#5 – Solace by Iress

Genre: Doomgaze

Best answer to the question, “What is doomgaze?”

Some people have a resting bitch face. I feel I have a resting doomgaze soul.

If I had to describe what it sounds like in my head, being introverted and melancholic, Iress would come pretty close.

If you’re like me and can be at peace with feeling low, if slow and pensive moods often feel like home, then maybe the slow beauty of Solace may also resonate with you. This EP is haunting yet familiar, sad but beautiful and honest.

#4 – Brain Worms by RVG

Genre: Alternative

Best Australian Album

An album of my youth, only a few decades late.

Remember being young and not quite fitting in the world? Do you still feel that way some days? There’s something about Brain Worms that draws me back into such times and places.

As a young man, who often couldn’t find the right words to say, the songs on Brain Worms are like an understanding friend who ‘gets it’.

RVG has a wonderful unique sound, which also conjures up the vibes of many classic Aussie bands. There is a wonderful vulnerability in the lyrics, covering various themes, that forms an intimacy between band and listener.

#3 – Inevitable by NONE

Genre: DSBM*

Best album that got me though.

What? He’s so nice and pleasant. He’d never listen to DSBM!

* (If you don’t know what DSBM is, then you will not like this. Don’t even try. Move on. You have been warned.)

2023 was a hard year. Some days, honestly, were a struggle. Sometimes anger and anguish could be put aside. But sometimes, I needed to time-out and step into the pain, to acknowledge it, to own it – and then step back and continue onward.

In a way that many people will never understand, Inevitable gave my soul rest.

Also, the opening track Never Came Home fits perfectly with my drive to work. Seriously, it syncs flawlessly with the roads, intersections and the one bridge in the middle. It even falls into a quiet outro, just as I pull into the car park. It’s freaky!

#2 – Hunger by Maggot Heart

Genre: Post Punk

Best album I randomly stumbled across.

Full of awesome lyrics that get stuck in my head.

Deciding between spots one and two on this list was hard. Ultimately it came down to checking which I had listened to the most.

Hunger combines so many aspects of music that I love. There’s elements of metal, the driving bass of hard rock, and the lyrical delivery of punk. And then there are moments of brass and piano that shift this album from great to awesome.

The album is a collection of strong individual songs. This means I might skip around it – listening to this track here, and then jumping over to another. Sometimes a single song will pop into my mind, and I must find and listen to it.

There’s also a great energy that Maggot Heart brings here. Despite being a studio album, it can feel like you’re just chillin’ in the band room while Maggot Heart are jamming it out.

Just missed the list…
– Spine by Myrkur
– Overtures of Uprising by Exulansis
– 93696 by Liturgy
– A.S.O. by A.S.O.

#1 – Keres by Euphrosyne

Genre: Post Black Metal

Best EP to just sit and listen to the full experience from start to end.

Simply undefinable.

(Okay. Yes. Technically this EP was released late 2022, but I’m still counting it.)

Some music you just play in the background. For other recordings, you need to set everything aside and permit yourself to stop, zone out, and go on the full journey. Keres is one such recording.

From the soft saxophone beginnings, one could be mistaken that this will be a smooth experience, but Euphrosyne will then throw a listener into tumultuous blast beats and guttural lyrics – not for the meek – only to shift again into clean lyrics, and drop in and out of an ambient calm.

In only 30 minutes, it feel like you’re living the highs, lows, pains and tribulations of life. And, if you’re anything like me, you become swept up and emotionally overwhelmed by the time you reach the anthemic climax of Within The Age. I mean, when the sax kicks in, I’m one hundred per cent lost in the moment. Goosebumps and tears.

The very last short track, by contrast, is perfectly low-key and soft, as if Euphrosyne knew the listener would need a moment to pause and reflect on the journey they’ve just encountered.

Or maybe that’s just me.