Stuff I Wish I Heard Earlier, 2020

by Nikita Alekseyevich Khrenov

Well here we are, another year, another batch of albums and artists that I wish I had learned about sooner. Let’s keep this intro short and get to the good stuff:

ScardustSands of Time

You know prog power metal isn’t a genre I spend too much time in, only so much of it I can handle at a time you know? However, this record I can jam all day. Scardust just nail that blend of out-there prog sound straight from the Unexpect playbook with super catchy power metal. They have some really technical and mind melting riffs with time and key changes out the wazoo but enough memorable choruses and hooks that just get stuck in my head for days on end.

Atrophia Red SunTwisted Logic

A few years back a friend of mine gave me 4 books of burned CDs since he needed to unload stuff before he moved out of state. Inside was a smorgasbord of metal records, and while combing through them again I decided to rip this gem. Let me tell you this album is a beast, with synthesizers accompanying some of the best melo-death riffs I’ve ever heard. Any band that throws in the X-Files theme behind a riff gets an A+ in my book, and these dudes absolutely nailed it.

Future Funk as a genre

Kind of cheating here but it’s my list so take that. While perusing the “electronic” section of Bandcamp I stumbled across the artwork for Android52’s Future Groove Product and figured I’d give it a whirl. What hit my ears was a retro-tinged club banger of an album that erased any negative vibes I had and kept my feet moving from start to finish. From there I was hooked, I bought albums from Neon Vectors, Desired, マクロス MACROSS 82-99, Night Tempo, and as many other artists as I could find just to satiate my hunger for the funk of the future.

Stabbing WestwardUngod

I’ve known about these dudes before and I bought Darkest Days a few years ago but they never really clicked with me for whatever reason. On a whim I decided to nab a used copy of Ungod from my local record store (shoutout to Music Outlet in Enfield, you guys are the best!) and upon my first listen everything just worked. The groove, the crunchy riffs, the hooks, the beeps and boops, it all just hit me perfectly and I couldn’t believe how good it was. I had the record on my mind for a few weeks afterwards, prompting another visit to the record store to grab With Blister, Burn, and Peel and revisiting Darkest Days with a newfound appreciation. If only I had heard Ungod first, maybe it wouldn’t have taken me this long to fall in love with Stabbing Westward.

Little Big

Now this is half cheating because I was familiar with Little Big before. I had watched their viral videos for “Skibidi”, “Faradenza”, and “Big Dick”, but their well-known songs were the only ones I was familiar with. Out of curiosity I decided to buy their discography and give their deep cuts a whirl and holy shit, they’re fantastic! Dubbed “funeral rave” at the early part of their career, this group throws in elements of rave, hard bass, hip hop, punk, and even a dash of metal into a big Eastern European mixing bowl and churn out bangers. Songs like “Life in da Trash” and “Everyday I’m Drinking” have that big punk rock “fuck you” energy whereas “Rave On” and “Pump It” are just bumping dance tracks. Plus, any band that name drops Cannibal Corpse’s “Hammer Smashed Face” in a song has my support.

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