By Jonah Ruddock
After February break, March feels as though it will stretch on interminably for ten weeks each year until we finally see April break on the horizon. While you wait, here are six albums to listen to during this long stretch before our next official break from school.
- The Unlawful Assembly by Dawn Ray’d (2017)
Dawn Ray’d’s debut full-length is impressively atmospheric, featuring throat-shredding vocals, searing violins, and politically charged lyrics. From the subdued “A Litany to Cowards” to the furious “The Ceaseless Arbitrary,” this is the kind of album that will help you write an entire DBQ in one sitting. There isn’t really a way to overstate how epic The Unlawful Assembly is. You’ll just have to listen to it for yourself.
- We Free Kings by Roland Kirk (1962)
Jazz (Blues, Post-Bop)
On We Free Kings, multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk, who would later change his name to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, plays tenor saxophone, flute, and two modified saxophones of his own making which he called the stritch and manzello. The album includes two takes on Charlie Parker’s standard “Blues for Alice” and fantastic original compositions like “A Sack Full of Soul” and “The Haunted Melody.” A few killer flute solos are thrown into the mix as well.
- Reclaim by From Sorrow to Serenity (2019)
This is From Sorrow to Serenity’s first album with vocalist Gaz King, and his formidable screams definitely add a whole new level to their sound. It’s exhilarating and melodic, with prominent elements of djent and whispers of slam metal. The songs flow seamlessly from one to another and not a single one disappoints. I especially like “7” and “Unity Asunder.”
- How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You by The Down Troddence (2014)
The Down Troddence, from the Kannur district in Kerala, India, combines elements of folk music with traditional thrash and groove metal, resulting in a masterpiece of a debut album with rough vocals and stunning riffs. Favorites of mine are “Forgotten Martyrs,” which features a harrowing solo by the former Motherjane guitarist Baiju Dharmajan, and the dream-like “Muck Fun Mohan.” Their songs provide a commentary on Indian social issues and also happen to be extremely catchy.
- Blues & Roots by Charles Mingus (1960)
Jazz (Hard Bop)
Here Mingus is heard with his classic lineup: Dannie Richmond on drums, Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis on trombone, Booker Ervin on tenor sax, Horace Parlan on piano, Pepper Adams on bari sax, and Jackie McClean on alto sax. This album is drunk on improvisation, featuring the soulful “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” and the iconic “Moanin” along with an excellent version of “My Jelly Roll Soul,” a tribute to pianist Jelly Roll Morton that Mingus seemed to constantly be reworking. Blues & Roots has an optimistic zeal to it that will bring a smile to your face.
- Low Teens by Every Time I Die (2016)
MetalcoreDo not be discouraged by the lame cover art- Low Teens is an incredible album full of beautiful lyrics, chaotic riffs, and great vocals. The more Southern-influenced songs work, somehow, perfectly. On their eighth studio album, the band has proven they’ve still got it. Every track is solid, but some of my favorites are “Awful Lot” and “The Coin Has a Say.” Absolutely a ride you don’t want to miss.