Dec 232011

EDITOR’S FORWARD: I’m a big fan of Portland-based Arkhum and have written about them multiple times at NCS, including this fairly recent post. The band includes two brothers — lead vocalist/lyricist Kenneth Parker and guitarist/vocalist Stephen Parker. Recently, each of them has provided NCS with guest interviews — Stephen interviewing Jason William Walton (Agalloch, Self Spiller) and Kenneth interviewing Izedis of apocalyptic black noize merchants Enbilulugugal.

As part of our year-end Listmania series, I asked each of them if they would let me publish their personal lists of the year’s best albums, and they agreed. Both lists include albums I’ve never heard before — which is a big part of why this Listmania thing is fun — and so at the end of this post I’ve randomly included some music from the albums that were new to me. Here we go:


1. Light BearerLapsus

If anyone out there is a fan of the sludge/neocrust titans Fall of Efrafa, you know who Light Bearer are. The first track I heard was ‘Prelapsus’, and it was amazing. The track starts with the signature vocal magic from Alex CF. His harsh but emotional vocals really set the tone for this entire track. After a lengthy but necessary buildup, the track busts into an orgasmic display of bassist Tom Watson’s vocal range. When you hear Watson and Alex sing/scream the lines “We are the sons of fire, we are the daughters of light”, prepare to have chills from your head to your toes.

2. Devin TownsendDeconstruction

This is a Devin Townsend release . . . . . ’nuff said.

3. UlverWar of Roses

I don’t think it’s physically possible for me to hate ANYTHING that Ulver has put out. One of my all-time favorite albums is Blood Inside. Every time those guys write something, it comes out sounding like Unicorn shit – rare but amazing.

4. Tyler, the CreatorGoblin

Best troll ever. But his lyrics are fantastic. Honest, relevant, awesome. Whatever you wanna say.

5. DeafheavenRoads To Judah

This. Album. Is. Fantastic. That’s all I can really say. The vocals are so emotional, yet so brutally heavy.

6. NebulousInto Infinite Spectrums

I was first introduced to these guys by their vocalist Alex Pitts. He found me a bunch of months ago on Tumblr and Facebook, ranting and raving about how much he digs Arkhum. From there we started talking about music and such. Well just a few weeks ago he sent me the link to his band’s new EP, and it’s fantastic! It reminds me a lot of Severed Savior and older Decrepit Birth. Especially listen to the track ‘Hivemind’, it has a super rad riff around 52 seconds in. Go get the EP now!

7. No Made SenseNew Season/New Blues

These guys remind me of Mastodon, Fall of Efrafa, and some other sludge-y acts. I dont know how to properly describe this album, but listen to it! It’s pretty damn progressive. And not like Dream Theater progressive . . . more like . . . if Mikael Akerfeldt had sex with every member of Mastodon, gave birth to 5 different babies, then all of those babies fucked each other and made a super baby. A SUPER BABY.

8.  Ash Borer – s/t

I was first introduced to these dudes awhile back, when Kenneth [Parker – Glossolalia Records/Arkhum] got the Fell Voices/Ash Borer split. At least I think that’s when. I got their self-titled album, and it’s fantastic. Very atmospheric and very Cascadian.

9.  Steven WilsonGrace From Drowning

Again I use this…it’s Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Have you ever heard ANYTHING bad from this guy? The correct answer is ‘no.’

10. Ramin DjawadiGame of Thrones OST

Have you seen/read Game of Thrones? Or anything in that series? Yeah, the story itself calls for a very epic and moving score. Djawadi captured all of the emotions perfectly. I can’t stop listening to this.

11. Wolves in the Throne RoomCelestial Lineage

A lot of people haven’t accepted this album and I’m not sure why. I think it’s a typical progression from Black Cascade, especially with the more drawn-out drone side of things. It almost seems as if being on Southern Lord has influenced them, but I’m okay with that. I fuckin’ loved the latest Sunn O))) album. Anyway, the atmospheric parts are a bit more evident on this album, and sometimes it comes to light without any black metal influence whatsoever, especially the track with Isis’ Aaron Turner on it.

I’m not sure why anyone would give a shit about what albums we loved this year, but there you go!

[Editor’s Intrusion: You can follow Stephen at all these outlets: Twitter (; Tumblr (; Arkhum’s Facebook (; The Will Of A Million Facebook (


1. KauanKuu…

A perfect album and the closest thing to a spiritual experience that I’ve had since childhood Christian bamboozlement.

2. LeviathanTrue Traitor, True Whore

Crisp yet caustic, the record bears Wrest’s trademark synthesis of shoegaze, dark ambient, bleak industrial soundscapes and classic Scandinavian black metal.

3. Young and in the WayI Am Not What I Am

A seamless synthesis of black metal, crust and original hardcore. Think Kvelertak with more balls.

4. DismaTowards The Megalith

Profound Lore does it again. Everything that death metal should be. Period.

5. Rye WolvesSpecies Battle in the Branches

A dynamic and exquisitely executed doom record. Crowned with a nigh-on 40 minute modern avant-garde doom/drone masterpiece.

6. ArizmendaWithout Circumference Nor Center

Yet another stellar release of agonizingly desperate psychedelic black metal from this California collective. Members of the Black Twilight Circle.

7. VhmntWithered Atrocity

A new project from Abe Nobody of Rye Wolves, Vhmnt is droning, melancholic blackdoom that, frankly, just doesn’t quit. Sort of like a more minimalistic Fell Voices.

8. Jute GyteImpermanence

Jute Gyte is tied with Circle of Ouroborus and (late) Peste Noire for the title of ‘Band Who Couldn’t Give Two Shits About What You Think Black Metal Should Be.’ Impermanence is oddball, headfucked black metal for no one. Enjoy. Err…

9. CraftVoid

The masters return to show all us pussies how to write riffs that will get you laid by thin pale girls in Beherit tanks. Full of unforgettable grooves and catchy as fuck, Void is unstoppable.

10. DecrepitaphProfane Doctrines Unburied

There were a lot of great revivalist death metal albums this year, and Profane Doctrines Unburied was right beneath Towards the Megalith, so think that band with Possessed’s sense of melody and a vision for epic song structure.


EDITOR’S AFTERWORD: I wanna throw a few more Parker brothers links your way — specifically, these links for Glossolalia Records, a small print record label run by the brothers which specializes in underground black/death/doom/drone/folk releases.

Now, here are those randomly selected song clips from a few of the albums that Stephen and Kenneth listed that I’d never heard before:


  1. Young and in the Way and Decrepitaph…I think I like Kenneth

    • But will the feeling be mutual? Your list will be in our next post today. 🙂

    • Brutesy old boy, I done looked at your year-ender over at I AM impressed, good list. I’ve never seen Midnight on a list before Good call, though I didn’t actually hear it. Good to also see Flame and Neros Christos on there. The Morbus Chron album was very, but as you pointed out, there were so many good old school DM records this year. Maybe I should create a new, death metal-only list to post somewhere.

      • I felt the same way. So much good death metal this year, and thats not even counting the stuff I didnt get to hear yet like Encoffination and the new Cruciamentum ep.

        • “O’Hell” was fucking fantastic, but I’m with as far as being ignorant about new Cruciamentum, though I’ve heard good things.

  2. First of all, thank you for introducing me to Ramin Djawadi’s work. Game of Thrones is a great series and I’m looking forward to season 2.

    Secondly, I gotta wonder what’s the deal about ‘Kauan’. They appear to be from Southern Russia, their names aren’t hinting of any obvious connection to Finland, yet they sing in Finnish and their pronunciation is close to perfect. Interesting.

    • Anton Belov, the mastermind behind Kauan, just really loves the Finnish language and culture. He’s a really great guy, though his English isn’t the greatest, haha. He’s actually running a deal where he’s gonna re-record songs from his back-catalog the next time he hits the studio (on top of a new album). It’s a pricey pre-order, but it’s to help support Kauan going live. And the more people who pre-order, the less the cost will be. Each pre-orderer will get their very own version of the CD that nobody else has, it’s pretty cool.

  3. Thanks a ton to Stephen for the spot on the list and the name drop. I hope everyone enjoys the tunes.

  4. I swear I didn’t copy your list at all! Pure coincidence man, good shit.

  5. Wow, Jute Gyte, there’s a name I haven’t seen in a while. I knew the dude behind that project (well, I internet-knew him) years ago, and everything he came up with (whether it was ambient instrumentals, EBM, BM, or whatever) was pretty mind-blowingly unique stuff.

    Glad to see folks like that start to gain some well-deserved recognition. Especially as it would surely increase the kvlt value of owning CDR copies of a couple old, old albums (complete with hand-drawn cover art)!

  6. Bandcamp links – taking you either directly to Bandcamp or to the Metal Bandcamp blog.

    Young and in the Way –
    Jute Gyte –
    No Made Sense –
    Rye Wolves –

    Rye Wolves I knew about, No Made Sense was a new discovery. I love these lists.

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