Yep! It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, which means dutiful consumers are already preparing for the Holiday Shopping Season. If you think you’re exempt from that, think again. Either you know a fellow horror fan (or family member) in need, or you want something for yourself! You can take this as advice for what to buy, or what to ask for.
So we’re kicking things off this year with our music list! I know a lot of you folks are into metal, and we’ve got plenty of that. But we’ve also got a few surprises tucked in there as well! Extra thanks to Jonathan Barkan for his suggestions, they’re designated as “JB”.
Btw, I’ve mainly included iTunes links – they have a “gift” option – to these releases. Even though I prefer discs, I realize I’m a relic so I’m saving links to physical products for the special Box Sets where it’s really worth it to go whole-hog and impress someone special. Head inside to check it out!
Sure, these Austin mainstays have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years. From the highs of “Madonna” and “Source Tags And Codes” to the middle-ground of “Worlds Apart” (which almost falls apart after the stellar “Will You Smile Again For Me”) to the low of “So Divided”.
But the brand-new “Lost Songs” is easily their best album since “Source Tags” a decade ago. It also happens to be their most aggressive and intense work since then, eschewing the floaty concept trappings of last year’s “Tao Of The Dead” in favor of pummeling force. This album is powerful, inspiring, tuneful and uncompromising. If you checked out on Trail Of Dead 7 years ago, now’s the time to check back in.
Deftones – Koi No Yokan (review).
List Price: $10.99
“Yeah, it might’ve just been released, but the band knocked it out of the park with this one. Definitely well worth every penny and probably a few more”. – JB
David Harley suggested this and I’m glad he did. After taking a listen it appears to be an insanely effective return for the band. Coheed And Cambria have often kept me at arms length with some of their more namby-pamby constructs, but “The Afterman” nicely rolls up many elements. elements that were disparate on previous works, into a nicely cohesive whole here.
“I didn’t review this album and I’m regretting it ever since. If you’re looking for a mix of industrial, ambient, electronica, rock, and tinges of metal (just tinges), this is a fantastic release that is well worth keeping on your radar. Check out “Paper Waves” or “Heroes For Ghosts” for good examples“. -JB
I love this album. While it’s not at all metal – in fact it’s kind of dancey – it has an irresistibly dark undercurrent. While this might be the most accessible release in their catalogue, it’s still fairly challenging stuff. It’s not the kind of thing you listen to once – you have to put in the work. Like a lot of the noise rock from 20 years ago, it’s up to you to pay attention and find the beauty in the chaos. And once you do find it – you won’t stop listening. Also recommended? Their insanely intense live shows. Super loud, lots of strobes – you won’t know what hit you. Unless you’re epileptic, in which case the doctor will tell you when you wake up in the ER.
Baroness – Yellow & Green (review)
List Price: $13.99 (Double Album)
“While I don’t think this album will make my Top of the Year list, it’s still a fantastic album with songs that grow on me more and more with each listen. “March To The Sea” has this joyous feel to it that is incredibly infectious while “Eula” is one hell of an emotional roller coaster.” – JB
Yes, that list price above is correct – though I suspect you’ll see it reduced in the coming days. I’m also linking to the physical product here, because when you’re getting something this intense – you (or whomever it’s intended for) are already a giant fan. This album has grown on me throughout the years, and I really can’t wait to hear the remaster job. I was never 100% satisfied with the way the old discs sounded.
So what else are you paying for? Six discs of stuff housed in a 12 x 12 lift-top box with magnetic closure, reimagined cover art and velvet-lined disc holder. Sixty four bonus tracks and a DVD of one of their best shows of the era (Brixton Academy 1995). Two books. I mean, yeah, it’s a splurge. But if you know a Pumpkins nut this will make their year.
Order here. It ships on December 4th.
The Elkcloner – The Elkcloner (review).
List Price: $9.99
“This is probably the odd album out of my recommendations. Not one track on this album sounds like any of the others, yet there is this fascinating sense of continuation throughout. This would be the perfect gift for the music enthusiast in your life.” – JB
Silent Hill: Revelation – OST (review).
List Price: $9.99
“Last year I recommended the Metallica & Lou Reed album Lulu as a great coaster for that person who ALWAYS puts their drink on your lovely wood table. This year, that honor goes to this album. A disjointed, disappointing soundtrack to a disjointed, ÜBER disappointing movie, there isn’t really anything else I’d recommend this album for.” – JB
I’m not going to pretend to be overly familiar with The Sword’s back catalogue. I’ve heard much of it in a casual capacity but have never really had a chance to let it sink in. But, on first glance, “Apocryphon” rocks profoundly hard. If you know a fan, you can’t go wrong here. Unless they already have it of course.
From Barkan’s review, “Each song is a new area to explore, full of rich possibilities that cater to and encourage the imagination. It can also be described as a phantasmagoric, labyrinthine experience, where rays of light and hope are sprinkled throughout.”