This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #80, the Kid Adventure issue! If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.
This column may be about metal, but really it’s about listening – you and I listening to metal together. First, I listen to the hundred some odd releases every month to find as many new bands and weird albums to turn you onto. Then, you read this column and you listen! Listen now to the Unwinnable Metal Playlist June 2016.
With that in mind, let me introduce you to this month’s choicest metal picks, starting with Astronoid, one of the lesser known acts we’ve featured as our metal album of the month.
Metal Album of the Month:
Astronoid – Air
Whether you’ve followed the rise of blackgaze or not, from pioneers Alcest to newcomers Deafheaven, at some point you’ll probably ask yourself, “What is this? It can’t be metal. What IS metal??!!” Third-wave blackgazers Astronoid are here to prove that metal can be pretty much whatever it darn well pleases. Even if that means blast beats and tortured guitars set against impossibly uplifting vocal melodies more evocative of Mew than Gorgoroth. If ever there was such a thing as optimistic, uplifting, dreamy metal, this is it.
If These Trees Could Talk – The Bones of a Dying World
Accomplished instrumental jams that unpack layers of accessible prog, swelling heaviness and soaring tremolo-picked crescendos, If These Trees Could Talk resides somewhere between Pelican, Mono and Dire Straits.
LISTEN: FULL ALBUM
Best Metal of the Month:
Dark Suns – Everchild
If metal bands got heavier based on how many members are in the band, this 8-piece would be demi-god weight. Thankfully, Dark Suns are more interested in creating densely harmonic collages then they are just cranking up the volume.
LISTEN TO: “EVERCHILD”
Gojira – Magma
Gojira beats out its violent machinations where the fringes of metal, industrial, and experimental rock coalesce. Magma sees the band taking its sound into catchier territory with excellent results.
Boyfrndz – Impulse
The distance that Boyfrndz maintains from most traditional metal signifiers is one of the Austin, Texas, band’s greatest strengths – that and its obvious sense of humor.
Nails – You Will Never Be One of Us
Heavy as heavy gets, Nails is what Slayer would sound like as a hardcore band. With the production subtlety of a wood chipper, this is the dirty rotten metal equivalent of Dealing With It, Reign in Blood and Damaged smashed together.
WATCH: “YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US”
Sarabante – Poisonous Legacy
These Greek hardcore kids peddle a snarly, doomy punkcore darker than their mother land’s economic situation, complete with tastefully throaty Planes Mistaken for Stars vocals.
LISTEN TO: “MASS GRAVE”
Cyborg Octopus – Learning to Breathe
Come for the ridiculous name, stay for the proggy, aggressive and surprisingly baroque riffery. The vocals aren’t the greatest, but you’ve heard worse (see First Fragment).
LISTEN TO: FULL ALBUM
Melvins – Basses Loaded
Sludge heroes Melvins turned to not 1, not 2, but 6 different bass players to hold down the low end on their 24th studio album, including Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic. Hence the album title.
LISTEN TO: “HIDEOUS WOMEN”
First Fragment – Dasein
Crazy technical neoclassical thrashy proggy death metal with more throw away super angryyyyyyyy vocals, but worth the listen if only for the insane guitaruosity.
LISTEN TO: FULL ALBUM
In Twilight’s Embrace – Trembling
There’s enough novelty in this three-song EP to transform what otherwise might be a forgettable blackcore set into a dark synthesis of Venom-like blackened metal and Kverletak rock and attitude.
LISTEN: FULL EP