Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Leidensmelodien”

Theatre’s Kiss, a self-described “depressive post-punk” artist who I discovered entirely by accident, has fundamentally changed my life with their newest album.

Leidensmelodien“, released Dec. 30, 2022, was the best belated Christmas gift a goth could ask for. This transcendental musical experience is like walking through an arctic, sobering dream.

Theatre’s Kiss

I discovered Theatre’s Kiss in the fall of 2022 while attempting to compose a setlist for my then-radio show, “The Superego” (currently on summer hiatus).

At the time, the extent of the artist’s discography was a single album — Self Titled — and six short tracks.

Those half-dozen songs fully ensnared me.

I was one of about sixty-eight monthly listeners on Spotify. And like those like-minded peers, I absolutely adored the tracks “Vulnerable” and “König.”

There was something about the style of the songs that really got to me.

As a (guilty) fan of the The Smiths for their heart-twinging melancholia, the plaintive voice of the (unnamed) vocalist struck a similar chord.

And with the gothic undertow of spectral synths and a depressive guitar added to the mix, I had found my new favorite band.

Album cover for Leidensmelodien by Theatre’s Kiss


As the creator of Theatre’s Kiss explains in a vague tagline at the end of their Spotify profile:

“It’s all about the atmosphere, nothing else matters.”

And “Leidensmelodien” is purely atmospheric.

The album’s opening track, “Downfall,” is entirely instrumental.

A sullen guitar-synth combo engages in a morose conversation, the spaces between sounds growing smaller and smaller as the song progresses and the two “voices” seem to overlap.

By the end, we’re left with a single sensation before the instruments fade out and a distinctly medieval arrangement ushers us into the next track, “Schizo.”

This five-minute song is insanely complex.

The vocals are brooding and occasionally layered to create a hazy, ominous effect.

Throughout the song, a crisp scream reminiscent of Doom Metal echoes the words of the vocalist — an elusive individual known only as “Fassse Lua” — much like screeching wind.

The contrast between these two voices, one pleasantly soft and the other jagged and rough, creates a vivid and uncanny harmony.

Though it stands as the second track of the album, “Schizo” certainly sets the tone for the rest of the piece as existing somewhere between nightmares and dreams.

The experimental combination of different ghostly and foreboding sounds means that every track on this album is a new and unique experience.

It’s almost operatic.

Album cover for Self Titled by Theatre’s Kiss

The Bigger Picture

“Leidensmelodien” is an album about grief.

Or rather, “melodies of suffering.”

And as the mind behind Theatre’s Kiss teases, this album (as well as Self Titled) is but a single chapter in a larger project.

I, for one, cannot wait to see what comes next.

Recommended Tracks

Self Titled

  • Konig
  • Vulnerable


  • Schizo
  • Cleansing Ritual
  • Imbalance of Love
  • Katharsis

Classic Album Review

Album Review: “I Disagree” – Poppy

General Overview

Before Poppy was the musician that she is today, most knew her as a YouTube sensation who gained popularity for her cryptic videos. “I Disagree,” released in January 2020, was a large departure from Poppy’s previous work, which was mostly pop. “I Disagree” does a lot of genre-blending, but the biggest shock of the album to Poppy’s fans was the heavy metal influence that reverberated through the album.

Poppy’s most recent album prior to the release of “I Disagree” was “Am I A Girl?,” which offered hints of the soon-to-come metal genre that Poppy would embrace in its last two tracks, “Play Destroy,” featuring Grimes, and “X.”

Song Highlights

I will admit that I am a huge fan of this album and have probably listened to it enough to memorize every beat and syllable spoken throughout it.

Its first track, titled “Concrete,” instantly introduces the sort of genre-mixing Poppy will go on to ace through the rest of the album. It’s not just genre-ambiguous, but actually switches back and forth between heavy metal (complete with guitar shredding and even some screaming) and bubblegum pop.

“Anything Like Me” contains lyricism that reinforces Poppy’s purpose in making this album–

Sorry for what I’ve become
Because I’m becoming someone

“Anything Like Me” – Poppy

She goes on in this song to talk about a girl who seems to represent the things that Poppy is supposed to be, but doesn’t wish to be.

I feel her heart beating in me
Get her out of me

“Anything Like Me” – Poppy

Poppy works throughout the album to express the idea that conformity is a disease. In “BLOODMONEY,” she asks–

What do you believe when everyone is watching?


And in “Fill The Crown,” she says,

You can be anyone you want to be

You can be free, you can be free

“Fill The Crown” – Poppy

Poppy is clearly expressing her desire for individuality, likely in response to the pressures she felt around making music in an industry and working with producers who executed excessive control over her work.


Poppy’s evolution does not seem to be finished yet. From electronic pop in her first album “Poppy.Computer” to the metal in “I Disagree,” and even to the alt-rock/indie vibes of her most recent album, “Flux,” Poppy seems to be innovating in every area she can, not just with her music, but with her character and stage presence as well.

— bel$

Classic Album Review

“Sharp Objects” – Mark Drizzle: Album Review

Mark Drizzle’s debut album “sharp objects” is like if a kid who grew up listening to Saosin and Owl City made a passion project in the 2020s. Actually, it’s exactly that.

General Overview

Mark Drizzle, a queer songwriter and producer living in San Diego, California, released their debut album “sharp objects” in August 2022.

Listening to “sharp objects” feels like scratching all the right itches– Mark Drizzle is able to combine emo and pop-punk with hyperpop, meaning heavy guitars are almost always matched with inventive techno riffs.

The ambiguity of genre is fantastic; it’s exciting to see hyperpop being mixed with metalcore guitar, but it’s even more exciting to see Mark Drizzle combine their experimental music with deep and creative lyricism.

Song and Lyric Highlights


Mark Drizzle opens their album with a track, “deepfake,” that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since it first came out. Its catchy, danceable melody met with Mark’s semi-falsetto makes it irresistible.

Brain zaps from the Lexapro

Secrets only you would know

Yeah, I had a bad, bad episode

Sippin’ on a dollar sweet tea, now I’m good to go

“deepfake” – mark drizzle

These opening lyrics may be some of my favorites on the entire album. They offer relatability and make the track clearly contemporary without being overly obvious about it– it’s the sort of song that could go viral on TikTok, but not the type of song that would only go viral because it’s on TikTok (I’m calling the Mark Drizzle rise to stardom before anyone else).


“Man” is the fourth track on the album, and discusses the difficulties related to toxic masculinity, as well as the ways in which masculinity is enforced on those who don’t identify with manhood but are expected to.

As a man it’s kinda silly to romanticize your life

Your memory’s just fine you won’t need pictures

We’ll allow you one short paragraph whenever someone dies

Then you’ll go back to living someone else’s life

“man” – mark drizzle

Mark Drizzle uses their own voice to echo the things they have heard and been repeatedly told relating to the gender roles placed on them.

It is refreshing to see lyricism as honest and vulnerable as this, and seeing a rise in queer voices being used to speak openly and fearlessly about the queer experience is beyond exciting and empowering.

Man-to-man you’re getting awfully comfortable showing your skin

You don’t need vitamin D, they’ve got pills for that

And as a man I’d be embarrassed at the check-out cart from Shein

Fast fashion won’t eliminate that feeling

“man” – mark drizzle

Beyond “deepfake” and “man,” the album’s title track stands out as incredibly strong, with clever and heartfelt lyrics preceded by a true emo intro– screaming and all. I’m also partial to an instrumental track, “when i say no you turn back around,” for its twinkly math rock riffs.

Concluding Thoughts

There are few other albums I’ve found with the vast diversity of genre of “sharp objects,” and yet, the album is surprisingly cohesive. Maybe it’s Mark Drizzle’s unique character being woven into each song, but whether it be a track that starts with acoustic guitar, screaming, or a 100 gecs-esque melody, it all stands out as something you should hold closely before putting it down.

Rating: 9/10

— bel$

Classic Album Review

“WASTEISOLATION” – Black Dresses: A Review

Have you been looking for some angsty electronic noise pop to pass your days? Black Dresses have got you covered. Their 2018 album “WASTEISOLATION” takes listeners on a sexually-charged trip through the duo’s past abuses. Along the way, they create an unnerving soundscape that bashes in listeners’ heads in the best way. The result is a fantastic listening experience to release the frustration of a rough day at work or a nasty breakup.

Blog Classic Album Review

Pulse Demon: The Cure for Music

Lately I’ve become so bored of music.

I was dully teasing my dopamine doused brain, scrolling through the endless pit of social media looking for the next mild prod of unimportant something to let my eroding attention feed on. I found a conversation about noise music, and someone cited Merzbow’s “Pulse Demon” as a “palate cleanser,” so I decided to listen to it.

There are no ideas in this album.

There is nothing memorable in this album.

There is nothing of independent significance in this album.

There is nothing at all special in this album.

It’s just pure grating noise.

But after five quarters of an hour of nothing, something neat happened. Everything else sounded different. The silence was the same, the songs were the same. But the way I was conditioned to hear it was different.

I decided to put on some of my favorite tunes. Don’t get me wrong, my enjoyment of the music that I listened to afterwards didn’t change, but the way that I heard the music was totally different. I could hear everything. I paid mind to everything. This is how the artist thinks. I could feel each component of the music and how they all connect. I could think about it far more critically.

Pressing play on a track from “Pulse Demon” and skipping to the middle to listen for a few seconds is silly. Playing this for someone who has never heard of it before and only giving them a snippet is ridiculous. It’s like saying “c’mere, lemme show you a clip from this movie,” and it’s the entire movie sped up and condensed into five seconds, complete with cartoonish sound effects.

It’s a comically overwhelming amount of information to push onto someone for such a short period of time. However, the humor is just the method by which we reject the rush of information. Once your mind gets over the hurdle and is able to acclimate to it, it becomes entrancing.

If you relax your eyes, look at the cover art for “Pulse Demon” long enough, and immediately look at something else, it’ll start to warp. The image tricks your eyes. The harsh bends and folds hurt to look at, but once you’re done looking, everything else looks different. This effect is fleeting, but it’s noticeable.

Is this placebo? Is this real? It’s not astounding or groundbreaking, but nonetheless it’s fascinating- and it might be the cure for music.

Classic Album Review

Danny Brown’s “Atrocity Exhibition”: A Review

My first introduction to Danny Brown’s music was through his 2016 album “Atrocity Exhibition”. After subsequently visiting the rest of his discography, this album still holds its place as Brown’s most introspective and critical.

Over the 45 minute runtime, Brown delivers a haunting portrayal of a life intimately tied to drugs, including all of the pleasures and struggles that accompany them.

Admittedly, it takes some getting used to his voice on the majority of “Atrocity Exhibition” tracks. However, Brown’s whiny, nasally rapping helps reinforce the sense that he is most certainly not sober as he raps.

“Ain’t It Funny”

Brown’s primary goal with “Atrocity Exhibition is to keep people from getting sucked into heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and other drugs. At the same time though, he knows why people do get involved, and much of the rest of the album is dedicated to exploring those reasons.

Live a fast life, seen many die slowly

Unhappy when they left so I try to seize the moment

Lyrics from “Ain’t It Funny” by Danny Brown

“Ain’t It Funny” explores Brown’s own denial of the dangers of hiding away his problems with drugs. Part of the denial comes from a place of drugs being inescapable. Growing up poor, drug use seems “inherited in our blood”. He also falls victim to toxic masculinity, seeing drug use as a sort of ritual that all the men in his area undergo. Therefore, even though he “might need rehab”, he’s not going to for fear of seeming weak.

Music video of “Ain’t It Funny” by Danny Brown, directed by Jonah Hill

The title of the song itself, “Ain’t It Funny” reflects Brown’s feelings on exposing his most vulnerable self to an audience primarily looking for entertainment. Especially considering his previous work, many listeners have taken home a message of: “doing drugs is fun kids!”

Brown simultaneously knows that people get drunk and high at parties to his music, which he does make a living off of, yet these tendencies are extremely harmful to both himself and others. He needs to stop, but he can’t due to addiction to the chemicals, the thrill, and the success.

A Race to The Bottom

If there’s anything Brown especially excels at, it’s pacing. The album never feels like it stalls anywhere, even when songs slow down their bpm and feature less intense beats. “Downward Spiral” begins the album with a raucous, uncertain experience of not feeling grounded. Intensity of tracks fluctuates slightly through the ghostly “Lost”.

All hell breaks loose as “Ain’t It Funny” hits and the energy from that climax seeps through the following four tracks into “Dance In The Water”. This track forces you to keep up as best as you can as it speeds through its sporadic yet hypnotic verses and party-fueled chorus. You feel pulled into the need to “dance in the water / and not get wet” as if that task were actually possible.

And then, everything just stops with “From The Ground”. The beat on this track is far more minimalistic than anything else on the album, especially compared to the prior song. Brown also shifts to his speaking voice, which sounds more sober, matured, and heartbroken.

“When It Rain” immediately contradicts this sense with the now familiar whiny vocals you’ve come to expect from Brown. The beat, which is almost completely made from sampling of the experimental “Pot au feu”, imitates the feeling of Brown taking an absurd amount of drugs to escape the worries he discusses on “From The Ground”.

Personally, I feel the urge to continuously speed up while driving when listening to the track. The thrill is invigorating, but it’s progressively more dangerous to both myself and the people around me as I do it. Brown’s whole point is to keep from giving in to that urge.

Only way you hang is with a noose

Beef with us, it ain’t no truce

Lyrics from “When It Rain” by Danny Brown

Concluding Thoughts

There is a level of depth of analysis that can be applied to “Atrocity Exhibition” that I’ve only seen a few other albums be able to achieve. Brown subverts the whole gangster rap genre while also fitting in perfectly by referencing all of the “right things”: gun violence, sex, drug abuse, etc. The entirety of the album reeks of irony: even though the experimental, sample-heavy instrumentals seem to encourage escapism, only excaping the grip of these pleasures will keep you alive.

Rating: 9.5/10

Best tracks: “Ain’t It Funny”, “Pneumonia”, “Dance In The Water”, “When It Rain”

— DJ Cashew

Classic Album Review

Album Review: “Melt My Eyez See Your Future” by Denzel Curry

ALBUM: “Melt My Eyez See Your Future” by Denzel Curry


LABEL: ​​PH and Loma Vista Recordings

RATING: 8/10

BEST TRACKS: “The Ills,” “Chrome Hearts” and “Walkin”

FCC: Explicit language

In this recent album, Denzel Curry swaps out his signature sound for some self-introspection. He comes to terms with the struggles he has had and poetically lays it out for the audience to be a part of. Fans are used to his hype lyrics, bass-boosted beats, and hard-hitting quick flow; but this album offers something different. 

This fifth studio album comes after projects full of bangers like “Ta13oo” and “Zuu”. However, what Curry wanted to present with this album was something other than catchy songs and ragers. His pivot allows for more intimate and reflective music as he explores both his worldview and his view of himself. 

The album opens up with “Melt Session #1” which is a slower, self-analyzing introductory ballad. The track, with a piano feature and production from Rober Glasper, provides a soothing yet somewhat haunting sound. These instrumentals pair well with the lyrics, as Curry is discussing more serious topics and wrongs from his past. 

Dealt with thoughts of suicide, women I’ve objectified/ Couldn’t see it through my eyes so for that, I apologize/ I’m just hypnotized, working hard to empathize

Lyrics from “Melt Session #1” by Denzel Curry

The song seamlessly flows into the second track “Walkin” by carrying the same angelic background vocals and lyrical refrain. “Walkin” works through some of the personal difficulties Curry has faced while explaining how he interacts with the world around him as obstacles are thrown his way. He raps, 

I just gotta stay focused/ I just gotta keep walkin

Lyrics from “Walkin” by Denzel Curry

This was the first track dropped from the album and features production from Kal Banx at Top Dawg Entertainment. Curry’s vocals begin with a slow progression and then switch to double-time with the build-up of a classic trap beat. Despite sticking with a familiar beat and flow in this song, he takes an unrushed pace. 

The next notable track on the album, “Troubles,” details his problems with substance abuse and his ability to prioritize what matters. He confesses how he would easily blow his money on drugs, but he would not spend it on what he loves or needs. 

I just lost my house to the drought/ Now I’m stayin’ on my mama couch/ Told me get a job or to bounce/ Never paid a bill, I cop a ounce

Lyrics from “Troubles” by Denzel Curry

The song, produced by Kenny Beats and DJ Khalil, also features the iconic and catchy autotuned vocals of T-Pain. The lyrics of the track are juxtaposed with its sound, which is a fun and bassy beat with a pop chorus. The extended edition of the album also has a “Cold Blooded Soul Version” of “Troubles” which brings in energetic percussion and brass. I would definitely say I prefer the live instrumentals in this version to the production in the regular track. 

My favorite song on the album, also only on the extended “Cold Blooded Soul Version,” is “Chrome Hearts.” This song takes Curry’s flow and lays it over a light jazz-rap beat. Produced by Aaron Bow, Thurdi and Ashton McCreight, the track also features vocals in the hook from Zacari. Curry poetically raps about an internal conflict regarding the fairness of success as he compares himself to the less fortunate. 

A main man, bay man, payin’ for some Ray-Bans/ That cost more than your rent while others struggle to get a cent/ In a sense, I ain’t shit because there’s many people starvin’/ Tombstones of a selfish man, these words are carved in

Lyrics from “Chrome Hearts” by Denzel Curry

The last memorable song on the album, “The Ills,” was produced by Dot Da Genius & Noah Goldstein. In this track, Curry wraps up the album with some piano, deep soul-searching, and self-proclaiming. He reflects on his music as a mode of self-expression and a way of processing his past. He also presents ideas about finding his true purpose and bettering himself. As he is attempting to explain himself now, he acknowledges he does not have it all figured out and still faces struggles. This by far is the most well-written song on the album and the lyrics are executed beautifully through his smooth and gentle flow. My favorite verse in the track follows:

I could be ferocious in my times of feelin’ feeble/ Sick of life’s ills, it could be short for illegal/ Common sense, a victim to sensory deprivation/ The mediator met with it all is in meditation/ Lord invited me to stay idly on his left side/ So I can right my wrongs in these songs to live and let die

Lyrics from “The Ills” by Denzel Curry

While some songs fall short on this album, like “Zatoichi,” I still think Denzel succeeded at challenging his own status quo. The album demonstrates the growth he has gone through, not only as an artist but as a person. As someone who has been a fan since 2015, and is very familiar with the “old Denzel,” I confidently believe that this is one of his best, if not his best, project so far. He works with new instrumentals, strong features, and vulnerable lyrics, all of which make this album stand out. 

Thanks for reading,

Maddie H.

Classic Album Review

Avantdale Bowling Club: A Review

Avantdale Bowling Club’s self-titled debut album is a wonderfully produced jazz project led by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott. The band’s name refers to Scott’s hometown of Avondale, New Zealand. Much of this album “was creatively fueled by a stint living in Melbourne” where Scott seemed to mature some from his previous projects.

“Water Medley”

Photo courtesy of Pedro Szekely, under Creative Commons

“Avantdale Bowling Club” can best be described as a leisurely stroll through struggle. With an average song length of 6.5 minutes, each track meanders around looking for a place to settle. Each track feels loose and free to evolve as it pleases. That effect gets amplified by Tom Scott’s rapping, which disregards the need for a consistent beat on tracks like “Pocket Lint”.

Instead, Scott’s vocals often float through the instrumentals, not trying to find a sound to anchor to. The jazz melody plays as if Scott weren’t even there, resulting in a lively, yet mellow sound to contrast Scott’s melancholic voice.

This flow is contrasted somewhat through tracks like “Water Medley”, which is a nine minute collection of multiple smaller songs centered around water. Here, jazz is combined with heavy hip-hop beats to create a more original sound. This influence helps reinforce Scott’s primary objective with this album, which is to tell the story of his life’s misfortunes and struggles.

Poverty is a Fiend

“Avantdale Bowling Club” is a tale of the trappings of living paycheck to paycheck with a child while coping with alcohol and drugs. This sentiment comes through incredibly clear on “Pocket Lint”, which is essentially Scott ranting about not having enough money to live. However, he never feels like he’s repeating himself because of how well he pieces together different issues that come from low-income in the city.

The price of the life, the price of death
The price of gas, the price of meth, the side effect of stress

Lyrics from “Pocket Lint” by Avantdale Bowling Club

Scott’s rap flow is what really brings the album together, though. Probably the best example of his talents comes in the last verse, where you can’t help but bob your head along to his lyrics. Likewise, “F(r)iends” is where emotion comes through most, making it the most intriguing of any track. The song is a remembrance of both the good and bad times Scott had with one of his friends through drugs before he committed suicide. The emotional weight of this track encourages Scott to put on his best performance as a result.

Concluding Thoughts

Unfortunately, not all of the album is as memorable as the tracks discussed here. The back half of the album lacks direction, as if Scott only had a couple different things he was able to discuss in his music that lasted four or five songs. “Quincy’s March” is more hopeful than other tracks, but lacks any distinctive sound from the rest of the album.

“Tea Break” seems like an instrumental track that Scott originally meant to rap over, but simply lacked the material to turn into a full song.I still have the best songs on “Avantdale Bowling Club” on repeat often, but I rarely come back for the rest of the album for these reasons.

Rating: 6.5/10

— DJ Cashew

Classic Album Review

Chainsaw Charts 2/14

1GIF FROM GOD“A Kiss For Every Hornet” [Single]Prosthetic
2JUDICIARY“Engulfed” [Single]Closed Casket Activities
3SUMMONING THE LICH“The Forest Feasts” [Single]Prosthetic
4CHILDREN OF THE REPTILEHeavy Is The HeadSelf-Released
5HUMAN RACE IS FILTH, THECognitive DissonanceSelf-Released
6VISITANT“Dematerialization” [Single]Self-Released
7DREAMS OF GRAYThe World After [EP]Self-Released
8AND OCEANSAs In Gardens, So In TombsSeason Of Mist
9FORETOKEN“Demon Queller” [Single]Prosthetic
10OBITUARYDying Of EverythingRelapse

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1DISTANTHeritageCentury Media
Classic Album Review

Visions of Bodies Being Burned – clipping. Review

Over the past month or so, I’ve been entranced by clipping.‘s 2020 release, “Visions of Bodies Being Burned”. Full of industrial energy, “Visions” is a headache-inducing, horror rap journey that I cannot get enough of. I truly do not believe there is another hip-hop group around right now with a similar style and sound as clipping.

A Blood Narrative

One of the most cohesive threads running through “Visions” is how well clipping. pieces together narratives like a detective novel. “Say the Name” sets this precedence with the story of a woman haunted by a DIY abortion of a nine-month pregnancy. The consistently violent imagery following her lust after a man keeps listeners in morbid curiosity of how her situation could have ended so poorly.

clipping. also seems to have done a decent bit of murder investigation as well. With how vividly the killings of three different cops are described, there’s so much dread that went through me listening to “Body for the Pile”. Even the horrifically grinding sound of overdriven static at the start of the track adds to its aesthetic. The three murders only get more violent and messy as the song progresses.

Three little pigs and they can’t do nothing, for the last time

You can’t run, you just a body for the pile

Lyrics from “Body for the Pile” by clipping.

It’s hard to miss, but the way the officers’ corpses are just “bodies for the pile” highlights their stance on police getting killed generally. The first is beaten to death, the second is shot, and the third is killed in a car crash, representing the most common atrocities committed by cops against civilians.

The Sound of Violence

Photo of "clipping." at a live performance.
Promotional photo of clipping. Courtesy of Edwina Hay at Sub Pop Records.

One of the most striking aspects of clipping.’s music is how overwhelmingly powerful the bass is on every track. Many songs start with either rumbling, deep bass or pure noise for the sake of noise. There’s very little in terms of percussion or any lighter sounds than this pounding that permeates the album. So, when the bass drops out, you know to pay extra attention to rapper Daveed Diggs’s lyrics.

His rapid-fire style and punchy flow are in themselves just as violent as the music he raps over. The use of an extensive range of metaphors and references only make his verses all the more dynamic. His voice isn’t particularly heavy though, so it can still cut through the rest of clipping.’s beats when it needs to. The result is an outburst of frustration at a wide variety of social ills from police violence to the destruction of Earth. As a response to the violence of the perpetrators, clipping. calls for an equally violent revolution.

Waiting patient for the signal when the time is right

To bring it down

Lyrics from “Something Underneath” by clipping.

Concluding Thoughts

When a group with this much talent comes along, they become hard to ignore. I believe that they will surpass other experimental hip-hop artists with future records powered by their toxic industrial production within the next few years. From this album, I especially enjoyed the songs mentioned above, as well as “She Bad” and “’96 Neve Campbell”.

Rating: 9/10

— DJ Cashew