Tue, 20 January 2015
Best Classic Black Metal:
Yes, it is controversial that I am saying this is classic black metal: the production is excellent and they integrate some sludge in here. It has tons of melody. Bite me. Some of these dudes are also in Inter Arma.
Bastard Sapling (Richmond, VA), album - Instinct is Forever (song - My Spine Will Be My Noose (0:28-7:45))
Runner-Up: Blut Aus Nord (France), album – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry: It's not fair, Blut Aus Nord is just too good. This guy does no wrong, no matter how prolific he is. It is almost too hard to judge.
Runner-Up: The Great Old Ones (France), album – Tekeli-li: I love this album, really romantically menacing. Pure as the snow black metal, but so thick and satisfying. The pummeling.
Best 70's Revitalist
70’s Revitalist is one of my favorites, I love bluesy rock that jams, tons of psychedelic here. This was a close race, but Blues Pills really hits a home run. The female vocalist kicks ass, you will love her. Just get both albums. These dudes left Radio Moscow and started this band.
Blues Pills (Sweden), album – Blues Pills (song – Astralplane (9:33-14:07))
Runner-Up: Brimstone Coven (WV), album – Brimstone Coven: You have to own this album, if you are a blues-rock fan. It was like Sophie’s Choice between these two bands. You are going to fucking jam out.
Full of Hell is a young band who caught a lucky break befriending the drummer of Merzbow at a show. Next think you know, they are composing with a band via email. Noise inspires images that are all of your making. I personally get a torture vibe with axes and medieval boys running around.
Full of Hell/Merzbow (MD/Japan), album - Full Of Hell & Merzbow (song - Raise Thee, Great Wall, Bloody And Terrible (15:00-17:29))
Runner-Up: Kikagaku Moyo (Tokyo), album - Mammatus Clouds: Very ethnic
Runner-Up: Suruni (Finland), album – Ikuus: This is just a gorgeous album, don't miss this one
Best Comeback Album
Even though Behemoth has only been quiet for (5) years, this is their 10th album. They show their maturity in not just putting out speed and chaos; they patiently take their time and then suddenly rip. They don’t need to prove shit.
Behemoth (Poland), album - The Satanist(song: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel (18:39-23:17))
Runner-Up: Misery Index (Baltimore), album – The Killing Gods: One of my favorite live bands of all time. Super pummeling technical shit. This album was 4 years in the making, which ain't that long, but it felt it. Solid, as expected.
Runner-Up: At the Gates (Sweden), album – At War with Reality: Dude, what a great follow-up to one of my favorite albums, Slaughter of the Soul. This is fucking melodic metal in the only way I could ever listen to it.
Best Dark Psychedelic/Avante-Garde/Experimental
Close to the category noise/ambient, but incorporates more straight-forward song-writing. Hail Spirit Noir borrows a bit from King Diamond, and the vocalist has some raspy shit going on. The psychedelic songs have a dark edge to it.
Hail Spirit Noir (Greece), album - Oi Magoi (song - Blood Guru (23:59-30:03))
Runner-Up: Murmur (Chicago), album – Murmur: Man this was a close call, I fucking love Murmur. This band mixed progressive and hardcore into the mix.
Runner-Up: Megaton Leviathon (Portland), album - Past 21 Beyond the Arctic Cell: SO CLOSE!! Progressive atmosphere, very sci-fi; and then add some heavy sludge; holy shit this album contains a ton, no pun attended
Runner-Up: Spectral Haze (Norway), album - I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains: A lighter of the other bands, straight up awesome psychedelic
Runner-Up: Emptiness (Belgium), album - Nothing But The Whole: Darker than the others on this list, but oh so weird in where they take their emotional romantic take on metal, so I shoved it in this category. I feel like these peeps grew up with goth influences, though they are straight-up evil.
Best Unorthodox Black Metal:
Panopticon mixed a bunch of shit into their black metal sound: some organic instruments like banjo and violin. But it is a vicious freeze of black metal fo sho.
Panopticon (Minnesota), album - Roads to the north(song - The Echoes of a Disharmonic Evensong (31:03-39:59))
Runner-Up: Woods of Desolation (Australia): album - As The Stars: One-man band first of all, and incorporating a lot of gazy, emotional, and inherently sweet melody
Revocation has death bleeding into it, but you got some great riffs going on here, it breaks into some real singing and fist pumping. A touch of retro, as any good thrash band pulls in.
Revocation (Boston), album – Deathless (song – Deathless (40:50-45:44))
Runner-Up: Alestorm (Scotland), album - Sunset on the Golden Age: Uh, have you heard this band!?? You first think it is a complete joke, and they have Scottish accents, but this is just a right-on, badass-in-the-riff-arena album, with the BEST LYRICS EVER “we are here to drink your beer, drink. drink. drink. drink. drink. drink. drink. drink.” I mean, this is what thrash is all about right?
Best Crossover Thrash
I love Iron Reagan, they are just one of those bands that know how to have fun, mosh in a circle and check it out. Yes, this song is less than 40 secconds.
Iron Reagan (Richmond), album – The Tyranny of Will (song - The Living Skull (46:55-47:33))
Runner-Up: Foreseen (Sweden)
Best Assault Album That You Cannot Listen Through in One Sitting:
Artificial Brain’s progressive sound is technical, raw, pummeling and painful all around.
Artificial Brain (NY), album - Labyrinth Constellation (song - Absorbing Black Ignition (48:15-53:26))
Runner-Up: Diocletian (New Zealand), album - Gesundrian: Fuck if this ain't an assault, but worthy of many tries to listen.
Best Evil Doom:
Thou brings in the menace to its take to doom. It is cold, but the riffs break it up. This also has some gorgeous melody.
Thou (Baton Rouge), album - Heathen (song - Into the Marshland (54:18-1:01:14))
Runner-Up: Hang the Bastard (U.K), album - Sex in the Seventh Circle: One of my favorite elements is the vocals. Fucking A. And on top of it, completely catchy.
2nd BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR, and Best Grindcore
I can’t tell you how much I love this album. It has all the elements: speed, tight, aggressive, brutal, catchy at times. He has these gorgeous pops of melody. Sadly, this band has since retired
Gridlink (NJ, Texas, Japan), album - Longhena(song- Look to Windward (1:02:26-END))
Runner-Up (to Best Grindcore): Piss Vortex (Denmark), album – Piss Vortex: Young, fresh, hard, crazy, tight, difficult.
Just in case you are interested, these are the bands that I am playing behind my vocals, in order: