7″ roundup: Palace of Worms, Thoabath team up for chaos; Sacrocurse unleash war hell

POW ThoabathWe concentrate a lot on full-length albums and EPs, but there are plenty of great smaller releases out there worthy of everyone’s attention. We have a couple of those on hand today, so why don’t we give some time and affection to two new 7″ efforts that will destroy your well being?

We’ll start off with the gargantuan union of black metal beast Palace of Worms and industrial noise fiend Thoabath, a split 7” release coming your way via King of the Monsters Records. Fitting that would be the imprint for this hellish collection of a song from each project, with your head and mind the ultimate victims once everything comes to a halt. Palace of Worms we’ve written about before and will again soon with their forthcoming new (and third) full-length “The Ladder” (that is going to fry your senses, believe me). This is a nice single-song bridge into that record, and the track delivered by sole member Balan encapsulates you in his world of horrors. Same goes for Thoabath and its creator Andy Way (who you may now from Sutekh Hexen), who smothers you with noise that sounds like an electrical storm surrounding your mind. Their body of work is still building and forming, and Way’s track certainly has my interest piqued on what’s next.

Palace of Worms get going with “She Who Holds the Fire” that tears open immediately and pulls you into the madness. The track is undoubtedly heavy and oddly murky, with melodies unfurling and twisting, guitars setting up the assault, and an oddly catchy stretch hitting at the chorus. The growls are gruff and ominous, while the elements whip around you, the elements bubble and burn, the pace dizzies, and Balan howls the title over and over before it relents. Thoabath kicks off “Mirotheas” with a charge that reminds of WOLD and makes it feel like you’re lost in a vicious, electric whiteout where you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. Harsh, tortured wails strike and hang there like a ghost’s calls for help, while noises thrust, twist, and spit everywhere, and a wave that reminds of a relentless tooth drill grinds into the side of your head. The terror is utterly haunting, before Way leads you off into a sleep-inducing gaze.    

For more on Palace of Worms, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tattooedinworms

For more on Thoabath, go here: https://www.facebook.com/acwaythoabath/

To buy the album, go here: http://kingofthemonstersrecords.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://kotmrecords.blogspot.com/

OB-GD17-001.pdfMexican black metal destroyers Sacrocurse, who last unleashed their fires with 2014 full-length “Unholier Master,” are back at it with a four-track 7” release “Destroying Chapels” that blows by before you even know what hit you. Released by always reliable Iron Bonehead, this effort contains three new tracks that sound delivered from hell, as well as a killer cover of a Bathory classic on which they place their own bloody stamp. The band–guitarist/vocalist ZK, bassist SW, drummer LZ–unleash their assault with no chance for you to prepare, and over the course of these nearly 14 minutes of chaos and audio war, you’re put through the war grinder.

We get started with “Total Devastation,” a track that is named pretty accurately because that’s exactly what it sounds like. Dark riffs roll out and start the beating, while harsh shrieks rain down, opening up wounds, while the rest of the elements completely overwhelm you. The riffs are big and mighty, while the feel of the song is raw and primitive, which gives it, and the rest of the EP, the right amount of sootiness. “Sacrocurse Temple” smothers with its speed and aggression, as the crazed growls are buried under the noise, and guitars fire up and spill all over the place. It feels like there is nowhere to run on this song, like a riot has broken out and completely enveloped you. The title cut is blistering from the start, with the growls bubbling, the band pounding relentlessly, and the assault coming from every angle, leaving you no time to take cover. Finally, they unleash their cover of Bathory’s “Total Destruction” (from “The Return”), and Sacrocurse dress it in extra layers of violence. The drums rattle out of control, while the band grinds hellishly over this cut, with the vocals staying a little more faithful to the original, though the growls sound filtered through broken glass. The soloing? It’s like lava bursting everywhere and splashing anyone in its wake. Killer finish to this wartorn appetizer.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Sacrocurse

To buy the album, go here: http://shop.ironbonehead.de/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.ironbonehead.de/

There you have it, two strong 7” releases that will melt right through the stupid snow and ice and leave anyone unaware of what to expect shaken to their core. These are two cutting, crushing releases that will give you all the chaos you need in just under a half hour combined.

Old Forest mix star elements into their woodsy black metal on stirring new album ‘Dagian’

Old Forest coverI live in a weird country. We have a bizarre, strange history that different people perceive in different ways. Facts don’t matter, by the way. Anyway, I’m on a tangent. I feel somewhat jealous for countries that have healthy, interesting mythology that its people can immerse themselves and not feel oddly guilty, and I often wish I had more of that here in the States.

There are many bands that pay honor to the stories of their land, and one of those is Old Forest, the long-running black metal band from England who have been making captivating music since 1998 and who have returned with their great third full-length effort “Dagian.” The band takes its name from Tolkien (always a plus in our book) and pay homage from many of the tales of their land that have moved them to create such moving music. This new effort, their second record since reforming nine years ago (“None More Black” came out in 2014), finds the band expanding their sound even further, this time deeper into the cosmos. Their adventurous, rustic approach to black metal remains, but the psyche-laden synth work is richer than ever before and makes this an ideal record for skygazing at night.

As noted, Old Forest kicked off almost two decades ago, and their debut “Into the Old Forest” arrived a year later, initially cementing their name into black metal’s annals. They continued on a few years before before disbanding, but eventually restarted in 2007. Once they resurfaced, their output has been more prolific, with a couple of EPs, some demo recordings, and then the second full-length. The three members–vocalist/synth player Kobold (also of the great Into the Woods…), guitarist/bassist Beleth, drummer Lord Grond–meld to make a mesmerizing collection that gets more engaging with each listen as this world keeps unfolding.

“Morwen” is the 10:24 opener, beginning in the center of lucidity, with birds chirping, a woodsy ambiance afoot, and guitars slowly making their way before the inevitable burst. When that occurs, moody melodies sink in their teeth, while synth waves create a psyche vortex, howled vocals give a primitive feel, and you’re locked into what seems like a very involved story mode. The playing is strong and compelling, while cleans wails arrive to wash out some of the salt, and the melody chugs and churns over cosmic wonders, with the declaration, “I was never here!” bringing the track to an abrupt halt. “Non” starts with the call, “All is woken,” as the 11:55 cut heads toward a more rock-like tempo, and keys and flutes waft in and make your head all numb. The track hits rougher waters, as harsh growls are unleashed, the bass punches back, and clean singing is injected in order to enrich what’s already a pretty involved recipe. The atmosphere here feels like a gush of energy, while the song keeps burning, the band keeps the spirits high, and the track comes to a rousing conclusion.

“Tweoneleoht” has a slow introduction, swimming amid guitars roused from their sleep, and a chunky pace that’s one of the sections of this record that can cause some bruising. Atmosphere again becomes a major factor, as the band takes its time over this 10:27 piece and lets it develop naturally. The storm clouds open a little later, letting the ground take a drenching while the melodies cascade, sweeping and stretching over the duration of the journey. Flutes return while chant-like singing leads the song into a bed of noise, and the final moments open back up fully before fading away. The 15:34 closer “Neaht” is a solely ambient piece, one that makes it feel like a fog rising over the forest after a cold, rainy morning. The sounds waft like the moisture is taking its hold, with the sounds haunting and the approach shifting a bit 10 minutes into the piece. Then, the elements glimmer while spacey drone drops, and a sheen is applied to the back end of the track as it dissolves into air and works its way to the stars.

Old Forest strike every chord within me, as I love this style of black metal and always am hungry to be immersed in this type of music. Their reformation was a gift that keeps rewarding us, and “Dagian” keeps their spirit and creative drive humming. If ever I can find a forest in my neck of the woods in which to get lost, I’d love it to be with this record as I try to make up my own mythology.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/oldforestofficial

To buy the album, go here: http://avantgardemusic.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.avantgardemusic.com/

Lycus mix darker elements into their powerful funeral doom powers on gargantuan ‘Chasms’

LycusThe caverns of misery and depression are visited often by many people. Some suffer under the shadows of mystery, with no one ever knowing the torment that encompasses them, while others bleed darkness right out in the open. Either way, it’s a state that is not easy to deal with, and often the struggle is massive.

Listening to Lycus always makes me think of navigating through my own woes. Having bouts with depression and, most often, anxiety often makes existence feel like a cold, oppressive storm that chills my bones, and immersing myself in this band’s music can provide an oddly comforting territory where I can confront what ails me and get a better understanding of what lurks inside my own head. I doubt that was Lycus’ purpose when putting together any of their records, including their excellent new one “Chasms,” but that’s what I’ve always taken away. It’s easy to slap the funeral doom tag on them, as it fits quite well, but there is a lot more to their puzzle than that, and they find a way to make suffering seem cinematic.

Lycus coverOn this new album, Lycus branch out even further past the sub-genre boundaries in which they’re often placed. Death and doom always have been a part of their formula, but they bring in different shadows, sometimes even delving into deathrock (the sweeping cello work of the great Jackie Perez Gratz adds a thick wave of beauty) and other morose sounds. The vocals are a mix of gargantuan growl and tortured bellow, and the band–vocalist/guitarist Jackson Heath, guitarist Jonathan Nicosia, bassist Bret Tardiff, and drummer/vocalist Trevor Deschryver–sounds as fluent and tight as ever before, bringing their visions into even greater focus.

“Solar Chamber” gets us started, a 10:41 journey that opens with sticky, cold melodies and mournful tones that feel like a hundred tons on your chest. Deep singing starts, later cut by gurgling growls and vicious shrieks, and the pace rumbles a little faster for a bit. The track later goes back to muddy trails that lead right into the fog, while the song manages to get even heavier and then sort of elegant. The monstrous growls creep back in as the final minutes cause your nostrils to freeze. The 13:05 title cut follows, and it floats on water when it begins, with strings joining the fray, growls creeping, and formless wails sitting in the background. The track gets crushing and thrashing, with growls mixed with detached singing, and the pace keeps clobbering as it goes. The guitar work glimmers, the strings trickle, and the final moments bleed away.

“Mirage” is the shortest cut of the bunch at 7:26, and it unleashes a frosty wind as it begins, feeling like it’s sticking you in the middle of a rainy, thick forest to wander endlessly. The setting often is uneasy, with the cello churning, harsh shrieks exploding, and carnage setting in and staying for the duration. It’s one of the band’s most aggressive songs to date, and it’s massive and unforgiving before relenting in the final moments. Closer “Obsidian Eyes” goes 12:22, and it has guitars boiling and giving off steam, melting away some of the frost, while the band hits a slow-burning pace, the growls rupture, and the strings moisten the ground. Guitars rise up and glaze over the cut, with the tempo mauling, deep growls generating power, and clean calls working into that, providing a haunting feel you can’t shake. The torturous punishment keeps dealing blows, rolling into the mire and dragging you along until its grip suddenly, mysteriously releases you.   

Lycus already are a leader in the funeral doom world, and “Chasms” will further cement the stranglehold they have on personal darkness. The added textures they splash here make their sound even more intoxicating, and they keep getting more interesting and captivating. Taking a deep swim with Lycus’ music and your personal demons might not seem alluring on the surface, but doing so might make you resurface a stronger person.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/lycusdoom

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://relapse.com/

PICK OF THE WEEK: Crippled Black Phoenix’s dark vision mixes with spacey tribute on ‘New Dark Age’

Crippled_Black_Phoenix-bandThe term “cinematic” gets whipped out there a lot when it comes to talking about music, and often times that descriptor actually fits. Music that wells up your feelings inside and make it seem like you’re in the middle of a great or dark adventure is enthralling and some of my favorite stuff to occupy my mind.

UK band Crippled Black Phoenix always has been one that has satisfied that whim when it comes to wanting something to sweep me off into the distance. Their style is huge and epic, yet they have an absolute darkness to them that doesn’t promise you a happy ending every time out. They’re not exactly a metal band, per se, though their style certainly can have a carryover effect the same way as a group such as MONO, and everything they put out is involved and demands the listener’s energy be devoted back to their artwork. If you also happen to get the feeling that the world is crumbling down around you when you immerse yourself in your music, don’t worry. That just means you’re doing it right.

CBP coverCrippled Black Phoenix have returned with an excellent new EP “New Dark Age” on primarily metal label Season of Mist, and it provides the first real dramatic sparks from the heavy music world in 2016. This project, long led by multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves, offers this mini-collection (for them; it’s still quite meaty in length) that contains two brand new tracks and an extended, newly reimagined cover of Pink Floyd’s dual-part “Echoes” track that finishes off the classic “Meddle” album. Along with Greaves on this album is a healthy collection of players including Daniel Änghede on vocals and guitar; Mark Furnevall on synthesizer, keyboards, and backing vocals; Daisy Chapman on piano and vocals; Ben Wilsker on drums; Niall Hone on bass; Jonas Stålhammar on guitar; and Belinda Kordic on vocals.

“Spider Island” begins the collection, the shortest of the four songs, so it’s the one that’s the most immediate. The tempo drives slowly as guitars begin to slide, other elements glimmer, and the vocals have a Queens of the Stone Age bend to them as Änghede warns, “You’ve got no friends here, only nightmares.” The back end swelters and drops a heavy shadow, leading into the 14:10 title cut. What sounds like sirens begin to wail, as bluesy guitar work dirties the scene, keys begin to rush, and some of that Floydian paranoia trickles into the lyrics as Änghede insists, “We’re not afraid of your machinery.” The track keeps building thicker levels, as guitars tear out and burn, and the track takes on a spacey essence. Guitars and synth unite as the track breaks open one last time, as the band agitates their blaze and burns everything to the ground.

Then come the dual portions of “Echoes” that begin with clips from an old interview with Pink Floyd, with them sounding goofy, fake full of themselves, and holding court. That leads into the first half of “Part I” that’s pretty faithful to the original and sounds hauntingly like its creators. As the second half rolls around, that’s where the band starts taking Floyd’s vision and begins pushing it into different stratospheres. You might find your head swimming in their playing, as they really let their imaginations soar. The final moments bubble up and into “Part II” that again delves into Floyd quotes and then a mix of straight-up honoring the original and adding new dashes. At one point, the band hits a groove that reminds of modern-day Rush, and they keep the tempo boiling before things start to fade out, making you think everything is coming to a close. But no. The sounds re-emerge and create an entirely different thing, that being a trip into yet another Floyd song “Childhood’s End” from “Obscured by Clouds. It’s a really nice surprise tacked on, and a rousingly played one at that.

I’ve long enjoyed Crippled Black Phoenix’s music and approach to their work, and this EP fits right along albums such as “200 Tons of Bad Luck” and world-toppling “The Resurrectionists & Night Raider” as far as enjoyment factor is concerned. Their new material jars and hopefully indicates where the band is headed next, and their Floyd cover is sprawling but ideal, as it pays half homage and then blows up the rest of the idea in their own way. This is a great smaller release from a band that never fails to captivate with tales they create in their own macabre world.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/CBP444/

To buy the album, go here: http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here: http://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

The Lion’s Daughter lay waste to senses with sludge and fury on muddy ‘Existence Is Horror’

TLDOne of the most dreaded moves in professional wrestling for the longest time was the piledriver. You don’t see it quite as much anymore, what with brain health and concussion protocols a major part of trying to keep performers safe. And there’s good reason for that. But at a time, there was no more crushing way to end a match than to drive your opponent’s head square into the mat from an upside down position.

I mention that because every listen I’ve had so far to The Lion’s Daughter’s second record “Existence Is Horror” has made me think of that long-celebrated finishing move. The 10 tracks pound you over and over, almost as if you’re taking one piledriver after another. Once the blow has been administered, you’re made to lie there, grasping at your neck, watching the room spin, and wondering when the pain will subside. The band’s destructive sludge tendencies are massive and well played, and the way they go about their business indicates they have no interest in falling with the pack of like-minded bands. They’re progressive and interesting, and their slight twinge of hardcore (intentional or not) keeps them a little meaner and punchier than most.

The Lion's Daughter coverThe Lion’s Daughter have been around nearly a decade now, forming in St. Louis and issuing their first EP “The Forgotten Masters” in 2011. Their first full-length “Shame on Us All” landed four years ago, and since then, they’ve put out a collaborative piece with Indian Blanket and a split with Nights Like These. The group is a three-headed beast comprised of guitarist/vocalist Rick Giordano, bassist Scott Fogelbach, and drummer Erik Ramsier, and their work here on “Existence Is Horror,” their Season of Mist debut, should put them in good company with folks into bands such as Tombs, Neurosis, and Mastodon’s earlier work.

“Probator” opens the record and is basically an intro piece, with noises pulsating, guitars beginning to chill, and horrified screams in the background. “Mass Green Extinctus” then punches its way right through, with furious growls unleashed, muddy stampeding, and some howled singing later in the song to add more abrasion. “Nothing Lies Ahead” has a liquidy opening, feeling weird and disorienting before it truly gets moving. From there, the clobbering begins, with meaty growls, the band ramping up a chugging energy that’s infectious, and some dizzying melodies intertwined with mind-altering noises. There definitely is a psyche element to this band, and this is one of the first times that becomes clear. The track ends with a thrashy burst and paves the way for like-minded “Dog Shaped Man,” a gargantuan, monster of a cut that has guitars firing and crunchy punishment that forces you face-first into the mud. “Four Flies” bursts out of light, with riffs churning and off-kilter melodies blasting you. Psychedelic noise wafts over and disorients, and gruff singing and violence surges before it trickles away.

“Midnight Glass” swelters as riffs spiral and howls cause bruising. The music gets meaty and thrashy, with the hardcore feel blowing into the room, and the bulk of this thing is just heavy as hell. “The Fiction in the Dark” is another instrumental that unloads noise wails and sounds sizzling. The guitars open up and begin sprawling, and strange, foggy melodies roll into “A Cursed Black End” that stymies right away. The band takes its time doing its damage here, with riffs firing over top and the track heading into muddy glory that feels battle tested. “They’re Already Inside” has an alien ambiance to it, almost like it’s trying to re-program you, but then it fires up and hits a calculated, vicious tempo. Again, psyche notes glimmer, but it’s mostly a beating. The closing title cut is riffy as hell, and the vocals are devastating. The guitars begin stabbing, while cleaner singing settles in before that switches over to full-blown howling. The guitars pretty much dominate as the song reaches the home stretch, as the band obliterates with precision and calculated might to ensure those wounds stick with you for a while.

The Lion’s Daughter certainly are vicious and calculatingly brutal on “Existence is Horror,” and they make good on making that album title count and have maximum impact. The band has solid chops, writes compelling songs that get in, destroy, and get out, and have all the potential in the world to be smashers for years to come. They may not leave you a concussive mess literally, but mentally you’ll feel like you were dumped on your neck and left to suffer.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/thelionsdaughter

To buy the album, go here: http://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/

Or here: http://shop.season-of-mist.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

Kosmokrator’s reissued demo ‘To the Svmmit’ has the chaos and horror to bludgeon you

KosmokratorChaos and terror are pretty reliable ingredients to most black metal, not that you can’t play the stuff without those things. But this form of metal is based on those elements and constantly feed off them, so when both things are present in a band’s style, you’re already off to a good start.

Of course, some bands merely pay lip service to those things and pile manufactured darkness on top of hollow sound. Luckily, Belgian horde Kosmokrator are not pretenders, and their debut recording “To the Svmmit” is evidence of their danger. Those who scour the underground may have come across this three-track collection in 2014 when it first was released by the band as a demo. Now, Van Records is bringing the band and this collection into greater awareness by reissuing these hellish pieces that are churning, noisy, and fairly terrifying.

Kosmokrator cover“To the Svmmit” is the only recording to this band’s credit, and it’s difficult to learn much more about the group as they keep a rather low profile and don’t disseminate a ton of information about their goings on. What we do know is the folks comprising this band–vocalist J, guitarists C.M. and M, bassist T., drummer E–is that they sound like they’re creating a vortex of horrors. They let the darkness simmer and build, creeping you out and making you feel like you’re in imminent danger throughout these 29 minutes. There are spooky intentions, hellish transmissions, and enough smoke to coat your lungs as they drub you over and over again.

The record opens with “Ad Alta Ad Astra,” a 12:08 track that takes some time to fully unfurl. Chants bubble, while choral sections add a hint of beauty to the cut, and the doom bells pave way for Armageddon, which strikes with the mucky guitars and weird melodies. Dark growls settle into the mix, as grim churning arrives and the band’s playing absolutely clobbers you. Some gazey melodies settle in and mix with the carnage, while detached voices echo and the song fades out. “Adoration of He Who Is Upon the Blackest of Thrones” almost takes longer to say (and type) than to absorb. The 5:25 crusher destroys and pays zero attention to your aggravated wounds, as it hammers heavily and smears its chaos. The song is vicious and oppressive, and it mauls the hell out of you until it swirls out into the mire.

Closer “Sermon of the Seven Suns” runs 11:36 and opens with a quiet rumble, like an oncoming storm sitting over the horizon before it sets in on you. Whispers trickle and the riffs finally open, with the band set on clubbing you and the vocals concentrating on pure terror. The riffs burn and lead into speedy fury, with the band thrashing and clobbering and any hint of settling only setting up the next eruption. Noise hovers and the playing melts away at you, as the sounds begin to subside, a fire begins to crackle, and bleeding guitars sit underneath the horrors that flood and bleed away like waters rushing.

Kosmokrator should find more eager, willing ears as “To the Svmmit” spreads across to more listeners and sickens them with its ways. These songs can haunt and destroy the senses all at once, and Kosmokrator sound like a band that could become one that deserves our attention moving forward. Now, to see what they can do with a full-length album.

For more on the band, go here: https://kosmokrator-vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.van-records.de/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/vanrecs

Krallice unleash yet another surprise release, this time with killer New Year’s EP ‘Hyperion’

KRallice coverPeople are going to start spying on Krallice, and for good reason. OK, actually, there are very few good reasons to spy on people, but I digress. For the second time in the past six months, the band has dropped a surprise release in our laps, with not even a warning anything was coming.

So if you were like me and checked out your Facebook or whatever New Year’s Day and saw myriad posts about Krallice, you knew something was up, and that was new EP “Hyperion.” Yeah, on the final day of July, they did the same damn thing, unleashing their astonishing fifth album “Ygg Huur,” and now comes this great three-track new EP that furthers their ambition and creativity. If you are expecting something sonically like “Ygg Huur,” you’re in for a surprise, as it goes in a totally different direction and feels a bit more like their earlier work where they pushed the boundaries of progression. But that’s where those similarities end, as the band once again has come up with something fresh and mind-altering.

Krallice’s lineup has remained steadily in tact ever since releasing their debut, self-titled full-length in 2008. On guitars you have Colin Marston and Mick Barr (who also contributes vocals), on bass is Nicholas McMaster (also on vocals), and on drums is Lev Weinstein. As time has gone on and this band has continued to grow, they’ve become one of the most impressive in all of metal. If you argued who is the best all-around band in the genre today and stopped at Krallice, you wouldn’t get an argument here, and this new EP only serves to solidify that stance.

The EP kicks off with the 7:27 title cut, a blistering track that has riffs swirling like a tornado, with growls erupting and the melodies cascading down. The band hits on some proggy fire, as the song gets riveting a pretty fun, with each element sprawling all over, wild howls breaking out, and the jets later cooling as the pieces of this fade in space. “The Guilt of Time” starts with a burst of speed before some uncharacteristic but welcome warm melodies trickle beneath. Chaos erupts, later spilling into doomy deposits before going cold. The track later ignites all over again, with the elements boiling and the band blasting ahead. Wild howls crush, and the band rambles toward the finish.

Closer “Assuming Memory” begins chilling your blood, as the song builds deliberately toward its inevitable explosion. The band explores each inch of the room, with the drums exploding everywhere, the music taking you on a strange adventure, and the growls sounding like they’ve emerged from a cosmic hell. Murk rises up and darkens everything, a synth bed emerges and causes a visual scene like the aftermath of an apocalyptic struggle, and the fires fade away, leaving you breathless and devastated.

So Krallice will keep us guessing, whether that’s about where their sound is heading or when they’re going to drop something new on our heads. As long as they keep putting out music as good and challenging as this “Hyperion” EP, they can do whatever the F they want. I know when I part with money the first hours of 2016 that I hope I’m going to get something worthy, and my expectations were completely blown away by Krallice. Again.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/krallice

To buy the album, go here: http://krallice.bandcamp.com/

Meat Mead Metal Top 40 recap

We’ll resume regular stuff tomorrow (with a record we had no idea we’d be tackling), but we figured we’d whip together this easy-to-digest list of our top 40 albums of the year. We got an insane amount of visitors over the journey where we unfurled this list, and we thank you so much for reading and following along with us. We hope you have a great 2016.

 

  1. FALSE, Untitled (Gilead Media)
  2. ALDA, “Passage” (Bindrune Recordings)
  3. INDESINENCE, “III” (Profound Lore)
  4. NECHOCHWEN, “Heart of Akamon” (Bindrune Recordings)
  5. CHRCH, “Unanswered Hymns” (Transylvanian Tapes/Battleground)
  6. PANOPTICON, “Autumn Eternal” (Bindrune Recordings)
  7. OBSEQUIAE, “Aria of Vernal Tombs” (20 Buck Spin)
  8. VASTUM, “Hole Below” (20 Buck Spin)
  9. YELLOW EYES, “Sick With Bloom” (Gilead Media)
  10. VANUM, “Realm of Sacrifice” (Profound Lore)
  11. IMMORTAL BIRD, “Empress/Abscess” (Broken Limbs/Manatee Rampage)
  12. NIGHT DEMON, “Curse of the Damned” (Century Media)
  13. CRUCIAMENTUM, “Charnel Passages” (Profound Lore)
  14. BELL WITCH, “Four Phantoms” (Profound Lore)
  15. JESS & THE ANCIENT ONES, “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes” (Svart)
  16. CRYPT SERMON, “Out of the Garden” (Dark Descent)
  17. DREADNOUGHT, “Bridging Realms” (Sailor)
  18. CLOUD RAT, “Qliphoth” (Halo of Flies)
  19. EYE OF NIX, “Moros” (Belief Mower)
  20. CAINA, “Setter of Unseen Snares” (Broken Limbs/Church of Fuck)
  21. PALE CHALICE, “Negate the Infamous and Miraculous” (Gilead Media)
  22. IRON MAIDEN, “The Book of Souls” (Universal)
  23. AMBER ASYLUM, “Sin Eater” (Prophecy)
  24. KOWLOON WALLED CITY, “Grievances” (Gilead Media)
  25. PINKISH BLACK, “Bottom of the Morning” (Relapse)
  26. PROTOLITH, “Dark” (self-released)
  27. VHOL, “Deeper Than Sky” (Profound Lore)
  28. KRALLICE, “Ygg Huur” (self-released)
  29. BISMUTH, “Unavailing” (Dry Cough)
  30. KHEMMIS, “Absolution” (20 Buck Spin)
  31. WINDHAND, “Grief’s Infernal Flower” (Relapse)
  32. ÆVANGELIST “Enthrall to the Void of Bliss” (20 Buck Spin)
  33. HORRENDOUS, “Anareta” (Dark Descent)
  34. DENDRITIC ARBOR, “Romantic Love” (Grimoire)
  35. PISSGRAVE, “Suicide Euphoria” (Profound Lore)
  36. MGLA, “Exercises in Futility” (Northern Heritage/No Solace)
  37. MAGIC CIRCLE, “Journey Blind” (20 Buck Spin)
  38. LOCRIAN, “Infinite Dissolution” (Relapse)
  39. PYRAMIDS, “A Northern Meadow” (Profound Lore)
  40. DALLA NEBBIA, “Felix Culpa” (Razed Soul)

1. FALSE, Untitled (Gilead Media)

FALSE coverLast year at this time, I was pretty sure I knew what album was going to be the top choice for Meat Mead Metal’s Top 40 of 2015. I was lucky enough to be trusted with a way-in-advance copy of FALSE’s debut full-length effort, a record that is untitled, and I could tell from listen one that this beast was unconquerable. Sure, some steady contenders would come and go as 2015 went on, but nothing was able to top this album from its mantle. This collection of songs ran the wire from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015, as my favorite metal album I would hear all year long, and here it is, in its rightful top spot.

As many know about Minnesota’s FALSE, they do not do media. They relented and did a couple pieces for the release of the new record, but other than that, they let the music speak for them. So there isn’t an interview attached to this piece. But having seen the band–vocalist Rachel, guitarists James Claypool and Skorpian Vanderbrook, bassist Niko, keyboard/synth player Kishel, drummer Travis–play multiple times, including twice within a week this past summer in Pittsburgh, it’s evident they have no issue letting the music do the talking. Their tumultuous black metal remains front and center. But on this record some classic metal splashes were dashed and gave it the feeling of something continuing to aggravate modern fires. Yet it also had its hands in metal’s past to pay homage and try to bring those roots right into the band’s riotous style.

FALSEIf you’re familiar with FALSE, then you know that everything they do is in epic length. This record is no exception with five tracks draped over 60 minutes, every moment a complete killer. That gets started with “Saturnalia,” a track built on tumult and exploration, Rachel’s vocals twisting and turning through a fiery vortex, and the band violently slicing pathways into the mountain. “The Deluge” must be heard to be believed, one of the best constructed songs of the year that builds dramatically to Sarah Green’s blistering choral lines intermingling with Rachel’s coarse growls to create a life-altering memory. The untitled cut brings the classic metal influence into the scene full force, as does “Hedgecraft” that contains some galloping sections that would make Iron Maiden awfully proud and happy. Not to leave out “Entropy,” a track where the synth has a heavier hand and adds a nice bit of chill to a cavernous boil of murk. Each song is strong on its own, but as a whole, the package is unstoppable.

So we offer major hails to FALSE, the first band in our short history to top our year-end list twice, and a group that’s slowly making people aware of their gale-force power. Their debut record shows a band that refuses to be a servant to style or trend and has taken the dark forces that move them and twisted them into their own creation. We’ve spent a little over 12 months with this record, eventually experienced the songs on vinyl and in the live setting, and it grew with power and intensity each time. There are a handful of bands that are in the palm of metal’s future, and FALSE is the most aggressive and most interesting of those groups. (June 16)

For more on the band, go here: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/False/3540332204

To buy the album, go here: http://www.erodingwinds.com/product-category/music/gilead-media-releases/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.gileadmedia.net/