Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just so you're aware.

Before I publish my Top 20, you should know that there are a couple of glaring ommissions. These would be The Company Band and Javelina. At "press time" I still hadn't heard them. The Company Band may not have been included even though it has a member of Clutch. But I can almost guarantee Javelina's sophomore release would have made my Top 40 somewhere. I keep thinking there is one other band that would have a shot if I heard it but I can't think of it right now.

I am also drawing a blank on the handful of bands that just missed the cut. I thought I had it written down but I guess not.

The long wait is almost over. I will be publishing the Top 20 of my Top 40 Best Albums of 2009 by Monday. I have everything written out. I just have to go over it and paste it on here. I promise you'll disagree with me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Top 40 Albums of 2009 Part 2: # 30-21

30. Big Business - Mind the Drift:  Big Business usually ranks higher than this but 2009 was such a great year. Mind the Drift takes me on a nautical journey every time I hear it. This is almost as close to chill out music as I get. Album highlight: “Cold Lunch” (Bonus track version)

29. Asphyx - Death…The Brutal Way: There is just something about Martin Van Drunen’s voice that makes anything he screams over that much better. Not that this wouldn’t be incredible anyway. Militaristic buzz saw riffing behind the tortured screams of the dying makes Death…The Brutal Way the only way I would want it. Album highlight: Van Drunen's vocal onslaught.

28. Obituary - Darkest Day: Who cares if Obituary is part of the “old guard” of death metal these days? They still destroy eardrums better than most. I just love their classic death metal sound. Circle headbang factor is a 10. Album highlight: “Lost“

27.  Nile - I:  This is my first experience with Nile and it was a good one.  They are able to meld eastern themes and instruments into the brootal without it sounding fake or contrived. First impressions are important. Good show, Nile. Good show. Album highlight: “Kafir!” (mostly for “There is no god!”)

26. Dying Fetus - Descend Into Depravity: Also a first time for me. (My death metal history needs some work) I usually shy away from lots of technicality but not here.  It doesn’t take away from the songs the way some other bands do. The bass playing is incredible. Album highlight: "Conceived into Enslavement"

25. Napalm Death - Time Waits For No Slave:  What’s not to love?  These grind progenitors never fail to impress. I was listening to this in the car with the kids and my daughter says “Daddy, this sounds like you”. If only I were as good as Barney Greenway. Album highlight: "Downbeat Clique"

24. Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre: Yup, another first. If you haven’t guessed by now I’m all over the old school death metal this year.  I found myself going back to this one a lot. I don’t really know why but I don’t care why either. Album highlight: “Resurrection Macabre”

23. Doomriders - Darkess Come Alive: There's really a meld of genres here but what really holds it together is the groove. Some people would call it stoner rock but it's better than most of bands that claim that name. Isn't there a guy from Converge in Doomriders? Album highlight: "Come Alive"

22. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder: Shrinebuilder puts the super in supergroups. Members of Neurosis, Sleep/Om, Melvins AND Wino?! Oh yeah. The best part is, they live up to what you would expect. Every member's contribution connects to make the whole something huge. Best supergroup since Down. Album highlight: "Pyramid on the Moon"

21. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse: Not a huge fan of Pig Destroyer but definitely a fan of ANb. Maybe I should go back and rediscover PD. Agorapocalypse offers barely controlled chaos and severe vocal aggression.When they aren't at warp speed, they sure can bring the heavy. Album highlight: "Druggernaut Jug Fuck" if only for the name.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Top 40 Albums of 2009: Part 1: #40-#31

40. Culted - Beyond the Thunders of the Upper Deep: Heavy-ass doom. Manitoba/Sweden collabo portrays bleakness and cold. This would be great on vinyl.
39. Unholy - New Life Behind Closed Doors: There's nothing entirely unique about this high-energy metal outfit. But it makes we want to scream, headbang and play air guitar all at the same time. And since when was that a bad thing?
38. Lord Mantis - Spawning the Nephilim: Again, nothing uber-special about it. But I like it. Good tones and great vocals. And if they are singing about the Nephilim, that's fuckin' cool.
37. Ex Deo - Romulus (Nuclear Blast): Ancient Roman concept album/band. Powerful and epic. Makes me want to buy a sword and rule an Empire!
36. Tombs - Winter Hours: There is a lot going on here. Intricate soundscapes and raw power merge to send the listener on a bleak and tortured journey from which he will return a changed man. Not a casual listen.
35. Magrudergrind - Magrudergrind: Magrudergrind is one of the reasons I am getting into grind more. It isn't just noise to me anymore. There seems to be actual thought and structure to it. (I'm looking at you, Anal Cunt.)
34. Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor: This one could be a casualty of an early in the year release. Maybe over listening too. It's incredible though. The precision and vocal range are astounding. I was never a big fan before this album but I am now. Besides, they just might have the best t-shirts in the biz.
33. Om - God is Good: Same formula as always, more or less. That's partially the reason they are ranked so low this year. I usually have them in my Top 10. Kudos for including some extra instrumentation but points are taking off for the departure of Chris Hakius.
32. Mantic Ritual - The Executioner: The first of many thrash-tastic releases on my list this year. This album is RIPPIN'! It's like the last 25 years never happened! I love thrash.
31. Behemoth - Evangelion: It's Behemoth so it's pretty much an automatic. But this one kind of dragged on so it falls out of the Top 30.

Top 5 Canadian Releases of 2009

I love being Canadian. And I love Canadian Metal. Some Canadian music makes me ashamed (Celine Dion, Anne Murray, Nickelback), some rocks (Neil Young, Rush), but Canadian Metal makes me proud. Here's the Top 5 Canadian releases that made me proud to be Canadian in 2009.

5. Arise & Ruin - Nightstorms Hailfire (Guelph, ON): Vicious metalcore sans clean vox. I was told by vocalist Ryan Bauchman himself that he will never lighten up his vocals. Good. Hints of doom and thrash work their way into the mix. All this makes for one hell of a live show.

4. Culted - Beyond the Thunders of the Upper Deep (Winnepeg, MB/Sweden): This Winnepeg duo's collaboration with a Swedish vocalist produced some heavy fuckin' shit. Seriously awesome doom with scary blackened vocals. Best enjoyed loud as hell and blazed out of your mind.

3. Ex Deo - Romulus (Montreal, PQ): Some bands create concept albums, some bands create concept bands. Ex Deo is basically Kataklysm doing Roman themed epic metal. Nothing wrong with that! Great music and a history lesson all in one. Battle of the Bands idea: Ex Deo vs. Nile.

2. Buried Inside - Spoils of Failure (Ottawa, ON): Bands like this I find hard to categorize. Pummeling doomy music with hardcore-ish bellowed Neurosis type vocals. The song titles are Roman numerals and I can't understand most of the vocals but they've always been a very cerebral band. I'd like to see a lyric sheet. I challenge you to try and not scream along anyway. This album rules.

1. Titan - Colossus EP (Toronto, ON): More or less in the same vein as Buried Inside but with more variation musically and vocally. "Bangover"-inducing ferocity throughout with just enough breathing room to recover before you pass out. I managed to see Titan live twice in 2009 and both times they kicked my ass! Extra kudos to the band for knocking out the power to a city block during one of their shows. That's fuckin' metal.

Honourable Mentions: 3 Inches of Blood and Bastard Child Death Cult.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Did I really?

Did I really used to read Revolver Magazine religiously? I think I did. Why the hell did I do that!!?  I picked up the latest issue with the Vulgar Dislay of Power cover story. For the cover story. Pretty much the rest of it was garbage. Features on crap ass bands, an ad every other page for some clothing line or other BS, a horrible Top 20 of 2009 etc. I feel dumber having read it. Maybe I'm just an elitist but it seems way too Hot Topic. I mean really, it appears they now have a monthly column featuring this month's Hot Metal Chick. Seriously?

Maybe it's been a big downhill slide since they were bought by Guitar World. I've only read 3-4 months worth in the last 3 years so maybe it has been gradual but I remember the last one I read (sometime in 2008) being pretty lame too. It had an article about Seether. It did. When I read Decibel, I write down at the VERY least 25-30 bands/albums I want to check out. This month's Revolver? 1. Fear Factory's Mechanize. And that's more out of curiousity than anything.

I guess this is where the guys at work that are all "BFMV!!! Whoo! Spineshank is reuniting!!! I love Mudvayne!! FFDP rules!" get their information. It's time I take these kids to school.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

OK, vacay's over. Back to the cuts.

So I've been on vacation/holidays/not working for a couple weeks or so. Therefore, I've been spending less time on the internet. So just to let you know I'm still alive, here are some more cuts to my year end list.

The Red Chord - Fed Through The Teeth Machine: wicked album title. Talented musicians. Not my style.

Red Fang - Red Fang: Love, love, loved it! But it's not so much a new album as it is 3 EPs released as an album. This is more of a DQ.

Resistant Culture - (whatever it is I can't remember): This band is pretty kick ass. They need some work though. And better production.

Samael - Above: Nothing really grabbed me.

Scar Symmetry - (again, can't remember): AAAHHH! THE VOCALS!!!!


Did you hear about the Soundgarden reunion? YEAH BABY!