I have been looking forward to this week ALL year! At least four albums that came out today will be in my top albums of the year list, and every one of them (except Death) was on my most anticipated albums of the year. Check out these albums if you get a chance, because they are all awesome, and worth a listen.
The founding fathers of grind are back with their fifteenth studio album, and are just as pissed as ever. Napalm Death have always been one of my favorite metal bands and it seems like every album they’ve put out since 2000′s “Enemy Of The Music Business” has been A: basically flawless, and B: better than the one before it.
There are alot of things that help make this album absolutely fantastic. You’ve got Danny Herrera’s blistering drums, Barney Greenway’s incredibly violent, angry howl, and pissed off lyrics, and of course, the trademark riffs of bassist Shane Embury, and guitarist Mitch Harris. Even though there are all of the signature Napalm tricks on this album, there are also some elements you don’t hear on a normal Napalm Death album. The best example of them shaking things up, and going for a more unique sound are the ever increasing use of Mitch Harris’s angry punk rock howling, which appears most notably on the song “The Wolf I Feed” which features him screaming like a maniac and complimenting Barney one minute, to singing like Burton C Bell of Fear Factory the next. Mitch’s backup vocals appear throughout the album and really add an awesome punk rock element to the songs and make them even more enjoyable.
You’d think that after creating the grindcore genre, and putting out fourteen albums, that Napalm Death would be out of unique ideas. After listening to “Utilitarian”, I actually think Napalm Death have created their best album in twelve years. If you are a fan of Napalm Death, bad ass grind, or good music in general, do yourself a huge favor and buy this album.
I first read about Christian Mistress in a magazine who had their last album “Agony & Opium” on their top albums of the year list. After giving that album a few listens, I became obsessed with this band. When I saw they signed to Relapse and planned to put out a new album this year, this became my most anticipated album of the year. The thing I love about this band is their old school approach, which is as heavily influenced by bands like Thin Lizzy and Deep Purple, as it is Slayer and Darkthrone.
Christian Mistress seem to be a 70′s rock band caught in the body of a NWOBHM band. On their debut album for Relapse, Christian Mistress are now able to introduce the mainstream to their unique brand of old school heavy metal played through a classic rock filter with fast, almost punk rock like rhythms, mixed with incredible solo’s and Christine Davis’s whiskey-soaked, Marlboro-drenched vocals. Every song on this album features incredibly catchy guitar solo’s/riffs and vocals, but the title track “Possession” has the finest of them all, with a chorus that’ll stay in your head for days, it’s also eerily reminiscent to a line in the Thin Lizzy song “S&M”. The other stand out track on this album is “Black To Gold”, which features excellent basslines, an incredible chorus, and some fantastic guitar work.
I can’t say enough to stress how awesome this album really is, man. It’s got traditional classic rock riffs that you’d hear on a Deep Purple album, mixed with the NWOBHM attitude that you’d hear on an early Motorhead album and they make for a deadly combo. This album is a perfect drinking album, but it’s also good for listening to while driving, and of course it’d make a hell of a soundtrack, should you choose to mix the two.
The new self titled album by Corrosion Of Conformity is definitely a milestone for the band. It’s their first album since 2005′s “In The Arms Of God”, and it’s the first album with Reed Mullin on drums since 2000′s “America’s Volume Dealer”. More importantly, however, is the fact that this album marks the first time Woody Weatherman, Reed Mullin, and Mike Dean have been a three piece since 1985′s crossover hall of fame album “Animosity”. Granted, this album sounds nothing like their old hardcore punk/thrash days, but it is still a great mixture of the two era’s of the band.
One unique thing about COC is the fact that they have, over the years, developed two distinctly different sounds, but both era’s have fans who only like a few particular albums. Some people are only drawn to the more doomy, southern rock albums like “Deliverance”, “Wiseblood”, and “In The Arms Of God”; others are only drawn to their more hardcore punk albums like “Animosity” and “Technocracy”. The neat thing about their self titled, eighth studio album is that it mixes both era’s perfectly. There really is something for fans of both styles on this album. Songs like “The Doom”, and “Psychic Vampire” have mixtures of the Black Sabbath style tone with some more punk rock sounding drums. Then there are other songs like “Leeches”, and “Your Tomorrow” that have a more consistent, fast paced punk vibe throughout, and songs like “River Of Stone”, and “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here” which would have fit in perfectly on “Arms Of God”. At one point on the track “Come Not Here”, they sound like what Black Label Society would sound like if they got rid of Zakk Wylde’s horrible vocals, and over-squealy guitar style.
The most important thing about this album isn’t the two different styles being demonstrated, it’s how perfectly they are able to pull them off. The best example of this is the one-two punch of “Your Tomorrow”‘s more punk vibe, leading into “The Doom” which has a fantastic mixture of Black Sabbath and older COC. I’m very impressed that these guys were able to come together as a three piece for the first time since I was one or two years old, and put out an absolutely solid record. It doesn’t matter what era you prefer more, if you’re a fan of Corrosion Of Conformity, this album is most certainly worth checking out.
Asphyx have always been one of the more intriguing stories in death metal. Few bands are able to succcessfuly mix brutal, up-tempo death metal with slow, down-tempo doom metal quite like these guys, the fact that they have legendary vocalist Martin Van Drunen, makes them even more interesting. Their last album “Death…The Brutal Way” caught quite a few people by surprise due to it being their first new material in almost 10 years, and the fact that it blew away their last decades worth of albums. Strangely, they have managed to blow that album completely away with their ninth studio album “Deathhammer”.
The first thing you should know about this album is, as Martin Van Drunen states at the beginning of the title track, “this is real death metal, you bastards!”. The second thing to note about this record is, it’s heavy as hell. The riffs on this album are seriously ridiculous, there are songs like the title track “Deathammer” which features incrediby brutal riffs that put most modern bands to shame; then there are songs like the doomier “Minefield” which moves at a slower pace and doesn’t lose an ounce of heaviness. But the real gold on this record are the songs that mix both the brutal death metal riffs, and the slower paced riffs that sound like a tank driving over a field of dead bodies, specifically on tracks like “Der Landser”, and “We Doom You To Death”. The other obvious stand out on this album is Martin Van Drunen’s vocals which, at times, sound like a demonic werewolf, hungry for blood and vengeance, howling at the top of his lungs.
This album is definitely one of the best death metal albums you’ll hear all year. The riffs on “Deathhammer” are very similar to what you’d hear from later Bolt Thrower, except with a doomier influence that decimate the competition completely. I absolutely love this album and think it’s perfect for anybody wanting something to listen to while they smash their enemies skull with a sledgehammer, or just somebody who wants some brutal jams.
Last year, Autopsy released “Macabre Eternal”, which was their first studio album in 16 years, and they proved they were back with a vengeance. Hot on the heels of a hellacious comeback album, they have now released “All Tomorrows Funerals”, which is a re-working of all of their previous Ep’s, which is a genius way to keep building momentum.
If you’ve ever heard Autopsy, then you have a pretty good idea what this album sounds like, especially if you’ve heard any of these Ep’s before. The thing that makes this collection so cool is because there are, not only four incredibly violent new songs, but because all of the songs on here have the same violent, murderous production and feel that made “Macabre Eternal” so awesome.
I think this album is a great way to keep the Autopsy name in the spotlight while they work on a new record, which will be out next year. This album is certainly worth checking out if you’re a fan of Autospy, or if you enjoy hearing death metal done right because, as Chris Reifert stated so elegantly “There will be no compromise and no holding back. If you want 100% pure death metal brutality, you will certainly get it.”.
Death is one of the most influential bands in all of heavy metal, in fact, the genre was basically named after them. Vivus! is a package of the now-defunct death metal legends’ last two live albums “Live In Eindhoven”, and “Live In La”, and it’s a perfect reminder of just how good these guys really were.
Due to Chuck Schuldiner’s untimely passing in 2001, there are plenty of people like myself who never got to see these guys live. This album gives you a perfect glimpse at what it would have been like to see the band at their peak. Even though the sound isn’t perfect, it’s nice to hear classics like “Flesh And the Power It Holds”, “Sound Of Perseverance”, “Lack Of Comprehension”, and “Zombie Ritual” played by one of the strongest lineups the band ever had.
The only downside to this collection is that neither of these recordings are newly released, and contain several duplicate songs, but any chance you get to hear Chuck shred is a good thing. I think the Relapse reissues of the Death discography is a wonderful thing, and this definitely fits perfectly along side the others in your collection. I’m just hoping they’ll finally release the 2nd Control Denied album this year.
Like any good music nerd, I listen to music as often as i can, and on whatever format I can. I’m starting a new category called “Jams Of The Week” which will spotlight some of the best records, tapes, cd’s, and mp3′s i’ve listened to during the week. I’m going to try and make this an every week column, because it’s incredibly fun for me to write about the music i’ve listened to during the week when i get an over-abundance of tasty jams.
Floor – Below & Beyond 8 disc boxset (Cd)
Floor is a doom metal band formed by Steve Brooks who later formed Torche, it also feaured Juan Montoya from Torche in one of its incarnations. This boxset contains pretty much every song ever written and recorded by this now defunct, sonic titan from Miami, Fl. I heard about Floor a long time ago when I first got into Torche, but never could find anywhere selling their music, so naturally I was very excited to see this boxset get released. This set was released on a version with 8 lps and 8cds and a version with just the cds, I really wanted the vinyl version, but there was no way I could afford it, so when I was at Good Records in Dallas a few months ago and came across it, I elected to purchase the cd only version.
Most of the songs in this collection are from ep’s, and demos, however, there are also 2 full length albums as well, the 2nd of which is their self-titled which is my favorite disc in the set because you can really hear alot of the elements in it that are now employed in Torche, in fact, disc 8 features demos from the self titled album as well as live songs, one of which is “Charge Of The Brown Recluse” which turned into a Torche song. This collection is worth what I paid for it just for the self titled disc, the full length “Dove” and disc 5 which features songs like “Ein”, “Figbender”, and “/Song” which are all full of some of the heaviest noises i’ve ever heard. If you are a fan of Torche, or doom metal in general, this collection is ABSOLUTELY essential, without question.
Exodus – Pleasures Of The Flesh (Cassette)
I recently picked this cassette up at Spazz Records because it dawned on me that, for some reason, I have never heard this album before. After Exodus released “Bonded By Blood” they fired their singer Paul Baloff and hired Steve “Zetro” Souza and signed a major label deal to Sony/Combat Records and thus, Pleasures of the Flesh was born. This album is in the same vein as it’s predecessor, but with Zetro’s howling, Bon Scott influenced vocals, and honestly, I think i enjoy Zetro’s voice more than I do Baloff’s. This album fits in my tape collection perfectly alongside other Exodus classics like “Bonded By Blood” and “Fabulous Disaster” and it is an absolute monster and i’m very glad I finally checked out this album.
I’ll never forget the firs time I saw the video for “Black Label” on Headbangers Ball, because it scared the crap out of me. I was iffy about checking this album out back in the day because i thought the album title was stupid, but after listening to it multiple times, I really do believe this album title is appropriate, due to the fact that it set down the groundwork for a brand new breed of american heavy metal. This record is full of preposterously fast and complicated drums, monster riffs ripped straight from the Pantera discograhpy, and some of the meanest vocals i’ve ever heard. With all the hoopla that will soon be surrounding their new album, I saw this in the store the other day and felt the need to pick it up to be reminded of the band I used to be obsessed with, instead of the commerical metal machine they are nowadays, and after giving it a few spins, i’m very glad that I did, because this record is an absolute beast.
I previously wrote about this cassette in my “music buying adventures christmas day cassette shopping” post and I finally got around to listening to it in my car and i’m very lucky I didn’t run anybody over because this album is incredibly intense. It’s got that awesome old school thrash metal vibe combined with some of the greatest thrash metal drumming ever courtesy of Gene Hoglan the human drum machine. For some reason this album and band are incredibly underrated, but it’s easily one of the highlights of the genre for sure. Also, unlike some tapes, it’s very loud which makes it even more fun to drive fast to.
I bought this record on Amazon a couple weeks ago and when it arrived I was very excited, I then showed the super gory album cover to my wife and she gave me a very confused look in return. This is one of the all time greatest death metal albums ever, and it boasts one of the greatest album covers ever, actually, every Autopsy album cover could be on that list. When I put the record on, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was printed on red vinyl and it’s back cover was hand-numbered by Peaceville number 1329/2000. As far as the sound goes, the drums and vocals sound like they were recorded 6 feet under my house while the guitars and bass were recorded in my bathroom, so needless to say, it sounds exactly like it’s supposed to.
I’m closing out my year end listomania special with, of course, the most important list of all, my 10 favorite metal albums of the year. The reason i chose favorite instead of “top metal albums of the year” or “best metal albums of the year”, is because it’s all about opinions, and these are just the 10 albums i really listened to alot and enjoyed more than the others. This list will also be included in the January 2012 issue of the Spazzine along with top 10 lists from members of local bands, as well as Andrew Hernandez, drummer of Tombs, so be sure and check that out, and if you would like one sent to you, be sure and contact Spazz Records.
Mastodon managed to take all of the elements from their previous albums that made them absolutely groundbreaking, and put them all together on this record and i couldn’t be happier about it. I love this album more and more every time i hear it, sure, it’s not totally metal, but it’s so catchy and full of awesome riffs that you can hear it 3 or 4 times in a row and not get bored.It really is just a super fun album that rewards more and more with every listen. Favorite song(s): Curl of the Burl and Spectrelight.
I had a very hard time not making this album my number one of the year. I’m a sucker for the incredibly heroic riffs on this album, as well as the mega-infections hooks, namely on songs like “The Grain” and “The Day The City Died” that stay stuck in my head for days on end. Joe Hutton’s voice is absolutely breathtakingly awesome and the choruses are very easy to sing along like a ding dong to. This album also is seriously fun to air-guitar along to. Favorite song: Staring (The 31st floor).
Simply put, this is, by far, the most entertaining doom metal album of the year for me. It’s got some crazy, off the wall solo’s, it’s got very sluggish but awesome riffs that take a southern-fried take on traditional doom. It’s also got an abundance of chrome-peeling screams, and it takes you through a truly twisted soundscape that is not for those with weak minds or weak stomachs. There are only 4 real songs on this album and they are incredibly epic and take the listener on a truly unique journey that they will want to re-live many times. Favorite song: An Invisible Thread.
This album is the first one i heard this year that i KNEW would be one of my 5 favorite albums of the year. It is also the most complete metal album i’ve heard all year. It’s got alot of awesome black metal parts full of some incredibly well synced guitars/drum parts, but Mike HIll’s vocal delivery is what sets it apart from every other album people might refer to as “black metal”. This album is certainly full of anger and it’s got enough riffs and crazy air-raid siren guitar tone to satisfy the needs of even the angriest headbanger. Favorite song: To Cross The Land.
Mike Scheidt returns with another album full of pulverizing doom riffs and polarizing atmosphere, and one of the more unique vocals stylings you’ll hear in any genre. This album is very similar to Neurosis at times with it’s unique mix of atmosphere and bruising riffs, and Scott Kelly’s appearance doesn’t do much to play down that influence. This is easily one of the most entertaining doom album of the year for me. Favorite song: Prepare the Ground.
Megadeth returns with their 13th album and it’s just as relevant as number 1 if not moreso. With Dave Ellefson back in the fold the songs seem to have a little more punk rock influence than on recent albums, but also, they are loaded with super catchy, almost too catchy for thrash metal hooks that will keep these songs stuck in your head for days. A very solid effort from both Daves on this album. Favorite song: New World Order.
I can’t describe with words how much i love the complete and utter domination displayed on this record. The riffs are STUPID heavy and have a very sluggish and undescribably heavy tone and the way they seemlessly go from earth shatteringly brutal death metal to soul-melting doomy parts makes me smile wider than a redneck at a Taylor Swift concert. Favorite song: Chasm Of Oceanus.
The masters of death metal have returned with a new album and it’s as if they never left. This album is an absolute monster, mostly because of the fantastic musicianship, but also because of Chris Reifert’s amazing lyrics and blood-gargling vocal delivery. Favorite song: Dirty Gore Whore.
9. Atriarch – Forever the End
Very depressing record, Has plenty of elements of funeral doom, drone, regular doom, and what it must be like to take too many shrooms and get trapped in a mine shaft. First time i heard this album, a girl at work passed out and was wheeled out on a stretcher while i was jamming it loudly. Very creepy to say the least. Favorite song: Plague.
Absolutely incredible instrumetal album. Amazingly beautiful melodies and horrifyingly heavy meshuggah-esque brutality mix together like one gorgeous, angry cocktail on this beast of a record. Favorite song: Do Not Go Gently.
2011 was an incredible year for metal, without question. The best part is, 2012 is also shaping up to be a monumental year for metal. 2011 was a year full of releses from fantastic new bands like Atriarch, Disma, and Vallenfyre, but 2012 will be the year that some of the genre’s best put out new albums. This list i’m making is completely ridiculous because it’s based solely on predictions by both myself and record labels and even other magazines.
*UPDATE*: I have included links to my reviews for all of the albums on this list, so check them out if you are wanting a better idea of what some of these records sound like. Also, for more information on awesome upcoming releases, check out my Facebook page.
The first part of this list are all the albums coming out in the next few months with already confirmed street dates, that i will definitely be listening to.
The legendary goregrinders are back with a new record and i have a feeling it’s going to be a monster. Will have guest appearances from members of Black Dahlia Murder, Misery Index, Rotten Sound, and Benighted
This band has gotten more and more boring over the years as they’ve become bigger and bigger, but i have a feeling this album will be pretty decent at least. They benefit from dropping it at a time with no other big records dropping. No offense to Aborted, of course.
Super progressive grind album from Matt Widener of Cretin. First song i heard had a swedish death metal type tone and seems like it’ll be a solid album.
I don’t like technical death metal near as much as i did when i was younger, but if i did i’d be stoked to hear a new Psycroptic album. I’ll definitely give it a listenthough.
This is a band i haven’t listened to alot, but Martin Va Drunen is a legend in the death/doom community and with a limited amount of albums distracting from it, it has potential to gain alot of attention.
This will be their eigth album, and first with the Animosity era lineup in a really long time. I have a feeling this album is going to either be incredibly mediocre, or it’s going to absolutely rule, there’s not much grey area when a band goes from crossover to southern metal and attempts to go back to it’s crossover lineup and recreate magic.
I will guarantee you that i’ll be purchasing this album and listening to it non-stop upon it’s release. It seems that every single Napalm album gets better than the one before it, and judging by how good “Time Waits For No Slave” was, this album is going to be a monster.
This album is basically a re-recording of all of Autopsy’s random demo’s they’ve recorded over the years. There could be some terrible songs on there, but more than likely it’s going to sound alot like Macabre Eternal and it’ll completely kill.
Already pre-ordered this album. Old school metal aesthetic played with a classic rock tone. This album is recommended for anyone who likes Heart, Motorhead, or awesome hard rock/heavy metal.
Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65 (north american release date delayed)
I have no idea what this album title is in reference to, and I really don’t care. So glad they are finally scheduled to release this album, they played a new song when i saw them in New Orleans and it was fantastic. Wino’s voice sounds awesome on record these days so this album will be one of the best of the year, I truly believe.
Testament – The Dark Roots Of Earth 4/27/2012
One of the greatest thrash metal bands of all time. This is the followup to their last album which blew the doors off of their back catalogue and this album will do the same. Also some guy named Gene Hoglan did drums on this album, not sure if he’s any good, but I think this record will rule.
The second part of my most anticipated list are bands who’ve either been advertised to put out a new album, or who i’ve heard rumored to be putting something out this year. A few of these are just rumors, some are being recorded as we speak, but if even a few of them actually put out records like they’re supposed to, 2012 will be another epic year for metal.
Admittedly, I sort of hate the guitar tone Slayer has taken on over the last 20 years, but i’d be lying if i said i’m not excited to hear them put out new music, specifically more stuff that sounds like “Psycopathy Red”.
I have a feeling that if they release a new record this year, it’s going to sound completely different from anything they’ve done before, which may or may not be a good thing. I can definitely say that it’s going to be worth listening to for sure.
Unlike the first 2 bands in this list, there is not a single doubt in my mind that if their new album is released this year…it will char the skin off of all who get in it’s way. So ready to hear new material from PxDx.
If Axe To Fall is any indication on where these guys are headed, they are going to release another unquestionable album of the year candidate.
High On Fire
Snakes For The Divine was a landmark release by Matt Pike and co, but I think that if they can build on the formula they started with that album, that the new one that’s being recorded right now will be just as deadly, if not moreso.
Supposedly they are going to do part 3 in the Black Meddle series, but i could really care less, i’m ready to hear anything Blake Judd is ready to unleash.
I have a feeling there will definitely be a new Voivod album next year, and they have their original bassist back, plus a fantastic guitarist named Dan Mongrain, therefore I think their new album will run circles around their last 2 decades worth of material.
It seems that, with every new album these guys release, they reinvent themselves completely. Considering how awesome ObZen was, that fact alone means that whatever they put out this year will be purchased by me immediately upon it’s release.
This band also features Danny Walker from Exhumed/Murder Construct, but instead of playing death metal, they are more similar to bands like Isis, but they aren’t just another Cult of Neurisis band by any means and i’m sure guitarist/vocalist Sacha Dunable has more than a couple tricks up his sleeve that’ll make this album their best yet.
Neurosis is recoring an album right this very second with Steve Albini. No reason in wasting anymore words on this one. Very stoked.
Supposedly they are going to put out a new record 1 ep at a time until they’ve done 5. To me, it sounds like a waste of time not putting all of those songs on one disc, but they are good enough musicians, that i think it’ll be worth the wait.
I heard they were supposed to put out a new album in 2011, but nothing ever came of it. I’m really hoping they release the follow up to Watershed this year so that they can finally prove they are still an awesome death metal band and not a bunch of folk rock wannabes like people claimed Mikael Akerfeldt was trying to turn them into.
Other albums supposed to be coming out in 2012 i’m looking forward to:
Kyuss Lives! (not really metal, but still amazing)