Tag Archives: Au4

Looking Ahead: The Music of 2018

Two reasons for this post:  1) to make a list of the stuff that is out/will be coming out/has been rumoured might appear at some point this year; and 2) to keep the blog alive.  I really do need to actually write stuff for it…otherwise why am I dishing out $150 a year?

It might be a bit early to talk about new releases (for me; I do not accumulate new music at the pace of some others I know), but there does seem to be enough interesting stuff upcoming to make it worth taking a look to the future.  There is a spate of albums coming out this spring, and then we wait for the fall season.  If certain rumours/promises come true, it could be another epic year.

So far in 2018:

The Temperance Movement:  A Deeper Cut : This album is seriously kicking my ass.  Great blues rock from England.  These guys are sharp and tight as hell, and clearly know what they are doing.

 

Dope Default: Ofrenda: Loose and dirty hard/stoner rock from Greece.  Ofrenda is their debut album, and it sounds like a debut album, but it is certainly listenable and has some good moments.  They are worth keeping an eye on.

 

 

Upcoming for sure/preordered (or will be):

Riverside:  I have heard one track from this album, in demo form … and ohboy ohboy ohboy.  If the album lives up to that promise…well, The Boys are Back. Fingers crossed.

 

Lunatic Soul: Under the Fragmented Sky (EP) – tracks that did not make it on to Fractured but are worth a release.  As above – I heard one track from this, and it revives my hopes for a return to the LS of old—or more precisely the LS that sets hooks deep in my soul.

 

Solar Fields: Ourdom – time for some classic industrial electronica.  I like some of his stuff more than others; I preordered the album on the basis of the youtube preview. I hope it is worth it.

 

Amorphis: Queen of Time.  One track (“The Bee”) released so far.  The Finnish folk-metallers sound much more symphonic and expansive, while retaining the heaviness and their signature growl/clean vocal tradeoff.  Based on this track I’m not sure it will equal the last album.

 

Awooga: Conduit – nice heavy metal/hard rock, they had a great EP from 2016 which I would play more often if I didn’t have to switch to 45 rpm (details details…).  A couple tracks already available to preview, they seem to have developed a more spacious sound.

 

The Fierce and the Dead: The Euphoric — I like them, but often what they do tends to get a bit too far into the technical/alt/art-rock region for me to love them.  But when they are good they are great, and I think the new one holds some promise. Preordered based on the released track.

 

Toundra: Vortex – I have all the previous albums from these Spanish post-rockers, that I don’t play all that often…but once in a while they hit the spot. The single “Cobra” sounds pretty much like Toundra, dense and heavy.

 

Front Line Assembly: WarMech – new soundtrack for a new game.  I find myself kind of up and down about these guys, I much prefer Leeb’s other project Noise Unit, but on the strength of the previous game OST (AirMech, which is pretty nice) I sprang for the preorder.

 

VNV Nation: Noire – Out in October, described as “dark and intense”, first studio album since Transnational in 2013.

 

Leech – The only Swiss band in my collection. It has been what – 5 years since their last one?  Six?  Anyway, it was a pretty nice post-metal album, and the  only album I tried purely because of the cover.  Be interesting to hear what the new one will sound like.

 

Nordic Union: wherein Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids (Denmark) lends his iron pipes to the sound of the hard rock outfit Eclipse (Sweden). At this point it is just the promise of a new release, no other info.  But that is enough for me: hopefully it will be the same kind of straight-up kick-ass hard rock as the first one, which I love.

Rumoured for 2018:

 Au4: Last fall an American internet radio guy scheduled a playthrough of 2014’s …And Down Goes the Sky, and had the guys live on the air to talk about it.  They said a new album should appear this year.  I surely hope so…if it is anything like that last one, it will be a strong contender for album of the year.

Missed from 2017:

 Hypergiant: Father Sky – interesting doom/psych rock.  It has its moments, and the track “Colossi” is truly epic, but the album might be a bit too much all at once.

 

Believe: VII Widows – a band that has been around for a while, in various incarnations, guitarist Mirek Gil’s vehicle since the end of Collage.  I am not a fan of long-winded modern prog, as many of you know, but VII Widows is surprisingly good, very nice arrangements and passages, and I must say beautiful guitar themes (Gil on here reminds me of Steve Hackett, and there is nothing wrong with that). I am not crazy about the somewhat overblown and mannered style of the vocalist, but there are few enough vocal sections that he ends up intruding less on the experience than would otherwise be the case.  Nice and listenable.

 

Decapitated: Anticult – I confess that I checked this out mostly out of morbid curiosity; the band found itself in deep shit in late 2017 while on tour in America (i.e. they were tossed in jail in Seattle for three months; charges were all dropped).  Not generally being a fan of thrash metal (or so I thought), I had not paid them any attention.  Well, you just never know: when I listened to Anticult I found, inexplicably, that I liked it a whole lot: in fact, it would have been one of the stronger releases of last year had I found it sooner.

 

Au4: …And Down Goes the Sky

Released: 2013

Personnel

  • Ben Wylie: Vocals; keyboards; guitars; sequencing
  • Aaron Wylie: Vocals; keyboards; programming
  • Jason Nickel: Bass; vocals
  • Nathan Wylie: Drums; percussion

Contributors:

  • Melanie Krueger: Vocals
  • Anna Vandas: Vocals
  • Daniel Moir: Electric guitar
  • Niki Piper: Violin
  • Clara Shandler: Cello
  • Malcolm Aiken: Trumpet

Tracklist:

  1. Everyone is Everyone (and Everything is Everything)
  2. Lost Her Way Home
  3. The Propagation of Light (Through the Ether of Emotion)
  4. So Just Hang On, Beautiful One
  5. In Three Seconds I’ll Be Gone
  6. Forever Dancing Under a Fallen Sky
  7. Wherever We Begin to Fall (Broken Glass Will Surely Follow)
  8. The Empty Gorgeousness of All
  9. Planck Length
  10. Over the Edge It Goes

The great thing about social media is the sheer amount of music that can be found, via recommendations and links from friends, from various genre-based Facebook groups…Youtube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp…there is more great music out there than I will ever get to hear if I live to be a hundred. The disadvantage of social media is, well, the sheer amount of music… yeah.  I could spend my entire day online just clicking links.  It is both exciting and daunting at the same time. I simply have to bypass most of the stuff that people share: no time, no ability to focus on it, whatever.  I know I have missed a lot.

But eventually there comes some time to poke around, to sample the links that folks seem to be most excited about.  On one day I decided to try out a video shared by a few of my friends who were so enthusiastic they were almost incoherent. The band had a strange name seemingly taken from the Periodic Table, and the album cover was a rather beautiful bit of art.

This, the very first track I heard — which I believe is the last track on this album — stopped me dead in my tracks.  I could not quite fathom what I was hearing.  All I knew was that I had to hear more of the album, and when I did I had to hear it again.  And the more I played it, the more I had to play it.  It dug in deeply and insistently and relentlessly, like some musical version of Cordyceps, and zombie-like I was compelled to play the thing. Over and over.  This does not happen very often, and usually if it does, the album does not last for very long.  It gets overplayed and then set aside.  But so far there seems no evidence that I can overplay …And Down Goes the Sky.  This album seems to have found a special niche in my soul.

Continue reading Au4: …And Down Goes the Sky