24 December 2012


Well, that time of year is upon us again. You know, when I magically remember I have a blog, and post my year-end ramblings on shit I listened to this past year. I wrestled with the idea of not bothering with a year-end best-of this year, but lucky for the lot of you, ego won out over ennui (it always does, doesn't it?). So without further ado…

20. FAUSTCOVEN- Hellfire & Funeral Bells (Nuclear War Now!)
19. LORD MANTIS – Pervertor (Candlelight)
18. NEUROSIS – Honor Found In Decay (Neurot)
17. AUTHOR & PUNISHER - Ursus Americanus (Seventh Rule)
16. ANAAL NATHRAKH – Vanitas (Candlelight)
15. SATAN’S WRATH – Galloping Blasphemy (Metal Blade)
14. LECHEROUS GAZE – On The Skids (Tee Pee)
13. UFOMAMMUT – Oro: Opus Primum (Neurot)
12. ALARIC/ATRIARCH – split EP (20 Buck Spin)
11. SATANIC BLOODSPRAYING - At the Mercy of Satan (Hell’s Headbangers)

 10. DAWNBRINGER - Into the Lair of the Sun God (Profound Lore)

Chris Black’s latest is more heart-on-its-sleeve classic heavy metal. It’s also a concept album about trying to murder the sun. It’s also got big balls enough to bring back the power ballad full-force. You don’t need to know any more than that.

 9. CHAPEL - Satan’s Rock’n’Roll (Invictus Productions)

Nothing new under the sun and that’s why I love it. Chapel bring that classic sound of Motörhead-bootfucking-Venom-in-a-grimy-alleyway to life once again, praising satan all the while. Every town needs a band that does this kind of thing properly and Vancouver finally has its in Chapel. They also put on a hell of a show, when they do deign to play. I caught one of their rare live sets at Interurban Gallery in November and they kicked everybody's ass.

 8. HAGGATHAIV (Blind Date)

It’s Haggatha, of course they’re going to make my top 10. I believe I’ve already used words like Yogsothothian and Brobdingnagian to describe their freight-ship-run-aground-with-black-metal-vocals-overtop sound, so you should have no problem understanding why they are on here.

7. RABBITS - Bites Rites (Good To Die)

Remember what you loved about noise-rock in the 1990s? Remember your favorite AmRep bands and releases? Remember when you were all stoked to find a copy of one of the Dope, Guns, and Fucking In The Streets comps in the local used-CD store? Yeah, well, so do Rabbits. 

 6. EAGLE TWINThe Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (Southern Lord)

Heaviest riffs I heard this year. ‘Nuff said. 

5. ADMIRAL SIR CLOUDESLEY SHOVELL - Don't Hear it... Fear It! (Rise Above)
Tasty proto worship from a band that wears its influences not so subtly as on its sleeve, but loud and proud as a fucking neon lamé suit, this band makes me want to pronounce Budgie all blackcountry like Bood-jeh. And no, they don’t even sound that much like Budgie (more like Sir Lord Bawlmer), but that’s neither here nor there. 

4. BURNING LOVERotten Thing To Say (Southern Lord)

Burning Love can do no wrong, never have. The new record is further proof, as if you needed it. Sure I could tell you there’s a distinctively Turbonegro-ish flair in the guitars this time out, or that the best song is absolutely breath-stealing, especially so once you realize it’s about one of Canada’s most notorious killers. But none of that matters. You just need to hear it. 

3. KING GIANTDismal Hollow (Graveyard Hill)

Southern discomfort that caught my ear by way of vocalist Dave Hammerly’s subtle Danzigisms and riffs that just kept on climbing (see “Appomattox” first). “O’Drifter” is a total knockout, it plays like some alternate universe where Jim Morrison doesn’t OD, quits the Doors and spends the ‘70s spree-killing across the interstates like Henry Lee Lucas. Then, later decides on Death Row to record an album of murder poetry with Clutch as his backing band. Scorching. 

2. GRAND MAGUS - The Hunt (Nuclear Blast)

Apparently I have a small percentage of Dane in my ancestry, so of course now I go around claiming Viking metal as part of my god-given ‘heritage’. Nevertheless, this slab of classic-sounding, Viking-worship metal is a no-brainer for anyone. You need only hear tracks like “Valhalla Rising” or “Storm King” to get your Norseblood up.  Admittedly, there’s some bias from seeing Grand Magus put on one hell of a show at Noctis (I listened to The Hunt a LOT after the fest), but ultimately this record’s hooks wrote its way into my #2 spot. 

1. THE SEQUENCE OF PRIME - Inter- (Independent)
My review at Hellbound really summed it up, but Brandon Duncan has written another perfect record that sounds like the way I hoped envisioned December 21, 2012 sounding if the Mayan calendar was right. One man who writes apocalypse soundtracks this good is a force to be reckoned with, and Inter- is more violent sonic proof of what I am convinced is his mad genius. Said more in 24 minutes than every other record I heard this year.

Most anticipated for 2013 :

ANCIIENTS forthcoming self-titled album on Season of Mist, mostly because I just can’t wait for you all to hear how effin’ good it is.

Label of the Year:

Daemon Worship Productions, hands-down. I discovered the label very late in 2012, but perusal of their Bandcamp makes it pretty clear that everything they have put out this year has been top-notch. Especially blown away by Israthoum’s Black Poison and Shared Wounds, and Verbum Verus’ Melkiresha (both of which I got onto too late to add to my year-end list, dammit).

Disappointments :

THERAPY ? – A Brief Crack of Light (Blast)

First time I’ve dismissed a T? record after one listen. Even some of the dodgier early-2000s records excited me more than this. I really got nothing from this one. I’d still give someone’s left arm (not mine) to see them live but this did nothing for me at all.

2012 Gigs Attended

  1. Anciients, Burning Ghats, Nylithia (+Cathar, Graves) @ Rickshaw, March 23
  2. Helms Alee, Thrones (+Anion, Dead Terror) @ Iron Road, April 1
  3. DECIBEL TOUR: Behemoth, Watain, Devil’s Blood, In Solitude @ Rickshaw, April 21
  4. Van Halen (+Kool & the Gang) @ Rogers Arena, May 7
  5. Cormorant,Young Hunter, Frozen Cloak @ Shakedown, Bellingham, June 9
  6. Marduk, 1349 (+ Withered, Weapon) @ Venue, June 14
  7. Shooting Guns, Eight Hand Crow, Killdears @ Pat’s Pub, June 15
  8. Metallica @ Rogers Arena, August 25
  9. Anciients (+ Mendozza, Three Wolf Moon, Aquanaut, Jucifer) @ Rickshaw, September 16
  10. NOCTIS FEST: Hoopsnake, Epi-Demic, Speedwolf, Blood Ceremony (+Contortionist) @ Distillery, September 27
  11. NOCTIS FEST: Phantom Limb, Archspire, Kataplexis, Psychostick, Midnight, Manilla Road (+ Pig Destroyer, Anciients) @ Distillery, September 28
  12. NOCTIS FEST: Excrementory Grindfuckers, Black Witchery, Nunslaughter, Grand Magus, Agalloch (+Venom, Scythia, The Order of Chaos) @ MacEwan Hall Ballroom, September 29
  13. Black Wizard, Occult SS, Tempest, We Hunt Buffalo (+Twin Tusks) @ Rickshaw, October 5
  14. Napalm Death (+Municipal Waste, Dayglo Abortions, Massgrave) @ Rickshaw, November 9
  15. DARKROOM ALCHEMY II with Hoopsnake, Chapel (+ Tobeatic) @ Interurban Gallery, November 17
  16. Corrosion of Conformity, Saviours, Black Wizard (+ Baptists) @ Biltmor, December 11

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