Music of the first half of '08
Music’s always good for a filler post or two, right?
In all honesty, there’s only one album and one EP I really see as a standouts so far this year. Those would be Opeth’s Watershed and Agalloch’s The White EP. I always think this about Opeth albums, especially when they first come out, but this one seems to really be standing the test of repeated listens. Ghost Reveries has some great moments, but I just never listen to it. Watershed doesn’t seem to be that kind of album. I immediately liked what I find to be the best moments on that CD. Aside from Coil, I didn’t like anything on Watershed right away. It has its faults, of course. The first third of The Lotus Eater is the best few minutes on the CD and the rest is the worst six minutes on it. There’s too much quiet acoustic then loud distorted guitar – no buildup or working into it (see Porcelain Heart). Still, it’s Opeth (despite some major lineup shuffling), with more silly prog moments and the dynamics and beauty to which we’re accustomed.
Agalloch’s White EP is only a disappointment in that it’s not a full album. Ashes Against The Grain was noticeably lacking in folk-y acoustic parts, despite being a good album. That’s all this EP is and it’s stellar. Now they need to give us a new album.
There are other good releases, but nothing I’m that excited about. A Silver Mt. Zion (this is me not caring what their name really is) has a new one, 13 Blues for 13 Moons, which is good, despite the ever increasing pretentiousness (12 tracks of noise at the beginning of the album? No.). Russian Circles released Station, which is solid, but it’s no Enter. Martriden, a good metal band from Montana (who knew?), released The Unsettling Dark, which is a well-executed melodic blackened death metal album. Fun to listen to, but nothing new (I mean, other than being from Montana and sounding Scandinavian). The Mars Volta released The Bedlam in Goliath, which is an improvement on their last album, but I’m at the point where I really don’t care what they do.
So, in conclusion, I need more new music. I should really grab Portishead’s new one, after being introduced to them just this year. Listening to Orphaned Land reminds me that they really need to release a new album. I’m really hoping the new Dredg album later this year is good (I can’t imagine it won’t be). I very nearly mentioned the new Death Cab for Cutie album up there, but I Will Possess Your Heart can’t make up for their general blandness.