Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

Artist Spotlight: Zulu

I love heavy music. And as someone who is far from a genre purist, I love heavy music that experiments with the “hardcore” label. Music that challenges what hardcore can be is extremely special to me.

I’ve talked about bands that subvert the archetype of “hardcore” before. In November of 2023, I covered Agabas, a band that blends the chaos of metal with jazz.

This week, I’m covering a band that not only fuses genres, but is doing groundbreaking work to elevate the Black community in the hardcore scene.

The Future of Hardcore

Zulu is a black-fronted hardcore punk band from Los Angeles. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Anaiah Lei, the band takes a leaf out of the powerviolence playbook, presenting a raw and aggressive distillation of hardcore punk.

What makes Zulu different from other hardcore acts, however, are the samples of funk, soul, reggae and spoken word woven into their music.

Cover for “Our Day Will Come” by Zulu

For example, the track “For Sista Humphrey” features a heavy guitar-drum duo and guttural vocals before abruptly transitioning into a soft soul melody. In “52 Fatal Strikes,” rage gives way to serenity as a brief classical instrumental jumps in.

While the contrast sounds jarring, it works.

By injecting black-pioneered genres into their music, Zulu imbues their sound with a distinct and unwavering identity. This is especially important when one considers that Zulu’s lyricism is all about elevating Blackness and empowering Black individuals.

You see tension, aggression

Only anger

I see peace


Black joy is divinity

“Our Day is Now” – Zulu

However, as Lei said in an interview with Kerrang! in 2022, the band’s connection to Black culture shouldn’t stand as their only defining feature.

“…when it comes to bringing in a band where all of us are Black, that is an important thing but also people make it a lot bigger than it is,” Lei said. “I guess only because it’s not the norm, and that is what’s the issue. It should be very normal.”

Zulu’s central aim, according to Lei, is to experiment freely within the scene and create a space for others to do the same.

“The one thing I wanted to do with this project was be myself entirely,” Lei said.


Zulu released their first EP, “Our Day Will Come,” in 2019. The following year, they released “My People…Hold On.”

Both EPs feature a melange of rigorous hardcore interspersed with samples from speeches, spoken word, rap, soul music and other historically Black genres.

Zulu’s first full-length album, “A New Tomorrow,” came out in 2023. The album features several singles the band released in 2022 and early 2023.

Cover for “My People…Hold On” by Zulu

The album’s opening track, “Africa,” features a bright classical arrangement before the proceeding track, “For Sista Humphrey,” fades in with a hellish guitar and vocals. A similar pattern continues throughout the album, with hardcore tracks contrasted with peaceful, slow-moving melodies.

Thematically, this poses an interesting narrative. As the band’s lyricism suggests, this contrast illustrates the dual narratives surrounding Blackness: the imposition of an aggressive, violent nature versus the reality of peace, community and creativity.

I’m looking forward to seeing the direction of Zulu’s future projects and seeing them live, since I missed their last live show.

Recommended Tracks

Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

5 Amazing Goth Bands with BIack Representation

The goth scene has a diversity problem. Most alternative music scenes, if I’m being honest, have a diversity problem.

While the contemporary state of the alternative scene is certainly facilitating some much-needed change, it’s important to recognize that people of color — specifically, black people — have always been part of the scene, and always will.

Here are five awesome goth bands that feature black musicians, proving that despite popular assumption, goth isn’t white.

Scary Black

A beloved artist of mine and one who I’ve spun on-air several times before, Scary Black is orchestrated by the brilliant mind of Albie Mason, a purveyor of “introverted darkwave.”

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Scary Black redefines the term “southern gothic.”

Cover for “Live at Fascination Street” by Scary Black

With corpse-cold melodies, vampiric lyrics and a cultivated air of foreboding, each track is goosebump-inducing in the best way.

Scary Black’s debut album, “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” features some of my favorite songs, such as “I Will Crawl Inside Your Heart and Die.”

The Ire

If you like music with screamier vocals, The Ire may be for you.

Based in Philadelphia, The Ire draws inspiration from 80’s post-punk and infuses the style with deathrock dramaticism.

Cover for “Bacchic Dance” by The Ire

Their first demo album, “Demo,” came out in 2019. From then on, their command of style only refined itself, leading to their most recent album, “Bacchic Dance,” which came out Feb 2, 2024.

Light Asylum

I remember dancing to “Dark Allies” at the Wicked Witch back in 2023. The energy was electrifying, the air gauzy with fluttering shawls and swaying arms and swooshing leather.

Light Asylum is the Brooklyn-based solo project of Shannon Funchess, founded first as a duo in 2007 until keyboardist Bruno Coviello left in 2012.

Cover for “Light Asylum” by Light Asylum

Light Asylum’s music is powerful and inspired, with Funchess’s vocals fueling the project’s international appeal. With an 80’s-inspired sound, Light Asylum’s influences extend from Depeche Mode to the industrial clang of Nine Inch Nails.

She Wants Revenge

At this point, I’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the alternative scene who hasn’t heard of She Wants Revenge.

Their iconic “Tear You Apart” defined my adolescence.

Based in San Fernando Valley, California, She Wants Revenge presents a stilted and charmingly blunt take on post-punk and darkwave.

Cover for “She Wants Revenge” by She Wants Revenge

Consisting of Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin, the band emerged in 2006 after being scouted by none other than Fred Durst, every twenty-something-year-old teenage girl’s favorite man.

And the rest is history.

Shadow Age

Putting the dark back in darkwave, Shadow Age’s music is cold and diffused through fog.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, Shadow Age released their first demo in 2013. Two years later their first EP, “Silaluk,” hit the airwaves.

The album has a beautifully esoteric sound and a distant, hazy vocal quality that conjures images of blanched, glacial landscapes.

Cover for “Silaluk” by Shadow Age

The band’s 2017 album “The Fall” is comparatively warmer, though still with a lo-fi distortion.

Their most recent release, the single “Ours,” takes the band’s sound in an interesting new direction with stronger electronic and indie influences.

Final Thoughts

People of color have always influenced the alternative music scene, and for much of musical history, their impact has been ignored.

Lending recognition to the numerous artists who continue to operate in the scene is integral to building a more inclusive and representative space.

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: O. Children and Tobi O’Kandi

It’s February, which always proves to be an…enigmatic…time of year.

Positioned right in the center between the start of winter and the beginning of spring, February is a time of anticipation, yearning and rumination. Valentine’s day — and midterms — loom on the horizon.

However, beyond these trivialities, February is also a time of remebrance. Black History Month, a time dedicated to honoring black excellence and elevating black voices.

Photo by neil godding on Unsplash

The alternative music scene is, to put it plainly, quite white. While artists of color certainly exist, they often don’t receive the recognition or platforms they deserve.

My goal this month is to shine a light upon black influence in the alternative music scene and use this platform to explore the stories of several black artists.

Today, we’ll be focusing on Tobi O’Kandi of the goth rock band O. Children.

Bono Must Die

Before solidifying himself as the lead of O. Children, Tobi O’Kandi was the frontman of a controversial band, one I’d never heard of until I started doing research for this post.

Bono Must Die, as O’Kandi stated in an interview with Soundsphere back in 2010, was largely a joke.

Cover for “O. Children” by O. Children

Affecting a Cockney accent and singing satire about Satanism, money, sex and night buses, O’Kandi and his crew grew a following significant enough that the band toured twice alongside Florence + The Machine, Crystal Castles and numerous other topsters. 

One lawsuit (from U2’s Bono himself) and a name change later, Bono Must Die finally died. After three years of activity, O’Kandi was bored. He wanted to try his hand at forming a “proper” band.

O. Children

O. Children, named after the Nick Cave song, formed in 2008. Consisting of O’Kandi, Andi Sleath, Gauthier Ajarrista and Harry James, O. Children drew inspiration from pivotal bands of the 80’s.

The band cites Joy Division, the Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim and — of course — Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as their primary stylistic influences.

The band’s reverence for Cave didn’t end simply with their name. As they stated in an interview with Loud and Quiet back in 2009, their goal wasn’t simply to emulate, but to embody.

“We’re gonna be the guys that take over Nick Cave and dance on his grave, his Children. O. Children,” O’Kandi said.

Cover for “Apnea” by O. Children

When discussing his aims for the band, he stated, “We want to work on something we feel we can give our heart and soul to and it turns out it’s this. What we’re saying is that in two months… we’re going to blow you away.”

In 2010, O. Children released their self-titled debut album, which features some of their most iconic tracks, such as “Dead Disco Dancer” and “Ruins.”

With clear elements of gothic rock, post-punk and a dash of pop, the band’s energy is melancholy but riveting. Full of motion and emotion and emulating the borderline-western-borderline-opera style of Nick Cave, the album is beautifully done.

There’s an interesting parallel between the works of Nick Cave and O’Kandi. Both artists started with an experimental, distorted sound — Cave with The Birthday Party and O’Kandi with Bono Must Die — before transitioning to something smoother and more restrained.

O. Children released its sophomore album, “Apnea,” in 2012, followed by three singles, “PT Cruiser,” “Chimera,” and “Yours For You.


After O. Children eventually ceased its activity, O’Kandi was left desiring another creative outlet. In 2019, he launched his solo project, Okandi, with the release of “Devil I Know.”

Cover for “God Save The Fake” by O. Children

Since, he’s released three more singles. The most recent, “God Save The Fake,” came out in 2022.

Okandi’s sound is more experimental than O. Children’s, foregoing the former band’s rocking style for a staunch darkwave/electro slant.

Band/Artist Profile

Classic Band Spotlight: Polyrock

Chances are, you’re aware of the music scene in 1970s New York City. 

You’re likely aware of the rise of punk rock, new wave, and hip-hop that marked the city with critical attention. You may even know about no wave, a vital development that quietly influenced scores of artists working across genres for generations to come.

However, you may or may not be aware of one New York band who slipped under the radar of the national spotlight, and unfortunately, many of the history articles that have saturated the realm of music journalism: Polyrock.

Formed in New York in 1978 and led by frontman/guitarist Billy Robertson, Polyrock was arguably one of the first bands (at least on this side of the Atlantic) to introduce a pattern-based, sharply-angled take on the guitar music of the time, and to capitalize on the sensibilities which would soon become commonplace in the artier side of the growing post-punk and new wave movements.

However, a crucial component to the alluring story of this band is the fact that they had excellent help: production and composition assistance from none other than minimalism pioneer Philip Glass. In fact, Glass appears as a musician on their first two albums.

The influence of Glass’s school of minimalism is evident, as the repetitive motions of Polyrock’s music create a hypnotic atmosphere not dissimilar from the music in Glass’s own catalog. Evidence of Krautrock influence is also present; you can hear rhythms and sonic ideas initiated by CAN or Faust throughout Polyrock’s work, making them one of the first bands to draw these influences into the growing indie rock landscape.

The captivating layering of minimalism and rock is truly sublime, and extremely ahead of its era; similar moments and musical quotations have popped up in music decades later, in bands such as Stereolab or Osees.

Polyrock’s debut self-titled 1980 LP, though somewhat inflexible at times, nonetheless presents a worldly, justifiable cohesion found in similar projects of the era.

The chaos is vivid, and the noise is visceral; however, the rhythms are nearly club-ready, and the motorik drumming cuts through the auditory clutter like a hot knife. The fun, sharp beats pull you down into songs you may otherwise feel lost or overwhelmed in. 

Polyrock is, of course, not the only group of their era to play around with this dichotomy. While often compared to New York scene brethren Talking Heads, a more apt comparison to the deeply neurotic, rigid grooves would be DEVO, or perhaps Suburban Lawns. 

Their second album, “Changing Hearts”, was released in 1981 and provides a very similar backbone, with slightly diluted experimentalism. it still takes into account the lessons learned from the first Glass collaboration, but manages to successfully branch out and tone down thoughtfully. The danceable grooves remain, and the band’s formula is not left behind. However, slight moves are taken to improve the accessibility of the work; fortunately, it is apparent that these moves are not to the detriment of the album’s creative value.

For a low-key sophomore effort, it’s pleasantly surprising, and just as interesting as the band’s debut.

Polyrock was met with critical acclaim, and over time, their artistic space has become more and more revisited. However, as angular art rock pioneers, and considering their early toe-dipping into minimalism, they deserve vastly more credit for their work than they’ve received.

Watch the video for “Romantic Me” here.

Band/Artist Profile

Babe Haven: NC Queer Punk

Shout out to North Carolina bands. We North Carolinians love when you approach our ears with songs that make us proud to be from the same state as you. Babe Haven is an excellent example of one of these bands. 

They are an all female, queer punk band who originally started out in Boone (as of this 2023 Mountain Times article). The members include Naomi Poesel (guitar/ vocals), Lillie Della Penna (lead vocals), Kat Savidge (drums) and Julia Lynn (bass). Babe Haven has a few releases under their belt like their self titled EP, “Babe Haven” and “Uppercut”, which is a full length album released last year in May. 

Obviously, I’m from North Carolina, so I have a little bit of bias when it comes to musicians sprouting from this state, but Babe Haven has the talent and sound to become a true North Carolina staple in the music world. 

Also, Almost all these tracks are FCC inappropriate. Plug your ears if you hate cursing, dweebs. 

Babe Haven” – Released on Spotify December 3, 2021

Bad Witch

I think of the four tracks on this release, “Bad Witch” and “Movie Night” stand out to me. This track checks all the boxes of what you want from an early release in a band’s discography as catchy, danceable and probably really fun to play live. I’d love to see this live and see how the band treats this. You can feel how much everyone is invested in the band’s sound just from this one track too, which is significant in the success of any band or any group ever – buy in.

Movie Night

I really enjoy the warbly guitar in this song. The lyrics are chill and in total, the track feels a little more psychedelic because of the vocals and guitar mixing together. 

Uppercut” – Released on May 15, 2023


The opening track and the title track all wrapped into one hunky, heavy beautiful thick sound that resonates with more than my ears. It’s a holistic body experience. 

Slim Jim

This song has the best kind of corny vibe interwoven into its threads. It’s a weird dive into the writing style of this band and their minds. Babe Haven is definitely angry, but they’re doing it in a funny way. I love it. 

Strangers in Real Life Friends in My Head

I don’t know. This track clicks really well in my head. The opening fast paced drums and bass go vrrm and I love this feeling of heavy, heavy deep throated noise shooting down my soul. The warmth floods into my head, my stomach, just everywhere around me. 

Daddy’s Lil Grrrl

The opening guitar reminds me of Sonic Youth, another great band (I love Kim Gordon). Then the vocals hit perfectly on this track, which swept me into a beautiful fury by the end of the song. 

Where’s Our Haven?

Babe Haven’s limited discography is their only downfall in my eyes. I know they do a good job of traveling the area and have done quite a bit of touring throughout the United States too. In Raleigh, they’ll be playing at the Pour House on February 23, so if you get a kick out of their sound feel free to check them out while they’re around. 

I can’t wait to see where this band continues to strive towards. They have a new album coming out in the late spring called “Nuisance”.

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Spotlight: Tassel

I’ll be honest. I haven’t been listening to many new bands lately.

In lieu of my duties as a DJ, I’ve mostly been streaming dreamy 80s pop. I find that the musical works of Duran Duran, Naked Eyes and Kajagoogoo are just enough to distract me from the sense of melancholia that emerges during the early winter.

Although I didn’t take the opportunity to compile an assortment of new bands over winter break, I did manage to stumble upon an group slowly gaining more prominence in the dark music scene.

Industrial Liturgy

Based in Phoenix, Tassel is a musical project “embracing pentecostal origins, punk ethos, unabashed queerness and the allure of mystery.”

The band released their first single in 2021. Titled “Steel Patch,” the track features upbeat instrumentals with droning, dispassionate vocals. Their sound reminded me of French Police, one of my most beloved post-punk bands.

Cover for “OLD COVENANT” by Tassel

Tassel calls its music “industrial liturgy,” a term which I took as an incovation of the band’s aim to sublimate ritual in music.

Other bands have taken on a similar goal, such as the aptly-named Liturgy. However, while Liturgy’s ritualism is evident in the band’s sprawling, hypnotic rhythms, I struggled to situate this concept within Tassel’s music.

That was, until I listened to some of their more recent material.

Cover for “NEW COVENANT” by Tassel

Tassel’s two most recent releases, “NEW COVENANT” and “OLD COVENANT,” are more darkwave and industrial than post-punk. Cold, metallic and entrancingly distorted, these two albums are more in the realm of Male Tears or Skinny Puppy than French Police. There’s more drama, more sensuality and far more emotion.

Tracks from both albums feature vast expanses of experimentalism, presenting a raw and unabashed sound.

While it seems Tassel originally branded itself as a post-punk group, it’s clear that its stylistic progression has led down the route of EBM and industrial. It’s clear to me from what I’ve consumed so far that the band is adept at cultivating both subgenres of sound.

Cover for “steel patch ep” by Tassel

Of the band’s post-punk works, my favorites are “ruminate,” and “reprise.”

From their latest albums, I particularly liked “only a word” and “unveiled.”

While Tassel is still relatively new to the scene, I certainly look forward to the band’s future projects.

Band/Artist Profile New Album Review

“Swatta” by Chepang: Nepalese-American Grindcore

Chepang is not a new band. They’ve been inhabiting Queens, NYC for about eight years now. The band members left Nepal and subsequently formed Chepang in 2016, and since then they have been grinding away and making their sounds known to the world.

Band/Artist Profile

“Send in the Clouds” by Silver Jews

Silver Jews is probably my favorite band of all time. Of course I love all music and musicians for putting their gorgeous sounds into my ears, but Silver Jews has country vibes, amazing songwriting (by the one and only David Berman) and emotional satisfaction, all of which draw me deeper and deeper into my obsession. I’ve written about them before in an article about “The Natural Bridge”. Berman has now been dead for a little over four years. He struggled with mental health issues throughout his life

I wanted to write a small article on one song in particular that I have been enjoying a lot recently, “Send in the Clouds”. It comes from the widely acclaimed, “American Waters”, which was released in 1998. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement helped Berman write, produce and create the album. 

Posted on YouTube by Drag City Records. “Send in the Clouds” is by Silver Jews.

Both Stephen Malkmus and David Berman sing the opening lyrics to this track in unison. It creates an interesting bonded feeling to this song I would never have expected from just reading the lyrics.

Then, the duo goes on to sing this:

I am the trick my mother played on the world
Seventeen doctors couldn’t decide
whether I should be allowed in the game.

What can’t monsters get along with other monsters?
Soi disantra, soi disantra…

From “Send in the Clouds” by Silver Jews

I love the formation “Send in the Clouds” has within its line and as a written, living poem. It has a few tercets followed by a couplet, then another tercet, a quatrain and another couplet. It flows impeccably.

The lyrics themselves are an absolute treat to decipher too. Of course, being David Berman, the words have so many layers of meanings piled atop one another (most of them pretty damn sad).

Initially, the song talks about sending “in the Clouds” filled with rain for a dreary day with a lover in bed. Then we move to questioning the reasons for being born, wondering if the narrator is a curse and monster.

By the chorus, the narrator has decided “soi-desantra”, which is a made up word but close to the French phrase “soi-desant” for “self-proclaimed” according to Merriam-Webster. The narrator claims they are a monster, but are they really? How can we trust their word?

Berman and Malkmus amble on down the road of strange lyrics with this:

I know a puppy who walked from Kentucky.
Made to East Virginia by dawn.
He had seventeen ideas in his head.

Windex tears flow down the robot’s face.
He’s never felt a lover’s embrace.
My momma named me after a king.
I’m gonna bury my name in you.

From “Send in the Clouds” by Silver Jews

They explore the isolation of a dog wandering about the East Coast roads just thinkin’. A robot crying by using “Windex tears”. These lyrics are awe inspiring to me because of how much love can be felt through them. It takes so much craftiness to perfect a line of poetry, and Berman and Malkmus do wonders with this track especially.

If you’ve never taken time out of your day to listen to Silver Jews, well lucky you, Fall is one of my favorite listening periods for them. This song in particular is great with a nice cup of coffee and enjoying grey skies.

Band/Artist Profile

Obscure Artists Spotlight: Soma Cake, Datura and They Feed at Night

This may be surprising, but I really like music.

Partly as a function of being a DJ and partly as a function of being neurodivergent, I spend a lot of time “crate diving” through sprawls of Spotify playlists and recommendations.

While these efforts usually lead me to simply find more songs by artists I already know (for some reason, the algorithm really wants me to listen to Joy Division’s “Disorder”), there’s also the rare (but cherished) occasion that I discover an artist unknown both to me and by many others in the scene.

This week, I’ve put together a small selection of “obscure” artists I personally enjoy in the hope of growing their listener base and giving them some much-deserved recognition.

Soma Cake

With only 900 monthly listeners, this band is probably the most obscure on this list.

Based in Reynosa, Mexico, Soma Cake walks the line between the realms of darkwave, post-punk, dreampop and jangle rock.

The band hit the scene in 2018 with the release of “Manual Para los Reci​é​n Fallecidos” (“Manual For the Recently Deceased”), which features tracks recorded between 2016 and 2017.

Cover for “Manual Para los Reci​é​n Fallecidos” by Soma Cake

This album has a distinct gothic tone, though with jangly — rather than consistently distorted — guitars.

The presence of live drums, rather than a drum machine, is also an interesting touch. And while the band makes use of synths, their end product has more of a nostalgic deathrock feel.

While “Manual Para los Reci​é​n Fallecidos” is technically the band’s first release, they consider their first “real” album to be ”Girls Bite Harder.

Released April 2018, the album is a stark turn from its predecessor’s clear goth influence. Rather, the album is a font of dreampop, jangle and shoegaze.

My first encounter with Soma Cake came with their 2022 album “Senza,” which blends the band’s dual atmospheres — gothic and dreamy — in beautiful harmony.

Recommended Tracks:


With under 4,000 monthly listeners, Datura is a gothic rock band from Wentachee, Washington.

Datura draws inspiration from goth legends like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Chameleons.

This influence can be clearly seen in their work, which has a staticy retro feel and upbeat, though still moody, vibe.

Cover for “Arcano Chemical” by Datura

The band released two EPs in 2020, followed by several singles before “Arcano Chemical,” the band’s first album, came out in 2022.

While some tracks on the album have more of an “alternative” than goth slant, there’s a consistent goth influence — distorted guitars, spectral ambience and dark lyrics — throughout.

Recommended Tracks:

  • “Phantasma”
  • “Chase”
  • “Sapphire”

They Feed at Night

Of the three artists I’ve presented, They Feed at Night is probably the most niche.

I’ll start out by saying that this band probably isn’t for everybody. Of all the goth subgenres, I find that deathrock is typically the least palatable for people new to the scene.

Experimental deathrock, by this summation, is even stranger.

As a lover of strange music, They Feed at Night captured my very heart with their frigid, weeping and harsh sound.

Cover for “Deprivation” by They Feed at Night

Though apparently no longer active (the band’s latest release was in 2016), the band started its career all the way back in 2009 with their debut demo “They Feed at Night.”

Taking a very literal approach to the term “deathrock,” each of the band’s tracks are angsty, frenzied and dramatic. Rough, screaming vocals meld with an accompaniment of distorted guitars.

Recommended Tracks:

Band/Artist Profile

Artist Profile: Agabas

Agabas is a 6-piece Norwegian metal band that hit the scene back in April 2023 with their debut single, “Skamklipt.”

When I first heard the track, I found it fabulously raucous. A cacophony of extremity, both through vocals and instrumentation, the single proved a striking debut for the band.

Once the song hit around the 1:40 mark, things changed when from a flurry of energetic and extreme metal, a saxophone emerged like a swarm of tweaked-out wasps.

I’ve always loved a good saxophone solo, but I never fully grasped just how sublime a marriage of rock aggression and experimental jazz would be.

Cover for “Skamklipt” by Agabas

The result was intoxicating, and not just because it scratched the itch in my attention-decifit-hyperactive brain.

Agabas doesn’t pretend to be a regular metal band.

Clad in neat slacks and buttoned-up 70s-style floral shirts, the band’s image clashes severely with its unrestrained and often hellish sound.

This fusion of aesthetics translates into the band’s work, producing a fusion of genres as the band’s extreme metal foundation is infused with experimental jazz.

The result is a “disgusting harmony” the band has called “deathjazz.


While some may argue against the band’s marriage of jazz and metal, likening deathjazz to a musical Frankenstein’s monster, I disagree. If anything, it’s a perfect match.

Anyone who really listens to jazz is fully aware that the common perception of jazz as inherently smooth and delicate — the kind of music one listens to while reading a book at a coffee shop — isn’t wholly representative of the genre.

Cover for “A Hate Supreme” by Agabas

Jazz can get wild, blurring the line between order and utter chaos, completely unrestrained by rules and stricture.

With that kind of framework, I can’t think of a better match for jazz than metal, a genre which pioneers itself on the basis of its vibrant sensations.

The allure of Agabas’ music lies in its saxophone, which takes the place of the classic “metal breakdown” to lay out a convoluted and often (pleasantly) ear-piercing slurry of notes.

Final Thoughts

Since their start in early 2023, Agabas has produced two albums.

A Hate Supreme” came out in September while “Voluspå” was released in mid October. Both albums present a rich landscape through which Agabas continues to develop their deathjazz style.

While some people may see deathjazz as gimmicky and unoriginal, I see it as an interesting opportunity to witness the intersection of two highly elastic genres.

I look forward to seeing how Agabas changes over time, as I’m sure they will, and what this will mean for the future of metal, jazz and their newborn child.