The progressive underworld of noisy music has had a string of decidedly high-quality years, with countless artists rising from anonymity to transcend the insufferably monotonous routine of modern mainstream music. Trying to keep up with the barrage of quality releases took its toll on the Astral Noize crew in 2017, and we can’t wait to be stressed out by a list of 2018 releases so long it’s physically impossible to listen to them all.
Though artists big and small will undoubtedly surprise us (for better or worse) as the year progresses, here’s a list of the bands we’re expecting big things from in 2018.
The last album from these eccentric, progged-up doomsters is sorely underappreciated, given the immense progression it showed since their debut. Where 2013’s The Calming Influence Of Teeth highlighted their knack for high-quality doom, 2016’s Herb Your Enthusiasm was an even more impressive, sprawling epic filled with original creativity. Blending sludge and doom with prog and psych elements to birth a unique form of muscular prog, Boss Keloid released their best material to date, but with them now bolstered by joining the Holy Roar roster for the release of new album Melted On The Inch, we can only expect even greater things.
The hype surrounding UK four-piece Conjurer has been slowly building ever since their mouth-watering debut EP I gave the world a sample of their immense potential. As at home playing alongside those from the doom and sludge scene as they are the hardcore scene, Conjurer’s dynamic metal holds intense power as well as an intelligent proclivity for post-metal-esque flourishes. Despite an abrasive sound that seems destined for the underground, Conjurer’s volatile style boasts enough crossover appeal to set the metal mainstream alight with upcoming debut album Mire. This is your last chance to get in on the ground floor, check out Conjurer now so you can say you were there at the beginning when they inevitably blow up in the coming months.
So we put Bedwetter’s Vol. 1 on our Top 21 Releases of 2017, but just like that we are already preempting that a new release from Bedwetter could be on 2018’s list after rumours of a new release from the man/entity himself
So, if that is anything to go by then we could have a new project sooner rather than later, and how better to get through the horrors of a new year than listening to your friendly neighbourhood psycho-depressive noize-bard?
Continuing a recent trend arguably popularised by Deafheaven, Aarhus-based band Møl blend blizzardous, swirling black metal guitars and shrill yells with a shoegazey ambience. Equal parts dreamy and intense, the band takes inspiration from the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lantlôs and Alcest, and reminds of the likes of Ghost Bath, though with an even greater proclivity for moments of melodious elegance. The Danish outfit’s debut full-length is due this year and is set to develop upon the already expansive sound found on their two EPs.
Newport based doom trio Haast’s Eagled first came to prominence with their excellent 2013 self-titled, self-released debut back in 2013. The resulting success of that album landed them on arguably the UK’s best modern heavy label, Holy Roar Records, for 2016’s II: For Mankind, which reaffirmed the band as one of the most exciting prospects in the UK scene. Adding more depth and experimentation allowed them to showcase the reasons why Haast’s stand out amongst a crowded and often stagnant UK scene. Astral Noize got the chance to speak to them in Issue 1 following the release of their second album, where we asked about the upcoming third album, due out this year, and were promised “more technicality with less repetition,” along with it being hailed as “the best stuff we’ve ever written”. Watch this space.
Grotesque, bleak and utterly relentless, the cacophonous noise conjured up by these Holy Roar prodigies takes hardcore and merges it with the frenzied grind of Nails and the claustrophobic sludge of Eyehategod. Secret Cutter’s sound is uncompromisingly heavy but retains a latent progressiveness, forging a unique sound out of genres that would seemingly share only a proclivity for hazy brutality. The Pennsylvania group’s new LP is to be sent out for pressing in the new year, so watch this space for more content as and when the album starts to see the light of day.
Having recently spoken with Mike Vest of Bong in our second issue, he spoke of a new record possibly by the end of 2017. As this never came to fruition, we can definitely hope for said record to have a release sometime in 2018.
His aim for of the newest instalment in the Bong saga is to make something inward facing. As Mike puts it, “an inward spiral” – something that explores the internal rather than the outward facing sound of previous records, such as their last, We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been.
Expect the release sometime (hopefully sooner rather than later!) this year.
King Goat’s brand of doom trades in the modern genre’s proclivity for claustrophobic fuzz for a dynamic sound layered by doses of prog. With a sound that ranges from Candlemass-esque moments of dramatic grandeur, led by vocalist Trim, to sinister moments of impending doom, led by guitarist Petro, the Brighton outfit have been quietly rising through the ranks of the doom metal underground since their inception in 2012. Their second full-length, and the follow-up to 2015’s self-released LP Conduit, is due early this year, and will mark a new stage for the band, with them having signed to Aural Music in 2017.
Moving on from their imposing and majestic hour-and-a-half two-part series Zeta Reticuli/Epsilon Aurigae, which came after a significant change in the band’s line-up, French funeral doomsters Monolithe will be releasing Nebula Septum in late January. Undoubtedly looking to continue their inherent proclivity for expansive albums that strike a well-executed balance between moments of soaring melody and those of weighty, devastating metal, the band’s releases are always cause for excitement. The group’s penchant for lengthy tracks imbued with captivating atmospheres results in remarkably grand endeavours, rampant with smatterings of post-metal, dark ambience and occasional industrial undertones.
On debut album آكتئاب , instrumental post-metal outfit Ddent showed themselves as a band with all the tools to transcend the subgenre from which they sprang. The French group’s multi-faceted approach proved a masterclass in progressive, doomy metal, dominated by masterfully executed snail-paced guitars and mesmerising atmospherics. Their hazy textures and hefty riffs often find themselves bolstered by a juxtaposition with elegant melodies, as well as an industrial edge that aids in making the band’s heavier moments that much darker. Their innovative ultra-slow metal will once again see the light of day on upcoming full-length Toro, which has the chance to continue and perhaps even improve upon the group’s already imposing style.
The latest project from eccentric London beatnik Anthoney Hart, East Man – the successor to Hart’s abstracted (and highly acclaimed) project Imaginary Forces – may well be what a revitalized grime scene needs in 2018.
Having moved away Imaginary Forces’ noise-driven abstractions, East Man’s eclectic mixture of industrialized grime, bass and glitchy ‘90s IDM (to put it in a box), dubbed ‘hi tek’ by its originator, conjures up flashbacks to the DIY days of UK pirate radio in it’s primal, buzzing simplicity.
The soon to be unleashed East Man full-length release has anticipated a host of 2018’s soon to be MCs of the year, including up and comers like Darkos Strife, Eklipse and established shellers in Lyrical Strally, Saint P and Killa P to name but a few, his upcoming release and inevitable nights/sessions are set to be a fucking madness.
Of all the bands on this list, Conan probably need the least introduction. The Liverpudlian trio have risen to the top of the UK doom metal underground, and contributed to the scene not only through their three albums of bruising ‘caveman battle doom’ but also through bassist Chris Fielding’s extensive work as a producer and frontman Jon Davis’ Black Bow Records, not to mention the group’s own Skyhammer Studios, which has become an integral part of the UK scene.
Electric Wizard have roamed the UK as undisputed rulers of the doom scene for the better part of two decades, but as their reputation begins to waver after the mixed reaction to 2017’s Wizard Bloody Wizard, a solid new full-length from Conan in 2018 could see them take their place at the top of the pyramid of doom.
Vein’s brand of forward-thinking, grind-ridden hardcore seemed to capture the attention of the masses for no particular reason in 2017, given that their latest release was taken from their half of a split with Gif From God at the tail-end of 2016. Perhaps word of mouth is still a powerful tool, but either way, something finally clicked, and fans of all things heavy were blown away by the four tracks the Massachusetts group conjured for the split. A debut full-length is expected in 2018, so be prepared to have your head caved in by bludgeoning hardcore riffs steeped in experimental flavours so out-there it borders on avant-hardcore.
Words: George Parr, Rich Lowe, Tom Kirby, David Brand