A cello intro bleeds sinister vibes, so if the cover art and album title of Darker By Design’s Necrolatry didn’t clue you in, you’re wise to note the aural clue. But it’s not just the intro, since the cello courses through the veins of this deathcore-meets-black-metal-with-occasional-djent-rhythms release. You could be forgiven for thinking the band's use of bowed strings invokes violin-equipped extreme metal act Ne Obliviscaris. Hell, NeO's harsh vocalist, Xenoyr, even makes an appearance here on “Between the Dead and Dying.” But Darker By Design is shooting for something more focused than NeO, providing an intense ride with bursts of real melody. Available as digital download.
In this age of increasingly cryptic band names, we’ve sometimes lost the ability to infer a artist’s sound from their nom de guerre. The video game warriors of Bitforce are fighting to keep the classic naming tradition alive on their incredibly enjoyable, half instrumental self-titled release, which invokes nostalgia for games that never existed. Game soundtracks have been increasingly artistic for years, and Bitforce manages to combine a modern sound reminiscent of The Algorithm with the fun and sing-song qualities of chiptune. Also … Bitforce has costumes! These guys may kill you. Available as digital album or CD, which includes digital download.
Ani Ces Live, from the Floor of a Hallway
The pandemic has inspired any number of home albums, and for at least one San Antonio musician, Texas' recent snowed-in craziness was the icing on the cake. Ani Ces’ Live, from the Floor of a Hallway combines covers from her band, Other Plank, and one from Meth Wax. Ces — the performing name of singer songwriter Vic Garces — accompanies herself on guitar for this bare-bones release. Ces' songwriting is reminiscent of Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett, and she has a similar knack for personal insight. This album was recorded on an iPhone during the snowy shutdown (in a hallway, of course), and proceeds go to relief groups. Available as digital download.
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