Jan 28, 2015
Best Saturday Album:
Past bands have been Kadavar and Sons of Tonatiuh. This year my most listened to album on Saturday is Murmur, which is avant-garde jazz fusion band. Super nerdy fusion metal. You will hear a twinge of hardcore and of course, prog.
Murmur (Chicago), album - Murmur (song: Zeta II Reticuli (0:28-7:03))
Dudes from Converge, Cave-In and Isis created Old Man Gloom. They put out a fake album prior to the true release which ended them in some hot water with pretentious reviewers. But, who cares, this album is yet another jaunt in heavy noise and hardcore and ferocity.
Old Man Gloom (New Mexico), album - Ape of God (song: Shoulder Meat (9:09-14:41))
No, this genre is not slow, you just listened to a few mediocre bands and think you know what the f you are talking about. How about you settle down over there and realize you just don’t know. Secret Cutter is a young Pennsylvanian band that have set up some kickass hooks in a swampy sound that kicks into grind.
Secret Cutter (PA), album - Secret Cutter (song: Craving The Silence (15:29-18:41))
Runner-Up: Tombs (NYC), album - Savage Gold: The first time I heard this, I knew it was going in my top list. The album is full of surprising genre melds, but mostly it is just a brutally satisfying trip. Tombs' lead singer just rips.
Runner-Up: Fistula (Cleveland), album - Vermin Prolificus: Crust-infused sludge, the taste I like
This takes into consideration the structure of a sound that invokes heart strings getting pulled, in a way that is still immensely brutal and heavy. This second album by Pallbearer is a step above their first, layered instrumentation and vocalization for a really epic emotional experience.
Pallbearer (Arkansas), album - Foundations of Burden (song: Foundations (19:40-28:21))
Runner-Up: Primordial (Ireland), album - Where Greater Men Have Fallen (also Best Vocalist)
This debut album by Thantifaxath was menacing, mechanical, cold, brutal, clean, scary and wicked.
Thantifaxath (Toronto), album - Sacred White Noise (song: Gasping In Darkness (29:32-34:55))
Best Vocalist/Best Fucking Passion:
I always had a huge crush on Irish men, the accents themselves lend a lyrical quality. The vocalist of Primordial does not sing with an accent, but it is a gorgeous voice, powerful and fierce. The band is going to put you away with speed and prowess. This is their (8th) album.
Primordial (Ireland), album - Where Greater Men Have Fallen (song: Come the Flood (35:33-42:42))
Runner-Up: Alunah (U.K.), album – Awakening the Forest (female): FUCK. This chick is FUCKING AMAZING. This is a close runner-up for Best Doom and Best Ballads.
Runner-Up: Dread Sovereign (Ireland), album – All Hell’s Martyrs: (SAME SINGER AS PRIMORDIAL!!): Ultimately, I am in love with this vocalist. Dread Sovereign has this wonderful retro heavy-metal edge to it; but it is fully a dark and emotional album.
Runner-Up: Blues Pill (Sweden), album – Blues Pills (female - her band got Best 70's Revitalist)
Runner-Up: Pallbearer (Arkansas), album - Foundations of Burden (this band got Best Ballad/Compositions)
Runner-Up: Bulletbelt (New Zealand), album – Rise of the Banshee (female - badass)
Runner-Up: Hang the Bastard (U.K.), album – Sex in the Seventh Circle
Runner-Up: Order of Israfel (Sweden), album - Wisdom
Best Unorthodox Death:
Arty disjointed prog death, of course the Norwegians take something classic and spin it into some crazy product that is barely recognizable. Must be their dark demon-ridden forests.
Diskord (Norway), album - Oscillations (song: Horrid Engine (43:25-46:57))
Best Classic Death:
Horrendous’s take on the classic sound is just catchy riffs, strong pumping beat, and a great singer. This album won’t exhaust you.
Horrendous (Virginia), album - Ecdysis (song: Monarch (48:06-51:57)
Runner-Up: Embrace of Thorns (Greece), album - A Plague Through the Heavens: If you are looking for a thick catchy sound incorporating tons of black metal, look no further. This was a close second to the best death album of the year.
Runner-Up: Morbus Chron (Sweden), album - Sweven: Well, the part that is old school is an (awesome) layer in some of these songs - fun and fast, but what stands out is their take on proggy, and the genre of death is made that much more complex. Their sound is one of the best this year, but it lost to Horrendous because their vocalist was not as strong.
Runner-Up: Dead Congregation (Greece), album - Promulgation of the Fall: A thicker sound, very straight, old school death metal. I love musicians from Greece.
Runner-Up: Teitanblood (Spain), album - Death: Appropriately named album. There is this cold mechanical cutting feel, slicing through your brain when you hear this. So fast.
Runner-Up: Exordium Mors (New Zealand), album - The Apotheosis of Death: Screeching, headbanging brutality
A close race this year, Alunah from the U.K. had one of the strongest doom albums of the year, you should rush out and get it. But, I heart YOB forever. This is them putting out another list of epic climactic songs, leaving an emotional ache in your heart.
YOB (Oregon), album - Clearing The Path To Ascend (song: Nothing to Win (52:58-1:00:45))
Runner-Up: Alunah (U.K.), album – Awakening the Forest: This is also a runner-up to BEST VOCALIST, this chick rocks. I would even put it under Best Ballads – fucking amazing emotional songs here.
Runner-Up: Order of Israfel (Sweden): Definitely more "catchy" than YOB style, which doesn't give a shit about setting a groove. But hell, a girl likes a bit of groove.
Underrated Young and In The Way stole this category immediately, as soon as I heard the album early this year. They do this churning black metal laden crust. BUT, don’t just stop there: their take on doom is a large part of this huge album.
Young and In the Way (Charlotte), album - When Life Comes To Death (song: Fuck This Life (1:01:53-1:05:21))
Runner-Up: Enabler (Milwaukee), album - Le Fin Absolue Du Monde: One of the main things I look for in a crust album is energy, catchy, and grit. It has to have the energy of a crust band, compel me to skip in a mosh pit, and make me clench my teeth. Enabler's guitar work was deeper than what I usually hear in crust bands, way more composition here. But it is fucking galloping crust.
Runner-Up: Husk (Norway), album - Hymns: A bit darker, these breakdowns are hypnotic.
Atriarch is technically a metal band, but they have integrated post-punk and industrial, that made this album really compelling for me. For straight up post-punk, you must listen to Pawns and Horror Vacui, two of the best bands I listened to last year.
Atriarch (Portland), album - An Unending Pathway (song: Entropy (1:06:04-1:11:31))
Runner-Up: Pawns (Brooklyn), album – Pawns: Super raw, like you are at the club watching them live; a must-have
Runner-Up: Horror Vacui (Italy), album – Return of the Empire: If you are going to get one post-punk album, run and get this one. Brilliant, and I hate that I missed them live.
Runner-Up: The New Flesh (Oakland), album –The Absurd: From Oakland, you will relive your 80’s youth
Runner-Up: House of Capricorn (New Zealand), album – Morning Star Rise: Leans towards psychedelic; but definitely gorgeous post-punk song structure
#1 ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Lord Mantis was created in every element with an artist’s mind, from the almost horrific lyrics to the difficult album imagery. His vocals got “Best Shrieking Vocals”, one of my favorite styles. It isn’t easy to create demonic sounds that you want to hear over and over again. They are not sludge, they have mutated the sound and vocals, bringing in dark electronic and industrial in parts. It is unexpected, a present to the dreary and bored mind. Blistering is the word.
Lord Mantis (Chicago), album - Death Mask (song: Negative Birth (1:12:44-END))
Backing my vocals in order: The Cure; Jesus And Mary Chain; Catherine Wheel; Sugarcubes; Gene Loves Jezebel; Radiohead; Brad; Joy Division; Sisters of Mercy; Thrill Kill Kult; Space Team Elektra