Abana Ba Nasery
Abana Ba Nasery

Philip Montoro, Reader music editor

Yob, Atma Right from its lead track, “Prepare the Ground,” the new Atma is first-class cosmic doom. The smoke of funeral ghats chokes the battlefields of heaven, its darkness cut by the flashes of scimitars. A fallen soldier cries out to an indifferent god until his howls become a soaring mantra. Prepare to be enlightened to within an inch of your life.

Abana Ba Nasery, Classic Acoustic Recordings From Western Kenya This trio was famous in Kenya in the 60s and early 70s for playing a Luhya style called omutibo, whose instrumentation usually consists of two acoustic guitars and a ribbed glass Fanta bottle scraped with a nail. The sweet, jaunty, intricately entangled guitars, the crickety rhythm of the bottle, and the sad-happy three-part harmony singing are just the thing for a summer night you know will end too soon.

Celtic Frost, “Ground,” from Monotheist A bitter, furious, dismal, pounding trudge. “Oh God,” roars Tom G. Warrior. “Why have you forsaken me?” This song has replaced Shellac’s “Prayer to God” as my favorite thing to have stuck in my head when I’m biking to work against the wind.

Seth Sher, Drummer for Ga’an and Zath and guitarist for Oakeater

Absu, Tara

Absu, Tara Insanely technical yet nimble, 2001’s Tara reigns supreme in the black/thrash genus of metal—fast, aggressive, and complex, with creative and unrelenting drumming care of Proscriptor McGovern, who also performs all the vocals! The best American metal album of all time.

Alphonse Mouzon, Mind Transplant It’s got the usual duds inherent in jazz fusion, but this 1975 Blue Note release is uncharacteristically minimal, repetitive, and heavy for the genre, with the drums taking the lead. Mind Transplant is almost completely devoid of aimless solos, instead focusing on rhythmic complexity.

Razor, Shotgun Justice Totally pissed-off blue-collar thrash from Ontario, Canada. In “Violence Condoned,” front man Bob Reid describes a scene where their fans riot after the band packs up their gear upon learning they won’t be paid. And “The Pugilist” seethes with rage, as the narrator turns the tables on his tormentor: “I’ll haunt you at night, I’ll terrorize, I’ll phone but I won’t talk.” Yes!

Charles Snider, Author of The Strawberry Bricks Guide to Progressive Rock

Conrad Schnitzler
,Gelb Conrad Schnitzler passed away August 4. Although an early member of Tangerine Dream and a cofounder of Kluster, Schnitzler was really an artist, using sound as his canvas. I browsed through my collection for a suitable tribute; housed in an unmarked cardboard jacket is this 1981 LP, playable at either 45 or 33 rpm. Musically, I’m sure it parallels Schnitzler’s journey into the vast cosmos of the hereafter.

District 97, Hybrid Child

Le Orme, Felona e Sorona If you haven’t taken the plunge into Italian prog, this recent reissue is the place to start. The story concerns two planets and their eventual destruction. Suitably, the album is dark and brooding; synthesizer and Mellotron blast away over a pummeling rhythm.

District 97, Hybrid Child Speaking of prog rock, did you know that Chicago is home to the genre’s brightest prospect? District 97 just wrapped up their second mini tour of the summer and are now at I.V. Lab recording the follow-up to last year’s Hybrid Child. It’s full-on prog, with enough metal to cast their own vault.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid, and he’s also split two national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and one in in 2020 for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.