R&B singers wanted
Khlyst K. Ahlan and I are looking for some sultry voices of sensual viscera and erotic consent-based singing atop ice on nipple synths and chocolate dipped toe sucking melodies and sexy edible candy drums. No porno hounds, only people who like to get it on/think about getting it on/aren’t into not getting it on/ask permission to touch another person’s butt.
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End of List (of year of list of end, 2013)
Band of Buriers – Filth (Honorable Mention)
Folk. Now that you’re done reading that, go listen to this and know/understand that it stacks up. Pay attention to the words. They’re breathing, living, and visceral. Folk. If you hate this word, then Filth can be your revenge. No college hippie, bright eyed obtuse dogshit passages present here. The arrangements and words are present all at once and it will take a few listens to be able to process the vision of James P Honey and his comrades.
Savages – Silence Yourself LP (Honorable Mention)
This might be an overhyped band depending on who you are, but it really hits the spot. Post-punk riffs, scattered and frantic vocals, and a nice sort of warm accusatory tone that prevails throughout the entire release. Save for one track, the entire thing is assembled well and worthy of repeated listens for the particular flare these ladies bring to the table. It’s a decent enough mix - channeling Joy Division represents only 10% of their sound, 1% is devoted hipster overconfidence (whatever that’s worth) and the other 89% to the powerful rasp of genuine rage, anxiety, and urgency that shines through on this album.
Ruins of Beverast – Blood Vaults (Honorable Mention)
The skill and sincerity of the one dude, Alexander Von Meilenwald who plays as Ruins Of Beverast is apparent. Thematically well-thought out and lacking any of the low hanging Satanic fruit, this is a specimen of what a wonderful marriage death and black metal can be. I appreciate the fact that Von Meilenwald cuts in samples to push along the album. It’s well placed garnish to this slab: there are no choice cuts here and this blazes on without overstaying its welcome, but giving you enough time to understand that this disturbing narrative could very well be brandished as a compelling literary work. While the album plays it a little safer than his previous works and at times underpaces itself, it’s a definite stand out for metal releases this year.
Iron Lung – White Glove Test (with companion disk) (Honorable Mention)
I don’t listen to much hardcore right now because I am old and I forgot what I was supposed to be doing with my life instead of being punk, but this album is a good reminder. In my pre-retirement years (aka my thirties), I’m also tickled that they included a noise disc with this sprawling mass of powerviolence; the two disks are played together in the same way Neurosis/Tribes of Neurot and will make you senile with rage. The album is consistent with the band’s outlook on life and general sonic attitude – blast away and spend special moments mired in your own physical failure.
Khlyst K Ahlan – Refuge of Dreams (Honorable Mention)
The debut release from my colleague is perhaps but another foray into the already crowded world of beat making. But Mr. K Ahlan effortlessly crushes the lo-fi industrial tinged beat game where slightly seasoned producers are scratching their heads at the interesting sample choices and non-conventional sequencing of songs. That’s because the specialness of this release is due to the fact that Khlyst K Ahlan is largely an outsider to this artform, and so it follows that he brings a refreshing perspective. A big part of what he does is utilize, in a slightly similar way that lean drenched trap music does( which gives a few tracks a incidental chopped and screwed sound) is throw down some serious pitch changed vocal samples and long slowed down sprawling samples. A simple but unique packaging design (super limited) compliments the aesthetic.
Feend – Secrets (Honorable Mention)
A very syrupy release with crusty drums and OP-1 synth layers, Secrets will remain lost amongst most people simply because part of the appeal of (what I call) new wave of lo-fi drum oriented music is to remain as underground as its sounds. What makes this release compelling to me is that it creeps along stealthily and curtails any occult obviousness while still remaining unsettling. The sounds are muddy, but rich like a silty river of blood emptying out of a cadaver. The oblique and hazy approach to this style is appreciated, but also one that at times lacks definition to propel this to being a favorite.
Rude – Haunted DEMO 2013 (Honorable Mention)
This playful offering of California Bay Area death metal is a straight-forward affair. The members all wear their influences on their sleeves and pay homage to the old school instead of impersonating it or mocking it up the way doom metal bands from Portland, Oregon posture with shitty looking mink stoles, skulls and occult candles. These 5 tracks push on with feral voracity and are so distinct that one can’t help but wonder what their debut proper full length could expand upon (besides the recording – the drums in particular are the only drawback).
Trepanerringsritualen – Judas Goat 7” (SINGLE) (Honorable Mention)
I keep forgetting what the B-side is. I just remember that it doesn’t have the singed death industrial head-nodding drum arrangement and power-electronics vocals. But I remember it being good. And one day I’ll listen to it again, but right now, I just can’t get this Judas Goat beat out of my head even though it goes on for just a hair too long. This guy’s heavy-handed Christ hating aesthetic is also a little for me at times, but it’s very easy to look past. The guy is pissed. The just released Deathstench/Trepanerringsritualen collaboration is on its way to my house and also has a potential to be year-end favorite. We’ll see.
Column of Heaven/Radioactive Vomit split 7” (Honorable Mention)
The common ground both tracks share might include punk affectations of hatred and relentless power, but I don’t really know. There’s some other filth going on here. The sonic cavernousness that the two bands share is differentiated by CoH’s harsh noise proclivities and industrial post-powerviolence weigh and Radioactive Vomit’s take treading low road of bestial black metal Canadians are fond of these days. It works well together and a nice end of the year bookend to CoH’s occult, limited merch extravaganza.
Boogie Boy Metal Mouth - #BBMM (Honorable Mention)
Underground rap is probably more of a pejorative now than it ever was simply because every Bukowski reading college kid thinks he should put out a CD. Boogie Boy Metal Mouth will probably be classified as such by said intelligentsia, but this is not the case. Emoh and J belt out a glorious full length/demo filled with garage rock loops, psychedelic priest babblings, and foul drums. While lyrics and beats are part of the game, this thing is a sizzling breath of fresh face melting air…the live performance is even more destructive.
Donato Dozzy – 200 EP
Drums, pingy synths, savage noises? Yes, it’s minimal gold. Paper grading bliss all the way through!
Dreamdecay – N V N V N V
This hamburger of a band brings the heavy buns of noise rock and combines it with a Jerque sound that slowly roasts to perfection. What a blast of rawness! The tempeh drums crush, the pickled vocals are awesome, and the condiments of guitar laceration finish the job. Swans Filth Era comparions are lobbed around liberally like extra ketchup, but really this thing just sits well for me. Having had the pleasure to see them live, I really felt like gorging myself again and again. Grab this one right now if you are hungering for some off-kilter burger core.
Wulkanaz – Paurpura Fraeovibokos
My friends think I am lame for liking blackened trash can garaged metal, but they’re just making sure I haven’t totally lost it yet. Guess again, dudes! This is a breath of fresh air in the otherwise Burzum bomb shelter staleness that is most black metal. Wulkanaz plays garbage can drums, toy guitar riffs, and squishy vocals that are Sweden’s answer to the question of “what really is lo-fi outside of Darkthrone, bro?”. Or not, maybe not, because the voice you’re hearing is not in touch with anything immediately familiar…these vocals screech along erratically and disturbingly. German heathenism? Super occult shit? Who cares? The LP comes with illustrations so you can brag to your Mgla worshipping homies about high lo-fi standards.
Broadcast – Berberian Sound Studio
After we’ve shed our last tear for Trish Keenan (get over it, dudes), we are left with a band that is still searching in the dark for new sounds but trying to keep it together. After a few listens, I see that these pieces and sketches are actually very cohesive but also adhesive to the film that it soundtracks. And when you’re done getting lost, you can remember that all who search in the darkness are not lost, they’ve just found their way to the ripeness that is moving on. Lacking any standout tracks, the library-record feel of “Berbarian Sound Studio” is wonderful because of how beautifully nuanced it is in bringing it all together in the spirit of collaboration of sound and image – which in my opinion/for me is the highest standard of realizing art of this kind – and they do so spectacularly.
Satan – Life Sentence (BEST LP)
Comeback album of the year? Well, Satan currently play NWOBHM like they just got out of the studio after recording their awesome 1983 debut Court In The Act. In fact, the thirty-year gap between releases has done nothing to stop the assault. In fact, if you listen to Court in the Act and then listen to Life Sentence, prepare to be reduced to an unworthy puddle. This record soars with ripping melodies and awesome vocals. I can’t stop listening to this. A great recording to boot with less reverb and slightly more drum sound compression, this album is not a comeback, it’s a kick in the face to all the garbage metal, like newer AOR/melodic heavy bands who tend to open up for Fates Warning and fucking suck. While I’m admittedly new to this band, I have no reservations about making this my favorite LP of the year and hailing this Satan.
Mitochondrion - Antinumerology (Single)
More Canadian corrosive black/death…if you haven’t heard them and you like unrelenting destruction that will send your face to a griddle, then this single is a great introduction. It is every bit as destructive as the Parasignosis full length, but still clocks in at an impressive (just over) 12 minutes. Repeated drum assaults and pulverizing guitar work matched up with some very awesome rhythms. One of my favorite parts of this band is also their ability to be atmospheric without falling into the keyboard shtick…these riffs feel like 12 ton shackles. Mathematically, this single is a cost effect remedy to your lack of good black/death.
Burial – Rival Dealer
It shouldn’t be any surprise I like this: a sprawling post-HouseDubstep/etc. and decidedly multifaceted LP of an EP that throughout its twists and turns, keeps bringing you back to Burial’s masterful skill at presenting similar sounds in such gloriously different ways. The title track fizzles in with minced beats, swirling vocals, and then the pace is puzzled back together with some repose on the glossy and sparse arrangements of Come Down to Us and the faster paced Hiders– and the onlookers are gawking. How does Burial still raise eyebrows after Untrue? This is not minimal but a condensed can of frenzied manic beat crafting. The pauses are appreciated and necessary. The real treat is in the way that the ethereal vocals dance and dart through the tracks creating an overall longing for more. It’s a necessary re-listen so you pick out the nuances you missed.
Haxan Cloak – Excavations
Excavations is everything I wanted it to be. I did not want to hear the poor drum choices on the Latitudes release, I did not want to see upside-down crosses (played out), I did not want to the stringing of needless and superfluous sounds, but I did want more bass.. Merry Christmas, dude finally got his shit together as far as I’m concerned. The sprawl of this release should rattle eyebrow piercings loose and the depth with which most tracks saunter along warrant an occasional full body head nod if you’re listening to it on the right speakers – all I wanted was bass bliss and here it is. Pitchdork and I share this as one of our year-end favorites which proves that it’s not a one-off hipster beat science outlier. Hope the next one thuds just as hard.
Desolate Shrine - The Sanctum Of Human Darkness LP
Not every underground metal release has to sound like shit nor look like shit. From the clarity of the drums, to the well mixed riffs and even the design layout, Desolate Shrine serve it all up unflashingly and without any reverb abuse that some other OSDM bands are cutting their product with. Very satisfying listen, it makes me hopeful in digging around for similar releases. Super solid and it’s all conceived with an underlying conceptual basis. It’s asinine to say it, but Desolate Shrine is not particularly innovative. That makes it more like comfort food that bites back.
Diat – Everyday 7” (SINGLE)
The curators at Iron Lung Records know the deal. Diat represents another interesting and necessary multi-dimensional release on the label. Post-punk, German, molasses vocals, and typical driving basslines. Totally ruling, 100%. Also their logo and aesthetic rules. I picked this only after thinking of an end of the year list because it dawned on me that I like dancing at shows sometimes. In waiting for a full length, I’ll just play this and their previous 7” (also) on Iron Lung records back to back to back to back.
Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane Picture Disc LP
Stormwitch – Walpurgis Night/Tales of Terror Picture Disc LP
Ulver – Svidd Neger LP
Deathpile – G.R. Vinyl release, LP
Traitor’s Gate – Devil Takes the High Road
Deep Wound – Deep Wound 7”
Timeghoul – Discography 2XLP
Alberich – Machine Gun Nest: Cassette Works Vol. 0 LP
GZA – Liquid Swords/instrumentals/chess set 4XLP
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VAllEY cassette coming soon…EP…neo folk sprinklings without
the Nazi imagery or nationalist agenda (yet still fashionable).
Pictured above are scenes from the British countryside…inspiring…wonderful…haunted…
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FOR YOUR STREAMING PLEASURE.
KHLYST f/ FRKSE - BOOKEND
Outside the metal show/Chris’ last day in Boston, TT the Bears, Cambridge, MA.
noblex 135/delta 3200
OCCVLT BROZ 4 LYFE
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