For reviewers, monthly round-ups are tricky—for example, there are several albums I heard during the marvelous month of May, but aren’t actually released until June; or albums I heard in April that are technically May releases. Either way, it can be a little tedious to keep everything sorted. So with that in mind, here are five albums that were released throughout this magnificent month that, in my opinion, truly stood above the rest.
5) Makhai – CCXII [EP]
Combining devastating heaviness with innovative grooves in a blender stirred by innovative songwriting, this talented young band truly took me by surprise. I hadn’t expected such a diverse and immersive—yet immense and crushing—experience from a band so young and unknown, or an EP so short and subtle.
4) Labyrinthe – Relentless Misery
It isn’t often an album truly lives up to the feeling it provokes and the atmosphere it inflicts, however, Labyrinthe did just that with Relentless Misery. A comprehensively heavy release from the titan-like demi-Gods of deathcore, this has brees, blast beats and breakdowns for eons—what more could a fan of traditional heavy, slamming deathcore want?
3) Watchers – Hatelife [EP]
I admit, I am a sucker for beefy, down-tempo, hate-filled music. However, for some, all-out, all-the-time low-and-slow just doesn’t cut it, and I get that as well. For those people, there is Hatelife, a fundamentally blistering, brooding monolith of an EP that spends plenty of time in the bogged-down low-and-slow “mode,” but with enough blast-beat infused speed and vocal variety to keep it fresh, fluid and engaging.
– Review –
2) Endless – Realist [EP]
Simultaneously overwhelmingly emotional yet unabashedly heavy—to put it simply, that’s what Endless are all about. Realist is an EP that comes the heart and hits with enough ferocity to rip through a ribcage. With just enough of a melodic, harmonizing influence to provide moments of respite and refreshing, crisp atmosphere, Realist is, realistically, what every band in the melodic hardcore genre should seek to strive for.
1) Illuminator – Letters to No One
A brilliant list of guest appearances? Check. Technical, innovative instrumentation? Check. Diverse vocals with heartfelt lyrics? Check. Wrap it all up with intriguing songwriting and masterful dynamism and you have Illuminator’s Letters to No One—or rather, you have an album that quite honestly has it all.