(We again invited musician and producer Patrick Bruss (Crypticus) to share with us his year-end list of favorite releases, and he again agreed. If you haven’t checked out the latest Crypticus album The Barrens, do that here on YouTube. And yes, there’s a reason for the Aqua Velva product placement. If you’re nice, Crypticus may agree to explain.)
Church of Disgust – Veneration of Filth
Rotten old-school Death Metal from Texas. Nothing special, just good old fashioned undegound filth done right with a perfect underground production. This is an album I enjoy mostly for evoking the sounds of older albums. The nasty cover art by Putrid perfectly captures the vibe.
For fans of Morpheus Descends, Autopsy
Dethrone – Incinerate All
I’m a sucker for the old Melodic Death Bands who actually got angry. The acoustic stuff was great, but the Gothenburg Sound was at its best when there was venom behind the riffs, and that’s what I felt from Dethrone. Good, angry Melodic Death with strong Thrash influences. Massacre Records have been cool enough to stream the entire album on YouTube. Somewhere in the middle of “Rat King” I just gave in and went to off buy the goddamn album.
For fans of Crown Of Thorns, Gates Of Ishtar, Eucharist
Embalmer – Emanations From The Crypt
Holy shitballs. Definitely didn’t expect this. I enjoyed their early EP with the amazing Wes Benscoter cover art as much as anyone back in the day, thought their debut album was weak, then wrote them off. Well, these veterans have come back hard and shut my mouth. This is crazy venomous stuff that buries most modern bands. Totally maniacal and savage.
For fans of Deranged, Repulsion, Mental Horror
Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
Even though their lyrics are basically nonsense, this shit still gets me verklempt every time I’m drunk. NOBODY writes a sadder song than the mopey fucks in Katatonia. I always hate their latest album on first listen, thinking it sounds samey. Then I get hooked to one track after a second listen. Before long I’m saying it’s their best album. Happens every time. They’ve perfected their strange Prog/Doom/Pop//Goth style as far as they can, but they keep making it work.
For fans of The Cure, Opeth, Deftones
Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us
This is the exact opposite of the Katatonia album.
I used to catch a ride home from school with a bunch of my scuzzy Thrash Metal pals and everyday we’d drive by the preppy hangouts and blast Slayer as loud as possible out the car windows while we all headbanged AT the bewildered rich kids. Good times. I wish I’d had this album back then. The preps would’ve HATED it.
For fans of Slayer, Napalm Death, Dismember
Prong – X – No Absolutes
This is Prong’s best album since the classic Cleansing and one of their strongest ever. Many elements of their early sound from Prove You Wrong creeping back in, along with a crushing production and some of Tommy Victor’s best songwriting. Always great to see the old guard still kicking ass.
For fans of Hatebreed, Killing Joke
Scorched – Echoes Of Dismemberment
My pick for Death Metal Album Of The Year. I also have their earlier EP on tape, but this is much better. A perfect production that hovers between crushing heaviness and crusty rot. Riffs and songwriting that made me think of Autopsy on steroids, but their style is much deeper than that. Very morbid and heavy. All that plus a keyboard intro that DOESN’T suck.
For fans of Morbus Chron, Krypts, Necros Christos
Sorcery – Garden of Bones
Another veteran act putting out great new stuff. very classic sounding. Not sure if this is quite as strong as their comeback album Arrival At Six but it’s overflowing with a destructive early Death/Thrash feel and amazing vinyl-worthy cover art that stands next to the classics.
For fans of old Sorcery, Possessed
Voivod – Post Society
Been a Voivod fan since way back, and in my opinion this EP is one of the best things they’ve ever done. It’s kind of like if The Outer Limits was recorded in the style of Nothingface.
When Piggy died I thought nobody could ever replace him, but somehow, magically, Voivod spawned this Chewy guy out of a test tube, and not only can he play like Piggy but he has even taken the patented Voivod style of Sci-Fi riffery further. Loved their last album but I much prefer the songs and production here. I hope they continue this direction onto further releases.
Volturyon – Cleansed By Carnage
2nd best Death Metal Album Of The Year. Swedish style Cannibal Corpsery at its finest. Massive riffs and destructive groove backed by another amazing mix by Ronnie Bjornstrom. Been a fan of theirs for a long time but this puts them in the Death Metal big league.
For fans of Cannibal Corpse, Aeon