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Avant Garde

CVLT Nation’s Top 6
Avant Garde Albums of 2013

6. YOUTH CODE: YOUTH CODE

There have been rumblings across this cybernetic spectrum unsure as to just why exactly it’s Youth Code that has generated such extreme gravitation. They certainly aren’t the first to revitalize a genre. They aren’t children of extreme conditions (although Ryan’s tenure in Carry On may count). They aren’t…whatever else people say they aren’t. So why exactly?  Well, to those bush-league detractors the “reason” is as follows: Ryan George and Sara Taylor bring so much energy they make a cargo-plane crash look tame by comparison.

Youth Code have certainly hit the ground running, releasing and playing virtually non-stop since the quiet premiere of Destroy, Said She on Soundcloud. After a demo cassette and a 7″ on Angry Love Productions, Youth Code bring the total tonal eardrum assault with their self-titled debut. The remastering of tracks that have previously appeared elsewhere gives them enough breathing room to sprawl and unfurl like the wild animal each one of these songs are, while the new material shows extreme growth. From top to bottom this album is a classic.


The first thing you notice about the opening track, “Let The Sky Burn”, isn’t necessarily the sample but it’s completely dance-oriented arrangement, over a drum beat that sounds like a crowbar banged against an air conditioning unit. Youth Code may have been at risk of sounding too on the nose, too scowling, and starting off the album with a club floor metabanger thankfully assuages that notion. Ryan George’s chainsaw-mangled voice could tear down walls and wake the pharoahs. I completely believe him when he screams “I believe in nothing/for too long.” The music builds over distorted circuit-bendings and disorienting samples, catching you up on the terrifying current state of affairs (“the middle class is being wiped out/how can you defend this policy of the deliberate depreciation of our money?”) Strap the fuck in, this is going to be good…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

5. Wolvserpent: Perigaea

Wolvserpent have been around for quite a number of years yet 2013 sees them release only their second full length effort since 2010 saw them change to Wolvserpent after their initial 2005 inception as Pussygutt. The release of their debut Blood Seed had them taking new steps into droned out, doomed landscapes of sound. Last year’s demo Perigaea was only a taste of things to come and Perigaea Antahkarana builds and learns from those initial recordings to become the monstrous and distressing sophomore album that it is today.

Perigaea Antahkarana flows from deeply felt and atmospheric sounds of nature – crows cawing and a fire crackling – laid over a melancholic and rich string sound (Brittany McConnell) that weaves itself around the increasingly claustrophobic noises and a subtle howling wind. “Threshold:Gateway” and its introductory style is a deftly constructed piece; the mystery that it evokes is dangerously sensual and it leads perfectly into the instantly heavy doom of “Within the Light of Fire” which twists and turns with a blackened soul and a sly, heady rhythm…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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4. Corrections House: Last City Zero

The phrase “super-group” needs to be put away. It’s come to the point of overuse that the word has lost all its meaning and appears on any old review that happens to feature two or more members of a band that you might have heard of before.

Take Corrections House for example. They will be called a super-group by many, and perhaps justly. Their personnel includes Neurosis’ Scott Kelly, Sanford Parker of Minsk and Buried At Sea and Bruce Lamont from Yakuza and Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams. However, multiple bands/projects are regular feats for these guys and Last City Zero is the first record under this new guise.

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In many ways, Last City Zero is the sum of its parts. The record is a mixed bag of sounds and moods, jumping from sludgy noise rock to twangy Americana verses that then swan into morose folk, very much recalling Kelly’s solo work. It’s this sort of contrast, and even volatility, that makes Corrections House such a difficult entity to categorize; something that many will insist is a good thing of course…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

3. The Black Heart Rebellion: Har Nevo

The Black Heart Rebellion is a Belgian collective, and Har Nevo is their second full-length. After an impressive debut album, Monologue, which was received well by critics and was based in the composition of massive atmosphere with a hardcore approach, these guys decided to take their art a “little” further, stretching their boundaries.

The Black Heart Rebellion

But let’s cut the crap and talk about their latest effort. “Avraham,” the first of the eight songs compiled in this album, starts with the beautiful sound of wind chimes, mixed with crescendo percussion work, that collides with heavy breathing and finishes with the sung words, inviting all the listeners of The Black Heart Rebellion’s house to share all the “worries” and “sin.” You can see that this makes all the sense in the world, especially when you listen to the full record and you see (understand) all the changes which occur…these guys are trying to find their home, and I’m guessing this will be the work of a lifetime…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

2. JESU: Everyday I Get Closer To the Light from Which I Came

Justin Broadrick is a name that needs little introduction. If you find it’s necessary, go buy every Godflesh record and brush up on your history. However, the wildly prolific Brummie has made Jesu his treasure in the last few years and after a two year wait, we have a new full-length record in the shape of Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came, possibly his finest work under the Jesu moniker yet, which definitely says something.

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For over a decade, Broadrick has been using Jesu as a vessel to mesh his drone, shoegaze, doom and industrial sensibilities, all to supreme effect with zero duds to be found in his back catalogue, and while the backbone of Jesu has remained consistent, each release has tried its hand at different ideas. There was the harsh and crushing Infinity, a single-track 50 minute excursion into the abyss and then there was the meandering doom inflection of the Sun Down / Sun Rise EP or Opiate Sun’s poppy hooks clashing with droning distortion.

Everyday I Get Closer to the Light from Which I Came proves that while Godflesh’s reunion has been unstoppable and Broadrick’s several ambient and electronic projects are churning out records like a mass production factory, he has never lost sight of creating another grand opus with JesuFull CVLT Nation Review HERE!

1. LOCRIAN: Return To Annihilation

And so, it appears Locrian, the longtime masters of Urban Psychedelia, have deemed to announce their arrival at the Relapse stable with possibly their finest work yet. Coming on like the soundtrack for a sci fi epic yet to be made, “Return to Annihilation” is the glorious result of a band who have historically taken a more cerebral approach to heavy music pushing themselves further, without for one second abandoning atmosphere or emotion in the process.

There’s been a vaguely 70’s feel on some of the last few Locrian records, and it’s perhaps made a little more explicit both sonically and conceptually here.

Spectres of prog rock, John Carpenter and Riz Ortolani style soundtrack work, and the pastoral musings of Popol Vuh and Comus flit through the album’s inner workings respectfully, though as per usual the band are still far from plagiaristic. A perfect example is the unexpectedly beautiful opener – take away the distorted, banshee like vocals and it’s sun drenched synths, rolling rhythm section and tasteful interjection of dual guitar is weirdly reminiscent of Peter Gabriel era Genesis at their dreamiest.

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Locrian are masters of the slow build, always have been. “A Visitation From The Wrath Of Heaven” is a long, tense night drive that you know is eventually going to explode, but when it does, it doesn’t make the fireworks any less majestic. “Exiting the Hall of Vapor And Light” begins with an echo of their drone roots, adding evocative and non intrusive guitar lines to create space…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. iamdarkcloud

    December 21, 2013 at 10:38 am

    what no Horseback??!

  2. GANIVETO

    December 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Kayo Dot’s “Hubardo”!

  3. Steven Chapman

    December 20, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I agree with this list wholeheartedly,but Blut aux Nord should have made the cut.

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