IN ROTATION: Our most played albums in February 2020

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Another month, another In Rotation. The new TODAY IS THE DAY album arrived near the end and that’s been getting some heavy rotation for me, but that’s not been the whole story. Check below to see what’s been keeping me going through the Prague winter (it’s really not been all that cold).

Today Is The Day – No Good To Anyone
BMG – February 28th,, 2020

It’s been a long wait since 2014’s “Animal Mother” for a new TODAY IS THE DAY album. Having gone through a lot of personal strife (injury, illness, death) Steve Austin and co. deliver probably the most low-key release of the band’s existence. Such things are purely relative though. This is still a frightening, dark stew of avant-garde Metal, with plenty of surprises in store. Steve more often takes an ominous hushed tone in his singing here, and you might be surprised to hear a more Rock than Metal edge to much of this, but this is TODAY IS THE DAY and I’d expect nothing less than the band making a total shift from the last record, and they do it damn well. You can read my full review here.

Ainsoph – ω v
Wolves of Hades – February 2nd 2020

Wooooow where did this come from?? Well the literal answer to that is The Netherlands and the Wolves of Hades label, but what a magical find this has been for me. There’s some little mystery about who exactly AINSOPH are. I’ve been told there’s a close interconnection to people at the label, but I’m happy not to do any more digging and let things stay mysterious. I loved this from the first time I heard it. Elements of Metal (even a flavour of Black Metal), but also Shoegaze, Psychedelic Rock (with some wild, spaced-out soloing) and with beautifully haunting and ethereal vocals on top. The categories are not important though, it’s a thrilling whirlwind of noise and melody, like a sandstorm of diamonds (I guess that would be horrifically deadly actually). You can read my full gushing review here.

Oxbow – Let Me Be A Woman
Crippled Dick Hot Wax! – 1995

I’ve been trying to remember how I first discovered OXBOW. I’m pretty sure it was the fluke of seeing someone mention them in the comments section of another band’s video on youtube some years ago. They’ve since become one of my absolute favourite bands. There is nothing like OXBOW and I can’t even imagine how another band would try to sound like them. Kind of Rock, kind of Metal, very arty, but not in a pretentious way. Jazzy, swinging bass and drums, the primal force of frontman Eugene S. Robinson and the musical mastery of Niko Wenner. In some way Niko’s magic as a guitar player reminds me of Geordie from KILLING JOKE. They don’t sound anything like each other, but both have a somehow minimal and unfancy style and yet they create guitar parts so singular and powerful. I’ve been lucky enough to see the band live a few times and they are something to behold. I’m posting a live video, because you really have to see what this music is coming out of (the second of the two tracks is from their “Serenade In Red” album, and yes, the clothes coming off is standard).

Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Prowling Death Records – April 15th, 2014

It’s funny, I remember buying this the week it came out and going to the park in Cardiff, where I lived at the time to listen to it, sitting on the grass in the sun. I liked it at the time, but for some reason it kind of slipped off my radar for years until I started listening to more TRIPTYKON again recently. What a monster! Such a satisfyingly heavy album. An absolutely gigantic sound, huge, dark, aggressive riffing, blended with passages of more stripped-back, gloomy melancholia. It’s so authentically morose without seeming commicy, and it gets the blood pumping too. A long album, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Great playing allround and Tom G. Warrior sounding on fire. What a great band. We need a new album!!

Coil – Swanyard
Infinite Fog Productions – May 25th, 2019

Hmmm how to describe COIL? Here’s a band to really explore the strangest darkest parts of your psyche with. Formed out of industrial pioneers THROBBING GRISTLE (that means penis by the way) and PSYCHIC TV, first as a solo venture by John Balance and then bringing in Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson as the core essence of the band, COIL made some amazing recordings over their 20 year career. A huge influence on NINE INCH NAILS (who they often remixed), COIL never stayed in one musical place for long. Sometimes ambient, sometimes glitchy, sometimes dabbling in Techno rave culture, always fascinated with the occult and exploring the inner workings of the mind. When Balance tragically died in 2004 the band was no more and when Sleazy died a few years ago the mysterious, cult status of the band was basically preserved against too much dabbling.

“Swanyard” is a vast collection of outtakes from the band circa 93-96, put together by Danny Hyde, who did a lot of work with the band. It isn’t necessarily the best place to start with the band if you aren’t familiar with them, but if you want to go on a journey to the centre of the self, COIL will be a great dark companion.

Oh, Sleazy also had an extensive sideline in directing music videos. Have a look on IMDB some time and laugh at the surprising array of Rock videos that you’d never guess he made for other people.

Tom Boatman

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