Boy, that title sure is a funny one; to say that Danny Tunker is Alkaloid is kind of like saying that De Vinci is the Mona Lisa’s. Tunker has played in numerous incredible bands, like Aborted, Spawn of Possession, Demilich and Hannes Grossman‘s project but Alkaloid is, today at least, his most complete and ambitious outing. Their most recent release, Liquid Anatomy was one of the blog’s favorite albums of the year and enjoyed the same lofty position on my own, personal list. It’s an incredibly intricate album, not least because of the guitars which Tunker, alongside one Christian Muenzner, brought to life with his unique playing and compositional style.
We were naturally excited for the opportunity to run Tunker’s guest list, as such an integral part of the death metal community’s picks for albums of the year would surely be an interesting endeavor. We weren’t disappointed, to say the least; Tunker’s list includes two lives releases from absolutely classic artists (Zappa and King Crimson), some staples of this year in metal (like Rivers of Nihil, Psycroptic, Obscura and Revocation, all of which were featured on our own list) alongside some true curveballs like Carla Kihlstedt’s (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) latest trippy effort in the form of Rabbit Rabbit Radio. All of these come together to form an interesting glimpse into the influences which make one of the most well known names within our little niche of a community work. Read on below!
Zappa/MOTHERS – The Roxy Performances
Zappa has been a huge influence on me for almost my whole life and nary a day goes by when I don’t listen to at least 1 or 2 Zappa tracks. It’s something I do and have done for years. His catalogue is so vast and diverse there’s something for my every mood and even though he released a huge amount of material during his lifetime already, his diligence in recording almost everything means that even though he’s gone we get treated to loads of new, old and AAAFNRAA material every year.
The basic tracks of this stint at the Roxy in 1973 were used for ‘Roxy & Elsewhere’, with some material eventually released as ‘Roxy – The Movie’ in 2015, but here in this box set we finally get the 5 shows, in full. All ingredients are here: the interplay, the musicianship, the comedy and, of course, the music.
King Crimson – Meltdown (Live In Mexico 2017)
Over the last few years Robert Fripp has reimagined the beast that is King Crimson and on their 2017 tour they introduced a lot of material from Islands and Lizard to the set. The show from Mexico which is presented here features a rousing rendition of ‘Fracture’ off 1974’s Starless and Bible Black which is possibly the highlight of this set, but if I’m honest the band is firing on all cylinders throughout the whole show.
Rivers Of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
One of the year’s more talked-about albums in the metal scene and deservedly so. It’s always a treat to see a band get comfortable in their own skin, show their true colours and transform into a band with a very unique voice. In my opinion Rivers Of Nihil did exactly that with this album.
Horizon Ablaze – The Weight Of A Thousand Suns
I heard about this band from Andy Synn (NoCleanSinging). He tends to recommend some cool stuff that I never heard of and this one struck a nerve. It’s a brave and daring album from a band that should get more recognition.
Psycroptic – As The Kingdom Drowns
One of my favourite bands ever. I never liked the vocals on the first two albums, but from Symbols Of Failure on this band can do no wrong in my book and any year where they release a new album is a good year for me.
Rabbit Rabbit Radio – Black Inscription
I’ve been a huge fan of almost everything Carla Kihlstedt has done for years ever since my buddy Erlend Caspersen played me some Sleepytime Gorilla Museum when we were on tour together. Taking part in the crowd funding for this album was cool and immersing myself in it when I finally got it is probably one of my most intense musical experiences this year.
Azusa – Heavy Yoke
I was excited about this band from the moment they announced their existence. Being as big a fan as I am of Extol I was very happy with the Fleshkiller album last year and now this album is another awesome entry in the book of music ‘post-Extol’.
Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor
I have to admit I lost interest in Spock’s Beard after Neal Morse left. Of course I did check out newer albums when they were released but somehow they never clicked with me like older albums, V and The Kindness Of Strangers in particular. Imagine my surprise on checking this album out and loving it from first listen.
Obscura – Diluvium
While I liked Akroasis I have to admit I enjoy Diluvium a lot more. Sure, it still doesn’t hit me like Omnivium did when it was released, but it doesn’t need to. This one connects with me on a different level. My favorite thing about the album is how it flows from strength to strength and is a lot of fun to listen to.
Revocation – The Outer Ones
This release took me a bit to get into, but I enjoy it a lot. Less thrashy, but darker, meaner and more aggressive than ever before this band just never disappoints.