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Ok, since in a couple of hours from now the world will have changed drastically - and I will have to come up with a new title for this blog after sticking to 20 + 22 = 42 for a whole year -, lets go to Bandcamp and grab some recent digital only singles and EPs!

BRUIT ≤ - Parasite (The Boycott Manifesto)

My first download is weirdly meta. A normally instrumental Post Metal band with Modern Classical influences teams up with a narrator to explain why this track is the only music from them you'll ever find on Spotify. Luckily what could have turned to a preachy embarrasment actually is quite a poignant powerful statement. And most importantly the epic music on "Parasite (The Boycott Manifesto)" is just great!

LAIBACH - The Future

From the exploitation of artists in the present to... The Future! Laibach's version of Leonard Cohen's stark and brutal prophecy has been out for a while, but somehow I missed the Bandcamp release, which features the seven minutes long track sung by Milan Fras and Donna Marina Mårtensson in three different mixes, of which I shockingly dig the 1990's Euro Dance style Blast from the Past Remix the most. Laibach - Cohen. It's a match!
(Video can't be embedded and is only available directly on YouTube.)

THE LOVECRAFT SEXTET - Seekers Who Are Lovers (Tribute to Cocteau Twins)

There are probably songs of them I would recognize without knowing the artist, but otherwise the Cocteau Twins are one of those gaping holes in my Eighties/Nineties popcultural knowledge. Luckily familiarity isn't required to enjoy Jason Köhnen's tribute to the dreamy guitar pop band, because his half hour long odyssey of a cover version takes you on a journey of everything The Lovecraft Sextet stands for (so far): meandering Ambient, spooky Doomjazz Opera, saxophony Gothic Synthpop and misty Black Metal - "Seekers Who Are Lovers" has it all! What an amazing mammoth track!

ZEAL & ARDOR - Firewake

Let's enjoy something shorter now! "Firewake" is a typically all over the place Soul/Blues/Prog/Black Metal mashup with English and German vocals and some particularly awesome bass lines, which somehow didn't fit on the self-titled album, but is just as great as everything on there. The second track "Cinq" is one of those soothing lullaby instrumentals which Manuel Gagneux has also made part of Zeal & Ardor's DNA from the beginning. The quality stuff you expect from this project. Short and sweet.


Let's keep the beauty of the last Z&A track, but fuck it up with some of Sunn O))) guitarist Greg Anderson's signature drone! The Lord had quite a prolific year with one solo album, one collaborative album with Petra Haden and three standalone cooperative singles with Robin Wattie, William Duvall and now David Pajo from Slint. And just like all those previous releases this spoken words over increasing drone arrangements track just hits that exactly right spot again. Intriguing!


Click. Load Kokke-Bot. Click. Heat up Aquarius machine. Click. Melting IXXO with Metal. Click. Start engines. Click. Engage! Click. Brutal synth kraut monotony ensues. Click. Brain fried. Click. Mind freed. Click. Ride through space and time... Click. ...'till you die. Click. Never die. Click. You knew this one was coming! Click. The Dead Neanderthalgorithm never misses New Year's Eve. Click. Great artwork btw. Click. Click. Click. Click. The button is stuck! Click. Click. Clickclickcklick. Click! Cli. Cl. Clllllll. Cccc.

THE OTOLITH - Folium Limina

I don't appreciate the debut album of The Otolith, successors of Salt Lake City doomers SubRosa, as much as it deserves. At least yet. Maybe it will even need another release for me to get there.
The good news however is that "Folium Limina" is definitely slowly growing on me, so next year I will love this more than I do now.

THE OTOLITH - Folium Limina (transparent orange 2LP with screenprint on side D) (2022)

My struggle with this album is a classic one - and it's almost a little embarrassing, because I have been the musician in a band that disbanded and carried on with a new name and one member less myself more than once. But it is like it is, so let's dissect this a bit:

During the recording of this album The Otolith were four out of five members of SubRosa. The fantastic sludgy doom band with the signature feature of two electric violins had been the child of singer / guitarist Rebecca Vernon. The vocals, which had always been delivered by multiple members are now carried by Kim Cordray (formerly Pack) and Sarah Pendleton, whose voices melt together just as smoothly and harmonious as their strings, and bassist Levi Hanna still unleashes an enormous Cult of Luna bellow. And it's all great! But... well, let me weave the but into a point for point competition between the two bands:

Name: SubRosa, The Otolith. Both band names don't tell you much on their own, but I'm going with The Otolith, which seems a little more memorable and exciting on the tongue.

Album title: "Folium Limina" is Latin. And if any Latin expert gets to read it there will probably three mistakes in those two words - because that always happens when rock bands use Latin. SubRosa on the other hand had "No Help For The Mighty Ones", "More Constant Than The Gods" and my favorite, the resigned "For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages". All much more evocative. Point for SubRosa.

Artwork: The cover is there and there is something on it. But it looks nice and is certainly more exciting than the front of the last SubRosa studio album (which overall still had great design) or the "Live At Roadburn" release. And it also looks beautiful in combination with the orange vinyl and the black screen print on the music-less side D. (see pictures below!)

Poetry: Lyrically both bands are good. And since they always credited the lyrics to the whole band it's hard to tell how big Rebecca Vernon's part in this has been. But what I miss the most now is her part in delivering them. When I listen to "Folium Limina" as a non-native English speaker, I have to read the lyric sheet to be invested in any of the lyrics. Nothing stands out automatically in a way that makes me go damn! And SubRosa had a lot of those moments, where Vernon threw some incredibly bleak or strong line at you in her aggressive, sharply pronounced vocal style and it really took you aback and made you much more invested in the whole.

And as much as The Otolith are trying their best, the band just misses the substitute for that particular raw tone I loved so much, even though the songwriting on this album is fantastic and sometimes actually expanding the formula in ways which probably wouldn't have found their way onto a SubRosa release. But being so fond of Vernon's harsh voice, I can't help but still experience a lot of this as the band minus front woman situation it technically is.

One way to avoid this effect would be to just sound less like SubRosa in general, but that is illusionary, because the signature power violin duo is such a unique front and center feature of the sound. And of course it's awesome, so you don't want to lose that!
Yet what The Otolith could do is to crank up other elements. Rebecca Vernon may be a great singer, performer, composer, multi-instrumentalist - but she's far from being a virtuosa on the guitar, an irony which she even pointed out herself in interviews.

On "Folium Limina" the bassist also plays the guitar parts, but keeps the six strings mainly on riff duty, just like it was in the former band. Meanwhile however The Otolith have recruited a new member to play bass and Levi Hanna has fully switched to guitar. My hope for the next release is that there will be more focus and variety in the guitar sector, so that - also with the additional creative input of the new member plus the passing of time until then - there will just be more stuff making me forgot what I am missing so much now.

Despite all my lament "Folium Limina" is an outstanding, crushingly heavy and heavenly beautiful Doom Metal record, only surpassed by few other genre releases of 2022, one which not many other constellations of artists could have made. And drummer Andy Petterson again has done an excellent job of producing it.

It's just very tough to follow the monumentally high standards they have set themselves before. You might have suspected by now that "For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages" simply is one of my favorite Doom Metal albums of all time. Never before and after has such a ton of emotions been delivered in a comparable wayAnd that's probably something which you can't just repeat on cue, no matter if you are The Rosa or SubOtolith.

But then being among the best of the very best is an unfair expectation for any album, so there should be no reason not to thoroughly enjoy "Folium Limina". Give me a couple of weeks or months and I'll be there, promised!     


Von der Ewigen Wiederkehr, Teil 3... SPINIFEX - Spinifex Sings

Eigentlich habe ich's ja schon rezensiert...

...allerdings diesmal tatsächlich mal nicht auf Veil of Sound, sondern nur kurz im Rahmen meiner TOP 22 Lieblingsalben 2022 - womit natürlich schon gespoilert ist, dass ich das neue Album von Spinifex ganz okay finde.

SPINIFEX - Spinifex Sings (CD) (2022)

Nach dem unorthodoxen Spiegelei auf dem Cover von "Spinifex Beats The Plague" (welches ich gerade erst dieser Tage endlich auch als CD-Digipak ergattern konnte), fällt das Nachfolgealbum mit seiner Mischung aus Dracula, Rolling Stones und Hommage an "Monthy Python Sings" optisch sogar noch deutlicher auf. Dass einen das Artwork tatsächlich auf den Inhalt vorbereitet, möchte ich zwar bezweifeln - doch fairerweise ergänzen, dass diese Aufgabenstellung auch ziemlich unmöglich ist. Zumindest ist "Spinifex Sings" visuell wie akustisch ziemlich in your face.

Das Sextet um Alto-Saxophonist Tobias Klein verliert keine Zeit und schubst einen sogleich unangeschnallt in einen Achterbahnwaggon, der sich auf einen wilden Ritt macht, dessen Streckenführung grundsätzlich der des Vorgängeralbums ähnelt. Und da sich die sieben Tracks insgesamt zu über siebzig Minuten verschnaufpausenfreier Action addieren, ist für alle von mir damals angebrachten, so unterschiedliche Referenzen wie die ProgFunkSoulMetal-Fusion von Thank You Scientist, den türkischen Avantgarde Freejazz von Konstrukt, Ornette Coleman gespielt von John Zorn, und die Songwritingmeisterschaft von Yazz Ahmed auch auf "Spinifex Sings" reichlich Platz.

Aber wie der Titel schon überdeutlich verrät, hat sich die Band diesmal zusätzlich zu seinen drei Bläsern, Gitarre, Bass und Drums mit Gesang verstärkt. Gleich zwei äußerst beeindruckende Sängerinnen, die Inderin Priya Purusthothaman und die Isländerin Björk Níelsdóttir, wechseln sich darin ab, in abenteuerlich experimentellen Jazz- und Operngesängen und Spoken Words Poesie aus ihren Heimatländern sowohl im Original als auch in englischer Übersetzung zu interpretieren.

Im Zusammenspiel mit den sich keinesfalls zurückhaltenden instrumentalen Arrangements entfachen sie ein von keinerlei stilistischen oder kulturellen Grenzen im Zaum gehaltenes Feuerwerk, welches das Tor zu Vergleichen mit der ähnlich irrsinnigen Sofia Jemberg in Mats Gustafssons The End oder auch mit dem überwältigendem Zeuhl-mehr-ist-mehr von Magma weit aufsprengt.

Betrachtet man das Gespielte so genreanalytisch wie möglich, dann ist dies faktisch tatsächlich in erster Linie extrem anspruchsvoll komponierte Jazz/Progrock Fusion mit nahöstlichen und indischen Einflüssen und Freejazzausbrüchen. Offensichtliche Punk- und Metalanleihen oder Jazzcoreausbrüche wie zuvor gibt es auf diesem Album eigentlich kaum. Gonçalo Almeidas finales Bassriff in "O Desmaio" gehört zu den wenigen unzweifelhaften Qualifikanten. Und doch strotzt das Ding durchgehend vor einer wilden Energie, welche die Anwesenheit auch dieser Elemente nach wie vor suggeriert.

Den Spagat zwischen absolut bekloppter Übertreibung (inklusive der Gesamtspielzeit) und ganz großer, aufregender und kurzweiliger Jazzkunst jeanclaudevandammen Spinifex in Perfektion.

Was soll ich noch groß sagen? Dass ich dies zu meinen Lieblingsalben des Jahres zähle - und damit automatisch auch zu meinen 2022er Jazzfavoriten -, ist ja eh schon bekannt. Einfach absolut großartig!


Von der Ewigen Wiederkehr, Teil 2... QRIXKUOR - Zoetrope

Eigentlich habe ich's ja schon rezensiert...

Zumindest tauchte Qrixkuor's "Zoetrope" schon in meinen TOP 6 non-album releases des Jahres auf, genau genommen als meine drittliebste EP des Jahres. Eine Veil of Sound-Rezension von mir gibt es für diesen höllischen Vortex allerdings ebenfalls.

Doch bevor ich die englische Rezi einfach mal ganz stumpf direkt übersetze, werfen wir doch mal einen Blick auf das heute angekommene CD-Digipak und staunen - oder wundern uns. War es Absicht, weil man an einem geheimen Wettstreit teilnimmt, wer das unleserlichste Tonträgerbooklet veröffentlicht? Oder handelt es sich um einen Fehldruck?

Eines ist sicher: Auch wenn ich mir noch so viel Mühe geben würde, das Teil noch besser zu fotografieren, es ist wie es ist: Und das ist so gut wie komplett unkenntlich. Vielleicht einmal gegen's Vollmondlicht halten?

Diese EP besteht aus einem Track von vierundzwanzig einhalb Minuten Länge. Das könnte genau der Zeitraum sein, um zu einer zufriedenstellenden Aussprache des Bandnamens zu finden, die man für richtig hält. Qrixkuors orchestrales Death-Metal-Inferno ist jedoch nicht bereit, einem viele Verschnaufpausen zu gönnen, um in Ruhe über diese Frage nachzudenken.

Wir leben ja in großartigen Zeiten, um klassische Elemente in den Metal zu integrieren. Es gab Tage, da prahlten meist die Malmsteen-Typen oder die Streicher wurden vor allem als zuckersüßes Gegenstück zum „bösen“ Metal-Sound eher flach und unbefriedigend eingebracht. Und wenn es ernsthafte Versuche von Gruppen wie Celtic Frost oder Paradise Lost gab, deren eigene Fähigkeiten noch nicht so ganz mit ihren Ambitionen mithalten konnten, dann konnte man sicher sein, dass die angeheuerten Klassik-Musiker nur ihren Job machten und diesen Dilettanten hinter ihren Rücken in ihre Biere spuckten.*

Und wo sind wir heute? Wir haben ein ernsthaftes gemeinsames Interesse von Musikern aus weit voneinander entfernten Disziplinen des Metal, der klassischen Musik (und Jazz, Folk, Electronica usw.), wir haben Wegbereiter wie Imperial Triumphant und viele andere Gruppen des Black-, Death- oder Doom-Metal-Spektrums (z. B. Blut Aus Nord, Skythala, The Otolith), die aus allen Quellen schöpfen, wie sie gerade lustig sind, und klassische Parts als gleichwertig mit ihrer Rock-Instrumentierung behandeln. Auf der anderen Seite schreibt Cellistin/Komponistin Jo Quail eine rein neoklassische Suite ohne Gitarren oder dergleichen, die aber immer noch stark von Metal beeinflusst ist.

In dieser Umgebung erscheint Qrixkuors 2021er Album "Poison Palinopsia" nicht vollständig von einem anderen Planeten zu stammen. Der ambitionierte Maßstab ihres abgrundtiefen Blackened Death Metal, der in zwei unerbittlichen Suiten von jeweils vierundzwanzigeinhalb Minuten Länge präsentiert wurde, war jedoch immer noch ziemlich gewaltig anzuschauen.

Ja, wir alle erleben hier gerade ein kleines Déjà-vu, weil ich genau diese Spieldauer schon einmal erwähnt habe. Sind es magische Eigenschaften oder basiert die Entscheidung zu dieser Länge auf der Kapazität einer Schallplattenseite? Wie dem auch sei, irgendwie fühlen sich die Todesbriten offensichtlich davon angezogen, wenn sie ihre Mission nun erneut in genau diesem Umfang mit diesem ebenso gigantischen Stück namens „Zoetrope (Psychospiritual Sparagmos)“ fortsetzen.

Und Qrixkuor verschwenden keine dieser doppelten Dutzend Minuten Zeit, sondern überfluten einen unmittelbar mit einem überwältigenden Tsunami von allem, worum es bei ihrem einzigartigen Sound geht, gepaart mit der unausgesprochenen, aber unmissverständlichen Ankündigung, dass es dieses Mal noch mehr von allem geben wird! Ihr ahnt es schon, denn sonst wäre meine Einleitung ja verschwendet: Am stärksten aufgeputscht ist der symphonische Teil, der schon auf dem Vorgängeralbum prominent präsent war, nun aber um die Vorherrschaft in (Dis)Harmonie und schierer Lautstärke kämpft, in direkter Konkurrenz zu mehreren Schichten von Riffs, ständig präsenten kranken Leadgitarren und höhlenartigen Growls auf einem Schlachtfeld, das unter einem Erdbeben von Blasts und Doublebass-Beats erzittert.

Angesichts der Tatsache, dass die Produktion erfolgreich auf eine chaotische Sinnesüberwältigung mit verheerender Lovecraft-Horroratmosphäre abzielt und den klanglichen Overkill von Esoctrilihum mit dem Grottenhall von Grave Miasma mischt, ist eigentlich ziemlich bemerkenswert, nicht nur, wie kraftvoll und zielstrebig das Ganze klingt, sondern auch auch, wie erkennbar zumindest die meisten Instrumente sind, wenn man sich darauf konzentriert, sie zu identifizieren - was nicht immer einfach ist, weil man dafür seine Wahrnehmung gegen die reine Wucht dieses Höllenstroms stärken muss. 

"Zoetrope" ist ein blutrünstiges Alpha-Biest einer EP, wahrscheinlich eine der besten, die uns dieses Metal-Jahr beschert hat. Dissonanter und Oldschool-Death Metal mit Black-Metal-Ästhetik zu einem rasenden Rausch des kosmischen Wahnsinns wirbelnd, bietet es nicht nur Meisterklasse auf Augenhöhe mit den Größten in dieser besonderen stilistischen Nische, sondern es ist auch ein veritables Werkzeug, um all die unzähligen kitschigen Grausamkeiten in kleinste Stückchen zu zerhämmern, die wir  unter dem Banner des „Symphonic Metal“ jahrzehntelang ertragen mussten.

In diesem Sinne sind die letzten Worte dieser Rezension mit der Stimme von Captain Metal America zu lesen:

Qrixkuor smash!

*Disclaimer: Die Formulierung dient der Unterhaltung und soll eine allgemeine Tendenz veranschaulichen. Tatsächlich besitze ich keineswegs Tatsachenwissen darüber, dass jeder klassische Musiker, der mit den genannten Bands zusammengearbeitet hat, in deren jeweilige Getränke gespuckt hat.

Von der Ewigen Wiederkehr, Teil 1... MIIRA - Wellness

Eigentlich habe ich's ja schon rezensiert...

...und zwar sowohl in english auf Veil of Sound als auch auf deutsch in der rein digitalen Variante hier.

Insofern ist dies im Grunde nur eine Besitzstandsmeldung.

Ja, ich habe mir "Wellness" von Miira zwischenzeitlich mal auf Vinyl besorgt, und man höre und staune - es ist immer noch ein wunderbar ausbalanciertes, rohes und doch feinfühliges Stück Ambient/Noise/Postrock/Doom/Drone.

Aber da das instrumentale Gitarren-Schlagzeug-Duo seinen Bestand von 100 Exemplaren ja noch nicht abverkauft hat, feature ich die Chose hier einfach nochmal. Alleine das so simple wie schöne Artwork ist es im Grunde schon wert!

Doch um auch die musikalischen Argumente noch einmal zu bekräftigen, hier eine übersetzte Passage aus meinem VoS-Review:

Miira sind dynamische Stimmungsarchitekten, die viel größere Klanglandschaften bauen, als man erwarten würde, und diese plötzlich zerstören und wieder aufbauen, wie es ihnen gefällt. Die Abruptheit vieler Übergänge offenbart, dass die Arrangements zumindest an einigen Stellen geplante Strukturen haben, aber die lockere, atmosphärisch getriebene Performance und die gewaltige Akustik des leeren Konzertsaals, in dem "Wellness" aufgenommen wurde, verleihen dem Album eine natürliche fließende, sehr unmittelbar Wirkung. Oft fühlt man sich sich hier eher wie eine klanglichen Naturgewalt ausgesetzt, als dass man das Gefühl hat, einfach nur zwei Typen zuzuhören, die Kompositionen auf Instrumenten spielen.
Selbst wenn diese Tracks die definierten Grooves und die modern postrockende Größe von Russian Circles berühren, klingt es hier bewusst eher wie eine grobe Skizze dieser Ideen, als ob Miira nicht zulassen möchte, dass Perfektionismus oder Virtuosität die Reinheit ihrer Musik überstrahlen sollten. Und es funktioniert. Trotz seiner Kanten und Geräusche macht es einem dieses Album sehr leicht, sich in seiner stimmungsvollen Atmosphäre zu verlieren.


harineweekly 51/52

Nope. Not getting any more festive here. Here are this week's Digital Harinezumi 3.0 pictures.

Only one more week and then I'll have to think of a new regular photo shtick. Or not. However I already have an idea what this camera in particular is supposed to do besides all the live music shots, which I have excluded from this series. But I don't want to make any promises in case I don't find the time. So I guess you'll see when you'll see. Or not.

For now just see you with the last part of this series on January 1st of next year!


MUSIC 2022: TOP 22 albums

Here we go again! As you could already see in my TOP 5 reissues, TOP 7 live albumsTOP 13 live shows and TOP 6 non album releases I'm trying to keep my end of the year lists short.

And what a year I've chosen for that decision! It was hard, a lot of ins and outs, but I ultimately stuck to just twenty-two favorite albums! No sneaking in of extra recommendations under each entry like last year, just a plain TOP 22. As always these are only studio albums which I own in physical format. So I know that there are tons of stuff out there which I just didn't indulge in yet, Kendrick Lamar and The Mars Volta just being two of the most popular examples. (Oh, there's sooo much more like Brutus, Chat Pile... ok, don't even get me started, haha.)

I tried to consider earlier releases which I might have neclected a little, but also took the risk of including some very recent material. And for the time being I am happy with it. Looking back on this a year from now I will have some changed opinions about the ranking anyway, because that always happens. Hell, if you compare this list with my TOP 5 albums on VEILOFSOUND.COM (which I had finished a couple of weeks ago), even those have changed a bit already!

From A as in Autopsy to Z as in Zola Jesus and back from Zeal & Ardor over The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble and Jo Quail to 300,000 V.K. so many artists I would have expected here didn't make it. But well, I guess that's just unavoidable if you don't do at least a TOP 36. But even then I would still feel bad about those albums who fell off the edge. So fuck them, right? No, don't fuck them! Music is awesome. Check out all my reviews from 2022 stuff and go listen to some music! 

But now without further ado....  here finally are my...

TOP 22 ALBUMS 2022:

  1. VOIVOD - Synchro Anarchy

    No, it's no suprise that this is my album of the year. But while I suspected "Synchro Anarchy" to wind up here as soon as its first songs had been released almost a year ago, that has never been a pure matter of course. With so much great music coming out all the time I found myself more than once wondering whether Voivod really should take this spot. But than I listened to this masterpiece again and all doubts went to bed, because damn, this is so fucking good! After over fourty years the French Canadian sci-fi ProgPunkThrashers are still on top of their game, pushing the envelope with complex and catchy material that not only lives up to their own legacy, but actually couldn't be more relevant today. Yet another incredible show of force of the seemingly unstoppable SnakeChewyRockyAway lineup.

  2. IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANT - Spirit Of Ecstasy

  3. The future of Extreme Metal and the apocalpyse of Jazz inseparably intertwined and mangled through the Manhattanite maelstrom of glorious dissonance. With guest musicians from Alex Skolnick to Kenny G, from Andromeda Anarachia to Voivod's Snake! It's one thing to sport a mind-blowing musical vision, yet a totally different thing to exceed oneself in it like the New York Avantgarde Black Metal trio did on "Spirit of Ecstasy". The ferocious mega city moloch rampages purposeful but more disturbingly chaotic than ever and it's indeed... ecstatic.

  4. Psychotic. Relentless. Devastating. Destructive. Misanthropic. Those were probably the keywords of my review for this monstrous Black Metal assault. If I had to pick out just one thing which makes this unique panic attack of an album special I would just say: those killer riffs! (And those hypnotic licks of course... and the tireless brutal highspeed drumming... and the abrasive vocals... and the occasional throat singing...) Fuck it, this just slaps!

  5. FORLESEN - Black Terrain

    What an epochal journey of Doom Metal is this? Consisting of past and present members of Botanist, Kayo Dot and Lotus Thief the band with the name that sounds completely different to German ears than its actual Middle English meaning "to lose completely" takes us through manifold musical worlds on this vast atmospheric future classic.

  6. Is this Archive's magnum opus? I'd rather not claim something like that, but the double album "Call To Arms & Angels" for sure is a huge earnest masterpiece in an undefinable place between soulful ballads, dark experimental electronics and epic Post Trip Hop Progressive Art Rock. With multiple singers and guest musicians the collective created a seventeen tracks strong soundtrack to the quarantine and isolation of the pandemic years. And if that wouldn't already be enough to take in, some versions of the album come with the equally great bonus of the whole score to the making of documentary "Super8".


    John Zorn producer Marc Urselli bringing together an international all-star ensemble of Doom, Stoner and Post Metal instrumentalists and indigenous  (Tuvanese, Mongolian and Inuit) overtone singers for a primal and  powerful fusion of styles that through its diversity also works as an almost anthropological overview of the art of throat singing. Ten years in the making this ambitious project transcends the promise of its premise and dooms and drones in an ancient place far beyond the origins of Doom itself.

  8. GGGOLDDD - This Shame Should Not Be Mine

    Outside flowers claim it's spring - and inside Milena Eva works through her trauma in clear and stark words to come out of it with her head held high. Adding many new electronic elements while maintaining their roots in Post everything from Punk to Rock to Black Metal, the band formerly known just as Gold provides a perfect backdrop for one of the most important stories told this year. Profoundly touching.

  9. KEIJI HAINO + SUMAC - Into This Juvenile Apocalypse Our Golden Blood To Pour Let Us Never

    Is this rollercoaster a free jazz version of noise rock or the essence of metal dragged through the unfiltered existential chaos of the human condition?
    I've asked exactly this question before, but since I still haven't come close to a satisfying answer, it seemed appropriate just to repeat it. On their third album encounter Japanese experimentalist Haino and the North American Sludge trio Sumac unleash brutal improvised magic which defies explanation or classification - and ultimately this brilliant noisiest of all releases on this list doesn't need to answer any of my small mortal questions at all.

  10. AFTAB DARVISHI - A Thousand Butterflies

    Performed by various chamber orchestra constellations including a cello solo piece, the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet or the duet of piano and clarinet in the title track, the music of Iranian composer Aftab Darvishi melts Contemporary Classical arrangements with traditional influences from her home country and experimental Ambient ideas.  "A Thousand Butterflies" rewards the attentive listener with an immersive emotional experience. A precious musical gift that keeps giving. 

  11. JOHN ZORN - Perchance To Dream

    No Bandcamp, no YouTube, no Soundcloud. On this one I'm afraid you just have to completely trust me, because you'll only get these wonderful compositions of John Zorn, performed by a quartet including John Medeski and Bill Frisell on this CD. Cymbals, chimes, organ, piano, Fender Rhodes... Soothing vibrations and light guitar breezes are the primary language of a dreamily Smooth Jazz experience. designed for nocturnal hours of either contemplation or just letting your mind drift to other places. On par with Aftab Darvishi this is one of the purest and most sincerely beautiful albums of 2022.

  12. LAIBACH - Wir Sind Das Volk - Ein Musical Aus Deutschland

    In Laibach's half-theatrical work, which sees them collaborating with several stage actors and drum duo The Stroj,   Slovenian Retrogarde meets the texts of German playwright Heiner Müller and forms a kaleidoscopic stream of consciousness of German identity during and after the Second World War. Closer to the accustomed band sound and a little less deeply overwhelming than the live performance it is based on, "Wir Sind Das Volk" still is a very strong and serious experience burning with recent relevance.

  13. KIKAGAKU MOYO - Kumoyo Island

    The farewell year of the Japanese street musician collective turned world-acclaimed Krautrock phenomenon Kikagaku Moyo has been a joyful victory parade with celebrated live shows everywhere (including Berlin) and a final studio release which sparkles with variety, dynamic and visceral musical storytelling. Not only a wonderful album, but one which is always even a little better than I remembered from its last spin. And that lead guitar in "Yayoi, Iyayoi" lives rent-free in my head anyway.

  14. WORMROT - Hiss

    If you understand Grindcore more as a mindset than as one rather narrow specific style you can take it to the most unexpected places. Napalm Death have proven that many times, and so do the Singaporeans Wormrot. Being fluent masters in the language of Grind they allow themselves to take the twenty-one tracks on "Hiss" to the worlds of Punk, Post Rock, Thrash and Death Metal, Voivod worship, tribalistic and even symphonic parts without ever risking to lose their ferocious grindibility, summed up in the song title "When Talking Fails, It's Time For Violence". This is undoubtly among the very best Grindcore that has ever smashed my mug!

  15. GOAT - Oh Death

    Dang! Both visually and sonically these Swedish masters of Psych ceremonies don't waste any time funking right into your face.
    Vivid and groovy, at the same time jazzy, tribalistic. folkloristic, krautrocky and post-punkish the jams on "Oh Death" fly by faster than you could ever die of a sudden bliss overload.

  16. SPINIFEX - Spinifex Sings

    "Spinifex Beats the Plague" had been among my favorite Jazz releases of 2021 and the Fusion sextet doesn't even for the blink of an eye think of cooling things down on its successor. Strengthened with the two amazing singers Priya Purushothaman and Björk Níelsdóttir interpreting Indian and Icelandic poetry, Spinifex are spinning a carousel of adventurous Free and Vocal Jazz, Jazzcore and what our forefathers called World Music, on which Mats Gustafsson's The End and Christian Vander's Magma are chasing each other's wiggling tails. Absolutely bonkers and brilliant experimental fun!


    Jason Köhnen had a productive year releasing several albums with various projects, two alone with The Lovecraft Sextet. Other than den 80's synth of "Nights Of Lust" this one however can be described as a direct crossbreed of Bohren & der Club of Gore and Black Metal, just like White Ward's "False Light" - but it sounds completely different in every way! A sinister, often depressing, sometimes eery elegant mass of the most evil Darkjazz ever, drenched in cavernous screeches, organ, cello, Colin Webster's longing saxophone and crowned with opera singer Lilian Tong's soprano voice "Miserere" is a timeless horror score one of the most daring and possibly the most haunting entry in Köhnen's discography.

  18. ASSUMPTION - Hadean Tides

    Inspired by Death and Doom Metal greats like My Dying Bride, Sorrow, Paradise LostMournful Congregation, but also classic Celtic Frost and Morbid Angel, this bleak new album from Assumption screams oldschool without ever sounding antiquated. Consequently the Italians don't let traditionalism hinder them from also incorporating Ambient and Neubauten influences  into their hugest and most exciting work so far.

  19. MOTORPSYCHO - Ancient Astronauts

    Side A: A powerfully rolling FuzzProg'n'Roll opener as we know and love it from the Norwegians. A short Yodok III style interlude. A half ballad / half freakout Mellotron epic. Side B: Just one cinematic 20+ minutes (almost) instrumental Krautrock score for an imaginary movie. Nothing more, nothing less. And done by Motorpsycho this is of course jawdropping stuff.

  20. LILI REFRAIN - Mana

    A mystic shaman and guardian to invisible realms beyond our perception? Or just a vessel of the unfiltered pure joy of music? No matter as which you understand Lili Refrain, there's no doubt that the Italian singer and multi-instrumentalist ultimately wields life-affirming magic on "Mana". On a loop-based backdrop of synths, drums and guitars her voice mesmerizes between incantatory whispers, Eastern European and Scandinavian Folk spheres and other-worldly Opera. Wondrous and spellbinding.

  21. LONDON ODENSE ENSEMBLE - Jaiyede Sessions Vol.1

    Whenever El Paraiso Records go Jazz, it's worth noticing anyway, but an album which is the culmination of what was growing on two albums of the Martin Rude & Jakob Skøtt Duo and a third extended to the Rude Skøtt Osborn Trio seems especially interesting. Bass, drums and saxophone now find themselves in the company of keyboards and guitar and together they burn a smooth firework of timeless Miles/Coltrane/Hancock worship between hippie Prog, Psych Rock and Latin Jazz Fusion with electronic sprinkles on top. Embedded in a warm dynamic production the chemistry and momentum of these sessions leave nothing to be desired. Volume 2 incoming soon...

  22. E-L-R - Vexier

    On their second full-length album the Swiss trio transforms mountains into riffs and lends the landscapes and ancient myths of the Alps an ethereal voice, incarnated through the levitating harmonies of their two female singers. "Vexier" is an escapist, dreamily headbanging monolith, which unifies Shoegaze, Doom, Post Rock, sludgy Post Metal and a pinch of Black Metal in elemental majesty.

  23. EMMA RUTH RUNDLE - EG2: Dowsing Voice

    So intimate yet so very strange. So experimental yet so pure and direct. Mostly inspired by traveling through Wales on her own for one month and recorded with minimal equipment Emma Ruth Rundle created an album she doesn't even try to sell as something equally as big and important as her regular work. But even though this wordless journey seems closer to Lingua Ignota, Jarboe or Diamanda Galas  being lost in the wilderness than to her usual sound, there is no reason to shrug this sinister subconscious twin of "Engine Of Hell" off! Dark and intriguing.