Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Airing of Grievances - The Worst of 2010

The after Christmas blues are on full swing, so I might as well begin the annual Airing of Grievances... you see, not every metal album was great this year.  In fact, there were some downright klunkers. So let's get started on this miss parade.
Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini
The only thing I remember after listening is one riff that straight up annoys me.  Ruun was the last album I gave a damn about, and they seem to be quickly going downhill with each subsequent album.  Maybe they need to get Dirge Rep back in the band or even that fucking skinny grasshopper Kronheim.

Come on Grutle and Ivar, get with the program!!

Atheist - Jupiter
I was really excited about this album, but I should've known that it was going to suck because it's basically Gnostic with Kelly Schaefer singing.  Not good guys, not good.  The thing that really kills this album is the lifeless modern-age production that just sucks all the vitality from what could've been a semi-interesting platter of tech-death.  Fuck, I hate these sterile production jobs.  People think that's professional?  That's desired??  Fuck that shit.

Sigh - Scenes From Hell
Mirai & Skank
There's such a thing as having too much fun, and Scene's From Hell is having too much fun at the listener's expense.

Grimlet - Grim Perceptions
If you're going to name your band something awesome like Grimlet, you've gotta figure that people are going to have some pretty lofty expectations of your music.  I had dreams of Grimlet being like a black metal version of mini-Kiss.
 Or even this would've been a'ight.
Alas, neither is the case...

Agalloch - Marrow of the Spirit
Haughm & Friends
Agalloch have officially gone up their own ass....soooo pretentious.  The bass drum sounds like shit too, who the hell was mixing this thing??  Come on Haughm, pull it together baby.

Deathspell Omega - Paracletus
This is a godawful mess.  I really liked Fas...but this is really doing nothing for me.  This really isn't even black metal, it's some sort of bass heavy bastard form of noise rock, which would be OK, but the bass doesn't even sound that good.  I will say that parts of Paracletus are growing on me, but right now it's a big disappointment.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Beast of 2010

I love Top Ten lists, and this was a great year for metal, so it is with relish that I present my Beast of 2010!!!

10. Misogi - Tofotukami Wemitamafe
WHAT?!?  I didn't think it was possible for this band to get any more awesome, but here they are with their most kick-ass, weird-ass, thrashin'-ass platter yet!  I think that the various members' time in Quest For Blood served them well.  Although they get a suuji ju and not a suuji ichi, they get an epic suuji ichi for naming their album Tofotukami Wemitamafe.  Seriously fun to say these words out loud, just kind of rolls off the tongue.  Try doing it at a dinner party sometime, you'll be a hit!!

9. Sadist - Season In Silence
These Italian Stallions prove yet again that there is a strong correlation between the gaudiness of an album cover and the awesomeness of the music within.  In a year when one former legendary tech-death band made a tragic comeback (find out who in my forthcoming Airing of Grievances post) Sadist went and released the finest album of their career.  Fretless bass is poppin', keyboards are sweet as cherry pie, and the riffs are so cool they might just give you frostbite.

8. Uz Jsme Doma - Caves
I didn't start listening to this band till this year; which is thrilling, because it makes me realize there are still incredible bands out there for me to discover and fall in love with.  If you ever wondered where some of the weirder Czech metal bands (i.e. Master's Hammer, Root, !T.O.O.H!, Umbrtka) got some of their more off the wall idears, you have these nutterz to thank!  On Caves, they forgather volkeisch melodies with fucked time meters and riveting vocals in the Czech verbiage.  Fast turning into one of my favorite bands EVER!!

7. Inquisition - Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm
A new Inquisition album is always cause for much rejoicing and jubilation. Ominous Doctrines is simultaneously their most brutal and transcendental release, which in large part is due to an AWESOME production job that gives everything so much room and vitality that when I first listened to it I was speechless, jaw agape and tongue lolling out, much like our skeletal friend on the album cover : 0=  
Dagon and Incubus's modus operandi (cyclic riffing, amphibious vocals, ludicrously occult subject matter) is well represented, their musical vision crystallized and expanded...par for this course are the viscid croaking vocals that ride atop the cacophonous swoon, much like Abbath's on Blizzard Beasts; but Dagon mixes it up a tad with ghoulish caterwaulin' that adds to the cult (more than any other band, I cannot think of a more fitting term for Inquisition than a "cult") atmosphere.  The duo have also placed a greater emphasis on rockin'-out moments where everything will lock into a stone-Khold groove (the last song, oh my god is that last song sumthin'!) Here's to many more Inquisition albums in the years to come!!

6. Necrocock - Lesni Hudba
Mr. Necrocock is a musical chameleon, but he is one of those rare artists who is able to retain an instantly recognizable sound no matter what manner of genre he tries his hand at. On Lesni Hudba, Necrocock goes for a more alt-metal ambient approach. On a cursory listen this sounds a bit like Jesu, Isis, or any other of those types of atmospheric sludgy bands.  Now, I normally do not go for that type of music at all, but it is Necrocock's singular melodic sense that makes these songs so damn amazing and sets them miles ahead of aforementioned bands.  Transcendent, captivating and unique, this album gets better every time I listen to it.

5. Starkweather - This Sheltering Night
This Sheltering Night is like Gorguts and Psychotic Waltz gettin' together and jammin' on bad acid. So damn crazy, it makes me smile that there are actually human beings out there that make music like this.

4. Canvas Solaris - Irradiance
Already posted this gem; I knew it had a guaranteed spot in the Beast of this year.  How could it not? Canvas Solaris are just too awesome to be denied. One recommendation for ya kiddies, check out the last two minutes of The Horizons Feast On Stars and prepare to get your ass handed to you!!

3. Misantropical Painforest - A Firm Grip of the Roots
Epic & Ambient Forest Black Metal, and probably the weirdest black metal album made this year. Never mind the ambient parts, they are pretty cool on their own (actually wouldn't mind hearing an album's worth of just that), but that ain't what A Firm Grip of the Roots is about.  It's about the fucked up guitar riffs, the epic vocals, the 9 minute long songs about loneliness, struggle and campfires.  OK I'm probably painting a negative picture of this album right now, but rest assured it is one of the greatest things I've ever heard. Picture Comus jamming with that cool troll Shamatee, or Urfaust going on a Merle Haggard bender.  Some things just work, and they don't always have to make sense.

2. Algaion - Exthros
Algaion have been stalwarts of the Swedish scene for nigh on 20 years now, so they have the chops and experience to produce a solid album's worth of songs, but who knew they had this in them??  9 tunes influenced by the kings of Hellenic Black metal, Rotting Christ and Varathron (I even hear a little Madness of the Graves era Root in there), and there is not an ounce of filler on 'em.  Some of the melodies on Exthros (which means Enemy in Greek) are so goddamn majestic I have to sit down when I listen to them.  No one is making albums like this anymore, not even Rotting Christ!!

1. Rossomahaar - The Reign of Terror
I will forgive you if you haven't heard of Rossomahaar before.  I shouldn't, but I will. This Russian band's last full-length came out in 2003, and I remember gobbling it up like a starved pygmy shrew; but in the intervening years I forgot about Rossomahaar, so it is with pleasure that I report that in the 7 years hence they have really kicked it up a couple notches!!  How I love this album, let me count the ways; best riffs, best songwriting, best vocals, best dynamics, worst album title (come on, you really can't get anymore generic than Reign of Terror!) If you assembled a collective of elite black metal riff writers (Abbath, Shamatee, Blackosh, and the Ivar of the past (more on that the next post)), asked them to play their best couple of riffs, then plugged them into an ancient algorithm that structured notes in the most volatile manner possible, you will have an idea of the dense headbangibility of the music Rossomahaar have concocted.  I should not be surprised, since the main songwriter of this band also plays in the fantastic Nargathrond (whom I should really post sometime:) The Scandinavian influences are preponderant, but Rossomahaar retains a slithery Russian vibe, with some of the more thrashin' riffs sounding like the notorious Ruskies Nav'.  In fact, if I were to put a pin in it, I'd say that The Reign of Terror could be the spurious offspring of Nav's The Wolf Sun and Enslaved's Below The Lights, with a touch of jewish-folk music thrown in for great measure!!
What really puts this one OTT in my mind are the moments of pure awesomeness that have the quality of being MORE-ISH (actually a technical term used in some avenues of commerce I have learned).  The NWOBHM blastoff at the beginning of Generation Zero, the bass-led onslaught during the middle of Krasota Dolzhna Umeret', the post klezmer dance-beat syncopated Hellenism of Moscow - The Sanguine..., and the best moment of all, the ending riff and drum workout/solo of God #6.  My God (#6), that's the finest way to end an album since !T.O.O.H! ended their careers with the magnificent outro to Kali!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy X-Mas Fuckers!

May all your Christmas dreams come true!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Zubrowska - Are Dead

Some bands are able to transcend whichever shitty genre they're associated with.  Zubrowska are one of those bands.  

Lucifugum - Xa Heresy

Husband and wife making creepy black metal music together.... I guess that's one way to keep a marriage strong!

Umbrtka - IVO

Really quirky black metal from the demented mind of Lord Morbivod (he of Trollech fame) that can take you from the forest to the biergarten at the drop of a trumpet.  IVO features Fratisek Storm (he of Master's Hammer fame) on a few tracks which only serves to up the weirdness quotient. The vocals on the outrageously fun tune Tilden are a great example of IVO out Master's Hammering Master's Hammer. Cool riffs, jazzy drumming, xylophone, trumpet + Franta Storm = A wild ride.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Circle of Ouroborus/Crooked Necks - Ruins of Resurrection

Circle of Ouroborus have always been a wonderfully occult group of psychedelic enthusiasts, but it might be Crooked Necks (who I had never heard of before this release) who steal the split.  The Neckers melodic sense and use of clean git jangle brings to mind a black metalized version of Brit post-punkers Comsat Angels. Just try Poisoning the Seed or Nothing Was Ever There on for size and tell me I'm wrong.  Totally solid.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mekong Delta - Wanderer on the Edge of Time

Not quite as great as Lurking Fear; but it's still new Mekong Delta, so bow down bitches.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ital Tek - Midnight Colour

Warm and sexy beats.  Perfect for those nights when all you want to do is bake.

Crystal Castles - II

I've listened to this one a bunch o'er the past year.  My Tegan & Sara of '10.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rotting Christ - AEALO

The band with the coolest name ever returns with album #11 of kickass Hellenic Metal.  Apparently they recorded this album under influence of the glorious mountain, so they've got that going for them.

Chief - Tribute to Chick Corea

Chief is an upcoming Swiss beatmaker, his production ranges from sophisticated soulful beats, to futuristic organic sounds, urban soundscapes and electric atmospheres...on this, he re-works Chick Corea compositions into brilliant soulscapes.  Chick would be proud.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winterblut - Von den Pflichten Schones zu vernichten

My Deutsch is a bit rusty, but I believe it means "Duty to Destroy the Beautiful"  if this is the intention, then L'Hiver and friends certainly succeed.  Foul and dissonant while maintaining a hobbled languorous demeanor. Like an old curmudgeon rocking on his porch muttering insults at the world passing by...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Satchmo presents Stompin' at the Savoy + A Holiday Treat

I don't know what's more impressive, Danny Barcelona's drum solo, or how good ol' Satch reacts to it!

Christmas, Satchmo Style

Darvulia - Mysticisme Macabre

French Dissonant Black metal stalwarts return to the fray with unabashed ugliness and decrepitude.
Makes me wanna shoop.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Puerto Rico Flowers - 4

Death-rock.  Kinda hipster-ish, but I can't stop listening.  Let's Make Friends is the choice cut.

Nekros Manteia - Deus Otiosus

Chilling Aussie Black Metal with an obscure and psychotic atmosphere.  Brings to mind the Frenchmen Smohalla (who are also great).  I like this new breed of Depressive Black Metal band that isn't afraid to go and do crazy instead of the same old riff repeat ad nauseam.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Inflabitan - Wanderer Of Grief

First of all, this is just a great album cover.  Looks like its out of some fukked-up Norwegian fairytale, I love it.  Wanderer of Grief is comprised of c. '93-'94 demos from Inflabitan, who in some way or form was connected to Dodheimsgard (666 International era) and the notorious band Strid (not Bjorn "Speed", yeesh).
The first bit of the record reminds me of a combination Hordanes Land Enslaved and As the Wolves Gather Forgotten Woods, fucking awesome stuff!!  The second part is where we really get cookin'. Much more trash/punk influenced than the first part, fantastic!!  One guitar, sparse drums, bass? Nah, just riffs man, just riffs.  Inflabitan nailed the nail right on the fucking head. Melancholic, majestic, mournful......Magnificent.

Realmbuilder - Summon the Stone Throwers

These New Yawkas get real jiggy wit it.  Idiosyncratic true metal done in an unorthodox way.  Just oozes charm, and the solos are way awesome.  Looking forward to more from them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mugstar - Sun, Broken...

Seeing as how the year is just about over, I'm gonna start posting some of my favs of 2010, probably culminating in a Top 10 list of some sort.
Mugstar take heavy riffs and just strangle all sorts of sound and feel from them.  Perfect album to play during a high speed chase!!  If you remember Judas Priest's Turbo Lover video, imagine this as the soundtrack instead.  Now wouldn't that be perfect?!?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Listen with Nicko!

Listen up!! As Nicko McBrain regales you with ribald tales of Iron Maiden's wasted years as it were.  Ol' Nicko is quite the cutup, and quite the ladies' man judging from this photo, which is no small feat when your face looks like a godamn catcher's mitt.  
Enjoy Nicko's paradiddles of wisdom.

Hard-Ons With Neil Hamburger - American Exports

America's funny-man teams up with Aussie punk-rock band Hard-Ons for a fun little romp of an e.p.  Includes a cover of Black Flag's (of course) Six Pack.  Now I just need to post my W.C. Fields, Spermbirds mash-up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mercyful Fate - 9

Been in a major King Simonds, Mercyful Fate, Snoward Shaw funk as of late, so I felt the urge to post one of MF's more under appreciated albums.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Deströyer 666 - Phoenix Rising

10 years on and I can return to this album time and time again for my fix of breathtakingly epic metal.  A true classic.

Old Man's Child - Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion

Galder's vanity project featuring the inimitable Mean Gene "Hog"land on skins.  Melodic thrashing black metal par excellence.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Adventures of Lobster Boy & The Skullet

When joined forces they're able to tear through swooping arpeggios with the greatest of ease!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects - Sol Niger Within

The untempered bile associated with any and all screw-loose conspiracy theorists permeates this sprawling composition that takes the best elements of Meshuggah, subtracts the worst (ie Jens Kidman's vocals), and extrapolates their already formidable melodic and experimental components onto a much bigger canvas.
Using F. Thordendal's signature Confessor gone Alpine riff modalities as a base around which alien motifs oscillate, an air of soaring Reptilian bombast is established; to which snarled wraithen rasps are added as spice.
Morgan Agren's drumming holds down the jagged groove when necessary, but is just as likely to convulse into a trance of ghost notes and flagellated abstraction (eg the ballsout athleticism of Tathagata).  All in all, an awesome display of Apocalyptic-Free-Jazz-Cyber-Jam-Metal.