Above is the cover of the January 2015 issue of DECIBEL Magazine. It includes DECIBEL’s list of the Top 40 Albums of 2014. I haven’t received my copy yet, and for all I know, it hasn’t been mailed yet. But the Top 40 list has leaked, appearing yesterday on a Reddit thread. When I first saw that thread, I decided not to post about the list until I had received my copy of the magazine, but the list has started spreading around pretty fast, and the closely guarded secret isn’t a secret any more, so…
As is true every year, DECIBEL’s list is an interesting one that’s sure to spark spirited debate. The album in the No. 1 position is Pallbearer’s Foundations of Burden, followed by At the Gates, Horrendous, Tryptikon, and Godflesh in the #2 – #5 positions, in that order. The Top 10 also includes Thou, YOB, Vallenfyre, Panopticon, and Morbus Chron. Though I think all 10 of these albums are excellent, I’m especially happy to see Horrendous, Thou, Vallenfyre, and Panopticon in such high positions because I dearly love those albums and because the bands don’t have quite the high profile of most other bands in the Top 10 — though they deserve to be in that company.
The balance of the list includes many high-profile names I expected to see (e.g., Behemoth, Agalloch, and Mastodon) and others from deeper underground that, like those four I mentioned above, deserve this kind of exposure (e.g., Dead Congregation, Krieg, Cult of Fire, Teitanblood, Trap Them, Cretin, Midnight, Thantifaxath, and Lord Mantis).
(DGR reviews the new album by Italy’s Hideous Divinity, which is out now via Unique Leader.)
The tree of the Italian super-fast death metal scene, as it has currently come into focus, is one that has so many branches that have crossed over with one another that photos of it could be turned into logos for other death metal bands. It is also one that has been intensely vibrant, dropping new seeds and allowing new trees to form underneath it, becoming slight permutations of the initial home from whence they came.
The section that houses bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse and Hour Of Penance is one that has seen groups not only founded off of each other, but also exchanging musicians time and time again. People have left and rejoined and likewise gone off to form their own groups. Despite making conscious efforts to be clear of that musical style, some of the offshoot bands can’t seem to help themselves and go back to the super-fast, intensely brutal branch of death metal from which they sprouted.
(Not long ago Andy Synn reviewed all the full-length albums of The Flight of Sleipnir leading up to their new release — and today he reviews that one.)
If there’s one word that comes to mind when listening to V., the fifth album by blackened bards The Flight of Sleipnir, it’s… refined.
The duo have taken the strongest elements of their previous four albums, filtered them, purified them, and distilled their central essence into fluid, musical form.
The seven songs which make up V. are, on average, longer and more intricate than on previous albums, with a greater sense of light and shade than ever before, their hidden depths and subtle secrets concealed beneath waves of gleaming melody and brilliant metallic clarity.
It’s that time of year again, when we start preparing for the frenzy of year-end Listmania. As explained in this post last week, our Listmania extravaganza comes in four parts. First, we re-print assorted lists of the year’s best albums, leeched from other web sites and magazines. Second, we collect our readers’ lists of the 2014 albums and shorter releases they enjoyed the most. Third, we post the year-end lists of our own staff and assorted guest writers. And fourth, I’ll roll out my list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.
And that last list is the subject of this request for help (we’ll be inviting you to give us your lists of the year’s best albums as we get closer to the actual end of the year — so start thinking about that).
In case you’ve become an NCS reader since this time last year, here’s what this is about:
To repeat, this isn’t a list of the best metal albums of the year. It’s not even our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year — though some of the songs might actually be among the best of the year. Instead, ours is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs we’ve heard this year. We’re talking about songs that might produce involuntary physical movement, songs that have got catchy rhythms, memorable melodies, sweet grooves, or anything else that sticks the song in your head and makes you want to keep listening to it.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of metal things on this Monday. I thought I’d try to collect all of them for tomorrow’s first post, because that way I could do some other things with what’s left of my Monday, such as doing some work for my fucking day job, because there are some people who actually think I should do something I’m actually paid to do. But fuck that. I decided to make a start right now and finish everything up in tomorrow’s first post.
Last week the European Space Agency landed a small spacecraft named Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a 2.5-mile-wide ball of rock, ice, and dust that was moving faster than 40,000 miles an hour and was 317 million miles from Earth at the time of the landing. Not a bad piece of work. I have trouble landing my car in my driveway.
Unfortunately, the spacecraft shut down on Saturday after its batteries were drained. Apparently it landed against a cliff or crater wall where it couldn’t get enough sunlight to recharge those batteries. Before that happened, Philae did send back some photos. As you can see above, one of them looks suspiciously like the cover of Monuments of Exalted, the new album by Infestum from Belarus that was released by Lacerated Enemy Records just a couple of days earlier. If you’ve heard anything from the album, you may be less convinced this was a coincidence.
Morbosidad have been shaking the foundations of extreme metal since about 1993, releasing a host of splits and EPs as well as four albums. Their latest release, with a new lineup recruited by founding vocalist Tomas Stench, is a four-song EP named Tortura that will be released by Nuclear War Now! on December 15. On the final track, it features a guest appearance by Chris Reifert of Autopsy. It kicks all the asses.
That preceding paragraph appeared in my review of this EP, posted only yesterday. No music from the EP was publicly streaming when I posted the review, and so I requested the opportunity to share some of it with you — and my request was promptly granted: Today we bring you the premiere of the EP’s second track, “En Las Gallas Del Infierno”.
What I wrote about the EP holds true for this song – it’s a jet-fueled, turbocharged, bat-winged, red-eyed race, from the machine-gun snare attack to the particle-accelerator fretboard assault. And the echoing vocals are thoroughly pestilential — a mix of tyrannical proclamations, ravenous howls, bile-drenched retches, and blood-spewing roars. As is true of the most lethal diseases, it’s also highly infectious.
(DGR reviews the debut album released last month by Woccon from Athens, Georgia).
While I was driving home from work today, two drops of rain hit my car. I know, because I counted them — which, given the current weather conditions trying to turn Sacramento into the Sahara desert via drought, means that I basically drove through a veritable hurricane. That, coupled with the hint of grey sky and the glorious ton of fog that blanketed the highway, pretty much signaled my seasonal shift in music reviewing. I’m probably not the only person in the world who does this (keeping in mind that six-billion-plus people roam this rock), but as Sacramento shifts between its two seasons — from too fucking hot to too fucking cold — I find that my tastes tend to change and I start to seek out some slower, darker, and doomier material, and the reviews come easier because of that.
We love us some melodic doom metal here at NCS, as evidenced by our coverage of bands like Daylight Dies, Aetherian, Mist Of Nihil, Enshine, October Tide, In Mourning, and even Insomnium’s slower stuff, just to raffle off a handful of bands, and Athens, Georgia-based Woccon have been a recent newcomer to that fold. We actually included a track from Woccon’s debut EP on our gigantic list of Most Infectious Songs Of 2013, and the wait for Solace In Decay has been a long one.
Woccon formed out of a common love of a group of influences in the melo-doom genre (for lack of a better term — I’ve seen “Ethereal Doom” bandied about and kind of like the idea, but only for the bands who feel more like they were born in frozen-over forests). When a band like Woccon put out a disc like Solace In Decay though, as a metal fan it feels like you need to take notice. Even as the group’s first full album after a string of demos and EPs, the band have released something that doesn’t make the mistake a lot of bands in this genre commit — sounding like a group whose influences are clear and just acting those out, putting checks in boxes and praying at the proper altars. Instead, Solace In Decay is the sound of a band who have found their place within the doom genre and seek to share that sweet, beautiful misery from a place you wouldn’t ordinarily expect.
(In this post we welcome back metal interviewer Karina Cifuentes. In this post she talked with Dagon of the black metal band Inquisition during the Under the Black Sun festival in Germany this past summer.)
Inquisition is a pretty special band for me. I got my first Inquisition tape when I was a child, I was 13. It had a great impact on me on many levels. It was pretty surreal to finally get to talk to Dagon in the woods outside Berlin after so many years. We did this interview in Spanish, so have that in mind.
Inquisition started in South America, how did that influence the band?
I was really young when I moved to Colombia. I was 11 years old at that time. I think the social environment had an impact on me. I was there in the 80′s when the drug-related violence was at its worst. That kind of violence is what Black and Thrash reflect.
There were some metal bands from that time that had an impact on me. Colombian bands like Parabellum, Reencarnacion, inspired me a lot. I took those influences and combined them with classics like Venom and Bathory. But more than anything it was the discipline. It is hard to believe, but Colombian musicians are very disciplined. Colombian culture is pretty strict, at school and everywhere, so it shaped my character. I also took Classic guitar lessons for 8 years with Ciceron Marmolejo, he is pretty renowned there. Through him I learned that there is a spiritual side when it comes to playing.
(The following piece is by guest writer Grant Skelton.)
I want to kill you.”
- The Doors, “The End”
“I am my father’s son
He’s a phantom, a mystery and that leaves me nothing!”
- Slipknot, “Eyeless”
You’ve clipped my wings before I learned to fly…”
- Metallica, “Dyer’s Eve”
There is no disguising this. It’s all right in your face, like a brain-damaged, starving wolverine thrown in your face. With very few exceptions, it goes like a jet-fueled, turbocharged, bat-winged, red-eyed, race from start to finish. It’s the latest release from the venerable Morbosidad, and they still show no mercy.
Morbosidad have been shaking the foundations of extreme metal since about 1993, releasing a host of splits and EPs as well as four albums. This latest release, with a new lineup recruited by founding vocalist Tomas Stench, is a four-song EP named Tortura that will be released by Nuclear War Now! on December 15. On the final track, it features a guest appearance by Chris Reifert of Autopsy. It kicks all the asses.