(Today we pick up DGR‘s 50-piece year-end countdown with an installment that includes the choices from No. 20 through No. 11.)
We’re in the final reaches of the year-end list and the numbers just seem to be getting lower, no matter how much I try and stop them. This is usually the point in my year-end dunce-cap demonstration wherein the wheels start falling off. Often, when I’m doing these, they happen in a few quick bursts as caffeine-fueled fits of pique and this year is no different – though I like to think I’ve spaced it out a little better as I’ve discovered that doing these all over the course of a day and a half probably is not the healthiest way to be approaching things. So, I says, what if I try two whole days? We’ll see how that works out.
I mentioned it yesterday but this block of the list is going to be a wild one, but also one where you’re going to spot a few critical darlings. I’ve got a few tailor-made-for-DGR bands here, as well as some groups who have just been consistently good and the latest additions to their discography are worthy as well. Tomorrow will be the conclusion of this whole affair, which means I’ll likely be at my spiciest by then so that’ll be something to look forward to.
In the meantime, let’s kick things off with a band whose name I am likely to hear shouted from a few states away from the moment this entry is spotted.
20 – Goatwhore – Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven
At the time of my review for Goatwhore’s latest collection of litanies to the dark I had noted just how wild it was that there had been a five-year gap between releases for the band. There are a small handful of bands out there whom you could define as machines and get away with it, and Goatwhore are one of those bands; long settled into a career in which it seemed like they were always on tour and keeping to a regular schedule of album releases as well.
Sonically the band have shifted over a storied career as well, embracing the big arena rock riff and even some Americana-fueled blues swagger to be traveling companions with their heat-driven black metal mainstay sound. Like clockwork, it seemed like Goatwhore would be right there for you with another ten to twelve songs of darkened atmosphere at such a speed that it felt like you were duct-taped into the passenger seat of an out of control vehicle. Much las I noted with Wolfheart many days ago now, it seemed the band would’ve otherwise been on a more regularly scheduled break if the world hadn’t effectively been put on hold for a few years, and well, we saw what it took in order to accomplish that.
That might’ve been the only thing that stopped Goatwhore from otherwise unleashing an album earlier it seemed, because listening to Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven you wouldn’t get the impression that time had stopped for the band at all. No outside interference, no drawing from the events of the world to throw into the latest cauldron of guitar-armageddon. The band pick up right where they left off with Vengeful Ascension back in 2017, which is wild to contemplate. But then again, Goatwhore don’t become all-caps Goatwhore with three exclamation marks at the end of it by fucking with the formula that has gotten them to this point.
“Ruinous Liturgy” was the song that really won me over with Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven. Prior to that one I had settled comfortably into the idea of this album just being a solid release of Goatwhore songs. You can hear it in the title track and the true opener of “Born Of Satan’s Flesh”; both tracks are 100% constructed out of pure grade-A Goatwhore material, but it’s also very recognizable. “Ruinous Liturgy” was where things got a little darker and for me a whole lot more interesting this time around. It was that song and tracks like “Nihil”, “Voracious Blood Fixation”, and “And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition” (continuing the group’s trend of being one of the most literary-sounding song-titling bands out there) that won me over.
Granted, I’m a sucker for the Goatwhore sound and, like I said, the years of hard touring are often reflected in the band’s music. They know their way around a big guitar riff and few bands can drop into a double-bass gallop and inhuman howl quite like Goatwhore can. Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven was a perfectly fitting October release and was one to quickly rocket its way into the 2022 year-end collective.
19 – Choke Me – Death Like A Sunset
As the year has gone on I think I’ve come to view Choke Me‘s latest release Death Like A Sunset as part of a duology with its old sibling Hauntology from last year. I had the same idea when writing about this one for review purposes as well. Hauntology came out only six months prior to Death Like A Sunset and Choke Me‘s plug-and-play high-speed songwriting nature meant that it had six songs, forever strapping it with an album or EP feeling. Death Like A Sunset is a younger sibling of that effect, another six songs later and I found that combining it with Hauntology made the whole thing feel more ‘complete’ as an experience, creating a fully-fledged followup to their first album The Cousin Of Death.
On its own though, Death Like A Sunset is an interesting take on the Choke Me sound because it isn’t just another case of the band rumbling through some angry-as-hell powerviolence and grindcore where half of the songs are fuel for launching glass bottles into the street. Every song does veer on the short side for the band which means you’ll whip through the whole of Death Like A Sunset in about fifteen minutes, but you’ll note that it’s not as blast-fueled and circle-pit-riff-driven as the group’s previous two releases. Choke Me used Death Like A Sunset to work some bouncing groove into the formula, which certainly perked the ears on a first listen when I was expecting another multi-pronged vocal attack to be assaulting me non-stop for its duration.
The Choke Me crew have kept busy in that time since, spreading themselves across a few different projects within the Riot Ready record label and it just happens that when they team up as Choke Me things tend to be more on the explosive side than the crustier and more punk-rock-driven projects they also play in. Like many of the EP writeups I’ve kicked out here, it’s very tempting to tell you to just hit play on Death Like A Sunset because the time investment is so minimal in comparison to a full-length, but I’d definitely hazard that of the six here, album opener “Pariah” is a good as hell standout and a great way to grab people’s attention.
Elsewhere you do get some of that previously mentioned bounce within the song “Be Normal”, and hearing the band return to the theming of “More Than This” – something they’ve lyrically referenced multiple times across previous releases – gives the music on Death Like A Sunset the sense that the fury contained within is cyclical and never-ending.
Again, these are releases wherein deeper thought tends to get left on the side of the road in a black garbage bag, in favor of the all-passion-and-fire approach. But, that’s what makes a release like Death Like A Sunset so fun to go back to over and over again since its release on April 1st. You know you’re going to get your head torn off when the band turn feral.
18 – The Antichrist Imperium – Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory
Then there’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum with The Antichrist Imperium, where the only thing this release shares with the one above it is that the cover art is in black and white.
Let me cast you way, way back into the olden times of two – maybe three? – days ago when I mentioned that there are a couple of albums every year that I listen to a lot not because I fully enjoy them all the time but because they fascinate me. The Antichrist Imperium‘s latest tome is one such release. It’s the sort of album that fascinates simply because there’s enough twists and turns within its songwriting that it could be a “whodunit” murder mystery if it were a novel instead of music, but even then that doesn’t feel like we’re giving Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory full weight, because The Antichrist Imperium continue to be so unconventional in their approach to music. That is, when they’re not deep in the realms of smashing death and black metal together like a cruel science experiment and letting their vocals approach from multiple directions so that it feels like being attacked by a group in a dark room.
What The Antichrist Imperium traffic in is not just a crazed hybrid of death and black metal but a desire to also be much smarter about their approach to Satan, which if it hasn’t been made clear by the two albums prior to now is very much the subject matter of choice. It’s not all rituals and chaos magicks with The Antichrist Imperium but also a drive to appear smarter from the outset, which of course runs completely counter to when the band start snarling at you and breaking out deep death metal bellows that you might not have initially expected, given the haunted clean singing that is part of Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory. As said before though, this is one that’ll continually surprise you up until it just decides to bludgeon the listener during its back half.
There’re a couple of home destroyers in the tracklisting for Vol III; for every moment of artistic exploration and fancy, The Antichrist Imperium respond with something equally heavy. It’s why I focus so much on the back half of this release being like a descent into the inferno all its own. Songs get heavier and heavier as the album goes along, so that the first half of the disc is the band exorcising a whole bunch of idealistic demons and the second half is a more conventional crusher.
It’s the journey from one end of that spectrum to the other that keeps things so entrancing during a run through from the album, and how you can go from a song that seems to be jam-packed with ideas like “The Sweetest Juice” to something much more malevolent like “Vilest Of Beast” only one song later. The auditory journey from “Exocist Evisceration” into “Menage A Triumvirate” a few songs later is the sort of thing that has to be experienced as the band go careening down one musical avenue and on to another.
Vol III: Satan In His Original Glory is a special sort of weird – my review came to much the same conclusion – from a group of musicians who are experts in specializing in that sort of weird. It’s an album that will hold your attention if not just to see what the band do next, and by the end of it, its hard not to walk away impressed with just how goddamned heavy the thing got anyway.
17 – Revocation – Netherheaven
It’s confession time in the DGR corner of the interwebs and mine is that for a long time my Revocation fandom has been me chasing the high that I got when I heard “Maniacally Unleashed” from the band’s Teratogenesis EP for the first time. I’ve enjoyed much of their material since then and even enjoyed some of the lumpier and off-kilter stuff the band have put out as they’ve traversed the varying subgenres that make up their unholy mix, sometimes leaning on the death metal side, sometimes going full-bore on the thrash segment.
They’ve always been a consistently good-to-great band, and as I always mention, are fantastic for just throwing on shuffle across the whole discography and letting it wash over you. Trust me, its a lot of guitar soloing. But nothing, nothing has ever matched the first time I heard the band really lean on the death metal shredding as hard as they did throughout that EP, but especially that opening segment of “Maniacally Unleashed”.
I couldn’t help but think for a long time that the sound they found within the five songs on Teratogenesis wound up coloring so much of the band’s career afterward, in spite of the fact they had put out three really strong albums prior to it. It was definitely a point where things turned for Revocation and many of the albums since seem to have their DNA rooted in the music from way back in 2012. Because it turns out that when Revocation lean on that death metal side of their equation, they’re really, really good. Which brings us to the group’s 2022 release Netherheaven – an album that feels like the song “Scattering The Flock” from the group’s self-titled release expanded into a full album of its own and one that is surprisingly vicious and unexpected.
Netherheaven was part of the big wave that washed over the metal scene back in September, one that gifted this year’s list quite a few contenders. Initially I had not expected this one to do as well with me as it did. I’ve been dancing around it a lot in the above paragraphs but I’ve settled into the idea that Revocation are one of my go-to’s but also Revocation haven’t legit caught me on the back foot in a long time. I know what’s coming from the band and I happen to enjoy that product. But Netherheaven proved to be a surprise by cranking up the intensity and then packing it into nine songs and even managing to make the instrumental track interesting enough to keep the mind from wandering.
You’ve likely read a lot about this one so I won’t have to dive too deep into it here – plus we do have Andy’s review if you would like – but nearly every song on this one hits hard. It’s recognizably Revocation for sure, but again, the time since their release of The Outer Ones back in 2018 has seen the group come back a whole lot scrappier and seemingly ready to fight. They’re taking on a lot on this one and leaning on the death metal part of their sound hard. It works damned well.
16 – Exhumed – To The Dead
When I hammered out my entry for Immolation‘s Acts Of God earlier on in this year-end mosh pit it occurred to me that I did in fact have another legendary, long-running death metal group that had have been on a tear for a while now in the form of Exhumed, coming much later in this list. Exhumed are a band where it’s tempting to assume that since they’ve been around so long, they would take an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to their sound. But surprisingly enough, the death/thrash/grind hybrid group have been more than willing to mess with the core formula over the years. It’s a testament to the band though, that the core of the Exhumed sound has survived each and every different take on it recently.
They’ve long been a band where you can have a pretty good time with the whole discography running on shuffle, which is why I was so surprised by just how high the group’s newest album To The Dead ranked with me; generally speaking, I like to think I know what I’m in for with Exhumed. Surprisingly enough though, To The Dead still managed to blow my hair back from the moment it started. The biggest factor it seemed, after the surprisingly grindy Horror back in 2019 wherein not a single song cleared the two minute and thirty second mark, was that it was exciting to see the band striking upon a ridiculously pure vein of deathgrind again.
The big thing with Exhumed for me and the thing that you get an absolute fuckton of on To The Dead is the high/low vocal interplay that has been a trademark of the band’s sound. That multifaceted vocal attack hits hard and fast across To The Dead and it has always been something that just does it for me. I get excited every time Exhumed kick into another thrashy-as-hell guitar riff that sees the group jumping in and out of death metal battering and circle-pit ragers at a pin drop. Exhumed making a whole album out of seemingly just that feels like something tailor-made for my sensibilities – though since it seems to be resonating with a lot of people this time around it wouldn’t shock to say that they’ve definitely hit upon something here.
That opening three pack of “Putrescine and Cadaverine”, “Drained of Color”, and “Carbonized” is so hard to fuck with. Describing it as one assault after another would be acting as if the attack ever stops on this one, but you wind up getting launched into song after song on this disc – especially noticeable as it feels like you get launched right into “Lurid, Shocking, and Vile” without realizing that “Rank And Defiled” had been kicking your ass for a whole four minutes prior.
Exhumed are one of those groups that really don’t ‘need the help’ as we often put it when we’re talking about underground artists. They’ve long achieved the death metal legendary status, but even so, I was still blindsided by just how much To The Dead caught me slipping and knocked me out that first go around. It only released in late-October and it’s something that I’ve listened to a ton.
15 – Hexis – Aeternum
Back in early 2020 there was an explosion of really abrasive and metallic hardcore music. A scene that had slowly been gaining steam prior – a lot of these bands were already ‘seasoned’ and on second and third releases – finally exploded outwards in the early-months of lockdown, matching the moods of a lot of listeners who were angry at the world and the people inhabiting it. Groups fused an array of electronics, guitars distorted to the point of unintelligibility, and instruments turned so loud that every vocal shout sounded like it was in the midst of a fight to be just above whatever was trying to drag them back into the mud that the music was emerging from.
Hexis‘ newest album Aeternum sounds like it could’ve emerged from that particular moment in time, a fusion of abrasive and bleeding-knuckles hardcore with ‘blackened’ atmospherics that as NCS compatriot Andy noted in his report on the band’s whole discography could’ve seen them fighting with Anaal Nathrakh for space. Aeternum‘s album art is bleak and straight to the point, only suggesting that the music contained within is going to be a dark and unpleasant journey, a point that is quickly hammered home with opener “Letum” immediately flattening any ground before it to a level grade that people who pour concrete for a living would be jealous of.
Aeternum is one of those releases where every song is clearly a different track – something that makes you feel extremely stupid when uttering aloud or writing out, as it’s the most basic of ideas, right? Yet, it is so much more of a mood album than it is any particular single. Bleak and nihilistic, if it seems like “Letum” is written to be an overwhelming mass of noise that will allow nothing to stand in its way, you have to keep in mind there’s another eleven songs just waiting for you.
The too long, didn’t read, of the affair is that Hexis‘ Aeternum is going to drag you through broken glass for forty-five minutes and there will be no one to pick you up at the time the album closes out. It’s a release that is impressive in its single-mindness, just constantly rolling forward with no attempt to veer to a different track and with more destruction being the only further goal. There’s also some interesting dynamics in play with some of the songs, because there’s a call and response approach to some of them, with a high peak of almost eight minutes early on in “Exhaurire” that is then completely blasted to dust by the two songs following, “Interitus” and “Tacet” – both of which don’t bother straying anywhere close to two minutes.
You would think something like “Accipis” would give provide a breather since the opening may be one of the first real moments of ‘quiet’ since hitting play on Aeternum but you get maybe fifteen seconds before the world comes crashing down once again. That’s the basic formula for Aeternum though; it’s a world where everything is falling apart in the most spectacular of ways and you’re along for the ride. It’s not something that you could even call chaotically berzerk, it’s just a constant, sludgy reminder of the decay of everything around it, delievered in the most skin-flaying and bludgeoning way Hexis could think of.
14 – Wormrot – Hiss
And then, after all that, there’s Wormrot.
Wormrot are likely the most traditionally ‘grind’ of the groups within my year-end list. Many of the bands I favor are hybridizations of the genre – though I do enjoy an auditory hissy fit the same as everyone else – but the pure, minute-to-two minute explosion of sound with no clear demarcation of beginning or end except for a lead count-off or one last vocal scream rarely fights it all the way to the year-end list.
Fun at the moment but much like the plug in, rock out, bug out method of performing the music makes the genre fairly ephemeral at times, things that are a little more beefy still stick around. Which makes Wormrot‘s Hiss such an interesting experience as it’s the current last appearance of long-tenured vocalist Arif with the band. The thing with Hiss though, is that there’s a surprising amount of boundary pushing within the album.
When you run through the Wormrot discography, it is visceral in its violence and when the band are running on all cylinders you can see the anarchic noise mechanism that powers the sound of the band shining inccredibly bright. They’re a contained sort of chaos, like a storm trapped in a small box. You can see the damn thing launching itself around the room on sheer energy alone and the world will never be the same if you actually open the thing up. I have had coworkers asking me what the hell you’re supposed to do when listening to a band like Wormrot playing, and for a moment I didn’t really have an answer, because I have seen trash cans thrown when the band are playing and how the hell are you supposed to describe that as normal?
Hiss worked its way into my listening habits not because it was another Wormrot disc but because it is an album that is trying to be something more. The core of the group’s sound is still on this album and among Hiss‘ twenty-one song collection are a fair share of blistering expulsions of fury and nothing but. You can’t make an album like this and have it only last a half hour without songs like “Spiral Eyes”, “Vicious Circle”, “Weeping Willow”, and “All Will Wither” launching into one another with nary a breath in between, and all of those give way to album closer “Glass Shards”.
It’s the amount of experimentation within the first half of Hiss that kept my ears perked though, because Wormrot are reflecting the grind-scene at large in those opening moments. As mentioned before, it’s not just constant rifle fire from the band in those opening songs. There’s a decent amount of vocal experimentation but also Wormrot adopt some of the blackened atmospherics that the scene as a whole has really chomped down into. Not only that but there are moments throughout Hiss where I was reminded of Canadian group Wake’s brand of sonic nihilism, with the picture that Wormrot are painting coming off as incredibly bleak, as hopeless-sounding melodies start floating on top of the more expected body-twitch by way of electrocution issuances of grind you might otherwise expect.
Hiss gets by on two very strong marks: One, Wormrot are incredible at this style of music, and two, they could’ve just rested on their laurels and blasted out ‘another Wormrot disc’ and done pretty well even with the gap between albums, yet the band try something more here and it truly helps Hiss to stand out on its own.
13 – Wake – Thought Form Descent
Wake’s Thought Form Descent feels like the most natural progression from a sound possible. Starting with 2020’s pairing of Devouring Ruin and Confluence, Wake transformed themselves from a monster of an overwhelming, immensely loud, noise-electronics-infused grind group whose releases were planet-shattering in their ferocity.
The album prior to Misery Rites hinted at a transformation starting within the group though, as they reached for different sonic frontiers to add to and adapt their sound, but Devouring Ruin is where things really fell into place. Adopting much longer song lengths – I think at the time I had calculated that the new album was longer than the previous two and an EP combined – and bringing in a whole lot of sludge groove, black metal theatrics, and bleak dissonant death metal atmospherics, Devouring Ruin was an ugly fucker of an album that perfectly matched the year in which it was released. The critical shorthand for ‘nihilistic’ often points to albums that sound like Devouring Ruin, because a band with that particular sound has long since resigned itself to the idea that everything has gone to hell and there’s no point saving it.
The Confluence EP, even with the more colorful cover art, did not do a tremendous amount to dissuade that opinion. If anything it was slightly ‘prettier’ than the ‘oh no everything is dead around me’ feeling of Devouring Ruin but it was still just a wave of sound crashing on top of you for three songs. Thought Form Descent picks up that baton and sprints further down that pathway.
I was lucky enough that Andy called the the review for Thought Form Descent, which freed me up to fully immerse myself in the ink and fade into what the band were trying to do. Thought From Descent is of a similar vein to Devouring Ruin but is less immediately miserable than its predecessor. Devouring Ruin starts as a wounded animal, Thought From Descent slowly falls apart on the way there. That means there are times throughout Thought Form Descent‘s long journeys of absolute beauty, which are then immediately crushed when the band come cycling back around with another grouping of inhuman howls.
The post-black metal tendrils reaching across the world have found themselves on the fringes of Wake’s sound as well, because even the band realize that the constant steamroller effect doesn’t work if it is so constant that it just becomes the norm. So, they explore. Wake wander through musical landscapes and even get a little proggy with some of their footfalls, but always come screaming back with another segment of instruments getting railed on or a fast grinding passage. Thought Form Descent being the meditative sibling of Devouring Ruin would be one way to put it. They reach the same general conclusion at the end of their pathways, but Thought Form Descent is the one to that sat down and pontificated on it for a bit. You’ll see what I mean when you traverse songs like “Mourning Dirge (Repose Of The Dead)” and “Venerate (The Undoing Of Us All)”.
12 – White Ward – False Light
Here’s a more official review for you, in case the next few paragraphs of my impression of the Goodyear blimp don’t quite entertain as well as you’d like.
Ukraine’s White Ward have long earned the spotlight on them and it doesn’t shock me that so many people immediately fell in love with False Light given the critical response to their prior album, 2019’s Love Exchange Failure. Love Exchange Failure is an album I listened to and had that moment of ‘oh, i completely understand why people love this and they’re right’, so it was exciting to see that thing receive the praise that it did.
However – dramatic pause – you’ll notice that while I own up to understanding why people loved it, it didn’t quite stick with me as well as it should have if we existed in a just universe. Love Exchange Failure placed at a shocking, SCANDALOUS #forty-four with me at the time for reasons regarding how the album sounded more than anything else. The music on it was strong but something bothered me a lot about how the way the vocalist just seemed like they got buried in the background at times, which affected other instrumentation as well, so I didn’t feel like I was locking in with it as much as I would have otherwise.
I still think the opening – “Love Exchange Failure” – and the closing – “Uncanny Delusions” – are incredible pieces of music. But thats what makes False Light exciting for me, because this is the album where I can truly say “I get it” more than just appreciating it from an artistic point of view and understanding why other people do. False Light progresses from Love Exchange Failure so naturally that it feels like the continuation of a thousand-mile journey and False Light is just the latest snapshot. It understands everything that was strong about the release prior to it, expands upon it, and then invites a whole gaggle of other musicians along for the ride so they can continue to explore the landscape they’ve created.
False Light continues to wander in the same musical region as its older brother and so the musical landscape timing-wise is similar. Tracks range from anywhere between a high-five minute to fourteen minutes on average with an instrumental and a closer constituting the only three-minute jams. Every song is its own individualized journey and it’s great to see White Ward refining upon the smoke-filled jazz-club atmospherics so that even if you weren’t the biggest fan of this style, there is always some sort of surprise waiting for you. It makes a six minute journey just as worthy as the fourteen minute and forty two second journey that is the titular “False Light” song.
“Salt Paradise” keeps things interesting with some haunted clean singing and echoing atmospherics after the opening track “Leviathan” provides the dutiful act of proclaiming that yes, White Ward are still here and easing you in to their next experiment in black metal. Each song on False Light having some extra ‘thing’ within it helps to carry the album a ton as well, and on a personal level I rarely noticed that an hour and six minutes had passed by the time White Ward were reaching the last few seconds of the previously mentioned “Downfall”.
Yes, it does amuse me that this means that somehow, given that staggering length, it’s a whopping one minute shorter than its older sibling. When an album fascinates you like that, you can’t help but recommend it to other people – though I’d hazard a guess that many of us within the NCS halls have already checked this thing out. If not, be advised that you’re not seeing this name a lot because there’s some grand act at play on the part of a bunch of websites. You’re seeing it because it’s worth spinning.
11 – Soreption – Jord
If we pull back the curtain a little bit on my thought process here I did not anticipate upon my first few listens that Soreption’s new album Jord would be ranking up so high on this list. I thought that since their other albums have always been present on the year-end lists they’d be somewhere closer to the more amorphous central grouping than as high up as you’re seeing Jord sit now.
The human-as-machine and unnervingly precise approach to the music wherein it seems like the drummer is the guitarist in terms of riff writing still holds a ton of appeal. Much as I had fun playing with the band’s penchant for – much like their music – staying precisely in their line with unerring accuracy, I figured that Jord was going to be one of those albums where I’m more overjoyed that I just have more music to add to the grand shuffle of the whole discography run than taking it as one singular experience.
You can witness me playing with stats and numbers like a proper computer in my write up of the album around release time.When Jord hit in June, that was kind of where it lay for a while, positioned in between the grander Soreption collective discography as another batch of songs to spin up the machine and let run for a while, never realizing it might’ve looped about halfway through the night. But then, I found myself listening to Jord a lot, and using just the phrase ‘a lot’ is putting it politely.
I don’t know when I decided to fully submit to the gears of the Soreption machine but in the last few months Jord has become one of the go-to releases for me, mostly as I’m taking comfort in the band’s ‘eight songs, thirty minutes’ approach to things as 2022 draws to a close. Though they wound up recruiting a small handful of guitarists to help out with the album in between guest solos, session, and their own recording, Jord still comes off like a fully formed Soreption release.
I found myself constantly looking forward to the mechanical banging and clinking that makes up the Soreption sound and the surgically precise groove that the band seem to specialize in. Every odd-timed turn of a segment and riff before things fell back into place seemed exciting, and after a while I found myself looking forward to being brutalized by the opening three numbers of Jord until I hit “Each Death More Hollow” – which may be a very strong candidate for infectious songs this year. The closing pair of songs in “The Netherrealms Machinery” and “Död Jord” both contain surprises as well, in between some surprising keyboard work, and then a following song that is ruthlessly efficient by the standards of a band wherein no space is ever wasted.
They’ve never been the most grand and pyrotechnic of the tech-death groups but there are few bands who can leave your neck aching without you being aware of how you started nodding along at a certain point.
Insane: It’s insane that the next edition of this mess is going to be it for the year. If you’ve caught the previous week’s album extravaganza that Andy provided, not to mention the other lists we’ve published, there was an incredible amount of music released and a lot of it fared pretty well. That I’ve been slowly hacking away at fifty in one window and had another one open for building an archive of stuff that I both clearly need to go back to and also am checking out for the first time – alongside the reader’s lists too – is such an incredible thing for a genre where it seems we only have a few acts that are allowed to be ‘massive’.
There’s a need that heavy metal has an answer for and whether it’s the artsy types or the joyfully stupid and brutal morons like myself creating cacophonies of sound, there never seems to be a shortage of attraction. Each year plays out in such differing fits and starts that sometimes it seems like you’ve constantly stepped under a waterfall, and other times it’s just big groups of music all clustered together arriving in one drop. The heavy metal river above you unfreezes just enough to let a huge chunk of ice sail over and land right on you.
This next one is the closing festivity for me and I am very excited to unleash that final ten upon the world. Some may surprise, many will not. ‘Til then.