Confessions of a Music Blogger: Top Five Releases I Should Have Reviewed in 2018

One of my many resolutions for 2019 is to write more album reviews — not the “Listening Lately” kind that just have blurbs about four or five albums, but real, in-depth reviews.  But since it’s still 2018, here are blurbs on five albums that I should have sat down and written long reviews for, but didn’t.  Click Play on the embedded music for some worthwhile punk, folk, sludge, and stoner metal!

5. The Ratz/Damn BroadsS/T (Split)

Local punk bands with chicks in them, who sent me a nice email?  I should have been all over that.  Released November 8th, the split offers three minute-and-a-half assaults from Torrington’s Damn Broads and three similarly brief offerings from Elm City punks The Ratz.  If you want to kick beer bottles and throw your fists in the air for about eight minutes, pick up this split on vinyl or digital download:

4.  WolftoothS/T

Released in January, I picked up Wolftooth’s self-titled album on Black Friday when they were kind enough to set downloads to “name your price” on bandcamp.  The midwestern outfit’s NWOBHM-tinged, bluesy doom takes an epic turn with songs like “Sword of My Father,” “Huntress,” and “Seasons of the Witch.” Fans of New Haven locals Bone Church would do well to check them out:

3.  Hollow LegCivilizations

Civilizations is Hollow Leg’s fourth album and will be released by Argonauta Records; it doesn’t come out until January 25th, 2019, so technically I still have time to do these Florida sludge dealers some justice.   Described in their press release as “an enormously toned groove engine” and a “demented sludge behemoth,” Hollow Leg wants you to know they live large.  But it’s the contrasts with quiet songs like “Dirt Womb” that make their big riffs seem even more earth-shaking.  Have a listen to the single “Hunter and the Hunted,” shared recently on Doomed and Stoned:

2. HekateTotentanz

I heard the title track back in May and vowed to “give their upcoming album a closer listen.”  Well, that didn’t happen.  Prophecy Productions released the German neo-folk band’s sixth album, which combines medieval, folk, and classical music with Romanticism and modern instrumentation.  The result is a fairy-tale dreamscape of that is at once life-affirming and a reminder of our mortality.  For instance, the creepy track “Totentanz,” which means dance of death, is appropriately followed on the album by “Spring of Life.”  Life, uh, finds a way…  And this album is really otherworldly and cool!

1.  SleepThe Sciences

I’m coming out of the closet here: I’m not into Sleep.  I’ve listened to them.  I’ve seen them live.  I’ve listened to them again.  They seem like cool guys and I understand why they’re a big deal, but they’re just not my bag.  I also don’t really smoke weed.

However, there was no way Alternative Control could ignore the seminal band’s surprise 4/20 release of their first album in fifteen years…  Not wanting to decimate my “stoner metal musician and blogger” cred, I passed this review off to my fellow blogger Christopher Baldwin — who despite also not smoking weed, did enjoy the album.  Read his review here!

Somewhat related: my little brother Chris, who is not a metal head at all, once hung out with Matt Pike at Psycho Las Vegas.  While his boring older sister was sleeping, he went down to the bar and saw this average-looking middle aged man surrounded by throngs of beautiful women.  Not wanting one grizzled dude to have all the chicks to himself, my brother went to investigate.  He ended up having some beers with the guy and telling him how his (sleeping — oh!) sister was covering the festival and he was tagging along.  The guy says, “I’m Matt Pike, ask her if she knows about Sleep.”

Ohhhhhhh….. #rimshot  I’ll have to catch ya next time, Matt!  In the meantime, maybe I should start sending my brother out to do band interviews.  Thanks for reading and have a great 2019!

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