Label: Get Better Records
Sometimes, you hear a record and it’s clear that the band playing are having a total blast. Such is the case with the self-titled EP from Bacchae, with its summery post-punk and Riot Grrrl vibes. As enjoyable as the EP is on a surface level though, it’s the intelligence on display and catharsis offered that makes it truly notable – the five songs on the EP are the result of a life lived, with all the hurt and joy that such a statement implies. It’s a brilliant release, and one that I can’t get enough of.
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.
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.
Label: Prophecy Productions
There’s a lot of genre tags that could be applied to Shouldhavebeens, the new album from Swedish band Tengil. Blackgaze, melodic post-hardcore, post-punk, and shimmering post-rock are all part of their sound, and yet no single descriptor feels like an accurate fit. This might suggest a record lacking focus and direction, yet that’s not the case. Instead, Shouldhavebeens is a record full of ambition, using whatever sound it needs to in order to achieve it aims. Throughout, there is a sense of youthful longing and restlessness, making Shouldhavebeens feel like an album fueled by the promise and joy of first (and lasting) love, of a search for belonging, and the knowledge that nothing worthwhile ever came easily.
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.
Label: Amebix Records
When Amebix rose after almost twenty years of inactivity, it was a cause for celebration. Here were one of the most important bands in underground punk and metal – pretty much the first crust band – reforming and releasing new music. Of course, new music from classic bands can be a cause for concern, as no one wants to see a legacy sullied in the way that, say, What The… did for Black Flag. So when Sonic Mass arrived, it was a huge surprise. Here was a classic band, releasing a reformation album that not stood up to the best of their back catalogue, but also showed the band building upon what they had done before.
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.