Our monthly look at the non-metal albums that have been in recent heavy rotation…
Darkher – Realms
I wanted to badly to give this album the full review treatment (hell, I still might) because honestly there have been few albums this year I’ve listened to as often as Realms. U.K.’s Darkher, the alias for songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jayn H. Wissenberg, is the perfect compliment to the fading summer, the burgeoning autumn, and the eventual icy death grip of winter. It’s an album that mixes ethereal sonic landscapes with elements of post-metal and dark ambient to create a truly lush listening experience. Sometimes equal parts dark folk and doom metal, I hesitated when deciding which monthly column I would include this album in – the metal or the non-metal version. Tracks like the thunderous “Hollow Veil” push this album onto the metal pantheon for sure, but there is more introspection than destruction here. Tracks like “Moths” seethe ultimate beauty, while tracks like “Wars” lend to a more Gothic synth-pop/rock kind of vibe. Regardless of how you classify it (and I may yet throw it onto the metal version of the end of the year roundup) this is an album that begs multiple listens in a darkened room, lights low, and your undivided attention while diving into the darkest secrets of a musical mastermind.
Olive Tiger – Until My Body Breaks
Let’s start by saying that, first and foremost, the debut album from Connecticut trio Olive Tiger was well worth the wait. After teasing us by sprinkling singles all over the internet in the first half of the year, the full-length version of the Olive Tiger vision is as satisfyingly unique as could be hoped. Eschewing the traditional guitar-bass-percussion dynamic for something altogether more defining, Olive Tiger have begun to perfect the combination of the orchestral and the electronic. Cello and violin are met head on by looping vocals and funky percussion giving this album a sort of modernist twist on pseudo-classical sounds. It’s a powerful dynamic hearing strings get the pop and electronica treatment, while soulful female vocals pick and choose the perfect moments to accentuate it all. This is not easily definable music, but we all know that’s the best kind anyway.
Glass Skeleton – What Have I Become?
Another Connecticut debut this month comes from garage rock outfit, Glass Skeleton. This four-piece bangs out noisy, dissonant rock anthems that beg to be listened to really loudly while downing as much cheap beer as possible from a lawn chair in your driveway. There’s nothing pretty here and it can only be assumed that’s exactly the way Glass Skeleton wants it. Mixing elements of punk, garage, and grunge into a blender and allowing it to spew everywhere at high speed, Glass Skeleton deliver an album for fans of dirty, gritty rock played through orange amps that go to 11.