Album Review

Top 30 Drone Records Of 2016

I did it! I made a list. I didn’t think it would happen being a new dad and all, but it happened. I’m going to try to make a Top Metal list too, but no promises.

At 30 entries, this is the longest Top Drone list I’ve made. But I’ve been eschewing reviews lately and focusing on AGB Radio and A Thick Mist, so I figure 30 is acceptable if you count how many records I’ve directly recommended over the past year.

I seem to continually expand my definition of what a Drone Record is, which means there’s probably a few on here that are stretching the confines of that label, but I still did my best to try to keep it as Drone as possible.

There’s plenty of reoccurring themes in here. Namely, lots of voices/singing (11 have vocals present at least somewhere on the record) and lots of organs & harmoniums. Neither of those are all that surprising, though. But there’s two solo records from drummers, so that’s kinda cool. There’s also two heavily inspired by traditional Indian music, also kinda cool.

I had fun with this one. I changed a few things up this year. First, I decided to exclude any artist that’s been on any previous list. This meant no Saåad, Roly Porter, Andrew Weathers, Sarah Davachi, Mamiffer, Ian William Craig, Danny Paul Grody, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, etc. (Seriously though go listen to the new Saåad and Mamiffer records.) No one likes to see the same people on such a niche list over and over again, so this was a good way to keep things new and exciting.

The other thing I decided to do was not rank this in the traditional way. Instead, I put the records in positions 7-30 into four groups of six, and the records within each group aren’t ranked. So that means the records in group 7-12 aren’t ranked, aside from me liking them more than the previous 13-30 drone records. I did this except for the top 6, which are ranked traditionally. I hope it’s not too confusing.

As usual, I try to keep the Big Droners off this list because anyone who’s a fan of drone probably already knows that Eluvium and Tim Hecker put out records this year and while their music is A+ Amazing, they don’t really need a little DIY blog to help them out.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Album Review

Planning For Burial – Desideratum (The Flenser, 2014)

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}
Planning For BurialWhere You Rest Your Head At Night (The Flenser)

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After a ton of EPs and tapes and singles and splits and experiments, Planning For Burial, aka Thom Wasluck, finally follows up his 2010 debut LP Leaving with this second magnificent beast of a record (and his first foray into vinyl). Thom is the gloomiest bastard I know and Desideratum showcases that perfectly, this is beautifully depressing shit, taking the monstrous shoegazed metal from Leaving and building on it with the tender low-key sadness from how to buy cialis online in europe other releases like Quietly, he’s turned a wild mix of styles & genres including doom, slowcore, black metal, drone, gothwave, and everything else into a patented buzzing darkness that’s loud as fuck and just pure fucking excellence, overwhelming in sound and emotion, bleak walls of noise that build and crumble, huge waves swelling & crashing against cliffsides in a foggy storm, it’s blissful and devastating in the best way possible. If you dug Leaving as much as I did, rest assured Desideratum will not disappoint. It’s PFB at his best and it will fucking destroy you.

Album Review

Fatalism – Mystery Of Death (Eternal Death, 2014)

fatalism - mystery of death album cover
FatalismIsabelle (Eternal Death)

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Holy fuck this is some next level shit. Debut record from this duo featuring members of One Master and Morgirion playing some heavy dreamy gloom, mixing up elements of black metal, shoegaze, darkwave, and doom, giving it a (high) potential of sounding bland or generic but comes out sounding wholly unique and goddamn perfect. Just 4 songs, but each one fucking rocks, with echoing unintelligible vocals that blur into a hypnotic chant, this stuff is bleak, hard, and somehow still kinda catchy, ethereal buzzing guitars drifting through foggy cemeteries and then BAM a wall of blast beats to crush your soul, this burrows deep into your subconscious similar to that Charnel House’s Black Blood from last year, but this gets way more rowdy. Seriously, this is a killer fucking record. Hits all the right spots. Definitely keep an eye on this band.

Album Review

Troller – Troller (Holodeck / Light Lodge / Living Tapes, 2011)

troller album cover
TrollerWinter (Holodeck / Light Lodge / Living Tapes)

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Ok, first of all, that album art is totally bitchin but not at all an accurate representation of the music, or at least, not your first reaction to it. This isn’t psych, garage, metal, or whatever. Not at all. Second of all, I’ve been jamming this 100% for many months now, since Holodeck & Light Lodge released the vinyl (Living Tapes originally released the tape back in ’11) but for some terrible reason I never found myself compelled to write it up on AGB. This is hands down one of my favorite fucking records I found this year and the non-metal album I’ve listened to most. I honestly can’t get enough of this. It’s some strange & beautiful drone/pop/darkwave hybrid with the deepest buzzing bass lines, catchy as fuck synth melodies, and haunted Cocteau Twinsy vocals that soar through the midnight fog, totally unintelligible and perfectly melodramatic, this is graveyard hallucination pop that takes your emotions on a joyride right off a fucking cliff, interspersed with short droned windswept drifts to catch your breath in between the suffocatingly thick goth anthems, I could cry every time this lady epically yells (yup) at the peak of Mount Pop on “Winter,” goddamn this album is pure bittersweet darkpop perfection, I can’t even fucking handle it, I love it, I think I’m gonna marry it.

Album Review

Kapustin Yar – Trithemius (Land Of Decay, 2012)

Kapustin YarDirge (Land Of Decay)

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GodDAMN this is some heavy shit. Antonio Gallucci coming from every genre out there and conjuring up something wholly new & awesome. Trithemius takes industrial to a new level, incorporating black ambient, metalgaze, noise, darkwave, and anything else that’s bleak & destructive, tossing in some twisted spaciness because obviously. Ear bleeding bass that hits harder than your speakers can handle, huge walls of heavenly nightmarish static, a massive lumbering nightwalker lost in an urban wasteland, tearing down skyscrapers and generators, a cacophony born from a decayed post-nuclear Earth, faulty machinery humming in the distance with vocals buried in the chaos or hissed & distorted beyond recognition, black hole terrors, drifting in space drugged out of your fucking mind, feeling your every atom warp the fabric of spacetime, your body swallowed by the heaviness. 100% amazing record. Then again, I expect nothing less from the untouchable Land Of Decay.