Amigo the Devil – Bridge City Sessions
If you’ve never heard of “murder-folk” as a genre, you’re not alone, but you are missing out! Amigo the Devil is certainly the most palatable artist of the movement and has found perhaps the most crossover success thus far. Last year saw him release two fantastic full length albums, but this four track, live EP captures his sound incredibly well. The sheer power of his vocals on the opener, “Cocaine and Able,” is enough to convert any new listener, while the dark comedy of later cuts like “Husband,” and “One Kind of People,” should keep them coming back for more. The project is simple, moving, and a nice encapsulation of an exciting new movement.
Killswitch Engage – Atonement
20 years after their game changing, self-titled debut, Killswitch Engage are certifiable legends of the metalcore genre. 2019 saw the band leave longtime label, Roadrunner and sign with Metal Blade for the release of their 8th Studio release, Atonement. The record is a serious tour de force and a return to form of sorts as Jesse Leach’s vocals and Adam Dutkiewicz’ guitar switch seamlessly between brutal breakdowns and soaring choruses. The albums is, unfortunately, packed with cheesy lyrics which hold back several solid cuts from being truly great, but it’s a fun listen, nonetheless.
Bon Iver – I, I
Bon Iver is a unique artist if for no other reason than the shear range of styles he’s experimented with and the wide divide between fans as to his best sound. This newest release has far more in common with his more daring recent work, but it certainly doesn’t abandoned the cold simplicity of his iconic debut, For Emma, Forever Ago. The spacey instrumentation of tracks like “Hey, Ma,” and “iMi” make perfect backdrops to some of Bon Iver’s most powerful and unique vocal lines to date. Much of the mix lacks a sense of depth and a few tracks certainly run long, but the warm, catchy writing on a song like “U,” is simply addictive.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Infest the Rats’ Nest
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is one of the most popular acts in the world of underground rock music. With 15 albums in less than a decade and five LP’s in 2017 alone, they are also one of the most prolific acts in all of music. Each record varies wildly from the one before, and Infest the Rats’ Nest sees King Gizzard taking a dive, headlong into thrash and garage metal with excellent results. Instrumentally, the group is every bit as technically impressive as ever, but it’s Stu Mackenzie’s vocals which really put the project over the top and allow the band to successfully recreate the psychedelic brutality of era and sound which inspired them. Tracks like “Organ Farmer,” and “Venusian 2,” stand out as highlights, but the entire LP is a well paced, heavy metal extravaganza.
Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind
One of the best known and most successful bands of the 2000’s Nu-Metal boom, Slipknot had been silent for nearly five years before returning with this year’s We Are Not Your Kind. With so much hype surrounding the long awaited return, the group delivered quite well. While a handful of tracks suffer from the softened, overproduced tendencies of their later work, the majority of the music harkens back to the brutality of the band’s early days in the best way possible. Tracks like “Unsainted,” and “Critical Darling,” are just a few memorable highlights, but the majority of the album’s 60 minute runtime features excellent breakdowns, dynamic drumming, and a show stopping performances from frontman, Corey Taylor.
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