Author's Choices

Roman’s Top 11 NRW Releases of 2023

Since I sincerely spent a damn lot of time looking up releases from the state of Northrhine Westphalia due to my side project Lower Rhine Underground, I had to separate this and also come up with a list only for the releases from NRW. Boy a lot happened this year in NRW alone, so take a look at the releases that found the most frequent rotation on my vinyl player or in my playlists.

riot but cute. – carpark chaos

Although having read the name numerous times, it took a little longer until I listened into riot but cute.’s music (only because time was short). The beautiful warmth this release brings across while still sounding rough around the edges reminds you of some of your favorite 90s emo bands.

Especially the vocals carry a lot of the strength on this record right next to the versatile songwriting and the heartwarming guitar tones.

Im Wasser – S/T

This came out of nowhere. Until the point at which Im Wasser reached out to me, I was not aware of this band. While preparing the upload of this release, I listened through their self-titled demo numerous times and was absolutely stunned by the sound this band showcases.

A strong combination of a musical style that moves somewhere in between Screamo, Post-Rock and a basis that takes influences from many different favorite bands. This demo is just wow, I can’t find other words to describe this any further. Listen into it.

Müde – S/T

I was told that I should definitely check out the band Müde from Dorsten and their latest demo / EP. It only took a few seconds into the first song to find out that this is a pretty interesting take on Punk sound.

This EP only consists of three tracks, but the sound that is presented showcases somewhat of a mixture of Punk that also bears elements of gnarly Pop Punk as played by bands such as Gnarwolves and slight influences of Emo. The lyrics are great as well and will get stuck in your mind.

Wonderful World – S/T
[Room 11 Records]

What would you expect when you read the name of a band that is called Wonderful World? Going by the fact that the first track on their first release is also called “Thoughts on a Sunday,” I believe that there might be some misunderstandings.

This is Hardcore in the exact way I highly favor. Right into your goddamn face. Different traits of Grindcore and Powerviolence mix up the energy on this release thus merging into a sound that will surely get you going.

Manøver – Taken
[Santa Diabla | Fucking Kill Records]

Manover - Taken

Bulldozing a hell of a sound right over your ears, Manøver surely know their craft quite well. On their latest EP, these guys from Münster once more show that they are capable of left-handedly making use of the blast of Bolt Thrower and the breath of Asphyx in order to showcase music that will razor off your ears.

All of this Death Metal drenched tone foundation is then used to play heavily dragging Crust with strong Sludge influences. This entire package is highly convincing from the sound of the instrumentation alone.

Tristis – Das Schweigen Vieler

When the signature aspect about your band is the specific genre you might be located in, you will often be easily recognized among other representatives. I think this is pretty much the case when talking about Tristis and their debut EP Das Schweigen Vieler. There is a lot of different accentuation happening on this album.

When first entering, this might remind you of Deafheaven’s New Bermuda to a certain extent. However, deeper into the album you will recognize a great many of different styles. Especially the slight nuance of Screamo that finds highlights in the Black Metal riffing will drive you back to this release numerous times.

Nihilistic Warfare – Spark Hatred Fire
[Kernkraftritter Records]

I stumbled across this band by accident and got all hooked by their first release Spark Hatred Fire. This is Death Doom that delivers a hell of a meaty guitar tone that thrusts you through the entire record. Apart from the incredibly catchy Death Metal sound that Nihilistic Warfare delivers here, the epic tone the melodies add on top of the sound certainly serves a memorable tone.

I have to admit that especially the album-titled track reminded me of the sound of Amon Amarth on their initial releases, when I still highly favored the band. I also think this is an aspect that made me enjoy this album so damn much.

Ch’ahom – Knots of Abhorrence
[Sentient Ruin Laboratories]

I have to admit that I was entirely overwhelmed when I first listened into Ch’ahoms Knots of Abhorrence. I mean, I knew the band before and I definitely enjoyed their sound, but this release took their music to a next level. Although the production on this album might be considered a taming of the beast to a slight extent, the way in which the Mesoamerican instruments were implemented on this album in my opinion leads to the fact that this album stood out as one of the best releases of the entire year.

The soundscapes that are constructed and intertwined with crushing, cavernous Death Metal are so damn on point that I tended to listen to this album on a daily basis.

Kriegszittern – Flamethrower
[Fucking Kill Records]

It was funny enough that I got to know Kriegszittern, a band from right around the corner in NRW, via our boy Nino, who highly favored the band and lives in Weimar. Nevertheless, once having been introduced to the band, I got stuck on this raw, Punk-infused, cavernous Death Metal. When this album was announced, I was absolutely stoked. I mean, just look at the cover, there is a tank with a motherfucking flamethrower on it!

The sound is just as you expected it to be and this is also why you go for Kriegszittern. Straight into your face primitively raw Death Metal. Ugh!

No Shelter. x Menschenstaub Split
[Raccoone Records | SM-Musik
Santa Diabla | Lower Class Kids Records]

If you’re reconsidering what your most favorite crossover is or has been, I will always tell you that you’re gonna need to keep in mind the split release of NRW gems No Shelter. and Menschenstaub. I loved both of those bands before already, but when I heard about the fact that this split was about the happen, my heart skipped a beat.

Both of the bands definitely increased the anger they showcase in their music on this split. The tracks are spitting venom right into your face. Definitely the best split to happen in 2024!

𝕽𝖆𝖓𝖟 – 𝖂𝖆𝖓𝖉𝖊𝖗𝖜𝖊𝖌
[Urinstein Kollektiv]

It has become quite frequent among TMB team members to make fun of the style of musical production I look for. If there is a release that might sum up this favor, it certainly is Bonn’s hobgoblin combo Ranz. Their latest EP Wanderweg that was also presented via Lower Rhine Underground is a raw Black Metal wildfire that whirls screeching vocals and treble-infused guitars around your head.

This can be considered a rather “short” EP, yet it still showcases a sound that bears such a strong energy that it stands out a lot among other representatives of the Raw Black Metal genre.

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