Sorry I've been away from the blog for so long. You don't want to hear me drone on about taking care of sick kids (again--this has been the worst year for that) or about how I had an ear infection myself. I don't want to review an album when I've been listening to it with slightly askew hearing. But everyone is recovered for the time being. So let's get to it.
As you probably know, this time of year is the doldrums for metal releases. All the great stuff is rushed out to make year-end lists, and now we're left with the rest. Which isn't to say nothing great comes out between January and mid-March, but those are rare gems indeed. Nothing so far has made me stand up and take notice, but there are two worth mentioning.
Leviathan's Scar Sighted is good. Unfortunately I haven't listened to anything of Wrest's in the past, so I can't put it in context for you in that way. It's a decent slab of modern USBM with healthy doses of dissonance. It sounds like the work of an interesting musician going through his own doldrums. As entertaining as it was for me, I can't say it's anything special. The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Much more intriguing, however, is Volahn's Aq'ab'al is so weird it almost defies description. It's kind of like Krallice, with the multitude of high notes played and the epic sweep of each song. But with more direction. And raw. It has the feeling of really creative underground artists who are never going to get the attention they deserve, and maybe they don't even seek it. Apparently the music is based on some obscure yadda-yadda-yadda, but all I care about is that it sounds weird and great, and--despite that weirdness--is memorable. The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars