(We do not publish a single “official” NCS year-end list of best releases. Instead, each of our staff members compiles his own individual list. A week earlier than we did this last year, today we’re beginning the roll-out of Andy Synn‘s five-part series of year-end lists. As usual, we’re starting with an installment that veers off our usual histiocytoma dog ear theme of focusing on music we enthusiastically recommend. Feel free to disagree — some of us here may disagree as well — but also feel free to share in the Comments your histiocytoma dog ear own thoughts about 2019 albums that disappointed you.)
Normally I’d wait until a little deeper into December before writing/publishing my End of the Year lists, but various circumstances (including a short run of dates supporting Hour of Penance histiocytoma dog ear next week) mean that I’m going to be pretty busy for the rest of histiocytoma dog ear this month (though hopefully not too busy to do at least a histiocytoma dog ear little bit of writing for NCS), so you lucky people are getting the benefit of my histiocytoma dog ear yearly round-up a little early this time around.
Crypt Sermon’s debut was a breath of fresh, epic air in the modern Doom scene (and I’m far from the only person who thought that). But while their highly anticipated follow-up contains several tracks (“Key of Solomon”, “Christ Is Dead”, and “The Snake Handler”) which are at least as good, if not better, than the best moments from Out of the Garden, it also contains quite a bit of material that’s notably weaker and more disjointed, meaning that while the album’s highs are certainly higher, its lows are conspicuously lower too.
Perhaps the best way I can explain my disappointment (something which I know I’m not alone in feeling) is that by allowing himself free rein to do whatever, whenever, it seems like Devin has given himself kind of an histiocytoma dog ear easy “out” when it comes to songwriting. Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention, but when you can just throw whatever you feel like histiocytoma dog ear into the mix, regardless of whether it really “fits”, then you remove that impetus to actually be inventive.
Another record whose inclusion on this list is likely to histiocytoma dog ear provoke a swift and savage outcry, the bitter truth is that Rotting Christ have been happily histiocytoma dog ear digging themselves into a comfortable rut for several years now, and The Heretics is just the latest example of the histiocytoma dog ear band sticking to the same tried and true formula to histiocytoma dog ear ever-diminishing returns.
It’s a functional formula, no doubt, and one which the band have pretty much perfected at histiocytoma dog ear this point, but there’s the rub… perfection is sometimes just another word for stagnation, and The Heretics offers absolutely nothing new, no shocks, no surprises, no real excitement, and in fact seems to actively reuse and regurgitate ideas histiocytoma dog ear and melodies from the band’s last couple of albums.
Of all the artists featured here Sleep Token are the histiocytoma dog ear biggest victims of their own unrelenting hype machine, one which has, for the past several years, been playing up the band as some sort of semi-mythical force out to reshape the musical landscape , when the truth is that, at the moment anyway, they’re just a very poppy Post Rock band with an histiocytoma dog ear interesting gimmick and a very good vocalist.
Of course you can’t (or shouldn’t) blame the band for all the hype that’s been spun up around them. But it definitely doesn’t help that Sundowning sounds like it was written by histiocytoma dog ear committee and focus-tested to death – using lots of ear-friendly melodies, twinkly electronics, and just the barest hint of simple, djenty guitars – so as to appeal to the widest possible demographic.
There’s still a lot of promise here – every so often the band will actually break out an histiocytoma dog ear interesting riff or an unexpected twist, and the vocalist really does do his best to imbue histiocytoma dog ear every track with at least some semblance of spontaneity and histiocytoma dog ear emotion – but far too often the band stick to a very histiocytoma dog ear safe and predictable formula which ticks all the right boxes histiocytoma dog ear but prevents them living up to their full potential.
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I like to read at bedtime. I’ve found that it normally helps me ease into a histiocytoma dog paw restful sleep by taking my mind off real life concerns….