01. Counter Culture Complex
02. No; I’m in Control
03. Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick
04. The Terror Pulse
05. The Promises of God
06. Romeo Must Never Know
07. Secret Vasectomy
08. Figure Your Life Out
10. Why Don’t You Just Quit?
[Season of Mist]
It took four albums and more than a decade’s worth of waiting but Winnipeg, Canada’s KEN Mode have finally broken out. They hit it big with their fourth LP Venerable, which won the Juno Award for Heavy Metal album of the year in Canada; since then, they have toured with the likes of Revocation, Kylesa, and The Atlas Moth. Although they’re leagues away from selling out arenas, what success they have achieved lately is by all means well deserved, as the band deliver a unique and explosive performance both on record and even more so live. This is most certainly evident on their newest effort, Entrench, which is not only an exemplary showcase of the trio’s talents, but a perfectly timed icing on the cake and the full stop to an impressive chapter of their career.
Boston’s Revocation are one of the finer exports of modern metal according to many a metalhead. Their all-encompassing, jack-of-all-trades approach delivers the goods for fans of almost any extreme subgenre out there, but never feels derivative or uninspired. Personally, I have yet to hear another band combine intensity, intelligence, skill, and emotion to such an extent, and I’m sure there’s others out there that would agree with me, based on the widespread recognition their 2011 opus Chaos of Forms and its successor Teratogenesis received. Following a relentless tour cycle that is set to culminate with this year’s rendition of the Summer Slaughter Tour, the guys are going to release their upcoming self-titled full-length this summer. As the first proper release with new bassist Brett Bamberger (ex- East of the Wall) on board, this album is building up quite the anticipation within the community.
This year’s iteration of The Summer Slaughter Tour — which features headliners The Dillinger Escape Plan and support from Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Norma Jean, Cattle Decapitation, The Ocean, Revocation, Aeon, Rings of Saturn, and Thy Art Is Murder — is likely the most exciting tour I’ll have a shot at seeing in 2013. Sure, the death metal elitists and deathcore fanboys aren’t all too stoked on this year’s iteration of the annual trek, but I find it impossible to NOT get excited over a bulk of this lineup.
What makes this tour so excellent from my perspective is that they always seem to hit the appropriate secondary markets for me. Knoxville, Louisville, Cincinnati, or Columbus tend to be hit by Summer Slaughter. Sure enough, while not incredibly extensive yet (dates are still waiting to be announced) the tour at least manages to pass through the midwest/southeast. Dates are as follows:
Last week, the year’s biggest extreme metal tour Summer Slaughter announced their lineup (which includes headliners The Dillinger Escape Plan and an array of other Heavy Blog favorites like Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Cattle Decapitation, The Ocean, Revocation, and more) while letting fans vote on who they wanted to see open the show. After a neck-and-neck race between Thy Art Is Murder and Rings of Saturn, it looks like Rings of Saturn have won by a slim 1% of the vote.
The Summer Slaughter 2013 lineup has officially been announced and will include The Dillinger Escape Plan, Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Norma Jean, Cattle Decapitation, The Ocean, Revocation, and Aeon, with more bands to be announced. I am so excited that I am going to faint.
I for one am a massive fan of bands who bring exotic instruments into their sound. It’s always exciting when the weight of metal is backed by mandolin, sitar, banjo, or whatever else can be used outside of their ordinary context. Mastodon (‘Divinations‘) and Between the Buried and Me (‘Astral Body’ and ‘Lay My Ghosts To Rest’) have used banjo on their records in the past to back guitar leads, which can create some interesting tones. The banjo has a neat timbre for sure, and works surprisingly well when thrown into the mix with a wall of aggressive guitars. Revocation must have discovered as much, because they’ll be using a banjo for a part on their new record.
If you’re unfamiliar, Hateform are a band to keep an eye on in 2013. Featuring past members of Mors Principium Est, Hateform blend thrash, prog, and death metal for a package that should sit well among fans of Death, Revocation, and Obscura. Top shelf melodic death metal is getting harder to come by over the years, but Hateform are keeping the genre alive with technical guitar work and stellar songwriting. Their forthcoming new album Sanctuary In Abyss is seeing release through Spinefarm Records this March, but you can hear the first new track from the record ‘Perpetual Cold’ below:
Mixed and mastered by Thomas “Plec” Johansson (Watain, Scar Symmetry, Mors Principium Est) and featuring artwork from Jon Barmby (Architects, Devil Sold His Soul), Sanctuary in Abyss will see release March 1 (Europe) and March 6 (North America; Digital only) on Spinefarm Records. Visit Hateform on Facebook for more on the band and Sanctuary In Abyss!
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 know you don’t really read these openings to lists. You’re probably shifting on to the top of my list, preparing to either praise me or bury me for my list. Either way, hope you enjoy, and feel free to point out any errors I may have made; I’d be more than happy to talk about why it’s not on my list.
(VERY) HONORABLE MENTIONS
The Agonist – Prisoners
Unfortunately, I only had room for fifteen special albums, but this doesn’t mean that you should let this gem of a record pass you by. The Agonist are the perfect blend of metalcore and melodic death metal, and this is spearheaded by Alissa White-Gluz’s brutal harsh vocals and angelic cleans.
The Omega Experiment was undoubtedly one of the best progressive records of the year. Shredding guitars, melodies you’ll want to sing to over and over again, and some of the best clean vocals this year make it a standout.
I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but 2012 was fucking phenomenal. It had everything a music fan could ask for in terms of new releases, and then some. Personally, this year saw me furthering my tastes into more progressive and extreme stuff (with a heavy dose of jazz on the sides), and I think I couldn’t have chosen a better time to pick up on these styles, as genres like death metal and prog enjoyed a fantastic collective output. My list reflects this to a great extent, as pretty much half of the bands found below can be dubbed as death metal in one of its many forms, and even more exhibit progressive elements to at least some extent. Anyway, since most of you are here for the goods, I won’t keep you waiting.