Album of the Day: The Cure – Disintegration

220px-CureDisintegration

Label: Fiction Records

It’s slightly astounding to think that an album like Disintegration became a huge commercial success. The eighth album by The Cure is a huge, dark record, where pop hits sit comfortably with extended gothic, post-punk monoliths. It’s an album that has lost none of its power since release, and is still one of the high points for a band that has had hosts of them. Robert Smith has stated that the album was an intentional attempt to create something lasting and more meaningful following significant pop success, and Disintegration certainly achieved that.

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Album of the Day: In Solitude – Sister

InSolitude-Sister

Label: Metal Blade Records

It’s hard not to feel that In Solitude should have been way bigger than they were. From their early heavy metal records, the Swedish band recorded something incredibly special with final album Sister, released in 2013; an album that blended gothic post-punk darkness with heavy metal heroics to superb effect. Sister is an album filled with excellent song-writing, catchy, melodic, and heavy in equal measure, that absolutely begged to be stadium-filling. Such a fate was not to be, however, with the band splitting up in 2015. They left behind a superb swansong though, and one that I still return to regularly.

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Album of the Day: Grave Pleasures – Motherblood

Grave Pleasures - Motherblood

Label: Century Media Records

It’s a little over six months since Grave Pleasures unleashed Motherblood on the world, and in that time my love for the album has only grown. No record in recent times has combined pop hooks and melodies to dark, post-punk energy with such wonderful effect. Everything about the album (save the brooding ‘Atomic Christ’) feels streamlined, these songs honed down to within an inch of their live in a quest for perfection – and it’s a quest that Grave Pleasures pretty much succeed in. Few albums are so darkly cathartic and apocalyptically  blissful, embracing the surety of death to have us dancing to the grave.

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Album of the Day: Feral Nun – Demo Tape

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Label: Negate Everything

Rough, raw, and with everything pushed in to the red, the demo tape from Feral Nun is a 10 minute riot of gothic post-punk. Crude in the best possible way, this is the what Bauhaus or Joy Division would have sounded like were they even more strung-out on anxiety and desperation than was already true, spitting out shorts bursts of violence and catharsis. In short, it’s bloody great.

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2017 Favourites – Top 5

And so to the end; here, after a few hundred records, and lots of thought, are the five records I consider to be the best released this year. It’s interesting to note that, whilst 2017 has generally been considered a strong year for death metal, it’s black metal which dominates my list – there were lots of good death metal releases, but none I felt that matched these five. Feel free to disagree, and there’s some strong albums that didn’t make the final cut, but this is a rock-sold five that have, in large part, defined 2017 for me. Enjoy!

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Shrug – Apathy

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Label: Blackened Death Records

Apathy isn’t really an album to be enjoyed. Whilst there are lots of elements I like about the first full-length from Shrug, it is a bleak, harrowing listen, dealing as it does with issues of depression, illness, and suicide. It doesn’t shy away from any of its themes, confronting them with a straightforward approach that can be quite uncomfortable, and is remarkably honest. There’s no suicide idolatry here, no veneration of depression as artistic inspiration. Instead, there are elements of harsh noise, experimental electronics, and goth rock, resulting in something quite unusual, but very convincing and brave.

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