Given how late I uploaded the September instalment of my monthly album round-up, it’s probably for the best that last month only saw the release of a couple of records that made it onto my loved list, so that I can get this October addition of Albums I Love out before we start approaching the end of November. Like previous months that were sparse on new albums that won me over, it’s not as if October was short on records that I was hotly anticipating, but only one of these releases lived up to my expectations, whilst the other album to make this month’s list actually came as a pitch from a PR company that ended up pleasantly surprising me. I could have actually published this edition of Albums I Love after I uploaded my review of Como Asesinar a Felipes’ Elipse, but I ended up holding off because I had plans to review the new album from Aegrus, Thy Numinous Darkness, which I initially intended to include on this list as well. However, after many subsequent re-listens to the record, I’ve concluded that I don’t love it quite like I did upon my first few times hearing it. Although, if I were to score it, it would still receive a strong 7/10 from me, so I figured I should at least give it a shout-out here for anyone craving some fresh, traditional-sounding, second wave-derived black metal from Finland, especially seeing as we’re currently in the thick of Nothing But Black Metal November. With that out of the way, I present the albums from last month that truly grabbed my attention and that I would highly recommend, which, although very few in number, are still very much worthy of appreciation.
‘Elipse’ by Como Asesinar a Felipes
I find myself inherently interested in artists who attempt some kind of ambitious fusion of genres. That’s not to say that I am any more partial towards such artists, as failed attempts at bringing together two or more differing styles can be particularly catastrophic, but the prospect alone of mashing together two or more genres that, in many ways, may seem unsuited to one another is more than enough to spark my interest. I think this largely boils down to the fact that these sorts of artists are always bound to bring something interesting and at least somewhat unique to the table, whether this be good or bad, so I can nearly always be guaranteed that I will be in for something that gets me thinking when I listen to them, even if that be thinking about why one artist’s particular combination of styles doesn’t quite cut it. The reason that Como Asesinar a Felipes’ sixth and latest album, Elipse, appeals to me so much, therefore, has much to do with just how well the band synthesises its influences from jazz, hip hop and various branches of rock music, predominantly psychedelic rock and post-punk. Since their conception, Como Asesinar a Felipes have been committed to channeling their influences from 60s jazz, 70s rock and 90s rap, with each record from the Chilean five-piece honing this core compound, whilst still bringing new ideas into the fold. In the case of Elipse, with the band having lost their long-running keyboardist and gained saxophonist Cristián Gallardo, the album’s jazz focus tilts towards the more free-form and avant-garde stylings of a late-career Ornette Coleman or John Coltrane. On top of this, the punk influence that has always permeated Como Asesinar a Felipes’ offhand energy now takes more of a post-punk form, and many of the best moments across Elipse are those that most potently work these new stylistic underpinnings into the group’s usual formula. With rhythms that propel a piece like a post-punk song and mutate with the complex movements of a free jazz jam, and with saxophone solos that can, at one point, dazzle the listener with sheer dexterity and, the next, whip up a smooth, psychedelic soundscape, Como Asesinar a Felipes constantly find fascinating ways to build bridges between the numerous styles that comprise their sound. Undoubtedly, Elipse is nothing but a success story when it comes to bringing together jazz, hip hop, rock and more, making for a record that has continued to grip me on many subsequent listens.
‘Nightbringers’ by The Black Dahlia Murder
Despite being a fan of music, I remain wary of describing myself as a ‘fan’ of many artists. Obviously, as someone who enjoys music, I’m bound to have my favourite artists, but as a critic, it should be my duty to not allow my fondness for an artist’s previous work influence my opinion of their new material. It’s only natural that, if one has enjoyed the music of an artist in the past, that they will enter a new record of theirs hoping to enjoy it similarly, and I’m far from immune to this, but I nevertheless do not allow these expectations to sway my overall opinion. As such, I would only really consider myself a fan of an artist who consistently releases solid material that I have no hard times praising from a critical perspective and, in this regard, I have no issue with calling myself a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, and the fact that their latest studio album, Nightbringers, once again hits the sweet spot of melodic death metal that is both brutal and catchy only reinforces this. Now eight records into their career, The Black Dahlia Murder may have released some particularly outstanding records in the form of Nocturnal or Deflorate, but more importantly, there isn’t really any album in their back-catalogue that stands out as their worst, and that’s simply because they have retained such a consistently high quality output throughout their career. It’s been a while since I listened to every single album in the group’s discography, but I feel relatively confident in saying that all of their records would score at least a 7/10 from me, which is impressive for any artist with eight studio albums under their belt. Plus, the fact that Nightbringers shows no chinks in The Black Dahlia Murder’s armour, even after 15 years of releasing music, proves that they have unequivocally earned their place as one of the powerhouses of extreme metal. It may not push the band into any new territory by any means, but Nightbringers certainly brings the fire and brimstone of some of The Black Dahlia Murder’s best material, and for a group with such a great track record, that is most definitely saying something.