I’ve never hidden my love for Depeche Mode, the electronic band that not only survived the 80’s but is still incredibly popular and relevant today. Their music is catchy yet dark, throbbing with melancholy and nostalgia. The 2005 album is one of my all-time favorite albums and, much like Terminal Twilight, is an album that I can start on track 1 and leave to play throughout.
More known for blending the progressive jazz/rock/folk of the 60’s and 70’s with modern black and death metal, Opeth is nonetheless still widely recognized for writing gorgeous mellow tracks. While the band was initially very nervous issuing Damnation, especially only a few months after what many hail as their heaviest album (Deliverance), their fears were unfounded as the fan base not only accepted but in fact embraced the metal-absent release. It’s a rich, organic, warm album that features some stunningly beautiful moments while maintaining an air of sadness.
A truly mesmerizing album, Night Is The New Day is a work of art, one that practically demands the full attention of the listener. I wasn’t as taken with The Great Cold Distance as I had been by Viva Emptiness, so hearing the work on NITND was nothing short of a thrill. This along with with In Absentia are the two albums that feature heaviness that may seem out of place with the rainy day theme. However, in context, it fits entirely.
This group, along with White Willow, are perhaps the least known on this list, which is a near criminal shame. King Cobb Steelie’s Mayday sounds like a mix of Portishead and Depeche Mode, mixing in snappy trip hop-esque beats with electronic landscapes, clever guitar work, enchanting vocals, and more that can only be appreciated with a full listen. But what drew me into this album was the usage of real life ambient sounds, such as rusty doors squealing shut, being used in the background of tracks. The unexpected sounds added in whole new depths to the music, mixing music with the natural world around me.
I honestly can’t tell you the number of times I’ve listened to this album. Easily in the hundreds, that’s for sure. Yamaoka weaved a glorious soundtrack, one that still haunts and entrances people to this day. He took the near industrial ambience of the original soundtrack and gave it a haunting musical depth that I’d, to that point, never heard nor experienced before. Even today, when the thunder is rumbling and the sky is pouring and streaks of rain slide down my windows like tears, I put this album on and just lay back to enjoy the moment.