Melodic death/doom somewhere between At the Gates (pre-Slaughter) and Phlebotomized, with a haunting atmosphere and some very tasty riffs. You'll catch glimpses of female vocals near the end of the record, and snippets of keyboards are interspersed throughout, but for the most part they manage to pull off the gloominess with traditional metal instrumentation. Songs make the transition from borderline thrash to full-out downtempo doom fairly smoothly, and come right back to hook you in further. Overall this is one hell of a record, and surprisingly under-appreciated.
You should all be well familiar with SWANS by now, and if not I'd highly recommend perusing their material before venturing into lead man Michael Gira's extra-curricular works. This happens to be his best in that catagory; down-tempo folk-rock with plenty of other influences seeping in through the dusty cracks. Good music for the end of a long day, when you're tired and broken, but still know there's much more hardship to come.
Six tracks of superbly emotional bi-polar devastation. When I started listening to Hongo a few years ago I had hit a dip in my life. Buncha shit happened but whatever. I listened to them and they were caustic; they made my stomach hurt and physical pain shot through me from their sound. Fucking brutal. Their sound is chillingly tense and very minor. Slow melodic down tempo parts and furious cathartic explosions mixed in between eachother (Just listen to the first track). Good music for Bad Days.
I don't really know how to classify this album. Drone, shoegaze, noise rock, post rock, space rock, psychedelic rock, or is it some kind of Frankenstein monster made up of all of them? Fuzzy droning guitars build up layers of solid sound and then the band weaves melodies through the wailing wall of sound, whether they are some sort of cosmic blues, meditative chant, or some other remnant of whatever musical influences built this album.
The main portion of the album explores all of the possibilities contained within that collection of influences. The album ends on the collosal "Amen," and while I love the kind of sloppy noisy blues rock that makes up the rest of the album, Amen feels relaxing. It relieves the tension of the album. It is almost a peaceful song, despite the droning guitar. The bells and the female vocalist have a sort of beauty that is lacking in the rest of the album and is a fitting way to end it.
I figured this was the least likely album of my possible choices to have overlap with the group, so hopefully I will be giving some people a new listening experience. DemonCashew is pretty positive about it, so hopefully thats a good sign for the rest of your preferences. (Though he likes Lady Gaga and Animal Collective so I'm not sure if we can trust him.) He says I should mention the vocals, which I guess are kind of weird when they are actually trying to say something. I don't know what that guy is going on about.
Ardavan Kamkar is an Iranian santur master, and a santur is a Persian dulcimer. This album is solely performed on this instrument, but the melodies are so entrancing and resonant, that it comes off quite full sounding. His Middle-Eastern traditional stylings blend smoothly with Bach-like adroitness, and the end result is truly haunting. right here folks
edit: apparently the second track is corrupt, so here's that.