I truly hope none of the bands here, who's albums I didn't write about when they came out, felt this terrible poverty. If so, I hope this enriches their lives slightly, although my guess is they didn't really feel this lack of coverage at all; after all, as Rainn Wilson says in The Rocker "How can you miss what you never knew?"
Well, I'll admit that I forgot to add them on my year-end list so I'll take my part of the blame. What almost happened to similarly, fun-yet-technically proficient Italians Destrage on my first DI year-end list happened here. The album came out so early in the year that I genuinely felt like it was a 2016 album I'd been late to the game on. By the time December rolled around I'd been jamming Blank for a solid 11 months.
But that speaks highly of this album's quality as I still listen to this on a regular basis, and for good reason. This shit's the bomb if it wasn't clear from the comparison. Great songwriting/riffs, varied vocals and those fucking horns!
Finally, Pregnant Whale Pain, despite the name, manage to walk that fine line of playful-without-being-silly that rarely works as well as here. Simply check out the album opener and tell me it's not one of the most fun metal songs you've heard in years.
Starting in a sort of post-punk vein on Reactions with brief dabbling in more aggressive and noisy material the intensity was pushed way up on Tetris, with the band starting to sound like a much angrier version of Mclusky at times. (if you haven't clicked the link for the new single, you'll see that this is an evolution that's continued).
Tetris is equal measures aggressive (e.g. check out those blast beats on "Your Mediums"), catchy and unique with, similar to Blank, several great reference points coming to mind (Mclusky/Future of the Left, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo and more) with none quite hitting the spot or adequately giving a clear idea of the band's sound.
In short: Just give Tetris a spin, it's likely to be a bit of a divisive love it or hate it type of album but if you do love it spread the love around, they might be heading to a venue near you soon...
To be honest, it's the opposite of Blank. They didn't get a fair chance to enter my rotation until the new year had already started but both deserve a spot here so let me introduce you to Juan Bond's EP (above) as well as The Callous Daoboys' album Animal Tetris (see below), complete with one of my favorite album covers of last year by the always-incredible Connie Sgarbossa (vocalist of SeeYouSpaceCowboy).
To put simply (as I've got more to cover), Juan Bond feels more structured and meticulously built while The Callous Daoboys have a more organic, unhinged flow, reminiscent at times of Heavy Heavy Low Low. Same goes for vocals, TCD vocalist Carson just goes all out at every turn, with seeming disregard for his own safety or vocal chords but it makes for an incredibly vulnerable and intense performance, whereas Juan Bond is easier to get into for people not used to more uninhibited vocal styles.
In terms of the songs and the writing thereof both bands have their own styles figured out, after releasing at least an EP each beforehand and I'm personally very excited to hear what they come out with next as they've already made me a bit upset I didn't include these on my list.
They've made my list now though...oh how they've made the list.
12 different instruments on the list of musicians.
Described by others as "avant-garde" and "transcendent".
I don't know about you but this description makes me think of Kayo Dot.
I don't know about you but things that make me think of Kayo Dot and aren't my old band's drummer saying kayo instead of OK make me excited.
I don't know about you but Hadean would get me plenty excited even without my prior knowledge of Kayo Dot.
and I don't know about you but I definitely think it's time to drop this structure and move on.
On their 2015 album On Fading, Massachusetts' Hadean craft an intricate mix of neo classical music and post-metal which flows beautifully and is definitely an album most will need to revisit several times before it truly unfolds like the flower on its cover.
I've recently been in touch with the band to discuss their upcoming material and it's sounding like a very interesting step in the right direction to take their sound to the next level.
Until the new material comes out you should have ample time to delve into the "chambers" of On Fading (see what I did there?) and get familiar with Hadean's sound before telling all your friends you were into them before it was cool...
surely there'll be a time soon when chamber metal will be the cool "it" genre, right?