Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.

Once a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.

Scale from best to worst

Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it

I’ll pick a favorite of the week, you’ll know it when you see the ghost. I will not pick my least favorite. You should be able to figure that out for yourselves anyway, and I’m already ripping into a band’s hard work, so theres no need for me to add insult to injury with a “thumbs down,” or a stupid sticker or something. Anyways,

Enjoy the read! 

“Some Came Running” Bane

Rating: Whatever

Genre:  Hardcore

The Verdict: 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. Hardcore has always been stuck in too small a box. The whole genre blends together after you’ve listened to a bunch of stuff, and the bands start to sound the same. Candiria is my favorite hardcore band so I hope that puts it in perspective for you. This song does what it’s supposed to, but what it’s supposed to do has become boring over the years. The vocals really stand out, and not in a good way. Sometimes that constant yelling vocal style works for me, and most of the time it doesn’t. With this song, the latter is true.

“If He Dies, He Dies” Glass Cloud

Rating: Great

Genre:  Progressive Metalcore, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Glass Cloud is my favorite of these types of floaty 2009 to 2011 progressive metalcore bands, that share the same vein as bands like We Came As Romans, and The Color Morale. This particular song is not their most “progressive,” but it’s still a jam for those who appreciate this style. I’m not going to go into too much detail about stuff I already know well enough, because it doesn’t hold the same weight as actually knew discoveries. In short, I find it hard to get as excited about it when it’s not new, and therefore, I don’t feel like I’m doing it justice. I’ll just give them a high rating, and let you all check it out for yourselves.

“Oblivions Peak” Knocked Loose

Rating: Great. 

Genre:  Hardcore, Metalcore, Beatdown 

The Verdict: 

Knocked Loose is one of those bands that does the Hardcore thing right. Where my usual opinion is that to me, this genre is tired and worn out, when it incorporates elements from metalcore and deathcore, I tend to really love it. This song opens up with a really cool melodic deathmetal feel, with a super hard harmonized guitar riff. Of corse, it then evolves into a much more straight forward hardcore song. The drums move around a lot more than a traditional beatdown song, which keeps it interesting, and the guitars are HEAVY. If you haven’t checked out this band, do it. 

“Omni: First Temple” Eidola

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore, Progressive Metalcore

The Verdict: 

This is pretty much just a progressive metalcore song, but, it’s a great progressive metalcore song. It’s formulaic, but the riffs, the vocals, and the drums are just inventive enough, as well as just enough of a throwback to stay interesting. The guitar solo stood out to me particularly. I really thought it was going to go one way, the way most of these solos go, but it took an interesting turn, and I really liked that. The vocals feel much more real to me than most songs like this. A lot of other bands put a ton of emphasis on the squealing high male vocals, which is absolutely not a lot of these guys normal register. Fans get used to it one way, but throughout the tour, a lot of the bands end up down tuning for the live show, which throws fans off, and makes for a difficult show. Eidola’s vocal style conjures images of Bruce Dickinson, or Rob Halford. In other words, this song feels classic, even though it only came out a few years ago.

  

“Always Focused” Tiny Moving Parts

Rating: Great

Genre: Emo, Midwest Emo, Post Rock

The Verdict: 

I do like this band. They feel “midwesty” but don’t go all the way with it. They’ve got the twinkly guitars, but it’s not overbearing like a lot of bands in their class. They’ve got the goofy lyrics, but they feel just a little bit more adult than most. The song itself is great. It’s quick, the production is perfect, and its intricate, but not too much so to loose its fun factor. The addition of the cello at the end is a perfect touch. I agree it’s sorely overdone by now but “Always Focused” gets a pass, as it came out back in 2014, during the middle of the American Football, Foxing emo resurgence.

Bleeding In The Blur” Code Orange

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Rock, Hardcore, Grunge

The Verdict: 

I wrote this one off the second I saw it. I’m getting real tired of Spotify thinking I’m the worlds biggest hardcore fan. Giving it a listen, I realized immediately how wrong I was. This had that “soft-grunge” feel, with the heavy guitars we know Code Orange by. It had this feel like if Nirvana was still around, their stage performance would be proceeded by Code Orange playing only this song. I had to question myself, “was I just completely wrong about this band?” So I took a moment to listen around their catalog, and nope. I was right, they’re a hardcore, deathcore, slam band, and this was the only song I found that sounded like this. The chorus line was awesome, this guys clean vocals over such heavy guitars is a perfect melding. It felt like being lost in waves of chaotic crunch, and your only guiding light through it is this echoing voice reciting the top line, “bleeding in the blur.” Great top line, awesome production, killer songwriting. Code Orange, do more like this.

“Too Late to Dream” The Venetia Fair

Rating: Good

Genre: Progressive Metalcore, Rock

The Verdict: 

I usually hate these way to pretentious, super clean, “progressive” metalcore songs. They all seem to share the same chord charts, the same singer, and the same feel all together. This one was saved from the “Fine” rating by the use of horns, and it was kind of fun. There’s not much to say about it other than, it’s fast, it’s loud, it’s super silly, and I liked it.

“Every Pain in Monochrome” Gatherers

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This is definitely not the best song I’ve heard from this band, but I generally enjoyed it. It feels just as sad, and cold as any good post hardcore song should, and it’s a solid listen. I feel this song would go better juxtaposed, as it should be, to the rest of the album it’s from (“We Are Alive Beyond Repair”). They do a very good job coupling very soft clean vocals, with wailing screams that sound, as they should, like the dude is sobbing to the heavens. I like that interesting take on the genre. For too long the high up, clenched nuts, male vocals have dominated this movement. I love the sound as much as the next person, but it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a more sombre, softer voice carrying a song like this.

“Fear” Cursed Earth

Rating: Great

Genre: Deathcore

The Verdict: 

Beatdown beats at their finest. Deathcore is good for one thing in my world, aggression relief. If I’m listening to it, and my heart starts beating a little faster, my blood starts boiling, and my hair stands on end, it has done it’s job. Cursed Earth gets it very right with this song. Unfortunately I fear, like hardcore, there’s only room for a few of these bands on my pallet. If I get in too deep, it’s all going to wash together into one big sea of blood red noise. For now, I listen to enough of it to keep alive the thirst for more, but not enough for it to all together bore me. I like the sound these guys get, and maybe I can squeeze in one more deathcore band before I hit peak. Good job Cursed Earth, for making me want to punch a kitten instead of finish this review.

“Thrush” My Ticket Home

Rating: Good

Genre: Alternative

The Verdict: 

Pretty interesting. It reminds me of Trust Company, or The Exies. I like that a group of people had enough appreciation for that weird 2002 transitional time in music to make a whole band of it. I really liked the use of chorus pedal over distortion, if nothing else, that’s just a true and perfect homage to the era they are springing from. The production was even similar sounding to a lot of those older records. “Thrush” came out in 2017 by the way, so I’m not just raving about a song that’s actually older as if it’s an amazing modern throwback. Check this out if you like that kind of stuff.

“Sight” Wolf & Bear

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Math Rock, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This is cool! I really liked how the guitars came through. There’s a sweet transparent overdrive on them that just layers over a little bit of crunch, but keeps the true tone of the guitar unfettered. The drums sound very clean, which I usually dislike, but here it works. It’s really the guitars that are being showcased anyway, so the drums don’t need to be at the forefront with a bunch of crazy processing on them. One thing that is absolutely terrible about this piece are the lyrics. They. Are. Bad. If you can get past that, the song is great. It uses the tried and true musical movements for this genre, and also throws some bits in that most listeners probably won’t be expecting. I always like when guitar lines start generically, but throw you for a loop at some point. This song is full of those moments. I definitely recommend this.

“How to Taste” Violent Soho

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Punk

The Verdict: 

Perfectly imperfect. That’s the best way I can describe this song. The writing is beautifully simple, the production is raw in the best sense of the term, and it’s heartfelt. My biggest issue with all things post recently is that it’s so over worked. It’s so meticulously crafted, and so perfect, that it loses sight of its entire purpose. Lost amongst all the edits, the hours of mixing, the producer, the expensive gear, and everything else, is the underlying feel of the genre. I fought myself on this for a while, I was recording guitars on a project I was working on at home, and I couldn’t get them to sound right after WEEKS of edits. Finally I just bussed the mix out, as it was, to an old blank cassette tape, recorded it back into Logic, and then had a listen to it. All of a sudden I had what I’d been missing, perfect imperfection. Let’s get back to making cheap and dirty records like this. Not all of them, there’s a time and place, but there are a lot of songs out there that could benefit from a little grit. Violent Soho get’s a big recommendation from me. I’m going to be listening to them for the next whole week.

 https://open.spotify.com/track/02M7Q68pgTW3LWGSHeV08N?si=RqVrOfWcQuyJPZnCuMVxew

“Live from Hell” Glowbug, Eddie Hermida

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Electronic, Pop, Dance, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Remember a while back when I said something about needing more cheap and dirty records? Yea, so the opposite is true with stuff like this. This song can only work as the egregiously overproduced garbage heap of pop madness that it is. Autotune, steel drums, bongos, faux horns, and scream vocals. WHAT IS THIS, AND WHY DO I LOVE IT? I think it works because it’s so unapologetically insane. I think it works because the artist had zero predispositions before writing it, and nobody over their shoulder saying “Hey I don’t think that steel drum is working for me right there…” Sometimes artists need producers. They need them to wrangle their weird ideas, and to keep them on track. But some artists have this innate musical sensibility. They can just know without knowing that certain things are going to jam. Why do bongos, autotune, and screams work together? Only Glowbug knows the answer, and I’m glad he does.

“Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should” KEN Mode

Rating: Good

Genre: Noise Rock, Punk

The Verdict: 

I loved the strange riffs, the wild overdriven vocals, and the drums, which had their moments. What bummed me out was the fact that it was two straight minutes of pretty much the same thing, and then right at the end, all of a sudden, they must’ve stomped a different pedal or something because the guitars got WAY heavier. It was different to the point where it sounded like a totally different song, from a totally different record. The two parts were sick though, I ultimately enjoyed this piece, I just wish it would have gone a little further, I wanted more.

“Pleased to Meet You” Trapped Under Ice

Rating: Good

Genre: Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Okay, it’s the chords. It’s the cool harmonies they get with the dueling guitars. It’s the fact that it’s short enough, and the movements change quick enough to not stagnate. This is JUST a hardcore song, I hadn’t heard it specifically before, but I found that I liked this one. It’s no Candiria, but it was still pretty good. I know I trash bands like this constantly, but something about this song works for me. I make no excuses for my vacillating taste.

“March to the Sea” Baroness

Rating: Good

Genre: Metal

The Verdict: 

This band is cool, but this is probably one of their weakest songs in my opinion. It’s just not nearly as weird and cool as some of the other choices from their catalog. Somehow this is their top song on Spotify, but considering everything they’ve done, I’ve always liked their 2015 release “Purple” the best. If you’re looking to get into this band, I suggest starting with that record.

“To the Wolves” Mandroid Echostar

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Post Hardcore, Progressive Rock

The Verdict: 

I’m not going to go very deep into this band or this song. They may or may not come up as a topic in a future project I’ll be a part of. Listen to this band, they have a special place in my heart. That’s all I’m gonna say.

“Unbowed” To Kill

Rating: Good

Genre:  Metalcore

The Verdict: 

It’s good if you like old school metalcore, or hardcore. I already gave one hardcore song a good rating this time around, which is more than I usually give, so I must be feeling particularly HxC this week. Come to think of it, I’m currently wearing Adidas, and I’m eating a salad. Well, better get my “VEGAN STRAIGHT EDGE” face tattoo soon before the world explodes from the overproduction of deodorant. The song’s got a cool breakdown, and the production is just right there on that perfect edge of being bad. It was a fun tune for the 2:20 it lasted. It’s good.

“Amber” Stick To Your Guns

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I haven’t listened to this song in forever! Metalcore at its finest I think. This record came around near the end of the golden era for my relationship to this style. It was like the last bastion of hope for the style against hordes of fill-in-the-blank-core bands. Don’t get me wrong, I love that trashy “Stick Stickly” type stuff more than I probably should, but this was equally great. I really do love it, but I’m not going to call it my favorite thing. Honestly I’ll probably never seek out to listen to it, but it’s got some nostalgia cred’ so I’m happy it came up.

West by God” Left Behind

Rating: Great

Genre: Sludge, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I feel like someone needs to give this guy a hug. If anyone knows the lyricist, please just give them a hug, and tell them I sent you. I loved the guitar tone, it was super hard. The filthy riffs totally made up for the lack of much lyrical content. Of course, I always love the slow down parts designed to deliver even more mosh pit fuel. Whenever I get around to working out, I’ll remember this one.

“Charisma” Pianos Become The Teeth

Rating: Good

Genre: Alt Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I have to be transparent with you. This song is suffering the effects of being so late in the playlist. Especially this week with all the Memorial Day festivities. I didn’t have a lot of time to space out my listening, so I’ve had to crunch a lot of music into a short time. I like the feel, I like this band, it’s got a fun soft-grunge edge to it which I wasn’t expecting, and the production sounds killer. It’s got everything it needs to bump up to a higher rating, but I’m not feeling it. I suspect that’s because of the aforementioned listener fatigue. I’ll review this song again at some point this week with fresh ears and get back to you.

“Daymare” Portrayal Of Guilt

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore, Noise Rock

The Verdict:

Despite having one of the all time dumbest song titles I’ve ever seen, I really liked this. It was filthy to its very core, and shared a similar level of controlled chaos to Norma Jean’s first outing (which also has really dumb song titles, maybe it’s a trend?). I really would like to understand how bands like this maintain an atmospheric, and distorted wall of sound with the guitars. I love it, and I would really like to incorporate it into my own stuff, but I’ve never been able to replicate it to a degree that it works as well as it does here. I can’t believe I missed this band, I can’t wait to delve deeper. What’s exciting is that they’re newer, finding them only 2 years after their first release gives me the opportunity to follow their career closely, and see how they develop.

“Your Skull Is Red – Live” Team Sleep

Rating: Great

Genre: Djent, Djazz, Trap, Electronic, Pop

The Verdict: 

I absolutely adore everything Chino Moreno has ever been a part of. Team Sleep is a killer band, but they feel the closest to just being Deftones recordings that never made it. I still love the whole catalog though. This being a live recording, makes it even more impressive. Chino always sounds great, but this is even cleaner than usual. If you haven’t listened to Team Sleep, and you like music, definitely give them a shot.

“Fake Dinosaur Bones” The Callous Daoboys

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Progressive Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Starting with “This may be the most chilling message you will ever hear” is a bold statement. Especially when your lyrics are shrouded in poetic allusions, and leave much to interpretation. “Did you know that we play house on the same moon?” We’ll did you? Do you even know how to answer that question? I’ll admit I’m not the best interpreter when it comes to lyrics, but I’m pretty sure the intention of this song is buried real deep. Musically, I loved it. I know things just took a sharp turn right there, but I know how I feel about stuff. I said it for the last song, I’ve got a thing for controlled chaos.

“Love Let Me Die” END

Rating: Great

Genre: Death Metal

The Verdict: 

Just your good old friendly neighborhood death metal band here. END doesn’t stand out in any particular way other than their production. Whoever worked with them got it so right. The guitars are so angry sounding, and the vocals are so chillingly distorted. If you you’re in a relationship that you don’t want to be in, and you’re way too much of a pushover to just break it off, just tell the parents of your insignificant other that this is your favorite song, and watch those people slowly disappear from your life. Again, there’s not a whole lot to say about it other than its very heavy, a little scary, and listening to it too much will slowly turn you into a very single person.

“First World Problem Child” Stray From The Path, Sam Carter

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Hardcore, Nu-Metalcore, Punk, Hip-Hop

The Verdict: 

This is one of those instances where you listened to a song a bunch, and then got over it, and stopped listening to it. Spotify sees that as an opportunity to be like: “hey remember that song you had on repeat during the 2016 election cycle?” Yes Spotify, I remember it, and I’ll listen to it again when I want to listen to it. Probably around 2019. If you haven’t Listened to Stray From The Path, they sound like if the Beastie Boys had the political charge of a punk band, a jazz drummer, and a bunch of metalcore guitarists. It’s super cool, and I absolutely love everything they’ve put out, but do I really need to get all hopped up on politics right now Spotify? Is that what you want from me? I’ve already got Cursed Earth, and END trying to get me all punchy, and now I’ve got Stray From The Path trying to get me all politically punchy. Anyways, definitely check this band out, I’m going to take a break from this for a minuet and talk to my dogs about the climate problem.

“A Live Nativity Scene” Six Gallery

Rating: Good

Genre: Emo, Midwest Emo, Alternative, Indie

The Verdict: 

Tappy lead guitars? Floating undercurrents? Unprocessed vocals? Sounds like Midwest Emo to me. I liked it for its constant rhythmic theme. It felt like I was floating in the middle of the ocean, being jostled by constant mild waves. The tapping from the guitar would be the through of the wave, and the drums constituted the crest. I really enjoyed when it sped up around 2:00 in. I thought that was a really smart move, and it gave the song more texture overall. I didn’t love their choice of tone when it came time to distort the guitars. They were very sharp and in a song like this, I would think it best to keep everything as rich and warm as possible. It really was a beautiful piece, but I always seem to struggle with the vocals in songs like this. Not that I dislike the unprocessed feel, but the fact that there’s another human directly involved, takes me out of the calm isolation I would be experiencing if there was no vocals at all. Explosions In The Sky is a perfect example of the feeling I’m trying to describe. It’s guitar driven, it’s got the same floating undercurrents, and most importantly to my case, it’s instrumental. Ultimately, this song got a favorite, and I added it to a playlist, but I think I did that as a “just in case” move. “I better save this just in case I ever want to hear it again,” because honestly it didn’t stand out enough. I’ll forget who it is, or what it is, almost immediately after I’m done reviewing it.  

“Lip Gloss And Black” Atreyu

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore

The Verdict: 

Whatever part of Spotify’s algorithm thought I had never heard this song needs an update. I don’t want to insult it, because I would like to be favored during the robot uprising, I’m just suggesting it maybe get a few things worked out. Of course I love this song. I listened to it religiously when it came out. This was one of the first of the skramz bands I was really in to. The first was The Bled, “Last American Cowboy” was the first metalcore song I got my ears on, but not too long after that, I was introduced to Atreyu, and it was all down hill from there. Seeing that it’s 2019, I’m 27 years old, and I’m still listening to, and raving about emo, metalcore, and post punk, I’d say the introduction to this stuff had a most devastating effect on my faculties.

https://open.spotify.com/track/2Hy81a71pPf5lPWTq1o8ub?si=ogZ8Q-TYRDGDShFPQsq-AQ 

“Good Set” Sawce

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Alternative, Math Rock, Instrumental

The Verdict: 

Damn that opening riff is smooth! Thankfully the songwriters obviously realized that as well, because they play it a whole bunch. I tend to be on the fence with this style. Its usually way to conceited to be listenable, like every band is a bunch of white jazz elitists who want to play jazz, but their from Ohio so they’re contractually obliged by their local government to make emo music. I straight up love this song. It jams in all directions. That last statement means nothing, but if I keep saying it it’ll become a thing. Anyways, the use of the synthesizer is perfect, I’m not too sure I’m well versed enough in this genre to know if I’ve ever heard such a 80’s sounding synth patch be used to this effect. Killer guitar tones, awesome guitar work, the drums sound amazing, production is perfect, I’m not sure I’ve got anything bad to say about this. Hopefully the rest of their catalog holds up, I’ve been wanting to love this genre for a long time, but haven’t been able to find a band that vibes with me. This song VIBES with me.

“Fate I & II” Black Peaks

Rating: Fine

Genre: Alternative, Post Hardcore

The Verdict:

I think this is the first negative rating on the list, and check this out, this is a great song, and I think you all should go listen to it. Be aware though, it’s very similar in chordal structure to the whole of the 2017 release “Melancholia Hymns” by Arcane Roots. All together “Fate I & II” is a great song, it’s extremely epic, it tops out at near 7:00 long. It’s got killer high energy all the way up until it drops out for a huge build for the outro. The song sounds clean, and stays interesting throughout. Had I never heard of Arcane Roots before, this would have gotten a “Great” rating, or higher. But, I have heard of Arcane Roots, and particularly the song “Off The Floor” blows this one completely out of the water. If you haven’t heard of either of these bands, I suggest listening to this one first, enjoy it, let it sink in for a while, and then later listen to Arcane Roots. That way you don’t wreck Black Peaks’ chances before they even get a shot. Honestly I could be totally wrong, and this “Fate I & II” might be more your style. I’m not telling you how to live your life, I’m just saying Arcane Roots did it better. Fight me ‘bout it.

You know what, I’m still a little amped up from that Cursed Earth tune, I apologize for that outburst about Arcane Roots. So… I’m gonna go. Thanks for stopping by and chatting. We have a new one of these every Tuesday so drop by next week to see what Spotify makes me listen to.

Stay Ghostly,

Kolby Bergquist