Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Better Late than Whatever: 2011 Favorites

It's still January!

In case there would appear to be any major omissions on my part, I present the following. The releases listed below can neither be endorsed or otherwise in good conscience, since I haven't really given any of them a sufficient enough chunk of time to objectively do so. Except for maybe the new Morbid Angel -- after previewing a few of the songs on youtube, I'm a little more comfortable nnnnnot recommending Illum... to you.

Noteworthy/Acclaimed/Hated/Well-Publicized Releases I Failed to Listen To

Absu -
Abzu, Gridlink - Orphan, Liturgy - Aesthetica, Krallice - Diotima, Morbid Angel - Illum blah blah blah, Necros Christos - Doom of the Occult, Yob - Atma (Well, I listened a little..), Antediluvian - Through the Cervix of Hawwah, Craft - Void

Adding to that list, the new Taake, the Miasmal self-titled, Solstafir's new album, and the Flourishing full length, which I have only started to dip my toes into.

2011 Favorites in No Particular Order

Disma -
Towards the Megalith
Yeah, yeah, elephant in the room. It's an avalanche of muck. It's like being trapped on the North Pole for a century. A bunch of veterans team up to create a massive, grooving, crushing death metal album. You already know what's up.

Corrupted -
Garten der Unbewusstheit
Japan's best doom band (probably) comes returns back with another monster album. At times mournful, at times extremely placid, at times painfully minimalistic, always enormous and expansive. Not for the faint at heart. Just so, so good.

Autopsy -
Macabre Eternal
It's not like Autopsy went anywhere after Shitfun nor was Abscess thaaat far from their initial formula but, nevertheless (continuing from where they left off on The Tomb Within), they're back, playing Autopsy songs on an Autopsy full length. With that in mind, they manage to buck expectations here and there with a warm, clean production and, at times, more
(relatively speaking) technical riffage. Where there album succeeds most is in what you do expect. They're not going through the motions -- far from it, rather, Chris Reifert et al continue to refine and perfectly execute a formula for great shit. Special mention has to go to Eric Cutler's vocals on "Dirty Gore Whore," which are fucking creepy. Like, I'm very desensitized to being shocked, or whatever, by extreme metal, as you probably are, as well. Just like that, though, they inject a little extra something that takes Macabre Eternal out of my immediate comfort zone. The string of longer, slower songs starting around "Sewn Into One" and concluding with "Sadistic Gratification" are also just golden. Still got it.

Skeletonwitch -
Forever Abomination
I've heard this album described in a few different places as more or less "standard" for Skeletonwitch at this point and it's as though all these different reviewers took a day off from their critical listening abilities -- Forever Abomination takes this band to a whole new dimension. Speaking as someone who likes Skeletonwitch a lot, they've always had kind of an air of self-conscious kitsch, which is really suitable for such a fun, energetic band. Skeletonwitch is not an emotionally affecting group, typically -- they're like Sodom, they only kick ass. BUT, with that in mind, Forever Abomination changes the game and introduces a darker, more Second Wave feel which first reminded me strongly of Dissection and Emperor, all while maintaining the same catchy precision harmonies and tight rhythms. While Beyond the Permafrost is still probably the closest of their albums to my heart, in time I can see that being eclipsed by their 2011 effort, which is front to back, a dark, riff-slinging, blastbeating, motherfucker of an album.

Putridity -
Degenerating Anthropophagical Euphoria
I'm in kind of a bind, including an album that I can't remember any songs from, but here you go. Like an homage to early Suffocation, their is nothing catchy at work, nor is there anything that doesn't cause tension. It's not as much a collection of songs as it is a very merciless and calculated marathon of torture from severe headbanging. It's a good thing this album is so short -- maintaining that level of crush for an extended period of time is just exhausting.

Visceral Disgorge -
Ingesting Putridity
The other entry for brutal death metal bands in my favorites is slightly more varied and catchy. Visceral Disgorge is as equally unhesitatingly complex and technical as Putridity, however, flashes of harmony, deft tempo changes and enormous breakdowns help punctuate what would otherwise be another extended, nonstop beating. This band fucking rules. I think I've said quite enough. Oh wait. They sometimes have soundclips. Those are fun.

Desolate Shrine -
Tenebrous Towers
What a great surprise! Of all the "retro" sounding death metal albums to come my way this year, this is one of my favorites. This Finnish trio knocks out monster songs with completely amazing guttural and shrieked vocals (shared between two vocalists). They write terrific songs. Listen to "The Brightest Night" right this minute. This would have flown right under the radar for me, were it not for The Living Doorway, to whom I extend my sincerest thanks. Speaking of which, have you thanked the Living Doorway for an album you've loved recently? Just a thought. Here's Desolate Shrine's bandcamp, which can direct you to a place where you might render them your US Dollars. Incredible album art, too.

Wormrot -
Yup. It's premium grindcore. I don't know what else to say. Wormrot rips.

Burial Invocation
Okay, okay, they only released one new song this year on their split with Anatomia but it's just REALLY GOOD is all. Perhaps this can be your introduction to them, if you haven't checked them out previously.

Mammoth Grinder/Hatred Surge
Two of my favorite Texan exports released an eponymous split this year. Mammoth Grinder plays chunky, old school death metal. Hatred Surge plays deathgrind/powerviolence. This has the distinction of featuring some of Hatred Surge's slowest and grooviest songs. See what all the fuss is about here. Hatred Surge also appears on last years Brutal Supremacy four-way split from Painkiller Records.

& Mitochondrion - The Destroyers of All & Parasignosis
Last but not least, each of these bands had great full-lengths that leaked around the late 2010 mark and are about the definition of "old news" by now. They each interestingly expand upon the death metal formula, with Ulcerate having terse, slow-burning leads built over a highly active rhythm section, and Mitochondrion employing a very alien and hostile riffs that all meet within what can best be described as a wormhole of chaos. Both are stand-outs for me. I'm loath to forget about them after the passing of so much time. Puh-lease, listen to both if you missed out on the first go-around.

Honorable Mentions

Rwake - Rest
I like Rwake a lot and clearly there's plenty of stuff going on here. All the same, this didn't have the immediate "wow factor" that Voice of Omens and If You Walk... had for me. It's my estimation that this will be more of a "grower." Either way, it's exciting to see them on Relapse Records. They are most deserving of their success.

Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood
This is a really cool band that I'm proud to share a hometown with. It's funny how I didn't know about them until well after I had moved away for school. I can't emphasize this enough, when there are seemingly hundreds of American bands out there who got into black metal last year and are aping Wolves in the Throne Room, it's very refreshing to hear Falls, who have been going since at least 2006, if not earlier, and who keep knocking out very thoughtfully composed, creative, and well-executed music. Good fucking band. I look forward to seeing them again.

Miscellaneous Non-Endorsements

Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
I find this incredibly boring. I've been doing this song and dance with Trap Them since at least 2007 -- they'll release something to general acclaim and I'll think "This will be the record that gets me into this band" and it never is, actually. All of the individual components here (guitar tone, grinding, minor resemblance to Converge (one of my favorite bands), dark themes, etc.) should make this a perfect fit for me but it just isn't. Maybe I need to hear the right song at the right time. Until then, I'll just go ahead and wait another year or so until their next release. Related: that band The Secret, who sort of sound similar to Trap Them -- not so hot on them, either.

KEN Mode - Venerable
Another one -- what's the fuss about? I'm not closed off to the idea of ever liking this band, I just am again unmoved. I like noise, I like noise ROCK, I like hardcore...why is this so tedious to me?

Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
This was a surprise. Maybe I'll have a change of heart some day but I found this whole thing very lacking in focus. I love WITTR but listening to this is a frustrating experience with little to no continuity. Like, I guess they're going back to a more "experimental" sound after releasing Black Cascade, which was probably their most linear release yet. Was I hoping for Black Cascade II? Maybe. That's just how I feel. As I said, I'm not counting out the possibility of me one day liking this. Bah.

Well, that's that. At least it's not February of 2012.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Clams Casino

My past two or so weeks, musically speaking, have been Clams Casino on repeat, punctuated occasionally by Leatherface and, days prior, the new Abominable Putridity. Clams Casino is a hip hop producer, as well as a disgusting food.

Yes. So, basically, the quick breakdown of elements at work here, that I've dreamed up, are as follows: imagine Supahotbeats bone-shaking percussiveness (real word?), buried underneath the glitchy fog of Tim Hecker. That's more or less what it's like. Hypnotic, subterranean soundscapes, enhanced with haunting, tweaked samples, with big, burly beats fighting it out. If ghosts smoked pot, they would probably listen to this. Comparing Clams to a lot of producers out there, currently, I'd say Clams is what Incantation would be to At the Gates, a little murkier and reverbed out. Also, much like in the metal world, there are more Incantation-esque producers these days, as well, if you catch my drift. Clams is one that I like.

He's also done tracks for Soulja Boy and Lil B. Surprise!




Friday, January 27, 2012

Naw, Dude

First, here's three brief reviews of movies I hate

I Love You, Man (Dreamworks, 2009)
Two of my favorite comedic actors, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, star two annoying idiots who spend their time together doing incredibly unfunny things. The highlight of the film is when John Favreau is vomited on -- had I known that during my first watch, I wouldn't have sat through the next hour or so left.

Away We Go (Focus Features, 2009)
Jim from "The Office," and Maya Rudolph very boringly search for a new home, traveling to different locales to meet characters with even less depth than theirs. No laughter. No emotional reactions elicited, period.

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
With a painfully conceited and self-conscious flourish, Miranda July (writer, director, lead actress) attempts to savagely beat her viewers with a Quirky Stick, just in case Garden State flew a little too low under the radar for you ("Check out my profound performance art!"). Also starring, an ensemble of emotionally dead caricatures, which are supposed to represent human beings.

So, speaking of being tortured through art, I present Gnaw from New York. I don't know much about the band, other than that they feature the vocal talents of the guy from Khanate, and that their sound could be described as harsh, heavy, caterwauling noise. If you like Khanate, Neurosis' more industrial moments, Laudanum, or any other equally hideous sounding band, you'll be all over this, because this is completely unsettling and disgusting filth.

Everybody is fucking but you

Conspiracy Records


The New Abominable Putridity is Out, BRO

Don't act like you're not at least a little excited. In case you haven't heard, the long-awaited followup to whatever the Hell their first album was called, featuring Matti Way (ex-Disgorge, ex-Everything) has leaked or has been released. Whichever came first. There are a bazillion instances of it popping up everywhere and you should snag it because you desire it and you know that you do. I'd say more but I'm on the way out the door to go play in the sleet for money.

Buydat (Brutal Bands)

EDIT -- Post Script

This shit rules and I wish I was listening to it today while processing hundreds of glass returnables. Pick this up. Do. It.

Monday, January 23, 2012


So, as I may have mentioned, I'm back to work at a grocery store I part-timed at for three years, and it is just uncanny how nothing has changed since I left (like how I'm the only person willing to clerk the bottle room and accept returnables) and quickly I'm picking everything back up. The pay isn't great and I'm not getting a lot of hours right now but the feeling of knowing that a paycheck is in my future is a relief, frankly.

Since I'm still drafting that 2011 Retrospective (yeah yeah, I know) and since I actually ended up working later than I was scheduled, I'm less interested in publishing that right yet. Here's something else.

Fallujah are an interesting band. A few years back, I liked Leper Colony (2009) enough to feature one or two tracks semi regularly on my radio show for a few months. Fuck if I remember what deathcore clearinghouse blog I found it on at the time. This was self-released. Basically, in addition to bringing a brutish, yet highly technical skill set to the table, Fallujah also managed to weave in a cold and strange sense of moroseness (hence where the "blackened" description of their music comes in). It's still a neat little EP that I listen to every now and then, even if some songs are a little bloated with dull single-note chug-fests. I'd still ultimately recommend it, that's for sure.

Anywho, in November they released a full length on Unique Leader (!!) called The Harvest Wombs. I've only listened to it maybe twice since then and I'm still on the fence about it (leaning positively). If you're into this current crop of technical, progressive West Coast death metal/deathcore, (Burning the Masses, The Faceless, et al), or Decrepit Birth (to whom many of these young bands would seem indebted to some degree) you'll definitely like it. If you're not crazy about that, the qualities that I found most interesting about them initial still ring true, for the most part. There is a certain knack for atmosphere this band has that a lot of their peers lack. The new album definitely cranks up the progressive riffometer up a few notches, which can be a little bit of a distraction for some. This is a noodle fest, like everyone showed up to the potluck with noodles.

Either way, it's cool to see this band getting more recognition and success. Give them your money.

Buy [Unique Leader]
Leper Colony
Here is an animated gif

Go fucking Patriots

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Meanwhile on the Internet...

An unholy junta of Lars Ulrich and the Man have shut down Megaupload, a day after the SOPA/PIPA blackout. I've heard rumors that Mediafire is next, which is frankly disturbing.

If this is the way it's going to be, I'd first like to bid a fond farewell to Megaupload -- I can't even imagine how many great albums I've gotten off of there throughout the years.

Second, to the groups trying to shut the free exchange of art down: You fuckers can't win. Even if you kill Megaupload, Mediafire, Rapidshare, The Pirate Bay, etc etc etc, something else will spring up in its place. Hell, Soulseek is still active. In the spirit of this post, I'm going to go download some bad, major label album made by some jaded millionaire and I would like to see someone stop me.

Suck it.

Time's article



...and wouldn't you know it, hours later Anonymous brought down the Universal Music and Department of Justice websites, respectively, with one of those directed denial of service attacks, or whatever those are. Ha! HA!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stalling For Time While I work on the 2011 Favorites, I mean "Zombie Grinder"


There's terrific playoff football on the tube these days

It's been single-digit weather here and there for about the past week. No major complaints, but uhhh, it is what it is.

I've got job orientation bright and early on Wednesday and I'm damn relieved to actually be starting to make money again


Inhume are a Dutch grinding death metal band (or whichever is your preferred combination of those modifiers) who have been around since the nineties. I didn't hear them until maybe late 2010(?) by way of their awesome full length from that year, Moulding the Deformed. Like when I first heard Funebrarum, the first description that came to mind was "old school yet still brutal as hell."

(Quick story: About a week ago, I was actually listening to this on the bus on the way to getting tattooed a little bit. Later that day, I couldn't help noticing the Inhume sticker on the artist's mini-fridge. Naturally, I had to ask and it turned out the dude had one time played a show in the Netherlands that featured an Inhume side-project. Funny coincidence. He actually even had a spare patch lying around that he gave to me. Woo! Time in.)

In short, this a necksnapping soundtrack to elbow-dropping a bunch of little brats in Starbucks who wont shut up while you're trying to read the news. The riffs aren't really that complex or anything, it's all just straight forward, chainsaw tremolo picking and power chords over classic grind beats. Special mention for the vocals, which combine burly grunts with hideous Corpsegrinder-esque shrieks.

Turns out there's also a flash game of the same name as the title of the above song, which Inhume contributed a song to. Dunno which came first.

Check this shit out and cough up some money.

Inhume official


"Moulding... [EU]"

Trial version

Thursday, January 12, 2012


In my particular slice of New England, it's been a fairly dry Winter. We received the second considerable snow storm of the season since late October. Here's a brief video summary of today...

I'm going to go shovel a little more...


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Delicious Beer Drinking Marathon

Some common misconceptions

1. Liking grapes precludes the feasibility of disliking raisins

2. I like getting tattoos so strangers can ask me probing personal questions

3. Taking a multiple day break in the middle of a non-compulsory project, like a 2011 Retrospective, will always rejuvenate one and give them drive to finish said project

No excuses, back to work. I've been busy but, hey, so have you. You're the ones with real jobs. I should be able to take forty minutes out of every day or two to talk about death metal or farts.

SPEAKING of blogs getting back underway, Junkyard God is back with regular posts and you oughta go check out the wares therein, especially if SFL/LLS isn't fulfilling your desire for grind, slam, black metal, or adult contemporary.

Happy New Year(?) I'll have that 'Year's Favorite' done soon.