact, however. Warbling ambience enshrouds angelic chants as heartfelt notes reverberate across the emotionally fraught space. And this somber resonance perpetually seeps throughout its runtime. When closer “Oud-Eis” comes crashing, its repetitive undulations of crushing doom drown any gasp of hope and EXIGISI’s despair lingers long after it subsides. — Ryan
SNORLAX – Splintering Demo (Brisbane, Australia)
This sludge-infested, blackened death burr hole from the skull of Brendan Auld (Descent, Siberian Hell Sounds, et al.) hemorrhages misanthropy. A mudslide of subterranean filth, “Righteous Virtue” ruptures with guttural drums, piss-bloated riffs, and acid gargling vocals. Beneath the stagnant bogs writhe torpid, brooding undercurrents of atmosphere as on “\\ Boring Infestation //”. It asphyxiates and churns. Lethargic “Dehumanisation” eviscerates with rotting canines, macerating bone marrow to a satiable pulp. Though brief, Splintering is a gut-wrenching miasma—a hellacious waft of decomposing flesh. It festers with pus, hardens the arteries with sludge, and extracts life with a grisly, mangled cleaver. — Ryan
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Thank you so much for reading. Please feel free to leave us album suggestions in the comments below.