Let me start by saying that Aaarth is a very good, very strange record.

The opening track, “Y Bluen Eira,” is a stomping electronic collage of heavy drums, hard rocking guitar, foreign lyrics, and building tension, and then it suddenly fades off into a drum solo, followed by a crunchy bass solo that pulls right into “The Wrong Side,” which is a 1990s Smashing Pumpkins kind of creeping rager.

It doesn’t slow down after that. “Go Loving” is in a similar vein: Push, push, push into a blazing crash of guitar-bass-drums, then soften, push push push and repeat.

And then, we get Cicada (Land on Your Back), which has an acoustic lead–but it’s still full of raw, angsty power. That’s the album in a nutshell: Strength and force, hook-y aggression, and a momentum that never fully eases off the gas pedal.

If this isn’t one of the best albums of 2018, then this was a truly magnificent year for music.

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