Texan progressive metal powerhouses Oceans Of Slumber are one of the must watch acts of 2018. This band is incredible and compelling, constantly honing their craft and unafraid to develop a real emotional connection with listeners via the impressive musical arrangements paired with the moving and otherworldly vocals of Cammie Gilbert. This is one of the bands we are stanning so fucking hard this year. "The Banished Heart", their gorgeous and emotional latest video, got 13k views in less than 24 hours! Not bad for a non-household name act still proving their staying power. In the bands words they are ,"...Binding the extreme with the grandiose and topping it with the soulful call of our very own siren."
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With news late this year that Eddie Hermida is getting back together with All Shall Perish, with an Ozzy solo album expected in 2016, with talk of another Black Sabbath album and with another Meat Loaf album in the works, there’s a lot to look forward to in the coming years.
2015 was a bad year for me personally, but I wanted to make sure that unlike in 2014, I came and did a ‘best of’ list.
Looking back at the year that was, I tried to be as thorough as I could be. In the end I came up with six brutal fucking albums.
So, without any further ado, here it is – my top 6 albums of 2015.Add to My Radar
In case you want to read about something other than everyone on the face of the Earth quitting Emmure, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS will kick off a month-long US tour on January 30th. The journey will commence with five headlining shows before a near three-week run supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse and Carach Angren.
The band continue to evolve ever darker and their latest slab The Accuser was ranked as my #1 most interesting extreme metal album alongside bands like Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, InAeona and other standout records you may have missed this year. It is a big step forward for the group, who have developed into something substantially usince their early symphonic days.
Dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
Regarding the video, SOLSTAFIR guitarist/frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason comments, “The track is about wandering in darkness. Playing chess with Death, getting burned by salt, drowning in the ultimate wave of sin and returning back home by using moonlight as navigation.”
Video directors Harri Haataja and Vesa Ranta comment, “They told us a real-life story about a sailor who lost his crew at sea and was stranded to shore as the only survivor,” the directors write. “He proceeded to find his way to town and [along the way] he found a barrel filled with water. But the water was frozen, so he had to punch through the ice with his bare hands to fight the dehydration. Eventually, after a long journey, he found his way to town and survived.”
“Miðaftann” is taken from SOLSTAFIR’s critically acclaimed new album , ‘Otta’. The album, which has made Decibel Magazine’s top 40 albums of 2014, is streaming here, and is available now at the Season of Mist E-shop.Add to My Radar
The poseurs were put soundly to bed, when Vision of Disorder fans danced on their heads…
While their have been death metal Christmas endeavors before and plenty of
movies where Santa was a killer or more tame fare like The Grinch, the joy of
Christmas can be confusing to metalheads. We thrive on depression and rage, or
at least wallow in dank cellars rolling in cold puddles and moaning as our
laundry piles up. But anyway…We decided to make your shopping easier this
year. Assuming you have anyone to shop for. If not, keep these babies to
yourself in the spirit of giving the darkness only to someone who will really
enjoy it. Cuz Santa all mixed up from strong nog spells Satan, and Satan is greedy!
But seriously, check out our list of neat stuff. That is, if you haven’t spent all your shekles already on punk rockers Bad Religion’s always weird yet surreal and awesome Christmas music from a few years ago (since, ya know, Christmas is kind of associated with religion! And Starbucks!!).
Gift ideas BELOW!Add to My Radar
Mysterium is my favorite Temple Of Baal release since their more death-centric
Lightslaying Rituals (when I first discovered the band). And this might be their actual best.
This new release from the French deathened BM horde is full of snarled and commanding vocals,
cool arrangements and a great mix that balances things well. The drums are
somewhat subservient to the guitars as is often the style of some French BM
traditions, but the snare sound is cutting and great. The whirlpool of guitars
that often represents this band at their finest and most furious retain their
seat at the front of the mix, with the vocals audible but adding to the
overall texture as well.
I love Temple of Baal’s whiplash inducing solos, which climb and writhe like
snakes and are often over before you can blink. The screams as well,
particularly on opener “Lord of Knowledge and Death” are full of dedication to
the dark artistry of this music. I’ve listened to this record a lot in a short
amount of time and while it is fairly relentless, you don’t (or at least I
don’t) get fatigued by it like some of their past albums. The performances are all killer and delivered with bullseye intention.
In particular mad props to (I believe) current drummer Scvm (ex-Order of Apollyon) who is insane on this.
The 8 tracks offer just enough of a battle scarred landscape to
escape your dull day in full and create a severe, furrowed brow mental picture
of determination, despondency and a sort of warlike longing for more. Fans of
mid period Behemoth or recent Mayhem will really dig “Magna Gloria Tua”, which hits as hard as anything on Evangelion or Esoteric Warfare yet has a seriously creepy onslaught of an atmospheric laced bridge full of tremelo, chanted background vocals and excursions into serpentine, cavernous dissonance. Certainly one of the band’s greatest moments on record to date.
This is a rock solid record that finds the band striking a great balance between their newer atmospheric tendencies (which I love) and the ferocity they have always had no shortage of. The songwriting is also more memorable. It wasn’t bad in the past but whereas before they got by a bit more on classic aesthetics (ala Italy’s Malfeitor who were relentless and great but not the most original), attack and one of the cooler names in BM, now you will find yourself headbanging and yelling along to ToB’s “Holy Art Thou” like it is second nature.
“Your name is carved within our hearts as the deepest initiation scar…” I believe one of the cooler lines goes. I wonder who they are talking about, hahaha.
The UK’s elusive and deeply talented Nhor returns with another record that encompasses a certain holistic wholeness of self, from artwork, naturalism and awareness of space that is a hallmark of each release from this artist. Whether nature illustrations with attention to every line to black metal that mines a stone strong heart for courage to a philosophical current between the records of a respect for the massive, interconnected Universe, this project could easilly find fans among the appalachian meets black metal set or wolves in the throne room types or traditional fans of pagan metal. There is nary a hint of dogma here, orthodox and anti-cosmic types be damned (which, they’d be into, haha)
Momenta Quintae Essentiae is a beautiful, sparse and contemplative record. It’s closest cousin in the Nhor catalogue is Upon Which Was Written In The Stars, an early, gentle piano driven EP.
Momenta Quintae… is equally thoughtful yet more seasoned. The effortlessness of the compositions is pretty astounding, as you really sort of by default slip into allowing the music to happen as an experience without picking it apart. “Ante Primam Lucem”, for example, rolls calmly for 6:09 of very unselfconscious and to the matter piano playing. Fans of Helen Money, Solstafir, Alcest or other bands who develop through tempo control will appreciate the lack of a rush to the material. It exists, almost like classical compositions, on its own firm terms. Unlike some classical, however, nothing is ever overstated. “Hedera” is simple and beautiful enough to be part of a hand binding ceremony. I also like “Nosce Te Ipsum” because the music slightly reminds me of the quiet intro riff to “One” by Metallica.
This is a much less dark release than the brilliant and breath taking Within The Darkness Between The Starlight, a BM record I’d highly recommend as an all time favorite of recent years. However, the light play of music here is a welcome body of work, like ripples on a lake you are relaxed and burdens can be released in a less abrasive and more natural way.
Another big creative victory for Nhor and perfect for reading at 2am or a lonely autumn day.
They say that during troubled times it is often good to find escape or comfort in routine. Some people do well at staying on task. Others find too much friction between their emotional state and the mundane. Sometimes there is relief found unexpectedly though when you can get things done and restore small oasis-like moments of order to a chaotic World.
Others believe in the law of attraction and positive manifestation. I think it is a combination of an energy filled Universe, will, karma, inertia and many other often scarcely tangible movements that create the crescendos and decrescendos that compromise our lives. But sometimes we are hit with a lot at once.
This year was often like that for me and I am going to be less active on the blog front than usual for the next few weeks, determined to sort of coast out the rest of the year being very energy mindful and reflecting on love, life, death…all the big stuff.
As we think on the multifaceted Paris tragedy, I have read many people expressing sorrow at the sacred concert space being violated, that communal place of coming together. I totally agree.
The beauty of extreme music or rock n roll or hardcore or even the bat cave gloom of the industrial scene is that you can sometimes morse code , smoke signal or Instagram your messages out to like minded souls, the “Children of the Night” (to quote Dracula and lead in with a Tribulation tie in to transition to my year end list).
The following are some of the records that I found to be the very best this year. It might not be the same for you. I know Iron Maiden had a great double album and my favorite hard rock band Clutch is not on here, but because I am biased and always write about them. Instead I wanted to focus for my best of list on records I think were made by lesser appreciated bands than Lamb Of God , Megadeth, Motorhead or other giants.
Heck, Between the Buried And Me got a 5 star rating from me this year but their record isn’t on this list.
These records struck me the most, however.
That said, Coal Chamber, Failure, Faith No More reunited this year. None of them are on this list but all put out great records. Across the spectrum of tastes. Rock and metal are still pulsing. We can all make a huge and living racket that says we are here and share in that rush of blood , adrenaline, spirit that can never be silenced.
Read the list BELOW.Add to My Radar
Waking up this morning after a late night following all the unified support around the world for the victims of the Paris attacks of 2015 (as they will undoubtedly always be remembered), I am thankful for my life. Thankful, heading into late November, for my dog and my ability to wake up, smoke a bowl and listen to Bog Oak or Nate Hall’s Electric Vacuum Roar. Thankful my dear friends in Paris from Noisemag.net are safe. Thankful for the odd quirk that at least from this tragedy The Eagles Of Death Metal are now certainly a household name.
I was at a bar last night while following the developing story and speaking to my friend James Felice of folk band The Felice Brothers about how most people want peace around the world. I think even the people who would love to point fingers or not let go of anger can agree that, factually, peace is health and war is more akin to death.
It is interesting to me how some of the people who I admire, of whom Krieg‘s guiding force Neill Jameson is a prime example…some of the people who make the harshest or edgiest music also have the sensitivity and awareness to grasp that we all share a certain interconnectivity, whether we like it or not. Jameson was quick on his Facebook to post criticizing people who were saying “who cares” since the Paris attacks didn’t happen at a “real metal” show, just as he has spoken out against misogyny in the rock world and regularly deplored the state of the American record buyer’s mental faculties in his funny Decibel columns.
Now his main project Krieg has teamed up with experi-metal noise pioneers The Body to create one of the great collaborative records in recent memory. Along with the recent Gnaw Their Tongues/Dragged Into Sunlight co-helmed effort, it is cool to see bands doing these Marvel team ups and delivering new directions.
The music is uncompromising and matter of fact as it burns like industrial black sludge that has contacted human skin mercilessly. This is like an ulcer becoming a black hole. But you can’t stop listening and get pulled in deeper. It will be way too intense for some casual metal listeners who are more akin to understand the fun loving Airbournes or the standard thrash metal fan, for example. Nothing against those templates. But this is almost like having someplace to put all that darkness and let it out of the metaphorical rotting and mystery filled burlap sack for a minute, because you can’t keep that shit pent up inside you without causing yourself or others harm.
We need movement and conversation and even, at times, a way to scream things out in a productive way before we can return to sensible, forest quiet.
Read a full conversation about the record BELOW.Add to My Radar
Hot on the heels of signing the great Emptiness, esteemed label Season of Mist have announced the additional signing of WITHERED. The Atlanta based critically acclaimed black metal band will release their next full-length via the label in 2016.
Regarding the signing, WITHERED comment, “We are proud to work with a label like Season of Mist, which is truly committed to supporting extreme metal. WITHERED’s character and passion will be well represented by the Season of Mist team. After three years of evolution, our breath has deepened to fuel our musical exploration, and our growth, past the most brutal of expectations. We’ll see YOU on tour soon!”Add to My Radar
Guitarist/warlord of the night Jeff Wilson sometimes hits me up with tour news or to shoot the shit. It’s always good to talk the dude as he is a musician who does a lot of things on his own terms. Jeff, in the future, you don’t have to politely ask me to post stuff. Your music is way better than a lot of crap I’ve written about, so just send me tour dates and say ,”here ya go, fucker” and they will soon appear on this site in slim hope that more people will read them then the uptick in traffic we get when we post about stupid mallcore shit (less often, since I am doing the majority of the writing around here now…hahaha). I have a lot more respect for Jeff’s music and so will post about that instead of Five Finger Death Punch in hopes that when I get to Hell the devil will grant me a flaming key of blackened pitch to my own little burnt gingerbread house as a reward and while other bloggers must listen to Falling In Reverse forever I will thankfully get a sip of the river of forgetfulness and that actual Hell on Earth will be erased from my musical memory banks.
Wolvhammer are better than about 99% of the metal bands in the world right now and the other 1% are their peers. Likewise Atriarch. These are two of the bleaker but more truthful acts out there, bands you can lean on in lean times to get you through ugly shit. This is not jock jam metal, bright day at a festival shove mosh metal or idiotic hard choreography repressed homosexual mook metal. This is hit the bottom and come back stronger than ever, vomiting shadows on fake people, elephant in the room, ugly ass Satan metal that actually matters and can save lives.
Says Jeff: After a bit of a live hiatus this year due to cancellation, migration, inebriation and the lot; I’m really stoked to get back out on the road with Wolvhammer in December. We’ve got big plans for this one, playing songs from the entire discography, some never performed before. With our most crushing live lineup to date and the ever flawless Atriarch in tow, this run of dates on the west coast is not to be missed.
Wolvhammer / Atriarch Desanctifying North America Pt. 2 dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
The Wolves of Avalon is the embodiment of the ancient British spirit, a reflection of a time past and of an age now demolished by the modern chaos that has erupted between the many religious and political factions that poison the cultures of the Earth. – Metatron
The Meads of Asphodel mainman, Metatron, has returned with his pagan black metal project, The Wolves of Avalon, and an all star cover of Venom’s old school classic ‘Die Hard’ featuring Mantas himself, Amebix’s Rob Miller (now of Tau Cross), Primordial’s Alan Averill and Sigh’s Mirai!
To say that I was excited about this is bloody well an understatement. The grit and attack here is nearly unprecedented until you remember the dedication to metal of those involved. Moonlighters go home. This will flat out kill the unfaithful. Die hard!!! Orders for true warriors are available HERE.
Read BELOW to find out what is going on with the band in the future and the genesis of this killer 7″.
Add to My Radar
I’m so fucking glad they hired Idris Elba to play Heimdall in the Marvel movies, hahaha.
Metal Sucks has been doing some great Varg posting lately, exposing more of
his kooky antics that are increasingly self-parodying. I guess you can’t
expect consistent mindfulness or a lack of xenophobia from a guy who burns
churches to get back at Christians for being intolerant and bitches about
Syrian refugees despite being such an obvious team player and expert on
sustainable economic models that he…killed a band mate. Talk about long term
economic goals, Varg! Seems to me like that’s a surefire way to ruin a band
Though everyone knows De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas is awesome and that Mayhem’s
new Esoteric Warfare is not the same thing, it doesn’t need to be. “Trinity” is fucking awesome and that’s enough.
It is 2015.I’d rather support Mayhem now or the Fenriz types who work at post
offices and blog about metal and keep releasing masterpieces of the genre
without saddling us with all the extra baggage. It’s called evolution. Since
Varg seems to think his ancestors had that shit on lock and were the be all
end all, it’s no wonder he’s a bad expert on the subject (much like the anti-
evolution Christians whose digs he burned).
Plus, Kveldssanger by Ulver smokes Varg’s The Ways Of Yore, and they made that 2nd Ulver record when they were babies.
Oh, Varg also has recently released a racist role playing game.
Personally I always enjoyed Marvel Super Heroes role playing because it meant
I might “actually” get to bang Black Widow or hang out with Spider-Man. I had
a rebel Morlock who was a cat mutant named Lynx but liked using gattling guns
because of Predator. So yeah, that was when life used to be awesome. But I
never thought, gee…I wanna be a Klansmen who gets my ass kicked by Black
Panther and Luke Cage. No, I wanted to fuckin’ party with Blade and Morbius
The Living Vampire over some awkward red fruit punch.
All around cool dude and hard rock/power pop song machine Danko Jones had some
thoughts awhile ago on why Burzum as a casual t-shirt amidst CBGB’s and other
“brands” is a bad idea. In 2015 we often are about branding but is a Burzum
shirt the same as sporting a Tool shirt? No, not really. Listen to Skálmöld instead for your Loki love.
I love music sometimes by people who I don’t agree with, such is life
(I still listen to Dissection, FYI. Not Varg but kind of suspect, being that
I’m bi and all). But homeboy Varg is even giving pagans and Norwegian metal a
worse rep lately and it’s just not cool anymore, haha.
A very dear, gay friend of mine who is an occult artist has a sort of guilty
Burzum shirt in his closet and I get it, cuz the music rules and Varg is
funny, to an extent. But he’s also petty and ugly, even if he is on his own
karmic path. We don’t have to shrug and fit him in somewhere between checking
out Myrkur and Adult Swim’s team up and cooking dinner.
Yes, Myrkur is way more interesting these days
and oodles more relevant than this dusty Gollum fart Varg has become.
So here are some Norse influenced metal moments that aren’t going to make you
cringe , just like table top RPG’s shouldn’t have you wondering if the available “good guy” fair haired player races will all
start shouting ,“get the filthy muggles”...or some such. I’ve been known to rock
a “Die Orc” shirt, but without seeming cruel to orcs everywhere I think that’s
a shade different than what Varg and his (cough) troll supporters have aligned
themselves with philosophically over the years. I mean, I wouldn’t
automatically hate an orc if I saw one, but Varg is the equivalent of bitch
ass lieutenant of Morgul Gothmog saying “The age of men is over. The age of
the orc has come” if you, like, swap men with Jews and orc with “whitey.”
So let’s peace out Varg and pump these jams in the name of Balder instead.
Read it BELOW.
Add to My Radar
Aosoth are set to release a new EP!
After critically acclaimed “IV: Arrow In Heart” record took its toll on black metallers in 2013 and left an imprint on a great deal of year-end lists (inc. CVLT Nation, Stereogum, Popmatters, Heavy Magazine or Examiner.com), the French sowers of intelligent dark art, Aosoth, are coming back with a new EP, “IV”, slated for an October 23rd release on Agonia Records!
Recoded, mixed and mastered at BST Studio, the two-track EP will feature one new song and a remix from the last album, IV: Arrow In Heart.
On the new material, the band commented: “Third and last of three appendixes, serving as bridges between our fourth full-length record and the next”.
Cover artwork has been created by Somnyum.
The EP will be available in: black 10″ MLP, gold 10″ MLP (limited to 177 copies) and picture 10″ MLP (limited to 333 copies) only.
Side A: “Broken Dialogue”
Side B: “Appendix C”
More info BELOW