Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thank goodness for technicalities!!

Serpentcult's Weight of Light came out in Europe last year, but the North American release date was in January. SO it's eligible for my Top Albums of 2009 because I live in North America. This is good news because the album kicks ass and I hadn't heard it until the other day.

Sadly, some kick ass albums from 2008 didn't hit my ears until 2009. Here's a short list of killer albums that may have made my list had I heard them last year.

Trenches - The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole
Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery
Death Angel - Killing Season
Early Graves - We: The Guillotine
Evocation - Dead Calm Chaos (fucking awesome!)
Watain - Casus Luciferi

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Live Review: Darkest Hour w/ Born of Osiris, Dead and Divine, Arise and Ruin, Fall to Ashes

Feb 4, 2009: Time To Laugh, Kingston, Ontario

Locals Fall to Ashes opened the show. Bunch of clowns if you ask me. The 2 guitarists were wearing Ferris Bueller sunglasses. The vocalist didn't even take off his coat.(it was FUCKING cold out) and the whole band just basically stood there and bobbed their heads. They couldn't even chug-chug-noodle-noodle-deathcore growl their way through a half-hour set without playing a cover.(Parkway Drive) Good effort boys but you have some work to do.

Guelph's Arise and Ruin know how to put on a show. They recently parted ways with guitarist Greg, and brought in a guy named Sam to fill in. He was a fan of the band and knew all the songs cold anyway. He did a great job. They played mostly stuff off their new disc, Night Storms Hailfire (released Feb 17). From what I heard, it sounded pretty killer. I'll have to pick up the disc and give it a listen in a more controlled environment. Vocalist Ryan Bauchmann assured me he's not going to mellow out anytime soon and guitarist Brent Munger let me know that they really like Sam and will probably keep him. Thanks to Mike the merch guy for the sweet deal on the hoodie.

I will admit that I didn't pay attention to Toronto's Dead and Divine because they were too emo for my tastes. Besides, I am an asshole and the singer was wearing a long coat and a scarf and looked like a real metrosexual, so I automatically dismissed him as a douchebag. Proabably a real nice guy though.

I didn't want to like Born of Osiris but they weren't too bad. I could do without the keyboards and the Human Abstract/PTH guitar work but for being just kids, they really know their way around their instruments. The drummer was particularly impressive. I'd watch em again but I am not going out to buy the albums.

I set my hopes too high for Darkest Hour. I listened to all their back catalogue a couple times and was really excited. I speculated about the playlist, tried to remember lyrics and brought my copy of Undoing Ruin to get signed (didn't get it signed). Alas, I was let down. Their performance seemed almost choreographed to me. Up on the monitor, back down, switch positions, up on the monitor....It might have looked better were I in a different position. I was 3 or 4 deep, off to one side so I could only see half the stage. Maybe if I had gone to one of the high tables at the back, I could have seen better. And it would of had a different effect. They played a bunch from Deliver Us, and a nice mix from about Hidden Hands....on up. They put on a good show, (plenty of kids losing their minds) I just think I wasn't in the right frame of mind that night. I high too high expectations, I was exhausted before I even got there, I was disappointed I didn't get the chance to interview them for this blog, and it was only the second in show in YEARS that I attended stone cold sober. That being said, as out of it as I was, a good enough show would have been able to snap me out of it. Worth the $15 anyway.

Lesson learned though, so I won't get as excited before the Cattle Decapitation show in April.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Correction Notice

In my previous post, I was talking about a band named the Overlords of Chaos.
I was mistaken. The ALBUM is Overlords of Chaos. The band is Ironsword.
Yeah, just as dumb.,

Speaking of chaos and bad singers.....

I was listening to a band this morning, I believe named The Overlords of Chaos. The band name alone should have sent up a red flag. (which is funny, because I probably read about them in Decibel, whose parent company is Red Flag Media) But anyway... It sucks. The image that comes to mind is this: a bunch of 14-15 year-olds discover one of their dad's old Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc records in the attic. Once they figure out how to work the record player, forwards, they think it sounds "pretty sick!" and "rad". They go talk to "Jimmy's" dad about them. The dad starts getting all nostalgic and shit. He encourages them to start a band. So they do. Problem is, there are only 3 of them, so the twin guitar harmonies are out. They're havin' a great time and dad brings out his old 4 track recorder. Here's the second problem. None of them can sing. None of them can hold a note longer than 0.3 seconds before it cracks. Ah, puberty. At least Bobby's got a hair on his chest now. Dad saves the day. He steps up the mic and lives out is own adolescent dream. He's singing in a metal band. But, alas, he had no training back them and no training now. Therefore, he sounds like a has been that never was.

Then I hit a bump and my ipod shuffled to something on This Comp Kills Fascists and life was good again.

Learn to sing already!

In my quest to expand my metal pallet, I have been listening to some older
bands that I would have dismissed a couple years ago simply because they
were "before my time". (eg. Testament, Motorhead) So when I saw that
Kreator had a new album out, I thought I would give it a listen. Besides,
the last two Motorhead albums were good, so was the new Testament. So how
bad could Hordes of Chaos be?
I would say it was a waste of bandwidth, but I have unlimited so I don't
care. A more fitting term might be a waste of space on my ipod. I can't
really say the album is bad, it's just nothing special.
Musically, it's a trashin' good time. Very well produced, competent
musicians, and decent songwriting. But vocally, it's disappointing. I
thought after that many years, the band would have a better singer. I don't
know much of anything about Kreator expect they are from Germany. Is it the
original singer? I dunno.
I any case, I just find the whole thing unnecessary. Old thrash bands still
kickin' is cool and all, but unless they are bringing some new and/or
exciting to the table, I can go without.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Top 34 Albums of 2008 (updated)

I finally combed through everything I listened to that was released in 2008. It was an exhausting process and I think it took me over 2 months. Seriously. I based my list mostly on amount of spins, but a big part of it is how much I want to listen to it. Do I have to be "in the mood" for it? How does it make me feel? Do I crave more when it's over? How often does it get stuck in my head? Stuff like that. So it's really an amalgam of all those aspects.
As with previous years, I let personal bias get in the way. That being said, again this year there are two albums ranked 0. I can't listen to them objectively enough to properly rank them and honestly, they could put out anything and I would think it was pure gold.

0. Soulfly - Conquer (Less tribal, more metal. Max and Co. bring da shit!)
0. b) Cavalera Conspiracy - Inflikted (The Cavaleras are back together. Add in Rizzo and Joe Duplantier (GOJIRA!!) and you can't go wrong.)

I love Max Cavalera (as a musician) so much that anything he is involved in beats everything else but Clutch.

Here is the rest of the list. The Top 10 are pretty much in order (anyone could be my fave depending on the day) but after that, don't pay too much attention to the order. It's pretty close but it's very fluid. I've included the record label and the country of origin. Prosthetic, Hydra Head, Relapse and Metal Blade are most represented labels and the US, Canada and Sweden top the countries. I will try and add short comments or descriptions for each one at some time. Whenever I have the time, so keep checking back.

1. Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder God (Metal Blade, Sweden)This is the first Amon Amarth I have ever listened to. I always shied away from viking metal. I thought they were like power metal. Then I listened to it. Again and again and again.....
2. Bison b.c. - Quiet Earth (Metal Blade, Canada) "These are my dress clothes!!"
3. The Sword – Gods Of The Earth (Kemado, US) What I love best about this album is the imagery the music creates. I visualized the theme for the video for "Fire Lances..." before I saw it.
4. Torche – Meanderthal (Robotic Empire/Rock Action/Hydra Head, US)I read about people bitching about this album. That it's too poppy, the singer sucks, etc. Well, yeah, it's catchy as shit and his voice is natural. Not over-polished. Right on!
5. Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh (Listenable/Prosthetic, France)I didn't like From Mars to Sirius. I tried. But this one is awesome! Maybe I just "get it" now.
6. Origin – Antithesis (Relapse, US)This album knocked me on my ass. Who knew a bunch of guys from Kansas could be so pissed off! Fast, heavy as fuck, and pure awesome.
7. ASRA – The Way Of All Flesh (Black Box/Relapse, US)RIP ASRA (which stands for Alleged Satanic Ritual Abuse). Like Destroyer Destroyer from last year, this is the music in my head. The screaming on this is incredible. The angriest album I heard this year.
8. Metallica – Death Magnetic (Warner, US)I don't know what everyone's problem with this is? Yeah, it's not MOP, but it's good!
9. Blacklisted – Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God (Deathwish, US) There is just something about this one that keeps me coming back to it. It's really personal and you can hear the emotion in it. Not in an emo way.
10. Ufomammut – Idolum (Supernatural Cat, Italy)One of my favourite bands that no-one other than me has heard of. Incredible toned doom. Light one up and enjoy. My Ufomammut t-shirt is my fave shirt ever.

11. Lair of the Minotaur – War Metal Battle Master (Southern Lord, US)Have you seen the video for the title track?!!!
12. Into Eternity – The Incurable Tragedy (Century Media, Canada)Another really personal album. Tim Roth left the band, but now he's back. Yes!!
13. Burst – Lazarus Bird (Relapse, Sweden) The vocals on this remind me alot of someone I can't think of right now. Someone good. Burst never disappoint.
14. Cancer Bats – Hail Destroyer (Distort/Black Market Activities, Canada)Cancer Bats have played a half hour away at least twice in the last year and I have missed them every time. I think the title track was my "most screamed along with" track of 2008.
15. Gridlink – Amber Grey (Hydra Head, US)I usually don't like grind but this is awesome. Jon Chang rules. I need to check out some Discordance Axis. 14 songs in under 12 minutes. I think every song on the Ufomammut is longer than the entirety of Amber Grey.
16. Deicide – Till Death Do Us Part (Earache, US)It's fuckin' Deicide.
17. Withered – Folie Circulaire (Prosthetic, US) Name a metal sub-genre, and Withered uses it in some capacity. I kind of have to be in the mood for Withered but it's a killer album.
18. The Gates of Slumber – Conquerer (Profound Lore, US)Anyone who knows me know I love stoner rock. I don't listen to it as much as I used to but that's because there aren't as many bands as good as The Gates of Slumber anymore.
19. Javelina – Javelina (Translation Loss, US) "Pronounced "hä-va-'lE-na" Killer tone, awesome bellows!
20. Pitch Black Forecast – Absentee (Fractured Transmitter, US)Gene Hoglan is on drums. Positive hardcore. Catchy too.
21. Century – Black Ocean (Prosthetic, US)The first of a trilogy. Heck yeah!
22. Deadbird – Twilight Ritual (At A Loss, US)Kind of in that southern doom/stoner vein.
23. The Acacia Strain – Continent (Prosthetic, US)I'm glad I listened to this before I saw pix of the band. They look like poser douchebags. I would totally dismiss them if the music wasn't awesome.
24. Dismember – Dismember (Regain, Sweden)Death metal lives!!
25. Feast Eternal – With Fire (none, US)I didn't even know they were a christian band til I went looking to see what label they were on.
26. The Haunted – Versus (Century Media, Sweden)You can't dispute quality. As much as you can tire of a genre, The Haunted still kick ass.
27. Jucifer – L'Autrichienne (Relapse, US)Very eclectic. English and French lyrics. Amazing live. Not for everyone.
28. Hail of Bullets – Of Frost And War (Metal Blade, Netherlands)Took me a couple listens to really get into this. It was the vocals that had to grow on me. But that buzzsaw guitar!!!
29. Kataklysm – Prevail (Nuclear Blast, Canada) Proof Montreal is the current metal capital of the world.
30. Black Ships – Omens (New Romance For Kids, Canada)Montreal again. I love this brand of hardcore.
31. Hemlock – No Time For Sorrow (Continental, US) I don't know why I like this so much. It's very accessible and catchy as hell.
32. Jex Thoth – Jex Thoth ( I Hate, US) What a freakin' voice!! Amazingly retro sounding psych/doom. Almost hypnotic.
33. Zozobra – Bird Of Prey ( Hydra Head, US)Caleb Scofield of Cave In and Old Man Gloom (english for Zozobra) and Isis' Aaron Harris on drums. This album is a monster post-metal experience.
34. Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony (Rise Above, Canada) Toronto's Blood Ceremony deliver the goods. From lyrics about witches, magic and drugs to FUCKING FLUTE SOLOS!! Amazing. Perfect music to totally trip out too. (if you're into that)

Live Album of the year: Clutch - Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings. It's the only one I listened to but it would win anyway. I have yet to watch the DVD version. (repeatedly kicks self in ass)

Live Performance of the year: Jucifer. I didn't get to many shows in the past year, but this was by far the best one.

Looking forward to in 2009:

Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague. (listening to it right now. It destroys!!)
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
Titan - Colossus EP (awesome!)
Kylesa - Static Tensions
The Bakerton Group - El Rojo
Wino - Punctured Equilibrium
God Forbid - Earthsblood
Lamb of God - Wrath
Sepultura - A-lex (really not as good as I had hoped)
Architect - Ghost of the Saltwater Machines ( heard it twice so far and it's amazing. Mark McGee (ex- I Hate Sally, ex- The Chariot, Jesus Mullet) just joined on drums)