Symbol – Shadow Harvesting (Holodeck / Light Lodge)
Christopher Royal King of This Will Destroy You exorcising his inner psyche with this solo debut as Symbol. On the surface this could be just another synth record, a drop in the overflowing barrel of New Agey revival, but King takes this shit to the next level, if only due to the additional instruments he brings to the table, he’s got harmonium (which is an instant win obviously), singing bowls, hammered dulcimer, bowed cymbals, tape manipulation (another “fuck yes”), and guitar, all processed to heaven and back, giving this gorgeous beast a rare richness, full blown bliss that’s overworked and overdone to perfection, simple subtle drones that drift like dust in the sun, burnt static & soaring melodies opening new doors in your mind, falling apart as soon as you grab ahold of it, euphoric but not overwhelming, truly fantastic work that sounds all the better on wax.
Troller – Winter (Holodeck / Light Lodge / Living Tapes)
Ok, first of all, that album art is totally bitchin but not at all an accurate representation of the music, or at least, not your first reaction to it. This isn’t psych, garage, metal, or whatever. Not at all. Second of all, I’ve been jamming this 100% for many months now, since Holodeck & Light Lodge released the vinyl (Living Tapes originally released the tape back in ’11) but for some terrible reason I never found myself compelled to write it up on AGB. This is hands down one of my favorite fucking records I found this year and the non-metal album I’ve listened to most. I honestly can’t get enough of this. It’s some strange & beautiful drone/pop/darkwave hybrid with the deepest buzzing bass lines, catchy as fuck synth melodies, and haunted Cocteau Twinsy vocals that soar through the midnight fog, totally unintelligible and perfectly melodramatic, this is graveyard hallucination pop that takes your emotions on a joyride right off a fucking cliff, interspersed with short droned windswept drifts to catch your breath in between the suffocatingly thick goth anthems, I could cry every time this lady epically yells (yup) at the peak of Mount Pop on “Winter,” goddamn this album is pure bittersweet darkpop perfection, I can’t even fucking handle it, I love it, I think I’m gonna marry it.