MP3 Premiere: Murmur’s “Zeta II Reticuli”

Chicago experimental-metal quartet Murmur’s “Zeta II Reticuli” comprises fuzzy, black-metal menace and obvious punk-rock energy, but toward the end of this seven-minute track, it veers into a caterwauling assault of computer-generated weirdness.

ALARM's 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

ALARM’s 51 Favorite Albums of 2013

Saving the best for last, we’ve chosen our 51 favorite albums of 2013, pulled from the acclaimed and the unsung — some of the best as well as most boundary-pushing releases from rock and beyond.

MP3 Premiere: Opera, heavy-metal drums, and dubstep bass drops in Chaostar’s “Truth Will Prevail”

Chaostar: AnomimaChaostar: Anomima (Season of Mist, 5/28/13)

“Truth Will Prevail”

Chaostar: Truth will Prevail

Opera and experimentation come together in Chaostar, a project whose impetus was Septicflesh guitarist Christos Antoniou’s desire to use a more “classical approach.” With his background in composition, the group released four orchestral albums before a hiatus in 2008. Returning, it started work on an operatic concept album built around the myth of Medea. Though it has since evolved, Anomima has kept that scope intact.

KEN Mode cover artist Ben Bonner discusses his crazy, massive “cloud ghoul” sculpture

KEN Mode: EntrenchKEN Mode: Entrench (Season of Mist, 3/19/13)

“Counter-Culture Complex”

KEN Mode: “Counter-Culture Complex”

If you’ve picked up Entrench, the latest from Canadian sludge-core band KEN Mode, you likely noticed the artwork — featuring an amorphous creature made of tentacles, bones, and bubbling muck strolling through the dark with a tiny catlike figure perched atop it. This deceptively large piece, Cloudghoultrillghost, is the work of sculptor Ben Bonner, who was asked to lend it for cover photos. We talked to Ben about his creative process, the story behind the sculpture, and how humor and darkness go hand in hand.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.