02. Deny The Absolute
03. The Tundra
04. Immutable Dusk
06. The Cliff
08. Perpetual Dawn
[Southern Lord Records]
“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks” – Warren Buffett.
It’s certainly a nifty quote that seems to sum up how instrumental post-rockers Pelican have handled the loss of guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Rather than lament his undoubted songwriting talent, they have decided to sink their teeth into a whole new sphere of attack and, aided by the faultless integration of Dallas Thomas and his love for the big, brassy riff, they have dragged their sound out of the doldrums and into the kind of powerful groove-mongering that ignited fellow Chicagoans Russian Circles‘ career.
While we all sit trying to find new ways of killing time between Converge releases we are at least being treated with a new spin from Nate Newtons’ Doomriders, the newest release under Jacob Bannons’ Deathwish Inc. banner. Grand Blood is currently streaming over at Pitchfork and while not quite the whole way through yet I am happy to report that anyone who enjoyed the aural battering that was 2009s Darkness Come Alive should definitely appreciate this newest effort.
02. Captain Keith Pierce
04. Bow in the Dust
07. Test Pattern
[Black Market Activities]
Kurt Ballou gets around. When he’s not blazing a trail with Converge, he’s hunkered down in his own studio at God City, working the sound-desk for various noise-making machines who’ve all requested his producing expertise. This is where he could be found during the months of April and August 2011, twiddling the knobs for Boston, MA’s Phantom Glue. The result of those sessions has taken two whole years to see the light of day, but now Black Market Activities have stepped in to save A War Of Light Cones from staying buried from view.
I’ve been keeping an eye on Anciients for a while, checking out tracks here and there, but I don’t think much could have prepared me for the vicious face-stomp of their Season Of Mist debut Heart Of Oak. Early Baroness and Intronaut collides here with more riff heavy bands like The Sword or even High On Fire, all conglomerating to a sound whose sole purpose is to dredge up the sludgiest riffs possible and clean them up to sharpen them even more.
T’is that beautiful time of year again. A season of good will, understanding and compassion towards your fellow man — a time for giving, loving and appreciating. The cold may have rolled in and the trees may have shed their once vibrant foliage, but the world finds solace in the love and company of others. It’s a time to reflect on the memories of the year and plan ahead for the next.
But most of all it’s a time to listen brutal fucking metal and drink a fuck tonne of Advocaat, because 2012 was full of great releases and now’s your chance to catch on releases you may have missed or may have never even heard of. My first draft of this list was composed of 30 albums, which then shot up to 37 when I realised that I had forgotten to include EPs. Everything from new bands that came out of nowhere to blow my mind (We Are Knuckle Dragger, Bloodshot Dawn, Oddland, Exotic Animal Petting Zoo etc) to the old guard continuing their brilliant legacy (Gojira, Aborted, Napalm Death, Deftones etc) all unfortunately fell by the wayside in the ruthless culling exercise that produced this list. And I regret cutting every single one of them, but alas, if I was talk about every album this year that was great, I’d probably lose your attention pretty quickly. Who am I kidding? You’ve most likely already skipped on to the list and you’re not even reading this bit. I could write anything I want here and no one would notice. Anythingatall.
I have sinned: I waited until the last minute to do a lot of my music-listening this year. This is partly because I spent the months of July through October trying to smash together my own full-length album, Xians, with no success whatsoever; look for it on approximately zero best of 2013 lists! Nonetheless, I dutifully managed to get an earful of everything I wanted to hear in time to write a year-end best-of list. Below are my top ten favorite albums of 2012. Click the links for some of my favorite tracks/videos!
01. An Old Friend
02. Anxiety Puke / Lovelessness
03. Last and First Things
04. Blood Music
05. Clozapine Dream
06. Finally Asleep
[Metal Blade Records]
While the main complaints listeners opine when discussing an album usually revolve around discrepancies in songwriting, vocal style and/or production quality, some bands perform so strongly in one or two of these departments that their weaknesses can be forgiven. A personal example: Rorschach’s superb powerviolence/metallic hardcore makes up for some fairly horrendous vocals. Unfortunately for Bison BC, their newest release Lovelessness doesn’t allow the listener this option of tolerance due to a severe lacking in all three of these categories.
Female fronted stoner/doom metal is few and few between these days. But few bands within that specific demographic meet the same amount of finesse as Castle does. With unique and catchy riffs and captivating vocals, they obtain a awesome and unique sound that is underrated in today’s metal world. Read on to learn more of this amazing band on their influences, background, and what recording their new album Blacklands, out now on Prosthetic Records.
So tell us a little bit about Castle’s past. Were any of you in bands prior to Castle? How did you guys meet and what made you all want to make doom metal?
Mat: Yes, Al and I were in a bunch of bands over the years, going back to the late 80′s. Castle is really a culmination of all that experience. When I started Castle in 2006 it was just me writing. I had a couple early incarnations of the band but nothing took off. I met Liz about four years ago and shortly after that we were working together. Al and I have known each other going way back so when Liz and I had the lyrics and melodies down I called him up and asked him to play drums on what became the first album. This was in 2010.
One thing that immediately sets you apart from the rest is that you have a female singer. Elizabeth, do you feel any sort of pressure fronting this band? How have folks received your music so far?
Liz: Only in a good way…yeah, pressure to deliver performances worthy of the music. Other than that not really. We’re pretty focused on what we do and I myself don’t hold us up to a different light and compare us to what other bands are doing. The response has been great.
The most commonly asked question when listening to High On Fire‘s new album De Vermis Mysteriis is probably: ‘what the hell were they smoking?’
And now we know. Fertile greens. You’ve got to get your five a day somehow, and however it was done, it definitely worked. De Vermis Mysteriis is probably the most accomplished album they’ve released to date, stacked full of those signature colossal Pike riffs and an over-arching concept about Jesus’ time-travelling twin brother Balteazeen. The above NSFW video for ‘Fertile Green‘ gives off the exact trippy ‘exploitation film’ vibe that the album emanates and even seems like it harkens back those hazy days of Sleep, what with the psychedelic colour scheme and general smokiness. All this apparently coincides with Matt Pike’s exit from rehab (that originally caused the band to cancel their appearance on the Mayhem Festival tour), having curbed his drinking problem. Rehab ain’t easy so it’s good to hear Pike in high spirits and ready to continue where he left off!