Jan 052022


(Not long ago DGR passed the 10th anniversary of his writing for NCS, and in this essay he commemorates the milestone as only he would decide to do.)

With 2021 now fully acknowledged as having never existed and the realization that we are settling in for the second repeat of the year 2020 slowly dawning on the world, it’s time for all of the old machinery that keeps this site running from day-to-day to knock the rust off and get back into proper form.

The first writings of a new year – stop me if you’ve heard this before – are always a little difficult. Some of us may never stop in order to keep the gears turning but there are times where it is nice to take a break, remind yourself that you love doing this, and in general get away from the grind. Listmania season has always been a good one for me to do that because it also means I have a near-endless series of posts to go through and hit the ‘play’ button on, whirlwind-touring through the world of heavy metal and also taking advantage of the opportunity not to have to review much in order to go through some weird musical blind spots and rabbit holes.

Apparently, I’ve skipped four Epica albums, a handful of EPs, and the entirety of Mayan, so that made for an amusing day to see where those projects had gone in the span of time where I felt it might be fun to catch up on my old Unreal Tournament 2004 playlist groups – and like I said, that was just one day.

I had another day where I wandered through the world of ‘generic kind-of-enjoyable-electronica songs with whispery female vocals’ that I’d been archiving in a text file, since I generally find one or two a year that are like that – which is why I was amused to see Halsey pop up in the list by my former editor from The Number Of The Blog days, GroverXIII, because she had one a few years back in “Without Me”. Although it was for largely the same reason; having the Nine Inch Nails crew as your backing producers effectively makes your disc into an unsung How To Destroy Angels album whether you want it to or not.

I don’t know nor care about the impact of her latest release other than being pleasantly surprised by it. But it is amusing thinking about how newer generations of fans – admittedly not the fair-weather top 40 crew that changes identities and generations every three years – might be exposed to the same guy who wrote the song that says ‘fuck you like an animal’ that they giggle at whenever their parents are listening to music.

Again, that was just one day. I’ve had two weeks and change to let my mind run wild in order to come back refreshed and ready to go for 2020-2. That freedom is also why you’re looking at this because even though I made no reference to it while my year-end-party was running and I don’t expect many to keep track of the deep and rich vein of lore that defines this website, but December 28th, 2021 marked my tenth year camped out at this here website if this here post is to be believed and I didn’t do anything about it.

I knew the anniversary was coming but posts like this take time, and honestly, a decade is a solid number to celebrate for a multitude of reasons but it also means that I now have a decade’s worth of writing to answer for – more if I go further back considering I started doing this in 2009. With that said – and more rambling on the way – you might’ve spotted me joking at the end of my final year-end list post here that there was more coming, so welcome to the DGR Ten Years (and a few weeks and change) anniversary celebration spectacular! Wherein we’re going to journey throughout my time here by doing the dumbest thing I could think of, which is ranking my ten year-end lists and seeing how they might hold up with me now, alongside other various musings about my time here.


To begin with, we land on everyone’s favorite segment of a year end list.





Whatever bullshit was this year’s.

I think about writing a lot. Hilarious, given that I don’t consider myself a writer, but rather an internet denizen who types too fucking much. I have a few coworkers who know that I do this as well – mostly because they’ve asked how one can have an old iPod with 17,000 songs on it – but they know that I don’t like the term “writer”.

A writer to me is someone who is practiced in this sort of thing, someone who has a degree or in general something to show for their art of word crafting. I’m not one of those because often the posts with my name attached to them are very stream-of-conscience with a few passes later to change certain things that might make me look more dumb than I already do, but otherwise I’m very hands-off with where an article might head – which has gotten this site in trouble a handful of times. The thing about being a “writer” is that it suggests the air of a profession to it and that is something I am definitely and assuredly not, i.e., a professional. I feel like calling me a “writer” insults people who actually are. If anything you’re looking at the words of someone with a severe case of impostor’s syndrome who can’t seem to shut the fuck up.

Relating this back to coworkers who often ask why I will often dive so deeply into a release and why I’m constantly doing so, it’s hard to describe. It is why I think about writing so much and the purpose it serves, why I’m driven by this urge to build up a platform and then yell from it about a release where listeners might be measured in dozens on a good day. I have tried to explain it before but inevitably that winds up diving into “The Process” of writing. It’s different for every person and trust me when I say this: the mild vanity and egotism of thinking your words are important aside, there is nothing someone armed with a keyboard and website loves more than jerking themselves off about how they write and the philosophy behind it.

Mine is simple: I don’t take rejection well.

The mechanisms and content mills of the internet are not something that I particularly enjoy. The idea of building something up, of pitching ideas and potentially having them shot down, is something that I don’t like and that is not something conducive to surviving in the creative world. We as a society don’t value creatives, and in a wider sense, pitching your own writing to say ‘let me run this article on your site!’ is something that has felt highly personal to me for a long time and I’ve never been able to tamp that down.

Other people can and do, and succeed in the game of convincing people who have money to part with it to pay your for your talent and time, but I’m not one of those. In fact, one of the things that I’ve enjoyed about my time here at NCS is that we’ve built this website up as a kind of launching platform, a place for people to cut their teeth and maybe then go out into the wider world of writing as an actual profession, with something to point at and a place where they can learn. That is what has made me proud during my time here, seeing the handful of people who’ve gone on to practice their craft or get their names published in magazines and elsewhere. I’m just not the type to make that jump.

Fun story: The one time I did try this method I turned in two articles and quit, because my writing tone was not wanted by the site I was going to be working at, and that is what in a roundabout way wound up with me washing up on the shores of this here website.

The site I was at wanted to use a style guide and be professional and that is something I have been severely unable to do. It is something that feels inauthentic and for a long time has felt like it has no integrity to it. The entire internet surrounding media and culture has become this awfully cynical machine in which everything must be the greatest thing ever or the worst thing ever – nothing can just exist – and everyone is constantly chasing the next cultural zeitgeist in search of hits. I’ll see a cultural event or show happen and immediately find myself thinking ‘alright, now how is every website out there going to try to find an angle, no matter how stretched and tenuous it might be, to tie into this so that it shows up on google in the top results?’ It is a hell that I don’t particularly enjoy and one of the reasons that I’ve ensconced myself here.

A good traffic day for us is just that, a nice ego stroke and way for us to feel like we’re accomplishing good for the bands we write about. But I’m not doing episode-by-episode summaries of TV shows or finding ways to theme whole musical lists around specific events in movies. We’re also not the type to deliver everything so breathlessly either. We like a lot of things and the driving force of not wasting our time on stuff we don’t enjoy keeps us that way. All of us here maintain day jobs so our time is at a premium already, but at the very least if we seem enthusiastic about something it is because we legitimately are and aren’t telling you so because it’s the next anointed greatest thing ever.

I am very, very tired of the internet reading like a five year old ceaselessly delivering me the entire listing of everything that happened throughout their day. I’d actually prefer the youngster’s version of it because I have a chance of dinosaur invasion whenever their attention wanders from the initial everything that was cool that happened at school.

What does this have to do with the 2021 list being on the bubble? Simple: You can’t tell me not to. Also, it removes the most recent contender from the overall list because, like a band, I am often most proud of the thing I’ve done most recently. It’s my heaviest thing ever. I want to remove a little of the recency bias from this dumbass exercise in navel-gazing, thus my 2021 list winds up in the honorable mentions section and I get to keep a nice and tidy top ten. Though, I would appreciate if you read through it anyway. There’s a lot of music there and I’m sure you’d all find something enjoyable and maybe outside of the usual wheelhouse for a few of you. Some of those band logos are even legible.




NUMBER 10 The 2011 Year End List


Read that bad boy here

The first of my year-end lists winds up in the ten-spot in the rankings for a few reasons. Looking over it now – even noticing a typo or two – is an amusing act, in part because there are some names I haven’t thought about in a long time here and whole subsections of heavy metal that while ten years ago were incredibly new and exciting, I’ve long since passed on as something I just don’t have the mental real-estate for anymore.

It’s a very embryonic DGR list and also one that served as an early warning sign that I write too fucking much. I covered everything from instrumentals, to EPs, to full albums, and even did a few not-metal releases. It is, as best described, a list of lists and one that still had me kind of smarting from having one site crash to being semi-turned-away from another. Amusing thing of note though: The ranking on the top ten is amusing because I still had time for stuff like Symphony X and Xerath, which are two names I haven’t thought about in some time. Looking at their recent activity: neither have they. Although I don’t recall if Symphony X’s Underworld release placed high with me at all, it probably gets mentioned in the 2015 mess. However, you do see some very recognizable names that have since gotten much bigger.

I still deeply adore Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Agony release and Insomnium have long been a favorite by now. Black Dahlia Murder’s Ritual is to me still severely underrated, and hell, in the decade since Sylosis have gone on haitus and come back, which is interesting in its own right. I would probably, however; move Septic Flesh’s The Great Mass much higher because that is one I go back to constantly, even now, and I’d probably dump Mastodon’s The Hunter. My opinion on them has gotten harsh. Basically, now I have a flowchart of whether or not I consider a Mastodon song “good” that has two questions: “Is Troy on lead vocals?” and “Does It Appear On Leviathan or earlier?” If yes on both, then hey, we have a good Mastodon song.

Looking at the honorable mentions I’d probably bump Obscura into that ten-spot. My opinion on Omnivium has softened and I’ve grown to like that album a whole lot more than I did at the time, though I still see it as a direct and refined sequal to Cosmogenesis. Hell, Hannes Grossmann will put solo music out to this day that sounds like it could’ve slotted onto that album.

Also that Fair To Midland release that gets written up in there is still amazing. That is a group that should’ve done really well for themselves with that one. The fucking bass guitar work throughout is so goddamned good, and ten years later in the era of tech-death-bass-guitar-as-lead-guitar, I would highly recommend checking out the first few songs on Arrows And Anchors just to listen to that thing rumble.

Let’s just ignore the Austrian Death Machine shoutout and amuse ourselves with the mention of Gojira‘s long awaited Sea Shepherd EP, which I’m sure the band will have found plenty of time for now that they’ve put out three albums since.




NUMBER 9 The 2014 Year End List

Seriously, look at this mess

Okay, I’ll admit. The title of it still makes me laugh.

Three years into my tenure here and you already see habits emerging. One being the year-end panic of what the hell even came out this year and another being the continued expansion of the year-end shenanigans, though I think my first actual fifty-spot mess does ‘t happen until 2016.

I will however accept the many high-fives I’m sure are coming my way by having a top-thirty that contains many names that people now recognize as being landmarks in the genre. I was somewhat-early on the Allegaeon train and now look at them. It is a surprising collection and in all reality kind of a conservative list in terms of year-ending. I am, however, very proud of that one-two punch of having Archspire’s Lucid Collective at number 2 and Anaal Nathrakh’s Desideratum at number 1. Those two I still listen to constantly as well, especially since Desideratum has become something of a pop-album default. I’ll still even go to bat for Septic Flesh’s Titan release, as lumpy as it is.

However, I am surprised that I put At The Gates so high up there (numerically speaking) because I still enjoy that release a ton, so having it sit at the borders of the top ten just looks strange. It has, weirdly enough, been my ‘waiting in airport for flight’ album…. which hasn’t mattered since 2019 but y’know. Also fuck me, listen to Volturyon. Them only having two releases since the Human Demolition EP is just criminal.




NUMBER 8 The 2012 Year End List

In lieu of the world ending we did this, I guess

2012’s Year-Ender may be one of the latest year-ender’s I think we’ve run. The actual post date for it was New Years Day of 2013, but at the time I had figured it was okay because I think I was still of the mind that I might be quitting this whole writing about metal thing. It’s difficult to describe what my head-space looked like at the time but looking over the whole archive I didn’t even bother ranking shit that year until the very bottom. It’s just a big, messed-up, slurry of genres and words that just happens to contain some of my favorite releases.

I even took a crack at doing a ‘disappointments’ list…. which glancing over it, I’d probably still stand by. Let’s have us a ten year old argument about three CDs and one metalcore album just prior to their frontman trying to have his wife killed. Whoopsy.

It’s insane to see that it’s been almost ten years since I decided to ignore everything Ted Nugent and Dave Mustaine say press-wise and I think that’s been working out fantastically. The more things change the more they stay the same, though because even almost ten years later, musicians are still bitching about Blabbermouth whereas I wish their coverage would extend just a tad-further than the ever-growing retirement-home crowd.

The top ten list is still, however, pretty unfuckwithable, save for Anaal Nathrakh being at number seven. I’d probably move that one into the top five and let Sybreed take the seven spot. After that though, I wouldn’t fuck with it, because having killer releases from Khonsu, Gorod, Hour Of Penance and In Mourning make up the rest of that class is still a pretty goddamned good way to be. Also holy shit, talk about some changes for the other bands mentioned throughout, looking at that blurb about Depths of Hatred and Beneath The Massacre in there. Depths Of Hatred are kind of a weird hybrid of current deathcore and Fit For An Autopsy groove at the moment, and Beneath The Massacre have since put out one of the meanest motherfucking albums I’ve ever heard in Fearmonger.




NUMBER 7 2017’s Year End Party

Actually, only one of three posts but we call all follow hyperlinks, right?

Five years after the 2012 mess and I’ve at least gotten my shit together to have these things generally run around Christmas time. In terms of the actual quality of music I would say the 2017 list is fairly high with a top ten that is once again kind of unassailable. There’s a lot of albums here that I still go back to constantly, and four years and some change later they still feel pretty fresh. Especially Dyscarnate’s With All Their Might, which may be one of the best riff-monster albums to have been released recently. What a fantastic gateway into heavy metal albums that one has turned out to be in hindsight.

The un-metal section in the final ten is a lot of fun, and going over the EPs I am pleasantly surprised how many of those have managed to stick around with me. I still jam Schammasch’s Hermaphrodite release even though it’s effectively twenty minutes of build-up to reach two actual songs – but “Chimerical Hope” is a fucking killer track. In the upper reaches – the twenties and thirties – you see a lot of familiar names as well. Archspire placed well that year, Hour Of Penance once again made themselves known, Ex Deo even makes an appearance, though I wouldn’t say the same of their latest release. Hell, The Lurking Fear even made it in under the bar at number thirty and they just popped up again, just barely sliding into the upper-reaches of my lists this year.

I forgot that someone told me the top ten was a garbage collection of music though, but hey, 2017 also had someone getting hung up on me using the word “Amongst” in a list, so we had all sorts of folks coming out of the woodwork. If nothing else and you’re checking out the 2017 list, that Vallenfyre release remains incredible for being one of those ‘I recognize everything this album is doing and I know why it works but goddamnit it still works on me‘ style releases.

Oh and fuck, I called it on Vitriol in the EP section. Wow, the following album was just murderous.





Wait, we could do small album art thumbnails?

Haha, we got an ‘N’ and an ‘I’ in title area for Soilworks The Living Infinite at number eight there. The Living Infinite indeed.

Talk about things that didn’t age well at all when you have Ovid’s Withering sitting right at the top of your list, when that band effectively imploded later amidst a storm of harassment and other fucking awful things (and that’s barely covering it if I can remember correctly). What a bunch of awful shit and garbage acts. This may, however, be the only year-end list where the fucking honorable mention section is actually longer than the top albums in which I indulged myself by daring to have a top fifteen. The absolute heresy of it, I tell you.

When you jump around time like this and all in one block, you do notice the roots of your fandom beginning to take shape and also the amusing anecdotes like Antarktis popping up on one list and then their earlier incarnating as Majalis being on another. On top of that it is surprising how in-depth the non-metal segment was on this list, and also the songs that I mentioned at the time versus what I would bring up now. The Nine Inch Nails blurb in particular happening just after their return is interesting because at no point do I mention “In Two”, which I think has grown on me as being one of the best songs that project has done.

The actual Top 15 isn’t too surprising and like the 2014 list parked at number nine is surprisingly conservative in the grand scheme of things. It’s a lot of names you’ll recognize, including the pillars of consistency with me that are Hate once again taking a number seven spot in the year-ender. Though, I will say that Solarflesh has grown on me as well and I think my opinion may be that Solarflesh may be one of their best releases – though I wonder how much of that is on the strength of the song “Festival Ov Slaves”.

Also wow, is it interesting to see me going to bat for The Amenta already at that point, as well as the beginning of the love-affair with Mechina… who are still somehow putting out January 1st releases though they’ve since shifted soundwise. Also you’ll note, Omnium Gatherum’s Beyond is in there and that’s an NCS historical landmark all right because I think it may be one of the few releases where an album has been reviewed multiple times on this site. We all loved it but I think after that we took some serious steps to try and keep reviews to just one writer only, though we’ve fucked that up every now and again.

Also shoutouts to what has become something of a trend with me glossing over the latest Hypocrisy release, which I think I did again this year. Listened to it, thought it sounded like Hypocrisy and I liked that, and then sailed on.




NUMBER 5 The 2020 List

Ah, live from the plague years themselves

Part of me still shudders at this because it means I have to try and remember everything that happened in 2020, which like a lot of the world I’ve been desperately trying to brain-bleach since January 1st, 2021. I know part of the reason the 2020 list ranks so high with me has to be due to a bit of recency bias because those are all releases I enjoyed a scant few years ago – a few that are even due follow-ups this year potentially – but even then, my goodness is that a strong top ten.

The 2020 list was actually another fifty-entry collection but for some reason we didn’t hyperlink the previous four entries on the final day [editor’s intrusion: undoubtedly I was so exhausted by that point that I couldn’t remember my name, much less the idea of hyperlinking your previous 4 installments]… which is fine. I can put those here, here, here, and here.

I actually do still remember a lot of the entrants from the whole fifty-plus handful of honorable mentions, because 2020 was the first year I actually saved my year-end playlist on ye olde iPod classic and still listen to it. I’ll shuffle it up and just let the whole of 2020’s musical selection wash over me. In some ways and looking at it, my 2021 is just the 2020 list again, just slightly less nihilistic, and I don’t think I found as many abrasive noise-acts to fill out the top ranks.

2020 was an ugly-feeling year and wound up with a shit-ton of ugly music to match it. The actual top ten though? Suitably grindy and brutal-death-filled with the one real light spot being The Ocean‘s release because I think The Ocean are a fantastic band. Also as weird as it sounds, 2020 is one of the lists – and will be from here on in the rankings – where I didn’t feel like by the end of it my whole year-end exercise was just me inflating like a balloon and farting for a whole week to let the air out.

I mean shit, I even used the same fucking ending joke as I did in my 2021 list.




NUMBER 4 (Lights) The 2018 Year End List

I have seriously been considering turning these year end lists into coffee table books

Another surprisingly late end-of-year archive now that I’m looking at it. I’m surprised how consistent up to this point that I’ve been with landing this thing right around Christmas and New Year’s time frame – generally when nobody is reading anything on the internet because they’re too busy being reminded just how much they actively dislike their family.

It’s also another list where I don’t think we bothered hyperlinking the rest of the list by the time we made it to the final entry – which is amusing [editor’s intrusion: it’s less amusing if you’re the guy who has to remember to do that shit]. 2018 is a hard year to describe musically; but it is the one where I think I had finally resigned myself to the fate of just doing a massive year-end list every time [editor’s intrusion: I’m resigned to but somehow still haven’t taken the plunge for assisted suicide].

The exercise for me was just too fun and it was also a way to really break out albums that I thought just weren’t getting enough love, either because they were too underground for the big music crowd or too big for the underground crowd. I’ve never been one to swear by whether or not a band is on a big-name label or not, but man, some of the lists that get put out every year are incredibly fucking predictable and frankly, as much as I’ve tried, I’m just not a doom or post-black metal dude, so where the metal internet as a whole may be looking always seems to be running completely counter to where I am – which is comfortably nestled in the dorky world of tech-death and -core bullshit. A paragon of integrity… I am not. If you want the grander tour of the year I’ve got the other parts here, here, here, and here for you.

The top ten is, again, another list of names that I think have since gone on to much bigger and grander things, save for three or four, but it is still kind of incredible just how much the 2018 list crystalized the overall format of these year-end lists for me. There’s a huge tech-death block again, and surprisingly enough At The Gates once again found themselves on the outer fringes of the overall top ten, coming in at number eleven. Of course that’s better than their 2021 release, which I think has a fantastic EPs worth of music within it, but hey.

I also think 2018 may be the first year where I finally stopped being so spicy with all of my review stuff, instead focusing on all of the positives of things while making it very clear I was jokingly talking shit whenver I did decide to mouth off. Go figure that seven years after bellyflopping onto this site, I finally managed to get all the fire out of my veins. Good job to Wake and Exocrine for being among the repeat offenders though, since they pop up in the 2020 list – and ranking much higher – as well.

While I’m digging into the 2018 top ten though, allow me to make a pitch again for Dead Wretch and Sectioned as both being fantastic releases, and seriously, I know a lot of people turn their nose up at The Agony Scene because they were part of the mid-aughts metalcore wave but goddamn was that comeback release vicious as hell and a lot more violent than one would’ve expected from them. They barely sound like the same band on that one.




NUMBER 3 2016 Year End List

The even numbered lists are doing quite well here in the top grouping

2016 is a fucking weird list for me because I think 2016 is the one I’m most nostalgically fond of. There were some incredible releases across heavy metal that year, and a half decade later some of those bands would even loop back around and make another appearance in the top 10 – hello Dormant Ordeal – while others would miss the cut. Also a lot of it may be on the strength of the header image we chose that year, since any reference to Scanner Darkly I can make, I’m liable to do so.

I don’t think a Harakiri For The Sky release has landed with me as hard as Trauma did but also I think that’s the album where that band really found their sound and since then have been happy to make releases in a similar vein when they’re not skirting up the edge of controversy. Time makes fools of us all.

If it helps any, I was also pretty fond of the 20 through 11 ranking that year, although we actually managed to link to every chunk of the list that time. Especially since Teethgrinder’s Nihilism album made itself known there. I can’t even fathom what the hell part six was like other than a giant anarchy party of EPs and various other smaller awards, included the much vaunted shoutout to Gojira’s Sea Shepherd EP – though I think 2018 was the last year I did that joke [editor’s intrusion: why the hell did you stop?]. Whatever, there’s still time.

The names that are interesting to see popping up again though are Necronautical – whose Endurance At Night release I still think is one of their best, Dormant Ordeal with We Had It Coming (and whose The Grand Scheme Of Things took my top spot this year), Volturyon with their Cleansed By Carnage album, Khonsu with The Xun Protectorate and a pretty sharp reminder that man it sure would be great to have some new music from that project, Gadget – whose split with grinders Retaliation made it into the 2021 pile as well — and my ever-growing fandom for Anaal Nathrakh with their current career surge seeming to get bigger and bigger every year.

There are a lot of heavy hitters throughout that 2016 list that I think would pop up again and again in later years too. Hence, it is one that I am surprisingly fond of, if not just because it seems like 2016 is one of those lists that set me on a path musically to where I am now. It’s a surprisingly serious take on that year as well, even though it would later probably be the last time things seemed kind of optimistic for a while. Also I’m pretty sure my hairline hadn’t receeded as badly then as it has now.




NUMBER 2 The 2019 Year End List

Personally, my 2019 fucking sucked

I honestly try not to think about 2019 too much because on a personal level that year was a rough one for me. I lost two pets within three months of each other, was effectively evicted from the house we’d been renting for eleven years, and a whole litany of small things all seemed to hit at once alongside it. While 2020 on has sucked for humanity as a whole and I empathize tremendously, boy howdy it seemed like I got a six-month head start on everyone else for the world turning to shit for a little while.

Musically, however, I found a lot to love even when I wasn’t in the best mental shape to try and review everything, and I’ll be honest with you, one of the reasons the 2019 list ranks so high with me is because I am immensely proud of the number one entry of this list and why it lays there. I know I say it a ton already, but it may in fact be one of the stupidest things I have ever written and man is it glorious to see.

The actual top ten that year is kind of a murderers’ row of favorites and surprisigly heavy given how scattershot I tend to be overall with my musical tastes. Strigoi are still a constant play as a continuation of Vallenfyre for me and trust me, their recent signing to Season Of Mist has been tremendously exciting, as the prospect of new music from that crew is just great. Hideous Divinity rank in within the top five again and I think both Simulacrum and Adveniens have been in similar spots, but that tends to happen when you put out a release that plays out like a dark-brooding alternate universe takes on the predecessor.

But man, the way Distaste came through for me that year cannot be overstated. That is an album that in some sense saved me. It was comfort food and solace in a twenty-nine minute grind album, and throwing it on felt like the one way I could really fight back against the torrent of shit that seemed to be barreling downhill at me. It may have been the smallest and most futile fight you’ve ever seen but it was the one small victory that I could claim that year. If, as Wesley Snipes says in Blade, that some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate uphill, then blasting that Distaste album in order to fight back 2019 was my attempt. Seriously, if nothing else, please go read that dumb shit that I wrote as my number one for that year.

As you can tell, I didn’t win against 2019 and neither did the world. But for a brief moment I felt like I was holding up a middle finger to a comet about to land on me. If you want a follow-up, none of the co-workers responsible for the television choices are on my crew anymore and I take my lunch breaks in a different area of the store so I can get a fucking nap in.




NUMBER ONE The 2015 Year End List

We didn’t even bother splitting this one into chunks

I distinctly remember the entire trigger for my year-end list that year was the reveal of Golden Gods – I think? – awards show listing that year and just how ridiculous the sponsorship names had become. I understand that shows like that need to make money and when you’re essentially throwing on a show to draw eyeballs in, the whole thing is meant to become a gigantic advertising gangbang. But that year in particular seemed to be particularly insidious with just how many times you would see logos for brands and shit working their way into the mix.

Now, I know that an awards show’s reach is much more mainstream than the bunch of poo-flinging monkeys that we are in our little corner of the internet, but as ridiculous as some of my award names read, keep in mind that some of them aren’t too far off from ones that actually appeared in order to lump another useless hunk of trophy metal at Slipknot that year. Later, it would seem the same ad agency would find their way into the new punching-bag for nerd internet The Game Awards as I’m sure Schick Hydro blades are super-invested in the best narrative in an indie game.

So, the 2015 list is me at my spiciest. As much as I joke about letting the fire out of my veins and just being happy that people may be enjoying the same music that I do, the 2015 list was the year I did so via flamethrower. Do I have a lot to answer for with some of my choices? Maybe? But boy howdy was it fun to basically have a giant expulsion of idiocy all in one go. It’s also the latest of all my year-end lists, having made its appearance on the site on January 11th. Quality like that takes time, apparently.

Or at least editing to avoid lawsuits from corporate sponsors.

There’s nothing really underrated on this year-end collective. In fact I think the quality of band sets a pretty high bar and a lot of the groups that appear here would later be repeat offenders with me. Cattle Decapitation were well on their rise to take over the world and I do still love Anthropocene Extinction and the chaos that album is. In fact I think the real unsung hero on this may be Seattle’s Theories who just can’t seem to find a win, even though all of their releases have been fantastic and angry as hell slabs of deathgrind, and even though that group’s lineup may have shifted over the years, they’re still just as fiery as they were on the Regression appearance.

It is funny looking at some of the award names now though; the cheap shot at Roadrunner Records and how they’ve become a weirdly quiet shadow in the time since; the fact that even though I was joking at the time, The Last Guardian did in fact see release the following year; how I would cancel my Time magazine subscription the following year because they kept featuring the same bloated dipshit on their cover and I was fucking tired of seeing him; just calling the Mt. Dew award “Slam it up your ass” because I couldn’t think of anything.

If nothing else I’m sure that the 2015 year-end list was spectacular for SEO result vandalism.The fact that I had the gall to then attach every one of them to a great collection of music may in fact be the last time I considered myself funny. I’ve never tried anything like that since, considering how much of a pain in the ass that was. Nope, I just settled on doing fifty-album entries into the year-end books every year since.

Goddamnit I’m smart.


Thus, we draw the DGR Ten Year And Some Weeks And Change Celebration to a close and for the better part of it, my own Listmania. Don’t worry, I’ve already been on the hunt for new music as well as combing over the few that were brave enough to try and drop albums at the very end of the year because not every country has to run by the United Stastes’ arbitrary cultural bullshit.

Right now I’ve been glancing a lot at Spain’s Evadne and their album The Pale Light Of Fireflies, which if nothing else should hold tremendous appeal for those of you that enjoy Swallow The Sun. Who is to know what 2022 could hold musically though? I have a handful of bands I’m hoping to hear things from and maybe by invoking its name across a decade’s worth of year end lists Gojira might actually put out Sea Shepherd. Or y’know, we could get a new Dyscarnate record, that would be great. In the meantime though, thanks for joining me on this celebration of ten years of my own bullshit and attempts to burn the sites legitimacy to the ground and rest assured that I’m probably not going anywhere. Hell, right now I’ll just be happy to make it to next week. Thank you for reading No Clean Singing.


  1. This is great. A hell of a read. I would have mostly contempt and chuckles for my year end lists…. Yours came out pretty solid…no mean feat…

    • Haha don’t worry, this is me we’re talking about so the contempt for previous years is implied.

      Unless it’s Andy we’re talking about, then it’s very, very overt.

  2. You and me buddy, NCS lifers until the end.

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