~~~ 2014 ILM METAL POLL TRACKS & ALBUMS COUNTDOWN! ~~~ (Tracks top 30 first then Albums)

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Thank you to all who voted. 53 album ballots (not sure about tracks) was really worried by tuesday that poll was dead so thanks to everyone on behalf of myself,fastnbulbous and seandalai.

Was going to do a top 25 tracks but since im posting 5 tonight and there was enoigh points to do it here it comes.

Will commence albums countdown on sunday evening after tracks poll finishes probably.

There will be Spotify playlists too
Tracks - http://open.spotify.com/user/pfunkboy/playlist/3JEQkwsSD5C7VsXMg4k1HX
Albums - http://open.spotify.com/user/pfunkboy/playlist/6fsnIonKsPLF5NzZ9hJg27

and onwards we march...

VOTING ENDS 11.59PM UK FOR METAL POLL. PLEASE VOTE NOW!! (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:16 (seven years ago) link


#30    purson - well spoiled machine    44.0 Points,   3 votes

VOTING ENDS 11.59PM UK FOR METAL POLL. PLEASE VOTE NOW!! (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:18 (seven years ago) link

They dont sound as I expected. A lot more proggish?

VOTING ENDS 11.59PM UK FOR METAL POLL. PLEASE VOTE NOW!! (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:22 (seven years ago) link


#1 Kanye North - Beezelbus 666 Points, 53 votes (12 #1s)

glenn mcdonald, Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:23 (seven years ago) link

Next up this years most controversial metal sellout ballad!


VOTING ENDS 11.59PM UK FOR METAL POLL. PLEASE VOTE NOW!! (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:26 (seven years ago) link

29 Watain - the wild hunt 45 Points, 4 Votes

VOTING ENDS 11.59PM UK FOR METAL POLL. PLEASE VOTE NOW!! (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:27 (seven years ago) link

Heh I forgot to change d/n

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:33 (seven years ago) link

and I posted wrong video (apparently the ballad wasnt nominated)

29 Watain - The Wild Hunt 45 Points, 4 votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:42 (seven years ago) link

28 Darkthrone - leave no cross unturned    46 Points,   4 Votes,   One #1 
No Spotify

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:43 (seven years ago) link

27    Dillinger Escape Plan - prancer    48 Points,   4 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:54 (seven years ago) link

I didn't expect to like the newer, less black Darkthrone track, but it's definitely working for me. The power metal intro is amazing.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 04:56 (seven years ago) link

This is different for Watain. Now I get where the Nephilim comparisons were coming from. I like the intention behind it but the track isn't that exciting. If you wanna be goth-occult-Nephilites you need big magick.

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 05:03 (seven years ago) link

Last one for tonight....

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 05:06 (seven years ago) link

26    SubRosa - The Usher    50 Points,   3 Votes
No Spotify

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 05:07 (seven years ago) link

This one is pretty badass, epic and doomy and heavy. The sorta vocal breakdown around 10 minutes in is incredible.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 05:21 (seven years ago) link

My comment up above was about the first Watain song, by the way, "the ballad."

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 06:45 (seven years ago) link

Am I the only one who voted for tracks? LOL, almost everything so far is on my ballot.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:27 (seven years ago) link

92 tracks received at least one vote. But I'm not sure how many tracks ballots there were. Metal fans on ILM, are like metal fans in general - they prefer albums.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 07:51 (seven years ago) link

I think there was 16 tracks ballots.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:07 (seven years ago) link

so what poor track got no votes?

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Saturday, 11 January 2014 08:21 (seven years ago) link

AG is that your first time listening to Purson? They are a bit proggy. I've recently been listening to old psych-prog albums from 1969-70 by Affinity, Axe, Goliath, Julian's Treatment/Julian Jay Savarin, all with female singers, and noticing a lot of similarities with Purson, Blood Ceremony and others.

Fastnbulbous, Saturday, 11 January 2014 14:45 (seven years ago) link

My landlord is mixing a sort-of-prog album with female lead vocals in my basement, so for just a split second hearing that Purson track I thought maybe someone was playing a weird joke on me.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:06 (seven years ago) link

25    Inter Arma - the survival fires    51 Points,    3  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:40 (seven years ago) link

The quiet bit around 5:00 of this one had me wondering if I was going to skip the rest, but the payoff totally makes it worth it. It looks like these guys are on tour with KEN Mode and Russian Circles in February, I might look into going to see that.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 16:52 (seven years ago) link

24    Anciients - faith and oath    52 Points,    3 Votes,   One #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:11 (seven years ago) link

Good stuff that

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:20 (seven years ago) link

23 Bölzer - Entranced By The Wolfshook 54 Points, 3 Votes , TWO #1s
No Spotify

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:25 (seven years ago) link

Glad to see an Anciients track, as they've been slightly underrepresented on most polls. We'll see how they do on albums.

Fastnbulbous, Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:31 (seven years ago) link

Wasn't fond of the Anciients track, apparently I'm in the minority. 25 and 26 have been my favorites so far, for those keeping track.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:32 (seven years ago) link

That Bölzer track is massive. I hope their full length lives up to expectations (whenever it arrives). They are onto something special methinks.

Skrot Montague, Saturday, 11 January 2014 17:52 (seven years ago) link

22    Carcass - the granulating dark satanic mills    56 Points,    3 Votes,   One #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:00 (seven years ago) link

Wolfshook is the best thing ever. I'm so hyped for Bölzer, can't wait to see what they do next.

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:05 (seven years ago) link

21    Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Crawler   57 Points    5 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:17 (seven years ago) link

20    Windhand - Woodbine    62 Points,    4  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:46 (seven years ago) link

for years i have avoided 'metal' cos i never enjoyed it, well, certainly not the stuff i heard.
yet the last few months i have been listening to bands that are classed as metal (qotsa/mastodon/sunn 0)))/earth/ghost) more than anything else.
so, thought i'd try a few of these youtubes.

darkthrone : love it - but not sure i could listen to a whole album.
watain : oh yes. will investigate more.
uncle acid : top 10 album of 2013 for me.
dillinger : nah ..
anciients (great name !) : like this ..

so, looking forward to using this thread as a reference point to help me find more ...

is the onset of my midlife crisis taking form in a newfound love of a genre i have never really enjoyed ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:47 (seven years ago) link

well it sure beats you listening to nu-metal!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:49 (seven years ago) link


carcass : i realise the importance and the love for these guys, but i aint feeling this. have tried before when the new album came out.

windhand : not sure ..

will dip back into this thread and check more, but i need to get back to tackhead now ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:53 (seven years ago) link

windhand sound like the latter day Electric Wizard stuff you like

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:57 (seven years ago) link

19    Suffocation - eminent wrath    63 Points,    4  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:06 (seven years ago) link

saw that reference to EW in the youtube thread.

my local source of rock music, i.e. hmv !, has a few of the EW albums on cd ..

not hit the pay option yet, but could happen next week ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:10 (seven years ago) link

xpost, agreed re: Mark's opinion on Darkthrone, that track is pretty much an album by itself. It's a lot to digest, they cover a lot of ground all in fifteen minutes (esp. for such a kvlt black metal band). Works great as an album side, though.

Tom Violence, Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:21 (seven years ago) link

18    Noothgrush - Thoth    66 Points,   4 Votes  One #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:31 (seven years ago) link

17    Vhol - Grace    66.0 Points,   5 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

16    Ghost - Ghuleh/Zombie Queen    67 Points,    4 Votes,  One #1  

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:08 (seven years ago) link

album highlight ..

such an immense track ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

genuine question : what makes ghost part of the 'metal' genre

to me the ghost album is more psych ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:11 (seven years ago) link

with a ton of pop rock thrown in ..

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

Well, metal wasnt always "extreme" Blue Oyster Cult were still 'metal'
this is guys from other metal bands (though identities are supposed to be 'secret')
subject matter and image is very old skool metal.

Some welcome a return to old skool metal with real singing (and some dont)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:15 (seven years ago) link

it matters not, as i love love love this album ..

i love the whole sonic excess, the image, the secrecy.

bands with a plan, an identity, a look etc always push my buttons.

(had no idea this was folks from other bands, as i have never felt the need to do the digging ..)

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:18 (seven years ago) link

I didn't love the album, but I love this song. This is where they stuffed all of their good ideas.

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:22 (seven years ago) link

15    Fen - Consequence    73 Points,    5 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:41 (seven years ago) link

14    Deafheaven - Dreamhouse    75 Points,   5 Votes,   2 #1s

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:55 (seven years ago) link

remember there's a spotify playlist for the tracks results

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:57 (seven years ago) link

13    Ghost - Monstrance Clock    81 Points,    6  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:17 (seven years ago) link

i have said all i need to say re this band.

clearly i am not alone in my love for their excess.

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:20 (seven years ago) link

Best track on the album and best song they've ever done imo.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:26 (seven years ago) link

More occult rock up next..

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:33 (seven years ago) link

12 Jess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat 82 Points, 6 Votes, One #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:33 (seven years ago) link

mark e i think you would dig this band (its from an ep, check out their only album too)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:40 (seven years ago) link

Nice song. Weird that stuff like Jess is still subsumed under metal. The occult-psych trend could be this decade's freak-folk.

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:40 (seven years ago) link

well its still heavy rock innit?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:41 (seven years ago) link

Last one for tonight coming up

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 21:54 (seven years ago) link

11 Grayceon - Pearl 85 Points, 6 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:00 (seven years ago) link

I totally slept on that Grayceon album.

Like Ghost and Purson, it dips a bit into 70s proto-metal. I felt the first Ghost album was definitely more metal than the newer one though.

Fastnbulbous, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:02 (seven years ago) link

It was an ep rather than album though

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:14 (seven years ago) link

I'm just catching up now but I must first say -- WAY TOO LOW for Carcass - Granulating Dark Satanic Mills!
Also too low for Astral Sabbat! (the #1 vote was mine)

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:23 (seven years ago) link

well its still heavy rock innit?

Yeah true. Actually I'm not sure why I called it weird, this stuff is definitely heavy metal, especially in the 70s sense where "heavy metal" just meant badass heavy rock band.

jmm, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:24 (seven years ago) link

Occult rock revival is definitely heavy rock at least -- if Deep Purple and Bloodrock can be considered metal so can all the stuff like Ghost and Jess and stuff.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:24 (seven years ago) link

I've heard it referred to as "Lava Lamp Bullshit" hahaha

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:25 (seven years ago) link

The funny thing is that in an old metal band I was in we had a nearly identical organ vamp to the one in Astral Sabbat. They stole my song!!! lol.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:28 (seven years ago) link

I love me some lova lamp bullshit!

Fastnbulbous, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:32 (seven years ago) link

did not like the purson thing at all.

saw them mentioned on another blog rundown (fastnbulbous ?) .. dreary and boring.

guess i like lava lamp bullshit more.

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:32 (seven years ago) link

some people 40 and under think sabbath and priest/maiden are metal but nothing inbetween.
Some people of that age think Metal began with slayer/metallica thrash.
No doubt some kids think only extreme death or black is metal.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:34 (seven years ago) link

i am 45.
to me metal meant metallica, slayer, iron maiden, sabbath, megadeath, judas priest, dio, and a plethora of crap hair metal crap ..
in fact i think it was the hair metal thing that put me off for a long time.

mark e, Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:42 (seven years ago) link

yeah but you admit you were never into metal. Im talking about people who are but basically have no idea how heavy metal started bar sabbath.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 22:58 (seven years ago) link

the kind who think anything that isnt extreme isnt metal.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:08 (seven years ago) link

hair metal sure put me off at the time though too until i heard better stuff in the early 90s

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:09 (seven years ago) link

nu-metal had the same effect on metal that hair metal did to us older types too

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:10 (seven years ago) link

love a bunch of these: ghost bc, jess + ancient ones, windhand -- i didn't vote in tracks but great list so far

Mordy , Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:14 (seven years ago) link

some big hitters still to come too so make sure everyone is around late sunday afternoon UK time for the top 10 then the start of the albums countdown in the evening.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:23 (seven years ago) link

idk why metal just is not a tracks genre for me. it is very rare that i can name a single track title on even a favorite metal album.

Mordy , Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:25 (seven years ago) link

"Proto-Metal" has been subsumed into Heavy Metal for a while now AFAIK, and bands that are going back to that retro sound thus count as Metal. Everything old is new again.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:30 (seven years ago) link

Because they all sound the same? ;)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:31 (seven years ago) link

Tracks results playlist

30 Purson - well spoiled machine 44 Points, 3 votes
29 Watain - The Wild Hunt 45 Points, 4 votes
28 Darkthrone - leave no cross unturned 46 Points, 4 Votes, One #1
27 Dillinger Escape Plan - prancer 48 Points, 4 Votes
26 SubRosa - The Usher 50 Points, 3 Votes
25 Inter Arma - the survival fires 51 Points, 3 Votes
24 Anciients - faith and oath 52 Points, 3 Votes, One #1
23 Bölzer - Entranced By The Wolfshook 54 Points, 3 Votes , TWO #1s
22 Carcass - the granulating dark satanic mills 56 Points, 3 Votes, One #1
21 Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Crawler 57 Points 5 Votes

20 Windhand - Woodbine 62 Points, 4 Votes
19 Suffocation - eminent wrath 63 Points, 4 Votes
18 Noothgrush - Thoth 66 Points, 4 Votes One #1
17 Vhol - Grace 66.0 Points, 5 Votes
16 Ghost - Ghuleh/Zombie Queen 67 Points, 4 Votes, One #1
15 Fen - Consequence 73 Points, 5 Votes
14 Deafheaven - Dreamhouse 75 Points, 5 Votes, 2 #1s
13 Ghost - Monstrance Clock 81 Points, 6 Votes
12 Jess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat 82 Points, 6 Votes, One #1
11 Grayceon - Pearl 85 Points, 6 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:31 (seven years ago) link

I love Purson, that was a top album of the year for me, I def. voted for that track. I can understand not "getting" Purson but to me I think they are producing some pretty awesome weird proggy folk-revival heavy rock tinged stuff that I can dig pretty hard.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:32 (seven years ago) link

Mordy & AG - Nail on the head, there's usually not "stand out" tracks on most metal albums I like... there's ones I prefer but really it's mostly the sound of the whole album that metal goes for. Metal bands don't typically focus on singles, but album cohesion -- just a fact of the culture surrounding the genre.

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:35 (seven years ago) link

BTW I am really really into the recent trend of the increasing inclusion of females into the world of metal... finally some gender parity going on!!

Viceroy, Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:37 (seven years ago) link

I dunno, a lot of albums still have standout songs on them. People have favourites they want to hear at gigs for instance.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Saturday, 11 January 2014 23:38 (seven years ago) link

yeah that's true for sure... I didn't get around to nominating a lot of tracks I liked this year, and I don't think I was alone in that, but yeah -- fan favorites are "a thing."

gotta go do some chores for a bit so I'll be gone from the countdown for a few hours.

Viceroy, Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:01 (seven years ago) link

this is almost certainly bc i am a metal dilettante and metal listening only makes up to at most 15% of my music listening over a given year. that said i do have orphaned land track faves so there are exceptions to everything. these 2 ghost tracks btw i didn't recognize by name, but listening now they were definitely 2 of the best on the album. i feel like their album kinda got a critical panning or overlooking? too corny for mainstreamers??

Mordy , Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:35 (seven years ago) link

the only thing on here so far that kept my attention was the Noothgrush, Inter Arma, and that Suffocation track... and I'm not a fan of Suffocation.

SeanWayne, Sunday, 12 January 2014 03:11 (seven years ago) link

haha but you hate "singing"!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 07:30 (seven years ago) link

will start the top ten soon

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 15:44 (seven years ago) link

and here we go...

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 16:18 (seven years ago) link

10    Nails - Suum Cuique    105.0 Points,   7 Votes,   Two #1s   

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 16:20 (seven years ago) link

Results Playlist

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 16:22 (seven years ago) link

9    Jesu - Homesick    105 Points,    8 Votes,  One #1  

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:00 (seven years ago) link

8    Melt-Banana - The Hive    107 Points,    7 Votes,  One #1   

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:25 (seven years ago) link

This song rules. I still have to hear the album.

jmm, Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:29 (seven years ago) link

I await the "they're not metal protests"

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:29 (seven years ago) link

I'm seeing Godflesh soon and wish it would be a double bill with Jesu.

Melt-Banana are not remotely metal, but hey someone's gotta give 'em love. I saw them open for Shellac at a comedy club back in '94.

Fastnbulbous, Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:42 (seven years ago) link

the good thing with this tracks poll is that nobody knew what will be in the top 30 and still dont really with the top 10

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:42 (seven years ago) link

Melt-Banana album placed in the Decibel Albums Of The Year list iirc

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:43 (seven years ago) link

Nobody is even prepared to guess the top 5 haha

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:46 (seven years ago) link

7    Black Sabbath - God Is Dead?    108 Points,  7  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 17:50 (seven years ago) link

next one up got FOUR #1 votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:14 (seven years ago) link

6 Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn 123 Points, 7 Votes, FOUR #1s

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:15 (seven years ago) link

Great track

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:22 (seven years ago) link

Kind of nice. I haven't looked into Summoning all that closely, they seem like not my thing.

I don't get the excitement around that Sabbath track at all. Nine minutes of tedium.

jmm, Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:26 (seven years ago) link

Jesu is boring live... Although I love Godflesh, I'm guessing they might me a bit sleepy live as well.

SeanWayne, Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:26 (seven years ago) link

Saw Jesu live supporting Isis (Panopticon tour) when the 1st Jesu album was out. It was great. You wont be able to mosh to it obviously

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:36 (seven years ago) link

5    In Solitude - Sister    131 Points,    9  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:39 (seven years ago) link

4    Carcass - Thrasher's Abattoir    132 Points    8  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:56 (seven years ago) link

what are the chances Carcass take up the last 3 slots?

Sad I only voted in the albums poll and not the tracks poll now.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:58 (seven years ago) link

Any guesses for top 3?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 18:58 (seven years ago) link

hah that was an xp

dog latin - there wasn't much enthusiasm for tracks poll sadly and hardly anyone subscribed to the nominations playlist to check songs out but we got enough ballots for a decent list i think. Just a shame more didn't vote.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:00 (seven years ago) link

3    Kylesa - Unspoken    136 Points,    8 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:15 (seven years ago) link

If I'd voted for tracks, my #1 would've been the first one on the Rotting Christ; that's the song of their career, for me. I didn't think they'd ever top "Archon," and that was ... 18 years ago.

Devilock, Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:21 (seven years ago) link

2    ASG - Avalanche    142 Points,    8 Votes,   One #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:33 (seven years ago) link

My #1

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:33 (seven years ago) link

Anyone wish to predict the #1?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:34 (seven years ago) link

1    Hell - Darkhangel    160 Points,    10 Votes,   One #1


Utterly ridiculous OTT brilliant live clip from Bloodstock that you need to watch!

I think they're
playing UK dates in february. Looks like a must see!  

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:52 (seven years ago) link

Will start albums countdown shortly!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

Bit of a tragic backstory for Hell

Hell are an English heavy metal band from Derbyshire, formed in 1982 from the remaining members of bands Race Against Time and Paralex. Due to a series of unfortunate and tragic events, the band originally folded in 1987, but were generally regarded as being many years ahead of their time, and have been cited as an influence by many notable musicians and bands of the genre. They were amongst the first bands to wear proto-corpse paint as part of their stage show, which features hysterical ranting from a Gargoyle- adorned pulpit, along with the use of a pyrotechnic exploding Bible which caused outrage amongst the clergy when it originally appeared in 1983.

They signed to the Belgian label Mausoleum, but two weeks prior to the recording of their debut album, the label collapsed into bankruptcy. Kev Bower subsequently quit the band. He was briefly replaced by Sean Kelley, though Hell split up soon afterwards, which led to the suicide of Singer Dave Halliday by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Although they were largely ignored by the media and record companies in the 1980s, their music became known through the underground tape trading phenomenon, and the band achieved a degree of cult status. In 2008 they reunited, and were signed by Nuclear Blast.[1] Their first full-length album, Human Remains, was released May 2011.[2] The album topped at No. 46 on the German album chart in its first week of release.[3]

The remaining original members of Hell reunited in 2008 to finally record their album which was entitled Human Remains. Sabbat members Martin Walkyier and Andy Sneap agreed to play on the album to replicate Dave Halliday's vocals and guitar tracks respectively, with Sneap also acting as the producer. Although Walkyier completed recording vocals for the entire album, the band have stated that no-one was really happy with the outcome since Walkyier's voice was so distinctive, and the result sounded "more like an unreleased set of Sabbat songs". Kev Bower's brother David (who is known as David Beckford in his career as a stage and television actor) was invited to do a voiceover for the song "Plague And Fyre" and subsequently joined the band as lead vocalist, re-recording all the lead vocal parts. Sneap subsequently also joined the band as their permanent second guitarist.

By the beginning of 2013, Kev Bower and Andy Sneap had completed demo recordings for the majority of songs which would appear on the band's sophomore album, with recording proper set to commence in the Spring. Since no early demo recordings were this time available to fill a bonus disc, the band elected to record a live DVD as a bonus complement to the album, and this was shot and recorded at the band's first 2013 show at Derby Assembly Rooms (UK) on February 23. The sellout event also unveiled the band's full Church Of Hell stage set and pyrotechnic show, with fans travelling from 13 different countries to attend. The band played a headline show at the R-Mine Metalfest (BE) and also appeared at Turock Open Air (DE), Hammer Open Air (FIN), Bang Your Head Open Air (DE) and made a return mainstage appearance at Bloodstock Open Air as one of the most heavily requested bands on the BOA user forum, and once again won the 'Best Mainstage Performance' vote. It was subsequently discovered that technical problems with the DVD recording at Derby had made some material unsalvageable, so additional footage was added from the band's appearance at this festival.

It was announced in August that the second album would be entitled 'Curse And Chapter'. To coincide with the album release, Hell were subsequently announced as being principal support for Amon Amarth and Carcass on the whole of their extensive European tour, taking in 25 shows in 13 countries, opening in Oberhausen (DE) on November 7.

Hell are most often described as a NWOBHM band, although they strongly distance themselves from this movement, citing that the NWOBHM was already in rapid decline by the time the band actually formed. Their progressive musical style incorporates elements of thrash, power, symphonic, gothic, speed, doom and black metal, encompassing great variety, and with no two songs ever sounding exactly alike. Underlying lyrical themes in much Hell material focuses on the occult and the darker sides of human nature. Typical themes include a distaste for organised religion, alien abduction, political imprisonment, mental illness, and historical events such as the Black Death and the Bubonic Plague. Although primarily guitar-driven, the band's sound is fleshed out by the use of keyboards and digital sampling to add depth and texture to the material. Their approach to songwriting is often unorthodox, with numerous complex tempo, time signature and key changes, along with a signature series of atmospheric, theatrical interludes and introductions to their songs.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:08 (seven years ago) link

really enjoyed that, thanks Kerr

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:11 (seven years ago) link

well, not that (as int he tragic story), i meant the countdown. also the live performance of that track is awesome.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

Cheers, Charlie. It's a great song but the live version is even better. I really want to go see them now!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:13 (seven years ago) link

Tracks results playlist


30 Purson - well spoiled machine 44 Points, 3 votes
29 Watain - The Wild Hunt 45 Points, 4 votes
28 Darkthrone - leave no cross unturned 46 Points, 4 Votes, One #1
27 Dillinger Escape Plan - prancer 48 Points, 4 Votes
26 SubRosa - The Usher 50 Points, 3 Votes
25 Inter Arma - the survival fires 51 Points, 3 Votes
24 Anciients - faith and oath 52 Points, 3 Votes, One #1
23 Bölzer - Entranced By The Wolfshook 54 Points, 3 Votes , TWO #1s
22 Carcass - the granulating dark satanic mills 56 Points, 3 Votes, One #1
21 Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats - Mind Crawler 57 Points 5 Votes

20 Windhand - Woodbine 62 Points, 4 Votes
19 Suffocation - eminent wrath 63 Points, 4 Votes
18 Noothgrush - Thoth 66 Points, 4 Votes One #1
17 Vhol - Grace 66.0 Points, 5 Votes
16 Ghost - Ghuleh/Zombie Queen 67 Points, 4 Votes, One #1
15 Fen - Consequence 73 Points, 5 Votes
14 Deafheaven - Dreamhouse 75 Points, 5 Votes, 2 #1s
13 Ghost - Monstrance Clock 81 Points, 6 Votes
12 Jess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat 82 Points, 6 Votes, One #1
11 Grayceon - Pearl 85 Points, 6 Votes

10 Nails - Suum Cuique 105.0 Points, 7 Votes, Two #1s
9 Jesu - Homesick 105 Points, 8 Votes, One #1
8 Melt-Banana - The Hive 107 Points, 7 Votes, One #1
7 Black Sabbath - God Is Dead? 108 Points, 7 Votes
6 Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn 123 Points, 7 Votes, FOUR #1s
5 In Solitude - Sister 131 Points, 9 Votes
4 Carcass - Thrasher's Abattoir 132 Points 8 Votes
3 Kylesa - Unspoken 136 Points, 8 Votes
2 ASG - Avalanche 142 Points, 8 Votes, One #1

1 Hell - Darkhangel 160 Points, 10 Votes, One #1

Thanks to all who took part!

Onwards to Albums Poll Countdown...

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:24 (seven years ago) link

Hell live clip is bonkers ..

did wonder why the band look old (and the gargoyles are very spinal tap !), but the backstory explains.

would i listen to an album ?

i doubt it, as the vocals are too much for my delicate ears, but if they appeared on a festival that was at, i would love it.

ta for all this AG .. been interesting.

mark e, Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:25 (seven years ago) link

It was fun. A good list I think and a great #1.

now onto albums presented to you by fastnbulbous,myself and with a lot of help from seandalai...

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:35 (seven years ago) link

Albums Playlist please SUBSCRIBE http://open.spotify.com/user/pfunkboy/playlist/6fsnIonKsPLF5NzZ9hJg27

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:41 (seven years ago) link

101 Monster Magnet - Last Patrol 146 Points, 6 Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:41 (seven years ago) link

our canadian friends and those who refuse to use spotify can use deezer :)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:43 (seven years ago) link

good album

Mordy , Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:43 (seven years ago) link

i love the monster magnet album i have despite it apparently being one of their worst - monolithic baby

guess i should track down a few more.

mark e, Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:43 (seven years ago) link

I've see people say it's their best since Spine Of God

I'd say best since God Says No

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:56 (seven years ago) link

They would need to get John McBain back to get anywhere near Spine Of God

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:57 (seven years ago) link

100    Watain - The Wild Hunt    150 Points,    5    votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:00 (seven years ago) link

Monolithic Baby is great! Some seriously killer tunes on that one.

J3ff T., Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:09 (seven years ago) link

I was not much into Last Patrol tbh.

fit for one who twerks and cries (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:15 (seven years ago) link

99    Woe - Withdrawal    153 Points,    4  Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:15 (seven years ago) link

obv genre descriptions are very controversial but maybe albums could have the encyclopedia metallum genre desc posted w/ them? i'd love to know what to check out but i'm not interesting in hunting down another thrash album for example

Mordy , Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:18 (seven years ago) link

rateyourmusic.com have genre descriptions as well, and rankings of albums for the top 1000 in the year

e.g Woe - Withdrawal

ranked: 417
genre: Black Metal

djmartian, Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:30 (seven years ago) link

its enough work as is tbh but if someone else wants to go for it

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:31 (seven years ago) link

98    Corrections House - Last City Zero  154 Points, 5 votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:35 (seven years ago) link

97    Sahg - Delusions of Grandeur    155 Points,   5  Votes


Doom Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:45 (seven years ago) link

Not actually heard this yet

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 21:51 (seven years ago) link

woe is kind of a… punky, thrashy, post-hardcoreish strain of black metal, not much by way of gimmicks or stylistic hybridization or drama or what have you, save that they sound modern and u.s. and… i dunno. blazing leads, fast drums, throaty howls.

i listened to it a fair bit, a fairly solid, satisfying record.

j., Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:02 (seven years ago) link

96    Goatess - Goatess    158 Points,    4 Votes,  One #1  


Doom/Stoner Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:03 (seven years ago) link

Playing this now for first time

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:06 (seven years ago) link

Worst album cover of 2013?

J3ff T., Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:07 (seven years ago) link

95    Obliteration - Black Death Horizon    162 Points,    4  Votes


Death Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:21 (seven years ago) link

94    Ovo - Abisso    163  Points,  6 Votes



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:37 (seven years ago) link

Will take it down to 91 tonight.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:38 (seven years ago) link

That's a great record.

Ian Glasper's trapped in a scone (aldo), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:39 (seven years ago) link

Ha ha, I love that Goatess cover. Seems effective in creeping people out! Mixed feelings about the placing, glad it made the list, but feel it deserves higher, being at the top of my ballot. Similar with Sahg, my CD came in just a couple days ago and am listening to all four of their albums, and the band definitely deserve attention.

That oVo is freakin intense. Would be interested in seeing them live.

Fastnbulbous, Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:39 (seven years ago) link

hang on, google is a metal genre now.
fuck, i have so much to learn.

mark e, Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:44 (seven years ago) link

93    Lumbar - the first and last days of unwelcome    164 Points,    7 Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:50 (seven years ago) link

Doom/Sludge Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:50 (seven years ago) link

Goatess right up there with that other great baby cover:


Siegbran, Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:53 (seven years ago) link

Corrections House was only okay. It wasn't Pinkish Blackish enough for me

fit for one who twerks and cries (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:54 (seven years ago) link

92    Ataraxie - L'Être et la Nausée   166 Points,    5  Votes

Funeral Doom

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:59 (seven years ago) link

One more to go tonight

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 22:59 (seven years ago) link

That Ataraxie record is really good. Also notable was that the band also announced that Joey DeMaio of Manowar would appear on this as a guest musician. Of course, this news came out on April 1st...

Siegbran, Sunday, 12 January 2014 23:08 (seven years ago) link

91 Cult Of Luna - Vertikal  I&II  166 Points,    6 Votes  


Atmospheric Sludge/Progressive Metal/Post-Hardcore

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 23:10 (seven years ago) link

Will resume around tomorrow lunchtime (UK) I guess.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, 12 January 2014 23:11 (seven years ago) link

Well I missed the countdown for today. Damn. My wrap up: Tracks list was great!! Happy to see Hell take the top spot!

SAHG album's waaay too low, feel like a lot of people slept on that, it's really good.

And my challops: What is this new trend of death metal bands making album covers that look like black metal? I got excited by the cover of that Obliteration album and then it was all growly death. I mean a band can design their logo however they want and there's always been the cryptic hard to read logo thing in all branches of extreme metal, but something about the combintion of their logo and the cover art made me assume it was black metal... feels like false advertising in a way. It doesn't do what it says on the tin!!

That Summoning track is the only one not available on the album on US spotify so I never listened to it... damn I would have given it a high spot in my track ballot, its incredible! Reminds me of Dissection in its heavier parts, and also Finntroll, lol... it's great.

Viceroy, Sunday, 12 January 2014 23:34 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 03:52 (seven years ago) link

I voted for two of those!

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 03:54 (seven years ago) link

Which? (I dont have ballots to hand) or I would try to find out who voted for the album in last place..

319    jeff treppel and ozzy hamster sings/sqeaks - the best of nightwish    1 Point,   1 vote

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 08:31 (seven years ago) link


Viceroy, Monday, 13 January 2014 08:46 (seven years ago) link

I can't stop listening to that Hell song. So OTT but great at the same time.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2014 09:23 (seven years ago) link

I was gonna throw Treppel a few points but I kinda ran out of time to make my ballot

fit for one who twerks and cries (Drugs A. Money), Monday, 13 January 2014 11:23 (seven years ago) link

90    Baptists - Bushcraft    167 Points,  5  Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:25 (seven years ago) link

what's awesome about these countdowns is i get to see the album covers. metal album covers are either terrible or completely insane awesome but often i don't get to have a good look at them whihc is a real shame.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:31 (seven years ago) link

89    Deveykus - Pillar Without Mercy    168 Points,    7 Votes , One #1
Mordy Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:44 (seven years ago) link


An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:48 (seven years ago) link

sweet! i love u guys.

Mordy , Monday, 13 January 2014 16:50 (seven years ago) link

such an amazing album if u haven't heard btw - i highly recommend

Mordy , Monday, 13 January 2014 16:50 (seven years ago) link

i will - not heard it yet but it's waiting a play.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:51 (seven years ago) link

yeah, that looks promising!

original bgm, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:51 (seven years ago) link

Who do you THINK voted for me?

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 16:52 (seven years ago) link

get over yourself it was clearly a vote for the hamster!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:55 (seven years ago) link

This is a great record. Just realized I forgot to vote for it.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:56 (seven years ago) link

88    Palms - Palms    169 Points,   6 Votes 



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 16:58 (seven years ago) link

Obliteration too low! Though I'm glad I got my ballot in, otherwise it probably wouldn't have placed at all. Also glad to see a few of my track votes place.

o. nate, Monday, 13 January 2014 16:59 (seven years ago) link

voting always counts!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:08 (seven years ago) link

PALMS #17 SPIN metal poll, and also #17 in Rock-A-Rolla.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:13 (seven years ago) link

87    Batillus - Concrete Sustain    173 Points,   6 Votes   One #1

Blackened Doom Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:14 (seven years ago) link

#40 on Decibel

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:19 (seven years ago) link


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:21 (seven years ago) link

85    Ulver - Messe ix-vix    178 Points    6  Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:24 (seven years ago) link

Ulver didn't appear in any other metal polls that I know of.

Not many options to stream Deveykus it looks like. I really don't think withholding that is going to help their album sales any. http://youtu.be/LCyLZEqBUwQ

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:28 (seven years ago) link

they're on Tzadik which takes the Drag City approach to digital distribution options as far as I can tell

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:34 (seven years ago) link

85    Sungod - Contakt    178 Points,    6 Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:35 (seven years ago) link

Psychedelic Doom/Sludge Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:37 (seven years ago) link

Dunno about the doom/sludge part, but it's some great psych.


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:42 (seven years ago) link

84    Obelyskkh - Hymn to Pan    184 Points,    6  Votes


Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:44 (seven years ago) link

Hymn To Nan, luv from Obelyskkh XXX

tench and pike, scaup and snipe (NickB), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:50 (seven years ago) link

Hpsmn To Pan is mor like it.

Siegbran, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:51 (seven years ago) link


Other genres that could apply to Sungod - space rock/kosmische, drone, electro-prog ;)

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:52 (seven years ago) link

Dangit, sorry, wasn't supposed to embed.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:53 (seven years ago) link

Anyway, awesome to see it place, I don't think I even campaigned for it, was just outside my top 20.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:55 (seven years ago) link

83    Mammoth Grinder - Underworlds    193 Points,    6 Votes   One #1 


Death Metal/Hardcore  

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 17:55 (seven years ago) link

This one is new to me. Yours for just $6.66 USD: http://mammothgrinder.bandcamp.com/album/underworlds

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 17:57 (seven years ago) link

Really? That Mammoth Grinder is AWESOME. Should've been higher – but I guess you pussies couldn't handle the thrash attack.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 17:58 (seven years ago) link

RYM Genres: Crust Punk, Grindcore, Sludge Metal, Hardcore Punk.

So do you all generally agree with the genre tags on Rateyourmusic?

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:03 (seven years ago) link

The problem with RYM is that the people that use it are prog metal dorks, so anything scarier than Dream Theater they just label as grindcore.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 18:05 (seven years ago) link

It's been useful for my research in 1968-72 psych prog, but yeah I can see there being problems with current metal genre tagging.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:07 (seven years ago) link

82    Suffocation - Pinnacle of Bedlam    196 Points,    7 Votes


Brutal Technical Death Metal  

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:10 (seven years ago) link


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:17 (seven years ago) link

81    Purson - The Circle and the Blue Door    202 Points,    5 Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:21 (seven years ago) link

Surprised this wasn't higher up. Maybe not enough people considered it metal.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 18:23 (seven years ago) link


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:24 (seven years ago) link

I was a sceptic at first, but that Suffocation record is really really good.

Siegbran, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:28 (seven years ago) link

#17 Decibel, #17, Stoner HiVe, #32 Captain Beyond Zen

"The Contract" - http://youtu.be/47CP2-f5mdg
"Leaning On A Bear" - http://youtu.be/c90mXA_Jrc4

Kind of shocked that mark e. called them "dreary"! Dark, swirly heavy occult psych, measures up to the great Jess and the Ancient Ones track upthread IMO.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:30 (seven years ago) link

80    Russian Circles - Memorial    204 Points,    6   Votes



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:31 (seven years ago) link

#12 Pop Matters Metal, #20 Rock-A-Rolla


I think this album's status may grow over time.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:37 (seven years ago) link

Also #13 on Pitchfork Metal list.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:42 (seven years ago) link

A popular enough band but doesn't get much of a look in on ilm

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:43 (seven years ago) link

Mammoth Grinder is amazing, but like Power Trip the record falls short of their awesome live show. Spellbindingly good.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:45 (seven years ago) link

Which also could be said about this..

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:45 (seven years ago) link

79 Clutch - Earth Rocker 205 Points, 5 Votes

Stoner/Jam rock

Metal Hammer #1 AOTY

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:45 (seven years ago) link

Another one that was high on my list.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 18:47 (seven years ago) link

#11 Pop Matters, #30 Rock-A-Rolla, #8 Metal Sucks writers, #1 The Obelisk, #1 The Obelisk readers, #2 Stoner HiVe


Clutch are hugely popular. I wasn't feeling it most of the year but have warmed to it somewhat.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:49 (seven years ago) link

never cared for them, mainly due to the vocalist

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:54 (seven years ago) link

78    Hey Colossus - cuckoo live life like cuckoo    205 Points,    6 Votes

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 18:56 (seven years ago) link

That Mammoth Grinder is so good. I usually don't go for the crustier stuff but between the album art, the reverberant spookiness in the production, and some of those lead guitar lines, I feel like I'm listening to a crusty death metal version of In the Nightside Eclipse.

Devilock, Monday, 13 January 2014 18:59 (seven years ago) link

This one didn't show up in polls, and I haven't heard it yet myself.


Here's poll placings for 101-91. It's interesting to see which mags/sites align with yr tasts.

101 Monster Magnet - #2 The Obelisk, #5 Obelisk readers, #18 Captain Beyond Zen, #6 Stoner HiVe, #49 Metal Hammer
100 Watain - The Wild Hunt - #9 Metal Hammer, #17 Revolver, #37 Decibel
99 Woe - Withdrawal - #37 Stereogum
98 Corrections House - Last City Zero - #38 Decibel, #5 Rock-A-Rolla
96 Goatess - Goatess - #16 Captain Beyond Zen, #16 Stoner HiVe
91 Cult Of Luna - Vertikal I & II - #6 Decibel, #6 Rock-A-Rolla, #31 Metal Hammer

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:04 (seven years ago) link


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:05 (seven years ago) link

Hey Colossus from London, been around since 2003, several albums of sludge/noise, really should get on Bandcamp at least.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:08 (seven years ago) link

I have a lot of their stuff. Great band. dont own this one yet

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:08 (seven years ago) link

77    Agrimonia - Rites of Separation    208 Points,    6 Votes   One #1

Post-Metal/Sludge Metal/Crust

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:11 (seven years ago) link

that Hey Colossus record would have got a vote from me, had I voted. Good run-down thus far, looking forward to the rest!

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:13 (seven years ago) link

#27 Stereogum, #6 Metal Sucks, #2 Pitchfork, #50 Terrorizer


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:15 (seven years ago) link

76    Intronaut - habitual levitations (instilling words with tones)    208 Points,  7  Votes



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:17 (seven years ago) link

The Agrimonia is great, I just missed it in the list.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 19:22 (seven years ago) link

some more comparisons

Terrorizer Albums of 2013
Top 50

Metal Storm - Top 20 albums of 2013
rankings constantly changing
Number 1: Obscure Sphinx - Void Mother

Sputnikmusic.com - Best Metal Albums of 2013
Top 200 !
Number 1: Hell (UK) - Curse and Chapter

djmartian, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:22 (seven years ago) link

#5 Metal Sucks, #7 Metal Sucks musicians poll


Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:25 (seven years ago) link

Terrorizer albums that have placed here so far:

3 Watain - The Wild Hunt
6 Clutch - Earth Rocker
11 Purson - The Circle and the Blue Door
16 Corrections House - Last City Zero
18 Cult Of Luna - Vertikal I & II
50 Agrimonia – Rites Of Separation

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:30 (seven years ago) link

75    Magic Circle - Magic Circle    214 Points,    5 Votes,   One #1

Doom Metal/Occult Rock

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:31 (seven years ago) link

off to a meeting

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:34 (seven years ago) link

74    Exhumed - Necrocracy    216 Points,    6 Votes


Death Metal/Grindcore

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:42 (seven years ago) link

liking Clutch ..

may have to get this if i see it in the racks.

mark e, Monday, 13 January 2014 19:42 (seven years ago) link

Clutch are the best. Catch them live if you can.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

219 Points, 6 Votes

Coffins - The Fleshland  

Doom/Death Metal

True Widow - Circumambulation


AMG says:
Experimental rockers from Texas, influenced by wall-of-sound styles like drone, post-rock, and shoegaze.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

Exhumed are the perfect example of the band I will happily see live any time, but will never pull out one of their albums at home.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 19:54 (seven years ago) link

Love Hey Colossus.English Flesh is an amazing track with a great video to boot

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Monday, 13 January 2014 19:55 (seven years ago) link

True Widow, on the other hand, are great on record but SUPER boring live (especially if they go on after midnight).

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 19:55 (seven years ago) link

J3ff on the money re: True Widow. Hate to knock my friends, but the live show is a snore at best.

EZ Snappin, Monday, 13 January 2014 20:03 (seven years ago) link

71    MUTation - Error 500    221 Points,  6 Votes,  One #1




Ginger Wildheart & friends inc Merzbow/Napalm Death/Mark E Smith/Hawk Eyes/Cardiacs/Amen

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

70 Cult Of Fire - मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान    223 Points,    7   Votes

Epic Black Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:17 (seven years ago) link

Oh man, all you people that didn't vote for that one need to check it out ASAP.

J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 20:18 (seven years ago) link

69    Ken Mode - Entrench    223 Points,    8 Votes


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:25 (seven years ago) link

225 Points,    6  Votes

Bölzer - Aura

Black/Death Metal

Cloud Rat - Moksha

Lyrical themes:
Women's Rights, Vegan, Self-empowerment

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:31 (seven years ago) link

That Cloud Rat is phenomenal. Thanks to Kim Kelly for steering me towards it.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:34 (seven years ago) link

Kim told me about it too but its not on spotify or anything. and I'm not buying grindcore 'blind' as its not exactly a genre I'm into but I'd like to check it out

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:37 (seven years ago) link

It's on bandcamp:


EZ Snappin, Monday, 13 January 2014 20:40 (seven years ago) link

Stream it in it's entirety here:

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:40 (seven years ago) link

66    Indricothere - ii    228 Points,    8   Votes

Avante Progressive Metal
Colin Marston

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:42 (seven years ago) link

Yes big thanks to Kim from me too, and I think it got an early mention on the rolling grind thread so thanks to that person too, Moksha came in really late and snuck really high up my list.

Also my contribution to the impromptu Cloud Rat awareness campaign, it was hard to find but the band themselves put the album up for free digital download via link on their site:


scroll down to the Moksha section at the bottom and there's a mediafire link.

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:46 (seven years ago) link

cheers I'll check it out!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:49 (seven years ago) link

65    Tribulation - the formulas of death    230 Points,    7 Votes

Death Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link

this is the second year in a row death metal has made a comeback on ilm. Influx of new American posters or a genuine rise in quality the past few years?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 20:53 (seven years ago) link


J3ff T., Monday, 13 January 2014 20:55 (seven years ago) link

Wish I could participate but got more meetings. You trying to finish this all up in 2 days??

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 20:57 (seven years ago) link

i'll assume jeff says yes to both

fnb nah

might finish thursday with 20 a day might just finish friday with a top 10. who knows. Just winging it just now.

taking it down to 61 tonight

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:00 (seven years ago) link

64    Raspberry Bulbs - Deformed Worship    238 Points,    7  Votes


Black Metal/Punk
Bone Awl related

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:00 (seven years ago) link

could even do 15 each day tues-fri

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:01 (seven years ago) link

63    Amon Amarth - deceiver of the gods    240 Points,    7  Votes



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:11 (seven years ago) link

^ now that's a fucking album cover

Didn't vote for much, but I did vote for Batillus (love the control and restraint in their aggression, kinda reminds me of the Swans) and Hey Colossus (some heavy Can vibes on that thing eh?). Have been a bit wary of that Raspberry Bulbs record cos just about everything else I've heard on Blackest Ever Black has been a no contest triumph of style over substance, but I guess this is my cue to give it a whizz.

tench and pike, scaup and snipe (NickB), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:14 (seven years ago) link

I have a Raspberry Bulbs lp somewhere but not that one. It's good though.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:18 (seven years ago) link

62    Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults: the Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer    243 Points,    6 Votes,  One #1

Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:36 (seven years ago) link

Last one for today coming up

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:43 (seven years ago) link

61    Orchid - The Mouths of Madness    244 Points,    8  Votes


Doom Metal/Occult

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 21:47 (seven years ago) link

Magic Circle - #17 Obelisk

In my top 15, love it.

Exhumed - #24 Decibel, #17 Pop Matters, #9 Metal Sucks, #26 Pitchfork


True Widow - #19 Rock-A-Rolla
Mutation - #31 Rock-A-Rolla

Cult Of Fire - #36 Stereogum

Ken Mode - #44 Stereogum, #4 Metal Sucks musicians, #24 Pitchfork

Bölzer - #12 Stereogum


Tribulation - #10 Decibel, #16 Pitchfork, #27 Terrorizer

Raspberry Bulbs - #50 Stereogum, #38 Pitchfork

Amon Amarth

Ruins of Beverast - #20 Decibel, #29 Stereogum, #19 Pitchfork

Orchid - #16 Obelisk readers, #7 Captain Beyond Zen, #36 Metal Hammer

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 21:56 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 13 January 2014 21:58 (seven years ago) link

Another 15 on Tuesday then

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Monday, 13 January 2014 23:02 (seven years ago) link

Things I voted for:

100 Watain - The Wild Hunt, 150 Points, 5 votes
76 Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones), 208 Points, 7 Votes
67 Cloud Rat - Moksha, 225 Points, 6 Votes
65 Tribulation – The Formulas Of Death, 230 Points, 7 Votes

Things I will check out hopefully:

101 Monster Magnet - Last Patrol, 146 Points, 6 Votes
99 Woe - Withdrawal, 153 Points, 4 Votes
97 Sahg - Delusions of Grandeur, 155 Points, 5 Votes
96 Goatess - Goatess, 158 Points, 4 Votes, One #1
91 Cult Of Luna - Vertikal I & II, 166 Points, 6 Votes
87 Batillus - Concrete Sustain, 173 Points, 6 Votes, One #1
86 Ulver - Messe ix-vix, 178 Points, 6 Votes
83 Mammoth Grinder – Underworlds, 193 Points, 6 Votes, One #1
81 Purson - The Circle and the Blue Door, 202 Points, 5 Votes
80 Russian Circles – Memorial, 204 Points, 6 Votes
75 Magic Circle - Magic Circle, 214 Points, 5 Votes, One #1
72 Coffins - The Fleshland, 219 Points, 6 Votes
72 True Widow – Circumambulation, 219 Points, 6 Votes
63 Amon Amarth – Deceiver Of The Gods, 240 Points, 7 Votes
62 Ruins of Beverast - Blood Vaults: The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer, 243 Points, 6 Votes, One #1

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Monday, 13 January 2014 23:53 (seven years ago) link

i don't think i've heard that purson album before the poll but it's fantastic

Mordy , Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:46 (seven years ago) link

Pretty sure Hey Colossus is the only one I voted for so far. Had the pleasure to see Purson support uncle acid at their first official show and to be honest they blew the main act out the water I'm sad to say.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 01:26 (seven years ago) link

Wish I saw that. Not sure why Uncle Acid supported Sabbath in Europe but not the U.S. More of these bands need to cross the Atlantic dangit.

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 05:19 (seven years ago) link

I just voted in it.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 08:53 (seven years ago) link

What do you guys prefer finishing on Thursday or finishing on Friday?

It's nicely set up for either. It can be 15/15/15/15 or 20/20/10/10 or 20/20/20 to finish thurs.
Im not bothered either way - whatever suits the majority of those who can be arsed to reply.

Hope everyone is enjoying the poll and making new discoveries.

All thoughts on already placed tracks/albums are welcome.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:01 (seven years ago) link

never heard of Purson until today. extremely curious to hear them based on how people have been describing their sound!

charlie h, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:15 (seven years ago) link

btw, i vote finishing the poll by Thursday

charlie h, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:16 (seven years ago) link


An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:51 (seven years ago) link

I thought ilxors preferred a slow rollout over 5 days

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:26 (seven years ago) link

If we decide to finish by thursday I will need to start earlier each day at around 2pm so we're not rushing it and finishing after people have gone home. That's not so bad when countdown just starts but we cant rush the top half.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:41 (seven years ago) link

Are those on the west coast of the USA ok with that?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:42 (seven years ago) link

Remember you can subscribe to albums playlist

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 10:54 (seven years ago) link

Will resume in about an hour or so, hopefully most will be awake by then.

Still time to say whether you want a thurs or friday finish

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 13:37 (seven years ago) link

ok lets go....

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:08 (seven years ago) link

before I post the next one.... just out of interest is anyone using deezer? Should I keep posting the links?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:10 (seven years ago) link

60 Coliseum - Sister Faith 247 Points, 8 Votes


This used to be what indie rock sounded like. During the 1990s, Elephant 6 and Belle And Sebastian were outliers, and the genre (which really was more genre and less loose lifestyle appellation) hadn’t erased all traces of the get-in-the-van ’80s hardcore that helped birth it. As late as a decade ago, when the Louisville trio Coliseum formed, the term “indie” evoked images of Pretty Girls Make Graves or Blood Brothers as much as, I don’t know, Beulah, and it was still vaguely novel to hear a flugelhorn on a Sub Pop record. These days, Coliseum are creatures of the loose metal underground that’s become our greatest resource for facepunch guitars, but they’re not really a metal band. The ingredients of their sound come from other places: Pummeling locked-in bass-thuds from Girls Against Boys, swampy-but-skronky guitar fuzz-bursts from Sonic Youth, beardedly beery vocal blurts from about a thousand different bands. And with their new Sister Faith, Coliseum have made an album that stews all those influences into something powerfully satisfying and maybe even nourishing. It’s not an innovative album by any means, but it might scratch an itch that you didn’t even know you had.

Here’s the best way I can think to describe Coliseum’s sound. It starts with another Louisville band: Slint, who did math-rock throb with a distant but hot emotional fire and who are, low-key, one of the most influential metal bands of the past few decades despite not being remotely metal. But plenty of bands start with the Slint blueprint and take it nowhere; Coliseum do something interesting with it by speeding it up like Motörhead, turning it into no-bullshit rage-out adrenaline music. They’ve been doing it for a while now, growing into their sound and internalizing it, getting better at it to the point where it’s entirely theirs. Sister Faith is their fourth album, and it’s their second with producer J. Robbins, whose involvement is also an important key to this thing. Robbins used to lead Jawbox and Burning Airlines; he’s a principal architect of the post-hardcore clangor that finally mostly disappeared into emo. Those bands blew minds because they led with the rhythm section, keeping everything rigorous and disciplined on the low-end while guitar and voice freaked out, tied melodic knots, threw tantrums. They brought the sense that the rhythmic lockstep was the only thing holding those stretched-out and distended guitars together, the last line that kept them tethered to the earth. And even though Coliseum frontman Ryan Patterson riffs more than Robbins ever did, he brings those same dynamics — all tension, no release, but with a beat that keeps things pushing forever forward.

It’s hard to pick out their individual contributions, but Coliseum called in a whole mess of friends to help out on Sister Faith, turning it into a community affair, and that list of names is a fascinating and illuminating thing. Robbins played on it, of course, and Sister Faith is the first album recorded at his new Baltimore studio. (A note to bands: Use this guy more. Baltimore is a cheap and lovely place to stay, Robbins could always use some extra money for very noble and important reasons, and he will make your drums sound like they’re ready to cave in chest cavities.) Boris frontman Wata, whose own band fits just as uncomfortably into the metal scene as Coliseum does, is here. So is Jason Loewenstein, from the comparatively wussy Sebadoh, whose most iconic song is about the exact moment when a hardcore kid decides that he’s an indie rock kid. Another guy, Jason Farrell, comes from Swiz and Bluetip, two of the bands that pushed DC hardcore into further-out sounds. And so is Elizabeth Elmore, whose bands Sarge and the Reputation came at the tail end of the riot-grrrl boomlet and put a vulnerable human face on the feelings behind that movement. These are all good people, and none of them dictate the direction of the album, but all of them find room for themselves in the racket.

Listening to the album, you’re not necessarily thinking about the people involved in making it, or what their involvement might express. It’s too fun for all that. “Last/Lost” is all strained propulsion, like Hüsker Dü in full attack mode. “Under The Blood Of The Moon” has a big, meaty stomper of a riff working for it. “Everything In Glass” sounds like At The Drive-In if they were a half-step slower; it’s got that same righteous chaos to it. At its climax, “Bad Will” reverts back to straight-up old-school hardcore, its final chorus the sort of thing that demands a raised-fist gang-chant. This is the sound of guys playing hard, aggressive music because it’s what comes naturally to them; it’s the stuff their fingers feel themselves playing when they’re touching instruments. God knows, the world doesn’t need a million more bands like this, and we weren’t necessarily better off when bands like this were the exception rather than the rule. But it’s still an absolute pleasure to hear a band like this is still around, playing this music and playing it well.

Sister Faith is out today on Temporary Residence.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:14 (seven years ago) link

excellent album btw

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:15 (seven years ago) link

One I got for xmas actually.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:18 (seven years ago) link

flowers growing vpon the skull of a man

Vote in the ILM EOY Poll! (seandalai), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:22 (seven years ago) link

the reason I posted that review btw is because i had a conversation on ilm somewhere (with edward iii, hellhouse and possibly contenderizer (where is he?) ) about how indie rock is so fucking boring now everyone has migrated to metal now to get the sonic kicks they used to get and how that might be bands are now adding tropes from 80s and 90s indie rock as more "indie" fans get into metal and start bands which leads to metallers hearing new to them non-metal from ye olden days. (yes not everyone approves I know)

dog latin you must have thoughts on that!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:32 (seven years ago) link


An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:33 (seven years ago) link


An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:33 (seven years ago) link

you usually have lots of thoughts on things!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:38 (seven years ago) link

i dunno...

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:39 (seven years ago) link

maybe i should hear the album and read the review at the same time. i'm not sure about the assumption that indie is boring now.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:40 (seven years ago) link

59    Argus - Beyond The Martyrs    248 Points,    9 Votes


Heavy/Doom Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:42 (seven years ago) link

bbbbut indie IS boring now!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:42 (seven years ago) link

that coliseum review mentions a whole bunch of bands I like too so it helps explain why I like the band so much

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:44 (seven years ago) link

Argus are awesome too btw

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:44 (seven years ago) link

So far I've listened to Agrimona and Sungod albums while working, both seemed pretty good, will def listen again more attentively.

Listening now to Coliseum - it's great! Don't really hear PGMG/Blood Brothers comparisons in most songs as much as standard late 90s or early/mid 2000s hardcore? But it's not a bad thing obv, love that music.

i don't listen to much metal btw so looking forward to rest of the results.

antoni, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:46 (seven years ago) link

Argus disappointed me. It's a good record, but pales before their last one. It sounds too safe.

Coliseum not only made a great record, they toured the shit out of it and fucking rocked live. One of the best shows I saw all year, which is saying something.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:46 (seven years ago) link

High Praise!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:52 (seven years ago) link

antoni welcome! always nice to see people checking out the results and commenting.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:53 (seven years ago) link

58    Aeternus - And The Seventh His Soul Detesteth    251 Points,    6 Votes


Death Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:05 (seven years ago) link

57    Kadavar - Abra Kadavar    253 Points,    7 Votes,   One #1  

80s Synthpop Revivalists

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:20 (seven years ago) link

Abba Kadavar

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:29 (seven years ago) link

56    Ulcerate - Vermis    258 Points,    8  Votes


Technical Death Metal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:45 (seven years ago) link

Can't remember if I voted for the Ulcerate, but this one didn't connect with me the way Destroyers of All did. Color Sands was this year's Destroyers of All for me.

beard papa, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:50 (seven years ago) link

#27 Decibel, #35 Rock-A-Rolla, #25 Metal Sucks

Coliseum - #32 Decibel, #26 Rock-A-Rolla

Argus - #43 Metal Hammer

Argus has been left out in the cold in most polls, so props to ILM!

Aeturnus - no other poll love

Kadavar - #27 Obelisk, #6 Obelisk readers, #13 Captain Beyond Zen, #5 Stoner HiVe

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:52 (seven years ago) link

man, i think half my ballot has already shown up. out of the ilm metal mainstream :...(

j., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:52 (seven years ago) link

80s Synthpop Revivalists

Ha. Seriously though, this was my #1. At first I preferred the debut, but the more I listen to this the more I like it. These guys can write a hook, the bass lines are awesome, and I like the singer's voice. It may seem like they're just doing a retro-revivalist shtick, but there's nothing cookie-cutter about it. This stuff holds up against the '70s hard rock dinosaurs they plainly admire (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Hawkwind, etc). There may be nothing especially innovative about them, but it's so pleasurable to just listen to a great band playing great songs that I don't really care.

o. nate, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:55 (seven years ago) link

I like the quotes/review blurbs, also worked well on the disco poll: ...AND THE BEAT GOES ON! The GRAND ILM DISCO POLL results are revealed!

Siegbran, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:57 (seven years ago) link

Yeah Kadavar grew on me the past month. Love their video for "Come Back Life" - http://youtu.be/4xgi91s7zf8

xp With 415 total albums in the poll, you're doing alright to get most of your ballot in top 100.

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:57 (seven years ago) link

(old ILM quotes are always nice to kickstart/restart discussions)

Siegbran, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 16:58 (seven years ago) link

55    Autopsy - The Headless Ritual    258 Points,    9 Votes


Twee Pop
Lyrical themes:
Fluffy Bunnies, Hello Kitty, Cardigans.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:00 (seven years ago) link

siegbran feel free to post some! I've got enough to do as is!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:01 (seven years ago) link

I'm definitely feelin' this Kadavar business. At least the couple songs I've sampled so far.

Johnny Fever, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:03 (seven years ago) link

#15 Decibel, #11 Metal Sucks musicians, #23 Pitchfork, #38 Metal Hammer, #17 Terrorizer

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:05 (seven years ago) link

54    Morne - Shadows    259 Points,    8  Votes



pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:15 (seven years ago) link


Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:18 (seven years ago) link

53   The Ocean - Pelagial    261 Points,    8  Votes


Progressive/Atmospheric Sludge Metal/Post-Hardcore

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:35 (seven years ago) link

#9 Rock-A-Rolla, #3 Metal Sucks, #8 Metal Sucks musicians

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:37 (seven years ago) link

52    fen - dustwalker    261.0    9 Votes


Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Rock
Lyrical themes:
Solitude, Sorrow, Landscape, Nature

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:45 (seven years ago) link


Review Summary: Atmosphere, melody, and brutality mixed together into a potent musical brew.

Dustwalker embodies a spectrum of moods and sounds that convey a rather compelling musical performance. It's a very meticulously arranged collage of atmosphere, melody, and brutality that exhibits an eclectic range of musical styles. Throughout the album, we witness Fen regressing back to the nature of their previous albums, while yet fusing them with a better understanding of themselves and what emotion they want to convey in their music. There's an array of genres and concepts present within the album as we continue to see Fen embracing an affinity for borrowing and breaking down whatever musical styles appeal to them, and then mixing them together into a potent brew of melodies and rhythms that go well beyond the average metal repertoire. In a nutshell, Dustwalker retains the aggression of Black metal, while adding a delicate touch of ambience and euphony to their music. Certainly an elaborate plot to work with, but it's nothing that hasn't already been explored by other artists. There's a very conspicuous influence which can be felt throughout the album that is distinctively derived from other bands well within their musical vicinity, such as Agalloch, Negură Bunget, and Altar of Plagues who have all pioneered the various possibilities of connecting the charismatic essence of Black metal with outside influences like Shoegaze, Folk, Post-rock and even to an extent, Progressive rock.

A song like "Hands of Dust" really illustrates the overall musical concept of Dustwalker. There's an array of different musical conventions uniting here to compose a sound that aspires to be as engaging as possible, and in that aspect, it succeeds with ease. "Hands of Dust" opens with an introductory guitar arrangement that is embellished with a graceful echoing dissonance, thus exuding an ambient allure to ease our descent into its ever-fluctuating musical realm. This is one of the many times in the album where the progressive influences are at their most consciously evident, because this whole song is a constant ascension to a different mood with every passing second, yet it tends to operate with rather contrasting dynamics in style. For example, during the song's dreamy shoegaze section in the beginning, we hear the vocals alternate from a soothing tone to a more frustrated growl, and yet the music remains well in its calming state. And it isn't until the latter portion that we hear any distorted riffs and relentlessly manic drumming, but even then, though discreetly lingering in the background, we can still hear the echoing remains of its initial ambient texture.

"Spectre" yet again reflects the band's affection for spacey musical environments, though this time they incorporate a more folk-influenced sound. The primary melodic framework of "Spectre" is exuded by a gentle acoustic arrangement, which is accompanied by an electric guitar that lets out a sonic wave of psychedelic radiance in the background. This is definitely one of the highlighting moments of the album because it is just such a beautifully composed piece. The vocals, especially, are sung with an exquisite harmony that really vitalizes the music with a graceful aura. The only flaw in "Spectre" is that it probably lasts longer than it should. After the vocalized section reaches its climax, the song arrives into an instrumental passage that dissolves among a haze of ethereal ambience. And as mesmerizing as these soundscapes may be, you will indeed find yourself noticing how needlessly prolonged this interlude gets after the first 2 minutes, which kind of makes "Spectre" lose some effect from its trancing spell, but overall it is still an exceptional piece. Depending on the preference of the listener, one may find that this sense of repetition actually works thematically with the atmospheric ideology of "Spectre", but Fen, whether consciously or not, tends to exhibit a lot of monotony and repetition within their other compositions, though to a less than inspired degree.

The final two epics, "The Black Sound" and "Walking the Crowpath", seem to surpass their state of relevancy long before they reach their end. Both songs clock in a little over 10 minutes, and within that time Fen embrace their metal attributes much more intimately than any other moment in the album. There's an excessive usage of slow tempos and heavy rhythms being deployed here that express an overall pessimistic sentiment, and though there are some invigorating riffs and bombastic drum rhythms to be found, that's all they really have to offer, lacking any sense of ingenuity to coerce our intrigue enough to eagerly hit the repeat button. "Wolf Sun", on the other hand, is the one and only redeeming song in the latter half of the album, and the reason for that lies in the one quality that "The Black Sound" and "Walking the Crowpath" failed to harness, an innovative approach. "Wolf Sun" displays a combination of alternative rock instrumentation with infuriated Black metal shrieks and raspy vocals. Of course, there is prominent usage of 'clean' singing throughout the song as well, but it is still very compelling to hear the two contrasting musical styles compliment each other in such an irresistibly harmonic fashion.

At its final moments, Dustwalker can very well be considered an even further progression in style from Fen's prior efforts, The Malediction Fields and Epoch, one that focuses more on their Shoegaze and Post-metal influences rather than Black metal. For anyone that was hoping this would be the direction Fen would explore more after hearing Epoch, then Dustwalker will be an experience well worth your time. As I mentioned before, there's an impressive level of creativity being expressed in their songwriting here, particularly in the methods of combining their different musical influences in a way that is both coherent and appealing. This is definitely a 'fan-pleaser', and though it's merely an addition to atmospheric Black metal and nothing that is particularly revolutionary or innovative in the genre, it still makes for a truly satisfying listen to anyone willing to give it a try.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:46 (seven years ago) link


Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:52 (seven years ago) link

Kadavar were in my top five. Maybe my favorite of all the throwback rock releases this past year. Just great songs.

J3ff T., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 17:55 (seven years ago) link

Production also sounds great. Really makes a difference with this stuff.

J3ff T., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:01 (seven years ago) link

51    Cathedral - The Last Spire    263 Points,   8 Votes

Doom Metal


After nearly a quarter century, 10 albums, a major-label stint, and a deserved reputation as an act that helped pull doom metal from its stylistic exile, exactly how will Cathedral end its final album? That’s the question that hovers above The Last Spire, the excellent eight-track LP that will mark the end of the long-running, ever-restless English quartet. Early last year, Cathedral played their final show in Australia before returning to England to chart their own demise. For the last two decades, the band has pushed far beyond the slow-growing and wide-set roots of its foundational debut, 1991’s Forest of Equilibrium, to incorporate thrash blitzes, psychedelic tangents and 70s rock bombast. Talking through each entry in the band’s catalogue with Terrorizer earlier this year, frontman Lee Dorian acknowledged the deliberate nature of his band’s non-linear development. Sometimes they wanted to retreat from doom, and sometimes they wanted to retreat into it. “I hate complacency,” he said. “It’s not something you should ever feel, especially in terms of art.”

That perspective has kept Cathedral interesting for the long haul, even if it hasn’t resulted in necessarily great records. For instance, the band’s most recent LP, 2010’s The Guessing Game, spent 85 minutes dipping and diving into prog rock aberrations that sometimes felt excessive and often unnecessary. Cathedral kept twisting free from its traditionally lugubrious mid-tempo maul with an assortment of influences, from Uriah Heep to Genesis. Mostly, it made you wish Cathedral would just settle back in to doom again.

And for a moment at the close of The Last Spire, it seems that Cathedral will indeed exit with a sentimental reminder than that they’ve generally been more than a simply gloomy squadron. “This Body, Thy Tomb”, the final song, opens with a low-strung, generously distorted riff, which Dorian pairs with appropriately funereal imagery: “I exist in this coffin,” he opens from a backlit pulpit. “Murdered trust and misfortune has evolved into strife.” Just past the three-minute mark, though, Dorian and the strangling tone of Garry Jennings go quiet, fading into a series of somber instrumentals-- a twinkling acoustic guitar, a glass-eyed electric solo, a music box melody played on mellotron. Cathedral, it seems, will fade into their own apoptosis.

But the mighty band enters one last time, pounding at Jennings’ lead harder than it has for the entire record. Brian Dixon locks into distended drum rolls and swings hard coming out of them, while keyboardist David Moore and bassist Scott Carlson build steep walls around the riff, conjuring claustrophobia even while heading for the exit. No treacle here: Cathedral ends exactly as it started-- heads down in heavy doom. Swansong attachment aside, that return-to-basics approach is one defining characteristic of The Last Spire, an album that reconnects with Cathedral’s beginnings without simply repeating them.

Another is restraint: In an interview with Ghost Cult Magazine published the week after The Last Spire was released, Jennings admitted that the band left a lot of recorded material on the cutting room floor for this album. Of those five omitted tracks, he said, at least one of them was a 30-minute Cathedral farewell that was never finished. At 56 minutes, however, The Last Spire is very much the right length for a band whose most consistent handicap has been not knowing when to say when, or how to move toward the next track or album. No, efficiency has never been Cathedral’s bailiwick, but on The Last Spire, they operate with surprising and newfound economy. They surround lengthy tracks with much shorter ones and generally just get out of their own way. The first half of the record, for instance, moves as swiftly as anything Cathedral has ever done. A terrifying introduction of swelling field recordings, tolling church bells and grating noise passes quickly into “Pallbearer”, a 12-minute anthem that pauses just enough for an acoustic interlude before sprinting headlong into a burst of thrash. It’s an extended number, but Cathedral anchors shifting momentum to a grim mantra00 “War, famine, drought, disease!”-- and a center of doom gravity. You almost want it to keep going, a rare quality for this band. “Cathedral of the Damned”, meanwhile, crisscrosses samples between verses, choruses and solos, while “Tower of Silence” adds a dose of punk ire to its unfettered seven-minute march. By not pausing to take stock of its progress, Cathedral testifies to its true purpose and power.

The Last Spire is so close to the spirit of Cathedral’s earliest works that Dorian has said it’s the record he’s hoped to make since their debut, Forest of Equilibrium. Importantly, though, it does not feel like a microwaved visitation with the past or some self-obsessed tribute. Rather, these pieces sound like the work of a band hoping to fortify their legacy at the end of their career rather than simply prolong it. The last two decades of exploration reappear here, certainly-- listen for the sidewinding second guitar in the distance during “Tower of Silence”, or, more obviously, the playful and possibly avoidable keyboard-and-bass fantasy that sits at the center of the otherwise morose “An Observation”. But these are simply the positive after-effects of years of auditory experimentation, not the driving force for the record itself. They’ve got too much to fit into an hour for self-involved excess.

If The Last Spire is the end of Cathedral, it’s a lofty exit for a band that’s often tripped over its own artistic ambition and unease. These eight tracks serve as a swift, sinister reminder of why Cathedral mattered at the start and why they intrigued for so many years in the middle. When it mattered the most, they had the sense to recognize that their work was done and to experience the end with dignity-- and, thankfully, doom.


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:03 (seven years ago) link

#33 Decibel, #46 Rock-A-Rolla, #11 Metal Hammer, #15 Terrorizer

Cathedral have called it quits, played their last live show, made their last video and the somewhat cleverly titled The Last Spire (released through Rise Above/Metal Blade) is reportedly to be their final album. One never knows for sure — surely over their time together the band must have amassed suitable fodder for rarities collections, live albums, greatest hits, cover records and so forth — but if it actually is the end of their run, The Last Spire is also the point at which the album Cathedral wants to make meets with the album that fans want to hear. It is an 56-minute victory lap that — far from actually sounding like one — presents eight songs of the dark, dreary doom that has come to be thought of as traditional in no small part because of Cathedral‘s crafting of it. The band’s lineup of vocalist Lee Dorrian, guitarist Gary “Gaz” Jennings, bassist Scott Carlson and drummer Brian Dixon present some progressive moments reminiscent of or at very least nodding toward The Guessing Game – the synth interlude that interrupts the sluggish lumber of “An Observation” comes to mind; David Moore‘s contributions of Hammond, Moog, synth and mellotron aren’t to be understated in establishing The LastSpire‘s murky atmosphere — but in their structure and in their intent, cuts like the early “Pallbearer,” “Cathedral of the Damned” and “Tower of Silence” underline the doomed feel for which Cathedral have become so known both in their home country and abroad. They are Cathedral at their most Cathedral. And rightly so. One couldn’t possibly hope for more of them than that.

The aforementioned trio occur sequentially following the intro “Entrance to Hell,” which finds Dorrian repeating the phrase “Bring out your dead” — which in my mind always goes right back to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but he sells it well — over suitably plague-addled atmospheres, with “Pallbearer” as the longest track on The Last Spire at 11:39 and marked aside from its strong hook by the backing vocals of Rosalie Cunningham behind Dorrian‘s signature semi-spoken delivery and the chorus of “War, famine, drought, disease” repeated to memorable effect. There’s a mournful acoustic break in the middle, but by and large, Jennings, Carlson and Dixon sound big, thick and threatening, and when the acoustics (backed by organ) give way to the resurgent groove and faster push of the song’s peak movement, the effect is fluid and entirely metal. They end slow and offer a more mid-paced distortion on “Cathedral of the Damned,” which is marked out by the spoken guest vocal by Chris Reifert of Autopsy and the line “Living in the shadow of a damned cathedral,” which may or may not be Dorrian dealing with his own legacy and the prospect of moving on after ending the band. Either way, it’s the riff and the buzzsaw guitar tone that stands out most as the band meet their longest track with the shortest full song (that is, non-interlude or intro), slamming head-on into the chorus as they do with no diminished returns on the subsequent “Tower of Silence,” the pair affirming Cathedral‘s potency on all levels as they round out The Last Spire‘s first half, whether it’s the vocals, Jennings‘ righteous solo, the heavy nod of the bass and drums, or the overarching catchiness of the chorus itself: “A tower of silence/Is waiting for me/Looming before/An astral sea.”

Really, one could read a lot of The Last Spire as being emblematic of Cathedral‘s self-awareness as regards their own ending, but when it comes to “Infestation of the Grey Death” starting off the second half of the album, the vibe is more of a return to “Entrance to Hell”‘s plague thematic than the band saying goodbye. Jennings smoothly layers acoustic and electric guitars in the chorus and post-chorus, Dorrian‘s vocals are caked in effects, and Dixon‘s thudding drums provide more than ample punctuation in the tempo’s slower push in comparison to “Tower of Silence,” verses and the chorus following the riff in doomly fashion and a more raucous second third giving way to a return to the heavy-trodding miseries for a sendoff. “An Observation” is the point at which The Last Spire is the least fluid, keeping the ambience consistent early on with the tracks preceding before rumble and synth strings (mellotron maybe?) give way to a synth solo at 5:42 that follows comparatively awkwardly behind a couple seconds of silence, as though the band, in realizing that nothing would offer a smooth transition between one part of the track and the next, opted not make a transition at all. They bring it into context with accompanying guitar and vocals, but just that initial change is enough to pull the listener out of the song’s flow, if only momentarily. Parts flow into each other well in the final minutes of “An Observation” as Jennings builds to a climax before moving into a more Carlson-led section of chugging push, and when “An Observation” is over, it’s time of “The Last Laugh,” which, at 38 seconds, is just that, the last time Lee Dorrian laughs on a Cathedral record. He’s done it plenty, so I guess the band felt it was appropriate to mark the occasion.

More importantly, brief though it is, the interlude does well in giving a couple seconds’ respite before “This Body, Thy Tomb” arrives as the closer. Pacing-wise, it’s an agony, but there’s still movement at its core thanks to Dixon and Carlson, and here as well the organ features heavily in filling out the sound. Mirroring the opener, there’s an acoustic interlude met by mellotron that comes on in much the same manner but still with better continuity than on the song before and a break of footsteps or churning water that leads back into the central figure of the song. It’s the last march — Cathedral‘s last march, to hear them tell it — and with the organ, guitar, bass and drums all firing together toward a single idea, it’s hard to argue against their having gone out in a manner befitting their legacy. The truth is, Cathedral probably could easily have been putting out records like this all along. Nothing on The Last Spire feels especially challenging for the band or the listener. But that they didn’t makes their decision to write this as their epitaph all the more special. It’s an album that, even if one isn’t familiar with the context surrounding or with the legacy that Cathedral will leave behind them, would make a surprisingly good place to start for a first-timer, since it’s accessible and it summarizes so much of what’s always been most appealing about the band. Since that unmistakably was their intent in creating it, The Last Spire is as true to Cathedral‘s idea of who they are as any of their work has ever been. – The Obelisk

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:06 (seven years ago) link

Whoa, that's WAY lower than I was expecting Cathedral to place.

J3ff T., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:07 (seven years ago) link

maybe ilm metal thread regulars have gone off doom

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:10 (seven years ago) link

8 votes on 50-something ballots? Color me surprised, too.

EZ Snappin, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:11 (seven years ago) link

yeah I thought more 50 year olds would have voted for them too

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:12 (seven years ago) link

I feel like a good chunk of my top 10 has already placed.

J3ff T., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:12 (seven years ago) link

50 Voivod - Target Earth 266 Points, 7 Votes



by Chuck Eddy

So you know how heavy metal supposedly, suddenly, got all avant-garde and high-IQ in the past few years, enabling its embracement by the hippest of the bearded Brooklyn hip? Well, whoever you're banging your microbrewed brainbox to, odds are Voivod beat them to their best ideas by a quarter-century.

Weirdness came naturally to these four French Canadian street-hockey pucks born around the dawn of the '60s, raised inhaling toxins from the planet's most enormous aluminum plant in Jonquiére, in the nexus of Quebec sovereignty country. In 1969, with Away, Blacky, Piggy, and Snake in grade school —l Front de libération du Québec terrorists bombed the Montreal Stock Exchange; by 1970, in the October Crisis wake of separatist kidnappings and murder, the province was all but under martial law. The boys soaked it all in, and by 1982, had started a band.

At first, Voivod seemed like a joke, apparently not on purpose. They had those silly nicknames, for one thing, and early on, that's all they went by. War and Pain — released in August 1984, a year or so after Metallica's debut, eight months after Slayer's — was called "probably the worst record I have ever heard in my entire life" by Paul Sutter in Kerrang, "like a moose being squashed by a steamroller (the vocals), whilst putting a strong magnetic current through a dustbin half-full of ball bearings (the band)." Their follow-up, 1986's umlautriffically named Rrr öööaaarrr, was some new species of fallout-shelter caveman splatter, complete with are-they-kidding? song titles on the order of "Ripping Headaches"; people lumped them in with thrash and/or speed metal, but already Voivod sounded like nobody else. They were listening to anarchist Brit hardcore (Rudimentary Peni, Discharge); left-field '70s Euro-prog (Birth Control, Egg, Amon Düül II, Nektar) that had a surprising Quebec following; 20th-century classical stuff; goth stuff and horror soundtracks; biker rock; Sonic Youth and Public Image Ltd.; and industrial firms like Einstürzende Neubauten and Laibach, whose T-shirts certain Voivoders wore at '80s gigs captured on 2005's D-V-O-D-1. They had a ridiculous concept — Voivods are time-hopping Viking vampires, see — but meticulous cover design and calligraphy from not-quite-here drummer Away (hence his name) and vegematic riffs from porcine guitarist Piggy to put it over.

Then, on Killing Technology (from 1987; note the two-faced title) and Dimension Hatröss (1988; note the recurring umlaut), they blasted it all into a deep and dense and ulcerous black hole of quantum sound, hanging ten on the galaxy's outer edge atop a jungle-drum rumble and stretching song matter toward ambient anti-matter via algebraic equations that later critic-approved metalgaze droners from Neurosis and Isis to SunnO))) and Liturgy and Pallbearer still haven't figured out how to calculate. Their convoluted structures, meanwhile, presaged entire metal subgenres largely preceded by the prefix "tech," but mainly populated by dorks opting for boilerplate brutality over having personalities.

On Nothingface (1989), Angel Rat (1991), and Outer Limits (1993), Voivod eased their claustrophobic congestion some, letting in more psych/prog/goth beauty, alternate-reality pop hooks, two late-'60s Pink Floyd covers, one 17-minute epic, and melodic college-radio jangle two decades before Baroness. The years since have been tumultuous: five often grumpy studio albums (plus live and outtake sets) between 1995 and 2009, including two with a vocalist who wasn't Snake, three with a bassist who wasn't Blacky but who used to be in Metallica, and two recorded after colon cancer killed Piggy but featuring guitar parts he'd cranked out before he died. Voivod (2003) is one of the band's catchiest records; Katorz (2006) one of their most rhythmic.

Target Earth, their new one, deserves to be the album whereon social-media-era tastemakers finally anoint them legacy heroes, in the amusingly eons-behind-the-curve tradition of Swans, Nick Cave, and Voivod's own early inspiration Killing Joke. Blacky's back, and if new guitarist Chewy from Quebec tech-deathers Martyr is no Piggy (nobody is), he holds his own — his fills in "Kaleidos" are nutso. As albums by Treponem Pal, Mekong Delta, Angel Witch, and others have demonstrated in the past year, great metal bands have a jellyfish knack for eternal regeneration when lineups change, and Voivod remain as sui generis as, oh, the Fall — their noise still can't be mistaken for anybody else's. The self-production here is a bit murky, maybe, and the drums and vocals have seen sharper days. But these dudes still turn sharp corners. Seven of 10 tracks last 5:45 or longer, but not even the 7:35 "Mechanical Mind" (first released last fall on one-sided, logo-etched seven-inch vinyl) wears out its welcome. It just builds, from wind-chiming start through yawping bad-dream multiverses and impatient time signatures and nyah-nyah-nyahs unto insanity: "Night arrives! / The guilt inside! / The worms of mind! / Scarred me for life!"

There are all sorts of idiosyncrasies tucked into the album's wormholes: Inuit throat singing and an almost lounge-jazzy midsection in the First Nations folklore-derived "Kluskap O'kom"; a Mediterranean intro credited to Greek oudist Perikles Tsoukalas making way for traffic-jam honking and extended staccato rhyming in the black-ice depressive "Empathy for the Enemy"; rain-forest polyrhythms under conspiracy theories of suppressed alien visitation ("skulls with conical shape, a map of outer space") in "Artefact"; intercepted satellite static or aluminum-smelting musique concrète opening several tracks, presumably courtesy of Blacky, who has dabbled in electronic music in recent years. "Corps Etranger," cold and clammy then raging, is recited in French, and seems to concern a parasitic disease — maybe Piggy's cancer.

In the world of extreme-metal experimentation, writing songs you'll remember once the album's over isn't cool; either that, or most bands don't know how. Voivod have for ages — environmental horror and nuclear/biological/chemical warfare and chaos theory and drone weapons of the formerly future frontier have been obsessions since Killing Technology days. Target Earth kicks off with cyber terror: a hacker attacking the power grid. But somehow, Snake's nasally accented repetitions, more robotic than monstrous, manage to consistently communicate shades of emotion — worry, despair, but also a hopeful calm — outside metal's usual purview.

So a dystopian nuke-wasteland dirge like "Warchaic" ultimately finds him looking to rebuild a "brand new world" like a 16th-century New France settler, then up next is the swinging punk protest "Resistance," not entirely un-skeptical yet actively embracing gas-masked street demonstrators toppling champagne-sipping gargoyles from ivory towers — a shout of solidarity with Occupy anarchists or Arab Springsters or Montreal students rioting over tuition hikes or Wal-Mart workers trying to unionize in Jonquiére. Eventually, we conclude with an odd, ominous minute-and-half snippet called "Defiance": black clouds, world in flames. But it doesn't feel like the end. Just the opposite; it feels unfinished. To be continued…maybe forever.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:15 (seven years ago) link

#16 SPIN, #25 Metal Sucks musicians, #21 Terrorizer

I had pulled that same review, doh.

Cathedral was decent, just outside of my top 50. There was so many other great doom albums.

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:16 (seven years ago) link

49    Progenie Terrestre Pura - Uma    275 Points,    7  Votes  One #1


If I’m being completely honest, I should probably admit that Progenie Terrestre Pura had me hooked before I ever heard a note of its debut album U.M.A. Not only am I a certified sucker for almost anything even vaguely categorizable as post- or industrial black metal, but that cover. I mean, seriously, take a good look at that gorgeous cover art. Accepting the band’s invitation doesn’t mean I have to stay for the whole party, though. Luckily, the album is every bit as classy and satisfying as its futuristic artwork implies, and U.M.A. announces the arrival of a hugely promising new talent.

The funny thing is, Progenie Terrestre Pura is a hell of a tough thing to describe. It’s nominally black metal, I suppose, but what else? Symphonic? Sort of. Ambient? Sure. Industrial? Of a kind. Atmospheric? Certainly. But if we combine any of those terms with black metal - symphonic black metal, industrial black metal, etc. - you’re sure to get the wrong idea. How about this: The first time I dived into U.M.A.’s deep, tremulous pools, the overwhelming impression that came to mind was that this is the album to answer the unasked question: What if Devin Townsend’s Ocean Machine was a black metal album? Superficially, there’s almost no real similarity here with Townsend’s masterpiece, but I still can’t shake that initial thought. There’s something about U.M.A.: its production, maybe, or its dense yet spacious sheen, or just some damned, intangible...feeling.

The album’s opening tune doesn’t even bother getting around to any actual blasting until near the four-minute mark, and even then, nothing sounds in the least bit aggressive, even as the guitars tremolo constantly, and the programmed beats pound unerringly, and the vocals float above the fray in a hoarse, detached whisper. The closest to properly “heavy” the song gets is when the drums lock in to a double bass pattern in the last minute or so. But even then, sheesh, this is like jackhammering through a rolling countryside of cloud-hills from 30,000 feet.

As the album unfolds, Progenie Terrestre Pura consistently reminds me of countless other artists and sounds without the entire assembled package ever sounding quite exactly like anyone or anything else. Imagine, I suppose, if DHG had set up shop in Star Wars’s Cloud City rather than the dank bowels of the Death Star to record 666 International. Or, I don’t know, if Darkspace and Blacklodge took some tranquilizers and fiddled around with the space disco of Lindstrøm and Pantha du Prince. The band’s sound is split almost cleanly down the middle between space-age black metal tricks and mellow, soundtrack-y bits stuffed full with all the retro-futurist-sounding bleeps and bloops of, hell, Tangerine Dream? Maybe some Windham Hill compilation?

Given the clear difficulties I’m having in communicating Progenie Terrestre Pura’s expansive vision, is it...is it cool if I dub this “new age industrial black metal”? Probably not, at least to anyone but me, but boy oh boy, this album is a pure sensory treat. And of course, to call any portion of this album “black metal” in any restrictive sense of the genre is a stretch. But still, lineage matters: I can’t see quite how you get to a world with Progenie Terrestre Pura without first moving through Mysticum, Limbonic Art, Aborym, and Dodheimsgard.

The most important point, though, is that U.M.A. is one-hundred percent about mood. You’ll find some muted clean vocals way toward the end of “Sovrarobotizzazione,” and “Droni” sees the band whip up some (relatively) intense interplay between the programmed drums and mechanistic riffing, which later transitions into a classic heavy metal gallop, but almost certainly by design, U.M.A. is a single, 51-minute journey through pillowy atmospheres and sharp outcroppings of metallic suggestion, like crude three-dimensional polygons barely glimpsed through the glittering haze of a comet tail. Elsewhere, the instrumental interlude “La Terra Rossa Di Marte” swoons and plunks away like Joe Satriani playing a Perdition City pinball machine in Tron, because, well, of course it does.

For all its brilliant, gleaming surfaces, though, Progenie Terrestre Pura seems to understand the tension, the undercurrent of whitewashed unpleasantness that simmers in all utopian futures. By grafting this sort-of industrial black metal onto such beautifully atmospheric soundscapes, U.M.A. occupies the same aesthetic terrain as a Minority Report or a Blade Runner. Maybe U.M.A. takes the listener on a similar journey to Ocean Machine, after all, except that the referent unit is an entire civilization rather than an individual, cast into an uncertain future and left to consider the conditions of its inevitable end.

It’s like a death becomes musical, but this one’s for the life.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:30 (seven years ago) link

I'm not a big doom guy but would have tried it out and I never even heard the Cathedral and it's solely because I couldn't find it on Spotify -- I just did, but it's not in their main profile, it's part of some splinter profile and I notice AG didn't include a Spotify link for it either:


One of the more annoying aspects of Spotify, I wonder if anyone else out there was stymied by this.

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:38 (seven years ago) link

48    Vista Chino - Peace    276 Points , 9 votes



"It's very simple to play Kyuss songs," says Vista Chino frontman John Garcia. "Anybody can do it, but you've got to have character."

From 1991 to 1995, Garcia was the frontman for Kyuss, the band who helped pioneer stoner rock's husky dude-rock vocals and charging post-Sabbath melodies, fogging up the alterna-landscape like a smoking steamroller. Since their breakup, the band's guitarist, Josh Homme, has certainly stayed busy, yet Garcia and drummer Brant Bjork cycled through band after band with a fraction of the spotlight until reforming (with livewire bassist Nick Oliveri) as Kyuss Lives! in 2010

Renamed Vista Chino in 2010, Garcia and Bjork still have that Kyuss character in spades on their debut, Peace, writing bulldozing stoner anthems that live up to the legend of their former band. They released the record under the new moniker after Homme sued them for "trademark infringement and consumer fraud," but the sound is like classic Kyuss never missed a swinging, bluesy beat in 18 years. "We don't like getting speeding tickets, let alone fucking federal lawsuits slapped on us," Garcia says. "There were times when we had to be doing depositions when all we really wanted to do was be in the fucking studio. But names are obviously not important to us. We're going to be making music anyway. And nobody has a fucking right to take our joy away. We're lifers. We're grateful to be here."

Hear this blistering reunion in full below, and read a track-by-track breakdown where Garcia explains what it was like singing through Jim Morrison's microphone. Tour dates below the tunes. Pre-order the album from Amazon here and from iTunes here.

"Good Morning Wasteland"
John Garcia: Kyuss, as well as Vista Chino, will always do instrumentals. "Good Morning Wasteland" is an example of a song that didn't call for lyrics. It just has a very organic feel to it, and that's what Brant Bjork was going for as a producer. That's why we didn't go to a studio in Hollywood or Los Angeles, but instead built a studio from the ground up in Joshua Tree, California.

"Dargona Dragona"
Some people have told me that the vocals on this song sound raw and distorted, and that's because I was singing into Jim Morrison's U87 [microphone]. Our engineer, Harper Hug, is in the process of building Robby Krieger's studio in Los Angeles. So they've become really good friends and were talking about Vista Chino. Robby Krieger told him, "Hey, Jim sang out of this microphone before. What do you think the guys would think of using it?" And of course when you put a U87 in front of me that Jim sang out of, of course I'm going to be a little bit intimidated, but it was also inspiring as well. And I was honored, because I'm a fan.

"Sweet Remain"
For me as a singer, this song is a totally out of my range. It's very, very high for me, but it was super fun to experiment with that range. Singers' voices tend to deteriorate just a little bit as they get older. And mine has, knock on wood, held up, and I really wanted to test the boundary of my vocal ability.

"As You Wish"
I remember around the time we were working on this one, a lot of people were asking me what the record was going to sound like. I honestly didn't know. This is a song where Brant and I learned to trust each other again. We went through a couple of different versions of it until we found one that works.

"Planets 1&2"
"Planets 1" is one of my favorites. Brant Bjork called me one day and said, "Hey dude, would you mind if I sing this song?" And I said, "Absolutely. 100 percent please. Go for it." His vocals bring out another side of this band. And then "Planets 2" is just so minimal; it's the less-is-more thing. It's just six lines. Believe it or not, it's hard to be simple. I love to fill up every single minute of a song, and when you do that, you wind up finger-fucking it, ruining it.

All it takes is the first line to get a story going, and then it just flows. "Adara" was a direct product of that. It's very fun to sing, and, for lack of a better word, it's very, very classic Garcia for me.

"Mas Vino"
That was a live recording one night. Bruno and Brant were in the studio, and they called me up and said, "Come on in and cut some vocals." Listening to them play it, there was a great vibe, but because of where the song sits in the sequence of the record, we decided not to release it with the vocal on it. I think eventually we might release the piece with the vocal as a B-side. Until then, I think like a fine wine, it needs a little bit of time.

"Dark and Lovely"
I can see this becoming a 15-minute jam, where it's a trip. It's a very classic-Kyuss type of tune. If you partake in smoking the herb, that one's going to be one where you light back up. I think a lot of people think this band partakes in that a little bit, when actually, in reality, I can't remember the last time I smoked a bowl or a joint or a bongload. It's been that long. I'm waiting for the right time and the right moment to be able to sit down and do exactly that to this one.

This song is just a perfect example of this band beginning anew. "Barcelonian" is not a song Kyuss would have played. But that's great. What we wanted was exploration, and "Barcelonian" is a direct product of going down a tangent. I don't mean it to be crass to the band, but the music sometimes gets redundant and boring. So exploration is fun.

"Acidize – The Gambling Moose"
I did eight different vocal takes on "Acidize." Because I did eight different versions, it was one of the last songs we recorded. And then "The Gambling Moose" is very classic — not to be talking about myself in the third person — but very classic Garcia. It's a fun song to sing. I love the snare sound when it comes in. It's a fitting ending chapter to this book.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:40 (seven years ago) link

#27 Rock-A-Rolla, #4 Obelisk, #2 Obelisk readers, #9 Captain Beyond Zen, #1 Stoner HiVe, #49 Terrorizer

If, like me, you thought the idea of a reunion sans Homme and Reeder – and only intermittently featuring Nick Oliveri, who's become a one-man turnstile in the band – was kind of half-assed and pointless, you're liable to be a little stunned by what the quartet have put together for their debut album under the rebrand, Peace. A few notable moments aside, Peace is where you figure Kyuss would have eventually ended up when they got tired of creating spacier, more drawn out songs and decided to get back to basics. Kind of a no frills ying to Homme's Queens of the Stone Age yang.

"Dargona Dragona" bypasses all of Homme's latter day flirtations with farflung strands of blues rock and 70's metal and zeroes straight in on that Blues for the Red Sun template, shedding aggro-fuzz riffs like a dog with mange… we're instantly transported back to an era where it was just these guys and Fu Manchu and it was still desert, not stoner, rock. The other previously leaked single, "Barcelonian", features a more melodic, string-bending guitar line that is the most Queens-like thing on the album, deceptively so if it's the only thing you've heard so far.
Brant Bjork's ace drumming pretty much steals the show from "Sweet Remain" onward; there's a compressed, small room touch to the album's production which seems to benefit Bjork's kit the most… you can almost envision the dude hammering away at the skins in a basement with faux wood paneling while a modest crowd of beer-swilling yokels do a few 12 oz curls and nod along approvingly. If a drum solo is in the works for the live show it surely belongs sandwiched between "Sweet Remain" and it's album follow up, "As You Wish".

In spite of the overall stripped down approach, Vista Chino do prove that they can still throw down the heavy duty space jams in two specific instances, both coming at what would (presumably) be the last song on each side of the vinyl or cassette: "Planets 1 & 2" is the more restrained of the two, sticking with a fairly conventional songwriting framework but going all Jam Room in the middle. The finale, "Acidize/The Gambling Moose" is – like the title suggests – a multi-part suite, the first half settling into the first real chill out segment of the album, crooning vocals and jazzy licks providing counterpoint to Bjork's unflappable drumming. The back nine ("The Gambling Moose") ends the album on an extended boogie note, more Hooker & Heat than Jam Room this time.

It's pretty much a given that cats are gonna want to take sides, some claiming that Peace is merely QOTSA-lite while others insisting that Vista Chino are the better band for their sense of focus, but this is hardly an either/or proposition here: the truth is that both acts are at the top of their game right now, and for former naysayers like me who'd written Kyuss Lives! off as mere legacy act cashing in on former glory, it's time to eat a bit of crow and acknowledge that Peace is the best work any of these guys have done since the mothership crash landed back in '95. Bravo, gentlemen. – Jeremy Ulrey, Metal Injection

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:43 (seven years ago) link

Another album I thought would be higher

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:45 (seven years ago) link

47    Portal - Vexovoid    282 Points,    8 Votes



Musical density can falsely suggest volume: Listening to a two-sided, 40-minute, wall-to-wall extreme noise record, for instance, can seem like an hours-long gauntlet, especially compared to a 12-track LP of the same length filled with breezy pop songs, each guided by its own system of verses, a chorus, and a bridge. For the latter, the clear striation of parts lends a certain momentum to the listening experience, goading the music toward a clear finishing line, and then repeating the process. But that 40-minute noise record might stuff as much sound as it can into that equivalent space, supplanting pop's rests and dynamics with a barrage of musical information. If you don't think intensity can warp your sense of time and space, remember the notion the next time you're at the gym.

Excepting their 2003 debut, Vexovoid-- the fourth and most recent album from Australian heavy metal abusers Portal-- is the band's shortest full-length to date and their first to fall just to seven songs. At 35 minutes, it is barely longer than your average primetime sitcom or less than a quarter of the music rock'n'roll votary Ty Segall released last year alone. But parsing Vexovoid, Portal's first as a quintet and first since 2009's addled and diverse Swarth, should take you the better part of this calendar year. Initially forceful and ultimately complex, Vexovoid redirects the image of death metal through a dervish funhouse, where the expected shapes have been mutated and multiplied into orders so strange they seem surreal. Rhythms stay the course where you expect them to shift before finally switching without warning. Sharp-barbed riffs emerge from and climb above dins that once seemed irreparably unordered. Songs that, for the first minute, appeared to have but one aim and direction find a half-dozen new missions and vectors in a five-minute span. Hearing it all go by-- the forms flux, the pieces connect, the momentum volley-- provides an exhilarating, bewildering sort of audio whiplash. Vexovoid is a gauntlet that, to run again and again, is every bit as exhilarating as it is exhausting.

Portal has long tapped into sounds beyond death metal basics to warp their core, with traces of doom metal and stoner rock, black metal and noise rock trapped within their already-claustrophobic music. But Vexovoid eliminates the seams better than ever before, with alien sounds woven perfectly into the native space. "Orbmorphia" splices the kind of technically daunting sprints that canonized Meshuggah into rote death metal blitzes. "Plasm" hammers away with similarly primal simplicity, but Portal perverts it via sly embellishments-- molten waves of repetition rather than riffs that slice and flee, or the slow quake of the bass rather than an ordinary game of four-string keep-up. When the drums disappear after three minutes, they give way to a corrosive drone. The transition is surprising but deserved and brilliant, a conclusion foreshadowed by the now-obvious maneuvers of the tune's first half. Likewise, the guitars of closer "Oblotten" radiate grimly with the lock-step tremolo of black metal, while drums boom in the distance, as though industrial samples have been slingshot randomly into the frame. Hidden behind each of those percussive quakes, there's a sad little riff shared between the bass and a guitar. When the cacophony finally chokes out, though, only that riff remains, creeping quietly into nothing.

Go back and trace its progression: It's the kind of detail that you might miss the first dozen times you hear Vexovoid, especially if you've persevered its meticulous and merciless 35 minutes in one sitting. Such intricacy is precisely what makes Vexovoid-- a trove of interconnected themes and variations, distractions and redirections, barbed by the one of the heaviest bands in the genre-- so rewarding. If these 35 minutes feel like twice that, it's because Portal thought through every step, packed all of its ideas as tightly as possible, and left it for you to decode.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:50 (seven years ago) link

ILM's voters are loving their death metal this year.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:51 (seven years ago) link

#31 Decibel, #19 SPIN, #23 Metal Sucks musicians, #19 Terrorizer


Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:51 (seven years ago) link

An album with three #1 votes up next. Anyone wanna take a guess?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:55 (seven years ago) link


Vote in the ILM EOY Poll! (seandalai), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:57 (seven years ago) link

46    Stara Rzeka - Cien Chmury Nad Ukrytym Polem    287 Points,    7  Votes, Three #1s



Poland didn’t experience a wave of nostalgia for the countryside through its music or art in the same way that countries of the West did. After WWII, most Eastern Bloc states were involved in large-scale, pressured urbanization that drove people from villages and small towns into industrial cityscapes, which soon began expanding at the hands of Stalin’s economic development strategy. This had a huge impact on Poland in particular, because it was destined to provide the region with coal — the fuel of the empire — and required the use of a strong labor force. While musicians across Western Europe, the UK, and the US juxtaposed tales of agraria with insights concerning the scope of urban development, censorship brutally reigned over any Pole brave enough to demonstrate their affection for the livelihoods they had left behind. Urbanization continued deep into the 1980s, and by the time music expurgation started to soften, artists such as Kazik and Jacek Kaczmarski had set a consistent discourse in motion, which raged, quite understandably, about the state of political affairs, Solidarnosc, and governmental abuse, as opposed to the disenchanted memories of lives led outside the city.

The few musicians who did express rural reminiscence in ways that didn’t confirm to government-dictated aesthetic preferences often found that their output was limited to low-key performances for friends in underground bars instead of large public concerts and radio airplay. Artists bearing such inclinations risked imprisonment when censorship was at its most heightened, and this meant Poland bypassed any Americana-tainted trends to land itself slap-bang in a cultural zeitgeist that revels in admiration for the cosmopolitan cities it has done so well to develop; Kraków, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Warszawa, Lódz, Poznan, etc. Stara Rzeka is a product of that stepping stone in absentia, of a musical landscape that went from mass deprivation to instantaneous bombardment in half a decade, and despite the project’s channeled objective, it draws influence from a wonderfully varied selection of stylistic sources.

The outfit is fronted by guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Kuba Ziólek, who also plays in Alameda Trio, Innercity Ensemble, and Ed Wood, among others. On his first solo effort as Stara Rzeka, he uses a range of guitars, effects pedals, synths, and a MicroKorg to meld transcendental acoustic folk music with drone, kosmische, and black metal to mind-blowing effect. Cień Chmury Nad Ukrytym Polem ramifies a sense of nostalgia and longing in the modern era by exemplifying the understated beauty of the Polish countryside, along with a sonic depiction of hard graft in working the fields and a warmhearted appreciation of the surrounding topography.

Ziólek has used his Bandcamp page to pry apart the intentions, inspiration, and content of this mysterious and little-known full-length. The text is all in Polish, but Google’s translation is relatively accurate if you can forgive minor glitches in the algorithm. In accompanying notes for the album’s brilliant opener, “Przebudzenie Boga Wschodu,” Ziólek recalls taking a cocktail of psychedelics and watching the sun rise; he discusses the importance of this process in every day life and identifies how such a phenomenon is taken for granted as a consequence of its frequency. His aural interpretation sends acoustic guitar stings calmly into a wave of grainy feedback and synths, which unfold over the 12-minute track’s mid-section and the first point at which the record takes an unexpected turn — a rattling cage of distortion, vicious drum ricochets and scorched vocals — an astute contrast to the initial chords, which leaves you feeling as though the music could go in any direction. Fortunately, the path it takes is selective in its variation, as it boasts rich and sumptuous overtones that leak across the confides of categorization.

Those first few minutes encompass a fascinating sequence, because at that early stage, the album is still building its hypnotic momentum. The track title translates as “The God of the East Awakens,” and as an opening piece, that sentimentality for the countryside and the importance of agricultural Slavic traditions begin to unfold, whether they are conscious or otherwise. Even though Ziólek is more interested in the village as a contemporary phenomenon, where farmers use loud machinery to drown out the squealing of pigs as they are slaughtered for black market trade, and where every second dwelling has an internet connection, the project’s namesake translates as “Old River” and is in fact a settlement just outside of Tuchole in Northern Poland. The region is home to one of the country’s most superb National Parks; it’s a perfect setting, typical of an area encompassing natural wonder, and a miniature model for the Polish village that saw its community split apart during mass urbanization. Throughout its history, Poland has seen so much tumult as a consequence of its geopolitical situation, while the rural landscape has remained the same — the sonic personification of that image is expertly rendered through Ziólek’s use of historical references, sylvan imagery, and symbolism, from the reef knot (often used to tie bales of hay) on the cassette version of the album’s cover to his appropriation of Avraham Halfi’s poetry. This is not an album that merely wallows in the sanctity of the countryside, but it embeds itself deeply within the culture while gesturing towards daily toil and the supernatural components that come with it.

It’s difficult to listen to the hurling black metal tirade of “Tej Nocy” without paying particular attention to the bells that chime through the opening bars. It brings to mind the presence of the Catholic church and the influence it yields in every village throughout Poland. As a structure, it remains dominant, a place of worship and importance, but not necessarily of promise, as the clusters of drunken men drifting around the outsides of the parish will tell you. However, the religious connection is carried from the church to the fields and the areas that people work. Priests ceremoniously visit these localities during the beginning of May and bless them to ensure a bountiful harvest. With Stara Rzeka, ecclesiastical connotations extend far beyond “Bron Nas Od Zlego” (“Deliver Us From Evil”) and are transported through the hypnotic, trance-enducing drone sequences of the title track, as well as the graceful and punishing “Nächtlich Spaziergang Durch Klinger.” The album deals equally in darkness and in light, regardless of the spectral tones it conjures and the recording errors that resulted in its delay — Ziólek has achieved a fascinating production that thrives on the intensity of everything it borrows from.

Cień Chmury paints a fragmented picture of the humble life, pulling forcefully on a swarm of influences that range from musical curiosity and 19th-century poetry to rural tradition and beyond. What makes this effort so captivating in practice is the way that these stylistic preferences blend together like a fresh slab of kaszanka, bitter and potent, congealed in dried blood. The depth of this unparalleled synthesis is flaunted through an incredible cover of Nico’s “My Only Child,” which operates as yet another symbol — this time depicting Ziólek’s fixation on decline and transformation, themes he finds entrenched deep within Desertshore, as well as in the passing of an era in European history. Where in the past, yearning for the countryside was seen as a regression antithetical to urban planning, Stara Rzeka flips that notion on its head, not only through illustrating its value in a society that remains dominated by the role of the city, but with an honest and accurate depiction of the beauty there to be found.

01. Przebudzenie Boga Wschodu
02. Tej Nocy/Broń Nas Od Złego
03. Cień Chmury Nad Ukrytym Polem
04. Prześwit
05. Nächtlich Spaziergang Durch Klinger
06. My Only Child

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:01 (seven years ago) link

I enjoyed the Stara Rzeka track on the Spotify tracks playlist. I wish I'd had more time to listen to this properly, I might have voted for it. Still looking forward to checking out the whole album.

o. nate, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:08 (seven years ago) link

45    black sabbath - 13    294 Points,   10 Votes   One #1 but no Bill Ward


#1 Revolver, #12 SPIN, #25 Rock-A-Rolla, #6 MetalSucks musicians, #10 Obelisk readers, #13 Stoner HiVe, #3 Metal Hammer


"We decided to write horror music" is how Ozzy Osbourne describes Black Sabbath's birth in the great new heavy-metal oral history, Louder Than Hell. And that's exactly what they're doing, once again, on 13 ? a reunion set with three-quarters of the original band ? that revisits, and to an extent recaptures, the crushing, awesomely doomy spectacle of their first few records.

Needless to say, this is kind of a big deal. It's impossible to imagine heavy metal without Sabbath's groundwork. And Osbourne hasn't made a studio record with the band he founded for 35 years, not since he was ousted for being an unreliable alcoholic drug casualty after 1978's Never Say Die! Moreover, this reunion comes at a time when the evil germ of the evil gene of their sound is deeply resonant: See Southern heavyweights Mastodon and Baroness; experimental metal acts like Liturgy and Boris; and hundreds of other bands around the world that owe a debt to the godfathers of gloom.

13 is steered by superproducer/superfan Rick Rubin, and it shows that, for all their innovations, Sabbath were a product of their era ? at core, they're a blues-rooted prog-rock band, and 13 may surprise some people in its proto-¬metal traditionalism. The eight-minute opener, "End of the Beginning," goes through various time shifts, beginning with a sludgy stomp, switching to a galloping midsection and ending with a floaty, almost Beatlesque outro. "Zeitgeist" recalls "Planet Caravan," from 1970's Paranoid, with shimmering acoustic guitars and gentle-Druid hand drums set against restrained jazzbo soloing by Tony Iommi, the man who revolutionized hard-rock guitar with his downtuned tritone riffing. After some reverse-recorded psychedelic spirals, "Damaged Soul" goes from molten blues to a hot boogie jam powered by Osbourne's harp; it's not far from Cream or Hendrix.

Philosophically, of course, 13 is more monstrous, at times comically so. "Down among the dead men's vision/Faded dreams and nuclear fission," Osbourne whines on "Zeitgeist" in a voice as piercingly unpretty as it was back in the day; on the single "God Is Dead?" he rhymes "gloom," "doom" and "tomb" ? metal's unholy poetic trifecta. Osbourne is the main wild card here. In the early Aughts, his drug-addled dark-lord persona evolved into reality-TV caricature. Yet he takes to his task here with full aesthetic sobriety, as if conscious of his responsibility to teenagers facing existential terrors for the first time.

The other wild card is drummer Brad Wilk, formerly of Rage Against the Machine, filling in for original drummer Bill Ward, whose disagreements with his former bandmates have sadly reached a point where he's even been cropped out of photos on blacksabbath.com. Wilk doesn't have Ward's subtle swing. But he's a powerhouse, and his head-cracking style gives 13 a more modern feel. Above all, this reboot shows that the genre Sabbath helped birth remains timeless, insofar as the devil remains gainfully employed on Earth, and heavyweight rock shredding still kicks ass. ? Will Hermes, Rolling Stone

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:14 (seven years ago) link


the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:25 (seven years ago) link

44    Power Trip - Manifest Decimation    303 Points,    9    Votes

#15 SPIN, #11 Stereogum, #4 Pitchfork


Before Manifest Decimation, Power Trip were one of those groups people said you needed to see live to understand. This isn't to take away from the EPs and singles they released before this LP, because they contained good songs. It's just that they were still eclipsed by frontman Riley Gale and company's whirling dervish stage presence. There's a reason they've toured plenty with their west coast pals, Trash Talk: they play bridge shows, they make liberal use of gang vocals, their fans are very into circle pits, and, hell, they shout out straightedge hardcore bands on their Facebook page. But this debut eight-song collection, their first release for Southern Lord, is such a strong record that you could never see Power Trip live and still understand what makes them special.

The Dallas, TX, quintet play crossover, i.e. thrash that draws from hardcore punk. The guitars, placed up front, are clean, dexterous, and fast; the vocals and drums, in the back, are draped in sludge and reverb. Those elements will, at times, remind you of the darker side of the old-school thrash spectrum (Slayer), but the spirit of this stuff pulls more from the hardcore scene, like their Astoria forebears Leeway or, on the burlier side, Cro-Mags. Unlike other contemporary thrash bands, Power Trip create a legitimately violent atmosphere, and don't go around wearing sleeveless jean jackets with the front of their baseball caps turned up. They sound less like they're here to party, and more like they want to kick your ass.

You could safely say Power Trip are a punk band. Their whiplash fight song, "Power Trip", includes the lines "We ride as one/ We?re ruled by none," and you believe them. Manifestcloser, "The Hammer of Doubt", was originally out, in different form, on a 2010 compilation called America's Hardcore. They've covered Prong. They could easily cover Black Flag. They remind me of my early days in high school when I was coming out of a steady diet of hardcore and getting into bands like Metallica, D.R.I, Suicidal Tendencies, and Anthrax.

The music on Manifest Decimation is bleak, dirty, heavy. It's also very catchy. At any given moment, Gale can sound like Lemmy fronting Cro-Mags, Discharge, or Exodus. At other times, he locates a grizzlier tone that evokes guys wearing corpsepaint. There are samples about death and Texas from movies like Robocop 2 and Blood Simple. The Italian artist Paolo "Madman" Girardi offers detailed old school apocalyptic metal cover art. The lyrics deal with government and religious suppression like so: "Histories trapped in illusion, who sees through who?/ For every mindless vision of who owns the truth/ For every one who spoke out, thousands were slain/ Torture and bloodshed in the sake of some holy name." That's the classic side of things, but while Manifest Decimation does sounds vintage (the chug-chug-chug, the whammy-bar abusing solos), these guys aren't stuck in 1986.

What helps makes this album great, outside of the excellent riffs and choruses, is the way Power Trip mix in flourishes that place Manifest Decimation firmly in the present. (In that sense, you'll also think about another Texas band, the now defunct Iron Age.) There's nothing obvious; it's little touches, like the weirdo echo effect on Gale's voice throughout. The album opens with a blast of swirling feedback and ominous synth tones, something threaded throughout the album via brief, almost industrial snippets. The feeling's picked up in some of those headier vocal effects, too-- the phased pan on "Conditioned to Death" (which features some great early Metallica riffing), the disembodied backing vocals on the frantic "Murderer's Row" (complete with some Slayer-like soloing). It adds to the urgency and intensity, and also sets them apart. That said, none of it would matter if they weren't writing songs like the swarming title track or the Motörhead-banging "Heretic's Fork".

Recently, people who take metal seriously have spent some time talking about whether or not thrash is dead, or if we're actually in the midst of a thrash revival. Power Trip have found a way to create something new by pulling from the past. In that way, it feels like they exist on both sides of the argument without giving a shit either way. ? Brandon Stosuy, Pitchfork

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:25 (seven years ago) link

Should also include Nate's epic review - http://www.cvltnation.com/the-end-of-the-end-black-sabbath-13-review/

It’s possible to make good heavy metal music and to hate the Beatles (though I wouldn’t recommend it.) It’s not realistic to play in a metal band and thoroughly dismiss Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, early Scorpions, Motörhead, or some era of Iron Maiden. Those are the building blocks upon which all have since constructed. You can argue with me on this, but it will be your ultimate loss because all of the aforementioned bands wrote Timeless Shit, and little that’s followed has been as crucial or as successful.

In the late ‘80s, it was popular to bash on Black Sabbath. It was schoolyard lore that they couldn’t play their instruments. Zeppelin were supposedly the better musicians and certainly the richer men. Metallica was faster and more modern. There was a lot of misinformed revisionist mythology going around. But then Grunge happened, and every band in that canon spoke loudly on record and interviews of being heavily influenced by Sabbath. All of a sudden the rough edges had value again. And eventually Sabbath heeded that call and came back to us.

In 1997, the Reunion happened. A live double CD set followed. And with it came two brand new songs—the first that Iommi, Butler, Ward, and Osbourne had produced together since their 1978 swansong Never Say Die. The reaction was mixed on the concerts, and relatively unanimous (not in a good way) on the radio single “Psychoman.” Ozzy was not in good form on this tour, and fans alternately reveled in Bill Ward’s good nights and chastised the entire band when he was off or on medical leave. Ward missed a lot of the reunion shows due to ill health. In fact, he had a heart attack before the tour began, and even when he was present on the road, there was another drummer being paid to wait behind a curtain in case he was needed.

Now let me pause for a moment here to say that I love Bill Ward as a drummer and a mythological figure. From every interview I’ve seen, he’s the sweetest man you could imagine. Along with Bonham, Moon, and Crover, he’s one of the greatest rock drummers to ever walk the Earth. His personal influence on my life and drumming cannot be discounted. And the night I saw him play with Black Sabbath on the 1999 leg of the Reunion tour brought me literally to tears. But I can certainly see how it was a very different experience for the other members of Black Sabbath.

When Ozzy was finally fired from Black Sabbath back in 1978, the dirty job was delegated to Bill Ward. He and Oz were friends, and it was assumed that the bad news would be best received from his mouth. At the time however, Ward was only in slightly better shape than Osbourne. His bouts with alcohol, drugs, and prescription pills were pretty legendary by the mid-80s. It’s a well-known bit of Sabbath lore that Ward recorded on the Heaven & Hell album in 1980, but retains absolutely no recollection of doing so.

By the time Mob Rules rolled around, Ward was out entirely, the throne occupied by Vinnie Appice. When Dio left after disputes that Iommi was sneaking in at night to turn up the guitars on the mix of their Live Evil album, Appice also fled the sinking ship and sailed into glory with Ronnie James. Ward found himself back for the Born Again album with Ian Gillan (which really is their last great record until Dio and Appice returned for Dehumanizer in ’92), but only rejoined the group sporadically for the remainder of Sabbath’s career. That is, until the official Reunion in late 1997.

By the time Ward returned to Sabbath, he had not made a lot of big career moves. The Bill Ward band released an album called Along the Way in 1990, which got a little bit of attention thanks to a cameo from Ozzy. It’s actually a pretty cool record, but it does beg the question: do you own this album? Did you even know about it?

While Ozzy was writing multi-platinum discs and touring the world, Iommi was dragging Sabbath’s name through the muck, and Geezer Butler was ping-ponging between those two projects. Meanwhile, Ward was–among other things–a high school guidance counselor.

With significantly less miles under his belt than the other three members, Ward was admitted back into Sabbath for the Reunion, then proceeded to have a heart attack before the first show. Though he performed on the shows recorded for the Reunion album in 1997, he had to be replaced by Mike Bordin of Faith No More for all but two of the gigs in 1998.

Reunion is primarily a live record, but each CD contains one new studio cut. “Psychoman” is a hint at how Sabbath perceived itself in its original lineup at the cusp of the millennium. It rocks, but admittedly sounds both forced and rushed. At the time, Iommi was quoted that he preferred not to make a new album unless it was on par with their first three records. That had many of us convinced that they would never even bother.

The other new track was called “Selling My Soul.” Remember that one? No? Well, it’s not a terrible track. But it is only about three minutes long. And the drum part was performed by a machine because Ward was reportedly unable to keep time.

What I’m trying to get at is this: as much as I love Ward, as much as he seems like a genuine human being and a visionary percussionist, he just wasn’t reliable. If I played in a band with a guy who needed to be replaced by a machine in the studio, and by a session player on stage, and someone who simply wasn’t investing in his instrument and career on the same level as the rest of the band, I too might not want to share 25% of the proceeds and glory with such a fellow, regardless of his disposition.

Don’t get me wrong—I do not prefer Ward’s replacement in this scenario either. Brad Wilk is a fine, fine drummer. But I never liked a note of Rage Against the Machine. I’ve done my best to pretend that Audioslave never existed. The fact that Wilk was the compromise is a sincere bummer. Why couldn’t the band have hired Tommy Aldridge, Ginger Baker, Jason Bonham, anyone from their era or homeland or position of prestige and experience? It’s a fucking drag, and it’s one of the biggest reasons that folks don’t even want to give 13 a chance.

When Black Sabbath came out on 11/11/11 with their big announcement that it was all the original members, people were excited. I can’t say I had much faith in Ozzy, but Iommi and Butler had just knocked it out of the park with the Heaven & Hell band. And if you’re not keeping 2009 masterwork The Devil You Know in heavy rotation, you’re doing it wrong. That is truly the best Black Sabbath album since the 70s. But it’s always going to remain in the shadows thanks to the brilliant legal loophole that the Osbourne’s lawyers wove into the reunion contract.

Despite the fact that Tony Iommi was the one man to never quit or be fired from Black Sabbath, although he kept using the name for album after album into the mid-90s, he was no longer legally allowed to use it following the 1998 reunion unless Ozzy was involved. But for over a decade, Ozzy was busy with his television show, his lackluster solo albums and repeated last-ever-final-see-me-now-or-never-ever-ever tours. And so Iommi got tired of waiting, made amends with Dio, and reactivated Black Sabbath.

In 2007, Iommi, Butler, Dio, and Appice released three brand new tracks (two great ones) as bonus material on Rhino Records’ The Dio Years anthology under the name Black Sabbath. You may notice that Bill Ward was not invited to that party either. A lot of folks want to believe that Ozzy and Sharon are the greedy gargoyles responsible for Ward being ousted from the 13 album and tours. But hmm, in 2007 he was MIA again.

Ok Sharon and Ozzy are in fact greedy gargoyles. Let’s not pretend otherwise. They shut down this particular version of Sabbath with a cease & desist & “our lawyers will feed your lawyers to starving children in third world countries” efficiency. With the risk of killing off a highly functioning unit, Iommi and co hastily renamed the group Heaven & Hell, and then proceeded to record and tour.

The resulting album was 2009 doom metal masterpiece The Devil You Know. I smacked my forehead in disbelief when I read reviews of this album that dismissed it as “slow, turgid, and doomy.” Since when is doom metal not monotonous? The songs on this album are slow, apocalyptic, and evil, one after another after another. It’s a fantastic example of what a really mature metal band is capable of when egos and financial speculation are removed from the picture. Truly, it’s one of the purest visions of unadulterated heavy metal in the 21st century. And because it bore a name other than the one it deserved, it sank out of sight like a stone.

When I saw the band live in 2010, the venue was half full at best. Lucky for me, it was the one show of the entire US tour in which the support was not Coheed & Cambria. The night I saw them was a one-off in Seattle with Neurosis. Yes, I saw Black Sabbath and Neurosis, and most of my friends stayed home to save 75 bucks. What a supreme loss they felt when Dio passed a matter of months later.

There was almost no way that 13 could compete artistically with The Devil You Know. I was well aware of that in advance, and prepared for the disappointment brought by Ozzy and his committee of puppeteers. When 13 finally came out in the US on June 11, I drove to my favorite record store in Portland – 2nd Avenue Records – and picked up the double vinyl the day it was released. And damn was I pleasantly surprised.

Now I did have some idea what to expect. The album’s single, “God Is Dead” was released while I was on tour in Europe in April/May 2013. In fact, I had the pleasure of visiting and performing in Birmingham, England, while the song was in heavy rotation. There was something really magical about being in Sabbath’s hometown and hearing their new tune being played on the radio, hourly. I imagine that’s how it feels to be in Cleveland or Toronto when a new Rush album drops.

“God Is Dead” is a pretty impressive return to form. Yes, it’s consciously retro Sabbath. No, Bill Ward is not with us. But otherwise, Ozzy is not embarrassing himself; Wilk is doing his job without overstepping his bounds; and Iommi and Butler are absolutely delivering. It’s heavy as hell, and almost nine minutes long. Not exactly what one could easily peg as a sellout maneuver.

When I turn on popular rock radio, I do not hear music like “God Is Dead.” Most of what Clear Channel programs for us is a host of sure things from the past, from artists who paid their dues, jumped through hoops, and are being rewarded in retirement or the afterlife for playing a good game. A select few like Tom Petty or John Fogerty get their new songs played on classic rock radio alongside “Hotel California” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” Focusing on actual new chart hits, I couldn’t begin to tell you. Big Time Rush and Yeezus simply do not write songs that I want to hear. “God Is Dead” is pretty damn good fare for a brand new recording in rotation on popular radio, and stands out on every level.

This was the first track, and the first target. Now that new music (sans Ward) had been revealed, it was time for the first crowd-sourced potshots. The vocals were “mixed too loud”. The lyrics were corny. It sounded more like solo Ozzy than classic Sabbath. Bill Ward was being cheated. I don’t really agree with any of these criticisms.

The first thing I noticed was that Ozzy wasn’t singing through Auto-Tuner. Ever since he’d first employed the technology (and Ozzy was certainly the first singer I ever heard use it) back on 1995’s Ozzmosis, it’s sounded awful to me. Rick Rubin got Ozzy off the Auto-Tune teat. That’s almost like saying that he got him to put down the bottle or to quit pissing his pants. Also, the song rocks and is well recorded, crafted, and composed.

There are thousands of bands mining the ore that Sabbath once wrought. Can you think of any with as good a guitarist? How about a bass player as good as Geezer? Or a drummer as talented as Wilk? Or with a singer as charismatic as Ozzy? Or with the songwriting skills and craftsmanship of these four with a world class production courtesy of Rick “Slayer/Danzig/Public Enemy” Rubin? No, most bands would kill to operate on this level, or produce material of this quality. I hear you balking, but please, stay with me.

The new album 13 opens with “End of the Beginning.” This is another tune over eight minutes in length, and crushingly heavy. The lyrics are a bit more clever than the poetry you wrote you in high school, and smack of wisdom hard won through experience. Perhaps that’s because they (like most of Sabbath’s lyrics) were written by bassist Geezer Butler—a man with a high school education, a lot of book reading, and a life filled with peaks beyond most of our imaginations.

For my money, “End of the Beginning” is probably the best song on the record. Apparently somebody else agreed, as there’s no more modern formula than to front-load an album with the best track first. If you don’t lure in the listener right away, you may never have them. The true denouement of this song isn’t until the end of the entire record, but we’ll get to that later. Suffice to say, the best riff in this song is the last one. Iommi repeatedly finds ways to save the best for last, and end on the most heavy and epic note possible.

Next up is the single, “God Is Dead.” My one real qualm with this song is that the lyric is a bit of a cop out. When I first heard the title, it sounded heavy. And when Ozzy laments “God is dead,” it has a serious impact. But by the end, he’s singing, “I don’t believe that God is dead.” A bit weak, wouldn’t you say? It’s a controversial title and chorus, severely under-mined in application. But hey, maybe it will keep those protective mothers from burning records and putting hexes on these nice boys from Birmingham.

On Side Two, things change. Yes, I’m listening to this record on vinyl, the way it was intended. Maybe a lot of kids in the ‘70s also listened to Black Sabbath on 8-track, but I don’t see that format being offered here. So as far as I’m concerned, the right way to listen to this album is on vinyl, in front of big wood cabinet speakers, with a freshly loaded bong. If you’re evaluating or condemning this album bone sober over tiny computer speakers, you’re not really showing a great deal of respect, are you?

Track three is called “Loner.” It’s an ode to all the lonely, outcast, misunderstood, burnout Black Sabbath fans. That’s really 99% of their fan base, and apparently they know it. When John Darnielle wrote his 33 1/3 series novella about Master of Reality, he recognized this too, and made the main character in his book just such a loser, locked in a psych ward, yearning for his Sabbath tape.

What’s really cool about “Loner” is how much the main riff recalls the blatant underachiever vibe of the Technical Ecstacy era. It’s clear that the same man who wrote “All Moving Parts (Stand Still)” and “Gypsy” penned this tune. It even recalls something Dave Chandler of Saint Vitus might have come up with around the time of Children of Doom. At 2:12 the sleaziest riff on the entire record slinks in, bringing images of this “loner” kids cruising the gut after midnight with bleary eyes, drinking Sparks, eventually sleeping solo in his room above his parents’ garage.

Finishing Side Two is “Zeitgeist.” This song is my one personal complaint on the whole album. There’s actually nothing particularly wrong with it. But one of the primary criticisms folks have leveled at 13 is that each song seems to correspond pretty directly to another from Sabbath’s back catalog. I would argue that most of the songs are no more referential here than might be expected. Since when should a band that invented a genre not be allowed to rip itself off? What if—gasp–a new Kraftwerk album sounded like an old Kraftwerk album? There’s no doubt that if Sabbath had come out with an entirely new, updated, 21st century sound, literally everyone would hate it.

But “Zeitgeist” may be both the safest and laziest move here as it’s so clearly “Planet Caravan” mark II. From the bongos and classical guitars to the kooky outer space lyrics, it’s an exercise. Sure, it breaks up the flow of an otherwise very heavy album. It also reflects on they way the band arranged its classic albums with tunes like “Solitude,” “Embryo,” “Changes,” and “Laguna Sunrise.” There were always mellow Sabbath tunes, and most of them were great. This one is simply a copy of perhaps the twenty-fifth best Sabbath song and the very best Pantera song. Sorry Phil.

Side Three kicks off with “Age of Reason” – a seven minute slab of doom that sounds like a hybrid of Volume IV and Heaven & Hell. I should note here that throughout this album, Iommi’s leads are absolutely top notch. Perhaps it’s because instrumentalists like him don’t really get worse as they get older. The years are much harder on singers and drummers, much more physically demanding instruments. The other factor is that while recording this album, Iommi was undergoing treatment for lymphoma. There was a very real possibility that this would be his final album, and he’d just watched Cancer silence good friend Ronnie James Dio. So while there is a certain sterility to the recording overall, the leads sound very much alive—leaping out of the speakers—a conduit from wicked modern metal to classic selling-your-soul “Crossroads” blues.

Next up is “Live Forever,” another apocalyptic doom track concerned with no lighter subject than mortality. Younger bands could never get away with a lyric like “I don’t wanna live forever, but I don’t wanna die.” Somehow when it’s being sung by sextagenarians, it carries the weight it deserves. It’s also cool that the faster groove in this song shares a certain cadence with “Johnny Blade” off Never Say Die.

“Damaged Soul” is a blues number that accentuates the band’s patented 6/8 swing. The production reminds the listener that Rick Rubin famously worked with the Black Crowes. It’s here that the harmonica finally comes out. And right at 3:51, Iommi is playing with such spirit that he flubs a note and leaves it in the song. It’s one of the most magical moments on the album and really underscores that this really is just four guys making music. As produced as it is, there’s no keyboard, no backing choir, and no guest rappers.

The last song on 13 is “Dear Father,” another mournful dirge that would have fit somewhere in the various Dio eras, or could have been the closer on an Ozzy solo album. If you like “Disturbing the Priest” from Born Again, skip right to this track. It’s gruesome and grungy and unrelenting in its darkness. Toward the halfway point, it kicks up into a “Children of the Grave” style gallop before descending back into the tar pit. And (spoiler alert!) it ends with the sound of rain and church bells, bringing us full circle to the “End of the Beginning” and to the original song “Black Sabbath” from their eponymous debut on Feb 13, 1970. Clever, poetic, a bit stupid—in other words–pure Sabbath.

All in all, 13 is a helluva record. It’s telling that Tony Iommi thanks Rick Rubin in the liner notes “…for producing this record and for his insight in what it should be.” While any of us can sit around and speculate about what this album could or should have been, this is what we have. I don’t believe anyone sets out to write a doom metal album with chart success in mind. None of these guys really need the money. 13 was made as a final monument to one of the all time great rock careers that was stifled too many times by booze, bad business, and worse luck.

The band had been flirting with Rick Rubin since 2000, knowing full well that he’s a master at putting wind in the sails (and in the sales) of artists in the later stages of their career. I’m no Death Magnetic fan, but it’s clearly more vital than St Anger. As revisionism goes, the American Recordings album series that Rubin helped Johnny Cash lay down before the Man in Black died is all class. Rubin possesses the skill to focus on what is great and mythic about a band, and to help the band recognize that. Seeing yourself from the outside is difficult for any of us, and even more so for superstars with decades of lousy reviews and millions of adoring fans.

If you’ve read this far and you’re still gutted that Bill Ward wasn’t on the record, well, I’m with you. Maybe the other guys feel that way too, because all three of them thanked Bill pretty sincerely in the liner notes. Brad Wilk certainly did an ace job as “guest musician / drums & percussion.” He plays well and safely throughout the record. And I can’t blame him for doing his job, but there are risks Ward used to take that gave the songs dynamics and life. His off-the-rails hybrid of blues, jazz, and rock was truly inspired. There are tom rolls on 13 that are so precise that my ears yearn for the sound of an accidental rim shot, or two sticks clicking together, or that weird little one-off cowbell tone heard when Ward accidentally hit a mic in “The Wizard.” But I also believe that if Ward had been involved, this album would have taken a long time to record, and we wouldn’t have it now. Or maybe ever.

But there’s still hope. Ward is alive. The fans have spoken. Many voiced their opinion online (the Facebook fan page “No Bill Ward, No Black Sabbath has 595 members.) But in the real universe, people came out in droves, buying enough copies of 13 to push it to #1 in the UK—the first time the band has topped their homeland charts since Paranoid came out in 1970. And as of June 19, 2013, Sabbath dethroned Queens of the Stone Age for the number one spot in the US. That’s a first for Sabbath or even Ozzy. And it’s a good sign that dark, occult-themed metal can overcome all obstacles. Satan’s sitting there, he’s smiling.

In Greek mythology, the Titans begat the gods. The way people talk about 13 makes me feel like the Titans awoke after thousands of years and stormed up Mount Olympus to show off their lightning. And the people said, “Big deal. Zeuss pisses lightning three times a week.” Perhaps these people don’t understand the rules of de-evolution. Or entropy. The nature of the universe is that things get worse, and energy dissipates into nothing. When that doesn’t happen, it’s a bit miraculous.

When Eric Clapton or the Rolling Stones put out a new album of soft-core tracks for baby boomers, I’m not interested. But when Priest brought Halford back in 2005 for the Angel of Retribution album, that was fucking impressive work. In 2012, Rush wrote a 66 minute concept album called Clockwork Angels that is creatively on par with anything they’ve ever done, and heavy as hell to boot. This is the company that 13 belongs in, alongside other traditional doom masterpieces of the 21st century—2005’s eponymous Candlemass (the best reunion album I’ve ever heard), and 2009’s The Devil You Know by Black Sab—I’m sorry—Heaven & Hell.

13 is not perfect. It’s not the all time masterpiece, nor the crown jewel in Sabbath’s catalog. But considering the popular music of today, and the number of lousy Sabbath albums that came out between 1984 and 1995 (seriously, check out Ice T’s cameo on “The Illusion of Power” off Forbidden), this is firmly in the better half of their catalog. If this album had come out any year between 1979 and 1991, it would be considered one of THE classic Black Sabbath albums. But now, I guess we just know too much. Our idols are puppets for our amusement. We love to raise them up and then cast them down.

I love Black Sabbath. Their music has changed my life on all sorts of levels. I own all their albums, including the bad ones. I never thought I’d see those four guys on stage together, and in 1999 it happened. Never thought the band would make another album—and certainly not one that sounded so much like the band I grew up with. 13 years after it was promised, here it is. Cue thunderclouds and church bells.

Special thanks to Erik Highter and Robert Ham for their two cents, and to my girlfriend Sivonna West for buying the 13 LP for me as an early birthday present.

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:26 (seven years ago) link

Stara Rzeka album is one of my favorites of the decade so far; that being said, it's probably too much to hope that Jute Gyte is going to show up now :/

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:28 (seven years ago) link

if only sund4r had voted

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:36 (seven years ago) link

or imago

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:42 (seven years ago) link

hunt them down dam

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:43 (seven years ago) link

43 The Body - Christs, Redeemers, 307 Points, 8 Votes

#7 Rock-A-Rolla, #31 Pitchfork

In metal (or at least the type of metal that could be loosely classified as 'Trve' ? i.e. leather, not spandex) vocalists are descended from three distinct character classes. There is The Magus (the grand vizier of truth and illusion; one who sees through the veil - Ronnie James Dio is a good example), The Beast (most low and accursed; a grunting ork warrior who lusts only for blood and triumph in battle - see Cannibal Corpse's Chris Barnes) and The Penitent. The Body's Chip King hails from the latter category. The penitent is a man torn to pieces by the uncaring universe; screaming for his life in the talons of some gargantuan animal which may or may not be a metaphor for the hellish depths of his own soul; utterly dwarfed by the hideous undulating movements of the world around him, like a sand crab crushed by a tank track. The Penitent is a man in pain, and the men behind the deadly serious assault of Christs, Redeemers know a thing or two about pain. Both the giving and receiving of it.

Christs, Redeemers starts unexpectedly, with a looping, woozy choir and a female sung folkish lament. The vocal is warm and clear ? almost welcoming - and it's only in the tracks final minutes, as the wooze sours and begins warping and blurring at the edges that you realise that you've been had. By the time the first perfectly weighted hammer strike of churning guitar and filth encrusted drums comes down on your head you're on the floor with your legs uncontrollably kicking like that poor sap in Texas Chainsaw Massacre - a pig ripe for the hook.

Choirs and folksy elements are nothing new in metal, of course. These combinations of the sacred and the profane go back at least as far as Black Sabbath's clanging church bell. What makes The Body such a different proposition is the way that these purified ingredients are utterly degraded by the filth surrounding them. The sweeping strings and choir of a track like ?An Altar Or A Grave?, while initially threatening to push the album toward bathos, give way to ?Failure To Desire To Communicate??s punishing crackle and roar, which wouldn't sound out of place on a Werewolf Jerusalem or Taint record. Sure, the crossover between extreme metal and harsh noise is a much more established one these days, but The Body never sound like they're incorporating these elements for the sake of it. Each usage evokes something, a feeling or an image that suits the conceptual thrust of the album as a whole: a broken spinning turbine, the clang of heavy machinery, rain falling onto a punctured tin roof.

What message The Body are choosing to impart is pretty much obscured due to the impenetrability of the lyrics. I would hazard it is not a positive one, seeing as the vocalist sounds disgusted by the sheer fact of his own existence throughout, but none the less the images the album conjures are strong enough in their own right to give Christs, Redeemers conceptual weight. It can't be overstated how important the seamless introduction of noise elements serves to lift The Body beyond the reach of pretty much every other extreme metal band. A track like ?Shrouded?, for example, is little more than static and a steady, defeated pulse with the vocals set into the far back of the mix, like a man being drowned in wet cement, yet it sounds so hopeless. It sounds like weakness and despair and is brutally affecting. More so than a lot of more 'traditionally' played music in the genre.

That all of these separate elements come together without ever compromising the album's impact is a testament to the vision and surprising levels of compositional depth that The Body bring to play. No one element is ever allowed to dominate but, rather than spreading their ideas too thin this serves to fill the album with variety while ensuring it never wavers from its nihilistic mission. I've been listening to it for two whole days now and I'm still discovering new features, like a man up to his arms in tar pulling out body parts and splinters of bone. In a year that's been dominated by the spectacle of former noise musicians funnelling their abrasiveness into more conventional arenas,Christs, Redeemers is a welcome fetid volley from the keep-noise-hideous brigade and an album that will keep you horribly transfixed for a long time to come. ? Mat Colegate, The Quietus

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:45 (seven years ago) link

AG, See email with attachment with reviews that won't have all the ?s

Fastnbulbous, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:49 (seven years ago) link


btw is ANYONE using Deezer links?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

42 Paysage d?Hiver - Das Tor, 316 Points, 9 Votes, One #1

Founded in 1997, Paysage d’Hiver (“Winter Landscape”) is a side project of Darkspace’s very own vocalist/guitarist Tobias Möckl a.ka. Wroth or Wintherr (depending on the season). Now if you’ve heard of Darkspace, but thought Paysage d’Hiver was a specialty cheese, that is not all together surprising. Witherr has made the barrier to entry unquestionably high for potential Paysage fiends. Many of his early releases were issued on cassette format only, limited to a few hundred copies each. It has only been very recently that Wintherr’s own label, Kunsthall Productions, has made Paysage’s back catalog readily available on A5 digibook format.

Putting the project’s frustrating distribution choices aside, Paysage has been consistently releasing high quality material for over a decade. But after 2007′s Einsamkeit, the Paysage camp went suddenly dark. And it was only until last year that Wintherr broke his silence and hinted at a new release. Now after a six year long wait, the latest “demo,” Das Tor (“The Gate”), is finally upon us.

As the project’s name implies, Paysage focuses on a frigid mix of howling wind, ambient synth, and atmospheric black metal. Each release is typically composed of no more than six tracks, many of which shoot past the fifteen minute mark, and each expresses some ambient aspect of Wintherr’s favorite time of the year. At almost an hour and twenty minutes long and composed of just four monolithic tracks, Tordoes not break with tradition. Instead, it continues down the path of incremental growth and subtle refinement to its original frostbitten formula.

And part of that formula is its heavy use of post metal. As your ears peel back all the layers of blast beat and guitar driven cacophony, the post metal influences here are quite obvious. Opener “Offenbarung (Revelation)”

is a shining example of that fact, as it’s immediate whirlwind of blast beasts and black metal riffing lays down the foundation for the several minute long crescendo that ensues. And like all post enterprises, Wintherr employs subtle chord shifts and repetition as he continually overlays one theme after the next. Around eight minutes in, a sinister riff emerges as the song reaches its climax and begins its gradual denouement. Wintherr does a masterful job of not over using one particular structure to the point of monotony, which is something I’ve felt he has been guilty of in the past.

But one technique that I seem to not get enough of is those fantastic synth effects that give each Paysage song a certain joie de vivre. For example, “Macht des Schicksals (Force of Destiny),” contains haunting keyboards about four minutes in that gently hover over the blast beats and buzzsaw below, adding just enough texture to make the whole exercise worth it. Their influence is then felt several minutes later, providing the melody in which all the fury now centers around. Fans of Kristall & Isa and Nacht will feel right at home with this record, as the exact same techniques are revisited on Tor.

The last two tracks are really separate movements of one massive body of work. “Ewig leuchten die Sterne (The Stars Shine Forever)” slows down things considerably, introducing a simple melody that takes on a very cinematic quality as it repeats and unfurls over the next few minutes. Then the last track, “Schlüssel (Key),” repeats the same theme, but drowns it in distortion and buzz. What was haunting beautiful a moment ago now sounds cold and despondent.

Das Tor was recorded and mixed in Berne, Switzerland by Wintherr himself, and then mastered for CD and LP by Fredy Schnyder of Nucleus Torn. Wintherr continues to opt for the Burzum-esque production of the early ’90s that long time fans know and love (sigh). But what is a pleasant surprise this “demo” time around is this record actually sounds dynamic! With Tor, Schnyder proves that you do not need to compress to modern day insanity just to keep your “kvlt” status intact. In fact, there is a bit of sparkle in this wintery mix that you can easily discern despite Paysage’s penchant for hum and buzz. As is a sub-genre tradition, Wintherr’s vocals are mainly set in the distant background and come and go as they please. They act as sort of an aural wind chill factor on this record. All in all, given the lo-fi objective, this record does a remarkable job of balancing underground aesthetics while still maintaining a modicum of dynamics (Fell Voices, pay attention!).

Das Tor is the most cohesive Paysage record to date despite the fact it doesn’t really break any new ground or ruffle any feathers. It’s simply a solid slab of atmospheric black metal and for fans of Fell Voices, Ash Borer, and their elk, a must own. – Alex, Metal-Fi

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:00 (seven years ago) link

wrong image for Christs, Redeemers but that EP was amazing too

gman59, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:03 (seven years ago) link

if only sund4r had voted

― pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:36 PM (30 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

or imago

― pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, January 14, 2014 2:42 PM (25 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:08 (seven years ago) link

I hope you hold a grudge

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link


there's quite a few showing up that were on my 'hope to check out b4 voting' list but I just totally dropped the ball this year :/

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

Imago refused to vote. You shouldn't take that lying down

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:11 (seven years ago) link

41 Castevet – Obsian, 325 Points, 11 Votes
#13 Stereogum, #37 Rock-A-Rolla, #20 Pitchfork

Music is inescapably physical, whether it rivets you to your chair or propels you to the dance floor. This physical dimension is not uniformly distributed across genres: death metal tends to churn harder than black metal; thrash metal harder than power metal; and so forth. (This isn’t limited to metal, either: compare dubstep to IDM, or hard bop to free jazz.)

The counterweight of physicality is often intricacy or technicality. It’s not impossible to be intellectual and dispassionate while also striking with the force of a clawhammer, but it takes skill to balance the two. Think of Tool’s “Ænema” video: a clay figure inside a box which is then thrown. You can anticipate the arc of a rectangular prism in motion, but the effect on the flesh inside is both horrifying and unpredictable. New York’s Castevet call to mind such imagery on their nervy, harrowing second album, Obsian.

Castevet’s debut album Mounds of Ash condensed the slow creep and explosive crescendo of post-rock-influenced metal into tighter, mathier songs. Obsian manages a similar trick, but by exploding those structures from within, such that each song feels like build and burst — tension and release — are happening simultaneously.
That seeming paradox is possible because of Castevet’s command of rhythmic precision — largely thanks to drummer Ian Jacyszyn’s fierce economy, and the band’s willingness to spring from unison to contrapuntal dissonance in a flash. “As Fathomed by Beggars and Victims” is a fine, disorienting example; it opens with a groove that one can hardly pin down before it dives straight into lock-step machine-gunning. “Cavernous,” meanwhile, is not spacious and echoing as its title would suggest, but instead jitters and stutters and always winds back in on itself.
Castevet’s tonal palette is limited — this is a three-piece band, after all — but much like Ulcerate, that limitation is embraced as a challenge, leading to a hermetic album that is inventive, restless, and bristling with a singular vision. Obsian is Castevet’s first album with new bassist Nick McMaster (also of Krallice, with whom Castevet share an aesthetic kinship). McMaster’s bass often plays a lead role, as on the closing groove of “The Curve,” where his high-fret twangs snake up and out of the instrumental torrent below.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Obsian is that its mood is so mercurial. The overall tone seems equal parts malevolent and sorrowful, which is largely produced by the contrast between guitarist Andrew Hock’s vocals and melancholy chord voicings, which are odd even before they’re run through the band’s choppy rhythmic blender.
Though the mood feints and shimmers, the album’s closing two songs combine to form a relentlessly morose ten-minute suite. The band introduces some understated clean vocals (courtesy of Nick Podgurski of Yukon and Extra Life, among others) which call to mind the similarly goth-leaning excursions on Tombs’s Path of Totality. Although the album’s last minutes hint at some small glimmer of light, even that small cloud-break dissolves into a single, faint trumpet note, left to waver in the dark like an unanswered beacon.

No balance between body and brain — no matter how cunningly struck — can subvert momentum, not when the trajectory of all is to dust. – Dan Lawrence, Invisible Oranges

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:15 (seven years ago) link

40-21 tomorrow around the same time!

Thoughts on todays results or indeed any previous ones?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:16 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:19 (seven years ago) link

Already there's stuff piling up that I need to hear this year and now here's the ghost of 2013 reminding me of all I missed. I just got that Obliteration from the Omega's recent sale and it indeed slays. I'm again realizing though that I'm out of step with a good deal of this board: the 'new retro doom' thing does little for me, and anything with 'post-' in the genre tag does even less. I'm already looking forward to whatever the next fads are. Personally I vote for Colored Sands' creating a symphonic progressive doom sludge subgenre.

Not really.

Devilock, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:35 (seven years ago) link

Quite a few rolling metal thread regulars dont do polls. So I wouldnt say you were out of step at all. This poll is only those who voted (obviously) plenty of others hate polls (funnily enough theyre usually the death metal loving doom not caring post-metal despising etc)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link

Stuff I voted for:

50 Voivod - Target Earth, 266 Points, 7 Votes
45 Black Sabbath – 13, 294 Points, 10 Votes, One #1
43 The Body – Christs, Redeemers, 307 Points, 8 Votes
42 Paysage d’Hiver - Das Tor, 316 Points, 9 Votes, One #1

I was happy that the EP by The Body made the list since I nominated it.

I think Voidod would have been higher if it wasn't released the first week of January.

The Paysage d’Hiver is so brilliant; it was #2 on my list (to something that might not even place).

Stuff I want to check out:

60 Coliseum - Sister Faith, 247 Points, 8 Votes
55 Autopsy - The Headless Ritual, 258 Points, 9 Votes
53 The Ocean – Pelagial, 261 Points, 8 Votes
51 Cathedral - The Last Spire, 263 Points, 8 Votes
47 Portal – Vexovoid, 282 Points, 8 Votes

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 20:56 (seven years ago) link

I other news, I posted that incredible live video of HELL on my Facebook. A couple of friends chimed in on liking or disliking. And then the guitarist came along to post much to my shock... The internet is fun!

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 21:03 (seven years ago) link

I'm still in the process of hearing 2013 stuff that would've made my list but for either procrastination or, in this case, total obliviousness: Keldian's Outbound, total cornball AOR/power metal with some kind of sci-fi theme. They did a crowdsourced run of physical discs and apparently will be an mp3-only outfit until they get a decent distro. I've been parked on their FB listening to their albums. For days. Definitely would have infiltrated my top 10 (which is to say, my entire list) and been the only album of that genre to do so. I meant to look back through the 2013 rolling thread to see if they were ever mentioned but it takes forever to load.

Devilock, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 21:38 (seven years ago) link

ok NOW you're out of step

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 14 January 2014 22:44 (seven years ago) link

I certainly didn't expect to like, nay, love something that sounds like Europe and Stratovarius. Those choruses just make me all bubbly inside. (Actually what they really remind me of is Devin Townsend's Accelerated Evolution, which until now had been my cornball threshold.)

Devilock, Tuesday, 14 January 2014 23:15 (seven years ago) link

Not enough death metal on the list.

J3ff T., Tuesday, 14 January 2014 23:33 (seven years ago) link

Too much! not enough non-americans voting!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 07:38 (seven years ago) link

Please remember to subscribe to the Album Results Playlist

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:35 (seven years ago) link

Oh and please go vote in
ILM 2013 | End of Year Albums & Tracks Poll | VOTING THREAD (Voting closes MIDNIGHT EST on Friday, January 17th, 2014)

Lots of metal to vote for as well as other fine non-metal. Make your vote count!
Ballot: http://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IQ4ICRvEzhsG-xwd5T3hr8oqPMJI7UMFzNdTXMnGMeQ

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:08 (seven years ago) link

Will resume in 20 mins or so after I have lunch

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:39 (seven years ago) link

great. unexpected good timing for me.

charlie h, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:50 (seven years ago) link

Why you still up?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:54 (seven years ago) link

just a bad habit sustained over the xmas period. plus it's too damn hot!

charlie h, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:57 (seven years ago) link

1am right? what temp is it at 1am?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:59 (seven years ago) link

probably not so hot outside -- 24 C or something? inside is a different matter.

charlie h, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:02 (seven years ago) link

40    Manilla Road - Mysterium    326 Points,    10   Votes



As is the case, I would imagine, with most of you, I spend time with people who have little to no knowledge of any music outside of the pop world. To my friends and acquaintances in spotify:album:0GMgU7XFeng3UVJGR1gJUEthe real world, I’m “the metal guy,” popping up at social events in a comfy Napalm Death shirt or my trusty King Diamond hoodie. And so it happens that, periodically, an adventurous soul will engage me in one inevitable conversation, sometimes phrased more politely (and sometimes not), but either way boiling down to: “How can you listen to that stupid/cheesy/ugly/loud/screaming $&#!?”

When the question is presented politely, the answer I give is usually some variation upon this: Though there are exceptions and some are borderline embarrassing, for the most part, I prefer music that is as unconcerned with mass appeal madness as music can be. Generally speaking, no one makes extreme metal with the express purposes of great fame or wealth. Sure, those who play any music want to be popular in some capacity because the ultimate goal is to at least make a comfortable living as a creator of music – only the mostmisanthropic of basement black metal miscreants would argue that they don’t seek at least some of the validation that comes with people embracing their work. But it’s a smaller, more personal validation, and in the end, in the underground and below, metal musicians make metal because they love metal.

A shorter, albeit less explanatory, form of that answer would be, “Because of bands like Manilla Road.”

For the entire duration of my life (not to make you feel old, Shark), Manilla Road has flown the flag of true heavy metal, all whilst being largely ignored by anyone outside the underground. I’m sure that the flag-waving has been anything but a highly lucrative career choice for Mark Shelton and friends, and their decades-old status as kings of the underground leaves them with a fan base that numbers but a fraction of that of many lesser bands. But, most importantly, there’s no denying the rabidity of the Manilla Road fans, and so theRoad goes on, ever forward, doing what they do for those who love metal because they themselves love metal. And God bless ‘em for it.

Mysterium is Manilla Road’s sixteenth album in thirty-five years, and it stands among their finest since their 1980s glory days, largely because, of their post-reformation discs, it’s the one that most feels like Crystal Logic, The Deluge, and the like. Gone entirely are the death-ish growls of the previous few, and only a few of the thrashier bits that characterized some later-day records are held over. And, though it still revels in that specific Manilla rawness, Mysterium thankfully rectifies the production stumbles of 2010’s Playground Of The Damned, which lost power through a mix that tucked much of Shelton’s guitar beneath an uncomfortably brittle drum sound. Complaints about Playground’s production led Shelton to seek outside help for the mix on Mysterium, and it paid off. It’s true that four ears are better than two, and Mysterium sounds the way a Manilla Road record should sound. The drums are live and punchy, but not clicky and dry; the guitars have been returned to their rightful place as the instrumental focus of the tracks.

More important than anything, however, is that Mysterium also brings its share of killer Manilla Road songs, particularly those that open and close, bookending and conveniently propping up a few slightly lesser entries towards the album’s midsection. (I’m looking at you, “Hermitage” and “Do What Thou Will.”) From the opening drum fill of “The Grey God Passes,” it’s evident that Manilla Road is back, bringing the epic, fist-in-the-air heavy metal that is virtually synonymous with their name. Concert crowds singing along to that track’s “Battle is nigh / raise up your EYYYYEEES!...” refrain is virtually guaranteed, and further suitably anthemic moments arise in “Stand Your Ground”
(“Defenders of the clans / onward we ride, hellbound...”) and “Only To The Brave” (“Wielding death by the hammer / glory comes only to the brave...”). The eleven-and-a-half minute title track ends the album on its most epic note, exactly the type of multi-part, guitar-driven, deftly layered song that Road fans love and crave.

Also of note: One of Mysterium’s standouts is also its least metallic. “The Fountain” is a great lilting, acoustic number, all 12-string guitars in 6/8 time with harmonized vocals and lyrics that effectively sum up the band’s longevity, the fountain of youth a metaphor for the power of heavy metal.
Search to the end of all time if I must
I’ll never give up my beliefs
Carry the torch ‘til my life turns to dust
Never let go of my dreams
No, I’ll never let go of my dreams
Still I believe...

Manilla Road remains both one of metal’s standard-bearers and one of its best-kept secrets, and only time will tell if Mysterium will grow their fan base or just appease the ardent followers they already have. If you’re new to the band, you can start here or with Crystal Logic or Open The Gates. And for those already traveling this Road, this album should land itself a cushy spot towards the uppermost reaches of the band’s extensive catalog. Thirty-five years and counting, and still making classic heavy metal... Great fame and fortune or none at all, that’s something to be damn proud of. Another one well done, Shark. Keep ‘em coming forever. – Jeremy Witt, Last Rites

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:08 (seven years ago) link

I was surprised at how good this album was tbh. Gotta hand it to them, still got it after 30 years.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:11 (seven years ago) link

Someone needs to photoshop Mystery Inc into the background on that cover

tench and pike, scaup and snipe (NickB), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:12 (seven years ago) link

think i struggled with the sound of this one (not the songs themselves). have tremendous respect for the band.

charlie h, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:13 (seven years ago) link

39 Church Of Misery - Thy Kingdom Scum, 335 Points, 11 Votes


#12 Obelisk

In some ways, it makes sense to think of the new Church of Misery album, Thy Kingdom Scum (Rise Above/Metal Blade), as a sequel to Houses of the Unholy. Like that 2009 full-length (review here), the title is a pun with a religious theme also based on a classic album — the Japanese outfit had a song “Kingdom Scum” on their first album, Vol. 1, that finally got released in 2007 with an Emetic Records reissue in 2011 (review here) and was a take on Sir Lord Baltimore‘s 1970 debut, Kingdom Come . Both Houses of the Unholy and Thy Kingdom Scum also have seven tracks with one cover from the canon of classic heavy — on the 2009 album, it happened to be “Master Heartache” from the aforementioned Sir Lord Baltimore LP, and on Thy Kingdom Scum, it’s the bluesy “One Blind Mice,” a single from Quartermass that’s been included on reissues of their 1970 self-titled debut. Both covers are even placed the same, as the fifth of the total seven tracks — track five is also a cover on 2001′s Masters of Brutality and 2004′s The Second Coming. And of course the band’s long-running adherence to serial killer-worship and raw, Sabbath-derived heavy doom rock remains at the core of what they do. Like no one else on the planet, Church of Misery are able to make familiar riffs sound new again, and Thy Kingdom Scum continues that tradition. True to its predecessor and everything the band has done up to this point, these songs offer unhinged bombast propelled by druggy grooves that reflect the madness and psychopathy their lyrics convey. As ever, each song is about a serial killer. As ever, bassist Tatsu Mikami resides at the center of the songwriting. As ever, they are among the best in the world at what they do.

Thy Kingdom Scum shares a number of similarities on a number of levels with Church of Misery‘s last effort — which along with sundry fest appearances throughout Europe and the US and extensive touring in both territories, helped establish them as one of the heavy underground’s most potent acts — but even more pivotal to its ultimate success are the differences between the two. The methodology behind their craft is largely the same, Mikami feels no apparent need to deviate and at this point, Church of Misery have turned their obsessions into their aesthetic, but the personnel involved is different. Guitarist Ikuma Kawabe has come aboard as a first-timer, and vocalist Hideki Fukasawa returns from Houses of the Unholy, but has been in and out of the band along the way, while Mikami – appropriate enough for the bassist — is the anchor as the only remaining founding member and drummer Junji Narita marks the 13th year of his tenure. Mikami‘s songwriting is also more hammered out on Thy Kingdom Scum, and some of the elements that made cuts last time around like “Shotgun Boogie (James Oliver Huberty),” “Blood Sucking Freak (Richard Trenton Chase)” and “Born to Raise Hell (Richard Speck)” so memorable find further development and realization within “Lambs to the Slaughter (Ian Brady/Myra Hindley),” “Bother Bishop (Gary Heidnik)” and “Düsseldorf Monster (Peter Kürten),” as well as the mostly instrumental opener “B.T.K. (Dennis Rader),” which makes an immediate chorus of its riff and relies on samples to carry across vocal ideas. Not an unfamiliar tactic either for Church of Misery.

While the penchant for gruesomeness has only seemed to add to the band’s charm over the years, they’ve had to get fairly obscure in their source material. Easy enough to look up who Dannis Andrew Nilsen is (the British Jeffrey Dahmer) and what he did (killed people and ate them, duh), but I have to wonder at what point Church of Misery might just decide to go back to some of the mainstays of serial killerdom and shift their approach somewhat. They started out with the likes of John Wayne Gacy and Ed Kemper on 2001′s Master of Brutality, and to go from that to John Linley Frazier and Peter Kürten begs the question why they couldn’t just write a second song about Charles Manson. Hell, there’s an entire album’s worth of material there. Why not do a whole record about the Manson Family, or Ted Bundy? Some killers, with countless books written about them and studies done, are legends worthy of another look. I’m certainly not going to complain about the surprisingly strong hook to which “Brother Bishop (Gary Heidnik)” arrives when Fukasawa guts out the line, “We shall make a new world!” or Mikami‘s ultra-righteous Geezer Butler-ing in the same song, and I guess there’s an endless supply of killers to choose from — and at this point it seems unrealistic to ask Church of Misery to write a song about anything else – I just wonder at the need to spread the theme so thin. Would anyone get mad if Church of Misery did another song about Aileen Wuornos?

In that end, that has little to do with the thrust of the songs itself, which again, is in some ways the most accomplished of Church of Misery‘s career. Where earlier offerings like The Second Coming were unbalanced in the mix, Thy Kingdom Scum sounds both rough and crisp, so that as the band departs the freakout swirl that emerges in “Brother Bishop (Gary Heidnik)” for the slower groove of the early stretches in “Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilson)” — though they’ll get back there by the time the song is past fives minutes in and Fukasawa is issuing “I’m gonna fuck you/I’m gonna kill you” threats — the bombast holds no more sway than it’s meant to, and though I’d never accuse the band of being refined, there’s little doubt they have their process and their formula nailed down by this point, and as Thy Kingdom Scum relates to Houses of the Unholy, there’s no question it’s a formula worth reapplying. “Cranley Gardens (Dennis Andrew Nilsen)” (which also appeared on the 2008 EP, Dennis Nilsen) crashes and feedbacks into the Quartermass cover “One Blind Mice,” Mikami and Narita seeming to especially revel in the shuffle as Kawabe takes an echoing solo soon met by swirls of wah bass en route to the thicker fuzz of “All Hallow’s Eve (John Linley Frazier).” The penultimate groover on Thy Kingdom Scum stops short initially where one expects a landmark chorus, but the second time through, Fukasawa‘s shouts and screams provide enough catchiness to give the track its base, setting up more choice interplay between Mikami and Kawabe.

At 12:46, closer “Düsseldorf Monster (Peter Kürten)” is the longest track ever to appear on a Church of Misery full-length. Cuts upwards and past 10 minutes have shown up on the band’s slew of EPs and live albums, and the closing title-track to Master of Brutality was over 11, but by and large, the band has steered away from getting as expansive on their LPs as they do to finish out Thy Kingdom Scum. Kürten, whose mugshot also graces the album art, was dubbed the “Vampire of Düsseldorf” and is obviously significant to the band, otherwise wouldn’t get the treatment he does here, gracing the cover and longest song. Even the intro, which is a take on Sabbath‘s blues jam that starts “Wicked World” feels special. Maybe it has something to do with the reception the band has gotten in Europe that they’d close with a German killer, or maybe the jam just emerged in the studio and they decided to roll with it, but it makes a fitting end to Thy Kingdom Scum either way, devolving into a psych boogie that shows off Kawabe‘s fluidity and finally emerges into one of the album’s most satisfying instrumental sections. Just before 10 minutes in, there’s a slowdown started by Narita on the drums and the central riff reappears to lead “Düsseldorf Monster (Peter Kürten)” out on one final run through the chorus, underscoring the fact that although Church of Misery demand and get a lot of attention because of their serial killer thematic, there’s a consistency in their songwriting that proves to be the root of a lot of their appeal. Thy Kingdom Scum doesn’t do much to expand the band’s palette, but it doesn’t need to. “If it ain’t broke…” and all that. The band comes into Thy Kingdom Scum with arguably their most momentum ever, and since they deliver exactly what’s expected of them while also continuing to grow the process that’s resulted in those expectations, there’s nothing here to disappoint longtime fans or give newcomers a reason not to return for more of Church of Misery‘s particular brand of debauchery. - The Obelisk, http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2013/06/13/church-of-misery-thy-kingdom-scum-review/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:22 (seven years ago) link

Checking out the Portal, with Progenie Terrestre Pura to come (its description has me seeeeeriously excited). Portal is excellent. Maybe I should have voted huh :P but I can still discover loads of cool shit here

a solid one word retort congealed in the vaginal orifice you call (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:24 (seven years ago) link

Portal is great! Voted for that and for Stara Rzeka in the last batch of results.

tench and pike, scaup and snipe (NickB), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:31 (seven years ago) link

Early start today. Manilla Road headlined the Alehorn Of Power VII last year (was held later in the year than usual, November at Reggies -- next one should be back on schedule in summer and Slough Feg are coming so I hope some Midwest ILMers make it!) and they were so great. I hadn't been feeling that particular album previously, but after the show I checked out most of what I'd skipped since their 80s albums.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:34 (seven years ago) link

stara rzeka I already know & love, going on my main-poll ballot 4sho

a solid one word retort congealed in the vaginal orifice you call (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:36 (seven years ago) link

yeah dont want to finish too late when ilxors have gone home but dont wanna rush countdown either. I'd rather post it at a nice pace that suits me. Plus the earlier days no uk workers were around as I was starting at 5 to get the west coast americans

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:37 (seven years ago) link

38 Pinkish Black - Razed To The Ground , 358 Points, 9 Votes
#48 Stereogum

Just in time to provide the perfect soundtrack for those cold winter nights, Pinkish Black‘s sophomore album ‘Razed To The Ground‘ comes to us through a surprising new alliance with Century Media. Spawned from the ashes of the late, great Yeti, this follow up to the debut album from 2012 builds beautifully on the established characteristics of the duo’s sound and sees them soar higher and at the same time plunge, when necessary, into lower depths.

A duo comprising vintage synths and drums topped with the velvety, Morrison esque crooning of Daron Beck, Pinkish Black have that wonderful gift of having a sound that wears influences on its sleeve – think hints of the Doors, Christian Death, Goblin and perhaps even Tangerine Dream in places – but welds them together into an entirely individual identity. The minimal line up does nothing to prevent them creating a massive wall of dark, beautifully cosmic sound.

Atmosphere is key here but not at the expense of the songs. The pair have taken a mostly synthetic approach in instrumentation but produce results that are anything but the robotic, soulless sound you’d expect. Through rhythm and textures, this music is dripping with emotion – often melancholy or sadness as personified on the likes of ‘Astray Eyes’ or ‘Bad Dreamer’.

But it’s not all woe. Far from it. ‘She Left Him Red’, the opening track, is the sound of aliens landing and running amok, almost Zeuhl style in its jagged drumbeats and menacing synth attack.

And the track ‘Rise’, the second to last here, has in some ways been an absolute curse to me in trying to review this record for the simple reason I can’t get past it, I’ve had it on repeat for weeks.
It sums up the two sides of the band perfectly and blends them expertly – opening in an ominous but propulsive fashion with a cascade of rumbling drums and swirling keys over a dark, distorting sounding bassline. Beck’s expressive baritone adds drama in the verses and reaches its peak in the chorus. Unexpectedly then after this forward motion, the tempo drops into an almost funeral pace that has more in common with the average doom band. But rather than wallow in abject misery, the synths seem to expand, layering over one another and taking the song into a whole other, spacey direction. It’s like Neurosis trying to cover Eno & Kluster. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year and the perfect taste of what this band is all about. The Gothic and the Galactic meeting head on.

It feels like the closing ‘Loss Of Feeling Of Loss’ with its more luxurious pacing (it’s the longest track here) allows the band to let themselves get swept fully away by the tides their music creates around them, engulfing them, letting them slowly fade beneath the sonic mist. You should join them. It’s fine place to get lost. - The Sleeping Shaman, http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/p/pinkish-black-razed-to-the-ground-cd-lp-dd-2013/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 14:49 (seven years ago) link

Happy to see my non-metal friends make the top 40.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:22 (seven years ago) link

37 Inquisition - Obscure Verses For The Multiverse, 362 Points, 10 Votes


#5 Decibel, #3 Stereogum, #3 Pitchfork, #48 Terrorizer


When I was a very young child — before I had any interest in heavy metal or music in general, for that matter — I had a bad experience with peas. Didn’t like ‘em. Spat ‘em up. Refused to eat them again until much later in life. Of course I love them, now. This is not a unique story: our tastes change as we grow, mature, add new experiences to our lives, and expand our palates. That knowledge is so ubiquitous, actually, that people sometimes take it for granted.

Case in point: Inquisition. This Colombian black metal duo’s last album, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm, garnered rave reviews from many sectors of the metal underground, though admittedly not here. Like Cosmo, I didn’t like it. Spat it out. Didn’t want to listen again, until I remembered those peas. I’m glad I did, because Inquisition’s new album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse tastes good.

There’s been enough verbiage crafted about this record’s good qualities in the weeks since its promotional copies dropped to make any more pontificating moot. Suffice it to say that Inquisition have managed to land in the precise middle ground between ’80s prog-thrash and modern black metal. Guitarist/vocalist Dagon invests all of his hooks in guitar riffs, and employs some tasteful natural and artificial harmonics—guitar techniques one doesn’t hear so often in black metal. The song structures launch forward, then lurch to a halt, and occasionally kick into high gear once again. In a genre that struggles with dynamic songwriting, Inquisition specializes in stitching moments into movements.

Inquisition lose fans at first listen for one reason: Dagon’s voice. Even for an extreme metal singer, his intonation is abrasive. He’s kept his vocal style on Obscure Verses, but added a little bit of emotion, and a few deeper death growls. The remaining croaking blends in better with the mix, as opposed to bobbing on top of it. Those slight changes make the whole sound go down much smoother — sometimes there’s only a hair’s breadth between ‘aggravating’ and ‘tolerable.’

Dagon’s detractors often describe his voice as frog-like, but a more accurate description might be Abbath’s Cylon duplicate. In fairness, that’s a perfect fit for the subject matter. Dagon’s lyrics straddle the line between Satan and Carl Sagan. Inquisition’s blend of occult and science fiction elements, as well as focus on memorable guitar work, call me back to the first few times I spun Watain’s Sworn to the Dark.

Obscure Verses for the Multiverse prompted me to give Inquisition’s back catalog another shot. On return listens, I like what I hear, even if their newest entry is the best of the bunch. This band has acquired a loyal (and growing) fan base based on merit. I’m sure many of those fans were turned off at first glance, as I was.

Listen to Obscure Verses for the Multiverse. Then, listen to something else by an artist you disliked before. Second chances come with rewards. - Joseph Schafer, Invisible Oranges, http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/10/inquisition-obscure-verses-for-the-multiverse/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:23 (seven years ago) link

dunno this

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:28 (seven years ago) link

The music is great, but I'm never gonna warm to the toad vocals.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:29 (seven years ago) link

36. Earthless - From The Ages, 368 Points, 11 Votes, One #1

#8 Obelisk readers

From the Ages is the first studio recording from instrumental power trio Earthless since 2007’s Rhythms From a Cosmic Sky. Though the silence may have been deafening for their small but devoted cadre of fans, the wait was worth every moment. From the Ages finds Earthless at their most concentrated, and that distillation of psychedelic rock, stoner metal, and electric blues is a heady brew in the hands of Messrs. Rubalcaba, Eginton and Mitchell.

What makes this such a powerful mix—and what separates Earthless from other stoner rock bands with a tendency to go on (and on and on)—is that rarely, if ever, do they sound like a band merely jamming. Earthless is about improvisation, more akin to jazz than the noodling stoners that follow in the patchouli-drenched wake of jam band “explorations.” Listen closely to opening track “Violence of the Red Sea”, and hear the band state a theme, build a solo from it, and then react to the impact of the solo upon that initial form. This is not “Blues in A”, but a constructed form given room to breathe because of the near telepathic connections between the players.

Isaiah Mitchell is the obvious first attraction. His guitar playing is a constant surprise, soaring, diving, streaking through the sky like a hawk playing in the updrafts along the face of a cliff. But Mitchell isn’t untethered; listen closely, as time and again drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton pull Mitchell out of a groundward spiral with a lift of cymbals or a rising bass line that meets Mitchell and buoys him upward. Or conversely, an insistent kick and snare line tugs downward when the guitarist seems ready to break free of gravity’s pull, the bass joining in to drag Mitchell back, the Stratocaster in his hands kicking and screaming. Earthless is like a stunt kite, and though you may be watching the guitarist and his acrobatic flights of fancy, it is the steady hands at the base that control the motion.

Even when the band dials things back, as on the nearly meditative, nearly OM-like “Equus October”, Earthless levitates in contemplation, unable to truly ground itself. Eginton’s soft, supple playing is a through line for the conversation of drums and guitar, and as those two instruments ramp, chatter, and rise in pitch and forcefulness the bass holds things neat and strong. His bass never controls that conversation, but like a good moderator he keeps it from turning into a screaming match.
All of this structure, connection, and conversational improvisation is what makes the title track work despite its more-than-30-minutes run time. “From the Ages”, first released on 2008’s Live at Roadburn, is where one measures one’s ability to handle what Earthless dish out. If “Equus October” was a pint, and “Violence of the Red Sea” and “Uluru Rock” fifths, then “From the Ages” is a gallon of the distilled spirit of the band.

In the five years since that Roadburn performance, Earthless have grown in restraint. While the live recording is a full-on burner, a nearly relentless charge from the entire band, here the themes are allowed time to evolve and reach a sense of resolution. It’s never a chore to listen to, and there are moments of pure delight greater than anywhere else on the record. But chore or no, it wears. It’s tiring to focus on their playing for such a long spell, even though that focus brings many rewards. For example, listen to the hypnotic, Arabic loops of bass, drum and restrained guitar that bubble up naturally out of the dense fug of aggressive riffs around the 13-minute mark. The slow, almost languorous build out of that passage, and the control of tension Earthless exhibit, is masterful. It isn’t the flashiest section, but the conversation these musicians are having is worth that close attention. But again, not everyone has the tolerance to drink in such a potent concoction.

Those who make it to the end, and who choose to listen again and again, will find a new Earthless; a band that has grown through side projects and geographic separation, yet returned with greater chemistry, intuitiveness, and understanding. From the Ages is not just the latest album from this long running band. It’s their best. - Erik Highter, Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/176139-earthless-from-the-ages/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:39 (seven years ago) link

Boy, I totally slept on that Inquisition record. I'm going to correct that (and probably wish I could go back in time and edit my ballot!).

BlackIronPrison, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:42 (seven years ago) link

Earthless is too low. My #1 vote.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:45 (seven years ago) link

Oh, just noticed what review you used. Cheeky.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:46 (seven years ago) link

I feel like "pummeling" is the mot juste for the Inquisition

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:46 (seven years ago) link

I've been following, enjoying (esp the covers!), could not vote but i want to say that this is otm re earthless, which is so great

Earthless is about improvisation, more akin to jazz than the noodling stoners that follow in the patchouli-drenched wake of jam band “explorations.” Listen closely to opening track “Violence of the Red Sea”, and hear the band state a theme, build a solo from it, and then react to the impact of the solo upon that initial form. This is not “Blues in A”, but a constructed form given room to breathe because of the near telepathic connections between the players.

mambo jumbo (La Lechera), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:57 (seven years ago) link

the blurbs are collated by fastnbulbous

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:59 (seven years ago) link

Mwa ha. If it weren't for AG's FB I wouldn't have even known that was you. I got to see Isaiah Mitchell do a cool solo acoustic set at Aquarius Records when I was in the area in October, but have not yet seen Earthless live.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 15:59 (seven years ago) link

Sorry if I don't always pick the best reviews, was just kind of rotating between different sources. Though EZ's review was certainly one of the best.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:03 (seven years ago) link


EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:06 (seven years ago) link

35 Anciients - Heart Of Oak, 370 Points, 11 Votes

#28 Decibel, #19 MetalSucks writers


Many people will argue that there are two types of bands: those that strive to perfect a previously established sound, or those that push for a completely new sound altogether. However nowadays it’s becoming increasingly easy (and lazy) for a band to claim to attempt both of these in one swing by simply calling themselves “progressive”. Modern progressive music is sort of an oxymoron, as it’s a genre that encourages a lack of genres. Bands tend to get slapped with this label by their producers when the reality is, they are just stereotypes of another band. We’ve all heard the Opeth clones and the Porcupine Tree wannabes, so how can we call these guys and their followers progressive if they are clearly forming a niche that can be replicated?

Whether or not Anciients have asked themselves this during recording isn’t really important. What is important is how they managed to perfect this stale and rehashed “prog” sound. What do I mean by this? Well what the Anciients have done here is nothing short of excellent. They have tried to do what many bands do all the time: blend a multitude of sounds to create a juxtaposed mess of music to garner a progressive label. This time, however, they have done it right. There is rarely a dull moment on this release and I’m not afraid to make that claim. Listening through front to back is pure pleasure and never a chore. Throughout it are elements of soft rock and extreme metal, and everything in between the spectrum. What separates Heart of Oak from every other band that has tried this before is how every riff, drum beat, bass line and vocal melody belong here. It sounds like they represent the perfect ambassador for whatever genre they may seem to be playing in at that moment. Unlike a lot of other “prog” releases, Heart of Oak has filtered out of any music that should not be there. Nothing sounds strained or like a missed attempt for the sake of being progressive. In layman’s terms, there are seldom, if any, forced passages on this.

The softer moments are great and can easily hold their own if alone on the album. Instead, they act as silver linings to the already astonishingly powerful metal-driven moments that make up the meat of the record. These heavier sections are incredible to say the least. The bone-crushing chugs twist around pounding double bass until they are rocketed into the next black metal riff of pure insanity. The rhythms are catchy and the solos are great. What is most surprising is how good it sounds on the first listen, even with the complexity kicked into full gear.

Heart of Oak is one of those albums that is so well done, it makes you wonder why other bands can’t do something like it more often. Then again, that would just become fuel to the vicious progressive paradox that has plagued many before. Other acts should still, however, take this release as proof that it is possible to push the envelope on what defines progression without having to take a blind leap of faith into uncharted territory. - TheSpaceMan, Sputnik Music, http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/56611/Anciients-Heart-Of-Oak/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:11 (seven years ago) link

my mate made me listen to the new Earthless a few days ago while we were hammered and it sounded really good, as I guess you'd expect it to

he's got a degree in economics, maths, physics and ebonics (DJ Mencap), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:14 (seven years ago) link

I was surprised how many middling reviews there are of this album. Lots of complaints about influences, though the fact that they range from Opeth to High On Fire, Mastodon, Baroness and more, and no one seems to agree which is dominant is a good sign. I think it's a great album and the band has loads more potential.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:15 (seven years ago) link

34 Kvelertak - Meir, 375 Points, 12 Votes

#4 Revolver, #2 SPIN, #9 Pop Matters, #22 Stereogum, #19 Obelisk readers, #12 Stoner HiVe, #18 Metal Hammer, #37 Terrorizer

The Needle Drop review - http://youtu.be/6KelOf9JfaY

On their second album Meir (simply, "More"), Stavanger six-piece Kvelertak haven't exactly refined the kitchen sink formula that made their eponymous 2010 debut one of the most welcome surprises of recent years; rather, they've bottled it, destroyed the recipe and knocked back gallons of the stuff like Vikings at a post-pillage feast. The Norse wild-men have thrown together a whole bunch of influences - some heavy, some not so much - that really shouldn't gel as well as they end up doing here and magically turned them into brain-meltingly brilliant hard rock party anthems.

There are probably a dozen metal sub-genres represented in some capacity over the course of Meir's fifty minutes, and whilst you might expect black metal and stoner rock, or folk metal and hardcore punk to coexist about as happily as hungry dogs squabbling over a dropped steak sandwich, they actually end up playing very nicely together. All metallic life is here, from Slayer to GNR to Mastodon to Converge (whose guitarist Kurt Ballou produces), but there are also nods to more mainstream heavy rockers, both past (Thin Lizzy, Aerosmith, Meat Loaf) and present (Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age), Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, Slade and melodic pop-punks NOFX, to name but a few. On paper it's a train wreck, a mess of contrasting ideas and opposing ideologies, but these guys make it work, belting out hoarse-throated Cookie Monster vocals and terrace-style group chants over three-part guitar harmonies, thrashy solos and a rhythm section that turns on a dime from grindcore blast beats to glam rock stomp and back again.

This is a band that seem genuinely unconcerned with stylistic boundaries, who would no doubt be just as happy opening for Dave Grohl's Sound City project as they would touring with more obvious contemporaries like Torche or Kylesa; what’s more, you can be sure they would end up converting every crowd into a rabid, rapturous mass of wild-eyed believers.
So, will Meir make Kvelertak one of the biggest metal bands on the planet? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Although it lacks the element of surprise that boosted the debut's stock, Meir is a better, stronger, more accessible record overall; however, while kudos is due to new paymasters Roadrunner for allowing the band to use the same producer and even the same cover artist (Baroness' John Baizley) as before, they might have missed a trick by not insisting they throw a few choruses into the mix for non-Scandinavian fans to scream along to. Are American frat-boys really going to flock to download an album by a band whose name they can't pronounce, whose lyrics they can't understand and whose artwork suggests some kind of Game Of Thrones-fantasy over the English-speaking likes of Darkthrone or close spiritual cousins Turbonegro? Unlikely, but will Kvelertak give a flying fart? Certainly not, and neither should we: it doesn't matter one bit whether they're singing about burning bridges or finding trolls under them, and if you’re going to choose a moniker that doubles up as a battle cry (it translates as “chokehold”), then who can blame them for going full Motorhead and recording a band anthem with the same name?

Besides, coming from a country where heavy metal is basically the music of the gods, Kvelertak are working for a higher power than the global marketplace, and as long as they keep coming up with this awesome AC/DC-meets-Kiss-meets-Metallica racket, with music that feels this vital, then I’d no sooner argue with them than I would with Odin himself. Nobody could question the fact that these guys mean it with every fibre of their being, and Meir is music to make Norway proud; a new majestic fanfare to welcome hog-riding warriors into Valhalla. - Michael Dix, The Quietus, http://thequietus.com/articles/11778-kvelertak-meir-review

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:25 (seven years ago) link

that album is great, voted for it in the main poll

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:25 (seven years ago) link

1st album everyone raved about but didnt seem to see much this time round despite positive reviews.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:32 (seven years ago) link

I got to see them play this year and realized how pointless the records are in comparison. They absolutely floored me live, and this album in particular seemed limp when I tried to listen to it afterwards.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:37 (seven years ago) link

33 Bardo Pond - Peace On Venus, 377 Points, 12 Votes



#50 Rock-A-Rolla

A shambolic, distortion-heavy masterpiecce

What a great record this is. Philadelphia’s Bardo Pond bring a molten mix of heavily distorted guitars and sludgy bass, swirl it with some tremulous, evocative vocals courtesy of frontwoman Isobel Sollenberger, then throw in a few bits of flute or violin for extra ambience and shake it all together. Tempos tend to be leaden, but this is far from doom metal—or any kind of metal. Bardo Pond comes off more like a somnambulant folk rock on acid, with the volume turned to 11 and the whole band stoned on cough syrup. It’s loud and awesome and unlike anything else you’re likely to hear this year, but avoid listening to it while operating heavy machinery, or you’re likely to wind up in a ditch somewhere.

Opening track “Kali Yuga Blues” features a fuzzy guitar line sounding something like Crazy Horse at its overdriven best, but without the forward-charging tempo that Neil Young’s band generally brings to the table. The rhythm shuffles forward, breaks off, hesitates, starts again, takes a detour for a while… all while Sollenberger’s wistful croon meanders in and out of the mix, making vague promises that “I think it’s gonna be different this time.” I have no idea what this song is about, and it really doesn’t matter: the band and vocalist gel perfectly, and the fact that the tune evokes almost uncontrollable waves of sadness is a testament to the singer’s abilities to make a great deal out of very little. At seven-and-a-half minutes, there’s plenty of room for the song to breathe and flow and run its course. When the flutes roll in at around the five-minute mark, contrasting with and complementing the insect-buzz guitar leads, it’s both surprising and utterly fitting. The whole thing is one of the best tunes of the year.
Happily, brilliant as this opening is, the rest of the album is able to hold its own, and a good thing too: with only five tracks ranging from five to 11 minutes, there’s no room for filler. “Taste” and “Fir” both expand on the template set by the opening track, but an even bigger standout is “Chance”. The penultimate tune here, “Chance” is noticeable for its acoustic guitar opening on an album which is otherwise unapologetically plugged in from start to finish, as well as its lack of vocals. As it happens, that acoustic picking is soon subsumed under layers of other sounds, including those Crazy Horse-ish guitars and a wistful flute air, but so engaging is the instrumental work that a listener might not even notice the lack of vocals the first few times around.

This is followed by the album’s final track, another 10-minute-plus number called “Before the Moon”, which brings the album full circle: processed vocals (featuring, I think, tape loops or reverse echo or something of the sort) and lots of straightforward, noisy guitar jamming over a tempo that always sounds on the verge of collapsing under its own weight. If the walking dead could dance, this is the music they would dance to.

Anyone interested in the future of rock and roll—or, hell, its present—should run out right now and listen to this album. People have been proclaiming the death of rock for quite some time, including in the pages of this very magazine, but Bardo Pond jams a joyous middle finger at such gloomy assertions. Rock and roll isn’t dead; it’s just morphing into something less familiar, something darker and more beautiful and strange. - David Maine, Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/176814-bardo-pond-peace-on-venus/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:47 (seven years ago) link

today feels like rowlf day so far and he's not even here to comment

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:48 (seven years ago) link

Kvelertak is an odd one, I was excited for it, enjoyed it a lot when it arrived, but enthusiasm just steadily declined as the year went on though I voted for it. Giving it a re-listen now it seems like maybe just a bit too much of it is in the same midtempo groove with sort of monotonous shouty vocals over the top.

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 16:54 (seven years ago) link

No chat on the Bardo Pond? Ok...

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:08 (seven years ago) link

32 Föllakzoid - II, 383 Points, 10 Votes



The persistence of krautrock's motorik rhythm into the twenty-first century – it's probably the only beat originating in rock not to have become dated – is matched only by the variety of uses that have been found for it. One way of thinking about the disparity of settings which have accommodated its insistent, mid-paced 4/4 is to consider how it can express both the experience of automated late-industrial modernity and atavistic impulses towards the cosmic and transcendental. For every musician who has found that Neu, Can and Kraftwerk established a means of representing the Ballardian jouissance stimulated by accelerating global homogenisation, there has been another who has manipulated their serene surge to create expansive, seemingly limitless sound-worlds.

Early krautrock evoked a geography of factory and motorway, of Corbusian glass and concrete, but artists such as Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mark Lanegan and even early Sonic Youth have retooled its mirage of physical momentum for the desert. Chilean rockers Föllakzoid's self-titled first album made a few gestures towards Dusseldorf while retaining many of the conventions of more unreconstructed stoner metal, but II, their second record, represents an ambitious attempt to fully synthesise weighty boulder-and-cactus riffing with extreme repetition. The result is something which, first of all, sounds absolutely gargantuan – outside drone metal, it's hard to think of many recent guitar albums which have created such a sense of space beyond Shrinebuilder's eponymous debut and Skull Defekts' Peer Amid. II's second immediately impressive quality is its absolute conviction in repetition: by the closing track, 'Pulsar', Föllakzoid are almost trespassing upon the territory of minimal techno, where the only alterations are hairline shifts in intensity.

The ability to make music which balances the emphatic and the exquisite - merging unrepentant metallic force with the exquisite detailing of minimalism - is what marks this group out from other latter-day krautrock aficionados. Generally, bands are either too respectful of the template – consider some of Primal Scream and Death In Vegas's homage-pastiches – or too glib in their employment of it. By contrast, II comes across as the product of Neu! fans who can take exactly what they need from their heroes without suffocating their own exploratory impulses. 'Trees' is probably the album's highlight, thumping along the fraught boundary between control and disarray. At any given moment, it threatens to collapse into unctuous jamming, but a grim sense of purpose holds it all together, its texturised vocals and bells mainlined into the propulsive rhythmic vein. Opening track '9' is similarly structured, adding a whip-like lick as a way of urging momentum and wrapping a horizonless coda in washes of reverb and droning synth.

At its best, and the quality rarely drops here, II is the kind of record which can serve in its own right as a rebuke to pallid acoustic singer-songwritery and desireless indie pop. It has the spirited sonic tactility, the speaker-crushing heaviness of Fu Manchu or Melvins, but finds ways of commandeering these strengths for the manic futurology of krautrock. It will be interesting to see if, and how, Föllakzoid come off the autobahn next time around, but their current approach is serving them pretty well. - Joe Kennedy, The Quietus, http://thequietus.com/articles/13108-follakzoid-ii-review

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:13 (seven years ago) link

need to send out the drugsamoneybatsignal

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:22 (seven years ago) link

31 Satan - Life Sentence, 386 Points, 11 Votes


#46 Metal Hammer, #25 Terrorizer, #23 Stereogum

Sorry metal devotees, it appears as if all the extremes have long been met. No one can get any faster, heavier, louder, doomier, thrashier, deadlier, darker, grosser, deathier, eviller, drunker, higher, more violent, more bearded, more obscure, more armored, more grindy, more porny, more hardcore, or more weird during an age when people don't even blink an eye when a band member walks out on stage wearing a dusty grandfather clock over his head. We've even seen bands that feature dogs and birds as vocalists, for Hell's sake. Maybe we'll all live to see a day when a band actually does invent a true diesel-powered guitar, but honestly, does it even matter that much anymore? Aren't we all fully desensitized at this point?

Just be heavy, be fast, or be whatever, and leave the pursuit of extremes to the past when such a thing carried a lot more weight.

That's really one of the huge benefits of being able to say you were alive and a part of the scene that managed to rankle to life at the onset of the 80s: witnessing first hand the hairtrigger shifts to new extremes that countless bands employed in hopes of challenging boundaries when boundaries were still plainly visible.

People today often laugh at the thought of literally getting spooked by an album, but by God, reading that infernal "We're possessed by all that is evil…" quote on the back of Welcome to Hell in '81 towered in its ability to make a kid feel a bit dangerous for having balls big enough to sneak it up to their room. Times were simpler, and you had to be louder, faster and more and more dramatic if you wanted to catch the attention of labels, magazines and any general ripper-at-large, particularly if your chops weren't quite up to snuff yet.

Clearly, most eyes and ears were pinned to the UK in the very early part of the decade, thanks to consistently durable output from New Wave prime movers such as Maiden, Priest, Saxon, Tygers of Pan Tang, et al, but things really started to kick up a notch by the time '83 rolled around and bands focused an increased attention toward strengthening speed, which is precisely where Newcastle's Satan entered the picture.

In a world that was quickly becoming infiltrated by an increased division of humdrum NWOBHM releases that attempted to ride the coat-tails of coat-tails, Satan delivered real chops to the table. And despite sporting the most damnable moniker possible (with a Christian cross "T"? WTF?), the band's lyrics and overall aesthetic had absolutely zilch to do with anything even remotely occult. But what they lacked in horrific hellfire wickedness, Satan more than made up for by helping to establish the essential building blocks for the quickly approaching melodic speed metal movement:

But just to give you an idea of how quickly things were moving back then, Kill 'em All, Melissa and Show No Mercy all dropped shortly after Court in the Act's release in June of '83, and the following short-list of bands also managed to crop up throughout that very same year: Bathory, Death, Fates Warning, Helloween, Master, Mayhem, Megadeth, Morbid Angel, Possessed and Sacrifice.

Pants were titanically shat back in '83.

Satan continued to kick out material throughout the 80s -- under their original moniker, and via the slightly shifted line-ups of Blind Fury and Pariah -- but bassist Graeme English and guitarist Steve Ramsey eventually bolted to form Skyclad with the help of Sabbat (UK) frontman, Martin Walkyier in 1990.

It wasn't until 2004's Wacken Festival that the band eventually reunited under the original Court in the Act line-up and decided to test the waters and see if anything was left in the tank in terms of brand new material.

Well hello there, Life Sentence.

There's clearly been no shortage of bands reuniting in hopes of re-riding this long wave of 80s metal appreciation we're currently enjoying. New bands continue to crop up to pay precise homage, and I recently counted a staggering FIFTEEN old-school NWOBHM bands outside of Saxon, Priest and Maiden that are still listed as 'active' in 2013. Last year delivered the first Angel Witch album in 27 years, and 2011 dropped the grand return of Hell with Human Remains, but I'd have to concede that Life Sentence outshines most everyone in terms of delivering a wholly enjoyable come-back album from start to finish.

First of all, feel free to judge this book by its cover. Is there any question that Eliran Kantor is one of the top three album artists in metal today?

Secondly, a quick tip of the hat is owed to a beautifully balanced production that gives equal attention to each member at nearly any given moment throughout these tunes. Ramsey and English have spent the better part of the last 20+ years further honing their fretting skills through Skyclad, but the rest of the crew has clearly been doing something to maintain this sort of skill level, and Dario Mollo's mix does a wonderful job of capturing all the raw, vital energy that intesifies the whole album.

By today's standards, Life Sentence stands far enough away from what most of our readers would consider extreme, it ain't even funny. But as I attempted to point out in that first paragraph many moons ago, experimenting with extremes holds a lot less significance during an age when you've got nuttiness such as a 107.3 The Wave soft rock band fronted by a Satanic pontiff competing for ears. Life Sentence doesn't need to challenge new grounds in order to garner attention because it's a superlative example of how fun, melodic, classic heavy metal is intended to sound; there's simply no need for exaggerated experimentation.

The album is split fairly evenly between songs that maintain a classic NWOBHM sound and ones that jack up the aggression/speed levels. Openers "Time to Die" and "Twenty Twenty Five", along with slightly darker offerings such as "Incantations" and "Personal Demons" gallop at a mid-paced clip and emphasize bright melody through impeccable soloing and infectious vocal hooks, while "Cenotaph", "Siege Mentality", "Testimony" and the superb title track all kick up the adrenaline just enough to draw blood and remind folks exactly why Satan was considered a key architect in the speed metal realm.

During a time when metal continues to stack limp reunions and feeble re-hashers up to the rafters, it's infinitely rewarding to come across a rekindling that sounds as if it was truly meant to be. Life Sentence finds Satan picking up squarely where they left off some 25+ years ago, and whether or not that equates to a necessary purchase for you depends entirely on what kind of a role dynamic, melodic and considerably satisfying old-school metal plays in your life. If that sounds great, get ready for one of 2013's top releases.

Welcome back, gents. - Michael Wuensch, Last Rites

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:43 (seven years ago) link

not exactly an original bandname

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:53 (seven years ago) link

Such a great record.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:56 (seven years ago) link

Too low for Life Sentence - what a fun rekkid. I love the Bardo Pond and am totally cool with voting for it and it placing in a 'Metal' poll. Yntra release pointed this direction and they've always jammed hard.

BlackIronPrison, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:57 (seven years ago) link

Just got out of a long meeting. Wow, two pure psych albums in a row. May be a result of the involvement of our peeps in Rolling Stoner/Psych/Freak/Doom/Sludge/Retro/Drone/Space Thread 2014: These Start at 11. I'd expected more stoner/doom like Brimstone Coven, Mountain Witch, Wounded Giant and Black Capricorn to be represented. I wouldn't even consider the Bardo Pond and Föllakzoid particularly heavy, but they are certainly great albums.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:01 (seven years ago) link

30. Jute Gyte - Discontinuities, 393 Points, 10 Votes

http://jutegyte.bandcamp.com/ (Name Your Price!)

The wildly outlandish Jute Gyte is an unquestionably unique musical project. With the occasional tremolo picked riffs and glass shards in the throat vocals, it is obvious that Jute Gyte has taken some cues from black metal. However, outside of these superficial aspects of “Discontinuities” there is no sense in trying to think of the album in terms of existing metal sub-genres. It is best to think of the project as extremely experimental. Jute Gyte takes melodies that are so unusual that they almost sound like accidents and layers them with seamless and oddly natural asymmetry. Think of how a flounder twists and flattens as it ages. The end result of Jute Gyte’s twisting asymmetry is alienating yet spectacular, while “Discontinuities” has its flaws, the album clearly illustrates how Jute Gyte is absolutely unforgettable.

Experimentation permeates every moment of “Discontinuities” in ways that are readily apparent yet deep seated. Dissonant waves of jangling jump out one after another, starkly assuring the listener that the full yet unfamiliar sounds will persist, instead of being used to contrast or highlight soothing melodies. Even the calmer and relatively sedate sections of music are still unsettling and weird. This may not sound like anything new on paper, but the use of a 24-tone guitar means that the album uses notes that typically are not used in Western music. To oversimplify, normally on a guitar you can play 12 different notes but this album uses a guitar that allows for 24.

Ultimately, this is just another tool that Jute Gyte uses to create uncomfortable soundscapes. Instead of making everything sound out of tune, the dizzying flurries of notes are jarring, but deliberate. This approach keeps the experimentation from sounding either haphazard or manufactured, and with such an important change to the guitar this success is vital. As past albums have shown, Jute Gyte does not need a 24-tone guitar to make off-kilter music. At its heart, “Discontinuities” is unusual because the overall approach to composition and melody immerse the listener into an alien world. So while Jute Gyte utilizes many tools like a 24-tone guitar or polyrhythms, which do influence the composition, the central focus is still on the music rather than how it was put together.

Despite the overwhelmingly dissonant nature of the music, the mood isn’t nearly as abrasive as one would expect. Outside of the shrieking violence in the vocals, there is a peculiar and even paradoxical calmness in the tone that supersedes the frenzied parts that make up the album. Most of the time this feels like a stalwart sense of direction that guides the notes along the way through all of the chaos and is perfected at the end of “The Haunting Sense...” This is also a key part of how enveloping waves of clashing notes can be. Infrequently however, this quasi-calmness sounds like the cold emotionless side effect of contrived musical ideas. Fortunately, “Discontinuities” mostly maintains a strong direction through the very same technique that helps create some of this paradox of calm chaos. This technique is the careful layering of melodies on top of one another to bury you deep in dissonance.

The typical path in music is to have many parts acting mostly together, as a flock of birds to create a whole, Jute Gyte instead favors more independent parts that coalesce to create a coherent whole. As a key part of this, melodies do not clearly stop and start together. Picture how the molecules of air inside of a jar are always moving around, yet that air never separates into chunks of its component elements. This speaks to the calmness in Jute Gyte’s chaos, as one melody drifts off into bizarre territory another melody is still pulsing or repeating. Each part is moving but the mix as a whole remains consistent. Look to how the persistent drums, plodding rhythm, and bass smooth out the angular melodies in “Supreme Fictions....” and “Acedia.” This is how there is such a sense of both change and stability and it makes the alienation fantastically alluring by forging its own sense of logic and structure.

Fleshed out and detailed with synths and a warm sinuous bass, “Discontinuities” also relies on them to round out the abrasive vocals and angular approach to the guitar and drums. The synthesizer in particular immediately drapes other instruments in its emotional color as when the eerie and light chords of “The Failure of Transmutation” sneak into the mix. Flourishes like this serve to keep the rough and jangling parts within the realm of the unsettling rather than creating more of a harsh atmosphere. Contrary to this, the drums feel bare and mathematical, yet follow the overall emotional intensity of the music enough to make their dryness fade away as an issue.

While the large majority of the focus is on the composition rather than underlying technique, there are times where the album fails on this point. Sometimes the album is overbearingly alienating when the sense of calmness stops being unsettling and starts getting tiresome. Undue repetition is the culprit here, but it is a repetition of patterns rather than particular riffs or notes. The more structural example of this is in “Romanticism Is Ultimately Fatal” where the intro’s predictably declining melody repeats and then later gives way to a chugging riff that similarly rises without going anywhere. Sounding like the musical equivalent of a staircase drawn by M. C. Escher, these parts and the title track “Discontinuities” unfortunately come across more like sketches practicing with a new tool (a 24-tone guitar) than complete pictures. Still, both songs are strong. “Romanticism....” has perhaps the most eerie melody of the album, which is beautifully reinforced by electronic flittering. The minimal instrumentation on “Discontinuities” serves as useful break from the chaotic music, even if it is far too long and repetitive. There, the quiet screaming noises that bookend the song are also an excellent and subtle detail.

With this radical level of experimentation, the degree to which the album feels natural rather than manufactured is impressive. Perhaps it is unsurprising then that Jute Gyte is a one man band, the work of Adam Kalmbach whose experimental tendencies have gone untempered by the compromises that often happen with collaborations. “Discontinuities” is daunting because of its strangeness, its hour long length, and a certain kind of majesty that isn’t immediately obvious or instantly rewarding. Still, the album has lasting power far beyond whatever novelty it provides. Although supremely strange, it is more importantly a great album because of how the immersive layering makes such an alienating experience one that is absolutely worth repeating.

Jute Gyte's expansive discography is available to download (and as far as I know every release is free) or purchase a physical copy of here: http://jutegyte.bandcamp.com/ - The Oak Conclave, http://theoakconclave.blogspot.com/2013/03/jute-gyte-discontinuities.html

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:05 (seven years ago) link

Some of my friends are super obsessed with that satan album, which prompted me to revisit it and realize that they are absolutely right and it's goddamn awesome.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:08 (seven years ago) link

I'm glad that Satan album showed up because I was beginning to have no idea what's going on in this poll.

Devilock, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:13 (seven years ago) link

And while Satan's Court in the Act (1983) is certainly an important album, I think the new one is better!

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:16 (seven years ago) link

Finding a super hi res version of that Jute Gyte cover to determine if he photoshopped himself into the mirror has proven disappointing.

Devilock, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:18 (seven years ago) link

29 Moss - Horrible Night, 401 Points, 11 Votes



It’s been five long years since Southampton, UK, doomers Moss debuted on Rise Above Records with their sophomore album, Sub Templum, and though the band issued a couple EPs and the Never Say Live live album since that release, they’ve been silent since 2010 and emerge now with a new outlook on the full-length Horrible Night. Still aligned to Rise Above, the trio of Olly Pearson (vocals), Dominic Finbow (guitar) and Chris Chantler (drums) have shifted away from the deathly influences that typified their many earlier works in favor of cleaner singing and a darkly psychedelic, cultish sprawl. Where Sub Templum was comprised of four tracks totaling nearly 74 minutes, Horrible Night is more efficient on the whole, clocking in at just over 54 with six tracks, none of which go much past 11. That’s quite a change from songs like “Gate III: Devils from the Outer Dark,” which closed the prior outing at an insurmountable 35:31, but the bigger shift is in Moss‘ actual aesthetic, which is more atmospheric than in the past and echoing its abysmal feel rather than bludgeoning with volume. In some ways, Horrible Night has more in common with latter-day Electric Wizard than did Sub Templum, which was produced by that band’s vocalist, Jus Oborn, but Moss show comparatively little of the same psychotic pop fascination. Songs here like “Dark Lady” and opener “Horrible Nights” have choruses that are memorable and engaging as much as this kind of feedback-drenched morass can be or wants to be, but they’re never rushing to get to them. Or to anywhere else, for that matter.

That’s one factor that Moss have kept consistent with their prior output — they are slow. Moss take ultra-thick plod and let it ride for however long they feel it needs to, and while one could easily consider Horrible Night an overall more manageable or accessible record than its predecessor, it’s hardly a comfortable listen. Weary, sluggish groove pervades the verse of “Horrible Nights” (note the ‘S’ at the end, where the title of the album is singular) as Pearson tops Finbow‘s guitar with Sabbathian lines, buried deep but still cutting through the mix, caked in reverb. I suppose compared to some of what Moss has done, this is fast, but put to the scale of most anything else, its lurching still qualifies as extreme — and it’s also probably the most accessible moment of the record — even as it moves into wailing guitar leads and malevolent screams in the second half, feedback setting a bed for chaos reminiscent of early The Wounded Kings at their bleakest or the first Cough full-length. If I’m comparing Moss, who’ve been around for over a decade, to bands getting their start, it’s because they essentially are. Horrible Night covers new ground for them, and even if on paper, their latest work shares elements they’ve used in the past, the reality of the situation makes for a much, much different listen, “Horrible Nights” even going so far as to return to its verse at the end, giving the second half’s chaos a sense of purpose and symmetry as the fadeout leads to the beginning of “The Bleeding Years,” even slower and more ill-meaning.

In terms of its verse, “The Bleeding Years” is less distinct — less catchy, relatively speaking — than “Horrible Nights” or “Dark Lady,” which follows, but at 7:05, it’s the shortest of the songs with vocals, and its largesse of riff covers a lot of ground. Chantler‘s drums hold together the meandering progression well, and as much as the first track telegraphed the new methodology of the band, the second shows Moss are still challenging the listener in their own way. “Dark Lady” — the longest cut at 11:04 — takes hold following a jarring outro guitar deconstruction, the two songs flowing one right into the next, and beings Horrible Night back to more grounded, structured material, its chorus of,

“Explain to me why your mind is so evil?
I think perhaps you’re possessed by the Devil
You’ve cast your spell of lies
There’s nothing left to do
Within this cell you’ve made
I’m looking back at you”

providing the album with its strongest and most resonant hook (not to mention a bit of classic heavy metal misogyny). Again though, Moss don’t oversell it, instead setting up a tortured, lumbering movement that gradually gives way to the full thrust of the rumble underscoring Pearson‘s emotive delivery of the lyrics above. Atmospherically and in its riff, “Dark Lady” holds fast to its initial ideas, and rightly so — it doesn’t need much more than the one riff to get its hypnotically repetitive point across — and as with the opener, a returning verse bookends a dead stop before “Dreams from the Depths” provides a dreary, droning interlude.

The break after “Dark Lady” is well positioned and long enough at 4:18 to signal a change from one movement of Horrible Night to another. A heartbeat comes on at the very end to announce the resurgence of riff that heralds “The Coral of Chaos,” Finbow riffing out layers of impenetrable misery while Pearson somehow manages to cut through. There’s continuity with the first and third track in “The Coral of Chaos,” but both it and the closer, “I Saw Them that Night,” are darker and (seemingly on purpose) less catchy. Finbow‘s guitar shows off a nasty lead tone in the midsection of “The Coral of Chaos,” but soon recedes to the lumbering downer riff from whence it came, setting up the feedback layered into the slowdown at the end that Pearson joins in the last minute. As the finale, “I Saw Them that Night” is a complement to the opener in its pacing, moving from beginning trudgery to a more insistent middle ground that, were it not for some of what Moss have already gotten up to on Horrible Night, would still qualify as plenty slow. Heading toward the eight-minute mark, the guitars swell in volume and feedback takes hold atop Chantler‘s crashing drums to give the record its finish in fallen-apart, noisy fashion. “I Saw Them that Night” may let go of some of the chorus-based momentum that the album built earlier on, but if Moss show anything with their third long-player, it’s that they’re not willing to be beholden even to their own norms, let alone anyone else’s. In its totality, Horrible Night is grim and wretchedly doomed — a work aurally more accessible than Sub Templum but no more compromising in its atmosphere or purpose — and for Moss, it signals a new beginning should they want to continue down this path. I hear little on these tracks that might dissuade them from doing so. - The Obelisk, http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2013/04/04/moss-horrible-night-review/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:30 (seven years ago) link

not big on old school/NWOBHM at all but both Satan and Magic Circle really clicked with me in a way that stuff usually doesn't, Satan especially

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:31 (seven years ago) link

Moss album is great. Proper singing has given them a new lease of life. It doesnt always work like that.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:44 (seven years ago) link

Rise Above releases have done well so far with Purson, Cathedral, Church Of Misery and Moss. Let's see how many of the rest make it - Age Of Taurus, Blood Ceremony, Hidden Masters, Horisont, Iron Man & Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:47 (seven years ago) link

28 Inter Arma - Sky Burial, 408 Points, 12 Votes


#14 Decibel, #9 SPIN, #9 Stereogum, #11 Pitchfork

Review - http://youtu.be/r66Ey2tKHvA

On the second full-length from Richmond, VA's heavy psychedelic alchemists Inter Arma, danger and apocalypse always loom nearby, casting long shadows over everything within sight. In these eight songs, the destroyer becomes the vaunted creator. Humankind sends the earth into a vortex of despair and decay. End-times gloom represents a lone currency of hope. The music is made to match, too, with salvos of rapid-fire black metal and plumes of foreboding instrumental drift lightning the lantern toward darkness.

Listening to Sky Burial, however, is one of the most exhilarating experiences you might hope to have with a record, largely because its creators sound so obviously intoxicated and energized by the possibilities of music itself. As these five multi-instrumentalists and experimenters work through creaking doom and obliterative marches, smoldering introductions and scowling grooves, the sense that they’re loving every moment of this is pervasive. They foreground their enthusiasm and counter the darkness with contagious élan. Appropriate for an album so obsessed by the beginnings that endings can bring, Sky Burial’s misanthropic heart is inspired enough to make one, well, happy.
At nearly 70 minutes, Sky Burial is a massive stylistic crucible where unlikely influences and aspirations bleed and blur into one another. Inter Arma represents a convergence of disparate traditions-- Led Zeppelin and Lightning Bolt, Pink Floyd and Pentangle, Immortal and Enslaved, Sleep and the Staple Singers. Though all these strains share the same space, Inter Arma never sounds claustrophobic, meaning they give each component its due before showing how it can cooperate with the next approach. Acoustic interludes in the midst of loud rock records, for instance, certainly aren’t novel ideas, but when Inter Arma push away from the amps and drop the howls, the acoustic instrumentals don’t function as mere sideshows. Lined with sighing steel guitar and sustained piano notes, the four-minute “The Long Road Home (Iron Gate)” shows similar development to the 10-minute epics that bookend it. Inter Arma opens its successor, “The Long Road”, with more than seven minutes of rising rock ’n’ roll action, reaching the It Still Moves-sized limits of My Morning Jacket before catapulting, without hesitation, into a malevolent Scandinavian-influenced blast. At one point, “Westward” flips from a patchwork of noise and grindcore into the sort of open-wheel blues metal you’d expect from millennial Allman descendants.

One could counter, of course, that being stoked on making music isn’t enough to make said music good. The teenager enlisting friends to join a basement rock band is certainly zealous, but that doesn’t mean their tunes are worthy of your time. But Inter Arma isn’t just ardent. Rather, these songs are both well designed and well executed. The ingenious “’sblood” rides the same riff and rhythm for most of its six minutes, while Mike Paparo shouts four repetitive lines about the limits of the earth. He breaks the lines into pairs, though, a device that the band uses to create a tripwire of tension as the audience awaits the conclusion. Opener “The Survival Fires” might be the band’s best dexterity showcase to date. Drummer and instrumental cleanup man T.J. Childers works through demanding patterns; he rolls into stuttering beats and lumbers into distended grooves. The guitars match the action, countering the central theme with grinding dissonance and sudden breakaways. In metal, this sort of spirit without the skills to match can be a missed opportunity, while the skills without the spirit can be worse still. Musically, Inter Arma is good enough to manage all of these sounds; emotionally, they are excited enough to make them work in one righteous exhortation.

Sky Burial will likely land as one of the year’s great breakthroughs for a heavy act, standing, at least in my mind, as the same sort of pay-attention proclamation as the Body’s All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood in 2010 or Pallbearer’s Sorrow and Extinction in 2012. That’s good news for Relapse Records, the venerable metal syndicate that picked up Inter Arma after their fine full-length debut, Sundown. But listening to Sky Burial, you get the sense that an escalation of notoriety won’t change Inter Arma so much. They are, after all, already making music that doesn’t make sense on paper. Segue the Southern rock instrumental into Second Wave black metal screech? Sure. Volley from tightly wound prog into swaggering stoner land? OK.

The root of Inter Arma’s creative success seems to be their delight in stubbornness, their willingness to indulge what they’d like to indulge, with no need to negotiate genre expectations. In this post-everything moment, where multiple sounds often arrive at once, it’s common for young musicians to exist as magpies, collecting stylistic scraps only to display them as their own piece. It is, however, much rarer for those results to seem so wholly synthesized, even as the individual parts don’t buckle under the weight of their accoutrements. Sky Burial does just that, brandishing erudition just enough to arrive at a crossroads of inspiration and innovation. - Grayson Currin, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17607-inter-arma-sky-burial/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:51 (seven years ago) link

i think of this as SeanWayneDoom

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:57 (seven years ago) link

Wow! Bunch of stuff I voted for showed up!!

Sorry, I've been sleeping...

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:11 (seven years ago) link

Pinkish Black, Earthless, Bardo Pond, Follakzoid, Jute Gyte!

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:13 (seven years ago) link

27 Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark, 416 Points, 12 Votes



#11 Obelisk readers, #33 Captain Beyond Zen, #47 Metal Hammer


It’s a sad fact that many have gone into orgasmic overload over the retro/occult rock of Ghost (and its come-to-the-Sabbath shtick) when really bands like Canada’s Blood Ceremony (and the sadly defunct the Devil’s Blood) deserve the most attention for awaking genuinely diabolic spirits. Blood Ceremony’s third full-length, The Eldritch Dark, is a magnificently bewitching ritual of archaic folk, vintage hard rock, and sinister psychedelia. The band’s previous albums, 2008’s Blood Ceremony and 2011’s Living With the Ancients, both showcased its spellbinding (black) magic, and The Eldritch Dark tells similarly dark tales of covens, sorcery, fiendish Victorian pacts, and deals with the Devil.

The Eldritch Dark is draped in ‘70s rock, flute flurries, and Hammer Horror keyboards, and while other retro-rockers make clearly calculated moves to capture antique occultist moods, Blood Ceremony simply oozes with a genuine love and deep appreciation of acts like Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Pentagram, and Pentangle. Alia O’Brien provides the vocals, organ and flute—three crucial elements that Blood Ceremony’s masses have been built upon—and her work here is the best it has ever been. Tracks such as “Witchwood”, “Goodbye Gemini”, and “The Magician” are mesmerizing, magical jams. They’re filled with Sean Kennedy’s gloriously fluid guitar lines, Lukas Gake’s rumbling bass (which adds the grim low-end), and drummer Michael Carrillo letting swing with the Bill Ward jazzy looseness. The Eldritch Dark is the perfect campfire/coven/smoky basement album to luxuriate in, its devilishly delightful and iniquitous melodies set to entrance. - Craig Hayes, Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/173562-blood-ceremony-the-eldritch-dark/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:15 (seven years ago) link

Nice, 443 points for Jute Gyte

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:15 (seven years ago) link

could have been more

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:16 (seven years ago) link

Lol at that

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:19 (seven years ago) link

26 Shining - One One One, 418 Points, 13 Votes


#4 Pop Matters, #33 Rock-A-Rolla, #36 Terrorizer

With 2010’s career-defining Blackjazz, Norwegian band Shining (not to be confused with the Swedish depressive black metal outfit of the same name) held back from polishing the roughness that was always present around its sonic edges. Despite moving away from its origins as an acoustic jazz ensemble and into the realm of extreme metal over the latter part of the ‘00s, even when it went all-out crazy, there was a surprising restraint on the part of the musicians. Take the groove-riff saxophone of “The Red Room”, one of the highlights from 2007’s excellent Grindstone; on the album version, it sounds solid enough, but in its live iteration—captured with magnetic intensity on 2012’s Live Blackjazz—it becomes something else entirely. On Grindstone, “The Red Room” is a blueprint; live, it’s a full-out auditory assault. The saxophone playing of frontman extraordinaire Jørgen Munkeby is unreal in a live setting; he manages to get noises out of the saxophone one would imagine impossible. It sounds like he’s torturing the thing at times.

On Blackjazz, Shining let the unfettered energy of its live performances dominate the style, and the results were nothing short of revelatory. The all-hell-breaks-loose free jazz of “HEALTER SKELTER” is still to this day the emblematic depiction of this band’s MO: simultaneously controlled and unrestrained chaos. One of Shining’s best assets, Torstein Lofthus’ tempo-eschewing drumming, stood out on that track; though it seems as if he’s just pounding on toms without aim, close attention reveals that underneath whatever technics the rest of the band members are doing, he’s always keeping a steady pace underneath it all. This is a group that realizes the key fact of free jazz: it’s not about foregoing all musical reference points, but rather about letting the music go with the flow dictated by the interplay of the musicians. Amidst the crazed structure of “HEALTER SKELTER” there are still grooves and even hooks present. Those latter ingredients are also part of what made Blackjazz so vital; for all the genre-melding Shining is keen on doing, it’s still aware of the need to bring real hooks to the table. Weird though the lyrics to “Fisheye” are, it’s easy to get Munkeby’s screams of “ONE THREE SEVEN FIVE!” stuck in your head.

And, as it turns out, it’s the hook that has come to play the biggest part in the newest addition to the Shining discography, One One One. Having adopted the title “blackjazz” as the name of its style, these Norwegian provocateurs have taken the visceral sonic of Blackjazz and incorporated it into the framework of… the pop album. There are no gonzo instrumentals or covers of King Crimson on this LP; every song follows a basic verse/chorus structure, and the most distinct characteristic of this music is the emphasis on hooks and memorable choruses. This is made evident right from the gates being kicked open with “I Won’t Forget”, whose ingredients are not what one might expect from Shining. The single-note chug of the first verse recalls surf rock, and the riff in the bridge preceding Munkeby’s saxophone runs comes close to copping “Footloose”. (The former aspect is especially evident in One One One‘s uncharacteristically bright sleeve art, which Munkeby has stated is a tribute to the record’s being mixed in California.) It’s both disarming and unexpected; far be it from anyone to think that Shining is above tinkering with pop fundamentals, but for the guys who on their last record were meshing industrial with Enslaved-esque prog, the music of Kenny Loggins is probably not a “logical next step” in the progression of a style. But, then again, “logic” has an interesting definition in the universe of Shining.

Though One One One is not as definitive a work as Blackjazz, it’s as much a portrait of the kind of outfit Shining is. Pop is as believable as a point of exploration for the group now as trip-hop could be on a future work. A word like “boundaries” is a curiosity in the outfit’s lexicon. Like Lofthus’ shifting-yet-consistent rhythms, however, the band’s core style remains the same even through differing individual genre explorations. The industrial stomp of “The One Inside” has clear predecessors in Grindstone and especially Blackjazz. The “Sexy Sax Man” opening of “How Your Story Ends” hints at the off-kilter moments of In the Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be a Monster. Along with these instances there are also more blatant echoes of past works on a few of the songs: “Blackjazz Rebels” and “The Hurting Game” contain explicit call-backs to “Fisheye”. The former continues its affinity for counting, and the latter copies the saxophone riff nearly note-for-note. Some press materials for this LP have listed it as part of a trilogy (with Blackjazz and Live Blackjazz comprising the first two parts), and in most cases such a characterization is correct. In the overall sound quality and mixing, One One One is not at all far from the evolution that Blackjazz captured; the main points of departure from that LP comes in how the songs themselves are structured. The record’s title is itself an indication of the listening experience: each piece stands on its own, though when put together in a cohesive whole you’ll get as unconventional a pop metal collection as you’re likely to hear all year.

This individualistic streak in One One One is not without its downsides. Shining have never been keen on ballads—or whatever might resemble one in its sonic—and while the consistently high energy of this LP makes it an incredibly fun experience (and at 35 minutes, not a very long one), some breather room would have been much appreciated. Stacking nine excellent verse/chorus tracks on top of each other often has the effect of drowning a few out, which occurs to a small extent here. The monster hooks easily rise to the top—“I Won’t Forget” and “Paint the Sky Black”, for example—but if listened to all the way through, this can be, ironically enough, too dense a thing.

But, of course, part of the reason why this is the case is the nature of Shining itself; even in its thirty-second interludes, it’s always cramming in as many ideas as could be fit into a single piece. Like any expert jazz combo, these guys are acutely aware that exploration for exploration’s sake is no virtue, a fact made quite evident by the concise and meticulously organized One One One. Following its last LP, Shining have risen to the forefront of the global metal scene, and this album is only further evidence of its unmatched creativity. A pop album for metal fans, a pop-metal album for jazz fans… however one looks at it, One One One is yet another work of brilliance by an exciting band at the top of its game. “I Won’t Forget”, indeed. - Brice Ezell, Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/170414-shining-one-one-one/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:26 (seven years ago) link

Brilliant album

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:28 (seven years ago) link

one imago needs to hear

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:30 (seven years ago) link

Wasn't a big fan of the Shining. Felt way too monotonous to me.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:31 (seven years ago) link

now don't get me wrong I loved Blackjazz but turned this one off p quickly. maybe I shall give it one more try but I am not hopeful

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:37 (seven years ago) link

This record did nothing for me at all. Grew to like Blackjazz but this leaves me cold.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:42 (seven years ago) link

HI! I missed the last two days of the rollout, plz recap it for me personally right now. thnx :P

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:46 (seven years ago) link

deveykus placed :)

Mordy , Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:46 (seven years ago) link

25 Vaura - The Missing, 419 Points, 14 Votes
#44 Rock-A-Rolla, #30 Pitchfork


I have been putting this review on hold for quite some time and I was actually hoping one of the other writers on the Ech(((o)))es and Dust team would pick this release for reviewing instead. Then I decided to give it a go myself after all as I feel this album deserves a review it being one of the most interesting releases for me this year, so here it is. The main reason I've been putting this of is probably the difficulty to describe the exact genre Vaura falls in. There are bits of black metal, post-punk, progressive metal and darkwave, and the band combines it all effortlessly.

When I first listened to their new release The Missing it completely hit me out of leftfield. Where the opening title track kicks off with fast gnarly guitar playing and high tempo drumming you’re thinking this is just another black metal release. Then it all slows down to big pounding drums and with vocals that hit you with a deep, baritone voice singing very clearly and the whole song takes a complete turn. This is good stuff and it definitely hooks you from the word go. The rest of the song jumps back and forth between these faster black metal and slower new wave elements. The second track ‘Incomplete Burning’ is what created the being hit out of leftfield element to me. Where you expect the band to continue on this fast, slightly different and contemporary black metal style, they completely turn around and offer the listener a mellower, very 80’s sounding new wave influenced dark piece of music.

When you look at Vaura’s line-up it actually comes as no surprise that this band mixed various musical genres and elements. With bassist Toby Driver from Kayo Dot and Maudlin Of The Well and guitarist Kevin Hufnagel from progressive death metal band Gorguts, Dysrhythmia and his interesting solo work you have some of the more genre boundaries pushing musicians in the world of heavy music genre in your team.

On The Missing they definitely incorporate a lot of older new wave and post-punk influences into their blend of at times blackish metal. ‘Mare of the Snake’ for example is one of the most 80’s sounding songs I’ve ever heard, the majority of the 80’s back catalogue included. Listen to that bass sound, the drum rhythm, the vocals, it reminds me of Depeche Mode in their best period. You’ll find yourself humming along with the chorus before you know it.

What really stands out for me is Josh Strawn’s vocals on this release. He sings beautifully and the echoey production again draw that 80’s new wave comparison. At times Josh sounds like David Gahan, at other times he has a more Ian Curtis feeling to his voice and the deeper, darker singing parts even draw parallels with The National’s Matt Berninger. It makes an interesting combination on the faster black metal and post-punk sounding tracks, although these are limited to the opening track and ‘The Fire’ as the rest of 10 tracks that make up The Missing are more slower, focussing on the darkwave elements.

There are a lot of old references I can think of the more I listen to The Missing. From the already mentioned Depeche Mode, Joy Division, The National, the lead guitar even has that The Edge sound to it, the way the higher chords are played over some nice delay. It is quite clear what these guys grew up listening to and perhaps still listen to. If Ian Curtis would be reincarnated and join a progressive black metal band, this is what it would sound like. Final track ‘Putting Flesh To Bone’ brings all the mentioned elements together, ending this album perfectly.
If you want something different or you grew up in the 80’s like I did, then I would totally recommend Vaura’s The Missing. This is another great release by Profound Lore Records’ vastly growing musical output, again demonstrating why this label is one of the most interesting smaller metal labels around at the moment. - Sander van den Driesche, Echoes & Dust, http://echoesanddust.com/2013/10/vaura-the-missing/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:46 (seven years ago) link

Hey, Vaura! Another one of mine!

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

some v interesting records today

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:55 (seven years ago) link

NYCNative made a joke in the voting thread urging ppl to submit ballots lest his would wantonly skew the results; apparently that was really something to worry about w/r/t me

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:58 (seven years ago) link

ok this shining record can srsly piss off now

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:59 (seven years ago) link

Too low on Purson, that's all I got to say so far. Glad the Passaige de'French band placed. Loved that album, can't spell their name.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:05 (seven years ago) link

SHINING is OVER! I voted for the other Shining album nominated which was a totally different band that was really old skool black metal.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:05 (seven years ago) link

you're nuts


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:05 (seven years ago) link

Purson is great. A grand new player in the Lava Lamp Bullshit genre.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:07 (seven years ago) link

24 Jesu - Everyday I Get Closer To The Light, 436 Points, 14 Votes
#1 Rock-A-Rolla


Justin Broadrick brings a little light on a fantastic new album.

Justin Broadrick’s career can be seen as one long, slow comedown from the birth of punk. As a teenager, he played lightning-fast riffs and helped write the world’s shortest song (“You Suffer”) as part of Napalm Death, the pioneering grindcore band. After only a couple demos and one half of a full-length, Broadrick left ND and formed Godflesh, and for over a decade soldered jackhammer backbeats onto mid-tempo industrial guitar squalls, turning out a number of classic albums in the process. After that band’s dissolution, he moved on to Jesu, essentially a solo project at this point. After an EP that sounds an awful lot like Godflesh, Jesu released a self-titled album that essentially set the template for all that would follow: glacially-creeping drums, acoustic or programmed, knock out 4/4 patterns under riffs that almost strictly stick to the downbeats, CHUN CHUN CHUN CHUN, as a voice slathered in vocoder and delay sings along with piercing synth and piano lines.

For four-lengths and a good number of splits and EPs over the course of 10 years, Broadrick has almost never wavered in his commitment that Jesu must sound this particular way. Though he has increasingly inserted pieces of shoegaze, electronica, and even Depeche Mode-style pop, the question comes down to whether one likes a particular riff, or whether one doesn’t, because, frankly, you’re going to hear it. A lot.

Of course, there’s variation to be found in Jesu’s work, just as Godflesh evolved over time. Everyday I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came, Broadrick’s newest, is his poppiest, most beautiful, and, arguably, most satisfying collection since 2006, the year Conqueror, Sliver, and Lifeline, my three favorite Jesu releases, came out. “Comforter,” the second track, bears clear traces of Takk…-era Sigur Rós, with a glowing wall of voices running in reverse surmounted by sampled acoustic guitar and a clear, bouncing piano melody. Of course, the CHUN CHUN drops eventually, though in Everyday Broadrick seems to have traded in quarter notes for eighths, speeding up the songs slightly. In this way, it’s similar to “Clear Stream,” from Jesu’s split with Battle of Mice, both attempts at pop songs with clean harmonies and prominent vocals. For a man who made his name playing fast and ugly, Broadrick has come a long way.

Of course, this isn’t exactly news. His journey to the valley of slow riffs has possessed his entire career, and while countless acts before have blended harsh noise and stunning beauty, Broadrick always had a way of cramming one into the other. His thought process seemed to say, “You want heaviness and I want to write pop songs, so why don’t I just play both at the same time?” It turned out some great stuff, but almost felt sloppy, as if he wasn’t taking the time to properly integrate everything. The clearest example of this, Jesu, runs a little too long and can’t quite decide what it wants. In some ways, this is a positive, but viewed through the long arc of a career still very much alive, it feels more like a start, not an ideal in and of itself.

Everyday is a hell of a lot closer. Between the swooning guitar pings of “Everyday” and “Heartsick” with its Red House Painters vocal, it feels like a cohesive unit, a vision realized. Once again the album’s only performer, with the exception of string player Nicola Manzen, Broadrick has crafted five stunning pieces, each relating to the other but never the same. “The Great Leveller” unspools its 17 minutes wisely, beginning as a piano ballad marching to double-tracked snare drums, crashing into a sludgy pattern that splits the difference between Neurosis and Slowdive, and eventually decomposing at the half-way point before Broadrick’s heavily-modified voice jabs out into the mess, signaling that “there is no meaning” as Manzen’s rapturous strings swell. It’s possibly the most affecting piece of music that Broadrick has ever released, Jesu or otherwise. Symphonic without being melodramatic, it somehow feels huge and intimate in the same moment, in the same space. Where previous Jesu records would have pushed these dichotomies to their limit in the listener’s face, now they simply coexist.

Any listeners that enter at this point will have a large and confusing back catalog to enter if they want to hear anything else like Everyday from Jesu. But as much as it feels like another step towards that light, the album reflects the work that came before it. You have Conqueror’s pop, Jesu’s texture, Silver’s beauty, with a mix of the electronic experimentation that Broadrick has played around with on EPs and splits. If Jesu became slightly predictable over the years, this was partially due to its distinctiveness, born of a love of 80s pop that Broadrick’s imitators simply don’t have. Thankfully, Everyday innovates within that formula without corrupting it, and proves that the waters of his inspiration have yet to run dry. It’s a high mark in a career full of them. - Robert Rubsam, Pop Matters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/175457-jesu-everyday-i-get-closer-to-the-light-from-which-i-came/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:07 (seven years ago) link

was talking to art skool metal boy imago

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:08 (seven years ago) link

Apparently 13 people were excited about Shining. I know it was really high on Adrien's year-end list. I don't get it, personally. I just found it agitating.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:08 (seven years ago) link

ah now this jesu record is vv gr8

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

I like the lava lamp description a lot, Viceroy – borrowed it for one of my reviews, actually. Credited it to "someone on the Internet."

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

but lavalamp bullshit genre is my favorite genre!

Mordy , Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

this was a good Jesu album that I voted for. Not terribly exciting though but exciting isn't what Jesu is about anyway...

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

jeff and co just dont like noise

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

I don't like boring.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

shining album wasn't crazy, weird or intense enough, complete backwards step imo

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

23 VHÖL - VHÖL, 453 Points, 12 Votes, One #1

#12 Pitchfork, #38 Stereogum


The end of “Set to Await Forever” hangs like an unexpected ellipsis: During the first 45 minutes of VHÖL-- the self-titled debut from four West Coast metal veterans so well-regarded that many are calling this a supergroup-- there’s very little space, pause or relief. The album’s blackened hardcore is generally restless and relentless; VHÖL colors the smallest of spaces with extra guitar lines and orotund bass parts, giving the italicized shriek a sense of unordinary saturation. But five minutes into “Set”, the record’s finale, the quartet slows suddenly, tempering their once-irascible sound into an atmospheric haze. The guitar and bass drift toward eternity, while the drums lazily march ahead toward anything, a kid kicking a stone down the street at sunset.

Initially, that slow fade from sustained bustle might have been an apt metaphor for VHÖL itself, a band originally assembled to record only one album. For more than a decade, guitarist John Cobbett and drummer Aesop Dekker played together in Ludicra, an intricate black metal quintet that announced their end in 2011. But Dekker and Cobbett wanted to make one more album together, so they recruited a pair of incredible equals-- Yob vocalist and guitarist Mike Scheidt, who only sings here, and Cobbett’s Hammers of Misfortune multi-instrumental bandmate Sigrid Sheie, VHÖL’s bassist. But when the four entered the studio late last year, they had enough fun and found enough chemistry that, as Dekker admitted earlier this month, they’ve already started writing new material.

That connection feels so obvious on VHÖL, a wonderfully weird intersection of black metal and hardcore impulse and attitude, evocatively laced with bits of prog, thrash and gloriously old-school rock ’n’roll. These songs put immediacy and intrigue shoulder to shoulder, so that genuinely oddball arrangements bolster songs that make you want to join the melee. You’ll likely remember the hangman riff of “Plastic Shaman” and its barked invocation-- “The wage of sin is death,” snaps Scheidt from his bully pulpit-- the first time you’ll hear it. But this isn’t some simplistic maul; VHÖL reconfigures time and expectation, shifting the tempo and tone so much that the song feels like a rollercoaster inspired by a rodeo. The great “Arising” first rumbles like Motörhead down the straightaway, an approach that likely won’t prepare you for the hyperkinetic, 90-second guitar solo that Cobbett takes during the song’s back half. Against most odds, the parts coalesce, and that’s how it works with VHÖL: Together or separately, these four musicians have been at it long enough to be discontent or uninterested in playing anything too straight, but they’ve also been at it long enough to know that it’s possible to embed strange tendencies within a framework that still sports a visceral magnetism. VHÖL hits on first listen; it captivates on the fifth.

That VHÖL is already at work on new material is good news for these players, because they sound not only reinvigorated in this setting but also somewhat emancipated. Cobbett and Dekker will long be linked with their work in Ludicra, and there are traces of that here, for sure. But VHÖL is a spotlight of their versatility that finds them not only comfortable but also rather exhilarated by such an open-ended platform. By limiting her role to bass alone, Sheie, perhaps known best as a keyboardist, delivers her lines with focus and force. She overruns the rhythm and steps out for sidewinding variations, injecting a position sometimes thought to be a bit big and dumb with a jazz enthusiast’s musicality.

Most of all, though, it’s Scheidt that’s the wonder here. He puts down the guitar and pushes away the typecast set by his work in Yob to treat these songs like very few vocalists could. He’s a chameleon, not only able to move quickly between hardcore berating and classic metal hook-setting but also capable of blending the two. “Insane with Faith”, for instance, is a bug-eyed roar, with the band racing headlong into a circle pit; from the tone of his voice, you expect Scheidt to be in the thick of it, barking while crowdsurfing, doing his best to pull the microphone cord along for the adventure. On the other side of Scheidt’s ostensible range, he delivers long arches of falsetto as the slow exit of “Set to Await Forever” approaches. He’s like a hirsute, heavy-metal soul singer, staring out at a mix of lit lighters and thrown horns. But some of the most intriguing moments on VHÖL come when he’s able to do both. During the chorus of “Insane with Faith”, he crests into a low-level cry, suggesting Iron Maiden reborn in a small rock club. During “The Wall”, his serrated bark comes backed real-time by his more operatic air. That’s the kind of multiplicity upon which VHOL depends, a quality that makes them less of a supergroup and more of a generative force with an unpredictable will of their own. - Grayson Currin, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17806-vhol-vhol/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:18 (seven years ago) link

Am kind of agreeing with those who say new Shining was meh

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:20 (seven years ago) link

Was it R1p F0wler who coined Lava Lamp Bullshit? AG I can't remember, you might...

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:28 (seven years ago) link

Pazz & Jop results are out. Chuck Eddy was the sole voter for the Satan album. Shining was #371 with votes from Adrien Begrand and Brice Ezell.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:29 (seven years ago) link

Inter Arma was actually #173 in Pazz n Jop - http://www.villagevoice.com/pazznjop/albums/2013/U2t5IEJ1cmlhbHx8fEludGVyIEFybWE=/
VHOL #525

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:40 (seven years ago) link

Lee Dorrian on last year's Rise Above releases - http://youtu.be/YxuNGgHJewM

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:49 (seven years ago) link

I actually liked that "8 1/2" EP of the Swedish Shining better, that seems to have been overlooked a bit I thought - I hardly read anything about it.

Siegbran, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:53 (seven years ago) link

It was pretty underground, I'd never heard of them before I was checking out the nominations list.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 20:56 (seven years ago) link

22 Gris - À L'âme Enflammée, L'âme Constellée..., 466 Points, 13 Votes

#33 Stereogum

Count Blagorath review - http://youtu.be/Jp4ZLJISOWM

I can’t believe it’s been almost six years since Gris released Il etait une foret…, one of the best depressive black metal albums ever recorded. As I said in my review of Thy Light’s No Morrow Shall Dawn, the depressive black metal scene became oversaturated with shitty bands shortly after the relese of Austere’s magnum opus To Lay Like Old Ashes. The scene then collapsed under the weight of all the shitty music and everyone moved on to the next, latest trend. This means that Gris just released their latest album, À l’âme enflammée, l’äme constellée…, to an empty house.

However, they’re not going to let this discourage them. They’re so confident in their musical abilities that their latest endeavor is ninety minutes long and comes on two discs. That’s ambitious. It’s almost as ambitious as Elysian Blaze’s Blood Geometry. Let’s just hope it was worth the wait.

The first thing I noticed was just how powerful the production is. It is so bold and powerful, and every instrument comes in as clear as day. Gris are making it obvious that they’re not a group of teenagers recording half-assed black metal in their parents’ basement. What they’re doing is a labor of love. This album is a true display of professionalism.

To be perfectly honest, due to how long this album had been in production, I thought they would change their formula so much that it would make me scream “BETRAYAL!” Luckily, it’s the same Gris I know and love. The drums play lots of double-bass as well as some really extravagant fills. They even play a few blast beats, such as those on “Igneus”. I especially love how powerful the snare sounds. They refuse to fall victim to the loudness war. The Austere-like screams still exude as much agony as they did on the last album. Icare found a vocal style that works and now he’s sticking to it. However, there is this one moment where he performs low, droning, clean vocals that provide a nice change of pace.

As for the guitars, they sound less like Burzum and are now focused on creating their own identity. The riffs are starting to take on a post-metal quality. I even hear a touch of avant garde in there. And of course, Neptune still plays those high-pitched lead riffs I enjoyed so much on songs like “Cicatrice”. One difference I’ve noticed is that the bass is much more prominent in the mix. It plods alongside the guitars and gives the music an extra layer of depth.

Their previous album, Il etait une foret…, featured a lot of non-metal elements, and this album includes even more of them. First, they include a lot more acoustic guitars, piano, and violins. Most of the time these help reinforce the somber mood of the album. However, there are moments where the acoustic guitar sounds much more joyous, such as on “Dil”. I especially love the band’s use of violins. They help make the music sound more rich and full. There are even times when these non-metal elements can sound scary, such as on “Samsara”.

As I wrote earlier, I was scared when I pushed play. I thought Gris would have changed things for the worse. The album cover is not something you would find on a depressive black metal album. They even went so far as to change their logo. That alone sent up red flags in my mind. Luckily, they didn’t change much when it came to the music. The black metal sounds more or less the same as it did on Il etait une foret…, and I especially loved the wider range of non-metal elements. The ninety-minute length may seem daunting, but it’s definitely worth a listen.

This is a slightly edited version of a review that originally appeared at The Autistic Metalhead blog. The album is available from Sepulchral Productions via this link.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:12 (seven years ago) link


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:12 (seven years ago) link

YESSSSSSSS this is awesome

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:29 (seven years ago) link

21 Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu, 477 Points, 14 Votes

#26 Decibel, #8 Pop Matters, #21 Pitchfork, #33 Metal Hammer, #4 Stereogum


NASA recently announced that the Voyager 1 probe, launched in 1977, has finally exited the solar system, sloughing off the tenuous hold of the Sun’s gravity and hurtling sleekly into the inky desert of interstellar space. Valonielu, the third album from Finnish experimental black metallers Oranssi Pazuzu, evokes that same journey. Tethered to an increasingly distant musical tradition, Valonielu finds the band ready to slip the reins and dart orthogonally — irresistably — to vistas unknown, and maybe unknowable.

For a small country, Finland has produced an absurd wealth of black metal. Interestingly, though, Finnish black metal has largely proceeded down two sharply dichotomous tracks, favoring either ultra-rigid orthodoxy or resolutely oddball experimentalism. Oranssi Pazuzu, however, seem to know black metal’s history without pledging fealty to it, and are willing to paint avant-garde lines with a familiar brush.

Valonielu is thus a bold, intelligently crafted statement that also manages a rare feat: it nudges black metal in directions that listeners outside of metal might find approachable, but in a manner that feels much less likely to drive traditionalists to apoplexy (cf. Deafheaven).

Regardless of its lineage, Oranssi Pazuzu’s music is inescapably psychedelic, given the way black metal signifiers are twisted and refracted through a prism of effects-heavy space rock. The trance-inducing results are honestly won, however, and not merely approximated via studio trickery. Despite the surfeit of bleeps and bloops – not to mention swoops and szzzzzzzrts — Oranssi Pazuzu’s oddness is compositional.

Both “Vino Verso” and “Tyhjä Tempelli,” for example, are written in 4/4 time, but they certainly don’t feel it, as guitar lines stretch across measures and queasy synths stab in jarring rhythmic counterpoint. And unlike the band’s previous album Kosmonument, which tended too much to meander, Valonielu has taken all the excesses of Oranssi Pazuzu’s influences – from Krautrock to ’70s prog to space rock — and honed them to a razor-fine point.

If you’re ever in a pinch to bring a phobic friend under this vast noisy tent of heavy metal, Valonielu contains enough signposts to direct fans of Hawkwind or Kraftwerk, and hell, the nervously insistent snare rolls on the chorus to “Tyhjä Tempelli” could even bring along a few Swans partisans (via Love of Life). Oranssi Pazuzu are likely no strangers to Rush, either, given how clearly Valonielu was designed and sequenced like a classic LP: each side features two shorter songs, followed by a lengthy, slow-burning freakout.

Album closer “Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa” starts quiet and creepy, like an astral twin of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” but eventually breaks out into a widescreen squall. A brief calm in the song’s final third is anchored by heroically restrained bass playing, but ultimately the song cannot help but explode into a tantalizing choir of instrumental voices. It’s an immensely powerful crescendo made all the more affecting because of its brevity and internally faultless logic: We’ve burned past the old sun, so now, what’s next? —¬¬¬— Dan Lawrence, Invisible Oranges, http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/09/review-oranssi-pazuzu-valonielu/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:39 (seven years ago) link

So 2 people wanted a thursday finish. Do you all still want that? or do you want 10 on thursday and the final 10 friday?

I know fastnbulbous would prefer a friday finish as he wont be around tomorrow.

I dont mind either way but would prob be a late finish tomorrow which might not suit everyone.

Any objections to a friday finish?

Just state your preference thursday or friday

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:43 (seven years ago) link

Oh shit, it's Wednesday already? Friday seems more appropriate.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:45 (seven years ago) link

A slower countdown might be better, yeah

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:49 (seven years ago) link

I think it would also be better since fastnbulbous wont be around tomorrow

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:50 (seven years ago) link

Jury duty, blah.

Fastnbulbous, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:54 (seven years ago) link

It's your poll, dude. Sounds like you think Friday would be better. Make it happen.

J3ff T., Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:54 (seven years ago) link

im not bothered im just thinking about fnb, hes put a lot of work in and it would be a shame if he wasn't around for the fun part.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:01 (seven years ago) link

just to say that i'm listening to the Gorguts and it's kinda uh gone into my main-poll top 5 p much immediately

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:15 (seven years ago) link

Colored Sands is a special record.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:17 (seven years ago) link

it's like several times better than I imagined it could be and I really liked Obscura

this is just ridiculous songwriting

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:18 (seven years ago) link

Friday for the final 10 gets my vote!

Viceroy, Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:32 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:40 (seven years ago) link

20-11 Thursday Starts 2pm(ish) UK time
10-1 Friday Starts 2pm(Ish) UK Time

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 15 January 2014 22:55 (seven years ago) link

Should be a good countdown today

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 09:20 (seven years ago) link

Got My Vote:

35 Anciients - Heart Of Oak, 370 Points, 11 Votes
34 Kvelertak - Meir, 375 Points, 12 Votes
27 Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark, 416 Points, 12 Votes
26 Shining - One One One, 418 Points, 13 Votes
22 Gris - À L'âme Enflammée, L'âme Constellée..., 466 Points, 13 Votes

The Gris is fantastic; it was my #3 album.

Forgot about this one ir I would have voted for it

29 Moss - Horrible Night, 401 Points, 11 Votes

Want To Hear

40 Manilla Road - Mysterium 326 Points, 10 Votes
39 Church Of Misery - Thy Kingdom Scum, 335 Points, 11 Votes
38 Pinkish Black - Razed To The Ground , 358 Points, 9 Votes
36 Earthless - From The Ages, 368 Points, 11 Votes, One #1
31 Satan - Life Sentence, 386 Points, 11 Votes
28 Inter Arma - Sky Burial, 408 Points, 12 Votes
24 Jesu - Everyday I Get Closer To The Light, 436 Points, 14 Votes
23 VHÖL - VHÖL, 453 Points, 12 Votes, One #1
21 Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu, 477 Points, 14 Votes

The Satan is fantastic based on the songs I streamed.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Thursday, 16 January 2014 09:29 (seven years ago) link

all this talk of lava lamp bullshit reminds me of the great spiritual hat controversy at the time of the all-time jazz poll

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Thursday, 16 January 2014 09:43 (seven years ago) link

that was deej tho

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:09 (seven years ago) link

Everyone ready? Will be resuming in 12 mins.

Thoughts on any album already placed?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:48 (seven years ago) link


Two days left to vote in the ILM EOY Poll! (seandalai), Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:51 (seven years ago) link

aren't you supposed to be getting everyone to vote in ILM 2013 | End of Year Albums & Tracks Poll | VOTING THREAD (Voting closes MIDNIGHT EST on Friday, January 17th, 2014)

or do you not want metal votes this year?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:55 (seven years ago) link

Metal votes very welcome! It would only take a fraction of the voters in this poll to ensure healthy metal representation in the main ILM poll.

Two days left to vote in the ILM EOY Poll! (seandalai), Thursday, 16 January 2014 13:58 (seven years ago) link

do as the man says then - VOTE!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:04 (seven years ago) link

20-11 today. Poll finishes tomorrow.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:07 (seven years ago) link

20 Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn, 500 Points, 14 Votes

Everyone’s favorite dragon porn series has succeeded where so many others before it have failed. Against all odds, "Game of Thrones" has managed to make fantasy novels sexy: burly, hirsute tribesmen and corset-busting maidens populate an intrigue-infested feudal world, slicing and dicing their way towards Valhalla beneath a hypothetical soundtrack comprised of Motörhead standbys and Amon Amarth deep cuts. It sounds like The Silmarillion Mach 7, and has proven to be popular with everyone from the bumbling professor next door to your grandma’s hairdresser, but what about the old school fantasy fans? What about the nerds?

Fear not, fellow geeks. Summoning’s got your back. It’s undeniable that these Austrian keyboard enthusiasts are dyed-in-the-wool Tolkien obsessives, swiveling the epic scope of "Lord of the Rings" square onto the soaring highs and rumbling lows of Bathory’s Viking odes. There’s a lot more to them than that, of course, even in simply musical terms. Their latest album, Old Mornings Dawn, marks their seventh foray into Middle Earth (not counting a handful of demos and EPs) and will feel like a homecoming to longtime fans. Its lineage can be traced straight back to their 1995 classic Minas Morgul, but these old dogs have picked up a trick or two along the way as their stellar recent output will attest. Their last full-length, Oath Bound, came out back in 2006, and showed a marked progression from its predecessor; Old Mornings Dawn follows the same path especially when the guitar lines are concerned, but spends plenty of time looking backwards towards past triumphs, as well.

The core Summoning sound has barely changed since before the original Nordic black metal’s Second Wave entered its death throes, and Burzum and Emperor’s obvious impact on their sound is proof enough that its roots within that circle are still firm. Protector and Silenius adhere to a strict formula of hypnotic black metal riffs, grandiose keyboard melodies, and vocals that range from harsh, throaty croaks to rumbling spoken word, topped off with a heady swig of pagan folk metal’s chants and choruses. The title track features a rousing choir of Vikings in full voice, and more traditional male/female choirs add color to the majority of the album as well. There’s a sweeping cinematic feel to the proceedings; if any of you guys know Peter Jackson’s sound guy, now might be the time to give him a call. The keyboards often take center stage, piling on the cheese and, at times, stifling the guitar work. Summoning’s approach is an acquired taste, to be sure, but sports acres more heft than is offered by similarly key-heavy “epic” metal bands like Rhapsody of Fire or Blind Guardian. There’s a darkness to it.

That’s nothing compared to the rhythm section, though. Long a thorn in purists’ sides, Summoning’s now legendary programmed drums are unapologetically inorganic, an essential afterthought that come across as almost militaristic in their simplicity. They even skitter into bongo-driven territory on tracks like “Flammifer”, “Earthshine,” and “Of Pale White Morn”, the latter of which sounds like an outtake from Disney’s Tarzan soundtrack until the guitars... and Orc sounds kick in.

Yep. Summoning is so slavishly devoted to their cause that they’ll toss in Orc samples when the moment feels right. You’d almost wonder if these guys are serious, but the diverse and beautifully orchestrated songwriting on this album speaks for itself. Old Mornings Dawn is a more than worthy addition to their canon, and a wholly satisfying treat for fans who’ve been waiting nearly a decade for the next adventure. - Kim Kelly, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18092-summoning-old-mornings-dawn/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:07 (seven years ago) link

excellent album. The title track was of course #6 in our tracks poll!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:11 (seven years ago) link

Eating breakfast before trudging in to do my civic duty. This one wasn't on any polls but there was certainly anticipation for it on Rolling Metal.

Smithy and Siegbran will be happy to know that the new Summoning does not sound like it was recorded through a layer of Jell-O like the last album. ― South of Hamster (J3ff T.), Saturday, April 13, 2013 10:27 PM (9 months ago)

sounds like another summoning album, then. works for me. ― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N)

ILM Rolling Metal Thread: the only place on the Internet were people are more excited for new Summoning than new Black Sabbath. ― South of Hamster (J3ff T.)

I'm pretty sure that if you didn't like Summoning already, this one isn't going to swing you. ― Siegbran

I'm pretty sure that if you didn't like Summoning already, this one isn't going to swing you you should feel pretty bad about that ― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N)

Sorry Alan, Summoning is on the wackside of music for me. And I feel fine about it. ― SeanWayne

Summoning is my 2nd favorite metal band after Mercyful Fate Sean Wayne, you and I now officially have beef ― not feeling those lighters (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned)

finally got my hands on the new summoning. my initial impression is that it rules and is the best. if you're a fan, there's no way you aren't going to dig this. if you aren't... leave the hall! ― (⊙_⊙?) (Alan N)

New Summoning already got me within a minute of the first song proper. Two bars of ominous medieval melody, HUGE FUCKING KETTLEDRUMS, then the wall of guitars crashes down and Silenius' cavernous roar comes in echoing from afar - at that point it's game over, everyone else can just pack up and go home. ― Siegbran

man oh man. I still don't have it because they're a top 5 band for me so I've been putting it off til I can get a hard copy of it and an afternoon to listen but God almight, I'm gonna be in a tour van for the next month, I should get mp3s to tide me over eh? in my experience Summoning is some of the best listen-while-traveling music ever ― Oral Sex in Sharp’s Ridge Park (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned)

love u summoning album ― emo canon in twee major (BradNelson)

i really, really like the new summoning (that prepared piano intro to 'earthshine'? so great!) and autopsy records. classic bands doing 'their thing' really well, with conviction and vitality. they're masterful. ― cb

Finally getting around to hearing the whole Summoning album, and yeah, wow, this is great. ― glenn mcdonald

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:21 (seven years ago) link

If only some of those guys you quoted had voted then it would have been even higher.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:24 (seven years ago) link

Summoning didn't make it past the first round in Last Rites bracket war or whatever it's called, though they were up against Darkthrone.


Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:28 (seven years ago) link

19 Ghost - Infestissumam, 502 Points, 15 Votes

#7 Revolver, #20 MetalSucks musicians, #20 Obelisk readers, #14 Stoner HiVe, #5 Metal Hammer, #12 Terrorizer, #177 Pazz & Jop


The first time I saw Ghost, it was a revelation. These mysterious Swedish metallers were the perfect embodiment of my holy grail in music: melodic yet thunderously heavy; dark, yet hugely entertaining – and catchy. So very, very catchy. For a niche band (and really, what's more niche than the 13th Floor Elevators attempting to replicate Mercyful Fate's back catalogue with only a couple of scrawled notes as pointers?), their reputation quickly flourished and, among those who heard their 2010 debut Opus Eponymous, only the most curmudgeonly classic-rock fan resisted its flagrant charms. The stone-cold classic 'Ritual' became a stalwart at the cooler rock clubs and, for younger fans seduced by their “fresh new” 1970s sound, their stylings made them not only a gateway drug to the likes of Black Widow and Pentagram, but also such dark, infernal artists as Blue Oyster Cult and Uriah Heep.

But last year's leap from plucky indie Rise Above Records to UMG subsidiary Loma Vista, and the enlisting of heavyweight producer Nick Raskulinecz, means that, in time, the epithet 'cult' might only refer to their satanic affectations rather than their rarified appeal. So can they make the leap to metal's mainstream without losing what made them so great in the first place? And will Ghost die-hards, such as myself, who have been anticipating and dreading this second album in equal measure, make the journey with them? Here's a first impression:

Like Opus Eponymous before it, the album kicks off with a bit of Gregorian chanting, but before the cloak of familiarity warms you, the drums and guitars kick in and knock you on your arse. This is a different beastie altogether, and is, on first listen, the best use of choral plainsong in a rock setting since Ennio Morricone's satanic-psychedelic freakout, Veni Sancte Spiritus. Yes, we're only one minute and forty seconds in, but things are looking good.

'Per Aspera Ad Inferni'
And we're off, and, by Christ, this sounds tough as hell. Raskulinecz has taken Ghost's sound and injected it with (in)human growth hormones. Papa Emeritus II weaves his swoony vocals - “Oh Satan, devour us” - over Celtic Frost guitars, fattened by gusts of Hammond organ. The keyboards are far more prominent than before – they've held to their promise that 'Genesis', the instrumental closer to Opus, was a sign of things to come. But while progginess is at the fore, the chorus doesn't skimp on a hook. And the coda comes with a gorgeous key change. Hooray! Ghost have still got it!

'Secular Haze'
Not an obvious choice for the single, this is a slow burner that is still smouldering, but it's worming its way into my affections. The spooky fairground organ motif makes far more sense in these surroundings than as a stand-alone track. In fact, I can see it joining the canon of those great metal songs written in waltz time, like, erm...

The pace picks up again with this lascivious thrust of swaggering glam-rock swing. “I am the one who comes richly endowed/ Harvesting fields that others have ploughed, ” drools Emeritus II in celebration of all things carnal. Fantastic! Not only have they rebooted Spinal Tap's classic, 'Sex Farm', but they've thrown in a bit of twiddly Peter Gabriel-era Genesis to spice things up. Is Glam Prog even a thing? Well, it is now.

This is a surprise – a ballad to break things up a bit. A Spartan piano, organ and drum arrangement forms the background for some hushed, confessional vocals … aaaand just about as I was going to invoke the great music-journo touchstone of Berlin-era David Bowie, they pull a switcheroo and now we're off on a Peter Gunn/twangy-guitar car chase, but with Deep Purple pomposity. And here's the chorus: “Zombie queen. Zombie queeeeeeen!” And now the choral society are joining in – this is astounding! At seven minutes long, this is their 'Stairway To Heaven'. If played live, this would have the makings of an absolute show-stopper.

'Year Zero'
For those looking for 'Ritual' part II, this is probably the closest in spirit to its pop sensibilities. But where that was a spooky, abandoned church on a lonely hillside, this is a bloody massive Gothic cathedral with spiky, sky-scraping spires. The "Hail Satan" hook soars, with O Fortuna-style choruses lifting it ever higher. This is definitely the track that will inspire the daft grin/hairs-standing-on-end effect Ghost junkies will be craving.

'Body In Blood'
They've already mastered satanic prog-glam metal, so why shouldn't Ghost turn their hand to sleazy soft rock? Imagine for a second there is a late-70s Spanish semi-pornographic horror film called Los Esclavos Lesbianas De Satanás (there isn't. I've checked). Before the nudity and bad dubbing starts up, the scratchy Letraset titles would be accompanied by footage of a young woman in a summer dress walking along a small village's sunny harbour front while a monk spies on her from a castle window up on a cliff top. This is the only song that could possibly be playing during those titles.

Back to the glam, and an evocation of that Luciferan classic, 'Blockbuster' by the Sweet. A fairly breezy, poppy number by this album's standards, with some (deliberately, you would imagine) saccharine harmonies disguising pretty dark lyrics; “Suffer little children/ come you unto me; Suffer little children/grant me sovereignty”. If, when played live, this doesn't feature monks in cowls, thumbs tucked in their rope-belts, doing that synchronised headbang/ elbow-swagger Tiger Feet dance, I'll be sorely disappointed.

'Depth Of Satan’s Eyes'
Probably the weakest track of the album, a catchy-enough chorus is let down a little by its pedestrian pace and NWOBHM-by-numbers riffing. But you can't really argue with lyrics like: "This swamp of faeces/ that is the world/ flatulates a whirlwind storm/ in which it swirls.”

'Monstrance Clocks'
So to round up this infernal feast, why not invoke the master of horror rock, Alice Cooper? The downbeat, funereal verse leads to a lovely, lighters-aloft chorus demanding that we "come together, for Lucifer's son", and ends with male and female choirs trading that refrain accompanied by a church organ. It's wonderful and wonderfully silly in equal measure, and a masterful end to an album of real depth.

So is it as good as Opus Eponymous? It's certainly not as immediate, but I think songwriters this talented would be doing themselves an injustice retreading the same ground. It's a statement of intent that suggests that in future people will stop describing them as x-meets-y (which I'm aware I've done throughout this piece) and simply refer to their ludicrously alluring mix of pomp, pop and power as "sounding like Ghost". The other occult rock bands du jour – Ancient VVisdom, Blood Ceremony and the like – are going to have a hard time keeping up. Ave Satanis! - Jamie Thompson, The Quietus, http://thequietus.com/articles/11613-ghost-bc-infestissumam-track-by-track-review

It’s difficult not to pull for Ghost B.C.: During the last few years, the mysterious Swedish metal outfit formerly known as Ghost have cultivated a sterling, alluring persona of subversion and symbolism. Their leader is a papal parody named Papa Emeritus II, who comes cloaked in inverted crosses and a sinister skeletal mask. He's flanked by five Nameless Ghouls dressed in matching black uniforms that suggest Darth Vader using the force to infiltrate and overrun the Catholic Church.

Despite mounds of speculation and the exposure risk the band’s touring schedules involves, the identities of the musicians remain unknown (or, at least unconfirmed), furthering the allure of their at-large intrigue. Ghost have risen to popularity in relatively antiquated order, too, parlaying the buzz behind a single issued via social media (a move now more democratic than issuing a 7”) into a record deal and a licensing contract for the exciting Opus Eponymous, a debut that upended many 2010 and 2011 year-end lists. The old-fashioned label bidding war that followed led to a contract rumored to be as high as $750,000 with new Universal Records imprint, Loma Vista. To recap: A major label funds a band that poses as the Anti-Christ and his henchmen and plays old-school heavy metal with hooks as addictive as sin while also covering the Beatles and ABBA: Why wouldn’t you pull for Ghost B.C.?

One compelling reason to forego the Ghost B.C. fanfare is Infestissumam, the band’s mostly laughable second album. The ballyhoo for Ghost’s follow-up has been so strong that it landed them on the 100th cover of Decibel two months before it was issued. A name change, an album cover so controversial some manufacturers allegedly refused to print it, and the fortuitous timing of the actual Pope’s early departure have only ratcheted anticipation. And though these 10 songs seem to be a logical progression from Opus Eponymous, Infestissumam all but abandons the twin senses of danger and discovery upon which Ghost once depended. This is a pop-rock record underwritten with childlike Anti-Christian sentiment; the tension between those underdeveloped directions-- surface-level darkness and near-translucent accessibility-- creates little but an insufferable stiffness.

Sure, Infestissumam delivers a handful of hooks you won’t escape and a few zingers that’ll make you smile, but that’s about it. “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen”, for instance, is the record’s eight-minute centerpiece. Above forlorn piano and Coldplay-earnest guitar, Papa uses his best Ben Gibbard croon to mix Latin and empty Satanic jingoism. The song eventually sidesteps into surf-rock, black metal, and a “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” sing-along; it is one of the most awkward things you will ever hear. At its best, Opus Eponymous capably laced Ghost’s pop ambition with heavy metal’s sense of danger, as with the bracing crunch of “Ritual” or the hangman guitar tone of the simultaneously clever and goofy “Satan Prayer”. At its best, however, Infestissumam is only a reminder of that earlier record’s now-apocryphal promise.

With their label’s largesse secured, Ghost B.C. surprisingly headed to Nashville, Tenn., to record with Nick Raskulinecz, a regular Foo Fighters producer who’s also worked with the Deftones, Alice in Chains, and Velvet Revolver. If Ghost B.C. were going to be a major-label metal act, they needed to sound like a major-label metal act, right? To that end, Infestissumam is at least a crisp and full production, from the grand theatrical choir that invokes the black mass at the start to the pitch-shifting synthesizer that goads along album closer “Monstrance Clock”. But Raskulinecz brightens the band until the mystery and suspense disappear, turning these evil thoughts into baubles that sound safe enough for big money and rock radio.

The record’s back half, for instance, is a half-marathon of bad stylistic decisions that put Ghost B.C. in settings that they just can’t make convincing. “Body and Blood” is about necrotic cannibalism, but it sounds like something Sloan might have left on the floor of the editing room. Its affable jangle and eventual surge wilt under Raskulinecz’s spotlight. If They Might Be Giants decided to cut a funny little metal record (and why haven’t they?), “Idolatrine” and its jaunting organ might form the fourth single. And “Depth of Satan’s Eyes” offers neutered quips about flatulence and feces above a vaguely doom metal clip; it’s the sort of flimsy, silly, and safe pap that suggests Ghost B.C. might be a side-project for another band in costume, the motherfucking Doodlebops. Infestissumam is a great critique of how self-serious yet puerile heavy metal can get, but that’s probably not the point of a lucrative record deal.

In the heavy metal community, Ghost B.C.’s defenders often talk about the band as a gateway for young metal fans, a new chance to expand the musty dark legions. In his smart 2011 piece for Invisible Oranges titled “Why Ghost Matters,” Justin M. Norton argued that metal needs new converts, and that Ghost was the band to do just that. “I could play [Opus Eponymous] for my mother, a Carly Simon devotee, and she’d find something to like. … I see The Undead Pope becoming an effective recruiter, much like Eddie or Anton LaVey. He is metal’s own Uncle Sam.”

But, in 2013, to what exactly is Ghost B.C. a gateway? Back to old notions of rock’n’roll, where Jim Morrison is still a poet waxing above organs and major-label polish is a requisite of important music? To an excuse for a lack of substance in the presence of great style and pristine surface? To a worldview in which darkness and anger and frustration serve only to become a punchline and where the Anti-Christ “comes into the daughters of men” and creates silly portmanteaus like “Idolatrine”? Is that even a gateway anyone wants to offer anymore? - Grayson Currin, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17807-ghost-bc-infestissumam/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:33 (seven years ago) link

Took a while to get into this actually as it wasn't as immediate but it got there in the end.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:35 (seven years ago) link

Wonder how well it sold. I seem to remember Phil saying on the thread that it hadn't done well in its 1st week.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 14:48 (seven years ago) link

Maybe I started countdown too early. I'll wait til more are around posting before posting the next one.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:05 (seven years ago) link

ok, tried a couple of these.

gris : nope, not for me.
summoning : liked the write up thinking i would enjoy, but nope.

ghost of course totally hits my spot.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:31 (seven years ago) link

mark do you like blue oyster cult?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:35 (seven years ago) link

no idea.

suspect i would if i heard some.

they have always been on my list of bands i should try out.

was going to get the boxset of their classics if i ever saw it, but i haven't seen it anywhere ..

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:36 (seven years ago) link

amazon is your friend

im sure plenty of people will tell you which to check out

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:39 (seven years ago) link

yeah, its a little pricey to take a risk on though ..

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:42 (seven years ago) link

i tried to listen to BOC this year because of all the ilm hype, but i just cannot make myself listen to any of their songs except 'reaper', it's so perfect to me that i hear the other songs and it's like a different band

j., Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:50 (seven years ago) link

trying one of the BoC classic albums now .. hmm ..

not sure.

love reaper of course ( esp the @440 version .. ahem !)

i.e. i think j nails it above ..

i will check a few more albums later on ..

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:54 (seven years ago) link

Yeah they only sound like a gothy Byrds on that one. Haven't been called yet into a courtroom so can follow for a bit

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:54 (seven years ago) link

18 Beastmilk - Climax, 529 Points, 15 Votes, One #1

#13 Terrorizer, #22 Rock-A-Rolla, #34 Metal Hammer, #259 Pazz & Jop

"Death Reflects Us" - http://youtu.be/gIrehsz_1a4

The Joy of Disintergration

It’s almost taken as gospel that by the time December rolls around every album that you must hear has already been released… But that’s not always the case. As the ashes of 2013 blows away, there is still the odd ember that burns incandescently. Beastmilk’s debut full-length Climax is one such ember, and according to the recent hype and bluster mustered by this Finnish four-piece, it seems like there’ll be little chance that Beastmilk will be forgotten amidst the fiery furore caused by endless “end of year” lists.

Beastmilk are comprised of underground musicians, most notably singer Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, known for his involvement in black metal provocateurs Dødheimsgard and Code, and the psychedelic neo-folk ensemble, Hexvessel. However, lacking knowledge of those three underground bands is not essential to your Beastmilk listening experience because metal is all but a distant suggestion, mostly remaining in the aggressive way in which these musicians attack their instruments. Instead, Beastmilk suckle at the kohl-crusted teat of the major players of the early ‘80s goth, post-punk, death rock scene. And the band’s unabashed re-imagination of the music of their influences – the Sisters of Mercy, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Christian Death, Killing Joke, the Cure, Danzig, etc. – is so well conceived and unapologetic that the lack of originality at the heart of Climax becomes little more than an afterthought.

Beastmilk were first pressed to our consciousness by Darkthrone’s Fenriz, who championed the band’s two-song demo White Stains on Black Tape on his “Band of the Week” blog back in 2010. Last year the band followed up their demo cassette with the well-received EP titled, Use Your Deluge, and Climax pushes the band out from the shadow cast by their EP with a slicker, more brazen statement of what made the post-punk/goth music of the ‘80s so great.

Ironically, there is also a real freshness to the presentation of Beastmilk’s music, and the irresistibly huge choruses of songs like “You Are Now Under Our Control”, “Genocidal Crush”, and “Love in a Cold World” have massive cross-over appeal. This cross-over already seems to have its wheels in motion, given that indie-praising publications like the NME, who have recently streamed Climax in full over at their official website, appear to be fully on board. All of this amounts to brilliant news for the band and their excellent label, Svart Records, who have had yet another sterling year with releases from artists that cross the retrogressive and progressive divide, with Beastmilk possessing the potential to become a true break-out group.

What draws contemporary musicians to the music of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s is generally nothing surprising or premeditated. It’s more than likely a result of musicians who grew up with the dark pop of the times etched into their simple minds and who want to express this part of their musical genesis in adult life. 2013 has served up some of the best ‘80s-inspired albums, largely within the metal realm (although the ‘80s post-punk/goth influence within metal is nothing new), as bands like Vaura and In Solitude have both demonstrated their love for this particular movement on their latest (greatest) releases. Unlike these bands, Beastmilk have more in common with the current ‘80s-inspired groups who reside outside of metal – Interpol, Iceage, Editors, or Spectres – due to the fact that they don’t use post-punk/goth to add flavour to their metallic brew, be it post-black metal (Vaura) or traditional heavy metal (In Solitude). Alternatively, Beastmilk embrace the repetition and minimalism of ‘80s post-punk/goth wholeheartedly while retaining the heaviness and the dark lyricism of metal, as the self-professed “apocalyptic post-punk” band weaves bleak Cold War-inspired tales of nuclear death into the neurological throb of the bass-lines, the unfussy yet propulsive drum-beats, and the wintry, dystopian echo of the guitars.

The music itself has been written by guitarist Goatspeed (the band’s rounded out by drummer Paile and bassist Arino), and Goatspeed’s understanding of dark ambient tones and textures, grim moods and anthemic drive – all accentuated by the authentic, hard-hitting production job of Kurt Ballou (Converge) – recreates the haunting, gothic air that wraps itself around albums like the Cure’s Disintegration, Joy Division’s Closer, or the Sisters of Mercy’s Floodlands. That’s not to say Climax will go on to be as highly regarded as those albums; such achievements are not possible because of time and circumstance. But due to the high standards of the songwriting, there’s plenty take pleasure in: most remarkably the abundance of vocal hooks littered throughout each of the ten songs, not to mention the amount of shameless hand-claps used as rhythmic accompaniments.

Kvohst’s timbre drips with dejection and paranoia, and he can turn from Ian Curtis-esque detachment to Robert Smith-style heartbreak with ease. He also has the ability to transform a song like “Surf the Apocaplyse” from a post-punk exorcism to Danzig-worthy chest-thumper without dispersing the gloom that ensconces the entire album. His chameleonic call does bring to mind the aforementioned singers, as well as Andrew Eldritch, amongst others, and it can be stated that while he does a great job of channelling such talents, he lacks a distinctive voice of his own. And while this statement is true to a certain extent, the strength of his melodies as they coalesce with the rush of guitars, drums and bass towards each resplendent chorus more than makes up for such flaws, and the “spot-the-goth-singer” game passes by after a few listens.

What you are ultimately left with is an album that deserves the hype placed upon it, written by a band who wears their influences as a badge of pride rather than shamefully shoving said influences into the background, hoping nobody notices. Derivative? Yes – but Climax is immorally addictive and thoroughly enjoyable, in as apocalyptic a way as possible, from beginning to end. - Dean Brown, PopMatters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/177019-beastmilk-climax/

One of the down-low delights of 2012 was ‘Use Your Deluge’, the debut seven-inch by clandestine Finns Beastmilk. Despite being a heroically hook-packed take on early-’80s post-punk and goth, it mainly found favour in metal circles – vocalist Kvohst’s background includes various bands of that nature. But anyone who’s enjoyed this year’s Iceage and Savages full-lengths should embrace this splendid debut album. Recorded by esteemed hardcore producer Kurt Ballou, ‘Climax’ polishes Beastmilk’s iron-curtained grandiosity slightly (‘Ghosts Out Of Focus’ is eerily like Suede), while maintaining the Cold War-era paranoia in their lyrics. Basslines slash through fog, drums march us into battle and it becomes clear that Beastmilk offer ample sustenance for winter. - Noel Gardner, NME, http://www.nme.com/reviews/beastmilk/14976#bdizSOA9PzHZToaI.99

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:57 (seven years ago) link

brilliant album and one I'm sure could have done very very well on big ILM poll if anyone outside of metal thread had heard it.

post punk fans go check it out right now.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:58 (seven years ago) link

DJP especially if you happen to be reading this

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 15:59 (seven years ago) link

seandalai you too

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:03 (seven years ago) link

Still time to vote! I was one of the few who voted for it on Pazz n Jop. I didn't even consider it for this poll though. Despite the involvement of metal musicians I think it's close to 0% metal. Certainly no more than Savages. Glad to see it get recognition though.

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:09 (seven years ago) link

Being on Svart Records probably means it wont reach many non-metal critics?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:12 (seven years ago) link

I'd try to persuade ilxors not into metal to check it out but I'm guessing the name and album cover would put them off.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:13 (seven years ago) link

My biggest objection would be their font choices.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:18 (seven years ago) link

I only checked out that Beastmilk album in the last few days, after wrongly judging by the name that they were some kind of crust thing, and hoo boy is it ever good. Got a friend into it as well.

Speaking of Svart, the reissue they've done of the Demilich album sounds amazing. It's from the original studio tapes, you can tell the drastic difference just from the sample on YT.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:19 (seven years ago) link

oh hey this is cool

SHAUN (DJP), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:29 (seven years ago) link

17 Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork, 557 Points, 15 Votes, One #1

#10 Revolver, #32 Rock-A-Rolla, #5 MetalSucks musicians, #19 Obelisk, #3 Obelisk readers, #4 Stoner HiVe, #21 Pazz & Jop

"Vampyre of Time and Memory" - http://youtu.be/AEIVlYegHx8
theneedledrop review - http://youtu.be/5uvj_3nd5kY

Here are two things to get out of the way regarding Queens of the Stone Age's sixth record, ...Like Clockwork. First: Prodigal renegade bassist and facial-hair terrorist Nick Oliveri sings backup on one song here. That's it. So this is hardly a reunion of the QOTSA lineup that made 2002's Songs for the Deaf, which, if not the best "rock" album of the past ten years, is most certainly the best RAWK! record of the past ten years. Second: Yes, there are a number of guests on this thing, including Trent Reznor, Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, and Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears. They sing back-up vocals too, and honestly reside so low in the mix that you wouldn't even know (or care) except that their presence became a key component in the marketing buildup. (This is not a new phenomenon: If you could point out where Shirley Manson actually appeared on 2005's Lullabies to Paralyze, please let us know.)

Neither of these caveats should disturb you too much, though, for there is no need to sell a QOTSA album by invoking memories of modern-rock hits or speculating as to who dropped by the studio to try out the gravity bong. It's simply enough that Josh Homme, the finest hard-rock songsmith of our times and a none-too-shabby guitar player to boot, is back in action after an extended break.

A well-deserved extended break. Following the tour for 2007's Era Vulgaris and a brief stint with his Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones collaboration Them Crooked Vultures (not bad, as supergroups go, though clearly an affair where songwriting took a backseat to instrumental prowess), Homme devoted much of his time to his new family. (He and wife Brody Dalle, late of the Distillers, have two children.) He also fucking died for a few minutes on an operating table. So his recent lack of productivity is understandable, as is the dark cloud of unease that wafts through Like Clockwork, as if it were a poorly ventilated smoke room.

Plenty of bands handicap themselves by trying to be the Heaviest Group on the Planet. Homme's genius is that he long ago realized that the lane was wide open to be the Sexiest Heavy Group on the Planet, and he's achieved this goal without looking corny. His collaborators have always pummeled with the best of 'em, but they were always just as interested in taut grooves and slithering melodies as, say, guitar riffs that sounded like a whale being thrown against a skyscraper. That blend of seduction and destruction is still present, which is fortunate, because otherwise things are starting to get really tense here.

Homme has always had a defiant, contrarian streak: His band's name was a deliberate rebuttal to late-'90s mook-rock culture, and he followed up Songs for the Deaf's commercial breakthrough with a hard zag into the murky psychedelia of 2005's Lullabies to Paralyze. Clockwork is the first Queens record to feel like a conscious return to a previous sonic identity; though perversely, it evokes the group's least-known period — the Devo meet Black Sabbath nerviness of their 1998 self-titled debut. Here, "I Sat by the Ocean" and "Smooth Sailing" mercilessly ride minimal, circuitous grooves that offer little variation or relief — just unremitting propulsion as Homme's and Troy Van Leeuwen's guitars team up to block out the sun. This isn't tension and release. This is tension, then more tension, then even more tension on the chorus until your subconscious has been thoroughly scrambled; only then does release come, usually in the form of a gnarled guitar solo.

None of this is immediately sticky, save single "My God Is the Sun," which boasts the sort of swallow-the-sky chorus most bands quit writing after they leave their major label. (After concluding their deal with Interscope, QOTSA recently signed with indie institution Matador.) By and large, Homme has yet again submerged his talents for hooks in knotty, controlling arrangements that border on sadomasochistic, but there's pleasure to be had once you give in. Even if bassist Michael Shuman rarely lets these grooves open up, there's still a sideways swing in the way he tightens the vise grip; the lethal precision reigning throughout only insures that you'll be in the exact proper position when the aforementioned gnarled guitar solo knocks you to the desert floor and takes your wallet. Also, as you've probably heard, Deaf MVP Dave Grohl plays drums here about half the time, and even though former QOTSA mainstay Joey Castillo was no slouch — and new guy Jon Theodore is a goddamn monster — there's a joy in the way Grohl caves in your chest with fills that even his most adroit peers can't quite replicate.

It should be noted that this all sounds fantastic. The band self-produced Clockwork with James Lavelle, the man from trip-hop-rock collective U.N.K.L.E., and the full-bodied guitars, crisp drum fills, and naturalist dynamic range further fuel the ongoing Steely Dan studio-rat revival that Frank Ocean helped kick-start and Daft Punk amplified. But all the well-buffed guitar tones and boldface guest stars can't distract from what's really going on here.

This is an album about ratcheting up the tension, which means it's also an album about sex and death: the two ultimate forms of release. (I mean, just look at that album cover.) Homme's deep croon and sensuous approach to the groove have always implied seduction, but "If I Had a Tail" is so unabashedly horny that the Weeknd might be obligated to cover it. (Sample lyrics: "I wanna suck / I wanna lick / I wanna grind / I wanna spit.") The otherwise dominant, panic-inducing strut slackens somewhat for that one, but on the title (and closing) track, Clockwork unveils a stark piano ballad that suggests Homme has been studying his friend and occasional QOTSA cohort Mark Lanegan closely, too. It's a look at mortality that demonstrates the skill with melody and concise imagery our host is usually more apt to undercut, playing it straight as he admits, "Not everything that goes around / Comes back around." After an album of dark vibes and measured dread, it feels like a moment of hard-fought relief from a man forced to realize how little he can truly control, and how rewarding the relinquishing of control can be. - Micheael Tedder, SPIN, http://www.spin.com/reviews/queens-of-the-stone-age-like-clockwork-matador/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:30 (seven years ago) link

Beastmilk are one of the bands I'm looking forward to most at Temples (pending the announcement of the APMD replacement tomorrow).

Ian Glasper's trapped in a scone (aldo), Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:38 (seven years ago) link

16 Hell - Curse And Chapter, 560 Points, 14 Votes, One, #1


#29 Metal Hammer


here’s an interesting history behind Hell. As a part of the original NWoBHM, they were close to releasing an album alongside contemporaries like Saxon and Iron Maiden, but bad luck and personal tragedy brought them low and derailed their best laid plans. Though they never made it past the demo stage, they were influential in the scene and championed by folks like producer and former Sabbat guitarist Andy Sneap. So taken with their old demos was he, that he encouraged the members to reform and give it another go with him on guitar, which resulted in 2011s Human Remains opus.

That platter featured some ancient tunes loaded with NWoBHM flair and a noticeable Mercyful Fate influence, and while the music was highly enjoyable, I struggled mightily with the delivery of front man Dave Bower, which was overdone, uber-theatrical and at times, very cheeseball parmesan. He undermined the material and made it difficult to fully embrace the band, as talented as they were. Now they return with their sophomore outing, Curse and Chapter and though they remain true to their core sound, they’ve made a few changes. The music still has the old time charm, but it feels less retro this time and reminds me more of King Diamond‘s solo work mixed with early Savatage. Mr. Bower still overdoes it, but less than before and he’s much more focused and restrained, which greatly helps the flow of the songs. While a bit uneven, it’s mostly classy and engaging and the band’s obvious talent isn’t undermined this time.

I love the vintage swing of opener “Age of Nefarious” and the guitar harmonies crackle and pop. Bower keeps things relatively leashed, but the chorus mimics the “Age of Aquarius” from the musical Hair, and that’s far too much Broadway in my metal. Apart from the very silly chorus, it’s a rousing tune with top-notch guitar play. “The Disposer Supreme” sports a very big King Diamond influence and some wicked riffs, but Bower battles a terminal case of Martin Walkyier Syndrome (i.e. the compulsive urge to cram so many words into a song that the music nearly suffocates). Things improve greatly on ”Darkhangel” which is overflowing with tasty fret-board gymnastics and surprisingly restrained vocal harmonies by Mr. Bower. It runs too long, but shows the band dialing in on their strengths.

Hell_2013They also succeed on more simplistic, straight-ahead, galloping numbers like “Harbringer of Death,” “End Ov Days” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Other nice moments include the very Blind Guardian-esque hook-fest of “Land of the Living Dead” and the slick, vintage King Diamond rumble and roar of “A Vespertine Legacy.”
Although they still struggle with some bloat in the song writing department and some tracks could easily be pared down, the only one that face plants is “Deliver Us From Evil,” which features a weird, jazzy swing, cowbells and Bower running a metal spelling bee during the chorus (“Deliver us from E…V…I…L”). It just doesn’t gel and feels overly trite, silly and too much like a bad musical written by Powerwolf.

As with Human Remains, Kev Bowers and Andy Sneap let it all hang out with their playing and their riffs and harmonies buoy every song. Their solo work is extremely impressive and over the course of the album, they paint quite a tapestry of foot-on-amp guitar heroics. Their playing saved the last album and it’s as good or better here. While many of the riffs have a certain old school feel, this never sounds like a dusty relic from the 80s and every song has a hook or two that keep you listening and grooving along. Top-notch stuff!

Dave Bower seems to have settled down into a comfort zone somewhere between Jon Oliva and Hansi Kursch and he wisely distances himself from the compulsive Warrel Dane chirps, squeals and caterwauls this time (though they aren’t gone completely yet). He also seems less intent on stealing all the attention, over-emoting and running his lines all over the songs. He may never become a vocalist I look forward to hearing, but he’s talented and learning how to fit in with the music better.

Hell is a band with major potential and you can definitely hear the progress toward something bigger and better. They don’t quite show what they’re capable of on Curse and Chapter, but they’re heading in the right direction. I still think they’ll uncork a monster at some point and I’ll keep watching for it. In the meantime, this is a fun, accessible listen with some moments of true inspiration shining through. Keep on questing! - Angry Metal Guy, http://www.angrymetalguy.com/hell-curse-chapter-review/

Bit of a tragic backstory for Hell

Hell are an English heavy metal band from Derbyshire, formed in 1982 from the remaining members of bands Race Against Time and Paralex. Due to a series of unfortunate and tragic events, the band originally folded in 1987, but were generally regarded as being many years ahead of their time, and have been cited as an influence by many notable musicians and bands of the genre. They were amongst the first bands to wear proto-corpse paint as part of their stage show, which features hysterical ranting from a Gargoyle- adorned pulpit, along with the use of a pyrotechnic exploding Bible which caused outrage amongst the clergy when it originally appeared in 1983.

They signed to the Belgian label Mausoleum, but two weeks prior to the recording of their debut album, the label collapsed into bankruptcy. Kev Bower subsequently quit the band. He was briefly replaced by Sean Kelley, though Hell split up soon afterwards, which led to the suicide of Singer Dave Halliday by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Although they were largely ignored by the media and record companies in the 1980s, their music became known through the underground tape trading phenomenon, and the band achieved a degree of cult status. In 2008 they reunited, and were signed by Nuclear Blast.[1] Their first full-length album, Human Remains, was released May 2011.[2] The album topped at No. 46 on the German album chart in its first week of release.[3]

The remaining original members of Hell reunited in 2008 to finally record their album which was entitled Human Remains. Sabbat members Martin Walkyier and Andy Sneap agreed to play on the album to replicate Dave Halliday's vocals and guitar tracks respectively, with Sneap also acting as the producer. Although Walkyier completed recording vocals for the entire album, the band have stated that no-one was really happy with the outcome since Walkyier's voice was so distinctive, and the result sounded "more like an unreleased set of Sabbat songs". Kev Bower's brother David (who is known as David Beckford in his career as a stage and television actor) was invited to do a voiceover for the song "Plague And Fyre" and subsequently joined the band as lead vocalist, re-recording all the lead vocal parts. Sneap subsequently also joined the band as their permanent second guitarist.

By the beginning of 2013, Kev Bower and Andy Sneap had completed demo recordings for the majority of songs which would appear on the band's sophomore album, with recording proper set to commence in the Spring. Since no early demo recordings were this time available to fill a bonus disc, the band elected to record a live DVD as a bonus complement to the album, and this was shot and recorded at the band's first 2013 show at Derby Assembly Rooms (UK) on February 23. The sellout event also unveiled the band's full Church Of Hell stage set and pyrotechnic show, with fans travelling from 13 different countries to attend. The band played a headline show at the R-Mine Metalfest (BE) and also appeared at Turock Open Air (DE), Hammer Open Air (FIN), Bang Your Head Open Air (DE) and made a return mainstage appearance at Bloodstock Open Air as one of the most heavily requested bands on the BOA user forum, and once again won the 'Best Mainstage Performance' vote. It was subsequently discovered that technical problems with the DVD recording at Derby had made some material unsalvageable, so additional footage was added from the band's appearance at this festival.

It was announced in August that the second album would be entitled 'Curse And Chapter'. To coincide with the album release, Hell were subsequently announced as being principal support for Amon Amarth and Carcass on the whole of their extensive European tour, taking in 25 shows in 13 countries, opening in Oberhausen (DE) on November 7.

Hell are most often described as a NWOBHM band, although they strongly distance themselves from this movement, citing that the NWOBHM was already in rapid decline by the time the band actually formed. Their progressive musical style incorporates elements of thrash, power, symphonic, gothic, speed, doom and black metal, encompassing great variety, and with no two songs ever sounding exactly alike. Underlying lyrical themes in much Hell material focuses on the occult and the darker sides of human nature. Typical themes include a distaste for organised religion, alien abduction, political imprisonment, mental illness, and historical events such as the Black Death and the Bubonic Plague. Although primarily guitar-driven, the band's sound is fleshed out by the use of keyboards and digital sampling to add depth and texture to the material. Their approach to songwriting is often unorthodox, with numerous complex tempo, time signature and key changes, along with a signature series of atmospheric, theatrical interludes and introductions to their songs.

― pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Sunday, January 12, 2014 8:08 PM

Awesome live version of Darkhangel (the track that WON ILM Metal Poll 2014)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:00 (seven years ago) link

I guess fnb has been called

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:21 (seven years ago) link

i actually saw that HELL cd a couple of days ago in the racks, and it dawned on me that a few weeks ago i would have not given it a second look, whereas now, i know so much more.

still didn't buy it though as i'm holding back for Electric Wizard albums ;-)

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:29 (seven years ago) link

i think you will only like the last 2 electric wizard albums (you liked the youtubes you heard from them) since you didn't like Dopethrone those earlier albums youre unlikely to be into

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:32 (seven years ago) link

Holy shit this Beastmilk record rules!

Simon H., Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:32 (seven years ago) link

sadly its too late to make any impact in ILM 2013 | End of Year Albums & Tracks Poll | VOTING THREAD (Voting closes MIDNIGHT EST on Friday, January 17th, 2014)



ps seandalai would let you edit your ballot

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:34 (seven years ago) link

Wouldn't have guessed it's a Ballou production, but damn does it ever sound great. And "Genocidal Crush" is an instant earworm.

Simon H., Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:40 (seven years ago) link

yeah wish id nominated it for tracks poll

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:49 (seven years ago) link

15 Nails - Abandon All Life, 561 Points, 16 Votes, One #1

#5 Revolver, #13 Decibel, #20 SPIN, #17 Stereogum, #16 Rock-A-Rolla, #14 Pitchfork, #24 Metal Hammer, #9 Terrorizer, #192 Pazz & Jop

theneedledrop - http://youtu.be/8cyqJakd27c

Nails are making some of the most thrillingly extreme music right now but the California quartet is difficult to recommend casually. They cram their brief, constantly shifting tracks with a chaotic blend of hardcore, D-Beat, grindcore, powerviolence, and death metal. It's complex music that plows ahead while moving internally in dozens of directions.

But technical descriptions don't capture what they do so well. When Southern Lord picked up and re-released their 2010 debut LP Unsilent Death after its smaller first pressing sold out, they offered a comparison of 90s AmRep bands and early Cro-Mags going faster than either. That sort of works. So does Eyehategod's songbook played by 2013 Converge. This music is more suffocating than it is Suffocation; it also pulls largely from hardcore and comes with plenty of raw emotion attached to it.

Unsilent Death's 10 tracks sped past in 14 minutes; Abandon All Life's 10 tracks just barely break the 17-minute mark. Both releases were produced by Converge's Kurt Ballou. It's assured, sturdy music, and Ballou knows how to make it sound deep and strong. (He does an even better job of it on the huge-sounding new collection.) With this kind of material you also need a vocalist who can stand up to it, and Todd Jones (who used to play in the hardcore band Terror) keeps up with the mutating landscape behind him: he scowls, snarls, howls, screams, spits, and even quietly sighs (in the black metal minor scales and Celtic Frost-like opening of standout "Wide Open Wound"). At times he feels like a conductor holding together a maelstrom, and when he repeatedly shouts "I want to see you suffer" in the 42-second-long "Tyrant" and "My goal: cause you pain" in the 55-second-long "No Surrender", you believe the sentiments, even though his approach brings a lot of pleasure.

Nails' songs are largely about power and control, suffering and degradation; you get dozens of lines like "On your knees before me/ I humiliate, I torture/ I celebrate your failures" in the escalating five-minute doom-to-feedback-implosion closer "Suum Cuique". But these songs are also about overcoming those situations. There are sentiments like "Resolve your vengeance make them pay" in opener "In Exodus", the title track's "Wield the fucking blade/ Pierce the fucking hate… / Your will is beyond what those cowards posses" and "Burn all white flags/ No fucking surrender" in "No Surrender". For all the negatively people talk about Nails espousing, they're ultimately a positive band-- in the sense that they provide a rallying point and a will to power for people open to these kinds of violent pep talks.

But back to the beginning: Abandon All Life is a bracing, cathartic, darkly anthemic collection, but those not used to this sort of thing will probably need to spend some time with so it can slow down some and make more sense. People usually don't think of hardcore punk as "headphone" music. Nails should be played loudly, of course, but they should also be listened to carefully on headphones at some point to appreciate how they're layering these elements and creating something so seamless. This is smart, well-plotted music, which makes its anger all the more effective. - Brandon Stosuy, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17784-nails-abandon-all-life/

When I saw Nails at New England Metal and Hardcore Fest in 2011, I was instantly won over. They had such a raw, no nonsense sound and were able to replicate that spirit so perfectly live that I couldn't help but rush upstairs to buy one of their T-shirts and get hold of all of their music. And while Unsilent Death is a fun blast of "Entombed-core" grind, it did not quite live up to how the band sounded live. On Abandon All Life, Nails has made a gigantic improvement with a punishing, albeit brief slab of fury and aggression. Abandon all pretenders, Nails is the real raw thing.

The loud, punchy, Converge-meets-Entombed fuzzbox sound embodied by Nails, Black Breath, and others has to be one of the best developments in metal in recent years. It takes metal back to basics, while putting a new twist on the hardcore-metal brand that has gone largely unheard in the past (it was years before I even heard of notables like Citizen's Arrest). Abandon All Life contains much of the same punch and grit that made Unsilent Death such a breath of wonderfully filthy air. But this time, Nails has better writing, better riffs, and a better approach that makes for a much more memorable listen. Much of the band's hallmarks remain from the previous record, though the vocals are less guttural and more high pitched this time. From the outset, Nails lights a fire of blastbeats and screaming anger that only morphs later into menacing wasteland of the mid-album highlight, "Wide Open Wound". Where Unsilent Death sounds like a band getting together to have some fun making noise, Abandon All Life sounds like the same band saying "Ok, let's focus on this noise and make something really great."

If I had to give the band one suggestion: write some more longer songs next time. It feels funny to say that, since I'm often listening to more proggy stuff and thinking, "these songs need to be shorter" and going on about how I like things straightforward. But in this case, the longer tracks like "Suum Cuique" give Nails to room to breathe and add something more to their rapid fire grind blasts. Not that they should abandon these shorter sings outright, but it would be nice if Nails could give us more…well, Nails. However, perhaps in this brevity lies Abandon All Life's greatest success: it leaves you battered, exhausted, and breathing out the only appropriate request, "Please sir may I have another?" - James Zalucky, Metal Injection, http://www.metalinjection.net/reviews/album-review-nails-abandon-all-life

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:50 (seven years ago) link

I am man enough to admit that Nails are just too damned much for me to deal with 99.99% of the time.

Simon H., Thursday, 16 January 2014 17:53 (seven years ago) link

That's a surprise to see this high! It's a stunner, but definitely not the friendliest sound in the world.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:02 (seven years ago) link

those breather tracks are really key; love "suum cuique"

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:04 (seven years ago) link

14 Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance, 597 Points, 17 Votes

#8 Decibel, #6 PopMatters, #21 Stereogum, #7 Pitchfork, #25 Metal Hammer, #4 Terrorizer, #278 Pazz & Jop

theneedledrop - http://youtu.be/3Ckbk-P7JxM
coverkillernation - http://youtu.be/7yxVv9QdYPw

The thing about Darkthrone some 25-plus years into their career is they don’t give a fuck. A lot of bands say that, but few say it as convincingly and have the fuckall in their approach to back it up that the long-running Norwegian duo seem to toss off on their records like so many squibbly riffs. Where that attitude has manifested itself over the course of their last several full-lengths as a raw, lo-fi punk aimed hard at the very roots of the black metal Darkthrone once pioneered on albums like A Blaze in the Northern Sky (1992) and Transylvanian Hunger (1994), their newest full-length and 16th by my count, The Underground Resistance (Peaceville), finds them blending that rawness with a traditional metal approach manifesting many of the influences they’ve claimed since 2007′s N.W.O.B.H.M – New Wave of Black Heavy Metal single signaled their transition from the blackened material of 2006′s The Cult is Alive – actually it was kind of stagnant — to later 2007′s F.O.A.D. (Fuck off and Die), at once a declaration and defense of its own stylistic shift.

But at this point, having pushed that punkish sound as far as it could go or at least as far as they were interested in pushing it with 2010′s bored-seeming-but-still-effective Circle the Wagons (review here), I honestly think that praise heaped on The Underground Resistance and harsh criticism of it sound the same in the ears of multi-instrumentalist/vocalists Ted “Nocturno Culto” Skjellum and Gylve “Fenriz” Nagell: It’s all just noise. If that’s actually the case, I don’t know, but it’s at least the perception and that character has become as much a part of Darkthrone‘s sound as Fenriz‘s campaigning on behalf of classic underground metal, so fervent that band recommendations on the last couple albums have come on a per-track basis in the liner notes, with Darkthrone cited on occasion as influencing themselves. All this makes the duo a fascinating entity, but ultimately has little to do with the music, which on The Underground Resistance remains as confrontational as ever in this semi-novel aesthetic sphere. The sound of the album’s six tracks is fuller and occasionally grander than that of Circle the Wagons or 2008′s Dark Thrones and Black Flags before it — as heavy metal was when it emerged early in the ’80s to distinguish itself from punk — but raw enough in its production to be called consistent. That is, between Nocturno Culto‘s trademark gurgle and the speedy gallop of the riffing on the penultimate “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom,” there’s little doubt you’re listening to a Darkthrone record, whatever kind of shenanigans they might be getting up to this time around.

And while homage is paid throughout the album’s 41 minutes to the likes of Manilla Road, Pagan Altar, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate — Fenriz rounding out the album with some pretty mean King Diamond-style vocal drama on the 14-minute closer “Leave No Cross Unturned” — whatever sonic references they might be making are filtered through their own approach so that Darkthrone still sound like Darkthrone. I don’t know if I’d call The Underground Resistance re-energized as compares to Circle the Wagons, but as a band who’ve emerged as being pretty self-aware over the last decade or so, they probably could sense it was time for a change in their approach, even if it wasn’t a conscious decision between the two members as they wrote their individual parts. Three years is also the longest break between Darkthrone albums since 1996′s Goatlord and 1999′s Ravishing Grimness, and if the extra time was spent developing this material, I’d have to believe it. Even “Leave No Cross Unturned,” which seems to switch back and forth between Fenriz and Nocturno Culto parts, nonetheless winds up with one of the collection’s strongest hooks in its chorus with the oft-repeated title line. Finding earlier companionship on the album in “The Ones You Left Behind,” which works from a similar foundation musically, it’s all one could reasonably ask of a closer for an album like The Underground Resistance, which makes a weapon even of its most accessible moments.

An initial tradeoff between Nocturno Culto‘s “Dead Early,” which opens, and the subsequent “Valkyrie,” credited to Fenriz, introduces much of the album’s breadth. The two will often switch off between each other in a tracklisting and the effect is a more versatile-sounding whole on The Underground Resistance. As a general rule — so much as there are any — Nocturno Culto‘s material is darker, Fenriz‘s more classic. At very least, that holds true on “Dead Early” and “Valkyrie,” as the grittier riffing of the one leads to the grandiose intro stomp of the other, and Fenriz‘s vocals, which have grown braver and cleaner. He doesn’t quite soar, but he makes a style of the howls on “Valkyrie” and ultimately it works to the song’s favor, especially moving into “Lesser Men,” the chugging riff of which makes for a lethal groove when set to the half-time drums, a guitar solo echoing high in a break in the first half before Nocturno Culto comes in with the second verse. Fenriz once again takes the reins in the speedy “The Ones You Left Behind,” also the shortest cut at 4:16, and at 2:16 lets out a high-pitched wail that’s almost more righteous for its imperfection, makes a reappearance at the beginning of “Leave No Cross Unturned” and is bound to show up again should Darkthrone continue down this road (one never really knows, but it’s an easy guess). Another catchy chorus leads to the likely-collaborative “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom,” which is more complex part-wise than the ensuing closer, but still some five full minutes shorter.

It spends some time meandering, but even on “Come Warfare, the Entire Doom,” Darkthrone are fairly to the point, and the echoing, effected leads that pop up amidst the gallop make for intriguing landmarks along with the satisfyingly metallic thrust. When it comes to “Leave No Cross Unturned” — the most apparent collaboration (I’d dare to say for sure, but hey, digital promos) between Fenriz and Nocturno Culto on The Underground Resistance — the song is also invariably the album’s greatest triumph, moving smoothly between its verse and chorus, so predictable and still so engaging, and slamming headfirst into the dirtier Celtic Frost-style riff and grunt of its midsection. Classic even unto its titular wordplay, “Leave No Cross Unturned” shifts back to its verse and chorus, layering clean vocals with screams in the chorus before running through once more at top speed and finally ending with the slower, groovier progression that showed up earlier as contrast, presumably donated by Nocturno Culto. Ending there, Darkthrone make a final statement no less present in its volume than anything prior on The Underground Resistance, affirming this next stage in their evolution with a big rock finish that’s as much a middle finger to anyone who might’ve thought they knew what Darkthrone would do next as anything on F.O.A.D. ever was. As with any band who’ve ever managed to last as long as Darkthrone has, their fans will likely divide into factions loyal to one era or another, but in their latest work, Darkthrone show themselves not only to still be driving toward territory not yet covered over the course of their career, but doing so in a vital manner worthy of the influence their music and their attitude has had on the international underground. Whatever The Underground Resistance might lead to, the only safe presumption is that Darkthrone

won’t give a fuck what you think of it. - The Obelisk, http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2013/03/05/darkthrone-the-underground-resistance-review/#sthash.uaWlnpeF.dpuf

When you think of Darkthrone, you think of fun, right? If you scoffed, guffawed, or simply disagreed, don't worry-- you're safely in the majority. The Norwegian band are best known, of course, for what their 1999 album labeled "ravishing grimness"-- savage, belligerent, and unfiltered black metal, epitomized by a blitz of icy hot classics that started with 1992's A Blaze in the Northern Sky and end, depending upon your stance on Second Wave orthodoxy and eclecticism, sometime just before or after the turn of the millennium. They're the dudes that epitomized ghoulish corpsespaint covers, brandished the credo "True Norwegian Black Metal," and fended off Aryan allegations as Varg Vikernes headed to jail. So, no, maybe fun isn't the first adjective Darkthrone conjures.

But it's hard to imagine two middle-aged men having more fun than Fenriz and Nocturno Culto-- the band's lone multi-instrumentalists, songwriters, and singers for two decades now-- do on The Underground Resistance, their inescapably enthusiastic 16th studio album. Darkthrone long ago gave up on black metal, turning instead to an open-ended and unmitigated interest in recombining the metal they loved as kids: thrash and crust punk, high-flying British metal and blustery hardcore. Those influences were always tucked within Darkthrone's most famous albums, but lately they've given over to them entirely. The simple joy of these influences is the thread that ties together The Underground Resistance, an album about unfit enemies and deserved death that nevertheless delights in its own music-making élan. Darkthrone's already been involved in a movement that revolutionized heavy metal both sonically and stylistically; The Underground Resistance, then, is simply the latest and most propulsive homage to the bands that sparked that revolution for them.

In the early days of Darkthrone, Fenriz didn't give many interviews, or at least he didn't say much in them. These days, though, he writes liner notes in which he conveys his influences and intentions. And his Metal Band of the Week blog advocates for young acts he likes and older acts he thinks went overlooked. He's made up for that early media quiet by seemingly giving interviews to most anyone who has asked. In doing so, he's often surprised journalists with his forthrightness and humor. "Isn't it normal to want to communicate your life's work?” he asked That’s How Kids Die, questioning those surprised by his newfound verbosity. For a guy who once posed in corpsepaint, he sure uses a lot of emoticons and knows a lot about Pink Panther.

But Fenriz rightly insists that there's not a lot of humor in Darkthrone's new music. (With a song sporting a name like "Leave No Cross Unturned", though, there is certainly some.) Still, The Underground Resistance flaunts the sort of vigor you'd expect from old friends out to have a good time: "Dead Early" is a menacing five-minute race that suggests Motörhead loaded on piss and vinegar, while the relentless chug of "Lesser Men" pogoes from circle-pit invocations to head-down, horns-up headbanging. "Valkyrie" begins with a classic doom feint, craggy acoustic guitars introducing a riff that unfurls over cascading drums. They return to that slow burn for the coda, but the middle is all blustery thrash, with Fenriz chasing himself in circles behind the drums while his falsetto peaks above the din. The album's real clincher, "Come Warfare, the Entire Doom", is a series of swivels and sprints, once again teasing doom before harnessing the band’s death metal past in an eight-minute anthem. The aforementioned "Leave No Cross Unturned", the disc's 14-minute finale and the longest song ever in the Darkthrone catalog, confirms the band’s gumption to simply go for anything. They hint at Saxon and Maiden with operatic vocals and an incredibly sharp hook and then at punk with the blissfully simple but successful outro. What’s more, Fenriz and Nocturnal Culto even circle back toward their weighty black metal reputation with the blanket of serrated guitars near the song’s start. A few minutes later, Fenriz howls from some deep abyss. In turn, they leave no relevant idea unturned.

Fenriz and Nocturno Culto own one of the great unimpeachable brands in all of heavy metal, and they've protected it not by limiting it but by letting it expand and fluctuate as need be. Rather than retread what's made them famous, Darkthrone have continually confirmed their status by refusing to kowtow to old expectations. They don't play live, and they don't depend on this band for their income; therefore, they don’t need this band to sound like it did it 1993 so they can cash in on the past rather than risk their image on the present. Amid tides of ceaseless band reunions and reissues that more often than not repeat what we already knew, Darkthrone in 2013 find themselves in an extremely enviable position because they have done exactly what they've wanted. Legends encumbered by being legends, they stick true to the title of The Underground Resistance-- they are two veterans having fun by continuing to play like they're carefree teenage rebels. - Grayson Currin, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/17642-darkthrone-the-underground-resistance/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:13 (seven years ago) link

Maybe I didn't start too early. no buggers around later either! Glad we're not finishing today haha

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:25 (seven years ago) link

I was one of the 12 people called to be interviewed by judge and lawyers first. I simply expressed an opinion that Chiroprctors are quacks and I was one of the few not picked YAY. At lunch still supposed to report back to room after blah

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:26 (seven years ago) link

so hes avoided jury duty in the trial of the great chiropractor massacre of 2013

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:34 (seven years ago) link

sidenote : 'buggers' = my fave swearword, glad to see i'm not the only person who uses it ..

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:58 (seven years ago) link

13 Avatarium - Avatarium, 613 Points, 16 Votes, One #1
#39 Metal Hammer

"Boneflower" - http://youtu.be/PsGErp0xLnA
"Moonhorse" - http://youtu.be/GWuGTYiQs8U

Upon the release of Candlemass’s eleventh album, Leif Edling, came forth with a bitter announcement in regards to the future of the band. Psalms for the Dead would be their last studio album. I must admit, the news affected me greatly. I felt disappointment, but I understood the reasons behind this unexpected decision. Still, it wasn’t easy to accept it. The delicate nature of my character was the cause for my provisional grief. For some reasons, I use to rely my huge expectations and trust on older bands and I receive all the newcomers with skepticism and doubt. So when the news about Edling’s participation in a new project spread out, I took them with a grain of salt.

So, Leif closed the book on Candlemass, what is he up to now ? If your assumption is “more Epic Doom Metal”, then you estimated correctly. And it doesn’t come as huge surprise since this man has the style of Doom into his blood. For this album, Edling paid a long-awaited visit to his first years as a professional musician. He drew inspiration from the very first albums he wrote while he was on Candlemass and decided to re-define the powerful, Unholy sounds of Damnation. He aimed on bringing back the powerful tales of epic poetry of the first four Candlemass records. However, you must bear in mind that Avatarium’s debut is NOT another album from the said group. And that is a good thing, because with that direction, the project was bound to failure from the very first day of its conception. For his venture into this tour de force, Leif teamed up with a bunch of very talented musicians. Apart from Edling on his acquainted role, we’ve got percussionist Lars Skold (Tiamat), keyboardist Carl Westhom, (Candlemass), guitarist Marcus Jidell (Evergrey) and vocalist extraordinaire Jennie-Ann Smith.

The album itself can be analyzed as a mixture of good ol’ Epic Doom Metal with Classic Rock influences and varied references, from the Psychedelic music of the late 60’s to Rainbow and to Blue Oyster Cult. An explosive compound which is scoped and developed under the aegis of the Doom Metal genre. And what would be Doom Metal without riffs ? Edling knows that all too well and as an expert in this field, he deliver some of his best ideas. The result of his collaboration with Jidell is magnificent. At first I felt worried by the fact that there is no second guitarist in the band, an omission that could lead to inefficient results. You can’t have Doom Metal with feeble guitar work. After listening to the first three songs, I ruled these worries out. Heavier than a tombstone, the guitar annihilates everything in its path. For example, the introductory riffs of Moonhorse and Avatarium spread utter devastation. The density that comes out of the guitar is crushingly impeccable. The riffs have the size of an elephant. The solos on the other side are melodic and painful. But truly, what won my attention in the first place, was the combination of these monstrous riffs with the softer, acoustic parts and interludes. The above-mentioned influences are diffused among the tracks, forming a wall of medieval sounds that encircle the album completely. For example, Moonhorse features a haunting slide solo that may remind you of Blackmore’s work in Rising. Lady In The Lamp is one of the best closing ballads I have heard in a while, yet another reference on Blackmore’s group, as it may retell you the story of the ballad Rainbow Eyes. After the first couple of listens, it becomes clear that the band was aiming for an approach where emotion comes before technicality.

Further on, the album has two sides. One side that is heavy, and another side that is softer. If Edling and Jidell are responsible for the heavy parts, Jennie-Ann Smith is responsible for the soft side by bringing expressiveness and further emotion. Where the album surprises is not in the excellent work of the instruments, but in the presence of an amazing vocalist. Smith is the revelation of Avatarium. With her impulsive performance, Smith navigates perfectly the crushing sounds and brings the necessary equilibrium. If you need a detailed description of her voice, you will need a lot of adjectives. Emotional, fragile, powerful, seductive, divine are only some of the words I could use to describe her. Listeners should avoid the chance of looking for similarities between Smith and other famous female metal singers, for they'll find none. Smith doesn't possess the trademark operatic vocals, for which many female-fronted metal bands are known for and that's for a good reason. Edling wasn't looking for that sort of thing. He wanted a vocalist with a bluesy tone and the choice of recruiting Smith was spot on. There were times when Smith reminded me of Janis Joplin. “Outrageous”, some of you may say. But honestly, to me, it is as Joplin was reborn inside Smith’s body. She is the key that holds Avatarium's independence and the main reason the band doesn't sound as a caricature of Candlemass. When it comes to singing, Jennie-Ann Smith is quite simply the biggest newcomer of this year.

Leif Edling proved once again why he is considered one of the biggest figures in the Doom Metal community. As a fine example of a good working man, Edling’s creative and troubled mind couldn’t sit tight during his post-Candlemass era. He was quickly looking for a new field. But never in a million years had I expected him to make such triumphant return. It requires some special skills in order to take all the old tricks -the melancholic atmosphere, the riffs, the moods, the melodies- and re-introduce them in such a way to create something that sounds so refreshing and outstanding. Edling has simply outdone himself. Taking sides with a fantastic crew, Edling had a good chance to step out of the boundaries of Candlemass and further develop his ideas towards new directions. A magnificent debut, quite possibly his best work since Nightfall. - John Marinakis, Sputnik, http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/59656/Avatarium-Avatarium/

It’s impossible to listen to anything new that emanates from the darkness of Leif Edling’s cranium without a lingering prayer that it is going to be as earth-shatteringly awesome as his 1980s masterpieces. In 1984, Edling’s formative band Nemesis released the landmark ‘Day of Retribution’ EP, and he spent the next decade or so perfecting his art through Candlemass’ Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, Nightfall, etc. While Edling has never ventured a million miles from the doom metal framework that he was so instrumental in defining, during the intervening years the unassuming Swedish bass player has tried to push out the boat with varying degrees of success.

Alongside him in his latest venture’s line-up are guitarist Marcus Jidell (Evergrey), drummer Lars Skold (Tiamat), long-time collaborator Carl Westholm on keyboards and the relatively unheralded Jennie-Ann Smith behind the mic. We have to dispute the assertion that this is a kind of all-star doom supergroup. This is not some Scott Weinrich/Matt Pike/Bill Ward fantasy project; this is a real band and it’s trademark Edling through and through.

With Edling, Jidell and Skold delivering typically mid-weight doom with an easy confidence and precision, and Westholm lighting up the northern skies with his dazzling keyboard creativity, all eyes are on Smith to get the vocals right. She has a sweet, bluesy voice, but she sounds almost too fragile to express the emotional depth required of the genre. That said, it is a pleasure to listen to her sing, and there are times when she soars like Messiah Marcolin being fired out of (a very big) cannon.


It is difficult to shake the sense that some of the tracks on Avatarium’s self-titled debut are simply discarded Candlemass demos that have been spun in a tombola. The opener ‘Moonhorse’ for example, is a pretty obvious latter-day Edling effort which suffers from a slightly jumbled stop-start arrangement. These problems show up elsewhere, too, such as on ‘Boneflower’, despite its Trouble-ish vibe and big chorus, and it’s strange that these were the tracks used to promote the album.

Strange because there are stronger songs elsewhere. ‘Bird of Prey’ is a cohesive and hugely enjoyable doom romp, safely within the Edling framework but no less pleasing for that fact. Likewise, the title track ‘Avatarium’ – which deploys standard spooky organ backing and swirling vocals – grows into a hypnotising carousel of a song, while ‘Pandora’s Egg’ (with its hilariously moreish “egg of evil” chorus) is a tasty lump of hard-boiled metal. Closing track ‘Lady In The Lamp’ provides a glimpse of what the band’s future might hold, featuring patient acoustic strumming and gentle keyboard caressing before finally unleashing a last-minute blast of Rainbow-coloured epicness that leaves you gasping for more.

Hopefully there will be lots more to come from Avatarium. Their debut album is strong and interesting, and it’s easy to imagine a hundred ways in which they develop and experiment further to concoct something even more magical. It sounds almost churlish to suggest, but perhaps Edling – now 50 – is rediscovering his youthful zest. Some of the lyrics on ‘Avatarium’ certainly hark back to childhood, and there are hints of older influences such as Blue Oyster Cult.

There is something exciting about seeing someone who has created so much great doom metal still searching for new pathways through the gloom. Is this as good as ‘Ancient Dreams’? Of course not, but maybe it’s time for some New Dreams. - DoomMetalHeaven, http://doommetalheaven.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/album-review-avatarium/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:00 (seven years ago) link

excellent album by the main man in Candlemass (he writes all the Candlemass songs) surprised it's placed so high but well done ILM

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:01 (seven years ago) link

ok, beastmilk needs a uk release.

would buy.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:09 (seven years ago) link

i think i should have listened more to inquisition, i liked it but it felt like a touch less awesome than 'ominous doctrines'. yet now and then 'obscure verses' gets to a point where you're like, fuck yeah holy shit.

j., Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:14 (seven years ago) link

god bless that fuckin robot toad

j., Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:17 (seven years ago) link


lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:23 (seven years ago) link

i realise this is a bad bad thing to say, but i would never have classed beastmilk as metal.

(and yes, that review explains why it is .. but still .. )

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:25 (seven years ago) link

12 Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess, 615 Points, 15 Votes, One #1
#23 Terrorizer, #18 PopMatters, #34 Pitchfork


I watched a drug deal unfold two feet away from me at a bus stop next to the del Norte Bay Area Rapid Transit station at 10:30am on a Friday morning. The act was recklessly flagrant – not even half-hidden behind the back – and it was openly observed by myself and three other strangers who had the unfortunate distinction of being in a public place at the wrong time. What really stuck with me, however, was the fact that it all went down while "Enthroned in Clouds and Fire (The Great Cleansing)" drifted into my ears through my headphones:

"When money turns to iron and our misery burns red
When two hundred gulden cannot buy a loaf of bread
When the heavy-handed lord arrives and skins his folk alive
When laws are made that none obey – the Great Cleansing is near."

Even if bedlam isn't happening directly outside your front door, all one need do is watch the national news for ten minutes in order to quickly become overwhelmed with frustrated feelings of "where the Hell have we all gone wrong?" At this point, I think I'd actually feel an odd sense of relief if some "great cleansing" were truly at hand. And a tune like "Enthroned in Clouds and Fire" that beautifully melds metal designs from Hammerheart era Bathory and Manowar's Into Glory Ride serves as an ideal accomplice to that end.

Now from the close of the Hippolytian "Heresiarch (Thousandfaced Moon)":

"Oh Thousandfaced Moon, oh doom of lost Atalant
Wading 'mid corpses - through cities of dust
Oh monarch of mayhem, oh mind-reaping messenger
Rise from the dirges and wailing of psalms
Oh pestilent force, burst forth from the tombs of space
To rave and to rape and to rip and to rend."

Another lengthy tune, this time heralding the arrival of "the unholy stalker among the lambs," and set to a blueprint of Spectre Within/Awaken the Guardian, but with a grimmer, doomier stance. Stretched, glassy, and crushingly majestic – it's a heretical conclusion that slowly consumes the listener over the course of its towering eleven minutes.

This is the general Atlantean Kodex design: to deliver extended, epic heavy doom metal that's stubbornly (and willingly) rooted in the past – both lyrically and musically. And boosting the ante even higher, the band delivers their brand in a decidedly intelligent style. Sure, it's satisfying to rely on our genre when we're struck with the mood to cruelly or evilly clout heads, but a cursory glance at the way the lyrics for The White Goddess flow makes a strong case for this being heavy metal's equivalent to an epic Greek poem. Mithraism, the roots of Europe, and the "White Goddess of birth, love and death" are also spun into the yarn. In this regard, Atlantean Kodex stands as the sort of band that spurns the digital age because the complete package is only fully realized with lyric sheet (and artwork) in hand. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if The White Goddess inspired some to research unfamiliar grounds further, and that's a rare beauty in music today.

Infectious choruses, heavy galloping, and sweeping leads (the midpoint of "Sol Invictus" and the 3-minute mark of "Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown": pant-soilingly epic) – The White Goddess is a masterful look at how to innovatively advance antediluvian metal principles into a modern work of epic grandeur. If we must begrudgingly take a front-row seat to the decaying "progression" of civilization, why not watch the curtain fall while listening to something that makes you feel as if you're soaring above the collapse.
A clear contender for album of the year. - Michael Wuensch, Last Rites, http://lastrit.es/reviews/7102/atlantean-kodex-the-white-goddess-(a-grammar-of-poetic-myth)#sthash.xSDnFz8V.dpuf

The White Goddess by Atlantean Kodex is one of those albums that comes around every so often which, thanks to label affiliation, press buzz or a combination of the two, reaches a wide audience of people who ordinarily wouldn’t listen to anything like it. Atlantean Kodex play German power metal, full stop. They’re also likely to find their way onto the year-end lists of plenty of people who can’t name two albums by Blind Guardian or Gamma Ray. (Likewise, the record will probably be ignored by many of the hordes of people who purchase Nightwish CDs.)

This broad reach isn’t Atlantean Kodex’s fault; nor is it the fault of 20 Buck Spin, their Stateside label. (Ván Records is handling the release in Europe.) In truth, it’s not even a problem. But the Internet has bred an increasingly contentious relationship between old-school heshers (who would have sought this album out and eaten it up regardless of its presence on the cool blogs) and younger fans with more extreme tastes. That relationship turns albums that should unite metalheads into battlefields, which, true to the hyperbole tossed around in such discussions, must make The White Goddess Gettysburg. In reality, Atlantean Kodex have just made an interesting record that is worth listening to, but also one that isn’t quite as good as its most ardent defenders would have you believe.

The first thing that leaps out about The White Goddess is the length of its songs. Interludes aside, its tracks weigh in at 10:55, 11:10, 7:44, 9:55 and 11:22, without much inflation from orchestral intros or ambient noodling. These are just long fucking songs — not because they comprise lots of parts, but because Markus Becker has a lot to sing about and Michael Koch and Manuel Trummer want to play a lot of guitar solos. That isn’t to say there’s fat which the band should’ve trimmed, as their songwriting instincts are impeccable. For those who don’t listen to a lot of music with high, clean male vocals, though, Becker’s incredibly earnest delivery of his fantasy-novel lyrics can grate when heard for over an hour.

Luckily, Becker’s earnestness is consistent with the entire Atlantean Kodex experience. The White Goddess doesn’t scan as cheese because it refuses to consider itself with anything less than total seriousness. This approach is most impressive on “Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown (An Anthem For Europe),” which recounts military exploits from Aeneas to Winston Churchill, all watched over by an unnamed war goddess on a white bull. Without the band fully buying in, the center wouldn’t hold, but thanks to the insistent tempo, Koch and Trummer’s elegantly constructed guitar parts, and Becker’s unique voice, the result is a mighty, melodic fusion of While Heaven Wept and Savatage. Other songs suffer from a lack of true hooks, a fatal shortcoming when every song lives and dies by its vocalist. (I couldn’t tell you what “Enthroned in Clouds and Fire (The Great Cleansing)” sounds like after a half dozen listens.) Still, the majority of the album works, and it’s at any rate a huge step up from the band’s fairly nondescript debut, The Golden Bough.

The length of the songs, the grandeur of the lyrics, and the triumphal tone of the guitars have resulted in a lot of listeners trying to sneak around the whole power metal thing by calling The White Goddess “epic heavy metal.” I suppose that’s apt, even if the last thing we need is one more officially agreed upon metal subgenre. I still can’t help but read the use of that euphemism as shame. Power metal is as uncool a genre as there is, so there’s an instinct to hide from it when it does something awesome. Maybe simply calling Atlantean Kodex what they are — an excellent German power metal band — will start to turn the tides, and we won’t have to act so shocked the next time an album like this comes along. - Invisible Oranges, http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2013/10/atlantean-kodex-the-white-goddess/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:36 (seven years ago) link

Another terrific album.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:36 (seven years ago) link

Beastmilk album basically (whisper it) like that Horrors album (but, overall, better)


lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:41 (seven years ago) link

which horrors album ?

i have the garage/cramps one, and the simple minds one ..


mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:42 (seven years ago) link

feel like Beastmilk's metal classification was sort of conceptually assisted by the trend of bands hybridizing metal with gothier post punk vibes

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:44 (seven years ago) link

the second one xp

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:44 (seven years ago) link


and being metal musicians releasing an album on a metal label. It was metal dudes go goth/post-punk while Vaura was more Post-punk/goths go metal.
(imago/djp did you check out that Vaura album that placed earlier?)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:48 (seven years ago) link

I don't consider Beastmilk metal, but I also voted for it in the Pazz & Jop. Great, great record.

glenn mcdonald, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:49 (seven years ago) link

Beastmilk also helped by having some metal musicians in their ranks.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:51 (seven years ago) link

I wouldn't consider Beastmilk metal either. Metal lists tend to be a little more inclusive than others, it seems, especially when things like Ulver and Earth end up on them. Works for me, there's a similar "heaviness" to that music, even if it's not metal.

Why metal-archives doesn't allow Dillinger Escape Plan is a mystery, however. But I digress.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:51 (seven years ago) link

I think it was Adrien who tipped me off about Beastmilk. Definitely an album that would appeal to non-metallers.

Glenn what did you think of Vaura?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:52 (seven years ago) link

imago : ahh .. thats one i dont have. been on my list ever since. will get it at some point.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:52 (seven years ago) link

xp AG and EZ yeah that kind of tribal classification seems to be all that really matters

fortunately it also feels heavier than basically any post punk revival stuff of the last decade

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:53 (seven years ago) link

beastmilk muuuuuch better than vaura imo

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:54 (seven years ago) link

"Metal lists tend to be a little more inclusive than others, it seems, "

this is clearly the case.

given that i am anything but a metalhead, its weird for me to be enjoying stuff on the metal lists more than anything on any other lists.

3 of my fave 2013 albums were by 'metal' bands : uncle acid, qotsa, ghost.

have to say i am loving learning more.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:55 (seven years ago) link

it's funny bc i also don't consider myself a metalhead but there's always a lot of crossover to stuff i love so i end up participating in ilx metal community (tho it seems these days like rolling stoner metal is more my speed than rolling promo metal)

Mordy , Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:56 (seven years ago) link

the days of metal fans only listening to metal are kinda gone though. yeah it exists for some but not like it was say pre-grunge. all the black metal fans i know love aphex twin.

I think heavy or extreme metal fans dig anything heavy or extreme not just heavy guitar stuff.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:57 (seven years ago) link

hell , even back in the 90s Terrorizer gave a front cover to diamanda galas, swans and a bunch of industrial bands with no guitars. Not sure the readers warmed to Cubanate mind you hahaha

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:58 (seven years ago) link

I'm the opposite of imago. I think the Beastmilk is a sad retread of post-punk I didn't much like in the first place, and Vaura is an engaging hybrid.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:00 (seven years ago) link

Last one for today coming up...

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:00 (seven years ago) link

also re Vaura, Hufnagel is a metal dude so they're not that different from Beastmilk

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:07 (seven years ago) link

vaura also had toby driver on bass apparently, not that this made it any better. also lol where's hubardo on this countdown oh wait it's not very good. raise yr game driver

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:09 (seven years ago) link

and guess what's up next....

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:12 (seven years ago) link

at this rate and what is included ..

umm ..

arcade fire ?

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:14 (seven years ago) link

If it's something Hufnagel-related, I'm guessing it's my #1.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:18 (seven years ago) link

aw man I hope not, too low

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:19 (seven years ago) link

will give vaura 1 more go

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:21 (seven years ago) link

11 Kylesa - Ultraviolet, 637 Points, 18 Votes, One #1

#22 Decibel, #28 Rock-A-Rolla, #15 Obelisk readers, #37 Captain Beyond Zen, #8 Stoner HiVe, #328 Pazz & Jop

coverkillernation review - http://youtu.be/KhKT43JT67g

Kylesa have always been a moving target. Since their inception, the Savannah, Ga., group has translated instability into energy, outlasting membership changes and tragedies to create strange and compelling stylistic welds. During the last decade, they’ve shouldered themselves nominally somewhere between sludge metal and psychedelic rock, but those terms are simply outsider touchstones for Kylesa’s brilliant internal turbidity. Indeed, their music is a mix of hardcore force and pop approachability, narcotic textures and double-drummer thunder. They are less defined by any one of those elements than the way they treat them as critical components within a grand crucible, parts meant to be steadily whisked into an alchemic whole. To wit, when Brooklyn Vegan asked frontman Phillip Cope to list his favorite songs of the year in 2010, he named the usual suspects and stylistic peers (Torche, High on Fire) alongside dream-state indie rock (Beach House), insurgent post-punk garage rock (Abe Vigoda), and bands that, like Kylesa, still get dubbed metal because of heavy pedigrees and references (Alcest). This variety has long served Kylesa well, too, pushing them toward wider acceptance even as they’ve redoubled their strange syntheses.

After a string of LPs that have consistently found Kylesa fortifying these wayward genre aggregations, Ultraviolet-- their sixth album and second for Season of Mist-- is an unexpected misstep. At first, Ultraviolet might feel passive or polite, as though Kylesa is the metal band auditioning for a roster spot on Sub Pop or Merge. There’s a slow-burning ballad, a straightforward charge or two, and at least one tune that stretches shoegaze reverie over quickly flickering riffs. It’s as if they’ve tempered their approach, eliminating the exciting outliers of their toolkit to arrive at a hard rock album that sounds standard enough to be safe. Past Kylesa albums have felt alternately like bulldozers and magnets; Ultraviolet often feels only like another middling record.

But the problem is that Kylesa have actually let their genre pillaging overtake their actual songcraft-- that is, in trying to give the psychedelic, shoegaze and jam band aspects of their sound more room within the spotlight, they’ve created a mess that sometimes seems rudderless. The first three tracks, for instance, feel like a non-navigable maze with no steady vectors or outlined intentions: Opener “Exhale” shortchanges a great hook from Laura Pleasants with verses that don’t support the same weight and an instrumental breakdown that simply stalls the song. “Unspoken” hides behind an unnecessary 80-second introduction and subsequently plunges into an unremarkable and overly long solo, with Cope dancing around the impressive groove as though he’s ashamed of its simplicity. And during “Grounded”, Cope drowns many of his own vocals in effects, hiding them behind the wallop like coded messages. Likewise, Pleasants harmonizes the chorus with herself, singing in a round that distracts from the song’s sizzling riff. Time and again, from start to finish, Ultraviolet pauses to concede to such extraneous effects and rockpiled elements, as if Kylesa have finally made the mistake of brandishing their eccentricity rather than simply thriving on it. Ultraviolet rarely feels singular or confident; it’s the sound of a band attempting to underline its claims to distinction.But when Kylesa allows those extrinsic factors to emphasize their momentum rather than detract from it, they are unstoppable: “We’re Taking This”, for instance, is a monstrous flogging, with guitars that twist like rusty corkscrews, drums that push ahead like a cavalcade, and a refrain that feels like a battle cry. Thing is, all of Kylesa’s itinerant weirdness is here, too-- guitars that suddenly warp out of time, drums that pull back enough to give the textures space, and backmasked harmonies that swirl around Cope’s lead like vapor trails. The same holds for the two-minute bruiser “What Does it Take”, which gallops from the gates and doesn’t pull up until the next song begins. But Kylesa shoehorns a kaleidoscopic guitar solo into the tune and saturate the space between the drums and the vocals with guitar effects, not a central riff. “Low Tide,” the album’s best surprise, is a drifting, magnetic ballad; overactive bass, distant harmonies, and streaks of soft guitar noise create an impressionistic web for its starry-eyed hook. In all three instances, Kylesa’s disparate strains work together to create the same inexorable sense of euphoria that unites most of the band’s influences, if no longer their entire catalog. Kylesa albums once seemed cut instantly from whole cloth. Despite its highs, Ultraviolet is a patchwork of arduousness, with some seams still showing. - Brandon Stusoy, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18057-kylesa-ultraviolet/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:22 (seven years ago) link

10-1 will be posted tomorrow. Will start later - around 4pm UK time

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:22 (seven years ago) link

Oh, them. I need to catch up with Kylesa. I have their first three but my enthusiasm sort of petered out a few years ago.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:23 (seven years ago) link

Album results (so far) playlist

please subscribe

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:23 (seven years ago) link

xp well this sounds nothing like the first albums especially iirc

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:24 (seven years ago) link

That review did not incline me to catch up with them after all.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:25 (seven years ago) link

fwiw i am enjoying Vaura a damn sight more the second time around

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:26 (seven years ago) link

you cant judge albums after only 1 or 2 listens

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:27 (seven years ago) link

Trust my review then

it's good

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:28 (seven years ago) link

"This is not some Scott Weinrich/Matt Pike/Bill Ward fantasy project"

That would be fucking awesome.

Prince Kajuku (Bill Magill), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:32 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:34 (seven years ago) link

Well the guys in Beastmilk were indeed sad, at least with S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder), according to the interview in Decibel that I read in the courtroom. I'm surprised no one pointed out their many similarities (vocal, etc) to Interpol, heh. But there are not so many sad retreads in metal as much as genuine tributes. Guess it all comes down to which genres you prefer bands pay tribute to.

I finally got to leave court. I was worried the defending attorney would want to pick me because I said it's an abuse of the legal system to treat it like the lottery with ridiculous awards of millions of dollars for minor injuries in an accident where no fault was proven either side. However he asked potential jurors about their hobbies. I said running, writing about music, concerts and worshiping Satan. No I didn't say the last part. However I think it's a way they try to judge to see how easily they can manipulate jurors, which is why they don't like people who are too educated or intellectually engaged. Good thing to keep in mind if you don't want to get stuck in several week trial and perhaps even have to get sequestered.

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:35 (seven years ago) link

I like some of the psychedelic tendencies on the last couple Kylesa albums, but would prefer a bit more psych and less sludge. Maybe the next album.

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:38 (seven years ago) link

i got the impression some folk thought there was too much psych and not enough sludge

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:40 (seven years ago) link

hang on f-n-b ..
is court thing a job, or, a temp jury service kind of groove ?
ps. i like what i have heard of kylesa, but i love psych.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:42 (seven years ago) link

Just now listening to a little Beastmilk; p cool

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:48 (seven years ago) link

But there's no shortage of sludge! I would have expected Beastwars, Celeste and Jucifer to do better.

mark - In the U.S. all citizens are obligated to do jury duty no more than once a year if they are randomly picked. I've gotten the notices nearly every year the past 6 years, while my wife has never gotten the letter. She wishes she could do it but I hate it.

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:48 (seven years ago) link

same in uk.
so far, despite my age, i have never been called up for jury duty.

mark e, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:51 (seven years ago) link

Album I'm surprised hasn't placed yet = Shooting Guns

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link


the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link

Really what wore thin with me about Kylesa was the monotonous, shouty singing style. Musically they didn't change much over the first 3 albums so I guess I have at least a widened musical palette to look forward to.

Also, this countdown is sort of fun, thanks for doing it. I should probably shut off the Finnish black metal and avail myself of the opportunity to check out what I've missed.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 20:52 (seven years ago) link

They change up the vocals some, but could still improve in that area.

Other thoughts, glad to see Avatarium high up, since it's release seemed kind of under the radar at first. The band is Leif and Carl from Candlemass, Lars from Tiamat and Marcus from Evergrey, who I'm not familiar with. Jennie-Ann Smith mainly sang blues and jazz previously.

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:00 (seven years ago) link

vaura losing its appeal towards the end of the album. when yer doin metal/postpunk crossovers it's not like yer really going for avantgarde complexity, so may as well make it as propulsive and fiery as you can. vaura fudge it ever so slightly by trying to keep it black metal. a bit of a cake that's been had, eaten and corpsepainted

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:02 (seven years ago) link

fwiw Evergrey had at least one really good album in them, In Search of Truth -- dark and moody power metal with a gruff baritone on vox, kind of a rarity. Supposedly Recreation Day was good too.

Devilock, Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:08 (seven years ago) link

Pinkish Black, now THIS is more like it

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:15 (seven years ago) link

i played the kylesa record quite a bit when it came out cos i really liked the noisiness and the shoutiness of it - reminded me a bit of unwound. did end up getting a bit bored of it though

tench and pike, scaup and snipe (NickB), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:17 (seven years ago) link

imago does it pass your art school qualifications test? :P

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:24 (seven years ago) link


lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:29 (seven years ago) link

Pinkish Black album is fantastic. Lots of points for that one in both polls

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Thursday, 16 January 2014 21:47 (seven years ago) link

Got My Vote

19 Ghost - Infestissumam, 502 Points, 15 Votes
17 Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork, 557 Points, 15 Votes, One #1
14 Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance, 597 Points, 17 Votes

Need to check out

20 Summoning - Old Mornings Dawn, 500 Points, 14 Votes
18 Beastmilk - Climax, 529 Points, 15 Votes, One #1
16 Hell - Curse And Chapter, 560 Points, 14 Votes, One, #1
15 Nails - Abandon All Life, 561 Points, 16 Votes, One #1
12 Atlantean Kodex - The White Goddess, 615 Points, 15 Votes, One #1
11 Kylesa - Ultraviolet, 637 Points, 18 Votes, One #1

That Hell video is amazing... And I am intrigued by the Beastmilk based on the love here.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:01 (seven years ago) link

At this point I feel weird talking about Pinkish Black, but I'm happy every time I see someone is enjoying it.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:05 (seven years ago) link

Did you work on that album?

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:06 (seven years ago) link

No, they've just become close friends.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:09 (seven years ago) link

get 'em on ilx haha

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:24 (seven years ago) link

I think heavy or extreme metal fans dig anything heavy or extreme not just heavy guitar stuff.

This is the case for me, but I also like non-extreme stuff. My friends who were big into death metal in college were also into power electronics and stuff like Venetian Blinds. Noise d00ds I guess?

Very glad Avatarium placed so well. I'm gonna have to check Vaura out since it's getting so much talk on this thread.

Viceroy, Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:24 (seven years ago) link

I started that Vaura album, and as soon as I got to the vocals it just made me want to listen to Killing Joke. So now I am.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:30 (seven years ago) link

silence, then bonus track = bumping u down 2 spaces in my mainpoll ballot pinkish black sorry

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:47 (seven years ago) link

them's the rules

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:48 (seven years ago) link


Mordy , Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:49 (seven years ago) link

Listen to the LP version. The record company cut it off.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:54 (seven years ago) link

o ok

mordy! why this outburst

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Thursday, 16 January 2014 22:56 (seven years ago) link

Acoustic doom. Avatarium rehearsing "Moonhorse" - http://youtu.be/o_4Zu40lqRk

I got my CD in the mail yesterday, disappointed the "War Pigs" cover wasn't included.

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 00:13 (seven years ago) link

Interesting countdown so far.
Surprised to see Ghost on it at all. People actually liked that album eh?

Rocky (ku4u1u), Friday, 17 January 2014 01:24 (seven years ago) link


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 09:48 (seven years ago) link

Surprised there has been no top 10 predictions yet.

Who wants to see who guesses the order best?

You get 100 ilx cred points!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 10:21 (seven years ago) link

In Solitude, Carcass, Gorguts, Deafheaven, Subrosa, Lycus, Altar of Plagues, Ihsahn, Windhand, Melt Banana

Siegbran, Friday, 17 January 2014 11:25 (seven years ago) link

Carcass ftw

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 11:29 (seven years ago) link

I love guesses for the order of the top 10, More please!

Will be starting rollout at 4pm cuz noone was around when I started at 2 pm yesterday and viceroy and those not on west coast usa were still in bed.

Hopefully more will be around today and lots of comments because that is the best reward for running polls - seeing lots of posts. Love the top 10 predictions especially!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 12:02 (seven years ago) link

so am giving the Summoning one a go. The elves party opening track hasn't filled me with hope, and the "Casio keyboard drum machine playing the samba" on track 2 isn't helping.

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 14:10 (seven years ago) link

You haven't heard their previous albums then?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 14:24 (seven years ago) link


Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 14:27 (seven years ago) link

gave Hell a quick go too, not for me. Ghost are... okay? Swedish funfair metal.

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 14:28 (seven years ago) link

what didn't you like about Hell?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 15:11 (seven years ago) link

typewriter bass, everything sounded very shrill and trebly. I think I've tried and failed before.

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 15:12 (seven years ago) link

I've got almost the same as Siegbran but I'd wager Noisem makes it in too. Did people like Ihsahn that much? I guess I'd bet that and Altar of Plagues are more likely to make it than Lycus:

1. Carcass
2. Gorguts
3. Deafheaven
4. In Solitude
5. SubRosa
6. Altar of Plagues
7. Windhand
8. Noisem
9. Ihsahn
10. Melt-Banana

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Friday, 17 January 2014 15:25 (seven years ago) link

In Solitude will place higher than Deafheaven imo

Simon H., Friday, 17 January 2014 15:44 (seven years ago) link

Direct Link to poll recap & full results

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 15:45 (seven years ago) link

I haven't heard anything positive about Ihsahn's last two albums. Or three? Up til it got mentioned, I'd forgotten he had one this year.

As much as I'd love for Gorguts to be #1, I'm sure it will be Carcass. I'm bracing myself for Deafheaven to place higher than Gorguts, in fact.

Devilock, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:02 (seven years ago) link

ready to go? As always there's a spotify playlist to subscribe to

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:03 (seven years ago) link

10 Deafheaven - Sunbather, 666 Points, 18 Votes, 3 #1s


#2 Revolver, #11 Decibel, #1 SPIN, #13 PopMatters, #1 Stereogum, #2 Rock-A-Rolla, #4 MetalSucks, #3 MetalSucks musicians, #18 Obelisk, #1 Pitchfork, #17 Metal Hammer, #8 Terrorizer, #19 Pazz & Jop

EverythingBytes review - http://youtu.be/gzCHppOphlA

bum two from this 2010-formed San Fran crew, inked to Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish imprint, has already set itself ahead of the 2013 competition.

At the time of writing, ‘Sunbather’ has a Metacritic average score of 97 out of 100. If the year ended, now, it’d be the review-aggregator’s very best album of 2013, regardless of genre, several places ahead of celebrated records from The National, Daft Punk and Boards Of Canada.

So why is it that, until very recently, many in the Clash office had never heard of Deafheaven, let alone actually listened to the five-piece?

The Deathwish association is a clue: this is metal, and of a radar-bypassing variety too, the kind unlikely to ever connect with a mainstream chasing whatever’s hot or not in the Right Now to bump up web traffic.

Except, the reviews – those to have come before this one, and those that will inevitably follow it, as more are switched onto ‘Sunbather’ – have made these seven tracks a mainstream-piquing collection. At least in the sense that this extraordinary record’s makers find themselves in the position of now connecting to an audience that stretches beyond any singular, genre-specific listenership.

Wikipedia will tell you that Deafheaven operate in post-metal circles, exploring shoegaze and black metal styles, too. But the beauty – the ugly, violent, caressing, tumultuous wonder – of this set is that it simply doesn’t conform to any existing pigeonhole.
It’s loud. It can be extremely loud. Its vocals are screamed, almost wordless of delivery; yet they convey an undeniable emotion. The drums sound as if a thousand steeds are racing across the fiery planes of Hell, while above the crust splits to reveal an endless blue-blackness punctured by flaming stars.

This is an album defined by abstracts. Its constituents, broken down, do not add up to anything revolutionary. Vocalist George Clarke is resolutely of metal pedigree, his performances comparable with those of the aforementioned Converge frontman Bannon. (Naturally, these are the LP’s most-divisive element.) The music fluctuates between warm passages of post-rock-y introspection and all-out power dynamics, like Isis with the intensity ramped up past 11. Yet the assembly proves so electrifying that stepping away from a full play leaves one with the shakes.

‘Dream House’ sets an impressive precedent: nine minutes of roaring disharmony, somehow underpinned by a melodic consistency that keeps the piece from collapsing into itself. The title-cut is even more impressive: such does it turn and churn that it spits the listener out sick-giddy at the end of a no-punches-pulled 10 minutes.

‘Sunbather’ is arranged in a long song, short piece, long song order – the briefer pieces operating as bridges between the main attractions, the lengthiest of which is the opus-within-itself ‘Vertigo’, a full 14 minutes of rising to the highest heights before suicide-diving into a mountaintop.

But the relatively compact arrangements aren’t to be overlooked for the more overt drama surrounding them: ‘Windows’ is a beautiful drone accompanied by Bible readings, which feel right at home with the pervading post-apocalyptic vibes; and ‘Irresistible’ is just that, a chiming, Mogwai-like aside that sees its beauty rendered thrice over by juxtaposition with the raging fury foreshadowing it.

‘Sunbather’ has been cited as this year’s take on Swans’ masterful ‘The Seer’ (Clash review) – a heavy record for those who don’t usually get into heavy records. But it’s more than that. It’s a new blueprint, an album that takes metal into previously unexplored regions where raw heart and broken knuckles collide; where carnage plays out under heavenly vistas the mind’s eye paints in collaboration with the evolving epics contained herein.

It’s a bit bloody brilliant. A record everyone with half an experimental ear should experience, even if they run from it, screaming. So add another positive critique to the Metascore and let’s all slow-motion slam-dance in tears of togetherness. - Mike Diver, CLASH, http://www.clashmusic.com/reviews/deafheaven-sunbather

The pre-release buzz and acclaim surrounding Sunbather, the sophomore LP by the Bay Area “post-black metal” outfit Deafheaven, is surprising. Not because of the aesthetic merits of the album itself—put mildly, it’s as good, if not better, than everyone is saying it is—but because in its construction, it’s set to incite vitriol in the two camps it appeals to. On one end, there are those who have stuck around this long because of Deafheaven’s associations with the West Coast black metal scene, whose stylings are in full form on the band’s impressive 2011 debut Roads to Judah. Though there are plenty of heavy riffs and betwitched screams a la early ‘90s Norway, there’s plenty on Sunbather that’s bound to piss off those wishing to tag this group as black metal. The LP’s sleeve art is a striking, gorgeous pink, far from the imperceptible black-on-white band name decals that black metal is so famous for. Soft instrumental passages like “Irresistible” recall Explosions in the Sky, whose placid guitar technique (see the blueprint established by The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place) is not privy to harsh tremolo picking. Meanwhile, on the other end, there are those who are drawn to this album for its take on shoegaze and post-rock, i.e. the avid readers of indie e-zines. For all the things they might find appealing, they probably won’t be keen on George Clarke’s vocals, which never fall below a piercing screech.

Fortunately, as genres continue to meld and mold into each other, even ones previously thought irreconcilable, purists on either end will continue to lose relevance. This has proven to be especially the case for those in the black metal scene—for evidence of this, look to Burzum’s output over the past several years and the critical lambasting that followed. And, in the end, part of what makes Sunbather feel so definitive is how it pre-emptively cuts through this type of petty argumentation and asserts itself. Genre isn’t a preoccupation here. Talking about the album “as black metal” or “as post-rock”, while helpful to some extent, detracts from the fact that it isn’t laying down any new groundwork or upending any genre formulas. Sunbather in large part picks up where Souvenirs d’un autre monde and even 777—Cosmophy left off. But for all of the ways in which Deafheaven treads through old ground here, it’s made a work that both ousts Roads to Judah in overall excellence and further clarifies the uniqueness of its voice. Unlike the philosophically confrontational approach of Liturgy—who, for some strange reason, Deafheaven is often lumped together with—the musicians here are only concerned with sounding like what they want to sound like. The result is an unpretentious, lush, and emotionally devastating album that would be an impressive feat for anyone, let alone a group only on its second LP.

While Roads to Judah was an impressive point of entry for the band, with Sunbather the roughness present in the former has been ironed out and enhanced. Sharp, distinct guitar lines reminiscent of Mogwai have replaced the emphasis on texture on the debut, which drew inspiration from the layered approach of My Bloody Valentine. This undoubtedly was in part caused by the band’s cover of Mogwai’s “Punk Rock” and “Cody” for its split with fellow Bay Area metallers Bosse-de-Nage. There, as the group does on this LP, the mood of the songs is much less drenched in washes of guitar. Riffs and melodies are given space to say what they need to say without worry of being crowded out. It’s definitely a nice coincidence that the influence of the legendary Scottish post-rockers has become more prevalent in Deafheaven’s music; as the guitar tones become relatively cleaner and well defined, all of the other facets of the music are enhanced.

Contrast is the main constant on Sunbather. The album is sequenced in a long/short track arrangement. Clarke’s screams are put against beautiful, immaculate music and arrangements. Sunlight casts a shadow as dark as the star is bright. In a list like this, these choices seem easy enough, but when put all together into the hour-long opus that this record is, each contrast adds up to a resounding, crushing sound. As powerful a track as opener “Dream House” is, it’s even more powerful when followed by the elated optimism of “Irresistible”. The triumphant, 11-minute closer “The Pecan Tree”, while a harrowing thing in its own right, sinks its claws even deeper when led in with “Windows”, which juxtaposes a sample of a street preacher and a recording of guitarist Kerry McCoy purchasing drugs to a haunting effect. Even the title of the LP itself is a thing of duality; while most would not picture someone trying to tan as malicious, Deafheaven foresees the burn produced by the chipper sunlight. “I cried against an ocean of light,” Clarke screams, lamenting the false beauty of the titular figure.

Instrumentally, Sunbather is unassailable. McCoy’s guitar playing spans a broad spectrum of tones. The newest addition to the band, drummer Daniel Tracy, knows just when to stop the blastbeating and let the percussion chill out, a key skill necessary to maintain the ebb and flow that sustains these songs. But the central voice here is Clarke, whose lyrics and presence dominate the core of the music. His power here is at once ironic; whereas McCoy’s guitar tones span a broad tonal and emotional range, Clarke does nothing but scream. Unlike genre luminaries Alcest—whose frontman Neige appears here to give some spoken word beauty to “Please Remember”—there are no clean vocals to counterweigh the harsh passages. In terms of dynamics, Clarke is frequently overpowered by the music that backs him. Yet even in that push and pull, he marvelously captures the anguish that comes when flying too close to the sun, one of the core themes of the record. In final stanza of “Dream House”, where the album’s music is at its most epic, Clarke bellows a verbatim passage taken from a text message with a woman he was in love with:

“I’m dying.”
—“Is it blissful?”
“It’s like a dream.”
—“I want to dream.”

Even more soul-piercing are the last lines of “The Pecan Tree”, where Clarke lays the demons of his relationship with his father out in the open: “I am my father’s son / I am no one / I cannot love / It is in my blood.” The screams here aren’t just a means of expressing anguish; they also provide something like anonymity for a man who is putting bare some incredibly personal details about himself and his family. Moreover, Clarke knows exactly when to come in with the music; well over half of the album is instrumental, which makes his appearances in the songs like a perfectly portioned spice.

When I spoke with Clarke a few days before the record’s release, he said of its tone, “I think it’s all-encompassing; it’s both our darkest and our lightest work.” He couldn’t have summarized it any better. Sunbather really is the sound of a band that wants it all. Deafheaven takes heaviness and melodiousness hand in hand. It takes the sunlight and marries it to its corresponding darkness. It takes the West Coast black metal scene and draws it even closer to the hipsterdom that sends many metal fans into a frenzy. All of these dichotomies were already becoming less and less bifurcated prior to Sunbather‘s release, but Deafheaven has made a uniquely compelling case that these changes should be happening faster. It’s not an easy goal; of the many qualities this record possesses, “acquired taste” is one of them. The contours of the ever-shifting music and the depth of Clarke’s lyrics take their time to sink in. But give it time; sometimes the best music demands a lot of its listeners. Call it black metal, call it “post-black” metal, call it “hipster metal”, call it whatever you want. But Deafheaven’s audacity and artistry are hard to deny, which is but one of many reasons why Sunbather is an essential listen, and one of 2013’s boldest works of art. - Brice Ezell, PopMatters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/172379-deafheaven-sunbather/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:05 (seven years ago) link

Too high.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:06 (seven years ago) link

666 points!

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:08 (seven years ago) link

I just realized Rotting Christ never made it. Well it made mine!

edit: haha Deafheaven not being near #1 makes up for it

Devilock, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:09 (seven years ago) link

...welp, I wasn't wrong!

Simon H., Friday, 17 January 2014 16:13 (seven years ago) link

I'm predicting Gorguts for the win.

BlackIronPrison, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:17 (seven years ago) link

I can't imagine it won't be carcass

original bgm, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:18 (seven years ago) link

want Gorguts but think it'll be Carcass

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:19 (seven years ago) link

cool with either, they're both solid records. I think they're the only things left that I voted for that has any chance of placing.

original bgm, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:23 (seven years ago) link

Gorguts and Carcass are both worthy winners.

Deafheaven placed about right, i think. great album, but it tends to be "metal album of the year" for those disinclined to touch much metal all year .

charlie h, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:28 (seven years ago) link

I really wanted to love the Carcass, Necroticism is up there in my pantheon, with Heartwork and Symphonies not far beneath, but I should've been suspicious when they released that "medley" preview of samples that all fit together a little too well. The songs on that album all feel die cast with the same mold.

Devilock, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:28 (seven years ago) link

it's called style

j., Friday, 17 January 2014 16:29 (seven years ago) link

9 ASG - Blood Drive, 668 Points, 17 Votes


#16 Revolver, #13 SPIN, #13 MetalSucks, #34 Captain Beyond Zen, #18 Pitchfork, #633 Pazz & Jop


At one point, Wilmington, North Carolina's ASG (aka ALL SYSTEMS GO or any of the jokey alter acronyms that have cropped up in the spirit of hardcore icons MDC) could tear up the air hovering overtop a myriad of quarter and half pipes. Modern skate and snowboarding had one of its aural champions and thus MTV came a-calling to ASG to profile their punk and stoner-driven chops across such shows as "Viva La Bam", "Rob & Big" and "Living Lahaina". Further, ASG's music can be found scattered across numerous snowboarding and surfing videos.

It's been six years since ASG's put out an album (not counting their 2009 split with BLACK TUSK, "Low Country") and the most glaring difference in their work as of their latest release "Blood Drive" is its settled yet forceful attack plan. Now in-arms with BLACK TUSK and the mighty BARONESS at Relapse Records, ASG kicks things back a few clicks to drum up a less in-your-face spell with "Blood Drive", an album that allows for a deeper extraction of songwriting sure to please many in the sludge underground.
As ever, there remains the blueprints of KYUSS, TORCHE and JANE'S ADDICTION guiding ASG's craft, yet there's less full-frontal static of their last album, "Win Us Over", and more of a well-groomed dig for tuneful sprawls.

"Blood Drive" is often lazy in a good way through the grunge-meets-stoner drag of "The Ladder" and the shambling slogs of "Day's Work". With less bombast, the acoustic-led grafts of "Good Enough to Eat" open up gaping psychedelic territories for Jason Shi and Jonah Citty to decorate with echoing detachment, even while the grounded feel of the songs keeps their listeners vested in-tow. The striking wonderment of the acoustic delicacies introducing "Children's Music" creates a beautiful serve up to the heavier plows of the song, which retains dazzling effervescence on the straggly choruses. If ASG's music is still to be inclusive of snowboarding footage with these sophisticated modifications, those choruses would be perfect bedfellows coupled with Lien airs in slo-mo.

While Jason Shi wields a nifty range of pitches, for certain Perry Farrell has affected him to such measures "Blood Drive" frequently comes off like JANE'S ADDICTION with less shred and more surefire melody. The superb loft of "Earthwalk" tweaks the trippy sluices of BLACK SABBATH's "Planet Caravan" into ASG's reverb-filled parlay, then they blossom into a near-titanic reflection of JANE'S ADDICTION's "Summertime Rolls". ASG makes no pretentions who their idols are, yet "Earthwalk" gets away with bloody murder because it's delivered with such finesse you submit instead of condemn. Prior to, Jason Shi dips his vocals to match the slow, jabbing twirl of "Blues for Bama" while finding a happy medium on the stepped-up crunch of "Scrappy's Trip".

A band that was already sharp to begin with, ASG may alienate a handful of their skate and surf rat followers with the more refined "Blood Drive", but their advancement into a slow and steady schism reveals tremendous growth and maturity. The Atlantic Ocean at their backs is hardly considered a surfer's paradise, but there's no denying the purity and grandeur of the body's natural progression. This album might as well have been concocted in a dune outside of Nag's Head in the northward haven of the Outer Banks. "Blood Drive" defies possibilities of hurricane forces that may come another day and instead, ASG sticks to their guns, delivering a confident embracement of the winds of change that have compelled them. - Ray Van Horn, Jr., Blabbermouth, http://www.blabbermouth.net/cdreviews/blood-drive/#6BFuyE4dC1yTdalC.99

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:30 (seven years ago) link

really impressive album and very different to what i was expecting. almost a Jane's Addiction vibe to some of the tracks. discovered this one very late in the piece.

charlie h, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:33 (seven years ago) link

either Ihsahn or Melt-Banana's a goner, then, I take it. Intriguing!

Simon H., Friday, 17 January 2014 16:33 (seven years ago) link

the asg album is superb

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:39 (seven years ago) link

ppfff... i preferred Deafheaven to ASG.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:40 (seven years ago) link

You're the first on here to admit to liking deafheaven (apart from me) but I think i ranked the asg higher

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:44 (seven years ago) link

my #1 was the Atlantean Kodex I think (dont have ballots to hand)

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:45 (seven years ago) link

I will come out of the Deafheaven closet, though I didn't vote in the poll!

Kim Wrong-un (Neil S), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:46 (seven years ago) link

i normally hate the indie-metal stuff but Deafheaven manage to get a bit of oomph behind them without sounding like a pisstake like Liturgy do.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:46 (seven years ago) link

I dont get how they sound like a pisstake? the musics genuine its triple H's bullshit that annoys everyone!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:50 (seven years ago) link

I bet none of the fans of this band turn up to post about this next one..

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 16:56 (seven years ago) link

deafheaven seemed way more emo than metal to me but I only listened to that record one time and it was a while back

original bgm, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:57 (seven years ago) link

I am not against emo either. I've been known to put an american football record or two on. it just seemed really emo is all.

original bgm, Friday, 17 January 2014 16:59 (seven years ago) link

8 Melt-Banana - Fetch, 686 Points, 18 Votes, One #1


#7 Decibel, #42 Rock-A-Rolla, #110 Pazz & Jop


Since they started back in 1993, Melt-Banana have remained like an eye of a hurricane that’s 10 times crazier than the hurricane itself. One of the core bands to emerge from the same roiling soup that birthed art-damaged titans such as the Flying Luttenbachers and the Locust, the female-fronted Japanese group added a few twists to the genetic makeup of 90s noise rock. Japan’s own rich noise tradition was little more than a touchstone for Melt-Banana, and the group’s cryptic otherness elevated it above its peers. It was easy to see that Weasel Walter was a virtuoso slumming it, and that Justin Pearson was a snotty powerviolence kid with a schtick. But Melt-Banana? Who knew what they were thinking? After a six-year break from making studio albums, the new full-length fetch doesn’t answer that question. But it makes that question even more head-spinning.

Melt-Banana left listeners on a curious note with 2007’s frighteningly poppy Bambi’s Dilemma, but that dissonance has been resolved on fetch, in true Melt-Banana fashion, with more dissonance. This is the Melt-Banana of their mid-90s prime: salivating Pavlovianly over the acceleration of culture, twisting the tools of psychedelia into things of surgical precision, and envisioning cyberpunk grindcore before reality knew it could bear the weight of such a thing. It still might not—but fetch at least harmonizes more disharmoniously with the tenor of the times. Gleeful terror pours out of tracks like “Candy Gun” and “Then Red Eyed”; the fact that they’re the longest and shortest song on the disc, respectively, only bookends the dilation of spacetime that guitarist and effects technician Ichirou Agata is able to accomplish. Like a proto 8-bit composer using a looping delay pedal to preemptively echo a deterministic future, he’s a watchmaker winding up a thousand thrash riffs at once then letting them go.

It’s up to Yasuko Onuki to lend a human voice to Agata’s nanotech contraptions. She’s never sounded more savagely ecstatic. On “Red Data, Red Stage” she’s like Dog Faced Hermans’ Marion Coutts sprinting on bipolar impulse, all Situationist cheerleader chants and sugary chirp. Phonetically, it’s all splinters and crystal. Melt-Banana’s grindcore roots, vestigial in the first place, are now only dim memories. Just as the quaint notion of sudden, cataclysmic apocalypse has been replaced in the new millennium by gradual, nonlinear collapse, so does fetch frolic in anachronism, a swarm of data-fragments retroactively reordered and held together with hair and bubblegum. “The Hive” is proof: An intro that resembles “Eruption”-era Eddie Van Halen eaten some yet unimagined remake of Tron opens space for Onuki’s sideways singsong, the filtered cry of bitmapped anxiety.

That Melt-Banana is making some of the best music of their career—over 20 years into the band’s existence—speaks to the universal and transcendent quality of their noise. The landscape of media, society, and even the microcosm of noise rock has changed greatly, but Onuki and Agata have locked jaws on the diametric constants: energy versus agitation, phobia versus euphoria, and instant nostalgia versus the relentless pursuit of the upgrade. fetch is Melt-Banana’s own upgrade, a bleeding-edge reiteration of their fractured and manicured chaos. There’s a moment in the album’s closer, “Zero”, in which Onuki punches her way through a web of Möbius-strip riffage to project a fleeting, Technicolor afterimage of Dilemma’s pop-punk melodicism; then it seizes up, hits the gas, and splatters against a brick wall. A moment later, it reconstitutes itself and barrels forward as if nothing happened. In a breathless whirlwind kind of way, fetch does the same for Melt-Banana. - Jason Heller, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18577-melt-banana-fetch/

Melt-Banana’s music is extremely difficult to classify for a few pretty good reason. Firstly, they do not really sound like anyone else, and no other band really sounds like them. Secondly, they have continuously reinvented themselves throughout their career, showing their fans different aspects of their sound while always sounding unmistakably like themselves.Thirdly, and perhaps most critically, once the listener has been catapulted into the feral, manic, lunacy that is any given Melt-Banana track, attempts at reflexive, lucid genre categorization starts feeling unimportant pretty darn quickly. Usually by the end of the average minute and a half Melt-Banana track, the listener has destroyed most of their personal belongings in a fit of wild-eyed ecstasy. If the person in question was in a public place when first exposed to the mighty Melt-Banana, they have probably been arrested or otherwise institutionalized within four or five minutes of hitting the “play” button, depending on the response time of their local law enforcement or medical professionals. Symptoms of Melt-Banana exposure often include wild yelping, foaming at the mouth, super-human strength, and a deep sense of joy and well being. The Japanese duo’s new record Fetch marries the lupine, atypical grindcore of their mid-‘90s output, with the lunatic pop sensibility of 2007’s Bambi’s Dilemma with results powerful enough to destroy entire continents.

Yasuko Onuki and Ichirou Agata have always been the core members of Melt-Banana, although they have been joined at various times by a number of temporary members and famous collaborators. On Fetch Onuki and Agata are pretty much left to their own devices, with a drum machine given the formidable task of providing the percussion for this breathtaking, hypertensive track list. As they indicated on 2003’s magnificent Cell-Scape, Melt-Banana are not tethered to half-assed, restrictive notions of humanity or musicality; if a machine can effectively turn the listener’s brains to jam like a nasty case of rabies, than that’s good enough for them. The sometimes synthetic quality of these beats frequently adds to the intensity and surrealistic nature of Fetch, and I can attest that the drum machine comes off just as well in the live setting. In many ways Fetch is the amalgamation of everything that Melt-Banana have done throughout their career, drawing on all of their experiments, splicing them together, coming up with a sound that is unmistakably their own, and unmistakably wonderful.

One of the primary misunderstandings that people who do not listen to extreme metal or punk frequently articulate is that extreme music must be angry and negative. When I am listening to Emperor shrieking from their icy northern fantasy world, or the overwhelming roar of Napalm Death, I hear ecstasy and exaltation, not anger and negativity. One of the coolest things about Melt-Banana is that the mirth, whimsy, and elation in their music is almost unmistakable, even to people who cannot wrap their minds around extreme music. Fetch is relentlessly playful, without ever seeming like just a joke, or like some tired exercise in hipster irony. These tracks are often breathlessly intense, while never sacrificing the fun. There is more imagination and personality on Fetch than on any other record you are likely to come across. Fetch is ten times more intense than any death slam or tough guy hardcore record that came out this year, and about ten billion times more fun to listen to.

Melt-Banana continue to prove to us that no one on this earth makes extreme music with more style, ingenuity, and inventiveness than they do. This is music for uncontrollable giggle fits, playing fetch with over excited border collies, and sledding down steep, snowy hills with your kids; this is music that makes you feel intensely alive. - Benjamin Hedge Olson, PopMatters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/177836-melt-banana-fetch/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:00 (seven years ago) link


lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:01 (seven years ago) link

yeah, not even a little metal really but this record rules. their last 5 or so have all ruled.

original bgm, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:02 (seven years ago) link

I'm a bit surprised to see Belt-Mañana in the top 10. I know there are folks here that love it, but still.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:02 (seven years ago) link

i will get that ASG album ..
totally hits my spot.
melt banana : nope.

mark e, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:04 (seven years ago) link

Melt Banana kicked ass live, but much less so on record.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:07 (seven years ago) link

terrific album. They have a lot of fans outside of metal thread but dunno if they are reading this thread.
If it charts in big poll they will be shouting yes so please do so here! NUMBER EIGHT folks you can get excited!!!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:07 (seven years ago) link

It's not so much that I liked Liturgy that I absolutely adored Greg Fox's drumming

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:08 (seven years ago) link

#110 in Pazz & Jop is impressive too. Again, zero metal content, but a pretty amazing album. Swamped with meetings, bad day for me to try to keep up and comment sorry. Deafheaven can suckit ;) Lots of other better hard rock options than ASG too.

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:13 (seven years ago) link

7 Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats - Mind Control, 707 Points, 20 Votes, 2 #1s


#25 Decibel, #3 SPIN, #35 Stereogun, #15 Rock-A-Rolla, #6 Obelisk, #4 Obelisk readers, #3 Captain Beyond Zen, #15 Stoner HiVe, #4 Metal Hammer, #371 Pazz & Jop

"Mind Crawler" - http://youtu.be/yACaB6fzt_c

In the years between Black Sabbath's 1970 debut and Judas Priest's galvanizing late-'70s ascendance, critics dubbed practically any band that turned their amps up past "4" and played heavy-handed chord progressions as "metal." Even poor little guitar-talker Peter Frampton and his bluesy Humble Pie bandmates suffered the description "heavy metal-leaden shit rock" in a 1970 issue of Rolling Stone. And now, over the past decade, scores of groups have surfaced, all owing an unabashed debt to the quasi-boogie shit-rock of yore. Although it's questionable whether the members of recent metallurgists Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Purson, and Ghost B.C. are old enough to credibly claim influences like Pentagram, King Crimson, and Blue Öyster Cult, respectively, all three bands project a selfish naiveté or, maybe more precisely, a purposeful arrogance about any metal recorded after the Sabs booted Ozzy in '79.

This sort of innocent divination seems to ooze from Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, the cream of this particular crop. The quirkiness of the British group's name pays homage to Metal Mk I artists like Alice Cooper and BÖC, but the music on their third album, Mind Control, shows a broader vocabulary of anachronism. In addition to a few riffs very possibly pilfered from Tony Iommi's rehearsal tapes, songs like the swinging desert blues of "Poison Apple" and the jamming drones of "Follow the Leader" seep psychedelia via Deep Purple-via-Nuggets organ work on the former, and coolly relaxing vocal melodies and twangy acoustic guitar on the latter. More than that, though, the lyrics often seem to owe an equal debt to the spirit of '69 — just like those early-'70s bands! — especially when Charles Manson allusions sneak into the woozy, Mellotron-infused "Valley of the Dolls" (sorry, Sharon Tate) and "Death Valley Blues." The latter's sinewy chorus goes, "Let's hide out in the Valley," and (inadvertently?) references the location of the bottomless pit where the Manson Family would hide out during Helter Skelter, making chilling use of Uncle Acid's deathlike vocal harmonies, which might sound a bit like Alice in Chains if it weren't for the plodding drums and muddy production. In fact, as a whole, the record suggests the same sort of breezy cool that Josh Homme uses on his Desert Sessions series, but something, maybe Uncle Acid's inherent Britishness, makes them sound more nostalgic, rather than like something new. - Kory Grow - SPIN, http://www.spin.com/reviews/uncle-deadbeats-mind-control-ghost-infestissumam-purson/

After debuting in 2010 with the so-rare-it-barely-exists Volume 1 and following it in 2011 with the landmark arrival that was Blood Lust – an album for which one can still hear the hyperbole echoing on the wind if one listens just right – British horror rockers Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats emerge with another round of malevolent fuzz on Mind Control. Though Blood Lust was reissued by Rise Above last year, Mind Control marks the Cambridge four-piece’s debut proper on the label (Metal Blade in the US), and if the response to the advance single “Poison Apple” and the sold-out live debut at London’s The Garage venue are any indication, the monstrous hype that swelled for Blood Lust is primed to take hold again for the new collection, which is longer at nine tracks/50 minutes than the second album. More importantly than the visceral nature of the blind praise it’s almost predestined to receive, Mind Control showcases some distinct changes in Uncle Acid’s approach, taking their late-‘60s garage fuzz to far-out psychedelic ranges while also balancing those influences with the strong pop sensibilities that came to fruition the last time out, so that a song like the later “Valley of the Dolls” is languid, fuzzed mellotron’ed and meandering – also doomed – but still proffering one of Mind Control’s strongest hooks. While one of the most distinct aspects of the band’s sound two years ago was their ability to capture a classic horror aesthetic in their songwriting, Mind Control is less tied to that single idea specifically, and though it doesn’t want for foreboding atmosphere or an underlying sense of ill intentions, the impression is delivered through what’s at times a strikingly sweet package. To wit, “Follow the Leader,” which owes more to The Beatles’ Revolver than to the Hammer House of Horror, or the progressive soloing that arises in the second half of the earlier “Desert Ceremony.” They’re on a different – though no less individualized – trip, still putting the overarching affect of the material at the fore rather an any one member’s performance, but taking the means of their methods to new and more evolved ends.
One of the great strengths of Blood Lust was its use of classic pop structures, and that’s something Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats have carried over into Mind Control as well, though as much as that album transferred verses and choruses into felonies of surgical precision, some of these songs’ best moments are their most drawn out. The opener and one of the longer cuts, “Mt. Abraxas” (7:09), hints at some of the psychedelia that comes up later in the closing trio, but really does most of its work in heralding the tonal consistency with the band’s prior outings while also showcasing the uptick in production value accomplished through working with Jim Spencer at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, showing also in its midsection just how much of Uncle Acid’s tonality – fast becoming their signature – is owed to circa-1974 Black Sabbath, the guitars taking on classic Iommi layered interplay between lead and rhythm lines. I was left wondering though why the song had been chosen to lead off Mind Control until the crashes and slowdown after the 4:30 mark that leads the way instrumentally through the remainder of the track, which hone directly in on Uncle Acid’s psychotic cabaret stomp and give the record one of its most lasting grooves, duly ridden. Perhaps also “Mt. Abraxas” is meant to signal a departure from the form of Blood Lust, since it functions not so much as a direct chorus hook as did that album’s launch, “I’ll Cut You Down,” but instead as more of a lead-in to the rest of this album as a whole, the pace picking up with the ensuing “Mind Crawler.” With a synth line buried beneath the guitars, bass and drums to offer a sense of urgency fitting the more upbeat tempo, “Mind Crawler” is both a strong hook and an immediate contrast to the opener, finding companionship shortly with the more metallic “Evil Love” in a quicker rush that builds to a stop in the second half before repetitions of the title at the end give it a second chorus as much as an outro. The swaggering jaunt of “Poison Apple” follows, its initial verse following a simple pattern of proclamations rounding out with the lines, “Don’t you worry baby, you’re safe with me/I’m the poison apple in your tree.” From there, it’s riffy groove, spiders in the brains, infections and a host of other threatening images to go with one of Mind Control’s best basslines and a toe-tapping rhythm. The vocals, almost always delivered by more than one member of the band at once, are rarely at the fore, but present enough in the mix to carry across the hook of “Poison Apple” well, setting up the more spacious “Desert Ceremony,” which takes some of the Sabbathisms that showed up in “Mt. Abraxas” and makes them the core of the progression.

One can look at Mind Control as functioning on a couple different levels. Cuts like “Mt. Abraxas,” “Follow the Leader,” “Valley of the Dolls” and “Devil’s Work” are longer, and particularly in the case of the last three, working in more psychedelic realms, where “Mind Crawler,” “Poison Apple,” “Evil Love” and “Death Valley Blues” keep a more straightforward – structurally – feel, the latter nonetheless providing transition atmospherically into the rest of side B’s freakout. At very least I’d argue that’s the case, and if so, “Desert Ceremony” is where the two sides of Uncle Acid’s sound meet and get down on some drawn-out lysergics while smoothly shifting into some of the album’s most satisfying riffing, the guitars harmonizing here and there and setting a table for the end of the first half that arrives with “Evil Love.” Classic proto-NWOBHM chugging – more biker movie than otherworldly horror creep, but well done – shows up in the chorus, but the sound is stripped of the lushness that “Desert Ceremony” hinted at in its midsection, and that’s the biggest change. The momentum already established by the time “Poison Apple” ends carries through “Desert Ceremony” to “Evil Love,” so that the shift back to a faster tempo isn’t jarring, and the simple chorus of “You need our love/Our evil love/You are dear/To our purpose” (that third line might be something else) showing off the band’s ability to make the most out of near-minimalist lyricism. The song ends cold, marking a distinct break between the first halves of Mind Control even on a linear medium (CD or digital), and “Death Valley Blues” starts with a quiet introduction to its chorus guitar line, establishing a theme with “Desert Ceremony” even as the sweet first verse turns sinister with the heavier guitar that enters for the chorus at full breadth. Its threat made clear, “Death Valley Blues” plays off the I’m-harmless-watch-me-kill-you contrast of the airier pop verse and the vicious chorus, moving after a couple turns through to a near-vaudevillian riff that seems to echo the ending “Mt. Abraxas” even as vocals are introduced over top, the chaos coming to a head as the murderous vibe loses consciousness in its own repetitions, crashing and ringing out to start “Follow the Leader” from a base of total silence.

Which is as fitting a place to start, since “Follow the Leader” essentially redefines the course of Mind Control for the remainder of its duration. Amp rumble meets with Eastern-sounding acoustic guitar lines, shaker percussion and the most acid-caked feel I’ve yet heard from Uncle Acid. On that level, it’s their most adventurous single track to date and in large part the source of the Beatles Revolver comparison above, the vocals made Lennon-esque in the context of the droning guitar line and righteous psych melody. There’s movement to it thanks to the already noted percussion, but the absence of a full drum kit makes a big difference in the overall sound, allowing for more of a wash as the layers of guitar intertwine in an active, but nonetheless stiller feel. Because its sensibility is more or less bringing the album to a halt, and because of its hypnotic wanderings, it would be easy to think of “Follow the Leader” as worthy of closing the album, but Uncle Acid have more in store as “Valley of the Dolls” reintroduces the drums, albeit at a lumbering, slow pace. Doomed. Classically so, but hardly traditional. The psychedelic context of “Follow the Leader” isn’t lost, thanks in large part to the vocals, which are drawn out over the slower riffing, but the guitar line that leads the way through the track is darker, slower and more downtrodden than anything yet on the record, and the mellotron that accompanies only adds to its miseries. With the recent death of Roger Ebert, one can call “Valley of the Dolls” – named for the 1967 original film from which the Ebert-penned 1970 sequel, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, which is also referenced in the lyrics here, is derived – timely, but the band could hardly have planned it that way, so it doesn’t really seem fair. More to the song’s credit, the chorus hones in on a fitting barbiturate, drool-from-out-the-side-of-the-mouth stoned feel, so that I don’t even know how many times Uncle Acid have intoned the line “valley of the dolls” before they shift gears after the halfway mark and start adding “beyond the” to the front of it, but the dual-guitar solo that carries the track past its midpoint offers a bit of momentary respite. As much as anything could, anyway.

The bass picks up a “Heaven and Hell”-type line, slowed down considerably, and “Valley of the Dolls” rounds out with single hits ringing out between, eventually giving way to rumble and a fadeout into the immediate guitar march of “Devil’s Work.” This single riff – chug, chug, chug, chug – will comprise much of Mind Control’s closer, opening for a bit for the chorus, but never moving too far out of focus. Melodic oohs and soon enough the verse take hold, but the drums and bass follow the guitar line such that Uncle Acid in their final moments are united in the expression of just this one idea, the line in the chorus, “I am the devil/And I’m here to do the devil’s work,” meeting the sporadic-but-not-random lead guitar notes and tom fill with like-minded effective simplicity. A semi-build emerges with the chugging progression as its foundation, guitars emerging to space out over the fading line as Mind Control weaves its way toward the closing rumble that comprises the final few minutes of “Devil’s Work,” which, though its ending is more for that of the album as a whole, winds up with a deceptively catchy hook, slow and drugged as it is. That balance speaks to Uncle Acid’s strength of songwriting overall, however, and though they share little sonically in common, it’s a distorted pop influence they share with Sweden’s Ghost, who’ve been able to take classic structures and bend them to their own sonic will to considerable critical (not to mention commercial) success. Whether such lies in store for Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in the wake of Mind Control, I don’t know and won’t bother to speculate. More pivotally, the band have underscored the point that although they owe their hearts to a very specific set of atmospheric principles – the horror, the late ‘60s fuzz, etc. – they’re able to take those and create something of their own with them. As much as Blood Lust caught many off guard with its ultra-cohesive presentation, Mind Control is primed as the follow-up to surprise with what it adds to that already established formula. An easy pick for one of the year’s best and most anticipated albums. - The Obelisk, http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2013/04/08/uncle-acid-and-the-deadbeats-mind-control-review/#sthash.1Tmw3QFw.dpuf

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:17 (seven years ago) link

oh yes.

glad to see the ilm crew and me agree on something.

mark e, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:19 (seven years ago) link

Remember when we got Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats into the top 10 of the general ilm albums poll?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:21 (seven years ago) link

that was a better album

Mordy , Friday, 17 January 2014 17:22 (seven years ago) link


Johnny Fever, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:22 (seven years ago) link

My #49! Knew it was top 10. A nice improvement over Blood Lust which you all overrated.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:23 (seven years ago) link

6 Windhand - Soma, 732 Points, 19 Votes, One #1

#8 Revolver, #6 SPIN, #7 Stereogum, #7 Obelisk, #11 Captain Beyond Zen, #3 Stoner HiVe, #28 Pitchfork, #32 Terrorizer, #141 Pazz & Jop


Windhand's Sophomore Album Is an Ironclad Piece of Ethereal Doom Metal Mastery.

Before ever having actually heard Windhand, I stumbled across an ad for their first release, a self-titled released on a label called Force Field. What happened next seldom happens to me, if ever at all. I was instantly driven to order it, sound unheard, based on album art alone. I’m not usually that impulse driven, but there was just something about their spectral white logo (unfortunately omitted from gracing this album cover), floating over a shot of some dilapidated house (a la Black Sabbath’s debut). There stood the eerie manor, polarized in purple and screaming silent desolation… probably containing unspeakable horrors within its gates… If that isn’t an allegory for the relationship between the cover art and the musical contents then I don’t know what is! At no point throughout this all did the fear of a sucky record being delivered to my mailbox cross my mind.

Needless to say, their debut did not disappoint, and it quickly became my go-to music to enhance certain habitual illicit activities. Evidently, I was not the only one that seemed to think so, since Relapse certainly scouted and signed them into their roster faster than an underground buzz could build. With a new record deal in tow, Windhand followed up the self-titled with their Relapse debut on “Reflections of the Negative”, a very F-ing heavy split with new label-mates Cough. With a wider reach now at their disposal thanks to their new “higher-profile-than-typical” Metal label, Windhand was able to waft into the ears of hundreds, if not thousands of awaiting Doomsayers like swirling clouds of hash and amplifier smoke. The stage was now set for the unveiling of Soma…

On Soma, Windhand does not attempt to fix what isn’t broken. They aren’t trying to reinvent themselves, or Post/Prog themselves up, they have simply cooked up another batch of their distinctly hazy Stoner Metal to turn minds into mush with. Even the album art is relatively similar, if not fundamentally the same (the one notable bummer about this album, I thought). They further their anthology with their distinct sound, a paradoxical marriage of overdriven guitar heaviness over a hard hitting yet sloth-like swing, paired with the ethereal lamentations of Dorthia Cottrell’s ghostly, banshee wail. As the Doom scene quickly becomes more of an equal opportunity genre with more than a fair share of female vocalists to nocturnally emit to, Cottrell is by far the most celebrated.

Early album cuts such as “Orchard” and “Feral Bones” are saturated in the quintessence of what this band does best, big scary riffs that result in the listener screwing their face up into classic “mean-guitar” pouty grimaces. “Evergreen”, however, shows a deviation from their form as they go unplugged for a spell, letting Cottrell prove that those pipes work well even without the accompaniment of distortion pedals- knobs twisted to thirteen. It has a warm, earthy feel that doesn’t get outweighed by its folkloric, looming melancholy. Almost more remarkable is that the song never once gets buried beneath the wall of sound that is the rest of this album, holding fast an identity all its own that fits perfectly into the overall tone of the record.

The epic, half-hour closer “Boleskine” is also worthy of mention. This frosty number begins with a molasses-rich sounding acoustic bit, warmly strummed beneath the howls of freezing northern winds. The quiet lull comes to a crashing end under the weight of what may very well be the heaviest (albeit most minimal) riff on the entire album, saddled of course by a grieving howl courtesy of Windhand’s fabled chanteuse. The crestfallen melody of this big finish hits you like a sledgehammer to the chest, leaving you breathless with its sullen beauty. After a 13 minute trampling under foot of this saturnine behemoth of a song, clean acoustic guitar resurfaces to lure you into a momentary sense of security, only to bury you again under the riff equivalent of a mountain of rubble.

Soma is a stellar effort on this Virginia band’s behalf. It may be a tough listen for Doom Metal passers-by, as the droning guitar approach and snail’s-crawl tempos can be off-putting to unscarred ears. On the other hand, I actually think that this album is as great an introduction to this band as any. For followers of the Doom Metal genre whom by now are perfectly capable of resisting its trademark funeral dirge delivery, this thing is top-shelf material that will make many bongs rattle from its low-end roar. Enjoy! - Frank Lopez, PopMatters, http://www.popmatters.com/review/174830-windhand-soma/

I imagine that somewhere on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia, a lone technician sits in a room with an impossible array of gauges, measuring tectonic pressure, general atmospheric conditions, etc., only to have the emergency lights kick on an unspeakable siren of chaos every time Windhand plugs in to rehearse. Call it “tone overload.” Our poor technician — who went to college for this, mind you, and is a skilled professional — gradually loses his or her mind, quits the job, and spends all remaining days wandering RVA, trying to find the source of that maddening rumble. Thus another existence destroyed by the ascendant dual-guitar five-piece, who made their debut on Relapse Records earlier this year with the Reflection of the Negative split with Richmond countrymen Cough, whose bass player, Parker Chandler, they also share. Windhand‘s full-length Relapse debut — their second album overall following a 2011 self-titled on Forcefield Records (streamed here) and a not-inconsiderable amount of touring — has been dubbed Soma, the drink of the gods. It’s a title Windhand share the most recent My Sleeping Karma LP, though the two bands have really nothing in common, as Windhand push forth low-end mud at a horrifying, lung-filling rate from Chandler‘s bass and the steady riff and lead interplay of guitarists Asechiah Bogdan and Garrett Morris, march to a wash of crash and stomp from drummer Ryan Wolfe (The Might Could, ex-Facedowninshit) and top with the ethereal vocals of Dorthia Cottrell, giving Soma a bleak, otherworldly sensibility to go along with its unbridled heft. If it’s the drink of the gods, the beverage is opaque. Clocking in at a full 75 minutes with six tracks and closing with the monster “Boleskine” that comprises just over half an hour on its own, Windhand‘s sophomore outing is dense even beyond the levels shows on the self-titled and fuller-sounding, bigger and more crushing. Early cuts “Orchard” and “Woodbine” establish the nod that the fivesome will carry through the next hour-plus, the opener in particular — also the shortest cut at 6:38 — harkening to some of the Electric Wizard influence that showed up last time out in the guitar work, but giving clear indication that Windhand‘s road time has helped them figure out who they are and who they want to be as a band.

To say Soma crushes doesn’t really do it full justice. It is impeccably mixed to maximize murk — a dense fog begins with “Orchard” and is consistent throughout. Cottrell‘s vocals and Wolfe‘s drums reside deep within the overbearing thrust of guitar and bass, lending the songs an even larger sound, and especially considering it was self-recorded and self-mixed (Morris also helmed the self-titled), the atmospheric bludgeon that Soma carries portrays Windhand as all the more cohesive in its styilstic take. They know what they’re doing, in other words. The riffs of “Orchard” proffer malevolent swirl and Cottrell sings through the churning progression, but there’s a structure to the song as well, a verse and a chorus trading off, as hard as they might be to discern initially, and the ringing feedback that caps the opener crashes directly into the similarly drugged-out “Woodbine.” Both the drums and the vocals seem more forward here, as though they’ve stepped up to meet the more insistent riff, and though by most standards it’s hardly a thrasher, in comparison to “Orchard” and the penultimate “Cassock” still to come, “Woodbine” moves at as quick a pace as Windhand show on Soma. Of course, the guitars and bass are so thick that even as it moves forward quickly, it still sounds slow. A memorable melody line through the vocals and guitars make “Woodbine” something of a landmark in terms of the album overall, but with a record that makes so plain its intent to swallow the listener whole and keep them for the duration, any landmark is only going to be so helpful. The idea is you lose yourself in it and are more subject to the overall impression than any particular standout, and that makes the album an even more satisfying front-to-back listen, though a “hook” for lack of a better word is certainly appreciated as well. Following a big slowdown as “Woodbine” hits the seven-minute mark and collapses to its finish, one gets no such mercies from the subsequent “Feral Bones,” which lets up some on the tempo and finds the vocals receding to deep under the tonequake, ghostly in echo but still definitely a presence. Peppered by regular crashes, “Feral Bones” is Windhand sounding the most their own as they have yet on the album. It doesn’t have the immediate familiarity of “Orchard,” but that’s also what makes it exciting. A striding lead takes hold near the halfway point, but the riff is maintained and soon returns to its prominent place, a last verse and chorus returning to round out the eight-minute track with more deceptive structuring.

“Evergreen” marks a well-placed departure from Windhand‘s bury-you-in-distortion methodology, switching to acoustic ambience that borders on minimalism in its strumming. No drums, no bass, no feedback-drenched leads, but “Evergreen” has a resonance anyway, its light strum reminding of the mood evoked by Down‘s “Jail” while remaining distinctly the band’s own thanks in no small part to Cottrell‘s capable handling of the morose melody. Perhaps most impressive of all, they keep it up for just under seven minutes, so that it’s not half a song or a moment to catch your breath before diving into the pit of riffs again with “Cassock,” but an essential piece of Soma and one of its most effective atmospheres. Slow moving and finishing with a repetition of the line “stay evergreen” that’s no less hypnotic than anything Windhand have offered to this point of the album, it’s a display of breadth they might not have been prepared to make on their self-titled, but which suits Soma perfectly where it occurs. What follows is nothing short of a mountain. Two songs remain and comprise nearly 45 minutes of Soma‘s runtime — more by almost half than the four tracks so far. “Cassock” and “Boleskine” are a record unto themselves — they easily could’ve been — with the first of them a tonal abyss unprecedented in Windhand‘s relatively short career and the second not only a summary of everything Soma has accomplished before it, but an expansion to new levels of sonic cohesion for the band. Feedback takes hold following the end of “Evergreen” and the lurch of “Cassock” is immediately potent. Wolfe builds up the drums, but even when the song launches — which it does with a riff worthy of Electric Wizard‘s “Drugula,” only slower — it crawls with a tension yet unheard on the LP. There’s a verse and a chorus, but the sway is maintained one into the other such that there’s no getting out of it. Bogdan and Morris are steering the progression, its changes driven by their guitars, but the band is united around the push and four minutes in, after the second chorus, an echoing solo takes hold to drive into the next movement of the piece overall, which is even more tidal in its crashes — almost a waltz, come to think of it — before the wailing chorus returns and a midpoint slowdown leads to a final verse and an even more grueling, noise-soaked rumble that builds over the course of the next five minutes to a contorted apex of Lovecraftian proportion, near unrecognizable by its end from the riffing that started it, though that could just be hearing loss.

In direct conversation with “Evergreen,” “Boleskine” spends its first two minutes and 40 seconds — less than a tenth of its seemingly insurmountable 30:30 runtime — dedicated to an acoustic intro, just the guitar, that seems to signal a tying together of the sundry threads thus far opened. In particular, that they’d go back to the acoustics as the opening of the final track on Soma underscores the symmetry and cohesiveness at the heart of the album, and of course once “Boleskine” crashes in, it hones a riff huge enough to capsize any mind bold enough to set sail on it. Drawn out soloing, ultra-weighted plod, and, eventually, Cottrell‘s commanding echoes — “Boleskine” is less about the swirl than was “Woodbine” or even “Feral Bones” and more about the excruciating, overwhelming mass of sound. Still, there’s a chorus. It’s slow, it’s covered in sludge, but it’s there. With each verse taking more than a minute to play out in slow motion, the band’s two-verses-two-chorus-then-change modus shown on earlier cuts is even harder to decipher on “Boleskine,” but the underlying method is the same, even if it takes a gloriously grueling eight minutes to get to the solo. Windhand work well at this pace, and Soma has felt like it’s leading toward “Boleskine”‘s considerable looming presence the whole time, but the closer isn’t just acting as payoff for the songs preceding, instead setting up Windhand not only as willing to challenge themselves but rising to take up that challenge head on with confidence and poise. Unsurprisingly, the solo takes its time — plenty of room to work with — but motion is maintained back toward the chorus and as they pass 10 minutes in, they slow again to step back into the verse, which is a gripping shift, but not a surprise given their by-now-established penchant for structure. The chorus takes hold again and crashes to a break at around 12:40, feedback taking hold in layers of sweet humming and bass rumble, the waves audible, and fade out to wind and soft, barely-there acoustic strumming of the riff. This turn is more unexpected, but after 15 minutes, when they kick back in at full-onslaught volume, it’s a clear sign that “Boleskine” is coming to its end. Over the next 10 minutes or so, Windhand ride that riff, top it with solos, punctuate it with slow drum fills from Wolfe, drench it in noise, and gradually, slowly, over the course of three minutes or so, fade it to its ending, leaving more sampled wind, clicking sounds and what sounds like footsteps to comprise Soma‘s last few moments.

Maybe that’s our technician wandering the earth aimlessly, with a psyche thoroughly demolished by Windhand‘s voluminous pummel. Either way, Soma ends in a suitably foreboding manner, considering the potential the band shows throughout for future works. They’re not toying with cult idolatry, and they’re growing out of their Electric Wizardry, and if songs like “Feral Bones,” “Evergreen” and “Boleskine” — really the whole record — are a sign of things to come from Windhand, there’s a real chance the Richmond outfit could leave a lasting mark on American doom. As their Relapse debut, Soma will no doubt be many listeners’ first experience with Windhand, and it’s got a palpable landmark feel. Helps that it’s of such staggering substance, but as someone who generally champions single-LP-length albums, the additional runtime of Soma is neither excess nor indulgence, but instead a necessary manifestation of Windhand‘s oppressive approach. One of the year’s best in doom, hands down. - The Obelisk, http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2013/09/10/windhand-soma-review/#sthash.OS30ZsCF.dpuf

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:47 (seven years ago) link

I'm gonna quote myself, because why the fuck not:

Take current doom darlings Windhand. Their latest album, Soma, has three of the best songs this young Richmond band has yet written: "Orchard," "Woodbine," and "Feral Bones." The first three songs on the album, they find the band in the fine Southern-rock-meets-Electric-Wizard mode they captured so well on their self-titled debut. There is power in those riffs, and a haunting sense of loss in Dorthia Cottrell's voice. Please note that none of those songs reaches even the ten minute mark. Two tracks do break that barrier, and neither is good. "Cassock" is an acceptable if unmemorable song, without either the power of "Orchard" or the hooks of "Woodbine" (though at nearly 14 minutes it approaches their combined length). Album closer "Boleskine," on the other hand, is entirely unacceptable. It's 30 interminable minutes, with unnecessary intros and outros (nearly three minutes of slow fade-in and nearly nine of slow fade-out), a stock doom riff as its core building material, and despite Cottrell's always wonderful delivery, nary a hook of any kind to hang a hat on. The first solo is excellent, but a short burst of smoldering lead guitar can't buttress a 30 minute song. It doesn't work, and torpedoes the great first impression Soma makes.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 17 January 2014 17:52 (seven years ago) link

Voted for last 3. Melt Banana was v high.

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Friday, 17 January 2014 17:59 (seven years ago) link

5 SubRosa - More Constant Than The Gods, 741 Points, 19 Votes, 2 #1s

#4 Decibel, #11 SPIN, #2 PopMatters, #8 Stereogum, #26 Captain Beyond Zen, #9 Stoner HiVe, #9 Pitchfork, #30 Terrorizer, #79 Pazz & Jop

runnerjma review - http://youtu.be/I05u0skJl2A

“Fat of the Ram”—the pugnacious and swirling fourth track on the new album from fascinating Salt Lake City doom metal band SubRosa—is a folk song. Never mind the weighty guitars that hang like thick shadows or the forceful drums that punch through them. Forget the enraged voices that bellow the lyrics and the slide guitar line that closes tight like a noose, too. Instead, listen to what Rebecca Vernon has to sing: She sets a scene of accepted and quiet suffering, where lakes go septic and unhappiness gets swept under the rug. Dreams are dreamt only in the privacy of homes and otherwise suppressed. The rich lords expect to be left alone, to be given time to “anoint themselves in their finest.” Vernon ends with a glimpse of possible redemption, a Plato’s Cave moment where the narrator intuits life outside of the town’s shadowy desolation. This is the lament of a layperson holding onto the distant promise of hope, a tune not unlike one that Harry Smith might’ve collected.

This isn’t surprising for SubRosa. On 2011’s No Help for the Mighty Ones, the band covered the morose, damned-to-hell Scottish ballad “The House Carpenter”, a song Vernon admits she first heard through Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. But that was just an eerie a cappella interpretation. “Fat of the Ram”, like the rest of More Constant than the Gods, is an exceptionally articulated full-band assault, arranged to give each song and story beneath it maximum impact. Often in doom, the impulse can be to turn up and drown out, treating the song mostly as a reason for amplifier massages. (To wit, see the recent Windhand LP, Soma.) This quintet—two violins, three vocalists, bass, drums and Vernon’s wonderful guitar—are much more meticulous than that, treating each number like its own opera rather than an excuse for an onslaught. Combined with Vernon’s uncommonly keen ear for hooks (however dark-hearted they may be) and the band’s grand sense of dynamics, that approach keeps More Constant than the Gods moving throughout its 68 minutes. It’s too active and involving to become a slog or a bore. Instead, it’s one of the year’s most exhilarating heavy metal records.

The members of SubRosa seem to understand these songs and what Vernon is trying to communicate with them, as if she workshopped the lyrics in front of them. The playing is never too deep or too wide, always moving in service of her meaning. The irritation and insurrection written into “Fat of the Ram”, for instance, shows up in the music, with its start-and-stop lashes of sound directed at the blindly content townsfolk and their scheming leaders. “Everywhere I look/ all I see is famine,” Vernon sings at one point, her voice suddenly downshifting into droll scorn. The music slows into a formless blur behind her, underlining the desperation in her observation. It’s Leadbelly kicked forward several decades. Likewise, “The Usher” opens with a duet above a twinkling bed of noise, Vernon trading lines with the gentle-voiced Jason McFarland as a violin etches curlicues against the din. The band finally lunges forward in unison, affixing their heaviness to a surprisingly forward tempo. This is a love song to the dark and to mortality, so SubRosa afford it a sinister romanticism. Bright violin leads peeking out through the down-tuned glumness, and the feeling is terrifying but warm.
The spirit doesn’t dovetail with the song only in these epics. Each of Constant’s six tracks either ignores or approaches the 10-minute mark, except for the seven-minute “Cosey Mo”, practically making it a radio single. SubRosa lend the tale of immortal grievances and obsessions appropriate drama. The strings are essential here. In the chorus, the violins of Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack surge behind the guitars and vocals, helping to brand the refrain into memory. During a slinking little midsection, they trace pizzicato patterns around the gathering storm of Vernon’s voice. Finally, as the coda crests, they mirror and then fight against Vernon’s riff, reflecting the unresolved tension of the song’s quest to avenge or at least vindicate a death. Though “Cosey Mo” is the record’s shortest and most immediate song, it’s not the only one capable of planting a hook. “Affliction” turns its imprecation into an indelible if understated chorus. “Ghosts of a Dead Empire”, a send-up of missions for purity and perfection, doesn’t necessarily have a refrain, but its conclusion is memorable and haunting. Vernon’s tune moves evenly with the blown-out riff, matched by harmonies and the emphatic wallop of the rhythm section. It’s a moment of post-metal triumph, with splendor and volume spiraling into one radiant climax.

SubRosa’s first two albums were strong testaments from a doom band with an interesting lineup and manifest interests outside of metal. On More Constant than the Gods, they’ve not only managed to synthesize those enthusiasms but to do so while this strange tangle of musicians works together—unselfishly and with complete subservience to the bigger picture of song, statement, and album. There’s folk storytelling and alt-rock worthy choruses, doom intensity and classical grandeur. It’s hard not to be caught up in the incredible power of SubRosa’s sounds and the wide-screen permanence of their songs. - Grayson Currin, Pitchfork, http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/18395-subrosa-more-constant-than-the-gods/

I think it is very safe to say that most metal bands don’t particularly value songwriting. This is more prevalent in some permutations than others, but particularly in the doom/sludge/stoner vortex, the only considerations for some seem to be “are we playing the riff?” or “are we playing a clip of one of us ripping a bong?” Granted, I love that clip, and it’s kicked off many a classic riff, but those two in combination can only keep a song, let alone a career, going for so long. Eventually, I want something more.

Subrosa has just the skills to fix that. This Salt Lake City band’s fourth release, More Constant Than The Gods, moves and sways like the deck of a sinking ship, tilting from crushing riffs to night-sky expansiveness with a crucial ear for harmony. “Cosey Mo” builds from a bluesy riff into its protracted, four-minute climax of swirling violins and soaring vocals, as singer and songwriter Rebecca Vernon monastically repeats her mantra of “burning/instead of you.” She repeats that image, adding “ire” on closer “No Safe Harbor,” this year’s sludgy piano ballad to beat, droning flute and electric strings flying high overhead.

Doom with a taste for atmosphere isn’t new, however, and it isn’t only what Subrosa does right here. Rather, most of these songs inhabit structures that your parents or grandparents would recognize. Though stretched past the 10-minute-mark in all but one case, these are undeniably songs, with melodies and refrains and codas that betray a band interested in craft and polish, the days of insular noisemaking long passed.
Take the record’s most successful song, opener “The Usher.” Three minutes of slowly-picked bass thrum under first female and then male voices, the two never quite meeting as feedback loops and violin saws and tension builds. After a few seconds of silence, the hammer comes down, and sludgy guitars and drums enter the picture, eventually joined by delay-drenched pizzicato strings that swirl wildly-dissonant figures to a furious downbeat. As music goes, it’s explicit, illustrating more than evoking. “All of my life I’ve been waiting for you” Vernon howls in harmony with Kim Pack and Sarah Pendleton, the group’s violinists, and you see, instead of simply feel, her meaning. It’s powerful stuff.

The central trio of Vernon, Pack and Pendleton, the only constants throughout Subrosa’s career, are its most powerful forces. Though not always omnipresent, the latter members’ violins are the band’s most distinctive element, oscillating between Godspeed-style elegiacal tones and distorted madman swirls, like those of Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis. When their vocals harmonize with Vernon’s, as on the mournful minor-chord sludge of “Fat of the Ram,” the result is of a non-corporeal hallucination, echoes of echoes fading through time.

Though some of their vocal melodies and within-song transitions feel a little rough, in need of a guiding hand or a little more practice, Subrosa display a phenomenal gift for subtlety, one that is pretty much unknown in a genre defined by Dopesmoker and Dopethrone. “No Safe Harbor” closes out with a droning hammered dulcimer solo, and the tiny plinks and plunks of a xylophone intimate their selves elsewhere on the record. And to their credit, the violins of Pack and Pendleton never become generic place-markers for beauty or melody, instead generating more noise than the more traditionally ‘rock’ part of the group.

More Constant Than The Gods is a high-water mark for Subrosa, as well as among their peers. It thriftily balances tone, noise and nuance in a really, truly exciting way. Dreadlocked dudes with terrible tattoos: the ball is in your court. - Cvlt Nation, http://www.cvltnation.com/subrosa-constant-godsstream-review/

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:02 (seven years ago) link

I was never in doubt about fetch. placing tho

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:03 (seven years ago) link

Mind Control was so disappointing.

An embarrassing doorman and garbage man (dog latin), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:04 (seven years ago) link

three of the top four are nailed on but who's the fourth

a chance to cross is a chance to score (anonanon), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:06 (seven years ago) link

I'm kind of amazed SubRosa was #79 in Pazz n Jop. SubRosa have come a long way from their early albums!

Regarding Uncle Acid, I remember AG's relentless campaigning for that second album. His enthusiasm was infectious for sure. I really love a couple songs on the first album, surprised Rise Above hasn't reissued it.

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:11 (seven years ago) link

To avoid confusion, Uncle Acid's first album was Vol. 1 (Killer Candy, 2010), possibly cassette only? I think it was "Witches Garden" that was my favorite.

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:14 (seven years ago) link

cdr only

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:16 (seven years ago) link

Important question, is "heavy metal-leaden/quasi-boogie shit rock" included under the "lava lamp bullshit" category?

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:19 (seven years ago) link

sounds like an xgau-ism

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:20 (seven years ago) link

i have a red, RED, cd edition of uncle acids blood lust

and i'm with AG, i really really like mind control.

that said i am not a metal man, so no idea as to how it fits in ...

mark e, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:24 (seven years ago) link

<quote>deafheaven seemed way more emo than metal to me but I only listened to that record one time and it was a while back</quote>

yeah, reminded me of bands like Envy, things that were labeled as post-rock/screamo more than of anything else. But better.

antoni, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:26 (seven years ago) link

sorry about the quote formatting

antoni, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:27 (seven years ago) link

Mind Control is a lot less poppy and immediate than blood lust so i can see why some arent as excited by it.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:27 (seven years ago) link

4 Gorguts - Colored Sands, 779 Points, 19 Votes, 2 #1s

#20 Revolver, #3 Decibel, #7 SPIN, #5 PopMatters, #2 Stereogum, #2 MetalSucks, #2 MetalSucks musicians, #5 Pitchfork, #34 Terrorizer, #68 Pazz & Jop

theneedledrop - http://youtu.be/XV6nHQJMe7g

Let me know if you can find a metal band that utilizes dissonance and technicality to a large degree that doesn’t cite Gorgut‘s masterful work as an influence. I’ll probably be waiting a long time so I’ll bring a good book – it’s called “The Band That Pioneered Dissonance and Technicality in Death Metal” and it has the word ‘Gorguts‘ repeated over and over. But it’s that huge sense of respect for the band and the enormous anticipation for this release that made it such a tricky one for the legendary act. 12 years is not only a long time for hype to build around a record, but it also gives newcomers and pretenders a chance to overtake the legends should they prove unable to live up to their own mammoth legacy. After all, a lot of bands are remembered for their creative peak, even when they can’t maintain that level indefinitely. So perhaps Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate era was their peak and all they’ll really conjure up this time is a solid record, right?

Enter Colored Sands, the long-awaited opus that exceeded the expectations of just about the entire metal community and became the strongest death metal release of 2013 (so far). A record that doesn’t simply repeat the successes of Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, but puts a completely new spin on it. No doubt the process was heavily affected by new members who brought their all to the crusade to defend the band’s legacy which was built with some of the most forward-thinking death metal records ever. The huge wall of dissonant lead work and dizzying rhythm riffs have been crafted into something far more atmospheric, but with the heaviness and weight only Gorguts could take to this level, making Colored Sands not only near-immaculately put together, but perhaps one of the most absorbing albums of their genre.

It’s almost difficult to wrap my head around just how perfectly everything came together on this album. Despite Luc being the only original member and the sole reason the band reunited, the new additions are amazing and everyone seems right at home in the swirling, abrasive murk that this album creates so masterfully. Taking this huge, crushing soundscape and pairing it with interesting and unpredictable song structures bordering on progressive was a great decision and it’s executed with pinpoint precision. The massive walls of rhythm guitar with the noodly, technical leads flying over it are immaculately done and create many layers to get lost in while keeping the album on an amazing pace.

gorguts_2013The riffs are absorbing, dizzying and uncompromisingly heavy. Despite the sound palette being unusually airy for a death metal record, none of the heaviness is sacrificed for atmosphere thanks to the stellar production work of their bassist, Colin Marston. The mix is dynamic, well-balanced and above all, crushing. It may well be one of the best metal production jobs this year. The guitar and bass work are as impressive as you’d expect from members of Dysrhythmia and they have absolutely no trouble keeping up with the creative mind and guitar-work of Luc Lemay. The drumwork by John Longstreth is no small feat either. It’s a much more subtle affair than you’d find with many modern death metal bands, but it’s full of interesting beats that become absolutely huge when needed as they build up to the album’s many climaxes. The man’s experience in other technical death bands like Origins obviously puts him right at home here and he does not disappoint.

There isn’t a track here that isn’t interesting or doesn’t have a hugely memorable moment. The lead guitar near the end of “An Ocean of Wisdom” and the absolutely massive rhythm guitar explosion towards the end of “Forgotten Arrows” are simply brilliant. Even the purely orchestral track “The Battle of Chamdo” is far from a throwaway interlude and is an incredibly well put together string piece. After the interlude, the album takes what the first half had and ascends to even more dizzying heights, getting better and better until the brilliant closer “Reduced to Silence.”

Colored Sands is the album Gorguts needed to make to cement their relevancy among bands that have taken their sound and forged it into something new, but it goes even further and affirms their legacy as the best of their trade. Ulcerate have released some truly superb albums in their time, Portal have been arguably more dissonant and dark and Deathspell Omega did a great job of taking their riffing style into the black metal posture, but none are Gorguts, and they’re back and performing stronger than ever. - Noctus, Angry Metal Guy, http://www.angrymetalguy.com/gorguts-colored-sands-review/

It has been 12 years since Gorguts last released an album.

It has been a full 15 years since they dropped The Album That Changed Everything.

But it has only been about half of that time since I truly got to know Luc Lemay’s innovations. Being the late bloomer that I was, when Obscura dropped during my senior year of high school I was too busy listening to Pantera to dig into the actual underground, and didn’t truly dive into death metal until my college years. So getting to an album as game-changing as Obscura took a backseat to catching up on the Morbid Angel and Death records I’d known about for ages.

Therefore, I was not only absent for the wave of change that the album represented, I was also not on board until the dust had settled and imitators had long been failing in their quest to duplicate the kind of one-time genius that simply can’t be duplicated. Gorguts themselves could "only" follow up the album with the brilliant-but-less-than-innovative From Wisdom To Hate. I won’t get too detailed here, but refer to the personal blog of our own Ian Chainey, who offers a much more detailed telling of what Gorguts and Obscura meant for heavy metal music late in the millennium. He was around to hear the bomb drop, and he quite accurately describes the feeling that the album gives when it truly “clicks.” I likewise had such a clicking moment, but it was blurred by knowing what the album represented, and lacked the purity of what Ian and many others must have experienced way back in nineteen hunert’n’ninety-eight.

All of this is a way to say that in many ways, Colored Sands feels like my Gorguts album. The one that I will get to know with everyone else, not later after the surprise has settled. So reviewing the album was an exciting proposition, and an act that seems to provide a strange maturity to my life as a metal fan. Not that you, dear reader, really give much of a shit about this history, but perspective for such a monumental release is an important ingredient in understanding one person’s analysis.

So now you have this perspective… onto the album we go…

Much has already been made about the band that Lemay has assembled for the modern incarnation of Gorguts, with fans assuming the worst or best, depending on their opinions of the talent involved. Regardless of said opinions, considering any of the band members less than a master of his craft would be an error; each brings a music school nerd kind of flair to Colored Sands. On second guitar, Lemay brought in Dysrhythmia’s Kevin Hufnagel; on bass, Hufnagel’s bandmate Colin Marston (also of Behold… The Arctopus and Krallice); and on drums, tech wiz John Longstreth (Dim Mak, Origin, etc.). These names will obviously elicit certain impressions, but any trepidations should be set aside, and right the fuck now.

The foursome not only sounds like Gorguts, but is Gorguts, and that success is due to one very important point: despite these songs being largely constructed by Luc Lemay, he allowed each member to shape their parts and be themselves. Hufnagel adapts his Dysrhythmia style into a kind of Lemay-on-atonal-steroids approach, enhancing the already signature dissonances of the band. Marston’s bass is fucking bonkers here, simultaneously acting as a third guitar in harmonies, providing counter-melody, and being produced in such a hard-edged manner as to also sound like an additional percussion instrument. (Really, the album is worth buying for the bass work alone.) Longstreth, meanwhile, is what you would expect him to be: a consummate professional with immeasurable technical talents, and a crucial ingredient in the album’s massive dynamics. Finally, there is Lemay himself, whose riffage is as brutal and beautiful as ever, combining slowly-developing melody with harsh atonality and clinical precision, while his vocal performance is the best of his career, finding a way to be more aggressive and forceful than ever.

The collective talent of these aces means that Colored Sands sounds like an updated, denser version of Obscura, and damn near just as thrilling. This is dense, immaculately performed and produced, dynamic, and insanely exciting music, to say nothing of how it stands within death metal. Each of these eight tracks (and one interlude) is a journey, and each adds to the journey of the whole, with songs often leading directly into another. There is nary a dull moment, and even orchestral interlude “The Battle of Chamdo” – which initially feels more like an intro to a Dimmu Borgir album than a Gorguts track – eventually worms its way into the brain of the listener. In fact, the only perceivable flaw on the album is how penultimate track “Absconders” could easily have been a few minutes shorter. But this is a minor nitpick, as the track remains strong, and the plodding finish merely slows the album’s momentum a tad as it reaches towards its hour-plus run time.

But the rest of that hour? Good gravy does it tickle the ears, folks. It takes about five seconds for opener “Le Toit du Monde” to reveal its quality, changing between guitar-and-bass twitchery and the band’s signature “trapped” melodies (cyclical and super active, but unable to break out of the brutal prison in which they operate), with the band constantly piling on the nuts. The clincher is when Gorguts employs their almost inconceivable ability to vaguely reference earlier song themes, as if in some compositional attempt to catch a listener off guard and make them question exactly what they have heard; and they do it all over the album. At the other end of the same spectrum is the title track, which aims to show off exactly how vastly dynamic this music can be. Beginning with a minimal “ping” of the guitar, it crafts a slow crescendo, sounding almost like a clean Meshuggah section before the flood is unleashed. The heavy comes, and the heavy overwhelms. The moment when Lemay’s vocals arrive might be the most naturally headbangable thing the band has done since their Suffocation-esque early days, and the track just keeps growing. The heft is like some giant, thinking, cybernetic tank, and the jazzy lead lines are like wires that desperately try to tangle in the tread, but are only absorbed and assimilated into the greater, demented machinery.

The temptation to give a full account of each song is indeed quite high, because the level of rich detail and thought that went into Colored Sands is staggering, and I just so much want to talk about it. I’d love to get into every last drop of the Morbid Angel-by-way-of-Obscura feel of “An Ocean of Wisdom,” or how the finale of “Forgotten Arrows” just takes everything fucking down as the song conquers itself. Then there is the neck-breaking riffage and ludicrous soloing in “Enemies of Compassion,” you might want to hear more about that. Or perhaps how a particularly percussive passage of “Ember’s Voice” comes across as an extreme metal version of a Stomp concert. Or even that relentless hook in closer “Reduced to Silence,” and how the band suddenly abandons it only to constantly tease its return. I’m sure you’d love to know more about that, and I’d love to get into every minute nuance, but something has to be saved. Just know that each of these passages are only small nuggets of the songs that house them, and that the richness of detail on Colored Sands will likely reveal new secrets just as long as Obscura has.

Granted, this album can never mean to death metal what Obscura did; it is utterly impossible. But it can add to one band’s musical legacy in massive ways, and if the short time I have spent with Colored Sands has anything to say, it is that this will indeed thrill any and all fans of the band, and those of adventurous music in general. (This is said while realizing that the closed-mindedness about heavy metal will mean that most “adventurous music fans” will never give the album a chance, but it really needs to be shoved into the ears of every blue-blooded Julliard freshman.) At this juncture, Colored Sands feels to be even stronger than the monstrous From Wisdom To Hate. Again, this will be up to time to decide, but it isn’t up to this review to look into the future. I can’t predict that any more than I can go into the past and experience the shock of Obscura with everyone else. All I can say is that this is the type of music that must be heard at least once, and even if you come away not enjoying it, the notes within will have bent your perception of the possibilities of music, if only a little.
And that, more than anything else, makes this a Gorguts album. - Zach Duvall, Last Rites, http://lastrit.es/reviews/7075/gorguts-colored-sands#sthash.KtwLKwEu.dpuf

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:30 (seven years ago) link

Heard this for the first time and went in my full-poll top 5 quicker that you can say 'holy progdeath motherfucker'

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:47 (seven years ago) link

I guess this means that Gorguts aren't number one.

J3ff T., Friday, 17 January 2014 18:47 (seven years ago) link

Two days ago, I mean. It's a ridiculous & staggering achievement and trust me I know a ridiculous & staggering achievement when I (rarely) hear it. Would have been my #2 had I voted

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:49 (seven years ago) link

This got an impressive amount of support (see the #68 ranking in Pazz n Jop) for such a challenging album. I admire it more than lurve it. What, you didn't vote Imago? WTF!

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:50 (seven years ago) link

that Gorguts album is so awesome, as were the several preceding it... a pretty great top ten so far, imo.

Viceroy, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:50 (seven years ago) link

he refused to


pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:51 (seven years ago) link

I predict Amaranthe for number two.

J3ff T., Friday, 17 January 2014 18:52 (seven years ago) link

I decided I wasn't metal enough. Next year when I've heard more than 5 nominated albums maybe

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:53 (seven years ago) link

betting AoP, Carcass, IS

Simon H., Friday, 17 January 2014 18:53 (seven years ago) link

too low for Gorguts

nakamura, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:54 (seven years ago) link

If you do you might hear more ridiculous and staggering achievements...

Fastnbulbous, Friday, 17 January 2014 18:54 (seven years ago) link

I'm surprised (but not too much so, considering the source) that ASG made the top 10. Good album, though.

Why is everyone so convinced that Altar of Plagues is going to be in the top three?

J3ff T., Friday, 17 January 2014 18:58 (seven years ago) link

(Which others in this top 10 might I enjoy btw?)

lovely cuddly fluffy dope (imago), Friday, 17 January 2014 18:59 (seven years ago) link

Windhand is amazing. Don't listen to EZ; it has some of the best dirty production of the year.

J3ff T., Friday, 17 January 2014 19:01 (seven years ago) link

I didn't vote for either in either poll but we be rad if Carcass and Gorguts made the reg ILX poll

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Friday, 17 January 2014 19:02 (seven years ago) link

we = wd

the legend of rapper chance (Drugs A. Money), Friday, 17 January 2014 19:02 (seven years ago) link

I'll have to double check but I think Carcass got my #1, I imagine a lot of people put it right near the top.

Viceroy, Friday, 17 January 2014 19:03 (seven years ago)