Wednesday, December 11, 2013

End of year report 2013 Part 1: EPs

Another year, another bout of end-of-year lists; it’s been an established tradition for a long time. It’s common knowledge that our homosapien ancestors survived the harsh winter debating their favourite LPs when not hunting for meat in the wilds. Much like last year’s list making extravaganza, this will be divided over three days with the top Irish releases coming soon over on CVLT Nation.

Today’s first instalment is EPs with demos and splits tomorrow and of course, albums on Friday.

05: Steve Gibbs & Cyrus Reynolds – In Passing
Steve Gibbs was an unfamiliar name around these parts until these EP with London based composer Cyrus Reynolds popped up during the summer. Largely electronic and ambient driven, In Passing is terse but still beautifully rich in melody and layered with many different ideas. The only complaint that could be levelled against In Passing is that it’s far too short.

04: Refraction – Helixian
Returning from an absence after the release of 2011’s self-titled, Refraction released this brief new EP, Helixian that, while short, is still bustling with ideas, trying its hand at a couple of new things. These new things mostly come in the form of vocals. Though scant, they’ve added a whole new dimension to the band and while the self-titled didn’t cry out for the addition of vocals, standing very much on its own, Helixian’s heavily melodic compositions work a treat with vocals, showing up on the second and fourth tracks respectively.

03: A Pregnant Light – Domination Harmony
In the current game of one-man black metal acts with a swift and prolific turnover of releases, A Pregnant Light is certainly in the lead. Last year’s Death My Hanging Doorway topped this very list and this year Damian Master has released another selection of tapes that flirt with other genres, building on a firm foundation of black metal. Where the first tape, The Feast of Clipped Wings, meshed crusty flavours into the din, this EP injects more melody and a post-punk vibe to boot. His releases are typically short, none longer than 30 minutes, and he’s anything but short on ideas; it begs the question of what he could do with the space and freedom that an LP provides.

02: Fuck the Facts – Amer
Canadian grinders Fuck the Facts are usually rather prolific too but after the release of Die Miserable (arguably their best album) and its accompanying EP Misery in 2011, the band stayed pretty focused on just touring until this new EP popped up earlier this year. Amer, translating as bitter, lives up to its name with searing bitter diatribes of melodically tinged grind that’s fairly unmistakeable as Fuck the Facts.

01: Sisters of… – Follow Me as a Ghost
Sisters of… released this debut EP Follow Me as a Ghost in early 2013 but just recently it quickly made its presence felt, mostly due to a sudden purge in PR work behind it. It’s a shame it didn’t happen sooner as Sisters of… deserve many accolades for this EP. Largely instrumental, save for some sparse vocals, Follow Me as a Ghost occupies a similar vein to Cloudkicker and even Scale The Summit, with the focus on dense riffing complemented by airier ambient verses. At 38 minutes, it’s quite a heady dosage for an EP but passes by in a breeze.

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