Track of the Day Tuesday: ELDAMAR Winter Night

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Recently I was browsing through bandcamp’s metal section when I came across an album that I have slept on for awhile now.  Eldamar’s “The Force of The Ancient Land” has some of the most breathtaking album artwork I have ever seen and it’s appearance alone instantly caught my attention and remained in the back of my head as a constant reminder to listen to this project.  I’m not sure why I never gave it a listen until now, but I’m extremely glad that I finally did.

After listening to the entire full length record it is, to put it simply, impossible to pick my favorite track, or even the most memorable song.  Each and every song heard from the beginning of this atmospheric black metal album to the epic finish is captivatingly beautiful.  That being said, I decided to choose one of the longest tracks on the project, that way listeners who have yet to hear anything off “The Force of The Ancient Land” can obtain a near perfect understanding of how elegant these tracks are.  Coming in at exactly 11 minutes in playing time, “Winter Night” is without a doubt the track you need to listen to today.  Melodic and harmonious guitars and backing instrumental tracks lay a solid foundation as distant, yet piercing screeching vocals and a dreamy, remarkable synth lead trailblaze through the project as a whole, like a mythical creature graciously flying through an awe-inspiring landscape like the one depicted in the captivating album artwork.  The occasional string sections and choir like vocal sections only add to this bittersweet sounding, melancholic melody that does nothing but leave the listener at a loss for words for how beautiful this whole album is.

Even though it is unlike the traditional style of recording black metal, I truly enjoy the high quality of recording and overall sound.  Branching off from the traditional lo-fi style heard in some of the most influential releases in the genre’s brief history, “The Force of The Ancient Land”, in my opinion, would suffer greatly from having anything short of a high quality overall sound.  In a similar way to how my favorite black metal band of all time, Saor, uses high quality recordings to strengthen the truly inspirational and melodic sound heard on “Roots”, “Aura”, and “Guardians”, Eldamar simply would not be able to achieve such excellence in recording “The Force of The Ancient Land” without the use of this high quality recording style.

Personally, I only have two minuscule complaints about “Winter Night”.  For starters, I personally love the choir like section at 7:02, which features a simply gorgeous lead sung by a female vocalist.  The only problem I have with this section is that it is clearly obvious that the vocal parts, especially the girl’s, are computer generated and artificial.  Even though these parts are sung as perfect as one can possibly sing them, it results in a section that sounds almost robotic as it is completely flawless.  This, of course, is a ridiculous complaint to have, but part of me wishes these sections were recorded with actual singers.  However, that is an outlandish request, especially for a one man band that has already produced one of the best albums of 2016 with or without a live choir.  Lastly, I was also hoping that some soundscapes would be added to the track to further build upon its ambient and atmospheric roots.  Even a sample of the wind howling through the Norwegian mountains, where Eldamar is based out of, would greatly increase the experience that listening to “The Force of The Ancient Land” truly is.  Again, these are very, very minuscule complaints and this track is still absolutely breathtaking.

I wish I could go on and on about “Winter Night” and the other 7 phenomenal tracks that “The Force of The Ancient Land” encompasses, but to be honest, I’m at a loss for words at this point.  I’ve clearly said enough to convince you as to why this is the Track of the Day Tuesday, now it is your turn to experience this monumental album and hear for yourself why I’m completely blown away by it’s elegance.  The song “Winter Night” is attached below, and the full album stream for “The Force of The Ancient Land” is also attached, as I’m sure you will not be able to resist listening to the rest of the project after hearing “Winter Night”.  Let us know what you think of these Eldamar tracks, and of course, don’t forget to say what track you think should be next week’s Track of the Day Tuesday!

“Winter Night”:

 

“The Force of The Ancient Land”:

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Track(s) of the Day Tuesday: KYLE iSpy (feat. Lil Yachty), LIL UZI VERT “XO TOUR Llif3”, and KHALID Location

Last week we were unable to add another installment to the Track of the Day Tuesday segment, so this week we have three songs that you need to check out!  Also, for the first time in months, a Track of the Day Tuesday post will feature exclusively hip hop artists, so this is an extremely significant week for the segment! Of course, all of the tracks mentioned will be attached below so don’t forget to give them a listen!

The first song you need to listen to today is Kyle’s “iSpy”, which is a collaboration between Kyle himself and Lil Yachty.  Kyle is a rapper who I’ve followed on and off for the last few years and it’s nice to finally see him receive mainstream attention.  With the single “iSpy” recently going Platinum (Music Canada) and being a top 5 selling track on US charts, it’s clear that Yachty and Kyle were meant to work together in a very similar way to how D.R.A.M. and Yachty were also destined to make a hit song together as well.  The track starts out with a feel good dialogue between Kyle and Lil Yachty, as the entire music video features the two rappers as cartoon characters moving through different scenarios on a fictitious beach.  It only takes a few seconds of Lil Yachty acting for any viewer to realize that the Atlanta based rapper needs to have his own cartoon show.  His dialogue, interaction with Kyle, and humorous and light hearted acting skills clearly shows that Lil Yachty has a natural talent as a cartoon voice actor, and I personally think a show about the rapper himself would be an instant classic (especially after seeing the great reaction Adult Swim’s “Mike Tyson Mysteries” has had since it’s launch).  The two rappers work together really well in this opening dialogue, as it becomes a perfect transition into Kyle’s first verse when the song opens.  Overall, this isn’t the most sophisticated or meaningful song you’ll ever hear, but it is without a doubt an extremely fun song to listen to regularly.  Yachty and Kyle’s ability to make a happy, fun song that is addictive to say the least clearly showcases what these two artists are best at.  In fact, the two of them did so well with “iSpy” that I’ve come to the conclusion that D.R.A.M, Lil Yachty, and Kyle all have to write an album together.  Not only were the three of them destined to work together, but a full length album, or even a mixtape, from these prominent artists could possibly result in one of the best hip hop albums of the year.  Needless to say, this collaboration absolutely needs to happen.

Next up is Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO TOUR Llif3”.  Lil Uzi Vert is an artist that, up until the release of this single, I had mixed opinions on.  Some of his tracks are very catchy and feature a solid song structure, but his recently released commercially successful mixtapes, like “The Perfect LUV Tape” and “Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World”, are projects that I can only listen to for 15-20 min before I start to get annoyed with Lil Uzi Vert’s signature sound.  Not to mention that there are even some tracks that I find to be just terrible overall.  However, “XO TOUR Llif3” is nothing like anything we’ve heard from Lil Uzi Vert so far.  For starters, he’s abandoned overusing the word “Yeah”, which is a promising sign.  Also, the beat, produced by TM88, is actually one that is somber and breaks away from his traditional upbeat, EDM inspired beats.  Lastly, and what I think is the most significant aspect of this new release from Lil Uzi Vert, the lyricism heard is actually very deep, personal, and above all well written.  The song basically depicts a past relationship Lil Uzi Vert was in, how it ended poorly, and how his dependency on narcotics greatly affected his life at the time.  The lyricism is specific enough that the listener can understand what the song is generally about, yet it is still vague, allowing interpretation of the lyrics to change per person and also exemplifying Lil Uzi Vert’s progress as a lyricist himself.  His use of primarily sung vocals allows the listener to actually hear the pain in Lil Uzi Vert’s voice through verses and choruses as he discusses this troubling time in his life, which is something fans of Lil Uzi Vert haven’t heard until now.  Personally, I really enjoy how Lil Uzi Vert wrote the chorus to “XO TOUR Llif3”.  Keeping the lyricism and perspective very vague has caused different interpretations of the meaning of the chorus to surface and it has personally left me anxious to hear the true meaning to the lines heard in the track.  This is without a doubt Lil Uzi Vert’s greatest song he has ever released and I hope he has more tracks similar to “XO TOUR Llif3” coming out soon.

Lastly, I want to talk about another hip hop artist who I have found through Youtube.  Khalid is an El Paso based R&B/Hip Hop artist who recently made significant waves with his successful debut album “American Teen”.  The album is full of successful singles like “Saved” and “Coaster”, but the track you’ve probably heard by now is “Location”.  “Location” features a chill, full sounding beat that perfectly compliments Khalid’s phenomenal tone and singing.  I’m actually not too found of the lyricism heard on “Location”.  It’s not bad, but the verses could have definitely been rewritten to better explain the situation with the girl Khalid mentions throughout the song without being too straight forward.  However, this is definitely a minor suggestion as the lyrics are fine as the way they are now.  Khalid has a ton of potential and I would consider him and 6lack to be the future of modern R&B.  If you haven’t had a chance to listen to his tracks before, or if you’ve put off watching the “Location” music video after seeing it recommended on Youtube for awhile now, then you without a doubt need to give it a listen today.

Thanks again to everyone who has kept up to date with the Track of the Day Tuesday segment!  This segment is absolutely my favorite segment to write about for Erik’s Album Reviews and it’s great to see such a positive, continued response from viewers across the globe.  If you haven’t yet, check out some of our older Track of the Day Tuesday installments and let us know who you think should be featured on next week’s Track of the Day Tuesday post!

Track(s) of the Day Tuesday: FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY Black Mammoth and TREEREFLECTION Morning

Last week we unfortunately missed the deadline to add a new post to the segment “Track of the Day Tuesday”.  So today, in order to make up for last week, we have two tracks that you absolutely need to check out!

The first track you should give a listen to today is Fit For An Autopsy’s “Black Mammoth”.  Fit For An Autopsy is a band that I have recognized for years as one of the greatest modern deathcore bands.  Their profound lyricism and bone-crushing riffs and breakdowns have separated Fit For An Autopsy (FFAA) from the average modern deathcore band.  That being said, my standards for any material released by FFAA is extremely high, especially after their third full length record, “Absolute Hope, Absolute Hell”, was a very subpar follow up to one of greatest deathcore albums ever to be released, “Hellbound”.  So, when Fit For An Autopsy released “The Great Collapse” last Friday, my skepticism for whether or not FFAA will be able to redeem themselves was very high.  To my surprise, however, they greatly surpassed these expectations, and the track, “Black Mammoth”, was one of the leading factors that influenced this positive impression.

“Black Mammoth” is a track that discusses the vast negative impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline and how the destruction of the environment for various, insignificant reasons in situations similar to the Dakota Access Pipeline case study are not only drastic and inhumane towards those who live in these areas, but they also directly result in negative and irreversible consequences that affect all humans and inhabitants of this planet.  Even though FFAA is known for their remarkable lyricism, I was still pleasantly shocked to see them discuss such a significant topic in one of their tracks.  Not only is it rare that Fit For An Autopsy will discuss environmental issues in their music, but it is also extremely rare for environmental issues to be mentioned in metal music period!  Using their platform and limited space on their fourth full length album to discuss this prominent issue that we face today on a daily basis has caused my respect for Fit For An Autopsy to grow immensely.  Lyricism and lyrical message set aside, the instrumentation heard on “Black Mammoth” is easily the best performance on the entire record.  The melodic, yet still heavy riffs intertwine perfectly with Joe Badolato’s great vocal delivery, resulting in both a successful track and a record that surpasses its predecessor greatly.  Today you need to give this New Jersey based deathcore band a listen starting with the music video for “Black Mammoth” attached below.

The only thing more polarizing than extreme metal is ambient and soothing, soundscape filled electronic music.  After you have listened to the brutally heavy track that is “Black Mammoth” you should listen to the simply relaxing track “Morning” by TREEREFLECTION.  TREEREFLECTION is yet another fantastic artist represented by the successful Chilean vaporwave label, No Problema Tapes.  TREEREFLECTION, like the other well known artists on No Problema Tapes, writes primarily in atmospheric ambient music that heavily relies on the use of soundscapes and various pads.  What makes TREEREFLECTION stand out amongst the other No Problema artists is the incorporation of samples of sounds heard in nature and even slight but noticeable beats that help give “Morning” an electronic music vibe.  This style of songwriting is soothing, relaxing, stress relieving, and in my opinion, helps greatly with focusing on work.  I unfortunately could not find a stream of the song “Morning” individually, so instead I’ve attached the entire album, “Overcast” below.  Without a doubt, “Morning”, along with any other track heard on “Overcast”, is something you need to listen to today.

Even though “Morning” and “Black Mammoth” are two completely different songs, they are both “The Track of the Day Tuesday” and you absolutely need to give them a listen.  Whether it’s the genre defining song writing or even the impactful lyrical content on “Black Mammoth”, or the relaxing, blissfulness of “Morning”, it’s fair to say that these tracks are phenomenal and easily the two songs you should listen to today.  Check our past “Track of the Day Tuesday” installments to see what other songs we recommend you listen to, and of course, let us know what tracks you think should be featured on future “Track of the Day Tuesday” posts!

Track of the Day Tuesday: LORNA SHORE Godmaker

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This week the “Track of the Day Tuesday” is by a heavier, New Jersey based deathcore band called Lorna Shore.  Lorna Shore is actually a group that I discovered in 2013 after their drummer actively posted on the site, Vinylcollective.com.  Being a huge vinyl collector myself, I was able to talk to him through the forums and messaging function on the site about his band, who was fairly unknown at the time, Lorna Shore.  In 2013, I rarely listened to anything heavier than you’re basic deathcore bands like Chelsea Grin, Suicide Silence, and As Blood Runs Black, so the “Maleficium” EP was too heavy for me to enjoy when I first heard it.  However, after listening to their sophomore album, “Flesh Coffin”, which was recently released (by the way a review for “Flesh Coffin” is in the works), I realized how amazing this young deathcore band is and decided to revisit older works, especially the “Maleficium” EP.  After listening to these tracks for the first time in years, I was shocked to hear how amazing the project truly is, more specifically the successful single, “Godmaker”.  It is because of this that I have decided to name “Godmaker”, the best song on the 2013 “Maleficium” EP in my opinion, the “Track of the Day Tuesday”.

“Godmaker” is an eerie track that starts off with different sounds and effects that could easily be heard in the most suspenseful horror movie.  After the near minute intro, the track then brings in the full band as the guitars hit three melodic minor chords before going into a fast paced deathcore riff.  Throughout the track, multiple tempo changes, transitions between breakdowns and mind-numbing riffs, and astonishing blast beats accompanied by an impressively chilling vocal performance are heard, which help make “Godmaker” so memorable.  However, the most remarkable aspect isn’t any of the features previously mentioned.  In fact, it is the atonal guitar lead heard over the breakdown at (3:48?) in the track.  Not only does this lead guitar part make this breakdown even more brutal, but it adds a horrific (in a very good way), gothic influenced mood and sound to the already heinous track.  The atonal lead part, which you can listen to below, has made “Godmaker” not only one of my favorite tracks off “Maleficium”, but one of my favorite Lorna Shore songs in their discography, while also further proving my theory that melody, whether its tonal, atonal, or influenced and categorized differently, can help improve the song structure of even the most brutally heavy deathcore tracks, resulting in a more memorable project.

The music video for “Godmaker” is attached below.  Of course, I highly suggest you check out the “Track of the Day Tuesday” for both this week and previous weeks.  Also, if you are a Lorna Shore fan, stay tuned as I will be doing reviews for “Flesh Coffin” and possibly “Psalms”.  Lastly, let us know what you think should be next week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday” and stay tuned for more reviews and content to be released later this week!

Track of the Day Tuesday: KILL SURF CITY Weird World

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Late last week Kill Surf City (aka Grey Gordon) released a surprise new single called “Weird World”.  The first new material from the lo-fi indie act since his phenomenal EP “Wreckage”, “Weird World” is a catchy new track with stellar lyricism.  Using an upbeat, cymbal riding drum beat with an instantly memorable guitar riff in each verse that is reminiscent of early 2000s and even late 90’s alternative punk, “Weird World” is the great evolution of Kill Surf City’s sound, and it is, without a doubt, the “Track of the Day Tuesday”.

Starting off with a hazy acoustic guitar strumming a constant chord and the iconic, reverb filled vocals of Gordon himself, the track can easily be determined as one of the best releases by KSC.  Listening through the short track I was pleasantly surprised to hear multiple solos with a dream pop, almost shoegaze-esque, guitar tone that was present in both the verse and the chorus.  This perfectly complimented, not only the choruses that sounded reminiscent of something you would hear on “Hyperview”, but also the song structure of modern KSC songs themselves, and I hope it is something that is mixed into more Kill Surf City songs in the future.  It’s hard to say if this is my favorite project from Kill Surf City, as I absolutely love “Wreckage” and really enjoy “Split Yr Head”, but I guarantee this new track makes a strong argument as to why it deserves to be considered one of the act’s best releases.  Overall, if I was to give this single a rating, I would give it a 9.7/10 and it is easily one of my favorite new releases of the year so far!

Like usual, you can stream the track below.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of KSC’s short discography, and while you’re at it, give “Wreckage a listen here.  Let us know what you think of “Weird World”, the track you absolutely need to give a listen to today, and send us any tracks you think should be on next week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday”

Track of the Day Tuesday: CIRCA SURVIVE In the Morning And Amazing

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This year, Circa Survive’s historic and monumental sophomore full length album, “On Letting Go”, turns 10 years old.  To celebrate this decade of excellence, the band and Equal Vision Records have released 10 year anniversary editions of the classic record on CD, Digital, and vinyl formats and Circa Survive themselves are currently on tour playing this album in full.  So, in order to continue the celebration, the track of the day and the track you need to check out today is the phenomenal “In the Morning and Amazing”.

“In the Morning and Amazing” perfectly embodies the distinct sound Circa Survive has established in their successful career.  Sweet sounding, slightly distorted guitars create a melodic atmosphere filled with creative chord progressions and catchy lead sections.  To accompany this, Nick Beard’s soothing bass guitar riffs perfectly intertwine with and compliment the artfully crafted guitar and percussion sessions.  Finally, Anthony Green’s impressive high pitched vocal performance ties together the faster, more rock oriented sections with the more calm, almost ambient indie rock parts.  “In the Morning and Amazing” pretty much summarizes the definition of a Circa Survive song.  However, this song alone does not speak for the entire album, “On Letting Go”, and I highly suggest that you listen to the entire project today in order to truly enjoy the brilliance of Circa Survive.

Like usual, I’ve attached the link to “In the Morning and Amazing” below.  Also, I’ve added the link to purchase the 10 year anniversary editions of “On Letting Go” for those who would like to own a copy!  As I’ve mentioned before, we’re having a slow start to the year here at Erik’s Album Reviews, but I promise the momentum will start to shift into a more progressive state very soon as we still have multiple reviews and other posts in the works almost ready to share with you. Stay tuned!

Circa Survive CD and vinyl:

http://merchnow.com/catalogs/circa-survive/music

Track of the Day Tuesday: THY ART IS MURDER No Absolution

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For those who haven’t heard the news yet, notable Australian vocalist, CJ McMahon, has rejoined Thy Art is Murder.  Cj, who announced his departure from the deathcore band in December of 2015 due to financial reasons and ned to focus on family, announced during a show last month that he is back with the band.  In order to promote his return, Thy Art Is Murder has released a brand new song, which features a vocal performance by CJ.  This new song is called “No Absolution” and it is this week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday”.

The only thing more satisfying than seeing CJ return to TAIM is hearing “No Absolution” sound like it was heavily influenced from the writing style heard on one of their most successful releases, “Hate”.  “Hate” was the first Thy Art Is Murder album I ever heard and it is the primary reason as to why I am such a massive fan of the group.  “Holy War” the Australian band’s most recent full length, is a great project, but its writing style and song structure does not compare to the near perfect performance heard on TAIM’s sophomore full length, “Hate”.  “No Absolution” sounds as if it could easily fit into the “Hate” track list, and that is a huge compliment.  With riffs and sections sounding very reminiscent of the brutal, breakdown heavy songs like “Immolation” and “Defective Breed”, “No Absolution” not only symbolizes the return of CJ McMahon, but it also symbolizes the return of this classic Thy Art Is Murder sound.  Of course, there are moments where a more expanded, even lighter variation of this well known song structure is heard, which is more similar to what is heard on “Holy War”, but looking at the individual track as a whole, this is right up the alley for anyone who loves “Hate” as much as I do.  However, regardless of what TAIM releases you like and don’t like, “N0 Absolution” is the track of the day and you absolutely need to give it a listen!

The song, “No Absolution” is attached below.  Be sure to check it out and let us know who you think should be featured on next week’s “Track of the Day Tuesday”!