It’s obviously incredibly late to be listing my favorite albums from a year that’s been over for almost two months now, but nonetheless, I had to get this post done for pure catharsis sake. I’ve been busy with various projects and haven’t had time to devote to the site in a while. Honestly, this list looks like crap format-wise and probably doesn’t make any sense, but I had to get it done and posted to get that weight off my shoulders and move forward with new stuff for the blog. If you see something on there that sounds interesting, look em up, and if you can’t find any info, message me on Facebook and I’ll link you to their music. Enjoy!
1 Saint Vitus – Lillie: F-65
This is one of the few albums I heard last year that truly is perfect all the way through. Though the album only has five real songs, each one of those songs is one of the greatest Saint Vitus have ever written. I think part of my obsession with this album is because it only has five actual songs, so there isn’t much to take in, and also because I’ve seen all five of those songs played live twice this year and every one of them sound WAY better live than they do in the studio.
2 Napalm Death – Utilitarian
The best grind album of 2012, and possibly one of the best of their career. Every song on here is laden with hooks, but also some incredible blasts of grind fury. Napalm Death have once again claimed their crown of best grind band ever.
3 baroness – yellow and green
This record was my favorite of the year for a while until the very end, honestly. It’s completely different from every other album they’ve ever put out and both discs are a rollercoaster of badassery, without question.
4 converge – all we love we leave behind
The heaviest hardcore band on the planet got heavier and more ridiculous.
5 overkill – the electric age
This album, along with Royal Thunder, was my biggest surprise of the year. I knew Overkill would come out swinging for the fences, because that’s what thrash metal icons do, but I had no idea they’d knock the cover off the ball like they did with this record.
6 christian mistress – possession
I normally don’t dig female vocalists much, but this band is the major exception to the rule. Heavy as balls riffs, coked-up rock n’ roll fury and songs catchier than Jerry Rice in Super Bowl XXIII.
7 testament – dark roots of earth
Testament are one of my favorite thrash bands of all time and this record just goes to show that they still have it. Native Blood might be my favorite song all year.
8 pallbearer – sorrow and extinction
This is one of the greatest doom albums I’ve ever heard, without question. Riffs so heavy they’ll knock the fillings out of your teeth.
9 graveyard – lights out
People always talk about how rock n’ roll is dead, but if they’ve ever heard these Swedish monsters, it’s obvious that rock n’ roll is VERY much alive.
10 royal thunder – cvi
Incredibly bad ass bluesy, southern rock n’ roll. I hadn’t listened to them much prior to this year, so this album would have to be my biggest surprise of the year, without question.
11 deftones – koi no yokan
I haven’t heard a Deftones album since Self Titled that I wasn’t obsessed with, and Koi No Yokan was no exception. They have once again incorporated beautiful vocals and atmosphere with seven-string riffs that kill, and a powerful rhythm section. I would say this is definitely one of the best albums of their career, without question.
12 torche – harmonicraft
Any time Torche puts out a new album, they seem to unleash something new upon the world. With Harmonicraft, they somehow managed to include, ridiculously heavy, signature Torche riffs with elements of arena rock and pop punk. Fantastic driving album.
13 neurosis – honor found in decay
Neurosis have released yet another album that sounds like Neurosis, but doesn’t resemble any other album in their back catalog. It’s one of those albums that has so many elements in it, that you hear something new on each spin, and it can’t be classified under any real genre because it just sounds like Neurosis and not much else.
14 horseback – half blood
2012 was definitely the year of Relapse Records. One reason is because of bands like Horseback who completely pushed beyond genre limitations to create one of the sickest psychedelic rock albums ever. It’s got occasional black metal vocals sung over soothing, trippy, bass-driven rhythms that just melt my heart.
15 pig destroyer – book burner
I am a pretty big fan of Pig Destroyer, but upon hearing Book Burner, I became much more obsessed with them. This record has all of the elements that make them great, but they also added Adam Jarvis from Misery Index on drums, which took them to a completely new stratosphere of heavy.
16 conan – monnos
Words can’t express how disgustingly heavy this album is. It’s got the hugest, fattest tones i’ve ever heard on a doom album. These guys are the Yokozuna of British doom metal.
17 meshuggah – koloss
Meshuggah are one of my favorite bands on earth, so it wasn’t surprising how good their new record was. What did surprise me, however, is how they were able to slow it down and change their pace just enough to avoid sounding like they were ripping off the genre they unintentionally created.
18 cattle decapitation – monolith of inhumanity
I’ve always had respect for this band, but this is the first album of theirs that really blew my doors off. It’s got all of the usual brutal death/grind riffs going on, but the real star of the show is Travis Ryan’s version of clean vocals, which consists of disgusting, undead howls.
19 liberteer – better to die on your feet than live on your knees
When I first heard this album, I was completely floored. The stunning mix of HM2 death metal with grindcore and civil war type passages is absolutely crushing.
20 asphyx – deathhammer
This album is part two of Martin Van Drunen’s brutal death metal assault in 2012. It sounds like an Asphyx record, obviously, but with the fantastic production of the record, it’s helped them continue to reign as one of the heaviest bands on the planet.
21 black breath – sentenced to life
The cool thing about this band is the fact that they took a style like old school Entombed-style death metal that’s very old and familiar, and they added their own hardcore influence to make it even more intense and pummeling. This is a perfect mosh-pit album.
22 municipal waste – the fatal feast
At this point, it’s very easy to lump Municipal Waste in with the 80′s thrash bands as one of the best thrash bands of all time. Their new record continues that legacy with a ton of awesome thrash/punk anthems, as well as an appearance by John from Nuclear Assault which rules.
23 corrosion of conformity – corrosion of conformity
This is the first COC album in forever without Pepper on guitar, and in my opinion it’s one of their best. The mix of their doomy rock n’ roll era with their hardcore punk/thrash roots is just delicious.
24 incantation – vanquish in vengeance
This is another album that caught me by complete surprise. It’s an old school death metal album, but it’s also got a lot of slow, devastating doom riffs that add an extra 100 lbs to their already insanely heavy death metal.
25 pilgrim – misery wizard
In my review of this record, I stated that this band is like the football team that wins by running the ball up the middle and playing violent defense. The reason I said that is because this album is a slow, plodding, thick slab of doom that rarely changes pace and beats you to death every step of the way.
26 grave – endless procession of souls
I’m obviously a sucker for old school death metal and Grave are one of my favorite bands of the genre. This new record is just another gory chapter in their fantastic discography.
27 grand magus – the hunt
This album caught me by complete surprise with how catchy it is. It’s got a lot of heavy, bone-crushing riffs, as well as some epic Norse-themed lyrics, and it’s impossible to not headbang to.
28 the sword – apocryphon
I’ve always been a big fan of this band, and this record is another flawless part of their discography. It’s got all the foot-stomping classic rock/doom influence, as well as the cool sci-fi element that makes them continue to be interesting.
29 enslaved – riitir
Enslaved are a band that has been able to continually change and progress over the years, and with this record, they brought that progression to it’s highest peak yet. The vocals on this album are much cleaner than on previous records, which actually gives it a bit of beauty at times.
30 inverloch – dusk subsides
This band was formed in the ashes of dISEMBOWELMENT, and they picked up right where they left off. Slow, plodding funeral-esque passages lead to huge, monstrous doom riffs and back to a crawl again. It’s a shame this album wasn’t a full length, because it is truly intense.
31 paradise lost – tragic idol
Though they are a legendary British doom band, Paradise Lost have taken on a much stranger tone with their newer albums, but I love it. The biggest thing for me was the hooks all throughout this album, it’ll stay with you for MANY days after you hear it.
32 down – down iv part 1 purple ep
With this first of four EP’s, the boys from Nola seem to have gotten in touch with their Saint Vitus influence and I couldn’t be happier. I just hope the next three EP’s sound this awesome.
33 dying fetus – reign supreme
2012 was an amazing year for brutal death metal, particularly when a band like Dying Fetus comes out with a back-to-basics death metal album full of the slams and monstrous blast beats their fans know and love them for.
34 norska – norska
Though this album is a reissue, it was one of the finest doom albums I’ve heard all year thanks to their incredibly creative riffs. These guys definitely offer up a fresh take on a genre that is sometimes lacking in the freshness department.
35 unsane – wreck
Some people call Unsane noise rock, but it’s more than that. It’s a heavy, groovy, bruiser of an album. Chris Spencer’s voice is also incredibly grating and it never gets old to me.
36 prong – carved in stone
Tommy Victor perfected the art of “groove metal”, and when you hear this album, you’ll understand why. The man can also still write a hook like nobody’s business.
37 bison bc – lovelessness
Though these guys are a mix of stoner metal and Mastodon, they have managed to progress more and more with each album, culminating in one of the best albums of their career. This is another album that’s great for drinkin heavily and drivin fast.
38 ihsahn – eremita
The former Emperor main man has always managed to stay ahead of the curve as far as prog metal goes. “Eagle And The Snake” is one of my favorite songs of the year.
39 Nile – At The Gates Of Sethu
Another burly, technical, semi-eerie slab of Egyptian death metal from the only band in America that knows how to do it.
40 The Faceless – Autotheism
Definitely a change of pace for these guys from their previous albums due to a new vocalist, but still just as proggy and brutal as ever, with a touch of Opeth for good measure.
41 Grand Supreme Blood Court – Bow Down Before The Blood Court
One of the loudest albums I’ve heard all year. Seriously, it’s impossible to turn it up very loud without blowing out your ear drums. It’s brutal, old school death metal featuring current and former members of Asphyx.
42 Kreator – Phantom Antichrist
This album features a legendary German thrash band doing what legendary German thrash bands do…playing fast, infectious thrash metal.
43 Katatonia – Dead End Kings
This album is absolutely gorgeous at times. It seems that this album is quite a bit more melodic than previous records, and they also don’t sound like Chevelle anymore, thankfully.
44 Murder Construct – Results
Absolutely bloody grind/death metal from members of Pig Destroyer, Intronaut and more. Fast and violent win the race.
45 A Life Once Lost – Ecstatic Trance
This is their first new album in a while, but stylistically, they are just as nuts as ever. The manner in which they layer a crap-ton of awesome solos and leads over a huge, monstrous groove is just amazing to me.
46 haarp – Husks
These guys are one of the best bands going in New Orleans these days, so it’s not a surprise that this album is awesome. What did surprise me, however, was the fact that it only has three songs…three very long, brutal, depressing songs.
47 Bereft – Liechenhaus
This band features current and past members of bands like Intronaut, The Faceless and Abysmal Dawn, so I didn’t know what to expect from them style-wise. The end result is a ten-ton mountain of soul-crushing doom.
48 Nachtmystium – The Silencing Machine
The boys from Chicago broke away from the Meddle theme of their last two albums and went back to making hateful black metal. The results are exactly what you’d expect, only a little better due to better production, as well as a still-lingering Floyd influence.
49 High On Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
Matt Pike is a complete monster, plain and simple. When you combine his amazing songwriting abilities with Kurt Ballou’s incredible production, good things are bound to happen.
50 Burning Love – Rotten Thing To Say
I listened to this album because their singer is Chris Colohan from Cursed. I fell in love with it because of their hardcore-punk mentality with some rock n’ roll thrown in for good measure.
51 Cannibal Corpse – Torture
If you have ever heard Cannibal Corpse, then you know what this album sounds like. Brutal lyrics and an uncompromisingly punishing form of death metal have been their calling card for 20 years.
52 Car Bomb – w-^-w-^^-w-^-w
This album reminds me of a mixture of Dillinger and Meshuggah, but at times fastier and groovier and a little more insane.
53 Castle – Blacklands
This album has a bit of a thrash metal influence, but it’s tuned way down and has a cool doom-rock vibe to it.
54 Bell Witch – Longing
Very emotionally-draining, super intense funeral doom. It’s made by just two guys, but you sure can’t tell due to the intense, soul-eviscerating riffs.
55 Horrendous – The Chills
Many bands try to sound like Entombed, few manage to pull it off the way these guys do. I’m a big fan of old school death metal, and apparently these guys are too, because this record could have come out in 1991, easily.
56 Angel Witch – As Above, So Below
I’m so glad that these guys got a real record label, because the production on this album is amazing. Music-wise, it’s exactly the kind of old school, epic metal you’d expect from one of the O.G. NWOBHM bands.
57 Candlemass – Psalms For The Dead
Epicus. Doomicus. Metallicus. This is supposedly their last album, and it’s got all of their typical bells & whistles to leave fans with a good taste in their mouths.
58 Pelican – Ataraxia Taraxis
Though this isn’t really the Pelican I’ve grown to love, I think I can appreciate what they were going for with this Ep. It’s way more rock n’ roll than their previous albums to say the least.
59 Dawnbringer – Into The Lair Of The Sun God
The only genre I could really give this album would be “heavy metal”. It’s throwback, epic metal with classic rock vocals, basically.
60 Gaza – No Absolutes In Human Suffering
It seems these guys get angrier and nastier with every album. At this point, they remind me of a hardcore band who tried to make technical death metal.
61 Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
I assumed that signing to a huge label would ruin these guys, but it actually made their unique brand of groovy, technical metal even heavier and more preposterous.
62 D.I.S. – Becoming Wrath
The letters in their name means destroyed in seconds, which is kind of a fitting band name for this incredibly mean-spirited mix of black metal, death metal and hardcore.
63 Cryptopsy – Cryptopsy
They finally got back to making violent, dizzying technical death metal, and it paid massive dividends.
64 Hooded Menace – Effigies Of Evil
A very cool mixture of death and doom metal, with a dash of horror samples to make it even more terrifying.
65 Swans – The Seer
This album was almost too much for me to take in due to it’s length. It’s not really metal by the standard definition, but it’s the kind of sprawling, gorgeous album that is very rewarding when you let it sink in.
66 Anaal Nathrakh – Vanitas
Loud and abrasive would be the operative words to describe this album. It’s blackened death metal with a sprinkle of weirdness.
67 Evoken – Atra Mors
Slow, plodding, depressing funeral doom. The perfect album to listen to while walking through the woods at night.
68 Dysrhythmia – Test Of Submission
Brain-rattlingly technical instrumental metal. Colin Marston knows how to make instrumental metal not boring.
69 Ancestors – In Dreams And Time
Very dreamy, sludgy post-metal. Great music to sleep to.
70 Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming
A nice mixture of doom and death metal. It could be said that this is what Opeth should sound like these days.
71 Spawn Of Possession – Incurso
Insane, technical death metal. They seriously cram like 5,000 riffs into each song. Incredibly brutal.
72 Fight Amp – Birth Control
This album is also very hard to classify. I would say they are like Torche, but with maybe a bit more of a Jesus Lizard influence.
73 Evocation – Illusions Of Grandeur
More old school death metal that uses the crap out of the HM-2 pedal. Incredibly heavy and awesome.
74 Dragged Into Sunlight – Widowmaker
A nice, depressing, terrifying mixture of death and doom, but it’s more like the soundtrack to a serial murder, honestly.
75 Agalloch – Faustian Echoes
One twenty minute song of melodic, gorgeous, Agallochian black metal.
76 Gypsyhawk – Revelry And Resilience
Upbeat, throwback rock n’ roll just the way I like it. They have an amazing Rick Derringer cover on here as well.
77 Samothrace – Reverence To Stone
This album has just two songs, but both of them are thick, depressing and heavy as hell doom.
78 Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships
Very sludgy metal that’s hard to define, but they remind me of bands like Torche that have a rock n’ roll influence mixed in with doom.
79 Mutilation Rites – Empyrean
Very dense black metal, but also got elements of crust and thrash to keep it interesting.
80 Aborted – Global Flatline
Brutal Swedish goregrind/death metal with some…creative song titles. This record also has some cool guest vocalists like Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia.
81 Old Man Gloom – NO
This album wasn’t as awesome as I initially thought it’d be, but when it hits the heavier songs, it definitely brings enough thunder to make up for the slower parts.
82 Chrome Waves – Chrome Waves
Can’t decide if this album is black metal or not, but it’s definitely fast, chaotic and intense. Stavros from Atlas Moth does an insane job on the vocals, the most unique part of the album.
83 Ram – Death
Traditional heavy metal in the vein of Judas Priest or Dio-era Sabbath.
84 Dethklok – Dethalbum III
Their last album was incredibly boring, so I was shocked to hear how brutal this album turned out to be. Then again, anything with Gene Hoglan is going to be at least a little awesome.
85 Mares Of Thrace – The Pilgrimage
Very eerie stoner/doom similar to The Melvins, but with a lot of shred and a lot of very intense passages.
86 Wizard Rifle – Speak Loud Say Nothing
Spastic mix of garage rock and sludge metal. Reminds me of a more spastic version of Pissed Jeans
87 Enabler – All Hail The Void
An insanely fun mix of black metal, punk and hardcore.
88 Zombiefication – Reaper’s Consecration
Incredibly vicious old school death metal. They’re clearly fans of Entombed and Autopsy.
89 Sons Of Tonatiuh – Parade Of Sorrow
A raw mixture of sludge/doom and punk from Georgia, but they sound like a band you’d hear opening for Eyehategod or Crowbar in New Orleans.
90 Hour Of Penance – Sedition
Insane technical death metal, but unlike some bands who just wank it Necrophagist-style…they are more hellbent on speed than anything.
91 Unconscious Disturbance – Mind’s Corner
Creative progressive rock with a jazzy touch, as well as Human-era Chuck Schuldineresque vocals.
92 Antigama – Stop The Chaos
Straight up face-smashing, creative grind.
93 Acephalix – Deathless Master
Brutal old school death metal done the right way.
94 Aura Noir – Out To Die
Awesome mix of old school thrash and black metal. Very similar to Venom or Celtic Frost.
95 Tiamat – The Scarred People
An absolute classic from the old school progressive death metal band turned into semi-gothic doom metal stalwarts.
96 National Sunday Law – Festival Of The Horned God
Ridiculously crushing atmospheric doom. Nice, beautiful acoustic passages one minute, insanely heavy doom riffs crashing down the next.
97 Vaginal Bear Trap – Just The Tip
Incredibly catchy goregrind/death metal. Also, best band name ever.
98 Martyrdod – Paranoia
Blistering blackened crust punk/thrash.
99 Grave Disgrace – Grave Disgrace
Very obscure Russian sludge/stoner doom that I stumbled on randomly, but fell in love with.
100 Abigail Williams – Becoming
Surprisingly good, epic black metal. Definitely their best album.
There is nothing that soothes the soul more than a good road trip. After a super stressful week, my friend and I headed up to Downtown Music in Little Rock, Ar for one of the best hardcore tours of the year.
After driving 3 hours and listening to bands like Unleashed, Terrorizer and Bolt Thrower we arrived to the venue, and I was shocked at how many people were lined up outside already. I made my way inside and bought Converge’s new album on cassette and shortly thereafter Kvelertak kicked the night off with a sonic boom.
Kvelertak are a six-piece hardcore/black metal/punk band from Norway. I had listened to their album a couple of times, but didn’t know much of their music. All four guitarists (3 guitar/1 bass) were absolutely full of energy, and though you could tell not many folks knew them, they won over a few fans on the night for sure.
When Kvelertak finished, Torche took the stage. Though this is the third time I’ve seen Torche this year, this was the first time they played through a legit P.A. and the difference was obvious…that sucker was nuclear. Setlist-wise, they played a pretty straightforward Torche set. It included plenty of songs from their new album Harmonicraft like “Letting Go”, “Kicking”, “Reverse Inverted” and “In Pieces”. They also played a few choice cuts from Meanderthal like “Piranha” and “Sandstorm”. They also played my two favorite songs “Charge Of The Brown Recluse” and “Tarpit Carnivore”, along with a couple of new songs on a split coming out soon. In my opinion, there aren’t many bands in the metal scene these days that are as fun live as Torche is. Though I’ve seen them a few other times, this was definitely my favorite Torche show for sure.
Once Torche finished, Converge took the stage and it was time to party. I’ve waited at least 8 years to see this band live, so seeing Jake Bann0n, Nate Newton and Kurt Ballou on stage and Ben Koller hunkered down behind his kit, I got super excited. My excitement hit the breaking point when they started their set with the Jane Doe opener “Concubine”. Next, they played “Dark Horse” from 2009′s masterpiece “Axe To Fall”, then “Heartless” from You Fail Me. From there, they launched through a bunch of songs from the new album All We Love We Leave Behind, as well as Axe To Fall, and a few more from You Fail Me and Jane Doe. For me, the highlights of the set were “Eagles Become Vultures”, “Aimless Arrow”, “Sadness Comes Home”, “Empty On The Inside”, and Jane Doe’s “The Broken Vow”. After blasting away through both new and old classics, they ended the set with “First Light/Last Light” from You Fail Me. By this point, I was in shock at just how truly incredible these guys are live. Ben Koller was the one I was most impressed with, however, his drumming definitely sets a blistering pace, and Kurt Ballou and Nate Newton didn’t miss a single note, while Jake Bannon prowled like a starving lion in a petting zoo. In fact, I figured Converge would sound kind of raw live, but somehow their songs, particularly the newer songs, sound almost identical live as they do on recording.
Overall, I’m very glad I made this trip because Torche are one of my favorite live bands and Converge put on an absolute clinic, and were just as amazing as I had hoped they would be.
I know you’re wondering why i’m reviewing albums from the last two weeks of April in mid June, but the thing is, I got incredibly behind and am just now beginning to catch up on my reviews in time to do a “best of 2012 so far” list next week, so this post is what I consider the first step towards progress. Be sure and check out these albums if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for reviews from the entire month of May later this week.
Chances are, if you aren’t a fan of Dragonforce’s music, you have at least played their song “Through the Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero III and had a moderate amount of fun. With the release of “The Power Within”, Dragonforce are back to make every person who’s ever picked up a guitar feel hopeless again, and whether or not you’re a fan, you have to admit that these guys shred. When I first put this album on, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but when I heard songs like “Die By The Sword”, “Fallen World”, and “Cry Thunder”, I knew that not only had Dragonforce released a solid record, but it’s actually one of the best albums in their discography. Gone are former vocalist Zp Theart’s overly dramatic vocals, and in their place, new singer Marc Hudson actually sounds like a real power metal vocalist and gives the album a ton of credibility. I’m very glad to see that Dragonforce were able to regroup after Theart’s departure and put together a solid album. The rhythms and solo’s on this album are just as fast as ever, but there is alot more substance to these songs, and if you are a fan of Dragonforce, or power metal in general, this album is most certainly worth your time.
If you aren’t familiar with the band 16, all you really need to know is that these guys are what it would sound like if you mixed the musicianship and anger of bands like Unsane and Helmet, combined them with what it would sound like to overdose on meth, and add on ten pounds of toxic sludge. The first thing you’ll notice that all the songs on this album have in common is that the riffs are all very catchy and incredibly heavy, and their lyrics are incredibly deperessing. You can tell all of the songs on this album are taken from personal experiences, specifically drug overdoses and possibly domestic violence due to song titles like “Theme From ‘Pilpopper’”, “Her Little “Accident”", and “Ants In My Bloodstream”. This album definitely isn’t a feel good hit of the summer, but if you’re looking for something super heavy and incredibly entertaining, “Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds” is definitely worth a shot.
Bereft are a supergroup of sorts featuring Sacha Dunable of Intronaut/Graviton, Charles Elliott of Abysmal Dawn, Derek Rydquist of The Faceless/The Taste Of Blood, and Derek Donley of National Sunday Law/Graviton. When I first heard about this band, I was very excited, but unsure what genre they were going to gravitate towards…as it turns out, they turned towards the heaviest, sludgiest, most depressing style possible. This album is very short, however, it is certainly full of some of the heaviest riffs you’ll hear all year, specifically on songs like “The Coldest Orchestra” and “Withered Efflorescence”. There are many qualities about this album that make it a fantastic listen, but I would say one of it’s strongest weapons are the death metal-twinged vocals of Charles Elliott bellowed over riffs that are just as heavy and crushing as his vocals. If you are a fan of doom metal, this album is ESSENTIAL listening and will be widely considered one of the best albums of the year when it’s all said and done.
Paradise Lost are a legendary gothic/doom metal band and though they’ve been more gothic than doom lately, with the release of their 13th studio album “Tragic Idol”, they have revisited some old tricks and shown they are just as relevant as ever. The thing about this album that I noticed immediately is that the sound is much doomier than they’ve sounded in quite a while. You can tell that Gregor Mackintosh’s time with Vallenfyre helped ignite his fire for playing super heavy riffs because they are all over this album. Thanks to songs like “Fear Of Impending Hell”, “Honesty In Death” and “In This We Dwell”, Paradise Lost have managed to craft an incredibly heavy, yet super catchy slab of doom that works perfectly along the other albums in their discography. Also, if you’ve never heard Paradise Lost before, this album is definitely worth checking out for it’s huge, doomy riffs, and it’s creative songwriting, but you’d still be better off listening to “Gothic” first.
Prong are one of the few bands who managed to be relevant in both the thrash metal scene of the 80′s as well as the grunge rock scene of the 90′s. Thanks to the excellent guitar playing of Tommy victor, Prong has always had a very unique sound that has heavily featured bonecrushing groove and transceneded both genres, and managed to perfectly mix them together. With the release of “Carved Into Stone”, Prong have unleashed a bloodthirsty slab of thrashy, groove-oriented songs, in fact, songs like “Eternal Heat”, and “Revenge Best Served Cold” are two of the best songs of the bands career, particularly “Revenge” which is the catchiest song i’ve heard all year and would fit perfectly on “Cleansing” right after “Whose Fist Is This Anyway?”. This album is very cool and it’s not one that you merely put on one time and then never listen to again because it’s incredibly heavy like a good hard rock album should be, but it’s also completely infectious, and impossible to stop listening to with songs that stay stuck in your head for days.
Torche are one of those bands that come along every once in a while who are able to constantly change styles and evolve with each new album, yet never ever issue a letdown. With the release of “Harmonicraft”, their first album for Volcom, Torche have once again approached their craft from a new angle and managed to knock it out of the park again. Like their last full length album, “Meanderthal”, this album is full of incredibly fuzzy guitars and a style that has been called “thunder pop” for it’s fast-paced speed and incredibly fuzzed out guitar sound, specifically on the song “Kicking”. One cool thing about this album is that it’s also incredibly adventurous and daring, specifically on tracks with pop punk swagger like “Walk It Off” and “Letting Go”, as well as the southern rock boogie of “Reverse Inverted” and whatever the hell genre you’d consider “Snakes Are Charmed” to fall under. One of the band’s real secret weapons is their new lead guitarist Andrew Elstner whose influence really shines on songs like “Snakes Are Charmed”, “Sky Trials”, and “Harmonicraft”, all of which feature breathtaking guitar acrobatics. I really think “Harmonicraft” is one of the best albums to be released this year, and honestly, it sets a great example for other bands that you can branch out from your comfort zone without selling out and making awful music.
Man, this album is the winner for eeriest album of the year, seriously. With the release of the 5th Woods Of Ypres album, founding member David Gold managed to craft an epic monster of an album that leans less on black metal and more on genre’s like viking and doom metal as well as a bit of progressive metal thrown in for good measure. The album also features many songs with lyrics that focus on death, specifically tracks like “Keeper Of The Ledger”, and “Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)”. The thing that makes this album so eerie is the fact that David Gold died in a car wreck in Canada four or five months before the release of this album. Though it’s incredibly sad that David Gold died right before releasing his best album, I feel that he left behind a wonderful musical legacy, and the lyrical theme of this album makes it hit home much harder than many other albums that deal with the same topics. If you’re at all interested in hearing someone who’s passed away singing about death over incredibly heavy, doomy riffs, this album is definitely worth checking out and it’s very unique to say the least.
Today is 4/20, and as you know, it’s a pretty big deal for stoners everywhere, so I decided to do a mixtape of my 20 favorite stoner metal/rock songs. Even though i’m making this list rather late in the day, this blog is a celebration of my love of music, so I figure it’s better late than never. I’m a huge fan of stoner rock and stoner doom and thought that this list was very appropriate, and very awesome. The thing to remember about this list is that not all of these are considered stoner rock or metal, but they are still awesome songs. Below, you’ll find a hyperlink to each song on youtube so you can rock out. What are your favorite stoner songs/bands/albums? Leave a comment.
16. Neurosis – Burn
If you read this site much, you know that I enjoy interviewing bands quite a bit. With today being Friday the 13th, I thought that it would be fitting to post my interview with Jesse Moore, singer of the band Blvck Pvssy. Blvck Pvssy are from the huge town of Vicksburg, Ms, and are one of the more intimdating live bands you’ll ever see. You can check out Blvck Pvssy HERE.
How did you get introduced to the punk/hardcore/metal scene, and at what age?
It was 1987. Some older guys used to skateboard in the alley behind my moms house. They had gnarly asymetrical haircuts, and it seemed like everything they wore had skulls and violence. They had a ramp and would charge it all day while blasting the scariest music Id ever heard out of a ghetto blaster, cranked. I fucked with it. Within 6 minutes, I knew what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Theres more to the story than that, but what ends up happening is that they put me in the skateboard gang and started giving me mixtapes with shit like Suicidal Tendencies and Ice T on them. I went home that day and pretty much told my mom she was going to buy me a skateboard. Within a few months, I had a subscription to Thrasher Magazine and I read it like it was the holy fucking grail. Whatever bands were covered in Thrasher must have been what skaters were jammin, so I paid very close attention and schooled myself. Thrash was at its height and Gangsta Rap was creeping up heavy and I cant speak for everyone, but if you skated you “felt” bands and rappers the same way. It was aggro. I read Pusheads column and that lead me to Septic Death which was my real introduction to the most extreme bands around at the time. I kept at that speed for a few more years and started going to punk shows at my mom’s friends bar. He would have all these trippy bands from Austin, Tx play on the weekends and as long as I came with my mom, he would let me stand in the corner and bug out. By 13, I was fully immersed, and hustlng rides to any show I could find. Through the DIY hardcore scene I made friends with some other punkers that went on to be From Ashes Rise. I would ride with those guys to go see bands like Man Is The Bastard, Spazz, Assuck, His Hero Is Gone and Eyehategod. Whatever it took to be at shows, I made happen. I collected fanzines and records, buying shit from all over the world. I used to write letters to people like Chris Elder from Despise You and Max Ward from Spazz/Plutocracy to buy from the labels they ran and they always wrote back recommending me records to buy, or sending me flyers and stickers. At the same time, I was always trying to start bands but nothing ever went anywhere. A couple house shows at the most, and then someone would quit. Eventually, years and years later, I stayed with the whole punk/hardcore/metal (and hiphop/rap as well many forms of music) scene, and looking back, its a fact that I have dedicated the bigger part of my life to it and there isn’t anyone who can dispute that fact.
So you’re what would be referred to as a “Lifer”, correct?
Yeah, in a sense. I’m sure when people see me they get that impression. Do i care about the scene as a whole? not really. I’m going to stay tuned with what I like, but just because someone is in “the scene” doesnt make them family. There are alot of fuckboys at shows that id rather not have anything to do with. I can deal with being called an asshole by someone I despise, but not a “bro”
What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry, particularly metal and punk/hardcore? How do you feel about downloading music?
Music is pretty dope. Its all a matter of what you’re trying to hear or buy. The internet age made it where every twink ass fuckboy with a broadband connection is either an anonymous super critic, or in some tired ass band. The really fucked up part about it is that they now have an audience. It doesnt matter though, thanks to gas prices blowin up and venues becoming more scarce, most of these unnecessary bands arent really hitting the road, so be thankful that you have to actively search for complete bullshit, rather than have it shoved down your throat at every $5 show. The real motherfuckers are out busting ass to play for your little shithouse town for 10 people. Downloading music is fine with me. The whole game changed and if you still think theres any reason to bitch and moan about people downloading your fucking album, then release something on vinyl that looks awesome and it will sell. You cant really download a tshirt, so bands need to shut the fuck up. Your music isn’t worth 10 dollars, 9 times outta 10. To quote one of my favorite punk bands Born Against “This Trash Should Have Been Free”
If you could change anything about the current state of the underground punk/hardcore/metal scene, what would it be?
More violence/danger at shows. Not so much people getting beat down, but just that sketchy, scary, dangerous feeling that the bands I grew up going to see had. When I used to stand in the front row of a His Hero Is Gone show, it would send a chill down your spine, and the feeling that everything was going to fall apart was real. Now its all people getting tagged on facebook and trying to “network”. Fuck all that shit, man.
Have there been any albums released yet this year that will be on your top albums of the year list? Also, what bands are you most anticipating new albums from in 2012?
LIL UGLY MANE – MISTA THUG ISOLATION will be my favorite album at the end of 2012. It sounds and feels like someone dug up a time capsule and unearthed a lost Memphis G Rap classic. I grew up on rap too, and the average metal/hardcore kid isnt going to know this, but Memphis had a very strong (and very violent and Satanic) underground Rap scene in the 90s. Guys were taking drug money and self releasing these over the top albums that were ultraviolent, hypersexual, and menacing, evil shit about being possessed by cocaine and the devil. Normally it was lo fi and just refused to conform to anything that was happening in the mainstream at the time. They were performing in hole in the wall juke joints where the violent dancing made hardcore/metal shows look just pussy as fuck. Of course, Triple Six Mafia were the frontrunners, and eventually won a grammy, but during its time it was the true definition of DIY in the south and was as brutal as anything a metal band has done. I’m sure most of your readers dont care, but I do, and If anyone wants to get into a longer conversation about Memphis Devil Shyt, just ask me at a show. I can talk about the shit all night. Back to Lil Ugly Mane, he put together an album that pays tribute to the scene I was just talking about, and takes it to new places. It’s bugged out and slammin. The best shit i’ve heard in awhile, I cant stop playing it at all. As far as metal goes, i’m looking forward to the new Torche record. I love everything they have released, and they are one of the best live bands going. I can’t wait for new Weekend Nachos this year. That’s a band that just annihilates, and reminds me of why I fell in love with power violence and sludge in the first place. I can’t really think of anything else.
As far as your band Blvck Pvssy goes, I would have assumed that your band name was pretty unique, however, another band with that name attempted to sue you for rights to it, correct?
Yeah. Fuck them and fuck that shit they pulled. They get no respect, and no one had our band confused with that bullshit. Fuck them. I can’t wait for the day we cross paths. Ive definitely got something for them.
Other than dealing with that, what have you guys been up to lately and what are your plans for the future of the band?
Trying to have fun with it. It’s not about success, it’s about us as homeboys going out and having good times together as a group. Getting some action in our lives and writing music that is fun to play. We plan on keeping it going as long as we can, death or the jailhouse. We’re definitely a band who loves the road and playing out as much as we can with all our friends, but not playing so much that people don’t care anymore. It’s hard for us to tour, and not because we don’t want to, but the fact is, we have responsibilities. When it’s time to play, we always put on a show and no one can take that from us.
I know that in your various bands you’ve been in through the years you have played alot of shows in alot of different places; what is your favorite story from a show or tour?
This one time, we made a couple hundred bucks at a show and drank free. I felt like Pantera. It was tremendous.
You have also played shows with bands like Cough, Rwake, and Goatwhore to name a few; if you could play a show with any active band, who would it be?
If we could play the Thrasher Magazine Texas Deathmatch next year at SXSW, I would shit my mind in joy. My life would have come full circle
You tend to write very angry songs that, I assume are based on real life, however, if you could have only written one song ever, what would it be and why?
A platinum Booty Shake record. Not even joking. If I wrote something that made every girl in the country want to fuck me with the lights on, and it paid me enough money to live comfortably enough to run air condition 24/7/365 with no regard for the law, I could die an extremly happy motherfucker.
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.
Today starts my end of the year lists that i’ll be unleashing every day from now until January 1st. I’ve decided to start off with a list of the 20 best bands i saw live this year. Like any self respecting music geek, I go to shows, ALOT of shows in fact, however, this year i didnt see as many shows as i wanted to, but i saw some pretty amazing stuff nonetheless. So, without further ado, this is a list (in no particular order) of the 20 bands I saw in 2011 who helped make my year just a little better.
These guys are absolutely legendary and i got to see them on their final world tour. Thanks to a setlist spanning their entire discograhy and all the fire, lasers, video effects, and rock n’ roll mayhem of one of their shows from the 80′s, this was an incredible show.
These guys opened up for Judas Priest and they were, by far, the greatest opening band i’ve ever seen. Their setlist included all of my favorite songs, and their current lineup brings the thunder as good as can be expected, particularly because of the original members it boasts.
Dave Grohl is an absolute monster! His stage presence is absolutely unbelievable and he makes you feel like he is playing just for you. They also had an awesome stage set up and played an almost 3 hour set that included hit after poppy hit.
These guys opened for Foo Fighters, proving what i said earlier about Dave Grohl being an absolute monster. Lemmy still looks and sounds and plays as good as he did in the 70′s and 80′s and their setlist is a good mix of the old classics with their faster, heavier, newer songs. Nothing can top the moment they first launch into “Ace Of Spades”
This was their first tour in a couple of years and you could tell that their time with The Melvins has done them some good. These guys were full of thunder and nothing rules more than hearing them play “Hands Up” live.
This band is one of the loudest i’ve ever seen live. They played mostly stuff from the last 2 albums but it was so loud and heavy that it didn’t matter what they played, they could have made a set of Huey Lewis & The News covers sound brutal as hell.
Of the 3 bands i saw that night (they played with Big Business and Torche), i was surprised to find that these guys were my favorite of the evening. They play through amps that were made by Ben Verellen himself and the tone was absolutely crushing. Their album is such an awesome mix of Mastodon-esque riffs and some awesome shoegaze parts to make one of the funnest rock n’ roll albums of the year and they translated perfectly live
Saw these guys on the Metalalliance tour along with the next 3 bands on this list and Helemt were by far, the highlight for me. They played all of “Meantime” plus select songs from “Betty” and their latest album “Seeing Eye Dog”. Even though “Meantime” is my favorite Helmet album, my favorite Helmet song is “Tic” and they played it by request, which is the sweetest (and heaviest) thing ever!
It’s been a few years since i’ve seen these guys and I was terribly bummed that the last 2 times they played near me i had to miss for various reasons, so i was very glad to get to see them again, and in New Orleans of all places! They have Kirk Windstein from Down, Pat Bruders, who’s now in down, and Tommy Buckley from Soilent Green in their lineup currently which means seeing Crowbar live is like getting crushed by an asteroid. Also, their new songs translate amazing to their live show.
It’s been a very long time since Saint Vitus has toured, so i was very fortunate to get to see them live. Dave Chandler’s tone sounded absolutely amazing, and Wino’s voice sounded perfect. They played a set full of some absolutely crushing tunes, and they even played a new song which i can’t wait to hear on an album soon.
This was my second time seeing Kylesa, and this time was way better, mostly because they had the projector with the Spiral Shadow album cover spinning around which created an incredible atmosphere. Not much can be said about a Kylesa live show except for the fact that it is something I will never forget. The double drum assault sounds killer and works perfect together, and Phillip and Laura’s vocals sound perfect, and the guitars are super heavy. They are one of the best current metal bands i’ve ever seen live.
I actually saw these guys live twice this year. The first time was at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fl as part of their mardi gras celebration. The second time i saw them was in Shreveport, La with ZZ Top, and i have to say, they killed both times. There aren’t many original members except for Gary Rossington, however, most of the people that make up this current incarnation are all apart of the family somehow and weren’t just brought in to collect a paycheck, these guys absolutely kill it and they also played my favorite Skynyrd song “Gimme Back My Bullets” which rules.
Seeing these guys on the same bill as Lynyrd Skynyrd was a classic rock/southern rock nerd’s dream show. They came out with their signature beards and flashy stage show and they played every major hit they’ve ever written, and the best part is that they didn’t play an encore, which is another reason why I love these guys.
I still can’t decide whether Steely Dan or just being able to hang out on the beach in Alabama was the highlight of this weekend, but regardless, ‘The Dan killed it. These guys are one of the more underrated bands in classic rock history, but even 40 years into their career, Donald Fagen ‘s voice sounds as upbeat as ever, and Walter Becker can still shred. But the best part is that their touring lineup is full of the best jazz and classically trained musicians they could find and they certainly bring new life to songs that are already full of it.
I saw these guys at the Bealse Street Music Festival along with the next 2 bands on this list and i must say, this was by far, the most uplifting show i’ve ever seen. I don’t really listen to them much, but the combination of their beautiful music, bright lights, balloons, lasers, and many more ridiculously awesome things, coupled with a wonderful stage presence makes them a band that i must see again and am now a big time fan of.
These guys played right before the Flaming Lips and they were using the same huge screen for their set and had some amazing videos playing during their set which worked very well with their awesomely poppy music. Also, they kept updating the crowd on the score of the Memphis Grizzlies game that was going on just a few blocks away during their set, which i, as a sports fan, found to be super awesome.
Sublime With Rome
This band is the original bassist and drummer of Sublime with Rome Ramirez on guitar and vocals and they are absolutely fantastic. They played all of the Sublime songs i wanted to hear, and quite a few from their new album which turned out to be one of my favorite records of 2011.
Karma To Burn
These guys are desert rock legends and I actually saw them in Monroe which was kind of random. They are an instrumental band, but their drummer and bassist are so phenomenal that no vocals are necessary to keep these songs entertaining; their songs are full of bone-breaking riffs and dizzying tempo changes and they were definitely the best intrumental band I’ve seen all year…and the only.
Without question, this was the loudest band i’ve ever seen…not just in 2011, but EVER. Their guitarist Amber Valentine had, what seemed to me, 15 amps hooked up and every one of them was turned up to full volume. My ears were literally ringing for 3 days after this show, no lie. Their songs don’t really translate live the way they do on their records, but they were very enjoyable, and loud, and enjoyably loud, and it’s great to see a band from Relapse Records come to Monroe.
I’m not sure what made the one and only time i saw Thou weirder…the fact that it was inside a theater inside the Lsu art museum, or the fact that they only played 4 songs with a total set of about 25 minutes. Regardless of their set length, however, is the fact that they absolutely killed. They played loud and slow and let loose an almost unrelenting pummeling on the hipsters that were crowded around and it was glorious.