Shield Patterns' Top 5 Albums of 2016
Richard Knox tells us about the sounds that dominated his stereo this year
Manchester-based electronic duo Shield Patterns topped The Skinny's list of the best albums from the North in 2016 with the mighty Mirror Breathing, an elegantly dense and thoroughly absorbing LP that fully deserved the five stars we bestowed upon its September release.
As you'd expect from the man behind the forward-facing Gizeh Records, band member Richard Knox has an eclectic taste, which is... um, reflected in the eclectic influences that inform Mirror Breathing. When we asked the band to tell us their five faves from the last 12 months, he was only too happy to oblige...
Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Mariner
I’m a big Cult of Luna fan and this is easily up there with their finest work. The addition of Julie Christmas on vocals is really striking. I liked her two projects Made Out Of Babies and Battle of Mice already so this is a really welcome collaboration. The standard Cult of Luna riffage and heaviness is still very present but the extra dynamic and intensity Julie gives the record is something quite special.
Suuns – Hold/Still
We played Green Man Festival this year – Suuns were also on the bill and by far the best thing I saw all weekend. We got back to Manchester on the Monday and I rushed straight off to see them again at Soup Kitchen. Hold/Still has this wonderful marriage of analog and digital, really unusual guitar parts and the vocal delivery is, I think, also very original. It’s quite experimental in places but has serious hooks throughout.
Slow Meadow – Slow Meadow
Technically released in 2015 but it got a deluxe reissue this year so it’s going in! By far my most-listened-to ‘ambient’ album this year. The subtle melodies contained on this record are quite stunning. It’s layered and structured in such a way that it feels like it’s constantly unfolding. The ambient music world is very saturated these days but Slow Meadow really stands out – a very beautiful record.
Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked For Death
A new discovery this year. Definitely one for fans of Chelsea Wolfe, Emma is also in a great band called Marriages. Marked For Death has some really beautiful vocal melodies sitting amongst fairly traditional song structures but all done in an interesting and thoughtful way. It’s a record I keep coming back to and certainly on the most-listened-to pile.
Oathbreaker – Rheia
This one was only released recently but it’s been on heavy rotation at Gizeh HQ. It blurs so many lines between hardcore, black metal and post-rock but it totally works and it’s a truly awesome record. It seems to have been a real breakthrough album for these guys and released on the ever-reliable Deathwish.