2017 Al – ‘An! Like many norms are fading these days, genres are blurrier then ever. I had never heard of this collective from France before, but they embody the "post-everything" quite well. Intense soundscapes, mysterious rythms and eerie snippets of angry voices make this almost an sonic embodiment of the frustration at the world at large. Harsh, discordant, but also full of melody and woe. spotify:track:0BInKTLLdeZRHbiq2kXnS3 Codex VI With the 6th installment of the original trilogy Shpongle shows they still got the mojo. Less generic samples and sounds, a more solid bass foundation and overal crazy fun production and some daring takes in genre mixes while staying true to the Shpongolese spirit. Darn fun! spotify:track:6noO9CZ5n12LwPFKHPAttL Gumboot Soup With a few hours to spare they did it; release 5 albums in 2017. I was afraid the quantity might devalue the quality, but instead the band seems to get better and better while pushing themselves more and more. Gumboot Soup in short sounds like a comprehensive summary of the whole year of releases. spotify:track:3b1RjfPP5U79gZtkI9lXfc The Animal Spirits I adore artist who actively pursue development and experiments. James Holden is one such artist. With his latest work he leaves the dancefloor behind for the mystical forests of electronic infused tribal trance with some jazzy tones. Sounds interesting? It's because it is. A damn good experiment! spotify:track:7nxtZrbhyjI8R0VLq0XEO1 Mirror Reaper (Funeral) Doom isn't easy, and taking on a 80+ min track isn't always a good idea. Bell Witch however, were able to stretch the slow looming doom and made it so goddamn enjoyable to listen that I almost want it to be longer. Fleeting melodies, crushing guitars, contemplation and the real feels. Damn spotify:track:4iTUrKGcxTojfTnldpAl3q Mass IV Amenra tears us a new one, comforts us afterwards, before pouring salt in the wounds. Its though love, but by god is it intense love. Intense, true, real raging pain, anguish and spite. A mighty impressive record. spotify:track:3REwvRwEnRs0SSm1p7EyFq Thrice Woven I've been looking forward to this one, and boy does it deliver on my expectancies. A grander blend of the mystic folk, soothing ambient and roaring cascadian blackmetal. Though a very pleasant listen, it is a fact that children of these torchbearer are more daring nowadays. spotify:track:14iHJlb2lviBl9vAUeIlxA Compassion Glitched vocals are cut, repeated and looped. Set to an invigorating and fresh electronic sound with tribal beats, ambient noises, a flair of jazz and some trip-hop the result is mighty inspirational and catchy. Prepare these to get stuck in your head, even though you wont understand any of it. spotify:track:0gVTkPr4Xi8yV0evq7ekpg Below the House There is something truly captivating to this record. It sounds so personal, so true and honest. If you let it, it will take you away to a cold, dim and desolate place on even the hottest day. Magnificent sludge/black that comes from the heart and speaks to yours. spotify:track:4VuGSMfhHIOGM5yqybKo2G async A mesmerizing though unsettling ambient record that really grips the listener. The soundscapes are much like the cover art; seemingly simple yet abstract, but take a closer look and you can see there is all kinds of stuff happening beyond first glance, or apprehension. spotify:track:6YdAMflRiTA2qbM7DKFDbg Songs of Love and Death This dark goth/country/americana record from Nergal (Behemoth) is highly personal and comes from the soul. That's all well and good, but it doesn't make it very good nor memorable for the listener. This record is special because it's Nergal, not because it's good gothfolk. This is not his genre. spotify:track:7axv9iAIPHyCW23IfxFwpk Trein Vuur Dageraad Spinvis takes another swing at making happy music, he's sure he'll get it one day. Today though, we get uplifting tunes as a celebration of everyday life and strive. Albums like these speak to the magic of the mundane, I like that. spotify:track:3VuOy2PG8aIJAd0stK7sA3 Vigilance Perennial Falls of Rauros makes it known they have their own sound and stay true to it, and which each release the production value rises. Sadly though, the bone shivering haunting melodies tend to blur together as the best captivating songs are still found on their debut record. spotify:track:3gIdcWWdwAd4g9oeesKBxr Obsidian Arc It's good that Agalloch's spirit lives on, but as of now Pillorian has the status, but not yet the trackrecord. Expect solid, more aggressive and upfront melo-black in a clear production, but don't expect the eerie melancholic magic of Agalloch just yet, spotify:track:7pB7najNNjp8KvBDcmb1YO The Assassination of Julius Ceasar I respect Ulver in their high quality endeavours through which ever genre they do, and this record is of the same high quality. But after listening to it intensely, I find that the suspense and atmosphere of Ulver is ever present but the glossy '80s pop topping does ruin it for me a bit. spotify:track:6RFix0DOQxB5MLLvVmdIa6 The Devil is Fine Creativity worth praising. This record outgrows genres as a whole, but keeps roots in negro-spirituals and black metal. Mix it up with whatever you can think of, and you get an amazing must-hear-this-mix of music that is not as coherent as an album could be, but none the less damn impressive! spotify:track:2mVILjcUqWMWjqqxBmEbir De Doden Hebben Het Goed II Being blown away as I was by the first, it's impossible for the follow-up to be better. I'd hoped for more of the same, but they've chosen a more agressive, straightforward sound. This is not a bad thing, in fact. it's a very high quality thing. More agressive, less atmosphere. spotify:track:34rImtGTgxCP8gUgwi9x0j Elements Soothing downtempo ambient/electro from Russia. Remnant of Abakus and Tycho, Fjordwalker is able to sculpt soundscapes with high production value and incorporate memorable chill-out beats to the mix. Wouldn't mind seeing this at The Cathedral of Chill @ OZORA. Ember Breather Dip in darkness and despair in the deep desolate woods with Veldes. Proper folk-black with decent production and interesting hooks and some quality screams. But on a whole the albums tends to lack variety in sound and foremost in the vocals. A good first impression that I don't think will last.