(We’re nearing the end of the month, and that means it’s time for KevinP to name the releases this month that most impressed him.)
We’re a quarter of the way through 2015 already. This month was stacked to the gills with quality releases, the best yet. Even though they didn’t make my Top 5, I feel obliged to mention Infernal War, Macabre Omen, Tribulation, Haar, and Kommandant, which are all worthy of your time. But now, on to the creme de la creme.
5. Abjvration – The Unquenchable Pyre
This was a last-minute entry and pushed one of the bands mentioned above off this list. Think Portal, if they transformed into a Finnish doomy death metal band. Sure, that makes no sense. But does this band being absolutely terrifying and hailing from France make sense? They are so kvlt, they’re not even listed on Metal Archives and have only a few hundred Facebook likes.
(In a continuation of his recently inaugurated NCS series, KevinP runs down his list of the best releases from the month that’s about to end.)
Last month I had what seemed to be a reasonable amount of music to wade through, 24 releases. This month, I was at 40, so naturally there were some tough cuts I had to make. Nice problem to have, no complaints really. Like last month (and every month), please feel free to share your comments, thoughts, and favorite releases in the Comments section below.
5. Devouring Star – Through Lung & Heart
Very little is known about this Finnish band, who came onto the scene in 2014 with a two-song demo, and they now release their full-length album through Daemon Worship Productions. While you will see them listed as a black metal band, it’s quite another story.
(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli completes his list of thrash metal’s Top 10 albums of all time. The first five picks, along with an introduction, appear in this post.)
VI: Sepultura – Arise
It takes a lot of restraint for me not to declare this the greatest thrash album ever created. Sepultura’s Arise is THE epitome of everything I love, need, and want in thrash metal and it’s so immaculate in its execution that attempting to quantify it is nearly impossible. It’s brutal, it’s fast (so fucking fast), it has dynamics in the songwriting. Andreas Kisser knew how to write some of the most unique solos in the entirety of thrash metal, and Max and Andreas wrote some of the most intense, drama-filled riffage while keeping things savage and merciless. Whenever Sepultura breaks into frantic, demon-slaying speed from a mid-paced stomp, as in “Desperate Cry”, provides me an adrenaline rush that knows no equal. It would be fair to say I’ve listened to Arise more than 10,000 times and I’m still not sick of it.
Seriously, this album is the very definition of savagery.
Agostino Arrivabene – “Vanitas In Refraction”
(NCS writer TheMadIsraeli presents his list of thrash metal’s Top 10 albums of all time. The first five picks appear in this post, and the remaining five will appear in Part 2 tomorrow [here].)
This particular list is something that’s going to piss some people off and perhaps spark some sarcastic comments. It would probably do that regardless of the contents. When you don’t include anything by The Big Four, of course you don’t understand the roots of the genre and are dissing genre-defining classics. But if you do pick anything from The Big Four, you’re unoriginal, have no underground cred, etc., etc.
Thrash is a style of metal that gets taken pretty fucking seriously, as opposed to others where there definitely seems to be a more “you like what you like” mentality. In my observation, It’s also the sub-genre of metal where the recognition and respect of the eldership are most likely to make or break your credibility as a fan of the music. The thrash community is almost zealot-like in the way it can ostracize you because you don’t think Metallica and Megadeth were the pinnacles of the style.
I’m gonna be one of those guys who has nothing from The Big Four on his list, so I’ll be expecting the hipster comments for sure. My list, as per usual, is not numbered in any kind of order that denotes anything.
I’m so glad to be back home after three weeks in the bush, by which I mean Delaware. Finally, to sleep in my own bed, in which I woke up once an hour beginning about 2 a.m. and whined, because the time zone change is fuckin’ with me. In other words, I slept like a baby. But it really is good to be home — although it appears I’m going to have to do this extended travel thing all over again in three weeks, which blows. But I’ll bitch about that more thoroughly when the time comes. For now, let’s discuss happier subjects….
BELL WITCH AND PAOLO GIRARDI
This first item of news really cheered me right up — the marriage between one of my own most fervently anticipated releases of 2015 and one of my favorite artists. As you can see above (and click that image to enlarge it), maestro Paolo Girardi has created the painted cover art for the new album by Seattle’s Bell Witch — Four Phantoms. It is beautiful, and I have no doubt that Four Phantoms will also be beautiful, in the way that the pale, cold skin of a bewitching corpse is beautiful.
(KevinP inaugurates a new feature in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)
Welcome to my feature on the best releases of each month. I’m calling this “Albums of the Month”, but demo’s, EP’s, splits, etc., are also viable candidates, as long as the material is good enough. Ideally this will be posted during the last week of the month we are discussing, but this time life got in the way for yours truly and our beloved CEO.
Anyways, please feel free to share you comments, thoughts and favorite releases in the comments section below.
5. Mindful of Pripyat – …and Deeper, I Drown in Doom (EP)
For being around such a short period of time (formed in 2014), it’s quite stunning how professional and tight the sound is from this Italian trio. Think Terrorizer and early Carcass with absolute razor precision backed by a solid production.
(NCS contributor KevinP shares his latest quarterly round-up of albums that he commends to your ears.)
We’re getting toward the end of the year and the amount of quality releases hasn’t slowed down one bit. And there are even more to come as well (Wolfheart, At the Gates, Bloodbath to name a few just off the top of my head). Here’s 5 more albums you should defintely check out.
Majestic Downfall/The Slow Death split
Once this is officially released on September 15th, you should be able to hear all 6 songs (3 by each band), but one listen to the Majestic Downfall track, “The Dark Lullaby”, should give you all you need to know. The Slow Death is no slouch on this by any means. Very good and competent funeral-esque doom. So I don’t blather too much, start listening and see my review here [Editor's intrusion: I don't know why I'm letting Kevin link to his own review. I'm going to review this split and it's the only one you'll need to read.]
(Earlier this week we asked NCS readers to share with us their lists of the best 2013 albums they’ve heard so far — and man did we get lists! More than 60 at last count, plus a bunch of interesting discussion. Our long-time supporter and occasional contributor SurgicalBrute decided to save his list for a post, and this is it, with sample music from each of his 25 picks.)
Anyone who’s ever made one of these lists knows how difficult they are to come up with. The truth is, for every one band that makes it onto a list, there’s probably another fifteen that are every bit as impressive and could have easily been chosen (which explains why some of you listed every band you could think of…seriously guys, save some albums for the rest of us ☺).
Personally, I’ve found the first half of 2013 to be extremely strong…new releases by metal stalwarts like Horna, Autopsy, and Amon Amarth…long awaited debuts by Lantern, Krypts, Vorum, and Sacriphyx. Hell, if things were to somehow totally tank from this point forward, I think we’d still come out ahead. Fortunately, we know that’s not going to happen, and it makes me eager to find out what’s in store for the rest of the year.
So, here’s my top 25 albums so far…Tell me what else you think I need to grab.
We’re just past the halfway point of 2013, and it seems like a good time to take stock of what the year has delivered so far. As I’ve said before, I’m terrible at making “best of” lists. I overthink it, I agonize over it, I have great difficulty comparing metal across different genres. I have great difficulty choosing among albums I like even within a specific genre. When I contemplate making a “best of the year” list, my brain tends to just lock up like an engine that’s had a hole punched in the oil pan. So I’m not providing a list of my own — and I haven’t told my fellow writers that I’m doing this post, so I don’t have anything from them to share either.
No, the main point of this post is to solicit your choices. That’s more fun anyway. I mean, it’s clear that NCS readers have superb taste, because you’re reading NCS; I rest my case. It’s also clear from the comments we get that the readers at this site have diverse interests in metal and, with a few exceptions (those being the people who disagree with me), are highly intelligent. So I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with. That’s one of the best reasons to read lists of the year’s best metal — to make new discoveries — in addition to seeing confirmation of the wisdom of your own opinions.
So, in the comments to this post, please leave your lists of the best 2013 metal albums and EPs you’ve heard so far this year. Explanations or descriptions are welcome, but don’t feel you have to make time for that; a simple list is fine, too. A couple more things before you start pecking away on your keyboards or touchpads:
(I bet you thought we’d finished our 2012 Listmania series. Think again. BadWolf brings us one more list.)
Three months into 2013, here’s another top 10 about 2012. These are my favorite articles to write every year, and also the most difficult. 2012 in particular was a musical gauntlet. The more promos we get here at NCS and at the other sites I write for, the more metal I listen to, the more I need non-metal records to give myself a break. It’s an infinite feedback loop.
I thought this would be an easy article. So many of my favorite artists in my favorite genres released albums in 2012 that I anticipated the article would write itself. Needless to say, things did not turn out that way. Old favorites like Marillion and Titus Andronicus released middle-of-the-road records. At the same time, I developed a tremendous appetite for hip-hop. One version of this list was entirely populated by rappers, which would have necessitated another top 10 list.
Also, so many metal labels released more-or-less rock records that I debated including them. In the end I opted not to: you know who Graveyard are, and they don’t need me for a cheerleader (seriously, though—listen to Graveyard).
In the end, these ten albums made the cut more-or-less based on play counts alone. They all share certain qualities with my favorite metal albums: intense sound, aggressive or melancholy delivery, vocals. You could call those things the core of my taste. Perhaps they’re also at the core of yours.