Beaten to Death! I have written and said that name many times this year and for damn good reason; these guys have been making some of my favorite grindcore for the last oh, let’s see…almost a decade now! Their style of music has just the right amount of irreverence for me, clearly containing a core that cares about music and about making it but wrapped in plenty of humor that refuses to take itself seriously. The combination, as created and wielded by Beaten to Death, just works for me. So, you can understand why I was excited for this guest list and, let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

The other reason I was excited is because Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos, the band’s album (or four EPs, depending on your medium of choice) obviously has plenty of influences, sounds, and styles on it, just like all of Beaten to Death’s discography. So getting to “peer behind the veil”, if you’ll allow to be melodramatic for a second here, was an especially exciting opportunity this year. And what do we find when we look at Anti-Climax’s list (his role in the band is “edibles”, by the way)?

First of all, it’s fucking heavy. Beyond the names we should all recognize, like Ulthar, Ulcerate or Lamp of Murmuur, Anti-Climax’s list also features some bands from his neck of the woods and from elsewhere and let me tell you, they go hard. Bain de Sang is especially a band I need to listen more to because the sampling I got when preparing for this list blew my brains out. Secondly, the list is quite varied, moving between more melodic work and more abrasive, “colder” sounds. That makes sense when you remember that Beaten to Death are a band who are as equally likely to serenade you as they are to scream bloody murder at you.

Lastly, this list simply owns. Every entry on it is exceptional and I can’t wait to dig deeper into it. So, without further ado, I gave you Anti-Climax’s list! Oh, and listen to Beaten to Death, you fools. OK? Cool.

One glance at this list and I realize that for me 2020 was all about pathos, melodramatic arrangements, beautiful melodies and a sprinkle of blast beats. The top 10 is in no apparent order. – Anti-Climax, Beaten To Death.

Grifteskymfning – Bedrövelsens Härd

This Swedish group which apparently has been around for ages but was completely unknown to me at the beginning of 2020, released 3 albums and an album demo throughout the year. Seeing how all the releases are really good I say we have quite an achievement on our hands. Bone chilling, atmospheric black metal that just keeps pulling great melodic, memorable riffs out of their magic top hat. This was the first of the 3 albums I listened to and the one I’ve been coming back to the most.

Ulthar – Providence

Speaking of memorable riffs, the main theme that kicks in at around the 1 minute mark in “Undying Spear”. Oh.My.Friggin’.God. This album sounds old school and fresh at the same time. Ulthar fucks. 

Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still

These New Zealanders aren’t really doing anything we haven’t heard them do before on their newest album, but they do it really, really well. Majestic stuff. 

Wake – Confluence

Another band that kept at it releasing epic stuff more than once in 2020. This EP is beautiful and for some reason it moved me way more than the album they released at the beginning of the year. Maybe because they gave the tunes a bit more air?  

Afsky – Ofte Jeg Drømmer Mig Død

Super solid and teardrippingly sad black metal from a Danish, one man orchestra.  

Gjendød – Angrep

Norwegian black metal duo and yet another band I had never heard of before I saw a review for this album somewhere online this past fall. They write a mean riff and there is something about the sound and atmosphere here that makes me all nostalgic about the early to mid 90’s and being a black metal teen with an insatiable hunger for obscure demo tapes. 

Bain De Sang – Sacrificed For a Load of Filth and Lies

The French are so poetic. They even make a blood bath sound welcoming. Just roll it around in your mouth, Bain De Sang. If it weren’t for online translation services I would have thought the name to be some sort of culinary delicacy. This is top quality grindcore. Short, sweet and to the point. What we in Norwegian would refer to as kneippbrød-grind. 

Coriky – Coriky

This is the most Fugazi sounding post Fugazi project I have heard and seeing how I love Fugazi this one hit home seconds into the opening track.

 

Sjodogg – Vanskapning

Vanskapning might be a test of patience for some, but I think it is well worth the effort. Norwegian black metal weirdos with a 45 minute, one track album.  Released by one of my favourite Norwegian underground labels, Duplicate Records. 

Lamp of Murmuur – Heir of Ecliptical Romanticism

Another overly productive black metal unit. Some of the songs remind me of early Immortal, but for the most part this is very much its own thing. The album ends with a cover of a Dead Can Dance classic, which works for me like a polished apple on the teacher’s desk.

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