(intro by Serge)
Well, 2019 is behind us and what a year it has been. It probably was not the best year for Merchants Of Air. We faced some difficulties here, even to the point where the future of this website was in doubt but, with the support and help of our beloved readers, we managed to pull through and get on track again. Because of these issues, plus the fact that there have been so many albums in 2019, we're extremely short on end-year lists. Patsker was the only one brave enough to dig through all the releases and pick his favorites. Ready?
1. KRYPTS - Cadaver Circulation
Excellent death metal from Finland.
2. WASTED SPACE ORCHESTRA – Syntheosis
When Oranssi Pazuzu meets Dark Buddha Rising…
3. KLUDDE - In De Kwelm
This Belgian swamp devil knows how poisonous black metal should sound.
4. THE PROGERIANS - Crush The Wise Men Who Refuse To Submit
Another Belgian band with a wonderful stoner release.
5. ANANTAKARA - Transmuted By
Avant-garde melted with darker electronic tunes.
6. IMPERIAL CULT - Spasm Of Light
A one track hypersonic black metal trip from Holland.
7. R BENY - Echo’s Verse
Beautiful transcendent ambient melodies and drones from Bay Area artist Austin Cairns.
8. RAPOON - Sol Laude: Mercury Rising 3
The last of Robin Storey’s Mercury Rising triptych.
9. MATHLOVSKY – Phantoms
This unpredictable Belgian sound artist raves like hell.
10. HER FAULT – S.Y.T.
Belgian doom/sludge release of the year.
(intro by Serge)
Introduction, selection and commentaries by Wagner Hertzog
Crippled Black Phoenix is a progressive experimental post rock act from the United Kingdom, led by Justin Greaves, active since 2004. With a complex style, that crosses various genres, Crippled Black Phoenix has managed in just a few years to become a legendary group within the underground scene, breaking soon after into the mainstream, with a moderate degree of success. The band has become notorious for their stage presence and vigorous live performances, acquiring a reputation that made them an icon of contemporary experimental rock. For the entirety of their existence, Justin Greaves has been the only constant member. For live shows, he partners with a competent and dedicated team of musicians, that conceive with epic greatness all the lugubrious, but grandiloquent atmosphere by which Crippled Black Phoenix is well-known.
Given the fact that the experimental character of the group's music — which, by virtue of Justin Greaves' leadership, mostly reflects his creativity and preferences — is exceedingly experimental, and often crosses several genres, like neo-rock'n'roll, neo-psychedelia and ambient music, the sound of Crippled Black Phoenix is thoroughly hard to categorize. Most of all, Greaves' main priority revolves around the desire to develop a personal creative atmosphere that can provide the conception of something very unique, singular and original, capable of making the band's style easily recognizable, which, to a considerable extent, was sucessfully done, and heavily compromised with a degree of authenticity never seen before in the history of underground music.
As a matter of fact, all efforts made by Justin Greaves seems to be directed at designing something exceptionally singular; indeed, all the band's albums seems to attest the search for achieving superior goals of genuinely authorial standards of artistry, to the highest degree possible.
Since late 2014, Justin Greaves and Karl Demata — a former guitarist for the group — are involved in a legal battle concerning the band's name. This has caused several distresses and considerable misfortunes for Greaves, that frequently addressed the subject in the band's official social media, apparently full of resentment and anger.
Well, now that you know a little about the history of this fantastic band, let's get down to what really matters, the music. Below, I selected my four favorite Crippled Black Phoenix albums — as well as a live performance, as a "bonus" —, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
The first of these albums is A Love of Shared Disasters — that, although I'm not quite certain —, I think it's their debut. Released in 2007, this exceedingly extensive album, seventy-seven minutes long, already features the proverbial elements that would make the group's style severely singular and expressively prominent. Smooth guitar lines, slow dispersive melodies, calm, serene and almost minimalist harmonious densities, that discreetly becomes ominously long, and sensible cantilenas diluted in an ocean of everlasting melancholy, all combined to project a magnificent, but almost delusional perception of a terribly vague, but desperate void.
The record has the following tracks: The Lament of the Nithered Mercenary, Really, How'd It Get This Way?, The Whistler, Suppose I Told the Truth, When You're Gone, Long Cold Summer, Goodnight, Europe, You Take the Devil Out of Me, The Northern Cobbler, My Enemies I Fear Not, But Protect Me from My Friends, I'm Almost Home and Sharks & Storms / Blizzard of Horned Cats. With a very beautiful, but profoundly technical, as well as impeccable musical diligence, the album is inadvertently authorial and highly experimental. Despite the fact that some passages are relatively monotonous, A Love of Shared Disasters manages to be an epic collection of musical symphonies, that seems perfectly aligned to one another, as a majestically crafted opera, that was entirely conceived from the outer elements of a distant galaxy, created especially to supply human existence with the most splendorous and solemn material ever designed for the delight of the soul.
A fantastically dense, majestic and graciously epic state of the art work, A Love of Shared Disasters will take you to a journey that you never thought it would be possible. But to fully enjoy the voyage, you will have to close your eyes. Your soul and your most introspective sensibilities will undertake the most fabulous journey you could ever do, without leaving your bedroom.
Released by Invada Records in 2009, 200 Tons of Bad Luck is in fact a compilation, consisting of twelve tracks: Burnt Reynolds, Rise Up And Fight, Time Of Ye Life, Wendigo, Littlestep, Crossing The Bar, Whissendine, A Real Bronx Cheer, 444, A Hymn For A lost Soul, A Lack Of Common Sense and I Am Free, Today I Perished.
With an interesting, but very depressive and melancholic musicality, that displays some elements of blues — as well as progressive rock —, this compilation reunites the very best the band has done in their first five years of existence. With a fantastic ability to make sensationally soft, dispersive and omnipresent melodies, this exceptional masterpiece can be considered one of the band's greatest records; all of its majestic virtues condensate into an invariably smooth, but surreal epicenter of tragic sonorous rapture, whose marvelous appointments with desolation reveals a sometimes abrasive and rude rock 'n' roll, that flirts constantly with its own dramatic and disruptive tendencies.
The first track — the epic and spectacular Burnt Reynolds —, is an abrasive and sober anthem of sweet and desperate demise, that easily elongates in the frontiers of its own diffusive harmonies the poetic densities of its conspicuously pleasant and sensible sonorous atmosphere.
Although this record occasionally falls into more generic and monotonous musical territory — especially because the songs are so long, and here, unlike other albums the band released later, we have a more moderate degree of melodic variation —, 200 Tons Bad luck somewhat manages to be a gracious, serene and enjoyable work, that vividly shows the best qualities the band has to offer to its audience. Their unimaginable versatility, prominently featured throughout the record, also gives the listener sensational sensory surprises.
The third of my favorite albums is I, Vigilante, released by Invada Records in 2010. Giving continuity to their ever restless, evolving, unexpected and experimental nature, Crippled Black Phoenix conceived this spectacular effort in a considerably different fashion from A Love of Shared Disasters. A little shorter too, about forty-eight minutes long, this record has six tracks: 1) Troublemaker; 2) We Forgotten Who We Are; 3) Fantastic Justice; 4) Bastogne Blues; 5) Of a Lifetime; 6) Burning Bridges; with a more serene and unpretentious nature, the sound of this album is a little more clean and less abstract. Nevertheless, the group maintains some of the elements by which they became known, such as exceedingly aggrandizing dispersive melodies and very soft allegorical overflowing densities.
Unexpectedly, some songs transform literally into quasi-ballads, especially while turning into very tender and sentimental tunes. With a certain graceful voracity, which lulls the listener with a certain affability into its dispersing sound waves, I, Vigilante, proves to be a more compact, but also perceptively organic effort, whose strength relies heavily in the imperative uneasiness of its graciously sensible and poetic desire to sculpt slow harmonies in a more diffuse and elongated sonorous diagram.
A very interesting and majestic album, whose pristine, but proverbial tenacity easily aspires to a more deliberately fugacious type of artistry, I, Vigilante, is an album that goes from the dark propensities of existential lugubrious anthems of splendor to a realm of more dense and mundane sentimental rethorical lyricism, passing by wistfully romanthic serenades, whose gracious harmonies unquestionably float through the darkest ambivalences of the creative diagram of the music, showcasing a very ambitious, marvelous and relevant record, that undoubtedly deserves to be widely appreciated, from the very beginning until the end.
The fifth track — the song Of a Lifetime, with its powerfully emotional female vocals, and amazingly graceful, but also vehemently rapturous guitar lines — deserves the highest praise, for its incontestable beauty and exceptional majesty, whose wonderfully creative style displays a sensational atmosphere of classic grandiosity. The last track, the friendly sixties-styled rock 'n' roll tune Burning Bridges, closes this album with fantastic and unexpected opulence, exhibiting a versatility that confirms Crippled Black Phoenix polyvalent style as an inherent part of their unquestionable, unconventional and lucid degree of proficient and primordially uncompromising artistry. Undoubtedly, a powerful album, that has no flaws nor blank spaces whatsoever.
Released by Season of Mist in 2018, Great Scape is the typical Crippled Black Phoenix album, though here they expand the calmness and serenity of the musical atmosphere, that expand almost continuously from the very beginning, probably making this work a little more grounded in post rock than usual. Nevertheless, the band also exhibits heavy doses of dark rock, post-metal and quasi-ballads full of sentimental lyricism, that not only showcases the exponentially epic versatility of the band's style, but also demonstrates the inadvertently sensitive, somber and melancholic elements that their music displays on this release.
With eleven tracks — You Brought It Upon Yourselves, To You I Give, Uncivil War (pt I), Madman, Times, They Are A’Raging, Rain Black, Reign Heavy, Slow Motion Breakdown, Nebulas, Las Diabolicas, Great Escape (pt I) and Great Escape (pt II), —, this fantastic masterpiece displays a dramatic and very melancholic musical layout, perfectly compatible with the gloriously virtuous harmonies that make up the bulk of this majestic state of the art work.
With sober, wise and marvelously dilated melodies, the songs on Great Scape are filled with an expected density, that levitates beyond the unusual creative paradox of its own excessively fugacious musical diagram. Despite the more allegorical genesis of the album, nonetheless, the work is versatile and displays a majestic degree of eclecticism. For example, the song Madman is a very dark, depressive and lugubrious symphony of dispersive agony, that elongates the sober hardlines of its dense musical algorithms to deliberately exasperate the uneasiness of its dilated darkness. The next track, the extensive Times, They Are A’Raging, continues and expands precisely the same sonorous atmosphere, becoming basically a pristine and poetic anthem of digressive restlessness, that fully disperses the pragmatism of its own hopeless solitude in the marvelous guitar lines of a vast and plural creativity, that conceives a deranged mosaic of somber galaxies. The track Nebula — exceedingly gracious, sensationally beautiful and proverbially sad — deserves special mention, as the best song in the album, at least according to my personal preference. The first part of the title track, Great Escape (pt I), is also an interesting cantilena of tenderness and emotional grace, that showcases the magnificent versatility that has become a trademark of the band.
A thoroughly magnificent album, that expands in an exceedingly radical level all the general qualities of the band, Great Scape is a spectacular musical work, that certainly deserves to be qualified as a masterpiece. With a technical precision and a singular style amazingly versatile, vivid and dynamic, Crippled Black Phoenix one more time exceeds all expectations, and shows to everyone that they are, indeed, one of the best alternative bands in the world.
Last, but not least, a live performance by Crippled Black Phoenix. In this show, its possible to see the grandiosity of their stage presence, the proverbial synchronicity of their musical style and the dynamic interaction between the sound and the audience. Although I really don't think that their setlist on this gig is the best — I sincerely affirm that they haven't chosen the best songs to perform, at least the first ones —, nevertheless, the concert is absolutely fantastic. It's possible to see the impeccable, lucid and energetic strength of the band's musical dynamism and versatility right from the beginning.
The fact that their formidable and consistent musicality is majestically transported to the stage in an almost effortless performance is something that seems too exceedingly astounding to be true; nevertheless, its easy to comprehend their exceptional stage presence when they start to play, as the sound gradually — but also tangentially — revolves around the dense perimeter of their exceptionally crafted melancholic, but concomitantly vivid symphonies. Definitely, Crippled Black Phoenix is almost as magnificent live as they are on their records. With a sensational vitality and a vigorous musical splendor, this particular performance certainly deserves to be classified as a majestic work of art by itself. The fact that they perform with three guitars brings even more restlessness to their unexpectedly authorial progressive style.
This wonderful concert is definitely a great gift for all fans and enthusiasts of the band, who are sure to be thrilled with a performance of such astounding level of artistic grandeur. If you haven't watched, please watch. I'm sure you will be exceedingly delighted.
Well, I hope you have liked the article, especially the albums selected, with their respective commentaries and descriptions. If you didn't knew Crippled Black Phoenix, I hope you have appreciated their work. As one of the most prominent bands in the alternative rock scene, and one of the few to go mainstream — being backed by a record company, something rare for a band of this category —, Crippled Black Phoenix has managed to become one of the most respected and important bands of their generation. We all hope they continue on this fabulous journey of glorious and formidable creativity, releasing more incredible albums, and doing fantastic live performances, realizing the dream of living a life exclusively dedicated to music.
Probably, Blues is one the most amazing genres to listen when we are depressed. Evidently, this marvelous style of music doesn't limit itself to just that, it can be enjoyed regardless of the mood. Nevertheless, it's more easy to appreciate when everything is reduced to the gray ashes of desolation. But, of course, you can listen to the Blues whenever you want to. For your joy and amusement, I selected below five random compilations of "Whiskey" Blues, to listen, while relaxing.
It's interesting to note that the "Whiskey" description can be considered more than just a concept; after all, the drink is a perfect match, a formidable combination that makes the relaxing moment an even more pleasant and delightful experience. So if you have a bottle of whiskey available, why not enjoy and drink, while you listen to these wonderful compilations that I have selected? After all, these simple melancholy songs seem to have been wonderfully made for such poetic and dismal moments, especially when we can enjoy the comforts of solitude, while tasting the most delicious of all drinks.
The first of these compilations brings about everything that I described above. You can have exceedingly pleasant moments of expressively serene, but dense sonorous delight, with marvelous artists like Adam Holt, Kim Wilson and The Chris Cain Band, artists who are not very famous or well known, but still incorporate the soul of Blues with mastery, in all its ardent and fantastic dimensions
This compilation goes on basically in the same vibe of the predecessor, with artists like Fred James, Roxy Perry and Jimmy Dawkins. The beginning is already majestic, with the first song being Dear Daddy, performed by Ida Bang & The Blue Tears. With an exceptional voice, and a drastically melancholic atmosphere, this tune dilutes the soul in a splendid ocean of nostalgia and reflection. The following songs on this marvelous compilation are no less graceful and remarkable.
This compilation features nine tracks, from mostly unknown, but nevertheless competent and very skilled artists, like Ty Curtis Band, Rob Tognoni and Brett Ellis Band. Here, the dehydrated melancholy saturated atmosphere is even more organic and elongated, with abrasive guitar lines, that revolves around lucid harmonies, designed over a flexible and tenacious sonorous layout. The classic blues traditional sensibility outline the vast majority of these melodies, with a sober respect for the cohesiveness of the genre, despite the authorial and modernist tendencies that prevail in some of these tracks.
A little more energized than the others, this compilation is full of rhythm and dynamism. With seventeen tracks, this selection of blues songs is a little more extensive than the others, being seventy-two minutes long. It features artists like Mary-Ann Brandon, Billy Earl McLelland and Jimmy Dillon. The general style is gracefully simple, polished and balanced, displaying exceedingly vibrant tonalities and a masterfully expansive musical atmosphere.
Last, but not least, a fantastic compilation, with ten tracks, featuring amazing artists like Gene Deer, Chris Bell and Luther Johnson, to close the deal in superb style. Already in the first track, we listen to the amazingly crafted guitar lines of the magnificent song Slightly Hung Over, that could well be considered a classic of the genre. This terrific tune is followed by the equally majestic Midnight Healing, by Gene Deer, whose wonderfull lugubrious atmosphere embraces the night in the volatility of its sensible and sad splendor. Definitely, one masterpiece after another, this compilation has everything to entertain with grace and compliance the enthusiasts of the genre.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed all these formidable compilations featured above. Blues enthusiasts certainly cannot complain, as they are very well served with the all the excellent songs that are part of these selections. Fortunately, these compilations can be appreciated endlessly, time and time again, until you become tired of them, which is something very hard to happen, given the magnificent nature of all these wonderful compositions. Blues is a fantastic genre of music, that renews the spirit and strengthens the soul with a pungent and salutary degree of powerfully serene and spectacular sensibility.
While it is not too easy to properly define lounge music, it is not too difficult either. Lounge music somewhat derives from easy listening and ambient music, and usually presents some distinct elements of these genres, like smooth musical atmospheres, and calm, peaceful melodies. While saxophone is an instrument that can be often associated with the genre, it is not mandatory; as a matter of fact, it is rarely used. Over time, some elements of electronic music were also gradually integrated into lounge music, especially overly discreet and continuous organic beats, prominent in subgenres like chillout and downtempo.
Lounge music is often associated with calm and tranquil luxurious places, like first class restaurants and elegant ceremonial halls. While stylistically the genre can be difficult to define — and it is also important to question if it is, actually, a genre, or just an umbrella term for a wide variety of genres and subgenres —, nevertheless, there is some relevant features that makes easier to classify this type of music. Lounge music is generally instrumental, easy listening in scope and usually displays a characteristically retro style.
Below, I have selected five compilations of lounge music, that I hope you will enjoy. With flavored, colorful ambient melodies — that makes it worthwhile to push the play button and just forget about life —, this is an extraordinary musical experience, that favors our sensitivities by expanding the most relentless human perceptions of sound.
On the first of these compilations, you will find the most smooth, serene and peaceful sounds, that are not displayed only to relax; the overwhelming beauty of the vast majority of the harmonies available in this compilation will certainly make you feel exceedingly impressed. With flexible, discreet and graceful, but at the same time profusely restrained and dispersive melodies, this gracefully exceptional collection of songs is a wonderful introduction to the amazing world of lounge music.
This compilation has a more flavored, catchy and uplifting mood, with harmonies whose retro style is exceedingly protuberant. With a graceful line of melodies that gradually displays a very flexible musical layout, this compilation slowly reveals a moderately expansive quality, that delves into deeply serene, sentimental and philosophical easy listening sonorous compositions, that penetrates the soul with ease. Its wonderful to listen, and allows the mind to travel far away, beyond the discreetly dilated hemispheres of the sound.
With exceedingly peaceful and relaxing harmonies — though displaying a robust, but primarily discreet effervescent layout — this marvelous compilation, four hours long, is the primary example of lounge music. The sound is serene, beautiful, profoundly sensible, predictable to a certain extent, but gracefully pleasant, melodic and remarkably dispersive.
With an almost somnolent, but concomitantly aggrandizing sonorous proficiency — eager to easily express a sentimental tranquility that extends the essence of its sensitive pleasures to the most overwhelming aspects of the human nature —, the general affability present on the harmonies exudes beyond the most tender elements of the music the imperative transcendence of the paradise that grows within ourselves, while exposed to such a marvelous, unimaginable, minimalist sequence of majestic symphonies.
This is another prime example of a wonderful lounge music compilation. With very soft harmonies and glorious beats, the general sonorous layer that predominates in these wonderfully easy listening compositions are exceedingly smooth, but dense colorful tonalities, that pervades the intricate intensity inherent to the structure of the melodies. Displaying a sensible, but decisively cohesive musical fluidity, this gracefully relaxing compilation will certainly leave you in the clouds.
With the usually calmer atmosphere that makes this compilations so remarkably tranquil and serene, this last selection displays elegant harmonies in a very elusive, but persistent homogeneity. Compressing harmonies in a fugacious surface of colorful fragrances — with an eloquent, appellative and reserved charm, whose background sound is reminiscent of refined, classic, romantic movies —, the simple, but friendly melodies of this marvelous sequences captivate the listener immediately. You will definitely have the impression that you have traveled back in time, to a more egregious, palpable, black and white existential parallel reality, where you feel more alive and content than ever. This marvelous compilation will satiate your relentless desire for rapture and despondent quest for peace, I guarantee.
Well, I hope you have appreciated all the compilations featured above. If you weren't familiar with lounge music, I sincerely wish this article has worked as a decent introduction. While it is easy to love and to appreciate this genre of music, like I wrote above, it is far more difficult to establish what can be properly defined as lounge music. Nevertheless, in the end, this really doesn't matter. This is a sensible and quite fantastic genre, beautifully made to provide us with formidable moments of relaxation. I really can't offer an impartial perspective on the question, the more I hear lounge music, the more I love this genre. I hope to be able to convey this passion to others.
For sure, the weekend will be a lot more satisfying, quieter and peaceful with these fantastic compilations. I hope I have made a good contribution to your leisure time. Although it is not a mainstream topic, lounge music has its place of necessity in our daily lives.
Its almost impossible — at least for me — not to love deeply relaxing and abstract space ambient compilations. They are generally so smooth, so expansive, so serene, so cohesive, so creative, that its very easy to enjoy and to appreciate them. The graceful intonations, the discreetly, but imponderable colorful vitality, the proverbial acquiescence of the harmonies, all these elegant features are easily captivating. Of course, you really have to love deeply this genre of music; otherwise, you will be astoundingly bored.
I really can expend a lot of time on the web searching for marvelous compilations to listen. And fortunately, there are an extraordinary abundance of them. If you are not familiar with this kind of music, I ask you to listen at least one of the compilations selected below; after all, it's not that bad to experience something new.
Evidently, there is not too much rhythmic variations on this type of music — as you may notice —, but the general purpose of the genre is to create an environment of relaxing and serene sonorous cosmogony, where you can just forget entirely everything concerning existential matters; just be yourself, and rest with profound vigor. Something that we do not practice frequently, on this turbulent times we're living in, since we are always, always very busy with great amounts of work, appointments and general daily obligations. So, this is where this formidable, amazing and fantastic genre of music fits into our lives. Its the perfect gateway for moments of salutary grace, to ensure sanity stays exactly where it should be.
But, setting aside this brief introduction, we should go directly to the first compilation. After all, this is really not the type of music that needs rationalization, an analysis, or a serious "explanation". On the contrary. You just need to relax, to be yourself, and to let the music penetrate deeply into your whole immaculate sensitivity. If you do this at night, listening to the sound in a quiet, serene environment, preferably in a dark room — not in a loud volume —, you will definitely understand what space ambient music is all about. This is the magic that I'm trying to truthfully convey here.
Of all the compilations I've selected here, probably this one is my favorite. Already on the first song, you are contemplated by fantastic and marvelous harmonies, that will definitely transport you to another world; one a lot more serene, calm. peaceful and generous than the one we're living in. It's easy to wish this magnificent song never ends. With a solitary, but comfortable vividness, its fascinating musical graciousness will certainly leave you astounded. The sensible and gentle atmosphere of the sound is almost a firm invitation to enjoy happily a satisfactory moment of contentment, like very few musical genres are able to properly propitiate to its listeners. I'm sure you will love this formidable compilation, as much as I do!
This marvelous compilation depart from the general serenity that revolves around the most elementary axis of this type of music, whose core element consists of exceedingly smooth and overtly diluted melodies, since "space ambient" is not effectivelly a musical genre, but rather an umbrella term, that includes generally calm and easygoing synthesizer driven music.
While this is probably the most concise of the compilations selected, its beauty and uneasiness are also overtly peculiar, since its melodies are a little more vibrant and vivacious than the previous selections, while cohesively preserving all the sonorous features relevant to the genre; nevertheless, the songs present on this setlist are amazingly graceful, and all the increasingly tender and delightful harmonies —while delivering a delicate degree of sensibility that can be vastly appreciated with remarkable joy —, conceives a sagacious parallel universe full of dense and splendorous intensity, that departs from the most impenetrable understanding of the human nature.
This graceful — and somewhat hyperbolic — compilation displays a calmer, but consistent sonorous expansion, that seems to discreetly come from within the serenity of its own dispersive calmness. Its salutary, though expressively dark tenderness dilates the overwhelmingly diffusive tranquility that gradually departs from its dense and horizontal musical eagerness. Like a galaxy whose overall contingencies overflow beyond the mordacious restlessness of an infinite and deleterious agony, this marvelous and imponderable symphony of existential vitality overexposes the placid grace of the human despair, with a terribly realistic and grievous detrimental insolence. Only if you're not human you can definitely survive to fully appreciate this level of existential magnificence.
Despite the fact, that space ambient is an exceedingly abstract musical genre, its dense, horizontal and profound anatomy propitiates to audiences a formidable level of introspection, that almost works as a therapy session. Though you may find the sound to be simple — and to a certain extent, it is — the graceful tenderness that comes from the melodies definitely redirects a peaceful and relaxing part of the universe to our sensibilities, with the aim to heal the anxieties of the heart.
While the consistent musicality that comes from all this formidable compilations has the potential to reverberate within ourselves, its easy to assimilate the graceful and imponderable virtues of serenity. While you can rest for a moment — a moment that can last centuries within the proverbially transient dimension of time and space, as your senses become more volatile and susceptible to a lethargic degree of dispersive rapture — its ephemeral vitality remains within you, in your consciousness, in the restless abscesses of divinity, delivering discreetly into the renitent peripheries of your thoughts the exponential eagerness that longs for an everlasting existential placidity, that may not exist in the daily turbulent and disdainful palace of human exasperation.
I hope you have appreciated this marvelous sonorous journey, and my suggestions. If you didn't knew this genre of music, I hope you have liked as much as I do. Feel free to write your personal opinion about it. Until our next appointment, keep on listening this wonderful compilations, and feel free to discover new ones for yourself on the web!
Introduction, selection and commentaries by Wagner Hertzog
For most human beings, its simply impossible not to love music. It is in our nature to become completely delighted listening the sound of extremely pleasant music and to surrender ourselves entirely to it, in serene, though somewhat rapturous abandonment. And the musical variety that exists certainly helps, since we can explore a lot of different genres, as it is amazingly fabulous to discover something we didn't knew. I think there's nothing more rewarding than listening to a beautiful song, and be really sensitive and receptive to what the melodies are communicating.
If you feel the same way, let me invite you to listen to some marvelous songs with me. I sincerely hope we can have a very pleasant time together, while we appreciate the incredible and magnificent grandiosity of the spectacular tunes selected below. To listen to wonderful music – and really be grateful about it –, produces an incredibly distinct sense of astonishment, that compliments the rapture infused by the music. So everything that the sound propitiates is eventually assimilated by a turmoil of dilated emotions, that makes the imaginary world of reason fall apart as the grandiosity of the sound prevails.
Well, let me go now straight to the point! There are a lot of old songs, especially from the eighties and nineties – although here I've decided to include also others released more recently –, that are simply too marvelously captivating, fascinating and beautiful, to be neglected and forgotten. So let's remember some of them, to appreciate these songs at the fullest, and enjoy a nostalgia moment, that definitely deserves to be conceived, to give this excellent songs the level of exposure they certainly deserve.
All of these artists and bands – with a few exceptions – remains mostly unknown to the general public, though some of them acquired variable degres of fame, at least for a brief period of time. Some have been totally forgotten, if at any given time they were known, while others have started their careers only a few years ago. Nevertheless, the most important fact I wish to emphasize is that all of the songs selected below are exceedingly special to me, in a very personal level, though they mostly belong to different periods of my life; some I have discovered in my childhood, some in my adolescence, others in my early adulthood. Most of the songs present on this list, though, I have discovered while working the night shift in the warehouse department of a large corporation, several years ago, that used to play in a local radio station, and I used to hear it in my working schedule, the night shift. Regardless of the sentiments involved, these are all wonderfully magnificent songs, and I sincerely hope that, if you do not know any of them, you somehow enjoy and appreciate them as much as I do.
The first song, In The Heat Of The Night, by German singer Sandra Lauer – known mononymously as Sandra – was originally released in 1985 as a single from her debut album, The Long Play. While she never had too much success outside her native country, she has enjoyed a prosperous career. She had released ten albums so far, and remains active to this day. For almost twenty years, she was married to notorious musician Michael Cretu, the famous songwriter and record producer who is the mastermind behind the original and innovative new age/ electronica / experimental musical project Enigma, who has released eight albums since 1990, and has sold millions of records worldwide.
This song by Gary B. – Love Rain Down –, is one of the most marvelous songs I probably have ever heard. I simply love this song, it has such strength, personality and vigor. With a formidably impactful, melancholic and nostalgic atmosphere, this gracefully conceived song is perfect for rainy, exasperating, grayish days of futile labour, apathy and sadness; let's be real, can a song be more perfect and exceedingly beautiful than this one? If I properly remember, the first time I've heard this amazingly delightful tune I was at work, probably more than a decade ago, in a period of my life where I used to do the night shifts in the department of a large company, and a local radio station used to play mostly this type of music, which helped me to create a taste for the genre, though I already had a fascination and a general inclination to love smooth, poetic, depressive, adult contemporary easy listening music, given the fact that, when I was a teenager, in the late nineties, I regularly visited my father in the distant neighborhood where he lived with his mother, my grandmother, in the outskirts of the city. His work office was located in that same area, and he used to listen to a radio that used to play similar genres of music, mostly seventies and eighties nostalgia hits. This radio station in particular I don't known if its still exists, but several compilations of their sets are available on YouTube, and I may write an article about that in the future.
Still Here, by Aural Float, is another song that I love very much! This absolutely wonderful work of art – like the song featured above – also displays a fatalist atmosphere of melancholy, sorrow and absolute consternation, though expressively more downplayed, while delivering wonderfully poetic melodies, that increasingly improves the peripheral sensitivities of the listener. While the song's style is somewhat reminiscent of Madonna, Aural Float demonstrates a sonorous cohesiveness, overflowing with simplicity, that somehow underestimates their captivating creativity. This song I also have discovered while listening the radio at work, exactly like the following three songs.
Good Life, by Inner City, was released as a single in 1988, and it was their only major hit, although in the late eighties and early nineties they scored other successful singles in the music charts. During their most notorious period, the group was a duo consisting of record producer Kevin Saunderson and singer Paris Grey. They are no longer together, though Saunderson occasionally performs under the moniker Inner City. This song is very beautiful; its melodic vibe, catchy groove and flavored soul texture was a mixture that functioned as the creative apex of this ephemeral, but brilliant musical act.
I have never been a great fan of Daft Punk, though I really like some of their songs, and their animated music videos – featuring the Japanese style of anime – are undoubtedly astounding and characteristic of their then proverbial (but long gone) anonymity. Despite the fact that this song is simple, and resigns itself to the basic elements of electronic dance music, the style of the duo is ostensibly prominent, and the rude eccentricity of its somewhat profoundly circular harmonies is an integral component of its beauty.
This marvelous song, Saw Something, by Dave Gahan – better known as the lead singer of Depeche Mode –, I also listened for the first time in the radio, although back then I was already acquainted with Depeche Mode, being a severely huge fan of the band, having several of their albums, compilations, live releases and singles (Depeche Mode is probably the band I have the most CD's, as well as some DVD's). I already had Paper Monsters, the first Dave Gahan solo album, released in 2003. Saw Something is a single taken from Gahan's second solo album, Hourglass, released in 2007. It is a formidable, spectacular, exceedingly fantastic and overtly poetical song, despite its melancholic atmosphere, that adds beauty to it.
City Lights is the only known release by American singer William Pitt, of which practically nothing is known. This song was a modest hit in Europe – when released in 1986 –, and the little notoriety the singer achieved was totally dependent on this track. Nevertheless, its a beatifully fascinating song, that it's literally impossible to listen just one time.
Johnny Hates Jazz is a British pop band, and Shattered Dreams, released in 1986, was their only major hit, though their scored a lot of other singles in the music charts. They have released two albums, Turn Back the Clock, in 1988, and Tall Stories, in 1991, before disbanding the following year. In 2009, the original members reunited again, though one of them left the band before they released one more album, Magnetized, in 2013; since then, Johnny Hates Jazz has since been performing as a duo. This song, Shattered Dreams – despite its simplicity –, is marvelously catchy, sentimental and elegant. Certainly, displays, incorporates and reverberates all the flavor of eighties' pop music.
Unfortunately, Laura Branigan has died in 2004, but her music is still widely appreciated, and remains captivating new audiences worldwide. Released in 1984, Self Control is a cover song, originally performed by Italian singer Raffaele Riefoli, better known as Raf; it was written by Raf himself, in partnership with Steve Piccolo and Giancarlo Bigazzi. This single was extracted from Branigan's third album, which was also titled Self Control. With simple, but beautifully arranged harmonies, the song is marvelously enticing, and its vibrating club atmosphere certainly catches up with its sensible melodic features.
Sincerely, I could listent to this marvelous song all day long, without a problem. Originally written and performed by Everlast, this version sung by Swedish singer Jay Smith is simply too marvelous to be true. With a flavored country vibe, though displaying a savage, dry and unadorned rhythmic simplicity – with all the desert grains of sand that arid melodies can endure –, this fabulous version pleased audiences so much that easily people proclaim its superiority over the original version.
This ambient mix version of I Count On You, by Endanger, is an exceedingly graceful – almost religious – anthem of spiritual resistance and deliverance, that displays a very redeemer and comforting appeal. With a salutary atmosphere of love and resilience, this serene song of faith and hope is a formidable work of creative sensibility, that definitely deserves to be widely appreciated, especially for its capacity to radiate lights of splendor and divinity, wherever it plays.
Another marvelous song that I discovered while listening radio at work, Flood is one of the major hits of American Christian rock band Jars of Clay, from Nashville, Tennessee. Released in 1995, it was their first single, taken from their self-titled debut album. A fantastic, vigorous and amazingly energetic song, Flood displays direct, but rapturous melodies, that punctuates the anatomy and the framework of the sound's strength.
Embrace is a wonderful song released by Australian electropop act PNAU, in 2008, as a single taken from their eponymous album. With a simple, but effusive charm, the song displays a sensible vigor and a latent density, that easily overwhelms its gracious and flexible musical appeal.
With graceful, serene and wonderfully soft harmonies, To The Moon And Beyond, by Galimatias, is a formidable alternative electronic music track, whose simple, but amazingly defined harmonies definitely revolve around its own fluid, melancholic and sober atmosphere. Displaying a flexible, though moderately restrained rhythmic expansion axis, the diluted sonority of its intuitive density flirts with an imperative tenderness, that discreetly surpasses its own volatile subtleties, while mordaciously anticipates the overall sentiments of its lethargic, but beautiful musical layout.
This is one of the most beautiful songs ever created. Drowning, by The Eden Project – alias of Irish singer Jonathon Ng, that now operates under the moniker EDEN – is a marvelous masterpiece, that I could be listening twenty-four hours a day, without stopping; the lyrics are also amazingly beautiful and sensible. With a dense, poetic and melancholic atmosphere, Drowning is a desperate quest for a life of happiness, meaning and consistence, an anthem that claims for a more plausible and fruitful existence, full of spiritual serenity. Definitely, this is one of the most fantastic songs ever written, and Jonathon Ng certainly deserves more exposure, given his enormous talent as a singer and songwriter.
Selection, introduction, commentaries and general info by Wagner Hertzog
I’m positively sure that you don’t know anything about Brazilian music, right? Well, I’m here to fix that, and teach you something about my country’s traditional music. In contemporary Brazil, you’ll find literally all the genres being widely practiced, from post black metal to alternative rock, from Jazz to electronic music, to styles that are basically musical genres entirely created and developed in Brazil, like Forró, Bossa Nova and MPB (MPB is short for Música Popular Brasileira, which means Popular Brazilian Music), to name only just a few. The musical scene is exceedingly eclectic and varied, as well as Brazilian society and culture in general. Brazilian culture – as a matter of fact –, is one of the most heterogeneous in the world.
All the artists chosen here, though, follow closely the more popular genres of the country’s traditional culture: soul, psychedelic, funk, Brazilian folk music and MPB. Most of the artist’s featured here are not well-known or famous musicians; nonetheless, they have careers with modest degrees of success, and all the albums chosen achieved some level of cult status within the underground counterculture communities, for their unique features, beauty, singular melodies and sagacious originality. Coincidentally, all the albums featured on this list were released in the seventies. Most of these artists are originally from the northeast region of the country, and the most relevant characteristic is the general conciseness prevalent in the records. None of these albums is too extensive. I sincerely hope you like them as much as I do.
Di Melo – Di Melo
Singer Di Melo released in 1975 his eponymous debut album, that today is considered a vinyl rarity and a cult classic, a much sought after collector’s item. The album has twelve tracks. In the A side, 1) Kilariô; 2) A vida em seus métodos diz calma; 3) Aceito tudo; 4) Conformópolis; 5) Má-lida; 6) Sementes; in the B side, 1) Pernalonga; 2) Minha estrela; 3) Se o mundo acabasse em mel; 4) Alma gêmea; 5) João; 6) Indecisão; the album is very concise, only thirty-four minutes long. Nevertheless, its beauty and audacious creativity is unique in underground Brazilian music. The original grooves of the first song, Kilariô, feels as turnaround melodies that revolves around the groundless festive soul of exceedingly exotic harmonies.
Singer Di Melo – whose complete name is Roberto de Melo Santos – is sixty-nine years old. He released his second album, Sons, Sacações, Sambas e Tesões in 2014, thirty-nine years after the release of this masterpiece.
Quinteto Violado – Quinteto Violado
Quinteto Violado, released in 1972, is the eponymous debut album of a traditional folk music group from Recife, in the northeast region of Brazil – coincidentally, the same place of origin of singer Di Melo – a place whose characteristic and deeply peculiar exotic culture features as a distinct trace within Brazil.
This group has a varied and large cast of musicians, being exceedingly active for almost fifty years, releasing in average one record per year, with a discography that comprises thirty-nine albums. The style of the group – which is profusely highlighted in this work – is characterized by deeply profound and authorial experimentalism, yet respecting the proverbial qualities of traditional northeast music, delivering a revolving, but cohesive and dynamic musical density, whose melodies liquefy at the tangential reverberation of proficient and flexible harmonious tonalities. This album in particular has marvelous passages of exceptional beauty, whose creative splendor trespasses genre boundaries, to create a more allegorical and impressionistic outlook on life.
Arnaud Rodrigues – Som do Paulinho
Antônio Arnaud Rodrigues released Som do Paulinho, his sixth album, in 1976. A concise album – only thirty-four minutes long – the record has ten tracks: 1) Som do Paulinho; 2) Rock de Minas Gerais; 3) O Dia que o Diabo Roubou o Bar do Português; 4) Em Cima Daquele Morro; 5) Sete de Setenta e Oito; 6) Índio do Uruguai; 7) Teté Das Lendas Rurais; 8) Mercado São José; 9) Negro Pescador; 10) Gaivota Humana; the grooves, harmonies and the graciously fluid and exotic rhymes – typical of Brazilian regional music – displays a wonderful album, that can be positively considered an underestimated state of the art work. Its lucid and authorial level of authenticity, combined with effective and dynamic melodies, makes this golden work a majestic and distinctive album of Brazilian cult classics.
While never renouncing a gracious, but volatile simplicity, this album has a serene and humane tenderness, that revolves around a sensible quest for existential rapture. Coincidentally, Arnaud Rodrigues was born in Serra Talhada, a city located in the northeast state of Pernambuco, the same region where the two previous artists – Di Melo and Quinteto Violado – are from, though both are from another city, Recife, the state’s capital. Rodrigues released twelve albums, beginning in 1970, until 1998. He was also an actor. The singer died in 2010, at sixty-seven years old, in a boat accident.
Egberto Gismonti – Sonho 70
Sonho 70 was the second album from underground cult musician Egberto Gismonti, originally from Carmo, Rio de Janeiro, released in 1970. Gracious, dynamic and splendidly creative, the record – only thirty-four minutes long – has nine tracks, mostly written by the musician himself: 1) Janela de ouro; 2) Parque Laje; 3) Ciclone; 4) Indi; 5) Sonho; 6) O mercador de serpentes; 7) Lendas; 8) Pêndulo; 9) Lírica nº 1; a more serene and reflexive album, though effervescent in some passages, this is a vivacious, intense and very poetic work, whose musical ambitions tend to subjugate the mordacious density of the harmonies, that are overtly sidelined by soft and ethereal voices, that emanate from the intuitive horizon of a somewhat afflictive, restless and delusional creative panorama.
A prolific artist, Gismonti has released more than fifty albums, in a career that in the current year completes five decades. A deeply authorial and original artist – whose musical majesty can be confirmed in the beautiful melodies present in this glorious album – Gismonti knows how to perfectly create genuine and effective harmonies, that are wonderfully consecrated by the preciously visionary tendencies of his versatile, plural and expansive stylish dispositions.
Airto Moreira – Seeds on the Ground
Despite the English title, Airto Moreira is a Brazilian musician, born in Santa Catarina, a state in the southern region of the country. Forty minutes long, Seeds on the Ground – whose complete title is Seeds on the Ground - The Natural Sound of Airto – was released in 1971, and has seven tracks: 1) Andei (I Walked); 2) O Sonho (Moon Dreams); 3) Uri (Wind); 4) Papo Furado (Jive Talking); 5) Juntos (We Love); 6) O Galho Da Roseira (The Branches Of The Rose Tree), Part 1; 7) O Galho Da Roseira (The Branches Of The Rose Tree), Part 2; the first song begins with a berimbau, an instrument mostly developed in Brazil to accompany an autochthonous martial art that incorporates elements of dance, named capoeira, though the precise origin of berimbau, as well as capoeira, is Africa, and was brought to Brazil by African slaves commercialized by the Portuguese, where it was more intensely developed.
A singular album that features a mixture of elements from jazz, jazz fusion, adult contemporary and Brazilian music, Seeds on the Ground – despite its beautiful melodies – distinguish itself by its exacerbated level of experimentalism. With genuinely fluid musical rhythms, and very flexible melodic overtones, the album reveals itself a majestic and proficient splendorous work, fulfilled by genuinely conceived creative sound tissues, that expands its mordacious serenity all the way through. Singer Flora Purim, Airto Moreira’s wife, sings on this album. Moreira has also enjoyed in the past a considerable degree of notoriety abroad, having participated in Bitches Brew, a 1969 album by Miles Davis.
Lula Côrtes and Zé Ramalho – Paêbirú: Caminho da Montanha do Sol
Paêbirú: Caminho da Montanha do Sol, released in 1975, is the only collaboration between these two Brazilian artists, being Zé Ramalho probably the most notorious and celebrated on this list. Both in the beginning of their careers, Paêbirú was the debut album of Zé Ramalho, and the second album of Lula Côrtes. Fifty-five minutes long, the album has thirteen tracks, divided into four chapters. The “Lado TERRA” (Earth Side) has the following songs: 1) Trilha de Sumé; 2) Culto à Terra; 3) Bailado das Muscarias; “Lado AR” (Air Side): 4) Harpa dos Ares; 5) Não Existe Molhado Igual ao Pranto; 6) Omm; “Lado FOGO” (Fire Side): 7) Raga dos Raios; 8) Nas Paredes da Pedra Encantada, Os Segredos Talhados Por Sumé; 9) Maracás de Fogo; “Lado ÁGUA” (Water Side): 10) Louvação à Iemanjá; 11) Regato da montanha; 12) Pedra Tempo Animal; 13) Sumé; a versatile and mostly psychedelic work, Paêbirú is another record whose vast degree of experimentalism and audacity definitely elevates its creative standards to a more distinct and genuine level of gracious and ludic introspection, a superior one, where the artists involved doesn’t fear diving deeply into a profoundly authentic, sensible and ambitious ground of sonorous interaction.
Another one of those precious achievements of Brazilian music, Paêbirú is an album that never conquered the level of exposition and recognition it deserves. Nevertheless, it’s dynamic and veracious versatility – as well as a marvelous sense of dynamic artistry – revolves between an expansive and gracefully abstract sound, whose main qualities are a convoluted, but flexible sense of spontaneous and invariable synergy. Despite some minor tedious passages, this album is a canonical work of cult status, whose elegant intensity has conceived an eccentric and exotic milestone, that proudly integrates the extraordinary legacy of the Brazilian national music scene.
Joyce – Passarinho Urbano
Released in 1976, Passarinho Urbano was the sixth album by singer Joyce Silveira Moreno, known mononymously as Joyce. Another extremely concise work – only thirty-two minutes long – the record has eighteen tracks, consisting of mostly very short songs. Better known as a performer, Joyce sings on this album songs written by distinctive professional songwriters, some of them famous icons of Brazilian music, giving them very personal reinterpretations.
The tracks are in this exact order: 1) Joia (written by Caetano Veloso); 2) De Frente Pro Crime (written by Aldir Blanc and João Bosco); 3) Pesadelo (written by Paulo César Pinheiro and Maurício Tapajós); 4) Pelo Telefone (written by Mauro de Almeida and Donga); 5) Pede Passagem (written by Sidney Miller); 6) Marcha da Quarta-feira de Cinzas (written by Carlos Lyra and renowed poet and songwriter Vinicius de Moraes); 7) Opinião (written by Zé Keti); 8) Chora Doutor (written by O. Gazzaneo, J. Campos and J. Piedade); 9) Quatorze Anos (written by the legendary Paulinho da Viola); 10) A História do Samba (written by G. Figueiredo); 11) O Trem Atrasou (written by Pequito, A. Vilarinho and E. Silva); 12) Radiopatrulha (written by J. Diaz Luizinho, M. Ramos and S. de Oliveira); 13) Acorda Amor (written by Julinho da Adelaide); 14) Mudando de Conversa (written by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho and Maurício Tapajós); 15) Fado Tropical (written by Ruy Guerra and Chico Buarque); 16) Bodas (written by Ruy Guerra and Milton Nascimento); 17) Viola Fora de Moda (written by Capinan and Edu Lobo); 18) Passarinho (written by famous poet Mário Quintana and Joyce); an interesting and very exotic album, Passarinho Urbano sounds like a succession of sweet, serene and poetic cantilenas, that talks directly to the restless emptiness of the soul, that is eager to see the end of the day at the forefront of a graceful and exhilarating horizon. A tender, elusive and soft work, this placid record requires an indefinite moment of appreciation, that definitely transforms your musical perceptions into a majestic and expansive channel of innocent and energized sensitivity.
Sivuca – Sivuca
Released in 1973, the eponymous album of Sivuca – whose real name was Severino Dias de Oliveira – is thirty-eight minutes long, and has ten tracks: 1) Adeus Maria Fulô; 2) Tunnel; 3) Amor Verdadeiro; 4) Ponteio; 5) Arrasta Pé; 6) Você Abusou (I'm Free As A Bird); 7) Inquietação (Foolishness Of Young Love); 8) Ain't No Sunshine; 9) Lament Of Berimbau; 10) Rosa Na Favela (A Rose Born In The Ghetto); most of these songs are reinterpretations of songs composed by another artists and songwriters, though Sivuca was the author of a few tracks. With an incomparable beauty sidelined with the immaculate serenity of the general harmonies, this album, the ninth of Sivuca’s career, features marvelous melodies ingratiated with the miraculous outlook of a flexible, vivacious and exceptionally dynamic musical layout.
Originally from Paraíba – another state located in northeast Brazil, a region that is pulverized with the smaller states of the country – Sivuca had a long and prolific career, having released more than thirty albums. The musician died in December, 2006, at seventy-six years old.
Quinteto Armorial – Quinteto Armorial
Quinteto Armorial was another important instrumental Brazilian group from the northeast, active for ten years, from 1970 to 1980, releasing four albums. Their homonymous album, their third, was released in 1978. The next work, Sete Flechas, released in 1980, was their last. In this same year, the band disbanded. A very concise album, Quinteto Armorial is thirty-four minutes long, and has seven tracks. A side has the following songs: 1) Baque de Luanda; 2) Romance da Nau Catarineta; 3) Toque dos Caboclinhos; 4) Entremeio para Rabeca e Percussão (4.1 – Cortejo; 4.2 – Baiano; 4.3 – Boi); The B side has the following tracks: 5) Ária (Cantilenas de Bachianas Brasileiras nº 5) [written by legendary and renowed Brazilian songwriter Heitor Villa-Lobos]; 6) Toque para Marimbau e Orquestra (6.1 – 1º Movimento: Galope à Beira-mar; 6.2 – 2º movimento: Bendito de Romeiros; 6.3 – 3º movimento: Marcha rural); working under the general folk themes typical of Brazilian cultural northeast regionalism, the music of Quinteto Armorial combines elements of musical traditionalism and technical proficiency with an authorial perception of popular melodies, a creative synergy that produced an exotic and peculiar sound. In 1975, the band won the famed APCA Prize in the best instrumental group category.
While the band was somewhat short-lived, it is considered today one of the most important groups in Brazil to conceive a subgenre of chamber music basically influenced by popular regional rhythms, and their body of work comprises a respectable legacy that remains appreciated today in erudite circles.
Ave Sangria – Ave Sangria
Ave Sangria is the eponymous and only album of a Brazilian psychedelic rock band, released in 1974. Thirty-eight minutes long, the record has twelve tracks. The A side has the following songs: 1) Dois Navegantes; 2) Lá Fora; 3) Três Margaridas; 4) O Pirata; 5) Momento na Praça; 6) Cidade Grande; the B side has the following tracks: 7) Seu Waldir; 8) Hei! Man; 9) Por Que?; 10) Corpo em Chamas; 11) Geórgia, a Carniceira; 12) Sob o Sol de Satã; almost all the songs were written by Marco Polo Guimarães, the group’s singer, which is also a poet and a journalist.
Although the group’s style is direct, straight to the point and simple, Ave Sangria was an early exponent of the Brazilian psychedelic rock scene in the regional northeast scene, before achieving national notoriety. The colorful lyrics were exceedingly representative of popular music, and appealed greatly to younger audiences. The LP – at the time of its release – was the subject of controversy and censorship by the military government, due to the song Seu Waldir, whose lyrics contains satirical homosexual references. Today, the group is barely remembered, though their homonymous album remains appreciated by devoted enthusiasts and cult followers.
Flaviola e o Bando do Sol – Flaviola e o Bando do Sol
Flaviola e o Bando do Sol was the eponymous release – and only album – of an artist whose probable origins were the notorious regional popular music scene of Pernambuco, in the northeast (why am I not surprised?). A very concise album (why am I not surprised again?), the record has thirteen short tracks: 1) Canto Fúnebre; 2) O Tempo; 3) Noite; 4) Desespero; 5) Canção de Outona; 6) Do Amigo; 7) Brilhante Estrela; 8) Como os Bois; 9) Palavras; 10) Balalaica; 11) Olhos; 12) Romance da Lua Lua; 13) Asas (Prá Que Te Quero?); while this artist vanished into absolute obscurity, and there is literally no information available about the singer, the album, despite its sentimental overtones and overall simplicity, has a fundamental beauty, that communicates the essence of its profoundly humane soul with the exceptionally delicate layers of its melodious and graciously effective creative tenderness.
The vivaciousness present in most of the melodies – even in the apparently melancholic ones – is a witness to the restless life that reverberates in the creative microcosm of the artist, something that was visible in the regional scene from which this singer emerged, and that always had been a standalone quality in Brazilian folk music in general. While this album do feature some generic passages, most of the time its peculiar audacity and proverbial originality reveals an exotic contemporary fable of popular graciousness, that certainly qualifies as a hidden musical treasure that probably will never receive the level of attention it obviously deserves.
Recordando O Vale Das Maçãs – As Crianças da Nova Floresta
As Crianças da Nova Floresta, released in 1977, is the debut album of Brazilian progressive rock band Recordando O Vale Das Maçãs, a veteran underground musical act that remains active to this day. Forty-one minutes long, the album has seven tracks: 1) Ranchos, Filhos e Mulher; 2) Besteria; 3) Olhar de Um Louco; 4) Raio de Sol; 5) As Crianças da Nova Floresta; 6) Sorriso de Verão; 7) Flores na Estrada; with a discreet, more organic and quiet style, the group incorporates elements present in the more notorious bands of the genre at the time, like Pink Floyd, that sounds as an obvious influence. The soft flow of smooth rhythms are inextricably incorporated at the axis of dynamic harmonies, that revolves between the ghosts of versatile, clean and perceptive melodies. The extension of some songs are also another major component of disruptive mordacity; the title track, for example, is a song that lasts almost eighteen minutes.
While the album was not too innovative nor excellent, As Crianças da Nova Floresta displays a beauty and a brilliance that delivers its own qualities with a virtuous, uninterested and salutary style, that justifies its moderate relevance in an underground level. Recordando O Vale Das Maçãs also contributed to a certain degree to popularize progressive rock among Brazilian audiences. Nevertheless, despite some ordinary grievances, this album has a lucid degree of artistry, that was efficient and competent enough to aggregate a new conjuncture of standards and habits to the national music scene as a whole.
Well, this is it! I hope you have enjoyed this marvelous musical journey. And keep listening this marvelous albums, until we meet again, in the next list.
Délicieuse Musique is a marvelous website and YouTube channel of alternative music, that definitely deserves to be vastly appreciated. Giving exposure to incredible, but relatively obscure artists and musicians, this is a space primarily designed for art music enthusiasts, that will find on the channel precious and incomparable musical talents, as little places in the World Wide Web are able to unite them in one single place, as Délicieuse Musique does.
Definitely, this is a marvelous channel to keep an eye on, that is always reverberating, uploading and giving exposure to fabulous musical underground talents, that still doesn’t enjoy a loyal and considerable audience. On Délicieuse Musique, you can always find something new, exciting, rapturous and original. So, subscribe to this channel today, to enjoy all the marvelous treasures of alternative and underground music.
This is a selection that I have done, comprising the fifteen best songs I have found on this channel. I hope you enjoy.
1º Song: Paraíso - Teu Sorriso (Jex Opolis Remix)
Remix of a beautiful song by a Brazilian singer, the tropical groove that underlines the rhythm gives space to a majestic harmony, that is occasionally accompanied by discreet, but powerful, efficient and deeply authorial sax notes. The beautiful and lucid melodies that carries on the consistent elements of playful bass lines complements wonderfully the suggestive graciousness of this fantastic and exceedingly colorful tune.
2º Song: Gavinco – Amour Fou
An apparently ordinary song, with a somewhat sensationally circular tune that stays in place with a delightful funky rhythm, Amour Fou has one of those eccentric melodies that stays in your head after the music is over. Despite its somewhat ordinary structure and exacerbated simplicity, the overall harmonious lines of the song are increasingly dynamic and lucid, and its placid predictabilities just make the tune to be even more gracefully contagious.
3º Song: Jules Etienne - Dude's Den Fou
An amazingly gracious and vivacious song with an imperiously dynamic and groovy bass line, Dude's Den Fou is an epically authorial song, that delivers highly original compositional skills. With a formidable melody that ingratiates itself in a profoundly sensational, yet sensible and discreet mixture of distinct genres of music, the artist basically submerges himself in a totally different category of sonorous composition, displaying an innovative level of authenticity and exceptional excellence into the underground music scene.
4º Song: Dürerstuben - Thyme Field
An interesting, pretty exotic and eccentric electronic music track, Thyme Field has a smooth sound that underlines its discreetly progressive tendencies. Nevertheless, the melody exhales a superb and delicate calmness, that somewhat overemphasizes it’s imperative, unique and exceptionally overflowing beauty. With its dilapidated textures occasionally fragmented by a coalescence of romantic vibes, the harmonies in general remain in a neutral space of polished sonorous stabilities, with abrupt variations that delivers a serene, yet enigmatic and somber perception of melancholic tenderness.
5º Song: Rupa - Aaj Shanibar (RSS Disco's Vision)
Aaj Shanibar (RSS Disco's Vision) is one of those tracks whose futuristic tendencies overpasses its own ludic and experimental sonorous fundaments. Despite its structural simplicity, the overwhelming rhythm of the song is amazingly beautiful and marvelously contagious, virtually impossible to ignore. With an impressive pattern of inspirational excellence that surpasses the eccentricity of its own incomparable level of audacity and originality, this song definitely embraces a new category of musical sensibility, whose erudite intricacy revolves around the elements of its own creative twilight.
6º Song: Yadava - All The Fills
Despite the fact that this is a more simple tune, All The Fills has a pervasively defined melody, that overcomes its own consistent and playful rhythm. With a colorful and dynamic vibe that circulates under the sensibilities of its profoundly vivacious – almost disco grooves –, the harmonies that pulsates between the lines connects the invisible spaces that tangentially fluctuates over a selection of diluted horizons, compressing restrained variations of abrasive tonalities, that persistently breathes over the cohesive lines that overflows abundantly from this exceedingly proverbial, catchy and nostalgic track.
7º Song: Flaurese - Midnight Paradigm
A beautiful track that departs from the melodic epicenter of its own sidereal, but anatomically condensed rhythmic beat, the melody is a graceful disposition of continuous overflow, that eventually resigns itself to a diffusive and mordacious tune. Although displaying a predictable degree of homogeneity after the first few seconds, this song overcomes the elemental paradigm of a futuristic dance composition, that revolves around its own epiphany of exotic splendor.
8º Song: Dave Mathmos - Your Love (Contemporary Soul Mix)
A marvelous and deeply wonderful track – the best in this list, in my modest opinion – whose incredible and uplifting melodies pulsates according exceedingly peculiar, exotic and colorful qualities, this fantastic version of Your Love, by Dave Mathmos, is a sagacious, groovy and highly exceptional embodiment of a legitimate urban anthem.
With fabulous and graceful tropical disco tonalities, the highly baritone vocals, complemented with the splendidly tuned female voices, are wonderfully sidelined by the effective rhythms of a sensational musical symphony, that wanders within a universe of poetic elegance that definitely achieves the highest standards of the genre.
9º Song: Naux & Aladdin! - 2 3 8 6
This more flavored and delicate tune displays an elegant and soft sensibility, whose melodies live by the plain intensity of its organic and attentive timing. Despite its structural simplicity, the song has a cohesive and lucid musical majesty, whose graciousness effectively highlights its somewhat pristine, serene and jazzy qualities.
10º Song: Lucien & The Kimono Orchestra - Fresh Start (Folamour Remix)
A very nice, flexible and splendorous track, this remix version of Fresh Start has an imponderable and versatile rhythm, that graciously revolves around the peripheral harmonies of the song. With an exceptional conjuncture of organic musical ordinances that completely rejuvenates the dance elements of the song, this festive and sensible combination of melodies definitely makes this track an overall evolution into the alternative futurepop music scene.
11º Song: Paula Tape – Agua Congas
An interesting song by Chilean singer Paula Tape, Agua Con Gas – they probably put the title wrong, this should mean “Sparkling Water” –, this track has an interesting colorful electronic upbeat, that definitely energizes the harmonies in a very effervescent, exhilarating and festive atmosphere. Although the lack of variation does diminish its potential groove, the dynamic conjuncture between the harmonies is excellent, and the bass line that holds the melodies altogether is as marvelously hallucinating as it is technically prudent, remaining cohesive and efficient all the way through.
12º Song: Nesta – Dance With Me
A wonderful track, that has majestic sax grooves marvelously introduced into the song’s rhythm, Dance With Me has graceful and exhilarating nostalgia elements, that reverberates in a dynamic dissonance into the astoundingly diluted atmosphere of the harmonies. Definitely a sensational song – despite its overall simplicity –, the gracious fashion of its splendidly rhythmic vibes features a mostly jazzy impressionistic groove, that is formidably catchy and unique.
13º Song: Tabala – Tabala Mouv (Aroop Roy Rework)
With a tropical and very eccentric upbeat, this track combines several distinct elements into a cohesive musical context, where a dynamic mosaic of very colorful notes brings together the vividness of technical splendor. With its essence departing almost from a mambo rhythmic pragmatism, the song displays a lucid and salutary sonorous fragrance, that contributes to revitalize the consistence of its own circular harmonious diagram.
14º Song: Llewellyn – San Junipero
A great electro tune that reverberates at the epicenter of its own eccentric harmonies the grace of a dense musical layout – despite being a little repetitive –, San Junipero has an ambient vibe that ostensibly detaches from its sensibilities the general fortunes of electronica, while at the same time evidently displaying a loyal visibility to the most recognizable elements of the genre.
15º Song: Trippin Fox – Flutin
An interesting song with a very psychedelic and colorful vibe, Flutin has a beautiful harmonious base, that condensates its vibrating musical tonalities, while reverberating extensively in line with the gracious melodies that undertakes the density of its rhythm. Almost hallucinatory at certain points, definitely Flutin has a peculiar and exceptional charm, that vividly explores the vicinities of its own creative sonorous platform.
So before I take a nostalgic trip along impossible romance avenue, I'll admit that my biggest crush ever has been Christina Ricci. Her appearance in movies like The Adams Family and Monster haunted my romantic daydreams. Then again, I think she was every dark soul's wet dream. But, like I mentioned, this list is for the musical crushes, equally unreachable, obviously.
I was fifteen years old when this song was released. Back then we had a video recorder which I used to record my favorite video clips. This song and 'Heaven Is A Place One Earth' were on all of those tapes. I was a young rocker so I loved the guitars on these tunes, but - obviously - I loved to look at Belinda Carlisle even more.
Two years earlier, my preference towards redheads was being born. When Tiffany released a rework of the 1967 Tommy James & The Shondells hit 'I Think We're Alone Now', my pubes started growing, for real!!! Later on I started to despise everything electronic and artificial, so no Samantha Fox, Sabrina or Kylie for me.
Wendy & Lisa
Prince knew to pick the women for his backing band. I was thirteen when 'Waterfall' came out so the ladies were above the legal age limit, but that didn't stop me from shaking my behind on this fine piece of music.
What's better than one woman? Yes, four women. Four women who can shred their guitars, bang their drums and sing their lungs out. I guess early nineties is where I truly decided to become a rock fan. I quickly lost interest in the hair metal style but these girls did inspire me to look back in time, to rockers before the eighties.
Ok ok, I admit, Tia Carrere is an actress but look at this, swinging the bass and The Sweet's 'Ballroom Blitz' in every rocker's favorite movie (before School Of Rock), Wayne's World. Sweet.
Who, you might ask? Well, since we're on the topic of both Asian women ànd female bass players, this girl stole my heart somewhere in the nineties or so. She and her band Melt Banana also stole my eardrums and my knowledge that music has boundaries.
Ann & Nancy Wilson
When 'Barracuda' was released I was merely three years old, but thanks to the magic of MTV and the record collection of the local library, I eventually got acquainted with rock legends Heart. I was a massive fan of their 'Alone' hit, but 'Barracuda' is simply a stunning rock song.
Around my eighteenth birthday, 'Human Behavior' by Icelandic sirene Björk came out. Gone was my disregard towards electronic music. Of course, I knew her for her work with Sugarcubes. Oh well, yeey, Björk.
During my metal and goth phase the girls in the audience became more important than the ones on stage. Although Siouxsie, Sharon Den Adel and Elizabeth Fraser were talented women in their own right, I chased the goth girls. That changed when Arch Enemy put Angela Gossow behind the microphone. Suddenly death metal was sexy again, without losing the balls. Awesome.
Anneke Van Giersbergen
However, in all my metallic history, my upper-crush has been Anneke Van Giersbergen and her breathtaking work with The Gathering. In my opinion, Anneke embodied not only the enchanting vocals of what we called gothic metal, but also the "naturel" and maturity of a seasoned artist. Today, she is married to one of the drummers of my all-time favorite band, Rob Snijders of Kong. That's one fine musical marriage in The Netherlands.
Right, those were some of my teens & twenties crushes. You can comment yours below, or not, I don't mind.
A Selection by Wagner Hertzog
Black metal is one of my favorite musical genres, and always will be. I really can’t recollect precisely when I became an enthusiast of the genre, but it was decades ago. I was introduced to it when I was a teenager – in the mid-nineties – but back then, my favorite genre was death metal. Nevertheless, I grew to be deeply appreciative of black metal, as well as all of its subgenres. So much so, that here you will find everything, from raw black metal, atmospheric black metal and melodic black metal to epic black metal and DSBM.
For many reasons, I’ve deliberately included on this list of my favorite BM albums only very underground bands, that aren’t really well known, even to the most ardent enthusiasts of the genre. You will notice that I haven’t included on this list albums of “mainstream” bands and artists, like Emperor, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Darkthrone or Mayhem. I have done that deliberately. For many reasons, I’ve became tired of notorious “mainstream” acts of the genre, and I also don’t think they need to be highlighted nor publicized, because everybody that are into the genre knows them.
But the strongest motive comes from the fact that I developed for a long time now a passion for discovering “new” bands and acts that I refer to as “the underground of the underground”, so to speak – literally, bands and artists that are exceedingly marvelous, but aren’t well known outside a very restricted fan base. Since a lot of them really has formidable albums released, I think it’s always useful to give these bands and artists more visibility. Also, I became a little tired of the “mainstream”, since the vast majority of the groups cited above has completely fallen into a latent sonorous predictability: the bands that are still active keep releasing the same albums time after time, over and over again. In the underground, on the other hand, you can always find something new and interesting, even if it’s an old album, from a band that is no longer active, but fall into the category of a relatively unknown group. Additionally, there are always new, refreshing bands and artists coming out every day, and a lot of them are competent enough to deserve a chance on the spotlight. And new albums from old, veteran bands – that are relatively obscure – that are releasing new material with more or less frequency.
So, I sincerely hope you find my selection interesting. Be free to emphasize or criticize! The important thing is to maintain black metal – one of the most beautiful genres ever conceived – in constant evidence, ever.
It’s important to reiterate that the albums selected here are in no particular order. Just because Minas Morgul, by Summoning, is in the first place, and Unbound, by Sargeist, is the last, doesn’t mean that I prefer the first album. Just because I, by Fuath, comes before Arousal, by Donarhall, doesn’t mean that I prefer the Fuath album. The albums are in this order because they just are. I haven’t selected them in order of preference. I love all these albums equally.
1 – Summoning - Minas Morgul
Minas Morgul is a formidable and highly original epic black metal album, with brightly circumspect atmospheric elements, as well as – to a minor degree – neo-folk arrangements, released in 1995, by Austrian band Summoning, which is active since 1993.
With eleven tracks – Soul Wandering, Lugburz, The Passing of the Grey Company, Morthond, Marching Homewards, Orthanc, Ungolianth, Dagor Bragollach, Through the Forest of Dol Guldur, The Legend of the Master-Ring and Dor Daedeloth –, Minas Morgul is an aggrandizing, genuine and wonderful album, with a splendorous sound reminiscent of epic battles, medieval times, chivalry, loyalty, deposed kings and lost realms. The sensible, elusive guitar lines, the dream-like nostalgia harmonies, the glorious melodies evocative of once iridescent kingdoms forgotten in the dust of time, are precisely combined altogether to deliver a work of incomparable sonorous artistry, that deserves to be appreciated for decades to come, and to be passed away to the younger generations fond of the subgenre. This album is exceedingly marvelous, being amazingly excellent from the beginning until the end. Song after song after song, this awesome masterpiece delivers one of the best exemplars of epic black metal you will ever be able to appreciate in your life!
2 – Anti – The Insignificance of Life
While at the beginning, this work can sound rough and harsh, being an exponentially virulent, indulgent, aggressive, obscure and sinister album – that flirts discreetly with DSBM –, progressively, the record reveals more soft and versatile nuances, that gradually reveals a more complex and ambitious pattern of artistry.
Anti is a band from Germany, that was active from 2003 to 2014, and regrouped in 2018. The Insignificance of Life was originally released in 2006, with six tracks: Nothing, Landscape in Minor, Invocation, Farewell (Escape into Beyond), Zero Point and Mourning Soul. A posterior re-issue had the additional tracks: Perished, Death into Life and Longing for the End. Despite the lugubrious atmosphere of the album, the musical framework also carries on a beautiful poetic density, reflexive melodies and intonations, and at certain times, very philosophic and sensible undertones. As an album that begins aggressively, but slowly becomes more humane, deeply existential and melancholic, The Insignificance of Life is in no rush to reveal itself as an imponderable and unexpected masterpiece to its audience. On the contrary, its latent, but patient atmosphere proves to be another one of its many qualities.
3 – Fleurety – Min Tid Skal Komme
Despite being relatively unknown, Fleurety is a veteran Norwegian black metal act, active since the early nineties (so it is a reminiscent of the classic Norwegian scene). Although their sound evolved along the years to be more progressive and avant-garde – with some brief stints of power metal discreetly placed onto their musical atmosphere as well – they started playing traditional black metal. This marvelous album was originally released in 1995, and already displays the group flirting with more melodic, versatile and flexible musical elements, although maintaining its creative nucleus ostensibly engraved on lunar BM ferocity.
Almost forty-five minutes long, the record has five relatively extensive tracks: Fragmenter av en fortid, En skikkelse i horisonten, Hvileløs?, Englers piler har ingen brodd and Fragmenter av en fremtid. With the predominance of poetic, though somber and melancholic harmonies, Min Tid Skal Komme is a beautiful and graceful work of art, that definitely has on the apex of its consecrated virtuosity a lucid and proverbial sense of originality, that enabled this fantastic and gracefully consistent BM act to conceive a very singular and precious work of art.
4 – Azerlath –...Medieval Art
…Medieval Art, originally released in 1998, is the only album by French black metal band Azerlath. A splendorous, vivid and fantastic work – with perfect guitar lines sustaining a graceful horizon of versatile and vivaciously resonant harmonies – the record has eleven tracks: The March of the Lost Souls, Nightside Aura, The Leaf, Melody of the Forest, Snow Covered Land, Svart, Northward, After the Rain, The Stream and the Lake, An Ode for a Frozen Night and When All Will End.
Flirting with virtuous melodies and ascendant rhapsodies of graceful cohesion, the general style displayed by the band are a colorful and proverbial convergence of organic elements, exploding on floating waves of synchronic cosmic dissonances, that perfectly revolves around a lucid conjuncture of preponderant qualities, consistently inserted as a sensitive layout to mostly beautiful and poetic songs.
Largely drawing its magnificent tonalities from the expansive grace of its creative vortex, …Medieval Art is a proficient, mature and fabulous record, that definitely has consecrated the genre to a more vigorous, robust and genuine sense of artistry, elevating the standards of black metal to a splendidly dynamic, elegant and sophisticated scale.
5 – Austere – To Lay Like Old Ashes
To Lay Like Old Ashes was the last album released by Austere, an Australian black metal act active for approximately five years, between 2005 and 2010. A formidable, elegant and versatile record, this work has passionate and consistent melodies, that flirts extensively with DSBM, which explains it’s graciously melancholic, macabre and depressive nature. Exceedingly exceptional at some points, the record, almost fifty-five minutes long, has six relatively extensive tracks: Down, To Fade With The Dusk, This Dreadful Emptiness, To Lay Like Old Ashes, Just For A Moment... and Coma II.
The first song, To Fade With The Dusk – Down is just a brief intro – is absolutely marvelous, and embodies the fragile and fractured, but renitent and sagacious essence that drove the band’s astute, lucid and creative musicality, for the entirety of its short career, but more prominently on this album. With precise guitar lines, and a sensible perception of the spectral void that surrounds the human race, the song revitalize with sincere and flexible splendor the tempestuous dissonances and the tragic abysses that are inherent to our existential disgrace. The last song, the monumental and epic Coma II, features derisive and depressant guitar lines, that obliterates the emptiness that beholds its complacent serenity, with the hyperbolic consecration of a fatalist calmness, that revolves around a despondent perception of reality.
With abundant and dilated virtues, that converges to a highly concentrated and energized – but dark – musical atmosphere, Austere displays a pungent, yet profoundly humane style, which makes this record to be a gracefully unique work of art, that definitely standardizes its singularity by the elegant proclivities and unexpected versatility displayed all the way through.
6 – Koldyssey – Under The Moonlight Rising
Under The Moonlight Rising is an album released recently, on November 11. Work of an atmospheric black metal act named Koldissey – personal project of an Australian musician better known by the alias of Baelathvan, which is the creative force behind another BM endeavors like Ascensions Fall and Farrore –, this record is relatively concise. Only thirty-six minutes long, it has seven tracks: Equipoise, Under the Moonlight Rising, Dream Scars, Koldyssey (interlude), Lights Vestige, Night Shades and Ascent of the Black Moon.
A singular record, whose melodies rely primarily on extensive, diluted and somber atmospheres, Under The Moonlight Rising is almost a collection of melancholic serenades, whose impulsive and primordial daydreams conducts into the everlasting fog of a delusional existence an indulgent and desperate search for lost forgotten realms – whose glorious past was filled by the solicitude of heroic and brave virtues –, that were unmercifully reduced to nothing, by the indifferent dust of history. In Under The Moonlight Rising, the artist somehow seems predisposed to revitalize in the rapture of its monumental harmonies the fugacious splendor that is no longer present. Since the world has fallen on the dubious darkness of lugubrious shadows, all that we have is harmonies that maybe the only reminiscent of those splendorous times.
7 – Witcher – Boszorkánytánc
Atmospheric black metal from Hungary, Witcher is active since 2010, and Boszorkánytánc was released the following year, in 2011. With a great emphasis on atmosphere – conceived in subtle, though masterly slower, nefarious and somber tonalities – the vocals are grounded on traditional black metal, while instrumentally the duo explores more dense, gratuitous and perceptive melodies, with post-classical influences. While their musical layout can be inarguably defined as very simple, the songs are beautiful and consistent, and their method is ostensibly shaped in a coherent, versatile and graceful style.
If you are into atmospheric black metal, you may not be impressed at all by this work, but undoubtedly, their qualities cannot be denied. They know how to elaborate, sustain and expand dispersive, but at the same time allegorical, diluted and elegant dark symphonies, that are much more grounded on melancholy and sentimental poetry, than generic sinister despondencies. This work have soul and sensibility, and Witcher deals with the general limitations of the genre with flexible virtuosity. Originally conceived as a demo, Boszorkánytánc is forty-two minutes long, so it can be defined – taking the extension into consideration – as a full length album.
8 – Cân Bardd – Nature Stays Silent
An exciting, splendorous and marvelous work, Nature Stays Silent is an album released this year, in March 30, by Swiss epic and melodic black metal act Cân Bardd. A very extensive record – seventy minutes long – the work has eight tracks: Introduction, My Ancestors, An Evolving Painting, Méditation Glaciale, Underwater, Océan, Abîme and A Gift for Nature.
With formidable melodies, and amazingly overwhelming epic elements, exceedingly grounded in mythology and folklore, the style of Cân Bardd is indebted to an intuitive sense of musical grandeur, stylish majesty and rapture, that makes each of its masterful symphonies a monumental tale of everlasting realms of splendor, full of sensibility and grandiloquent artistry. With kings being deposed, chevaliers rescuing the honor of lost dynasties, and ancient Celtic tribes being remembered by the vitality of its salutary resistance against exterior enemies, the music of Cân Bardd – abundant on Viking and folk metal elements as well – is a vivid story of passionate and sentimental nostalgia, whose horizon contemplates the graceful eternity of splendid lost times.
With a poetic and noble sound, the virtuosity of Cân Bardd is everywhere on this album. Consecrating to the subgenres of epic and melodic black metal a monumental quality that becomes its most valuable triumph, whose sound reverberates the intensity of its grace by the ethereal dimensions of its marvelous, poetic and lucid harmonies, Nature Stays Silent is a wonderful sonorous journey throughout a marvelous world of bards, hereditary kingdoms, heroic tradition and sincere grace, completely devoid of unnecessary superficialities and vanities. Definitely, it’s a majestic album, that aggregates fantastic perspectives into these wonderful subgenres.
9 – Falls of Rauros – The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood
Released in 2011, The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood is the second full-length album by American melodic black metal band Falls of Rauros, active since 2005. A graceful and very interesting work of art, that explores the subtlety of melancholic and depressant harmonies with a severely lugubrious atmosphere – despite the dynamic virtues of their vivacious sonorous layout –, the music of the group is characterized primarily by a dense and virtuous cosmogony of everlasting, but crucially humane despondency.
With sensational, abrasive, pungent and creative guitar lines, the general pace of the music is calm, mature and serene, but has a profound, dissonant and fatalist glory, reminiscent of indefinite and fantastic landscapes full of gray haze and lost emotional conflicts. All songs on this album are gracefully elegant and imaginative, full of qualitative elements that embrace a consistent and fabulous virtuosity, that easily expands its exceptionally vibrant sensibilities to all the potentialities upon which its vast and intuitive melodies were conceived. Falls of Rauros has on this album a marvelous triumph, that easily manages the strength of its genuine style, full of originality, splendor and furious vitality.
10 – Fuath – I
I, released on February 1st, 2016, is the debut – and so long, only – album by Fuath, an atmospheric black metal project conceived by Scottish musician Andy Marshall. Forty-one minutes long, the record has four extensive tracks: In the Halls of the Hunter, Blood, The Oracle and Spirit of the North.
With vast, cohesive and exceedingly rapid melodies, highly suggestive of dramatic imagery – like everlasting anthems that echoes in the night, perfunctorily revolving around the conflagration of sinister flames that mysteriously burns surrounded by the infinite darkness of a forest conceived by the drastic loneliness of an unknown isolationist conscience –, the general harmonies of this work were elaborated in objective elegance, consistence and splendor, despite the fact that its passionate subjectivity also consecrates to the imagination a realm of possibilities that wanders around the imperative solitude of a universe lost in the glorious storms of all human despondencies. The guitar lines are exceedingly dynamic, and gives to the listener an impressionistic repertoire of poetic symphonies, that definitely filters the solitary emptiness upon which our ordinary sensibilities are confined.
Displaying a visceral artistic grandiosity all the way through, I, by Fuath, is a formidable and genuine work, that engraves the singular style of the artist in the listener’s mind with evasive strength. While its pungent and abrasive guitar lines creates a nefarious world of unknown demise, the melodies are crystallized with a gracious beauty, that definitely qualifies this album as a fundamental milestone of the subgenre.
11 – Donarhall – Arousal
An album that starts with pungent and aggressive, but moderately restrained and dynamic melodies, driven by torrid and cohesive guitar lines, Arousal was released on September 8, by Donarhall, a melodic and profoundly authorial black metal project by a German musician, known only by the alias of Gnev.
A very graceful and consistent work – full of melancholic and splendid melodies –, its impressive how Donarhall evolved musically, since the time Gnev released the project’s first album, Misanthrope (that I’ve personally evaluated, as you can read here), in January 2017, which was, indeed, a tasteless and ordinary work, almost to the point of mediocrity, pervasively marked by sameness, generic passages and sonorous commonalities.
Forty minutes long, Arousal is more concise and dynamic – though more stylistically ambitious and mature –, despite the fact that has only four long tracks: Drowsiness, Incubus, Apathy and Lethargy. Although the titles are incredibly suggestive, and they do transmit the respective feelings upon which each song is named – except, of course, for Incubus – this Donarhall album is anything but tedious, conventional or homogeneous. Despite the fact that the melodies sounds mostly evasive, cynic, diluted and somber, there is an organic vitality hidden in the harmonies, that makes the sound exceedingly beautiful and fascinating. With a robust creative strength and a genuinely elegant audacity, this album really sounds as a virtuous and relevant artistic triumph. It’s an indication that Gnev is evolving as a musician, and definitely has potential to surprise his audience with more excellent work in the future, the way he did on this magnificent album.
12 – Kult – The Eternal Darkness I Adore
The Eternal Darkness I Adore is the third album by Italian black metal band Kult, released in September 14, by German label Folter Records. Forty-four minutes long, the record has nine tracks: Intro, The Eternal Darkness I Adore, Pandemonium, Black Drapes, Reaping The Flock, Canticle Of Thorns, Hopestrangler, Gruesome Portrait and Devourer Of The Night.
A marvelously good, raw, traditional black metal album – though with a high fidelity production of superior quality, that makes the sound more clear and defined –, The Eternal Darkness I Adore is an intelligent, audacious and impeccable work, that very subtlety, plays with crust punk elements in a few select passages, but always with latent mordacity, never losing sight of its profoundly sinister, excruciating and lancinating BM stylish grandiloquence.
With a brutal and aggressive sound – abundant on abrasive and tempestuous guitar lines –, that concomitantly remains precisely elegant and rapturous, the music developed by Kult is thoroughly expansive and consistent. Definitely, this album can be qualified as mature, sensible and sophisticated traditional black metal, conceived by the strongest virtues of an authorial, genuine and punctual creativity.
13 – Severoth – When The Night Falls…
Atmospheric black metal from Ukraine, Severoth is a project active for more than a decade now – since 2007 –, and When The Night Falls…, released this year, is the most recent work from this marvelous one man musical endeavor.
With incisive, but soft and poetic harmonies, When The Night Falls… is a group of beautiful symphonies, aligned altogether in a mosaic of insurgent magnificence. Despite being a little less versatile than other acts in the genre, Severoth has a remarkable style, and a gracious and cohesive musicality. With a delicate splendor, that flirts discreetly with the most somber conflagrations of human nature, this work features prominently dissonant and almost folkloric keyboards, that masterly conceives colorful worlds of melancholic and petrified solitude, whose terribly ancient, but visceral disappointment towards existence drives despair to an ultimate darkness, that will be forever lost in the sands of time.
A truly poetic and profound work, When The Night Falls is a glorious enchantment, that every enthusiast of atmospheric BM will enormously enjoy and appreciate.
14 – Utstøtt – Járnviðr
Despite the name, Utstøtt is an American black metal project, from the state of Oregon. Another album released this year – this one very recently, on October 15 –, Járnviðr is sixty-five minutes long, and has six extensive tracks: Járnviðr, Sköll og Hati, Dunkelheit (Burzum Cover), Angrboða, Fenrir and Frykt. With an interesting style, displaying an aggressive, lugubrious and more traditional black metal – though intelligently, but discreetly, without excesses, blended with epic and Viking metal elements – the music of Utstøtt is a formidable reinvigoration of the genre’s old school qualities, adorned with more lucid, singular and elegant harmonies.
The aggressiveness and the rapid pace of the songs are outstanding qualities on this work. The fluid and dynamic features of the melodies – beautifully consecrated by refined, but pervasively abrasive guitar lines – creates an organic structure within the songs that makes them exceedingly vivacious, cohesive and alive, as a colorful diagram of planetary symphonies receiving the elementary conditions of reality in a more proverbial and distinct configuration of sensibilities. With a formidably original outlook, and a quintessential creative visionary disposition, the general style of Utstøtt in Járnviðr is simply sensational, splendorous, and filled with an inimitable grandiosity.
The cover of Burzum, Dunkelheit, deserves to be highlighted. Although too similar to the original, this version is spectacularly beautiful, and comes charged with a sentiment of nostalgia that definitely will remind you the glorious days of the genre. Displaying a vastly genuine and inventive ordeal, Járnviðr, by Utstøtt, is a magnificent, consistent and very peculiar album, that proves all the way through – in every minute of it – why deserves to be recognized as one of the best black metal records ever released.
15 – Sargeist – Unbound
Last, but not least, Unbound is another relatively recent album. Released by W.T.C.Productions on October 11 – the fifth work by Finnish legendary black metal act Sargeist –, Unbound is a furious and lancinating musical effort, with ten tracks: Psychosis Incarnate, To Wander the Night's Eternal Path, The Bosom of Wisdom and Madness, Death's Empath, Hunting Eyes, Her Mouth is an Open Grave, Unbound, Blessing of the Fire-Bearer, Wake of the Compassionate and Grail of the Pilgrim.
With a wrathful and ravenous style, in the best raw old school traditional layer – despite the high quality production values –, the heavy and dense atmosphere, the nefarious melodies and the vociferating, but abrasive, meticulous and harmonious guitar lines conceives a panorama of digressive musical stability that perfectly delivers its sonorous cosmogony as a continuous conjuncture of sinister symphonies, compromised with the drastic execution of an everlasting doom. With songs greatly configured in a simple, but dynamic layout that explores the melodic possibilities of its lugubrious tonalities, Unbound not only honors the genre in all of its somber perspectives, but definitely establishes a new horizon of creative and spectacular splendor into the stylistic diagram of its expansive, majestic and grandiose realm of lost anger. Despite its dark and impenitent fury, the songs are marvelously refined, and displays a consistent essence that summarily revolves around the legacy of its own artistic principles. The album sounds impeccably conceived in the afflictive abysses of the human conscience, and with all the vitality of its colossal and mordacious strength, is perfectly sensational, from the beginning until the end.
With exceedingly rapid and aggressive harmonies, definitely, devoted BM enthusiasts will enjoy the implacable and hazardous fury of Unbound, that abundantly dilacerates with insidious devastation each dissonant dimension of its brutal conception of a universe where chaos, darkness and glory rules indistinctly, for the complete demise of the human race.
Well, this is it – at least for now! I hope you have enjoyed my personal selection of favorite black metal albums. You may not have liked everything that is here, but remember, it’s my list. Nevertheless, I will definitely love to read your opinions – positive or negative – about it. Thank you for your attention, and see you soon in the next list!