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Heilung, Eivør, Lili Refrain – Barrowland, Glasgow

Every so often, a line-up crops up that just feels right. One where everyone on the bill has some sense of commonality that goes beyond a similarity in sound and into the realms of the existential, where the same sense of purpose and soul can be felt in every performer. This is one of those nights.

Oak – Disintegrate

Disintegrate feels almost tailor-made for the doom crowd – the colossal scale, melancholy and misery are all hallmarks of the classics while the sense of timelessness that’s so deeply intertwined with its themes feels very much on-brand for a genre so primordial in nature.

Skáld – Huldufólk

Vocally and instrumentally, it’s a triumph of tradition and virtuosity.

GRAVA – Weight Of A God

Weight Of A God is an unpolished treasure, an absorbing and often harrowing work that wastes little time in burrowing under the skin.

Die Sünde – Strega

Strega is a work that is genuinely powerful, sometimes harrowing and at others chillingly elegant, and for anyone seeking the perfect marriage of concept, conviction and sheer sonic punishment, it’s an absolute treat.

Envy – Seimei

They have become so skilled at using every weapon in their arsenal to tug at the heartstrings and inflame the soul that they are simply playing to their strengths. The difference here is that their music can now drag the listener through the breadth of human experience in ten minutes rather than an hour.

Sigh – Shiki

Anthemic twin-guitar harmonies and virtuosic runs, lush goth symphonics, flashes of outrageous psychedelic weirdness and one of Mirai Kawashima’s most eclectic vocals performances to date combine forces to create an album that defies explanation but has to be heard at least once to be believed.

Touccan – Full Sentimental

Touccan are a promising band. Both are capable musicians with the chops to nail a wide cross-section of styles with minimal embellishment, and they are already showing that they can sound eclectic without sacrificing melody or momentum. More than that, they’re simply a fun band to listen to.

Epitaphe – II

II can be thought of as a musical triptych. Its three 19-minute-long pieces are each a distinct artistic work in their own right, filled with a degree of musical and tonal complexity that could easily be stretched out to fill an album, but when viewed together paint a larger picture, an epic journey through Elysian fields and Stygian underworlds.

MONO – My Story, The Buraku Story (An Original Soundtrack)

MONO have shown over the years that they can pull off surprising stylistic shifts and this is one of their most thought-provoking curveballs to date. It avoids the tropes of both post-rock and of cinematic scoring as a whole and instead delivers a quietly beautiful listening experience that hopefully paves the way for future endeavours.

Some Became Hollow Tubes – Unhealthy For Sensitive Groups

An incendiary and energetic work that captures both Quach’s exacting precision for creating unsettling but all-too-natural soundscapes and Girt’s turbulent energy but exists in its own pocket universe.

Sari – A U Se

She takes a largely minimalist approach to her infectiously out-there pop and there’s an inherent surprise with every moment of this record that it’s as expansive as it is.

Lustmord – The Others: [Lustmord Deconstructed]

These are less 16 remixes than they are 16 separate collaborations between like minds, and every one is magnificent in its own right.

Vaina – Futue Te Ipsum – Angel With Many Faces

It’s a labyrinthine work, one where corridors sprout seemingly at will and serve only to draw the listener deeper into darkness, confusion and, if they are lucky, realisation.

Turpentine Valley – Alder

Paired with the band’s strong ability to craft a compelling and emotionally complex narrative without lyrics, it sets Alder up as a standout, and occasionally inspired, presence in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

They have a quality that puts them up their with the greats, with the likes of Amorphis, Reverend Bizarre and, naturally, Swallow The Sun.

Barús – Fanges

Taken together, the two halves of Fanges confidently bridge the gap between what has come before and what the band have always shown the potential to create. Those who were already on board will lap up what’s here but anyone who’s interested in challenging music being made by skilled artists will want to have a listen to this.

Wata from Boris

David Bowes spoke to Boris guitarist and vocalist Wata to discuss the creation of their latest full-length ‘W’ and her new signature pedal.

King Buffalo – Acheron

As their second record of 2021, it maybe felt like King Buffalo would have played it safe and stuck to familiar terrain, and in a sense they have. It doesn’t have the same impetuousness as its predecessor but by opting for longer, more atmospheric cuts they have played to their strengths and delivered yet another instant classic.

Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik – Hardanger EP

The two tracks on this short EP come from very different places but the soul and messages are the same – messages of journeying, of people and of the land from which it takes its name.

Megalith Levitation – Void Psalms

The second album for Chelyabinsk psychedelic doomsters Megalith Levitation taps into something primal, spiritual and genuinely vast across its four tracks, infusing old-school riffing with left-field meanderings and druidic chants that feel like they could herald the coming of Yog-Sothoth with each line.

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