Best Albums Of February 2018
"We Will All Be Gone" By Good Tiger (Progressive Post Hardcore)
While Good Tiger doesn't sound like the typical band you would find on Metal Blade Records they certainly are a match for quality. Following up their strong 2015 debut A Head Full Of Moonlight, sophomore LP We Will All Be Gone sees the band dropping their heavier elements in favor of a focus on songwriting. While some fans may lament the more melodic approach the songs feel like a step up from their previous work and act as a strong show case for frontman Elliot Coleman's melodic singing ability. There are still flashes of technical skill in the instrumentation but they are a little more restrained this time around and balance out well with the song craft. The band is exploring what they can do with their sound and are so far maintaining the quality to a high level.
"Feast" By Alterbeast (Technical Death Metal)
With the genre of tech death a band must walk the line of instrumental virtuosity and enjoyably accessible song arrangement. And Sacramento's Alterbeast balance these two beautifully on their second album Feast. Despite founding guitarist Andrew Lamb being the only returning member the album is a cohesive display of mind melting shred and death metal groove. Doesn't hurt that Trivium drummer Alex Bent lent his skills to the record either. Feast is without a weak track to be found and features all the brutality and guitar wizardry one could ask for.
"All At Once" By Screaming Females (Garage Rock)
New Jersey's Screaming Females have been grinding out a name for themselves in the indie rock scene over the past decade and latest album All At Once is another strong addition to the band's discography. While there's little departure from their established sound, the music is as enjoyable as ever. with Marissa Paternoster's vibrato drenched vocals and raw, bluesy guitar work keeping their luster. With the call and response arrangement of opener "Glass House", to the funky "Agnes Martin", to the Hendrix-like guitar work of closer "Step Outside", Screaming Females give listeners plenty to like.
"Boundless" By Long Distance Calling (Post-Rock)
Instrumental bands have the unique musical challenge of saying a lot without a single word. Germany's Long Distance Calling overcome this challenge with ease with their instrumentation having a strong sense of atmosphere and imagery. Boundless is a fitting name for the album with the spacey guitar tones allowing the listener's mind to imagine expansive landscapes with no borders and distant horizons. Mixed in with the more trippy segments are straight forward rock sections found on tracks like "The Far Side" and "In The Clouds" that provide a sense of balance in the compositions. If you're looking for a cinematic musical experience that allows you to meditate and clear your mind then Long Distance Calling is for you.
"Vignette" By Letters From The Colony (Djent/Prog Metal)
Making one hell of a first impression, Letters From The Colony take cues from fellow Swedes Meshuggah and Opeth with their balance of djent's off kilter rhythms and the atmospheric soundscapes of prog. While there's no clean singing to be found the band still mixes in healthy doses of melody into the meaty rhythms and find ways to have an accessible lilt to their sound. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the band doesn't lean as heavy into metalcore and deathcore which makes them a stand out that sounds refreshing while still having a degree of familiarity. Vignette is a must listen for the modern metal fan and Letters From The Colony a band to keep your eye on for big things in the future.
"Coma Noir" By The Atlas Moth (Post-Metal)
The Atlas Moth is definitely a hard band to categorize. Coma Noir takes influence from numerous styles including doom, sludge, prog, and black metal as well as blend high raspy screams with gruff melodic vocals. It's dark and beautifully haunting with psychedelic grooves and an almost rock sense of accessibility in the instrumentation. I could throw adjectives all day trying to describe Coma Noir's diverse sound but it's really something you'll have to listen to yourself to define. Whatever you want to call it it'll definitely remain one of the most unique releases you'll hear all year.
"Chapters" by Lycanthrope (Metalcore)
With the current metalcore scene moving towards either first wave revival or djent styles its good to see there are still new bands coming up that can carry the torch for bands like Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. Lycanthrope bring an adept balance of soaring melody and hardcore brutality that place them a cut above the watered down copycats of the genre. Not to mention a front man that allows them the versatility to even have an acoustic track not feel out of place on a record. If Lycanthrope can continue making material like Chapters they'll be a household name in no time.
"Posthuman" By Harm's Way (Metalcore)
Posthuman is a whole other monster from the rest of Harm's Way's material. While mostly a by-the-numbers heavy hardcore band with previous releases, their fourth album sees the band displaying groove metal tendencies and a better mastery of their industrial experimentation. This gives Harm's Way a unique sound that stands out while keeping their primal brutality. "Become A Machine" is moshworthy pit fuel and "Call My Name" is a tribal hype fest. And tracks like "Temptation" and "The Gift" show a new spacey side to the band that gives the album some welcome diversity. Posthuman is a breakout record for the band that will leave a lasting mark on the listener and moves the genre of hardcore forward,.