Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Album of the Month May 2024: Ufomammut - 'Hidden'

Italy's mighty Ufomammut have the distinguished honour of being Album of the Month for May 2024 here at Kingdom of Noise with 'Hidden'. The "psychedelic sludge" trio celebrate their 25th year by releasing their 10th album. Not a bad pace if you ask me. Pacing is a large part of the appeal of Ufomammut too. The band has always mastered their pacing. Mostly a lumbering gait kinda thing. As doom does. Ufomammut dial up the repetition more than most locking the listener into whatever otherworldly headspace they're creating. Drones, synths, and FX round out the full effect. Ufomammut albums are a trip, man, and 'Hidden' feels of no diminished quality this deep into the band's career. Ufomammut are remarkably consistent in that regard.

There's just something about them that clicks with me. So it makes sense that 'Hidden' does too. It's heavy as fuck for starters. The transisions are near perfect. When they move between parts it doesn't feel forced or clunky even if it's abrupt. Even without the snyth effect, the industrial undertone persists. All the synths and FX do is take it to another level. It's what takes all their albums to the next level. It's so integral to their sound. I mean, it's right there in the name Ufomammut. UFO and mammut (Italian for mammoth). The power of a huge, earthshaking animal infused with otherworldy influence. Charged darkness comes to mind. An atmosphere alive and sunless and ancient.

'Hidden' is a muscular and nuanced album. It deserves your attention. The more undivided that attention is, the better. Hide yourself in the layered sonic intensity and let it overwhelm you.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Album of the Month - April 2024: High on Fire - 'Cometh the Storm'

I am pretty much phoning this month in. From long distance. You don't need me to tell you that High on Fire's 'Cometh the Storm' is the best album released in April of 2024. There were other great albums released but holy fucking shitballs, does this fucking RIP!!!

I will admit that I had some small concerns about Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins) taking over the drum throne. I mean, Des is a fucking legend, right? Those concerns were quickly put to bed. Mr. Willis just slid right in there like he always belonged. I love it!

As for the album it's just what you want from a High on Fire record. The riffs just keep on coming. It's just repeated sonic beatings. Especially "The Beating". Matt Pike lets rip some wicked vocals too. I like when it sounds like he's just yelling. And those solos? Fuck. You know who else is a legend? Jeff Matz. Goddamn I wish I could play like him. Goals. I saw an instagram post asking what song was your favourite. The responses covered almost every song on the album. I was not surprised because they're all worthy.

Yeah, I'm running out of talk time here and I don't have anymore change for the booth. There isn't much to say other than HIGH ON MOTHERFUCKING FIRE!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Album of the Month - March 2024: Uncle Woe - 'Oblivion and Further Disaster'

Ya know, I can't even remember how I came across Uncle Woe exactly but since hearing 'Pennyfold Haberdashery and Abbatoir Deluxe' a couple years ago I have made Uncle Woe music a part of my life. A place to go for refuge. A sound I can wrap around myself and become seaparte from the outside world. This month's outstanding release, 'Oblivion and Further Disaster' adds another layer of protection. A thick, insulating layer. Thick in tone, thick in emotional heft, thick in vocal expression.

I suppose those are the attributes one looks for when searching the doom forests for a balm for your soul but finding the unique combination that just clicks is becoming increasingly rare. Uncle Woe, and 'Oblivion' in particular doesn't so much click as slide gently into place. As loud as the tube amps get, and they get loud, as heartwrenching as the wails become, as forcefully as the drums impact, there's a soft quality that's hard to define but it definitely isn't as harsh and potentially brittle as a click would suggest. The connection is intuitive, sub-atomic, and seemless.

Throughout 'Oblivion' I often find myself almost frozen. The massive doom riffs, slow and patient, hold me in place. Not through oppression so much as thickening the space around me. The vocals, disorienting, calling from the mists beyond the pines, make my bones vibrate. It's about the frequency. The frequency of life. Uncle Woe is tuned into my frequency, or the other way around. I mean, it's miserable music much of the time. It's not happy. I'm generally a happy person. I practice being happy. But I've yet to acheive spontaneous and everlasting happiness. Suffering and delusion still hold sway over parts of my mind. That's where Uncle Woe comes in. Matching frequency, acting as a channel for expression even if it's just between my ears.

I've matured to a point where the music I really connect with largely depends on how it makes me feel. Sometimes that involves shaking my hips like I'm looking for tips, head-and-shoulder groovin', or in the case of doom, the feeling moves inward. Mind and soul. Uncle Woe is good for my heart and soul. Perhaps 'Oblivion and Further Disaster' will be there for you too through your own oblivions and further disasters. Only one way to find out.

Full March 2024 Spotify Playlist (this Unlce Woe release is not on Spotify)

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Album of the Month - February 2024: Fearbirds - 'Aux Blood'

Last month I mentioned how Kevin Keegan and Devon Motz were guest vocalists on the Brugada album. In digging into the guests I was unfamiliar with, specifically Motz in this case, I stumbled upon Fearbirds and their debut album, 'Aux Blood'. As it turns out, both Motz and Keegan are in Fearbirds. I'm tellin' ya, man. Everybody knows each other out in that West Coast/Vancouver scene. So in Fearbirds we've got Motz (Brass) on vocals, Keegan (Dead Quiet, Barn Burner) on guitar (and vocals), Heron's Scott Bartlett on bass, and Taylor Freund (best known from Barn Burner) on drums. I'm a big Barn Burner fan so immediately I was in.

Upon hearing this goddamn ripper of an album I was definitely in. It's the kind of hardcore/metal hybrid that grabs your shirt right at your throat and doesn't let go. Totally in your face. Bruising. Hot breath in your ears. Constantly in motion, vibrating. Urging you, compelling you, forcing you to join in. 

Hardcore is kinda like that, I suppose. A lot of the bands out Vancouver way are kinda like that. Listening to this gave me a craving for some Baptists and some Bison. A triple dose of head-clobbering. I quickly returned to the present and planted my feet firmly for additional onslaughts of 'Aux Blood'. Is that what trickles out of my ear when I've got this cranked? It's imperative though. Max volume. The riffs demand it. The percussion and vocals demand it. 

Alright, I gotta say this even though I don't like making too many bad comparisons. Most likely what's made me connect to this album the most, member familiarity aside, is how much it reminds me of the band I Hate Sally. I've seen Barn Burner and I Hate Sally play the same stage so there's a connection there too. (Not at the same time but the guitarist from IHS put on shows BB played.) Fearbirds employ a similar feeling on a bunch of tracks. The shape of the songs, the elasticity of movement that lands a kidney shot over and over, and a sharp energy channeled right from the very earth. They gallop over the same ground at different times, on different missions. Hardcore muscle powering the killing edge of metal. 

Anyway. You get what I'm saying. I've dropped enough names already. Now drop what you're doing and check 'Aux Blood' out. 

February Spotify Playlist

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Album of the Month - January 2024: Brugada - 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs'


"Better late than never" applies to this post in a couple ways. First, the post is a few weeks late. Second, the album is a few years late. But that's better than not at all! WAY better. Honestly, I wasn't sure 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs' would ever see the light of day.

You see, Brugada was basically over before it even started. Well, let's back it up even more. Brugada members Rob Zawistowski and Adam Young were in a rad band called Asktrakhan and put out a handful of kick ass releases ending in 2018's amazing 'Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed' in early 2018. Sadly that album never saw a physical release and the band split with Zawistowski and Young forming Brugada. They posted a couple small samples/live videos, just enough to get the feel of it. Similar enough in the progressive sludge sorta style but obviously a little more aggressive. Then nothing. For years. Until one day I get a message from Rob along the lines of "Hey, Matt. Guess what's finally coming out." I may have familiarized that a bit but whatever. I might not have known otherwise though! Here, start listening while you read the rest. (It's not on the regular streamers.)

'Slow Death' opens with "Bangar 18" and doesn't waste any time spreading their tools out. Hard-driving riffs, passionate roars, tight, spidery excursions around the fretboard, and the percussive complexity to match. The poetry of violence. That's kind of the feeling I get from the whole album in a way. There's a violence to it but it's not blind. It's pensive and self-aware. The lyrics are included on Bandcamp (but not on the J-card of the cassette available from Tone Zone Records) so you can see what I mean.

How can I expand on this? Let's go with feeling. It FEELS hard. Sharp. One second a series of quick punches. The next, slicing. And often enough it breathes, taking in air for the next push. Highs, lows, quick transitions. Vocally as well we've got a whole spectrum of tones and volume reflecting the lyrics. That's where the real poetry is. I've always liked that about the works these guys have done.

On Bandcamp the band have the line "Fast and fun. Mean, and sassy". I can't argue with that. I can't argue with "progressive sludge" either despite that term's association with bands like Mastodon and Baroness. I mean, heavyiness with a sort of thrashy, hardcore edge mated to melody and technicality with a healthy dose of rage sounds about right to me. In Brugada's case maybe a little more rage. Fun rage. A quick burning rage that exhausted all its fuel since this album is all we'll get from them. That's ok because it's awesome!

I'm not sure what else to say. I loved Asktrakhan, I love Brugada. I just love this style. Wicked riffs, cool vocals, bangin' drums, and the technicality is woven into the fabric keeping the songs tight and to the point. If that wasn't enough there are some guest vocalists. Jeff Radomsky of Neck of the Woods on "A Nod to Process" (total banger), Twitchy Claire Carreras (Vancouver scene vet) on "Return to Bangar" (total banger), Kevin Keegan (Dead Quiet, Barn Burner) on "Skin and Blood" (total banger), and Devond Motz (Brass) on "Spaceman" (total banger).

It's just a total banger.

Yeah. 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs' kicks ass. It rips. It rages. You need to hear it. And here's the video for "Bossfight".

Brugada - Bossfight (Official Music Video) from Robert Zawistowski on Vimeo.

January Spotify Playlist

Sunday, January 28, 2024

2023: My Favourites

Man, the evolution continues. Or is it a de-evolution? Not society. That's totally fucked. I mean my music listening habits. Long gone are the days of knowing every sub-genre. Or trying to anyway. I really, really feel most at home when I'm enjoying stoner rock and metal, doom, stoner doom, sludge, psych, heavy psych, more and more prog, shit like that. I think I listened to one black metal album all year? ('Blackbraid II') Thrash? Probably just Slayer (more or less) thanks to the Talkin' Slayer podcast by D.X. Ferris. As for death metal well, most of that input was in the live setting. Anyhoo.

Once I got down to it putting together this year's list wasn't so hard. I value my time to the point of not wasting any of it if the tunes don't resonate. That made that long list shorter and the cuts easier to make. There are no consequences. Go with your gut. Music is transcendence. Music is prayer. Music is salvation.

Following last year's format here are the 40(ish) releases that gave me the most feelings in 2023.

Favourites of 2023 Spotify Playlist Song Version

Favourites of 2023 Spotify Full Version

FULLY ENLIGHTENED BEINGS (pure beings devoid of faults)

Hippie Death Cult - 'Helichrysm' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Baroness - 'Stone' (Abraxas Hymns)
REZN and Vinnum Sabbathi - 'Silent Future' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Royal Thunder - 'Rebuilding the Mountain' (Spinefarm Records)
Melt - 'Replica of Man' (self-released)
Acid King - 'Beyond Vision' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Dozer - 'Drifting in the Endless Void' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Blood Ceremony - 'The Old Ways Remain' (Rise Above Records)
Mutoid Man - 'Mutants' (Sargent House)
Psychic Trash - 'Psychic Trash' (Riding Easy Records)

GODS OF THE FORM AND FORMLESS REALMS (aeons of refined bliss)

Miss Mellow - 'Miss Mellow' (self-released)
Frankie & the Witch Fingers - 'Data Doom' (The Reverberation Appreciation Society/Greenway Records)
Giant Lungs - 'Giant Lungs' (Transporta Records)
Iron Buddha - 'Raze/Repose' (self-released)
Goat - 'Medicine' and 'Levitation Sessions' (Rocket Recordings and The Reverberation Appreciation Society)
Mizmor - 'Prosaic' (Profound Lore Records)
Choose the Juice - 'Meteoria' (self/Artemis Kaiser)
Dopelord - 'Songs for Satan' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Night Verses - 'Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night: Part 1' (Equal Vision Records)
Astral Hand - 'Lords of Data' (Romanus Records)

DESIRE REALM GODS (enjoyment and satisfaction of desires)

Bongzilla - 'Dab City' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Dead Feathers - 'Full Circle' (Ripple Music)
Dead Quiet - 'IV' (Artoffact Records)
Snakes Don't Belong in Alaska - 'Sounds of a Forming Planet' (Catacomb Family Records)
Swamp Ritual - 'Vol. III' (self-released)
Domkraft - 'Sonic Moons' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Sâver - 'From Ember and Rust (Pelagic Records)
Danko Jones - 'Electric Sounds' (Sonic Unyon Records)
Green Yeti - 'Necropolitan' (self-released)
Gozu - 'Remedy' (Metal Blade Records)


Crown Lands - 'Fearless' (Universal)
Black Rainbows - 'Superskull' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Auralayer - 'Thousand Petals' (King Volume Records)
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - 'Slaughter on First Avenue' (Rise Above Records)
Restless Spirit - 'Afterimage' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Howling Giant - 'Glass Future' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Sonic Demon - 'Veterans of the Psychic War' (Majestic Mountain Records)
Warp - 'Bound by Gravity' (Nasoni Records)
Moon Coven - 'Sun King' (Ripple Music)
REZN - 'Solace' (self-released)

FAVOURITE EPs OF 2023 (some of the above were technically EPs too but whatever)

The Budos Band - 'Frontier's Edge' (Diamond West Records)
Stöner - 'Boogie to Baja' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Olde Grale - 'Blood of Fools' (Salt of the Earth Records)
Uncle Woe - 'Well' (Owlripper Records)
Ufomammut - 'Crookhead' (Supernatural Cat)

Friday, January 5, 2024

Nebular Nine: December 2023

Full disclosure. I'm tired of this format. This will be the last collage/what I listened to most post.
I'm not sure what's next, if anything, but this post at least will be kind of half-assed.
These don't usually show up here but I'm always listening to the Weedian compilations. December featured at least the Trips to Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Arizona too, I believe. 
I missed out of the Giant Lungs album when it first came out. But I'm sure loving it now! Tone and riffs and appealing vocals. Let's doom!
Speaking of doom. Uncle Woe gave us a new EP called 'Well' and well, it's pretty awesome. There's something about them that just resonates. Heavy, a little psych/post/prog and stuff. Interesting structures and all that. My vinyl is gonna be great when it gets here. 
I already know my Slower CD will be great when it arrives too. It's a January release though. I very rarely check out promos before release but I went ahead with this. I mean, Slayer but slower? Fuck yeah!
I'm going to have to check out the Mars Red Sky album again. I can't remember. December was weird.
Ok, bottom row we have three releases from Goat. I listened to the whole discography. 'Levitation Sessions' kicked things off and I went backwards from there. These three just had the most tracks. 
Van tunes: Talkin' Slayer Podcast

My Favourites of 2023 coming up next.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: November 2023

Music is a drug. A strong, addicting, healing drug.
Here's what I medicated with most in November.

Ok, so obviously not all of these were November releases but thats not how this works anyway. 
'Lords of Data' by Astral Hand came out in March. Too bad I didn't know about the psychedelic doom within back then. The Anuseye album came out in October. It's pretty cool. Same with Massive Hassle. That album cover is VERY deceptive. It's not black or death metal at all! Uh, the heavy ass Tortuga album was also October. And the Ufomammut EP. And the Howling Giant. They were all late October, okay? 
November's best is the self-titled Psychic Trash debut. Bear in mind this is basically (literally) Wizard Rifle with a different name. With all the gun violence in the US they thought it best to change monikers. Same weirdo duo though! Maybe a little less weird.
Ethereal Tomb released their album in September. It's great. They're even better live. Show report upcoming.
Last but not least is the reissue of Hermano's 'Only a Suggestion'. I suggest you listen to it.

November 'As I Go' Spotify Playlist (one song from each release I listened to, in order. If I listened to it 100 times it's still just one song.)

Van tunes: Filter - 'Short Bus', Black Mastiff - 'Loser Delusion'
Podcasts: Talkin' Slayer, some Communist/Socialist/leftist stuff I don't want to look up right now, the Clean and Sober Stoner interview with JJ of The Obelisk.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: October 2023

Once again we find Baroness on top of the pile! No surprise. I love it. Love it! I also love the newest from Hippie Death Cult, 'Helichrysum'. They're pared down to a trio with the bassist taking over vocal duties. The switch from male to female vocals was a surprise (I don't know much ahead of time these days) but they're fucking awesome so there's no need to compare. It's psychedelic, doomy, heavy, light, gnarly, thrashy, melodic, a bit proggy, and I'm falling in love with it.
Speaking of albums with range, 'Blackest' by Lazarvs isn't an album with one type of song. It's hard to describe but they can sound kinda like Fear Factory but also Alice in Chains. I could pull a handful of other assumed influences out of the songs covering multiple eras and decades. Damn, I wanna just listen to it again right now.
The Sea of Snakes album is from 2022 but I just got wise to it now. Plenty of AIC influence here too. Like if Layne Staley fronted a doom-sludge band not afraid of a ballad.
Dopelord! I pledge my allegiance! Massive sounding atmospheric doom will always have a place in my heart. I feel like this is a real step up for them. Long may they rumble. 
Restless Spirit know how to riff, man. They kind of remind me of Spirit Adift on one level but this album has more force than SA's more recent output. Heavier too. Headbangin', air guitarin', and beckoning calls to epicness!
Bottom row, but no less cool than the others features the trip-me-out healing power of Goat's 'Medicine' (psychedelic, Eastern-influenced, groovy, flutes!) making me want to start a hippie commune (even more). New Howling Giant! I'm still assimilating this one but I'm very pleased, as always, with their style of room-filling stoner doom. Expect to see this next month. Finally, somehow I missed this Raglefant album way back in January. Heavy, groovy, that southern-ish style sludge made for beers and bongs! 

OCTOBER PLAYLIST A near 8-hour journey through the mind MEH, The Hermit of Four Smells.

CD: Black Rainbows - 'Superskull'
Podcasts: (in no order) The Fuzz Club talking about the new Hippie Death Cult
Talkin' Slayer: All October episodes including Patreon only.
The High Way with Kyle Shutt talking to (separately) Neil Fallon, Bob Balch, Dave Wyndorf, Buzz Osborne, Laura Pleasants, Tomas Jager, Kenny Kreisor
Upstream: Capitalist Realism
Revolutionary Left Radio: Toward Liberation: Palestine on Fire
Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend: Patrick Stewart, Talking 'In Utero' with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Steve Albini
Metal on Metal: Mark McGee of Swarm of Spheres
Delirious Nomads: Nick DiSalvo of Elder
Keys to the Kingdom: Ep 1. Operation Petticoat 

Now Playing: Tortuga - 'Iterations'

Monday, October 2, 2023

Nebular Nine: September 2023

For the first time in a long time I went a whole month without alcohol. And the last 8 days without weed. Or wearing a hat. Those things are irrelevant though as the quality of the music was unaffected. 
Based on number of plays the new Baroness takes the cake for September. 'Stone' seems to be the logical place for Baroness to be at this stage in their career. Stellar.
Frankie & the Witch Fingers are one of those bands that found me. A little weird, a little progressive, a lot of fun. 'Data Doom' kicks ass. 
Not enough can be said about Danko Jones. High energy rock and fucking roll. Their 11th studio effort kicks all kinds of ass. My only complaint is by the time it came out I was basically done cutting grass for the year so I couldn't bomb around the yard yelling lyrics to the wind like a nut job. Ah well.
Another all-time in Brant Bjork. I would also include here 'Saved by Magic Again' by Brant Bjork and the Bros. They are companion pieces and all. And both classic. These reissues are niiiiice.
Random throwback with 'Ocean Machine'. I know I've listened to it before but it had been forgotten and neglected for decades by me for some reason.
Speaking of neglected, I liked the debut from Kvelertak. Then I didn't like them. Now I like them again. Thank you, 'Endling'.
That Iron Buddha album is some heavy shit. Gotta get back to that one.
The Nashville show of Clutch's PA Tapes is a killer set! Lots of favourites. And I hear that Neil Fallon chose that set list. 
Last but certainly not least, the newest from Night Verses, 'Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night: Part 1'. They're a new band for me but I am totally a fan now. This mostly instrumental album is quite the departure from the sound of their debut (and subsequent albums) and I'm blown away by their musicianship. 10/10 will listen again. 

Van tunes: Slayer - 'South of Heaven', High on Fire - 'The Art of Self Defense (original Man's Ruin release), Mizmor - 'Prosaic', Bell Witch - 'The Clandestine Gate', Beaten to Death - 'Unplugged', Danko Jones - 'Electric Sounds'.

Spotify playlist (one song from every album I listened to at least once, most more than once):

Friday, September 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: August 2023

We have quite the diverse lineup this month! Some psych doom, some stoner doom, some death metal, some metallic hardcore, some Metal with a capital M, and whatever we call Mutoid Man. 
The collaboration between Rezn and Vinnum Sabbathi is just so fucking cool. Spaced out concept album full of atmosphere and tone, telling a pretty cool story if you ask me. I need the vinyl to put with 'Eldovar' and 'Mariner'. 
Mutoid Man and Uncle Acid came through again this month. Just great albums. The reissue of High on Fire's 'The Art of Self Defense' is pretty great too. As expected. 
I expected the new Ringworm to be as vicious as it is but honestly I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the new Kataklysm. Going to see them play at a coffee shop in November. Rad!!! 
New Moon Coven is pretty good. Need more spins. Ya know, I'm not as excited about recent Spirit Adrift albums as I used to be. 
And holding down the center is Swamp Ritual's 2017 album. I just discovered them thanks to Weedian's Trip to Montana (not pictured. Neither is Trip to Washington). Love them! 
Van tunes (compact discs): Gozu - 'Remedy', NIN - 'With Teeth', Slayer - 'Reign in Blood' and 'War at the Warfield', and Them Crooked Vultures - self-titled.
Instead of another collage of small pictures of more of my listens I made a playlist of one song from every album I listened to at least once in August, in order. It's "only" eight hours long. For now it's just a link. I'll try to embed it later.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: July 2023

With the exception of Weekend Nachos' classic 'Worthless' this month's Nebular Nine could constitute a good portion of my year end favourites. The other eight albums knocked my socks off!
Mutoid Man, holy shit. I gave it a first listen on my surround sound system. By the time it finished I could barely breathe. A non-stop, adrenaline-fueled, emotional thrill ride. Again, holy shit. 
Auralayer lays it DOWN, man. I guess they call themselves "power doom" and sure. Riffs for days is all I care about. Melt gained a new fan with 'Replica of Man'. A song wiggled its way onto my radar and I was off the races. "Hive Mind" is brilliant!
New Budos EP! Only thing better would be an LP! 
I'm not huge on live albums but sweet mother of fuzz Uncle Acid's 'Slaughter on First Avenue' sounds soooo good it's criminal. And if you know me at all you know I'm a sucker for Black Rainbows! I just wish it wasn't such a pain getting orders from Heavy Psych Sounds Records in Canada. 
Blackbraid does it again. I don't listen to much black metal these days but I'll listen to this on repeat! Which I did with the new Mizmor as well. Numerous times. Much easier to obtain that CD.
Wow. Good month. 
Van tunes: Gozu - Remedy, Slayer - Live Undead, probably more that I'm forgetting. Well, and the Talkin' Slayer podcast.
I should also mention the Superunknown Redux and Best of Soundgarden Redux from Magnetic Eye Records are both fantastic! They inspired a run through of Thou's Nirvana covers album (Blessings of the Highest Order) and various other covers album (a Primer of Holy Words (or something like that)). Also both fantastic.
Aaaaand a bunch of other stuff I listened to:

Destroyed in Seconds, Johnny Booth, Mastodon, Royal Thunder, The Acacia Strain (GREAT show at the Broom Factory!), Some Pills for Ayala, Javelina, Knocked Loose, Capra, Clutch, Cavalera Conspiracy, Local H, and Queens of the Stone Age!
Starting with next month's installment I'll be adding a Spotify playlist of what I've listened to. One song from each albums and perhaps some random entries.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: June 2023

Man alive! June featured some of my all time favourite bands. I've been listening to almost all these bands for years. I only discovered Crown Lands this year but I am falling in love with the Toronto prog rock duo. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard have only been on my radar for a couple years but their output feels like a decade! Petrodragonic Apocalypse is their latest banger! 
Up top we have Black Rainbows, Royal Thunder, and QOTSA. Three kinds of rock, man. Black Rainbows are so fun. Mlny Parsonz is probably my favourite vocalist (and RT songs are excellent regardless). It did take me some time and dedication to warm up to the new Queens though. It's been like that for their last few albums. 
It didn't take as long for the new Dead Quiet. Some dang catchy tunes! Happy Canada Day!!
And with Bongzilla you know what you're getting and they never disappoint. Tolerance is never an issue! 
Clutch is my fave so....bonus tracks!!!
Last but not least, the live drums on the Fear Factory sound great! Remix/master is cool too.

And the rest of these. Will update later.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: May 2023

May 2023! What a month! Well, I make every month good because of my good taste. Ha! The Nebular Nine may have nine albums listed but most of the air time was spent on Gozu and The Acacia Strain. Gozu makes me feel oh, so good and The Acacia Strain can make you feel oh, so bad. 
The new Blood Ceremony is oh, so good too. Probably my favourite of their releases. Some stiff competition there though. 
Clutch's Pitchfork and Lost Needles isn't totally accurate. While I did listen to most of those tracks it was actually an mp3 folder where all the "rare"/off album tracks were labeled as being from that album. ALL KILLER.
Still spinning Crown Lands! Just discovered Rotor on this album and now I'm a fan! Instrumental stoner rock? Yes, please. And of course a Weedian comp. A good one too!
Blast off! It's party time! Had some serious SOAD urges in May!
Van tunes: Slayer - Undisputed Attitude, Hell Awaits, God Hates Us All, NIB Black Sabbath tribute, SOAD - Mesmerize, Toxicity, QOTSA - Songs for the Deaf, Monster Magnet - Last Patrol, Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun, Welcome to Sky Valley, Gozu - Remedy
Now playing: Odyssey by Vokonis (Kicking off Pride Month!) Kanaan, Djunah, Last Rizla, Dozer, Cattle Decapitation, Clutch live, Giobia, Void Master, and Galactic Empire.
More System of a Down, the Budos Band, Negative 13, Corrosion of Conformity, Fear Factory, Crown Lands, and a full Danko Jones run (studio albums). Not shown but the three Mountain Tamer albums also got love.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: April 2023

Don't be surprised of you see some of April's highlights show up on my best of 2023 list. The new Dozer album is incredible. Like holy shit. Like HOLY SHIT! I'd be totally cool to drift in an endless void if this was the soundtrack. The percussion might be my favourite part.
Elsewhere new stuff from Thundergoat (various styles but really cool), Sound of Smoke (first song rules!) Wolfnaut (why am I just rockin to these guys now?), Sonic Demon (raw my dawgs!), and Choose the Juice (pretty damn chill with awesome art) drowned out a lot of noise. 
I found out that those two Demon Cleaner albums were on Spotify. So I listened to them over and over again. Then again. So much easier than messing with 20 year old CD-Rs full of mp3s.
I'd like to retroactively change my Best of 2020 list to include Slomosa. Can't wait for the new album!
Add in the most recent Weedian compilation and the Olde/Grale EP.
Van tunes: Black Sabbath - Paranoid and Master of Reality, Megadeth - The Sick, The Dying...and The Dead!, Slayer - Undisputed Attitude, Blood Tsunami - Grand Feast for Vultures, probably something else I forgot.
As for most of the rest....

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Nebular Nine: March 2023

It's almost a given that a new Weedian comp will make this list. April will have Trip to Wisconsin guaranteed. 
The new Acid King finally dropped and it will be remain a staple for months. It's sooo good.
So, every first day of Spring I break out my Gandharvas cd and blast A Soap Bubble and Inertia over and over. This year they're on Spotify so I grouped in Sold For a Smile (which also has a version of "The First Day of Spring"). 
Clutch put out a live album!!! Neil swears more than I'm used to on this recording. Who cares!
That Warp album keeps hanging on. Probably the best thing happening in Israel right now. 
Surf's up, man! Daikaiju keeps crashing down on me! Gnarly, dude.
Spinning Smoke's 2021 album leading up to their new one. And Green Yeti was a great new discovery!
Van tunes...'Siamese Dream' because I always keep a copy in the van. Sabbath's 'Paranoid', Monster Magnet - Last Patrol, and perhaps 'Blast Tyrant' special edition.
Now playing: Isaak - 'Hey'
And an expanded view of March music. Not all inclusive obviously. No April foolin'!
The Dozer and Greenleaf runs were fun. More Acid King, baby. El Supremo, Witchthroat Serpent, Bog Monkey, Earthbong are cool. I really like that New Mexico Doom Cult band. Various other bands I can be counted on to spin and some other stuff that was just ok. 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Nebular Nine: February 2023


I spent most of February obsessing over a handful of albums. Most notably that Slomosa debut from 2020. I missed it then but I'm making up for it now as there was news of a new album on the way. I love everything about it. The riffs, the vocals, the lyrics even. Obsessed.

The Weedian Trip to Maryland comp ranks high mostly because there are a lot of tracks. But also because it's cool. So are Blue Heron but I know I  didn't listen to it more than Acid King. 'Beyond Vision' is album of the year material, my friends. All praise to Lori S.!

I found Warp through reddit (and Doom Charts) and listened to 'Bound by Gravity' a ton of times. I love everything about that one too. 

Miss Mellow came to me via Morphy on YouTube. Funk, psych, riffs, swagger, all around good times. 

I heard a new Isaak track and immediately said "Shit, man, shit. This song rocks fuckin ass!" Then proceeded to see what I'd been missing all this time. A killer band, that's what. Eager for the new album! Happy to have found 'Sermonize'!

I can't quite remember how I found Mountains but I'm glad I did. Grunge-ier than most other bands in my rotation but there's nothing wrong with 90s-early 2000s influence. Another happy discovery. 

Ok. Last but not least. Deep Purple's 'Deep Purple In Rock'. Why, why, why for the love of all that riffs had I never listened to this before. I failed myself. I heard "Child in Time" on a show or movie and was captivated by the snippet. Then became captivated by the whole album. I know Deep Purple. I own 'Machine Head' on cassette, CD, and vinyl (I think). So why did I not explore their other albums? My bad.

In the van I listened to the newest Megadeth, Brant Bjork. Melvins 'Stoner Witch'. Dozer's 'Madre de Dios'. Some others I suppose that I can't recall at the moment. But it was mostly the stuff above and some podcasts about Marxism.

Garage tunes only happened Feb 1 and it was Dozer's 'In the Tail of a Comet'. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023 Playlist

I've canned my weekly The Week That Was Wednesdays feature on Instagram for a bunch of reasons. (Previous posts @notglossyeh) But I still want to share what I've listened to. 
Just less frequently and less visibly. 
Anyway, here are the artists I listened to in January!

Full studio album runs of Fu Manchu, Acid King, Dead Meadow, Baroness, Electric Wizard, Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Royal Thunder, and Egypt.
A Weedian comp or two, some Lair of the Minotaur, a couple Wrong releases. I started a Black Rainbows run which I will return to when I'm done with Kylesa.
And the only new album that really got my attention was the debut from Daevar. They sound just like Windhand so I'm all in! Oh and Earthbong!
Van tunes consisted of uh, Megadeth, Beaver, some QOTSA...and others? It was a whole month. I can't remember! 
Until next month!

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

2022: My Favourites

Well, here we are again. 2022 was actually a decent year personally. There are always big things hanging overhead but at least not many fell. I drifted further and further from the more extreme forms of metal. I mean, most of what I'm going to list below isn't even metal. Most of it can be heavy but there's almost no death, black, grind, noise or whatever. 
I've even sort of reinvented myself in terms internet presentation. "MetalMatt Hinch" doesn't really exist. I dropped Twitter a while ago, I changed my IG handle, lastfm account, and other associations with that handle. It's just me now. And these are 40 albums that really turned my crank in 2022 tiered into the four higher states of being. Enjoy!

FULLY ENLIGHTENED BEINGS (pure beings devoid of faults)

Clutch - Sunrise on Slaughter Beach (Weathermaker)
Stöner - ...totally (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Brant Bjork - Bougainvillea Suite (Heavy Psych Sounds)
16 - Into Dust (Relapse)
Elder - Innate Passage (Armageddon Shop)
Dead Meadow - Force Form Free (Blues Funeral)
Colour Haze - Sacred (Elektrohash)
King Buffalo - Regenerator (self-released)
Mammoth Volume - The Cursed Who Perform The Larvagod Rites (Blues Funeral)
MWWB - The Harvest (New Heavy Sounds)

GODS OF THE FORM AND FORMLESS REALMS (aeons of refined bliss)

Black Space Riders - We Have Been Here Before (self-released)
Marc Urselli's Steppendoom - Steppendoom (Magnetic Eye Records)
Baardvader - Foolish Fires (Baardvader Records)
Freedom Hawk - Take All That You Can (Ripple Music)
Soulfly - Totem (Nuclear Blast)
Gypsybyrd - Visions (self-released)
Wo Fat - The Singularity (Ripple)
Ufomammut - Fenice (Neurot)
Fuzz Meadows - Orange Sunshine (self-released)
Dhidalah - Sensoria (Guruguru Brain)

DESIRE REALM GODS (enjoyment and satisfaction of desires)

Witchfinder - Forgotten Mansion (Mrs. Red Sound)
Megadeth - The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead! (Universal)
Blackbraid - I (self-released)
Ian Blurton's Future Now - Second Skin (Pajama Party)
Druids - Shadow Work (Pelagic)
Nebula - Transmission From Mothership Earth (Heavy Psych Sounds)
10,000 Years - III (Death Valley Records)
Uncle Woe - Pennyfold Haberdashery & Abbatoir Deluxe (Red Spade)
Cult of Luna - The Long Road North (Metal Blade)
Gnome - King (Polder Records)


Earthless - Night Parade of One Hundred Demons (Nuclear Blast)
Pike vs The Automaton- Pike vs The Automaton (MNRK)
Crowbar - Zero and Below (MNRK)
Somali Yacht Club - The Space (Season of Mist)
Lazer Beam - Man In The House/Lost in Oblivion (LCF)
Cancer Bats - Psychic Jailbreak (New Damage)
My Sleeping Karma - Atma (Napalm Records)
Messa - Close (Svart)
Mizmor - Wit's End/Myopia (split with Thou) (Gilead Media)
Sons of Arrakis - Volume 1 (self-released)

Tell me what I missed!

Monday, January 3, 2022

2021: My Favourites

The end of 2017 was bad. 2018 was subsequently sad. 2019 was shitty. 2020 was really shitty. (There was also the pandemic.) 2021 was even shittier. (There was also the pandemic.) 2022 is shaping up to be pretty shitty. (There will also be the pandemic.) Through it all was the music. Everyone has their escape, their grounding point, their way to drown out the tinnitus. However, the music that gets me through the good times and the bad has changed quite a bit. In 2018 I attended Migration Fest which was predominantly black and death metal and never wanted to miss a second of it. By 2021 I barely listened to black or death metal at all. Or thrash. At least not anything new. Nope. It was all about the doom, the stoner, the rock, the sludge, the psych. With exceptions. Nothing too violent or aggressive. I don't have time for that. I needed chill. I needed vibe. I needed groove. I needed dark and slow. I needed stuff to take my mind away. So, here's what filled those needs the most in 2021! 

Instead of a numbered list, I used three tiers for the top 25 albums. After the top tier is a big ole list of albums that I felt obligated to list because they were also pretty damn good.

Third Tier

Gojira - 'Fortitude' (Roadrunner Records)
Monster Magnet - 'A Better Dystopia' (Napalm Records)
Hippie Death Cult - 'Circle of Days' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Yawning Sons - 'Sky Island' (Ripple Music)
Dvne - 'Etemen Ænka' (Metal Blade Records)
Go Ahead and Die - 'Go Ahead and Die' (Nuclear Blast Records)
Kadabra - 'Ultra' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Redscale - 'The Old Colossus' (Majestic Mountain Records)
Snake Mountain Revival - 'Everything in Sight' (Rebel Waves Records)
Monolord - 'Your Time to Shine' (Relapse Records)
24/7 Diva Heaven - 'Stress' (Noisolution)
High Desert Queen - 'Secrets of the Black Moon' (Ripple Music)
Dayglo Mourning - 'Dead Star' (Black Doomba Records)
King Buffalo - 'Acheron' (self-released)
Earthless - 'Live in the Mojave Desert' (Giant Rock Records/Heavy Psych Sounds Records)

Second Tier

Lazer Beam - 'Lazer Beam' (LCF Records)
Danko Jones - 'Power Trio' (Sonic Unyon Records)
Fear Factory - 'Aggression Continuum' (Nuclear Blast Records)
Sons of Alpha Centauri - 'Push' (Exile on Mainstream)
Archspire - 'Bleed the Future' (Season of Mist)

Top Tier

Olde - 'Pilgrimage' (Seeing Red Records)
King Buffalo - 'The Burden of Restlessness' (self-released)
Stӧner - 'Stoners Rule' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Blackwater Holylight - 'Silence/Motion' (RidingEasy)
Elder and Kadavar - 'Eldovar: A Story of Darkness and Light' (Robotor Records)

Other Rad Albums

Appalooza - 'The Holy of Holies' (Ripple)
16 and Grime split - 'Doom Sessions Vol. 3' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Acid Mammoth - 'Caravan' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Shiva the Destructor - 'Find the Others' (Robust Fellow)
Greenleaf - 'Echoes From a Mass' (Napalm)
Bongzilla - 'Weedsconsin' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Domkraft - 'Seeds' (Magnetic Eye)
Moon Coven - 'Slumber Wood' (Ripple)
Vokonis - 'Odyssey' (The Sign Records)
Head of Jeddore - 'How to Slaughter a Lamb' (self-released)
Somnuri - ' Nefarious Wave' (Blues Funeral)
Black Sky Giant - 'Planet Terror' and 'Falling Mothership' (self)
Smiling - 'Devour' (Rebel Waves)
Black Label Society - 'Doom Crew Inc.' (eOne)
Jointhugger - 'Surrounded by Vultures' (Majestic Mountain)
Lucifer - 'Lucifer IV' (Century Media)
Mastodon - 'Hushed & Grim' (Warner)
Kowloon Walled City - 'Piecework' (Neurot/Gilead Media)
Crystal Spiders - 'Morieris' (Ripple)
Bogwife - 'A Passage Divine' (Majestic Mountain)
Holy Death Trio - 'Introducing' (Ripple)
Hooded Menace - 'The Tritonus Bell' (Season of Mist)
Trappist/Connoisseur - 'Crossfaded' (Tankcrimes)
Marc Rizzo - 'Living Shred Vol. 1' (Godsize)
Low Flying Hawks - 'FUYU' (Magnetic Eye)
Kal-El - 'Dark Majesty' (Majestic Mountain)
Comet Control - 'Inside the Sun' (Tee Pee)
Snail - 'Fractal Altar' (Argonauta)
1782 - 'From the Graveyard' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Sunnata - 'Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth' (self)
Heavy Temple - 'Lupis Amoris' (Magnetic Eye)
Sion - 'Sion' (self)
Spirit Mother - 'Live in the Mojave Desert' (Giant Rock/HPS)
Stӧner - 'Live in the Mojave Desert' (Giant Rock/HPS)
Mountain Tamer - 'Live in the Mojave Desert' (Giant Rock/HPS)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

2020: My Favourites

It goes without saying 2020 was fucked. But between all the flaming garbage I think I made big personal strides in really discovering what mattered to me. And well, here are the albums from 2020 that mattered to me. Top 20 and Next 20, in alphabetical order, because numbered rankings are pointless.

All these albums are available on Spotify and/or Bandcamp. You know how the internet works.

TOP 20

16 - Dream Squasher (Relapse)
The Atomic Bitchwax - Scorpio (Tee Pee)
Bantha Rider - Binary Sunset Massacre (Bantha DIY, Piranha Music, AimDownSight)
Black Rainbows - Cosmic Ritual Supertrip (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Brant Bjork - Brant Bjork (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Dead Quiet - Truth and Ruin (Artofact)
Electric Hydra - Electric Hydra (Majestic Mountain, Tee Pee)
Gypsybyrd - Eyes of the Sun (Cosmic Stone)
Hymn - Breach Us (Fysisk Format)
Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero (Nuclear Blast)
Khruangbin - Mordechai (Dead Oceans, Night Time Stories)
Local H - Lifers (Antifragile)
Moths & Locusts - Exoplanets (NoiseAgonyMayhem)
Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin kynsi (Nuclear Blast)
Psychlona - Venus Skytrip (Ripple)
Sevendust - Blood and Stone (Rise)
Sons of Otis - Isolation (Totem Cat)
Somnus Throne - Somnus Throne (Burning World)
Turtle Skull - Monoliths (Art As Catharsis)
Yawning Man - Live at Giant Rock (Heavy Psych Sounds)


Acid Mammoth - Under Acid Hoof (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Big Scenic Nowhere - Vision Beyond Horizon (Satin) and Lavendar Blues (Satin)
Body Count - Carnivore (Century Media)
The Budos Band - Long in the Tooth (Daptone)
Deftones - Ohms (Reprise)
Elder - Omens (Armageddon Shop)
Dirt Woman - The Glass Cliff (Grimoire)
Goatriders - The Magician's Keep (self)
Huanastone - Third Stone from the Sun (Argonauta)
IAH - III (self)
Lowrider - Refractions (Blues Funeral)
Lucifer - III (Century Media)
The Pilgrim - ...From The Earth To The Sky And Back (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Pink Cigs - Pink Cigs (Harvest Studios)
The Re-Stoned - Thunders of the Deep (Qiasum Music)
Sepultura - Quadra (Nuclear Blast) 
Spirit Adrift - Enlightened in Eternity (20 Buck Spin)
Thomas V. Jӓger - A Solitary Plan (RidingEasy)
Tombs - Monarchy of Shadows (Season of Mist) and Under Sullen Skies (Season of Mist)
Yatra - Blood of the Night (STB) and All is Lost (Grimoire)

Special Note: Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos by Beaten To Death was available on vinyl only in 2020 and I didn't get a copy. The digital mix is being released as 4 EPs in 2021. The first three are crankable as usual.

Monday, March 30, 2020

2019: My Favourites

2019 was a good year but an odd year. As you can see I'm not writing as much. I'm listening to possibly more than ever but I'm just enjoying the experiences and not worried about "keeping up". Like how during "list season" I spent two weeks listening to music released from 1992-1997. I'm getting old and my memory has never been good. I've now realized I don't need to waste my time TRYING to like something. I've got nothing to prove. Music is personal. If I have to try too hard I'm moving on and filling my ears with the easy stuff. It has to leave an impression. It's like my brain has music receptors. Sometimes I don't have receptors for noise, or tech death, or weird screaming stuff. But I'll always have enough receptors for doom, sludge, stoner, etc. More often than not certain grind and death metal will find a place. It's all over the place. But as my hermit powers grow stronger and my circles get tighter I just want to enjoy every second of sound entering my ears. Here are 40 of the best albums I enjoyed listening to in 2019. And honourable mentions of course.

(Note the above intro was written well before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. My hermit powers are even stronger now.)

Honourable Mentions: Cult of Luna - A Dawn to Fear, Scissorfight - Doomus Abruptus Vol. 1, Speedealer - Blue Days, Black Nights, Alunah - Violet Hour, Smoulder - Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring

40. Yawning Man - Macedonian Lines (Heavy Psych Sounds)

39. Alcest - Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast)

38. Takafumi Matsubara - Strange, Beautiful and Fast (selfmadegod)

37. No One Knows What the Dead Think - No One Knows What the Dead Think (Willowtip)

36. Tool - Fear Inoculum (Tool Dissectional/RCA)

35. Exhorder - Mourn the Southern Skies (Nuclear Blast)

34. Godsleep - Coming of Age (The Lab/Three Chords)

33. Russian Circles - Blood Year (Sargent House)

32. Year of the Cobra - Ash and Dust (Prophecy Productions)

31. Lightning Born - Lightning Born (Ripple Music)

30. Ithaca - The Language of Inquiry (Holy Roar)

29. Mars Red Sky - The Task Eternal (Listenable)

28. Vastum - Orificial Purge (20 Buck Spin)

27. Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Yn Ol I Annwn (New Heavy Sounds)

26. Cruickshank - Cruickshank (No Why)

25. Magic Circle - Departed Souls (20 Buck Spin)

24. Ringworm - Death Becomes My Voice (Relapse)

23. Cloud Rat - Pollinator (Artoffact)

22. Crypt Sermon - The Ruins of Fading Light (Dark Descent)

21. Yellow Eyes - Rare Field Ceiling (Gilead Media)

20. Creeping Death - Wretched Illusions (Entertainment One)

19. False - Portent (Gilead Media)

18. Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas (Metal Blade)

17. Gatecreeper - Deserted (Relapse)

16. Call of the Void - Buried in Light (Translation Loss)

15. Dead Feathers - All Is Lost (Ripple)

14. Danko Jones - A Rock Supreme (Indica)

13. Ian Blurton - Signals Through the Flames (Pajama Party)

12. Immortal Bird - Thrive on Neglect (20 Buck Spin)

11. Wizard Rifle - Wizard Rifle (Svart)

10. The Pilgrim - Walking Into The Forest (Heavy Psych Sounds)

9. John Garcia - John Garcia and The Band of Gold (Napalm)

8. Ancient VVisdom - Mundus (Argonauta)

7. Mizmor - Cairn (Gilead Media)

6. Irata - Tower (Small Stone)

5. SÂVER - They Came With Sunlight (Pelagic)

4. Monolord - No Comfort (Relapse)

3. Tomb Mold - Planetary Clairvoyance (20 Buck Spin)

2. Blackwater Holylight - Veils of Winter (RidingEasy)

T-1. Spirit Adrift - Divided By Darkness (20 Buck Spin)

T-1. Colour Haze - We Are (Electrohash)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

We Hunt Buffalo - Head Smashed In

We Hunt Buffalo return with Head Smashed In, their second album for Fuzzorama Records. It’s one of those albums that’s deceptively dense. On the surface it seems pretty straightforward but there’s some stuff going on in the back you might not pick up on at first. Vocally at least. Speaking of vocals, “Angler Must Die” has the clean vocals present throughout but there’s also some screaming that comes right out of left field.

We Hunt Buffalo also drop down into some heavier moments than I wasn't expecting. This is basically fuzz-laden hard rock so that added crunch comes in pretty handy. Ya know, a little extra flavour. It’s not that there’s a lack of riffs though. There’s lots of that to go around but you gotta season the meat, right? (or in my case, marinade the tofu)

Head Smashed In is a relatively “safe” spin. There’s great tone, sweet solos, and the parts where they aren’t pushing full ahead are sprinkled in appropriately. Some songs have great muscular energy and some…. not so much. Personally, I find their softer songs and/or parts lacking. Dynamics are fine, but they just don’t play to their strengths as well in my opinion. Personal preference.

They do craft good songs though. No awkward transitions, no overstayed welcomes, nothing sticking out like a wart. Psych atmosphere has its place as well as a subtle Southern feel at times. It’s consistent too. “Heavy Low” sucks you in to start and “Anxious Children” as the penultimate track grabs your attention again just in case. It’s got a sweet main riff, cool atmosphere and the bass just rules on this one.

Inoffensive, solid, riff-centric hard rock when you’re going to get here, equally suited to dedicated listening or background tunes. You definitely won’t smash your head in! I hope. Go ahead and crank the fuzz!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Favourite 40 of 2018

I read once that on average, people stop looking for new bands to listen to in their mid 30s. I turned 40 late in 2018 and I'm definitely feeling the pull of complacency. Maybe it's just because I'm getting old but my patience level has plummeted. Time is precious and I no longer force myself to listen to something because I feel obligated to. If I wrinkle my nose enough in the first three songs, I'm out. Besides, the endless swarm of new albums and bands that only gets bigger with each passing year is too much to consume. I wasn't giving anything a fair shake. So in 2018 I shrugged my shoulders and said "fuck it." I spent as much time with whatever album as I wanted to. A solid month of almost nothing but the new Corrosion of Conformity? OK! A deep dive into Brant Bjork's solo career? Why would I ever stop?! Weeks of Tomb Mold worship? Oh, Canada! With such a pullback on new explorations, I'm surprised I even had 40 albums I felt deserved to be on my list. I did have some rather unfortunate cuts to make though. Who cares? Anyway, here are the 40 albums that made me happiest in 2018. That's all that matters.

Please note, Clutch's Book of Bad Decisions is my absolute favourite of 2018 but I CANNOT be objective with Clutch under any circumstances.

40. Lucifer - Lucifer II (Century Media) - For some reason I was reluctant to like this. Still busted up about The Oath being a one-and-done? Regardless, I thought this rocked enough to make sure I mentioned it. 

39. Deicide - Overtures of Blasphemy (Century Media) - I was into Deicide before I was into Cannibal Corpse, okay? They're my kind of death metal. Deal with it.

38. Scorched - Ecliptic Butchery (20 Buck Spin) - Again with the my kind of death metal. Brutal. Hard. Dark. Sci-fi themed just makes it that much cooler! 

37. Ulthar - Cosmovore (20 Buck Spin) - Whoa! Death metal again? Ya, man. It was a good year. Ulthar throw a little more technicality into the brutality but do so with just the right dosage. 

36. Bongripper - Terminal (Gilead Media) - Instrumental, leaden doom will bring me pleasure every day of the week. So long as it's done as expertly as these laid back dudes who know how to name a band.

35. Sundrifter - Visitations (Small Stone) - So smooth! This kind of desert rock influenced warmth will take me to my grave. I could listen to these fuzzy-eyed jams til the end of time.

34. Domkraft - Flood (Blues Funeral) - Give me psychedelic doom or give me death! So blissfully easy to completely lose yourself in their dense and textured sound.

33. A Storm of Light - Anthroscene (Translation Loss) - Always been a fan of Josh Graham's work with this band. Thoughtful and hypnotic darkness that repeatedly smacks you in the face.

32. Trappist - Ancient Brewing Tactics (Relapse) - Beer and grind combine to make an intoxicating brew of absolute good times. I got 99 problems but Trappist ain't one! 

31. Monster Magnet - Mindfucker (Napalm) - This is far from the best Monster Magnet album. More rock and less psych isn't usually what Monster Magnet fans ask for but I'm still psyched at how much it rocks! 

30. Extremity - Coffin Birth (20 Buck Spin) - Top shelf death metal and 20 Buck Spin go together like peanut butter and jelly. As in, consumed by me on a very regular basis. This one just plain old tears your throat out.

29. Mountain Tamer - GodFortune // Dark Matters (Magnetic Eye) - You could throw this in with the stoner rock crowd I suppose. It is the riffs that make this so addictive after all. But the real clincher is the "SATAN!!!" scream. I won't tell you when it hits. 

28. Alice in Chains - Ranier Fog (BMG) - Fine. They're a different band since Layne died. We get it. What did you expect? That doesn't mean they aren't still one of my favourite bands EVER and don't deserve it, goddammit! 

27. Dead Meadow - The Nothing They Need (Xemu) - I heard Dead Meadow playing in a record store back in 2001 and bought it immediately. They still connect with my soul.

26. Vile Creature - Cast of Static and Smoke (self) - This heavy-as-fuck Canadian duo made quite the splash in 2018. The nihilism and heft of this crushing slab of catharsis should make everyone want to join their angry queer doom cult.

25. Wiegedood - De Dodden Hebben Het Goed III (Century Media) - I wasn't as enamored with this one as I was with II but there's something bewitching about the tornado of fierce black metal they employ to put the ice in my veins. I can't shake the desire.

24. Khemmis - Desolation (20 Buck Spin) - I saw Khemmis play at Migration Fest and they needed a longer set. Such great songwriting. Power, melody, passion. Even better with beer.

23. Psychlona - Mojo Rising (Ripple) - Sometimes I just need an overdose of psych dancing in oblivion with a god-like profusion of fuzzed-out riffs. It gets my mojo rising. Man.

22. Castle - Deal Thy Fate (Ripple) - Speaking of riffs... This duo really cranks them out. Sorta lo-fi, sorta retro, lotsa headbanging fun. A doomy crunch nodding to classic rock. Catchy as all get out!

21. Sunnata - Outlands (self) - Oh my goodness have I enjoyed sinking into the ethereal place this album takes me. The psych factor here is sky high. Dangerously hypnotic and completely mesmerizing.

20. Conan - Existential Void Guardian (Napalm) - I'm always down for some caveman battle doom! And with that extra muscle the new drummer brings you know my steering wheel is getting a serious beating! 

19. Slaves BC - Lo, and I Am Burning (Fear & The Void) - I had the pleasure of meeting drummer-vocalist Josh Thieler and he's basically the polar opposite of the gnarly, dark, at times terrifying menace that comes blasting out of my speakers. Only ashes remain.

17 and 18. Black Space Riders - Amoretum Vol. 1 & 2 (Black Space/Cargo) - Not sure how to describe this. It makes me think of 80s/90s goth/emo/new wave but they carry a swagger and a hard edge that keeps it from feeling sappy. And we got two albums of it this year! Did I mention the tags of psychedelic, stoner, prog and space rock on their bandcamp?

16. Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown (Nuclear Blast) - Pepper's back!!! Not that I didn't like the other lineup (again) but I discovered the band during the previous Pepper years so this return to form hits all the right spots!

15. Tomb Mold - Manor of Infinite Forms (20 Buck Spin) - Funny how I had to go all the way to Pittsburgh to see Tomb Mold when Toronto is two hours down the road. It was worth it to see all their filthy death metal in the flesh.

14. Gozu - Equilibrium (Metal Blade) - I bought one vinyl record in 2018. This one. How was I lucky enough to see them "at home"? No matter. There's stoner rock/metal and then there's Gozu. They are like a drug. A highly addictive, psychedelic, somewhat progressive, hard-hitting drug. With the year's best album cover. (Edit: I bought the Slaves BC vinyl too.)

13. Beaten to Death - Agronomicon (Mas-kina) - Keeping a new B2D album out of the top 10 was hard. But it came out on Christmas Eve. I basically had to postpone this list because it. They are their own brand of melodic grindcore. Crazy good craziness.

12. Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light (Prosthetic) - I never doubted Adam Clemans as the new singer in Skeletonwitch but now I have fully embraced him. This seems like a more mature album that still rips as hard as they always have.

11. Wolvhammer - The Monuments of Ash and Bone (Blood Music) - Speaking of Adam Clemans.... He kills it with Wolvhammer too. This album takes over my body until I am "The Failure King"! Burly black metal that still hammers the riffs into you forever. Incredible.

Because I thought I did a good job, and because I want to get this thing posted now that it's MARCH, the following blurbs are copied from an original post at Enough procrastinating!!!

10. Cancer Bats - The Spark That Moves (New Damage/Bat Skull) - I was more than pleasantly surprised when this dropped out of nowhere on April 20. (Coincidence?) The Spark That Moves feels like a comeback record to me. They’ve never not been great but this has an energy that supercharged my being in a way they haven’t since Hail Destroyer. It was a daily listen for months. The summer months were definitely the brightest days thanks to their high energy, meaningful, and fun fusion of hardcore, sludge and whatever else they can squeeze in. I saw some these songs live too and let me tell you, dude…

9. Soulfly - Ritual (Napalm) - I would usually leave Soulfly off a list like this altogether due to personal bias (the first tattoo I ever got was a Soulfly logo) but Ritual warrants the recognition due to the change in direction the band takes. Soulfly had been going in a more intense death-thrash direction on recent efforts but Ritual sounds more like Max Cavalera in the mid-to-late ’90s. Late Sepultura, early Soulfly. Not nu-metal though. Groovy? Sure. Tribal? Some. Intensity? You better believe it. It impressed many fans who had given up ages ago and even some that have hung in the whole time.

8. Windhand - Eternal Return (Relapse) - Virginia’s Windhand teased ever so tantalizingly with their half of a split with Satan’s Satyrs. That appetizer was the perfect setup for the satisfying main course. Eternal Return satiates all doom desires. The warm tones penetrate your body while the flowing riffs liquify your bones into a vaporous syrup. Dorthia Cottrell continues her reign among the most affecting doom vocalists of this, or any age in the genre’s evolution. Windhand’s earthly and bewitching doom is a blessing of mood music. The beauty of it is there’s a whole range of moods Eternal Return can amplify or soothe. A potent elixir for all your ills.

7. Secret Cutter - Quantum Eraser (self) - Have you ever seen an industrial metal stamp in action? Bending thick steel into whatever shape the creator desires. Intense irresistible downward force. Complete obliteration. That’s how Secret Cutter destroy you. They crush so hard you’re erased down to a quantum level. It’s a heavy as fuck exercise in sludge, doom, and grind. Spine-tingling vocals set hairs on end as their curiously bent chords mold your skull into new and interesting shapes. Nothing else out there this year hits like the planet smashing sledgehammering Secret Cutter dish out. This music will bruise you.

6. Astrakhan - Without New Growth Process is Bloodshed (self) - RIP Astrakhan. With this release it was made known that Astrakhan was to be no more. The SADness of February’s cold days took a new twist as Sans Astrakhan Disorder. The cure actually comes in the form of listening to the album. WNGPIB is masterful. There’s no term for their progressive, post-, hard-charging, doomy, sludge-into-stoner metal. That indescribability adds to its charm. Serpentine riffs and dynamic intensity take the listener through a lifetime of emotional shifts. Harmonies and vocals stretch your soul like puddy, solos send your mind exploding across galaxies, and the whole package… sadly wasn’t released on vinyl. I’m pretty excited for the guitarists’ new project Brugada though.

5. Fu Manchu - Clone of the Universe (New Damage/At the Dojo) - All that really needs to be said about Clone of the Universe is that there is an 18 minute song on it that features Alex Lifeson of Rush. He doesn’t play for the whole 18 minutes mind you but it’s still way cool. It’s also pretty cool that a band known for short-ish punchy tunes pulled off such a monster track and even embedded it with a new essential Fu Manchu moment. Light the throttle!!! Scott Hill and company do have surprises up their sleeve! Rest assured though the runtime friendly anthems of California-baked coolness that make up the rest of album leave their mark too. Fu Manchu doing Fu Manchu, with an adventurous twist.

4. Sleep - The Sciences (Third Man) - I’ve been a Sleep fan since I first discovered them in 2000. Jerusalem was unlike anything I had heard before. I finally got a chance to see them play back in August. They didn’t play all of Jerusalem/Dopesmoker but they did play some of it. They also played a bunch of songs from The Sciences, their first full-length since Dopesmoker was originally released in 2003. “Sonic Titan” is a holdover from those days given a boost from studio production. The songs range in length from the 3 minute intro/title track to the 14:23 of “Antarcticans Thawed” and every second is unmistakably Sleep. “Giza Butler” might be the second best song they’ve ever written. There’s a riff in there that is my spirit animal. Throw me off a bridge. I don’t care as long as that’s what I hear on the way down.

3. Brant Bjork - Mankind Woman (Heavy Psych Sounds) - This past year or so I have REALLY gotten into Brant Bjork. I loved Black Power Flower and Tao of the Devil but I never really dug into the past. I did this year. Partly due to Mankind Woman. I needed more. And more. As much as I could get. (HPS is actually reissuing most of his back catalogue so….) I can’t even get enough of this album though. Shades of funk and blues. Groove. Psych. Stoner vibes. An overwhelming sense of chill. These are some of my favourite things…about the album. And the lyrics. Songs about life. Diamond hard nuggets of wisdom. “Nation of Indica” is my favourite song of the year for just such reasons. Stay chill, my friends.

2. High on Fire - Electric Messiah (eOne) - My guess is that after dragging his strings around in Sleep and their new material he needed to balance that by making a new High on Fire album as intense as humanly possible. There is a fire burning under Electric Messiah that’s heating those riffs to a rapid boil. Add in the white hot electricity of this trio and you’ll be seeing God. Everything feels 110%. They’ve been at this a long while, and not without challenges, but they bludgeon with such conviction here you’d think their faces were young and fresh. So muscular, so intense, so brilliantly executed. I don’t care how people feel about High on Fire production (I hear nothing wrong here). It’s about the songs. I LOVE THESE SONGS.

1. Yob - Our Raw Heart (Relapse) - Yob’s Mike Scheidt fought a battle with death and won. Our Raw Heart is the result. No album this year made me FEEL as much as this one. As heavy as it is triumphant, it stirs the emotional pot for the duration. “Beauty in Falling Leaves”, the longest track on the album, challenges “Marrow” for most heart-wrenching Yob song ever. It feels like the band really came together on a higher level for this. I’m still baffled there was a time I didn’t even like Yob. Now I can’t imagine a world without their music. Such powerful doom is therapeutic, transporting the listener to a place both of and beyond suffering. To me at least, music like this is essential.

Thanks for hangin' in there.