Album Review

Top 20 Metal Records Of 2016

I did it! I made another list. I didn’t think it would happen, but it happened. No more lists, though. This is the last one for 2016.

Lots of black metal this year. And I mean lots. But it’s all A+ Amazing. I didn’t hear too much doom (or rather too much premium doom) this year, but, again the doom that was good was really fucking good. There’s tons of weird shit in here that pushes the limits of metal that you should come to expect from my metal lists. Also, I gotta say I’m surprised at the amount of color found on these album covers. 10 of them feature full multi-colored artwork and even more toss in some non-greyscale-but-still-monochromatic flair.

I did something that some of you may find treasonous. I have 2 records tied for first place. So, technically, this is a Top 21 list, but whatever. I spent way too long (like, weeks, maybe even months?) trying to decide which of the two I loved more and just couldn’t settle on one answer for more than a few days. And when I was putting this post together I realized “fuck it, there’s no reason I need to choose one over the other” and thus the Tied For Number 1 spot was born. I’m happy about it and you should be too.

As usual, I try to keep the big names/labels off the list because I’m definitely not a metal blog and I’m sure you all know that The Body, Ash Borer, SubRosa, Cough, ColdWorld, and Primitive Man put out truly outstanding records this year. You don’t need another site to tell you how good they are.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for making incredible music.

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Album Review

Wold – Postsocial (Profound Lore, 2014)

wold - postsocial album cover
WoldThrowing Star (Profound Lore)

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OMFG I can’t even handle how fucking awesome this new Wold record is you guys, so incredibly psyched the Canadian duo has some new aural wreckage this year, these two honestly spit out the most disgusting horrific black noise ever and it’s painfully unique, caked in grit & filth, Postsocial scales back the metal (barely) heard on their previous records and drowns you in an acid bath of static distortion, they beefed up the noise and scrubbed out the metal but this is still the blackest & grimmest fucking thing you’ll hear all year, the massive walls of burnt feedback and tinny clanging percussion are absolutely fucking obliterating, this is so dense you can taste it & smell it, it becomes an all enveloping shroud of nihilistic, misanthropic chaos, and there’s an endless amount of detail lurking beneath the devastation, devious shredding & pulsing electronics that make this so much more than a harsh wall of noise, and while this has supreme, definite motives & messages behind it, I’m not really even looking at that part, for me this is a purely aesthetic experience of wicked perversions, the sonic bombardment that can come from only the most twisted of artists, taking you to unimaginable depths, and Wold always fucking delivers.

Album Review

Dead Times / TRTRKMMR Split (Aum War, 2011)

Dead Times & TRTRKMMRAn Appendectomy (Aum War)

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Holy fuck. How has this been out for almost a year and had barely any press? This is insane. Both of these dudes are going to be on everyone’s radar pretty soon. Dead Times is currently Steven Vallot’s solo thing, he also runs Aum War, did some vocals on The Body’s All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood and occasionally played with them live. Lee Buford (drummer for The Body) used to be involved until The Body relocated South. TRTRKMMR is a solo thing for Brad Dumville, who was the vocalist for the tragically disbanded Otesanek). So, wow, lots of awesome already bundled up in this split and they’re unbelievably perfect to share some vinyl space together.

But it’s something bigger than the sum of its parts. This split is unholy, pure black and twisted as fuck. A potently caustic black noise with a lots of doom & gloom, industrial & power electronics, and even some melodic synthy organ & bell sounds, like a funereal black pop à la The Mausoleums except way less golden. Tons of samples that talk about redemption & homicide & shit making this creepy as hell. Absolute chaos with plodding crumbling drums, decrepit guitars, blown out electronics, demonic vocals shrieking & creaking up from beyond the grave (with Sewer Goddess joining in on Dead Times’ “Pain Arrives”) everything falling apart in a gloriously fucked up way that could only mean the end of the world. They even do two collaborations, one on each side, and they’re totally fucking killer.

This is truly some of the best of the genre, and all the better that both of these guys are just getting started with these new aliases. Both have new material in the works, TRTRKMMR has an upcoming debut full length on Iron Lung, and Dead Times’ work will likely show up on Aum War again. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled because this is not something you want to miss out on. I’d probably be putting this on some year end list if it didn’t come out last year. All the same, it’s still available and I wouldn’t hold off on picking up this beast.

Album Review

Haute-Cimes – Khmaer Krahom (self released, 2012)

Haute-CimesPertt (self released)

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A caustic debut by this new French dude, and he’s giving it away for free. Grab it first, read later. This is some awesome fucked noise, like Yellow Swans on a murdering spree or Gnaw Their Tongues doing power electronics. Scary brutal static, nauseous paranoia, fucking intense blow outs of grit & grime, clear and distorted vocals, dappled with moments of respite, beauty, chirping birds, none lasting too long before being jerked back into the terror. Film samples get thrown around, sometimes recognizable & enjoyable, like a clip from My Neighbor Totoro, others are a bit more horrifying, like the one of a girl screaming for her life while a maniac laughs. Some uniquely killer shit, no reason to pass over this. Digitally free, or pay some cash and get a tape.

Album Review

Scuba Death – Demon Seed (Semata, 2011)

Scuba DeathDripsweat

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It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed anything from Semata, one of Boston’s top notch cool shit purveyors, even though they’ve put out some seriously fantastic albums. So why did I choose to review a record that’s technically a reissue? Because Demon Seed barely saw the light of day with it’s 40 tape run on YDLMIER (not that Semata’s 200 LP run is that much better), because it sounds disgustingly great on vinyl, and because it’s fucking INSANE.

Scuba Death is apparently a “mystery artist.” That’s a topic I don’t really want to get in to, I’ll save it for another post, but lets just say I don’t dig the whole “mystery” thing. An alias is fine, but especially in a place like Boston, it just seems a little ridiculous to put out an album and purposefully keep the identity secret. But whatever. It adds to the intrigue, I suppose. So let your imagination run wild with who Scuba Death actually is, I’ll take bets.

Demon Seed is a short, potent dose of grimy & grim electronics. 45 RPM, one song per side, you get almost 20 minutes of no nonsense destructive filth that sounds like your stereo is recovering from a trip to the acid sauna. Nothing about this record sounds “right,” it literally sounds like they fucked everything up, sent you a broken piece of wax, and your needle is caught in a steel wool loop. The electronics are beyond repair, failed industrial static that grates from lo-fi smoke drone to power surge blowouts to contact feedback glitch to panned jet engine horror. I hate the idea of stealing other people’s descriptions but Brad Rose fuckin nailed it on Twitter when he said “i have to keep double checking to make sure my turntable isn’t on fire or something.”

So, yeah, this is some unusually bizarro noise, but it’s also bleak as fuck. It sounds like it came from an acrid tomb, sealed away for a thousand sunless years, encrusted with dense layers of dust, past decay, and embracing all things deathly. This is black noise stemming from crumbling electronics and it fucking DESTROYS.

Scuba Death could be literally anyone and I wouldn’t care. It doesn’t matter. Demon Seed is a fucking beast and it’s a goddamn miracle that Semata sought to spread the noise. So what have we learned from all of this? 1: Your copy of Demon Seed is not defective. 2: Keep an eye on YDLMIER.