I hope your year ended on a bright note void dwellers! We recently released our top album picks list of 2020, which of course led to Ryan, Derek, and I blabbing on about a handful of them. We listened to each other’s top album a few times (including those from other FCU contributors) and then jumped right into the fold of our thoughts. From upbeat hardcore punk to boisterous noise rock and aggressive bastardized grindcore to experimental orchestral craziness, this smorgasbord of genres lent itself to a wonderful year-end reflection. We don’t go as in-depth into the albums this time around and instead, we opt for a general, no notes, off-the-dome approach. As per usual, there’s plenty of out there conversational tangents and dorky oddities lurking within the episode.
First up in our rambles is the ripper of an album, Four Dimensional Flesh from the brutal death quartet Afterbirth. This one dropped back in mid-March, and Duncan and Ryan covered the record in detail a couple of months after its official release. One thing of note about this album is how it surprisingly displays remnants of less abrasive genres while still maintaining the death metal brutality. You get moments of space-faring atmospheres while getting slammed into the steel floor of a piston filled chamber. Bring on the human space jam as this band slays with impressive skill.
Fuck the Facts was a top album pick by none other than Derek himself. The Canadian grindcore outfit delivers an aggressive, emotion-teeming release known as Pleine Noirceur (we also covered a single from this album back in a track reviews episode). The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this album is the nonstop fried snarls that the vocalist Mel lets loose (HOLY SHIT). They describe themselves as bastardized grindcore, and I would have to agree because we found it challenging to describe their music in many ways beyond this. I’m just gonna quote Derek for this one: “This is either the most melodic emo grind record I’ve ever heard or the most caveman take on blackgaze. I don’t know how to describe or classify it and I don’t think that matters, it’s just real fucking good.”
IDES was another awesome release this year that ascended to the top of Ryan W.’s list. Of all the days this year, their album Hikikomori came out on March 15, 2020 (lockdown liiife). The band masterfully combines punk, post-hardcore, and metallic elements together to make an album worthy of repeat listens. The female-fronted vocals one-two punch you in the face while having moments of fun punk flair, all while the lyrics surprisingly line-up with what was to come in this dumpster fire of a year. This one makes me want to mosh, thrash, and just have a good fucking time with my friends again.
Gaytheist released How Long Have I Been On Fire? back in April. Despite us covering their split with Intercourse, I somehow didn’t notice this album’s release until the summer months. It quickly became one of my favorites, however, as I TNT-blasted their fun noisy rock jams. We all found the vocalist to be pretty damn unique and fun regardless of how serious the lyrical content can get. It leads to a perfect mix with a concoction of exciting guitar melodies, tasty bass grooves, and spastic drum battering. I’M TREADING WATER IN THE DARKNESS OF THE SEA! I repeat that line in my head on the daily.
“Wow” is the most simple way I can describe Liturgy’s November release Origin of the Alimonies. Even though we covered the band’s previous album H.A.Q.Q. earlier in the year, I was utterly blown away by this one. This was one of Mr. Knapp’s favorite picks this year and I almost threw it on my own list at the last second. The three of us were in awe at how black metal can be seamlessly fused with flutes, organs, harps, and glitched-out electronic aberrations. This is a sound well beyond what our combined brain-power can comprehend (can three peanuts fit in one shell?). Just go check out this epic saga of an album.
The last album we jump into is REZN’s Chaotic Divine. This one was one of Tim’s top picks of the year. Another quote by Derek will fit well here, “Can you get a contact high by listening to this record?” The answer is yes. This is this a SciFi-imbued psychedelic doom chonger with the most lovely of saxophone jams. All three of us fell in love with this album and in some ways, it reignited our intrigue in the genre. There are some awesome and relaxing moments peppered throughout this album that may compel you to invite our alien overlords to your abode so that you can be transported to desolate, xeno-morphic desert landscapes. I’m going on a trip in my favorite doom-fated rocket ship!
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