Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

She Likes It Heavy, Tuesdays, 7pm PST on

Jan 24, 2018

This set is the conclusion of my Best of 2017 shows.  At the end I announce my Best Album of the Year.

Best Black Metal
NIGHTBRINGER (CO), album - Terra Damnata
Song: Misrule (0:25-6:29)
— Night Bringer is chilling; guitar and screeching vocalist hack away at the little humanity you haven’t killed already.

Kafirun (CAN), album – Eschaton — Vicious, so vicious, and the balance of melody coupled with the relentless blasts is perfection. A debut album to boot.
Der Weg Einer Freiheit (Germany), album - Finisterre — You know how black metal boys do: They cast a spell with shimmering, and then in this case, their fucking immense drummer beats your face in. A incredible mix of sparse and dense, cold and emotional. This is brutal and unrelenting mixed with heartbreaking gorgeousness, a welcome intensity and meditation out of my soul.
Wode (UK), album - Servants of the Countercosmos — Guitar-heavy and explosively energetic with a hardcore edge, with hella emphasis on riffs and a jaunt into melody. Those headbanging-worthy fuckin’ riffs. The vocals are a bit tedious, hence runner-up.
Belus (Brooklyn), album – Apophenia — Dense, intense, and hella passionate shimmering black metal with an incredible raspy singer.
Jordablod (Sweden), album - Upon My Cremation Pyre — Crisp, shimmering mixed with prog and death over a core of black. When psychedelic ad rock rear its beautiful head, it isn’t necessarily a respite in the brutality, but pushes your brain out further. I’m so glad that Finnish band Oranssi Pazuzu has proven to be an influence, this sound has so many different facets.
Woe (Brooklyn), album – Hope Attrition — A blast of fury, relentlessness, with plaintive melodies. Woe has created a masterpiece of Brooklyn-style metal, the vocals is one of my favorites, extremely emotive and escalating, heating your blood.

Best Darkwave/Goth/Industrial
STATIQBLOOM (Brooklyn), album - Blue Moon Blood
Song: Black Walks Eternal (8:15-13:27)
— This is my second year Statiqbloom wins in this category. Fade Kainer of Batillus is Statiqbloom, a genius with dark electronics and production. He creates yet another danceable industrial album, reminiscent of the best of Skinny Puppy.

Clan of Xymox (Netherlands), album - Days of Black — One of my favorite gothic synthwave bands of all time, released 80's dark synth and goth perfection with some of the best vocals of all time. This album will slam you into nostalgia, that is, if you ever were a goth.
Godflesh (UK), album – Post Self — Metallic industrial with harsh vocals, seething under the surface, full on atmospheric, melodic and rounded.

The following are excellent goth, synth pop, deathrock, industrial bands that should not be missed:
3Teeth (LA), album – shutdown.exe
Pawns (NYC), album - The Gallows
Ritual Veil (Portland), album - Wolf In The Night
Night Sins (Philly), album – Dancing Chrome
Virgin in Veil (Finland), album – Twisted Thrills
Orion (Sydney), album - S/T

Best Technical Death or Grind
PYRRHON (NY), album - What Passes for Survival
Song: The Happy Victim's Creed (14:12-19:14)
— Pyrrhon had to be perfect to win this category over Buckshot Facelift and Gigan. And they were.

Buckshot Facelift (NY), album - Ulcer Island — Intelligent, angular grind, wildly different from song to song. I like that this band is meaty on top of being technical. They've got a ton of genres represented here, death and grindcore and hardcore and punk and heavy as fuck fuck. The absolute highlight of the entire album is the lead singer who is a monster in the best possible way, and is also from Artificial Brain.
Sunless (Minneapolis), album – Urraca — Sunless has the hard, angular head-spinning transitions, mixed with dissonance, but sprawls deliciously in atmosphere.
Dying Fetus (MD), album - Wrong One to Fuck With — You go into battle with Dying Fetus, and their music is the anthem, goring enemies. They hit you between the eyes with precision, tight, technical, brutality. The guitar work is fucking insane, it speaks in tongues, and geezus the breakdowns. They somehow make this a groove-filled viciousness, how does that happen. Genius.
Gigan (Chicago), album - Undulating Waves of Rainbiotic Iridescence — Totally the weirdest album in the bunch. It is the manifestation of strange brains dreaming. There is streaming psychedelic pulsating through veins of brutal and master technical extreme. This is their 4th album.
Full of Hell (PA/MD), album - Trumpeting Ecstasy — Full of Hell was my favorite brutal band to see live last year. They didn’t just hold their own with Cattle Decapitation and Revocation, they blew me away. The lead singer is in-fucking-sane.

Best Psychedelic/Space
DRUG HONKEY (Chicago), album - Cloak of Skies
Song: Sickening Wasteoid (19:53-25:48)
— Drug Honkey isn’t your mom’s psychedelic: Chicago grit, a very dark world of cold mechanical structures, noise effects, versatile vocals and jazz sax.

Ufomammut (Italy), album – 8 — Ufommamut has become massive in the spacey psychedelic metal genre. The new album have infiltrated the doom sound, but still retain their unique fuzzed-out distorted spacey effects. It feels like a 70's acid trip in a hella stellar production.
Ecstatic Vision (Philly), album – Raw Rock Fury — These guys bring in a lot of 70's psychedelic groove and love to dissolve into the layers that make up their very complex compositions.

Best Hardcore
CONVERGE (MA), album – The Dusk in Us
Song: The Dusk in Us (26:33-33:36)
— These guys slaughter on their 9th album; how the fuck is that possible. Legendary band that brings an emotional depth that adds yet another facet to their sound.

Foreseen (Finland), album - Grave Danger — Also a contender for Best Thrash. Finnish band Foreseen does a crossover style of thrash, blending in the energy of hardcore into their dirty as hell gritty thrash with tons of ripping groove that you just tighten your hand into a fist to punch the air. Blows Iron Reagan's new album out of the water in terms of crossover perfection.
All Pigs Must Die (MA), album – Hostage Animal — The ferocious intensity of a hardcore and crust band that dives headfirst into brutal death metal. Sounds like they took a good vacation for the last 4 years, pouring out all their pent-up energy, and adding Trap Them's guitarist. Their slowest moments were wicked and pulverizing.

Best Epic/Crushing/Massive
AMENRA (Belgium), album – Mass VI
Song: Children of the Eye (34:10-43:10)
— Bold, crushing devastation.

Elder (MA), album – Reflections of a Floating World — Their 4th album that builds tension and expands to groove and riff, and an eventual expansive dreamy melodic structure weaved with kraut and psychedelic, filled with piano and keyboard and vocals.

Best Male Warm Vocals
PAGAN ALTAR (UK), album – The Room of Shadows
Song: Dance of the Vampires (44:21-50:47)
— Pagan Altar are old dudes, around since 1978, and about 20 years actively making music. The original singer and guitarist are father and son. In 2014 they were set to release Never Quite Dead, and then Terry Jones, the singer, died of cancer. His son and some original members spent time touching up the album, the sound melancholy and nostalgic, and finally released it. There is a touch of folk, the vocalist spinning stories with a lilting vocal. The sound is reminiscent of their sound 40 years ago, and that is just badass.

Demon Head (Denmark), album - Thunder on the Fields — Sexy psychedelic groove, emotional epic vocals accompanied by moody melodies.
Kadavar (Germany), album - Rough Times —Won Best Retro/Retro Doom

Best Male Cold Vocals
BELUS (Brooklyn), album – Apophenia
Song: Avarice (51:03-57:07)
— High pitched to rasp to screech to pure evil to throaty guttural, employing so many creepy styles. This is a band is one to watch, shimmering and passionate black metal. The vocalist is also in Woe.

Full of Hell (PA/MD), album - Trumpeting Ecstasy — Full of Hell was my favorite brutal band to see live last year. They didn’t just hold their own with Cattle Decapitation and Revocation, they blew me away. The lead singer is in-fucking-sane.
Primitive Man (CO), album – Caustic — This vocalist is fucking unearthly. Growls and acidic-toned. This album is just a wall.

Saturday Album
SPECTRAL VOICE (CO), album - Visions Of Psychic Dismemberment
Song: Thresholds Beyond (57:45-1:05:04)
— Saturday album is the album I played the most at home.  Bloodied vocals and the harshness of death mixed with sweetness and pummeling badassery. I couldn’t help myself spinning this almost every week.

Vampire (Sweden), album - With Primeval Force — Vampire does this incredible job of capturing a retro style, with bite. Totally Swedish death metal with melodic mixed with heavy thrash. It is a fucking versatile album within each song, it hella swings. There is so much to headbang to here, but also a bit of folk and ballad creating a fully-rounded and thoughtful album. And they just let loose, this shit would be wild live. This is their second, more polished album, after a hiatus of 3 years.

Best Female Vocals/#1 Album of the Year!!
COUCH SLUT (Brooklyn), album - Contempt
Song: Company Picnic With Dust Off (1:05:46-END)
— The lead singer’s bleak angry screech is weaved with Tormented raw emotional aggro noise; the emphasis on lyrics perhaps show a woman’s touch: “I will fuck you”.  We are angry, abused and we’re not going to take it. We’re not going to apologize for the anger. She touches on mental illness, drug abuse, anger, loss, the spectrum of human emotions living in such a fucked-up reality. This is my soundtrack, and once I thought about it, it was easy.

Satan's Hollow (Chicago), album – S/T — Debut album with a powerhouse of a female vocalist leading a rifftastic classic heavy metal band with speed and power.
Myrkur (Denmark), album – Serpent — Her voice is ethereal until it's demonic, floating above dense, and playing with soft, light and dark.
Maggot Heart (Sweden), album - City Girls — Melodic pop and guitar is at the forefront; Linnea Olsson’s voice is sharp and sexy croons. This band is just going to get bigger.

Behind My Vocals
Alma Mater, Wolfsheim Kein Zurück, The Frozen Autumn, Page, Human Puppets, Metro Decay, The Chameleons, Chromagain, Aroma Di Amore