It seems that the world gets worse and worse each week, with recent events in America being particularly disheartening. I wish I had some words of encouragement, but that’s not where my head is right now. Instead, here are Albums of the Day for the past week – largely chosen with the intent of keeping myself grounded. Enjoy!
This wek has been a tough one in lots of ways – but rather than wallow in sadness, I’m gonna instead try and focus on just how good the picks for Album of the Day have been this way. Includes a four-way split of emo and related genres; anti-fascist black metal; soul-crushing beauty; and stomping hardcore. Enjoy!
That Level Plane Records is no more is nothing short of a tragedy. Between 1997 and 2009, the label released some of the best underground punk, hardcore, screamo, metal, and everything in-between. Originally set up simply so Greg Drudy had an address to put on the back of the first Saetia 7″, the impact and influence the label would go on to have upon the underground scene was huge. Some of these records have been re-issued by other labels – with special praise being given to The Archivist label for getting so many on Bandcamp – but some might require searching on Discogs or eBay.
As such, limiting this list down to only five releases has been rather painful. There’s so many I wanted to include – so many records of superb quality, so many that meant so much to me, and still do – but there’s a reason this series is called Five of the Best, not Twenty of the Best. So, here we go. Feel free to tell me what I missed or what your favourite records from this excellent label are. Enjoy!
As time fades, labels close, and technology moves on, it’s inevitable that some records will be lost to the sands of time. Such a fate seems to have been suffered by We’ll Make The Roads by Walking, and indeed by The Assistant, whose noisy, emotional hardcore would probably find a bigger audience today than it did upon release. Were it released today, a PR campaign might describe it as combining The Dillinger Escape Plan style technicality with an emotional, cathartic edge that can be found in Holy Roar Records’ recent outcome from Rolo Tomassi and Employed To Serve, all wrapped up in long, progressive song-writing. But alas, The Assistant are no more, but they did leave behind some killer songs.
Are there any phrases that will cause music fans to recoil in fear in the same way that “experimental screamo project” will? Probably, yeah; but then you listen to the first demo from Formerly a Genius, and your reaction is likely to be either to embrace this three-song release like the best thing ever made; or to flee in utter horror. Six months on from first hearing it, and I’m still not sure what I think of it; sometimes it’s the greatest demo ever made, other days it sounds like an utter catastrophe. Either way, it’s not the kind of music that invites apathy.
One Thousand Birds are one of the most exciting bands I’ve heard in a long, long time. The mix of blackened screamo and harsh noise atmospheres on Sleep Study 11.11.17 is utterly overwhelming, and devastating in its almost nihilistic use of volume. Imagine if Gravity Records was starting out now, and all involved were big fans of the harshest of raw black metal, and you’re somewhere close to what One Thousand Birds are conjuring; it makes almost everything else you’ll have heard in recent times seem absolutely tame by comparison.