This Week’s Best Albums: March 5, 2013

This Week's Best Albums: March 5, 2013

Each week, editor-in-chief Chris Force and music editor Scott Morrow choose ALARM’s favorite new releases for This Week’s Best Albums, an eclectic set of reviews presenting exceptional music.

How to Destroy Angels: Welcome Oblivion (Columbia)

"How Long"

In 2010, Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor launched a new project, How to Destroy Angels, with wife Mariqueen Maandig and collaborator Atticus Ross (who is co-credited with Reznor on The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtracks). The group’s first two EPs contained familiar Reznor melodies and “post-industrial” elements, but with an expanded palette of metallic and organic timbres, which paired well with the synthetic swirls and swells as well as Maandig’s breathy vocals.

On the group’s debut LP, Maandig’s vocals have a wider range and do a better job of leading, and there’s better interplay between her and Reznor, notably on lead single “Keep It Together.” Like NIN’s The Fragile or Ghosts I–IV, a good chunk of Welcome Oblivion is softer — more atmospheric — but mixed with cuts like “How Long,” a modernized blast of electro-pop. Four tracks here are repeats from the EPs, but they’re standouts that many will hear for the first time. Introduce yourself.

- Scott Morrow

Rotting Christ: Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Season of Mist)

"In Yumen / Xibalba"

A progenitor of Grecian black metal in the early 1990s, Rotting Christ has done more than merely spread a Scandinavian style across the Mediterranean. Each subsequent release has evolved from its predecessor, and the Athens band’s past two albums — Theogonia in 2007 and Aealo in 2010 — have channeled its heritage, tying chants, choirs, and bagpipes to gothic metal.

Translating loosely to “do what thou wilt,” Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy is an apt title for a band playing by its own rules. Its 11 tracks, which use poetry and folk lyrics from indigenous and olden cultures, are an engaging blend of mid-tempo chugging, upper-string black-metal melodies, rock riffs, and deep, elongated vocalizations. Put up those horns…if thou wilt.

- Scott Morrow

Honorable Mentions:

Autechre: Exai (Warp)

Julianna Barwick: Pacing EP (Suicide Squeeze)

Cave Singers: Naomi (Jagjaguwar)

Cy Dune: No Recognize EP (Burger Records / Family Tree)

Jim Guthrie: Corporeal

Jimi Hendrix: People, Hell & Angels (Legacy/Sony)

Omnium Gatherum: Beyond (Lifeforce)

Soilwork: The Living Infinite (Nuclear Blast)

Superhuman Happiness: Hands (The Royal Potato Family)