Lambgoat's Top Albums of Quarter 1 2023
Releases from January 1 to March 31, 2023
The first quarter of 2023 is in the books and while we tried to cover as much as possible, there are always plenty more quality records to discuss. Below are a few favorites from the Lambgoat staff that may or maybe not end up on our list at the end of the year. For now, they are at least in the running.
To kick off 2023 these are two albums I surprisingly have given a lot of attention to over the last few months.
Big|Brave: nature morte
As far as Big|Brave is concerned, I'm a late bloomer. It wasn't until last year that I really got into the band, but since then, I've consumed their discography, with a particular focus on A Gaze Among Them from 2019 and Vital from 2021. Robin Wattie's distinct vocal style, which sometimes reminds me of a metal Bjork, coupled with the persistent hum and drone of the guitar and the forceful drumming, can be entrancing for hours. nature motre has embedded itself in my mind like an earworm, and I'm not sure if I want to get rid of it. Side Note: According to Colin, I'm now entering my post-metal phase.
Katatonia: A Sky Void Of Stars
As someone who was never a fan nor followed Katatonia's activities, I am surprised to find their album on my list. Hearing the first single “Austerity” when it dropped in late 2022, was quite intriguing and the off-timing patterns played throughout the song drew me in. Admittedly, the vocals and somewhat cheesy choruses certainly took time to grow on me but now everything about the album has its hooks in my head and for that reason, Sky Void Of Stars, has been on constant rotation since we received the digital advance. Please, someone, help.
Two short EPs stood out to me for the first few months of the year, both coming out on March 31.
Spiritkiller: Two Thousand Twenty Three
Based in Albany, NY, Spiritkiller’s appropriately titled four-song EP, Two Thousand Twenty Three brings to mind bands like Snapcase, 108 and The Hope Conspiracy. These are hefty comparisons, but with a lineup that features members of such turn-of-the-century Capitol Region mainstays as Endicott, Lariat and At War With Shadows, it makes total sense that the songs are as strong as they are.
The Sons of Montana: Subpar Lovers
Connecticut’s The Sons of Montana similarly draw from the rich well of nineties hardcore, but from more of the chaotic, noisy end of the spectrum. The three songs on Subpar Lovers are loaded with enough dissonant chords and off-kilter rhythms for the Deadguy and Drowningman fans, but are easily approachable with a more accessible ‘post-hardcore’ vocal style (anyone remember When Dreams Die?).
Zero Chill: Z.C.F.Y.
A bud posted this on IG and the cover caught my eye so I had to see what band on god's green earth was okay with some kind of possible backlash about the cover. A weird drop of a band with nearly no internet presence, no shows, no info... But a David Allan Coe cover for their demo and a bunch of wildly ignorant Florida shit. A straight up 5 minute banger of a demo thats pissed and wild as hell. If you like ignorant and pissed hardcore, it's definitely worth a listen. Florida mostly sucks but "if you're not from Florida, fuck you!"... Which is exactly the kinda shit I expect from a band from Florida.
MSPAINT: Post American
This is my favorite album of the year so far easily. A hardcore band in the purest sense in terms of urgency but pulling a curveball by replacing all guitar with synth. All 11 songs on this record are absolute bangers, and I can't ever get enough of it. Catchy, intense, and thought provoking, Post American is one of the freshest hardcore/punk records I've heard in years.
Sandrider are one of the most kinetic bands in existence right now and they just keep getting better with each release - that feat alone is worth copious praise. The Seattle loud rock band imbue their always-on sound with stoner tendencies and a punk ferocity that makes them one of the most engaging bands of their kind. With subject matter ranging from the extensive Dune universe to people in power reneging on their promises of progression, it seems like there will always be fuel for their fire to keep burning and if Enveletration is any indication, it will keep us warm for years to come.
Scáth Na Déithe: Virulent Providence
Aside from the fact that it’s hard to believe that the first three months of this year are gone, the hardest thing to digest is all the music that has permeated these past 90 days. The year started off strong with tons of great albums hitting the shelves and digital pathways. Picking a single album to represent this time period for me wasn’t easy, but it didn’t take long to choose Virulent Providence by the one-man Irish act, Scáth Na Déithe. This is the third full-length album from this act since 2017 and this is by far the peak output from this epic, blackened death metal act. The album is composed of two tracks each hovering around twenty minutes, so there must be a certain amount of intent to consume the album but the focus is entirely worth it.
The themes are melancholic and morose across the album with themes of famine, death, and the afterlife being the focal points but within these feelings there is also hope and catharsis and determination. Cathal Hughes - the band’s sole member - mapped out these songs to perfection with respite coming at the right time, mounting tension when needed, and going for the throat when the time is right. This is an all-consuming album that plays with textures, timing, and timbre with style and gravitas. Virulent Providence can be a little daunting to get into with its protracted song lengths, I assure you, if you give it the time it requires the journey is worth it.
Entheos: Time Will Take Us All
Entheos shows us that progressive metal can be more than just ear candy for guitar nerds on Time Will Take Us All, yet they know better than to forsake pure riffage in favor of forced "maturity". It sounds like the band has done their homework as well, mixing in even more shades of classic Cynic with their modernized chugging and blasting. Also, they don't shove the clean vocals in your face like, "this is the emotional part!!!" It truly feels like a fully realized work from concept to finished piece. Believe the hype!
Best of Q1 for Pete? It’s quite easily Overkill. They’ve been at it for ages, and they’ve gotten better as time goes on. Quite literally the opposite of Metallica’s new album. This is full of venom, aggression, great songwriting and memorable riffs.
CV the Intern
Riot Stares: Sounds of Acceleration
The record goes hard for 32 straight minutes. A great mix of modern and classic hardcore that is bound to appeal to most HC fans. Daze does not miss.
10 commentsPost Comment
Wow the entire staff has shit taste in music
Dear god why does it take so many people to run this horrible website.
MSPAINT is a winner, and great band name. The rest of you all can go to jail, straight to jail, if you have a wife to plot murder against.
No Born Through Fire No Care Ever!!
Yeah that mspaint slaps
ZERO CHILL f*ckS!
Riot Stares . . . moderately updated Shelter. I like it.
That mspaint sucks
Tried listening to MSTAINT. No thanks.
Ok but do they think black lives matter? I see no reference here that suggests they think black lives matter! Can't be a top album without this unanswered question! What if they listen to racists like tucker Carlson? Is it still a top album?