(Guest writer KevinP gets a jump on our year-end list series with an assortment of favorites from the year that’s drawing to a close.)
Before I go through my Top 25 Metal Albums of the Year, I felt morally obligated, for some reason or another, to compile a list of my “Other Best Stuff of 2013”, so here goes.
BEST METAL COUNTRY: FRANCE
Yes, that’s right, I just said FRANCE. No, this isn’t a Nickelodeon You Can’t Do that On Television “Opposite Sketch” (which was a Canadian show, but they have a bunch of Frenchies there, so it’s all tied together).
Why France. you say? Well, how about stellar albums by Otargos, Pyrapisme, Monolithe, Blut Aus Nord, Peste Noire, Ataraxie, Temple of Baal, Supuration, Svart Crown, Aosoth, Seth, Year of No Light, Dunkelnacht. And I’m still waiting on Impureza & Loudblast before year’s end. Capisce? (Italian word, both countries are in Europe, just roll with it, okay?)
BEST VENUE: ST VITUS BAR, BROOKLYN, NY
I’ve been to this club 3X (twice this year & once last year) and I really wish it was my local place (I live in Florida). If I had a magic wand (or infinite amounts of cash) I’d see every band I ever wanted to there. Nestled in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, it’s a no-nonsense, laid-back metal club/bar, with great beer selection, some good food, great prices, awesome sound, and is SUPER INTIMATE.
I’ve seen Artillery, Oz/Attacker, & Carcass/Immolation and haven’t encountered any douchebags or incidents either. There is no backstage, bands have to walk through the crowd to get onstage. No signage outside either, just a black door. It has an old school speakeasy feel to it. Heck, they stream most (if not all) of their shows now on the web, so you can get a feel of the place if you don’t live in the area.
One other note: The Carcass/Immolation show in September sold out online within 5 minutes. I feared the worst, thinking it would be wall-to-wall people. But lo and behold, there was plenty of room to mingle or get any spot you wanted to near the stage. They easily could have sold a heck of a lot more tickets, but they didn’t. Excellent run place. You can even drive 20 minutes south to bask in the Coney Island pizza scene.
ALBUM MY 9-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER ALWAYS ASKED ME ABOUT ON THE ITOUCH, BUT WE NEVER GOT AROUND TO LISTENING TO: BLISTER UNIT – CHRIST APE
Well, technically I’ve been able to listen to bits and pieces here and there, but it’s hard to initiate a little one into grindcore this early in life.
BEST LABEL: PROFOUND LORE RECORDS
Portal, Grave Miasma, Vasaeleth, VHÖL, Man’s Gin, SubRosa, Helen Money & Gevurah. Lots of great albums and always willing to take chances on something outside the “norm” (if there is even considered a “norm” these days).
TOP 5 NON-METAL ALBUMS
5. Lux Interna – There is light in the body, there is blood in the sun
4. Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies – Mens Animus Corpus (EP)
3. Anders Bjorler – Antikythera
2. Helen Money – Arriving Angels
1. Anneke van Giersbergen – Drive
“Are you out there? Eh-oh, eh-eh-eh-oh, Is there anybody out there? Eh-oh, eh-eh-eh-oh”
It didn’t hurt that we listened to this album multiple times on our family drives to and from Disney most weekends. But if you are gonna listen to pop rock, this is the cream of the crop. Great voice, great songwriting, never felt I was being pandered to. “Whoa, whoa”