Archive for the ‘List of Grievances’ Category

I love doom. 2015’s doom has been in some places, magnificent. It is the most primal and emotional subgenre; the closest to the progenitor riffs of Iommi and ghostly wail of Ozzy. There has been some triumphs this year in this genre, and here are the Killchain top 10. It contains some of the same albums I put forward to the Sleeping Shaman as my top ten, but some have changed.

10. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – The Night Creeper: A last minute addition to the list, where the Deadbeats swoop in to amaze with their groove ridden psychedelic doom. The journey continues deeper into the bowels of doom

9. A Dream of Poe – An Infinity Emerged: An album designed to wring pure emotion from you in every way. Crooning vocals, mourning riffs and a creaking atmosphere builds into one of the gloomiest pieces of gothic doom art this year. Affecting in the most primal way.

8. Thorr-Axe – The Gates of Winter: Another masterpiece of riffing, a crushing swing of the doom sword to smote the enemies below. Thorr-Axe blend some hardcore tinges into their swelling post metal/doom mix, and the result is a heady album of bludgeon and glacial power.

7. Paradise Lost – A Plague Within: Yorkshire doom masters bring the heavy, the gothic melancholy, and just about everything else in their arsenal to create a monolithic slab of deathly doom majesty. Another prime example of how the golden oldies never fail to amaze or deliver.

6. Pentagram – Curious Volume: A triumphant return for one of doom’s legends. ‘Curious Volume’ sees Pentagram regain their place as one of doom’s figureheads with swaggering groove, achingly heavy riffs and Liebling’s soulful croon sounding better than it has in years. Don’t close the casket on them yet…

5. Shrine of the Serpent – Shrine of the Serpent: A pure evilness abounds in this three track crushing death/doom from these US newcomers. This is the sound of misery crushing you into nothing, with a fetid stench of death about every riff and every vomited incantation. Doomed to destroy

4. High on Fire: Luminiferous: RIFFS! That’s pretty much the whole modus operandi for High on Fire, and ‘Luminiferous’ delivers a metric fuckton of riffs. Matt Pike and co have always possessed this primal power in voice, riff and drum, and ‘Luminiferous’ may be their most definite statement yet.

3. Lucifer – Lucifer I: The sultry, smoky occult doom stylings of Lucifer bring me back to the feelings of joy last year when I encountered Mount Salem for the first time. The groove and the simple beauty of each riff is hypnotic, while the vocal hooks keep you from wandering. Stunning.

2. Windhand – Grief’s Infernal Flower: The band you rely on to fill Electric Wizard’s space when they’re off watching horror movies and smoking weed. Windhand have an uncanny knack of writing these dense, monolithic riffs that rumble through your very bones. Psychedelic groove that drags you to the void

1.Undersmile – Anhedonia: The scorching primal beauty of ‘Anhedonia’ is clear for everyone to see. Balancing heft with glacial beauty, melancholy with crushing power of riff, Undersmile’s 2015 effort was one of the finest records in any genre I got this year.

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Death metal has been particularly healthy this year in the world of the Killchain. I’ve heard some storming releases, and to whittle it down to only ten seems unfair to the many great records I heard this year. I’m genuinely sorry to anyone I’ve reviewed that hasn’t made it in, because I’ve been totally into almost everything I’ve been sent! But it has to be done, and this is it!

10. Tormention – Chaotic Delusions: A solid, chunky death metal riff war machine of a record. Who needs to reinvent the wheel when the wheel has rarely sounded this good. Tormention crush and batter you into submission.

9. Kataklysm – Of Ghosts and Gods: Superb guitar harmonies mesh with a bombardment of double kicks, guttural but understandable roars and flesh searing riffs. Kataklysm may be getting a bit more melodic, but ‘Of Ghosts and Gods’ will still destroy a pit at ten feet.

8. Desecresy – Stoic Death: A slow, grinding album of Finnish death supreme, where speed has been traded in for a malevolent drudge through some of the darkest waters. Unholy, crawling chaos.

7. Putrevore – Tentacles of Horror: Probably my favourite of all Rogga Johansson’s releases this year, Putrevore smash you into the ground with pure, gurgling death metal. Viciously sludgy and with a simply awesome guitar tone, Putrevore slay.

6. Austerymn – Sepulcrum Viventium: A killer debut of pure Swedeath worship, the UK’s answer to Dismember pulled out all the stops to create a memorably brutal record with razor sharp song writing and crushing heaviness.

5. Obituary – Inked in Blood: Legends fade over time, but Obituary don’t. Still as strong today as they were when they dropped ‘Slowly We Rot’. Iconic vocal belches pepper an album built on heavy as fuck riffing and an atmosphere of reeking death.

4. Abyssus – Into the Abyss: Out Obituary-ing Obituary is no mean feat, but Greek death metal squad Abyssus manage to create one of the finest Floridian death metal albums never to come out of Morrisound. I love the raw, uncompromisingly 90s feel about it, taking me back to the heady days when death metal was a little bit more simple!

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: Filling the Bolt Thrower shaped void in my life, Shrapnel Storm has spun more often than I ever thought it could this year. The band just execute a brand of deathly groove that is totally addictive. The rumble of tanks is alive and well

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: Spiralling tech death metal with oodles of melody and stunning fretwork. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ is one of metal’s finest debuts, and is held off the top spot by one of death metal’s most influential and untouchable bands.

1.Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: Flailing, raging technicality meets the ancient power of the pyramids once again as Nile emerge from their tombs, laying upon us another blueprint of apocalyptic, ancient death. Once again proving that they are the greatest death metal outfit going, ‘What Should Not Be Unearthed’ is endlessly stunning.

Early releases in a band’s career can really show you where they are going, and sometimes can show you just how good they are going to be. Here’s my favourites from this year, and why a demo is still as important as ever.

10. Funerary Bell – Graveyard Seance: in a year where black metal didn’t strike me as often as I’d like, Funerary Bell’s EP gave me hope that the genre still has a lot of merit. Injected with menace, and a ghostly shriek pushes them onto my list.

9. Gaijin – Gaijin: Technical death metal carnage from a band who will be very interesting to keep an eye on.

8. Heathen Beast – The Carnage of Godhra: What would become the last third of ‘Trident’, ‘The Carnage at Godhra’ is a brutal piece of quality, chunky black metal that benefits from dashes of ethnic instrumentation and socio-political lyrics.

7. Exenemy – Overture: One of the finer bits of traditional and power metal I’ve come across this year, Exenemy rip some high quality riffs with oodles of melody. Killer stuff.

6. Heaven Abhorred – Opening the Gate: Raw, malevolent black metal goodness. Channeling second wave black metal legends, Heaven Abhorred are another to keep an eye on.

5. Severe Lacerations – Incantation of Sorrow: Killer North West death metal with a ruthless streak a mile long, this will be a band to keep an eye on. Brutality plain and simple.

4. Mist – Inan: What a beautiful piece of doom this is. Reminding me of my favourite record from last year, Mount Salem’s ‘Endless’, Mist have perfected this kind of Sabbathian groove. I love it

3. Hellripper – The Manifestation of Evil: Oh my fucking christ this slays. It slays so hard I bought the tape, and I don’t have a tape player! ‘Total Mayhem’ could be my favourite song of the year, although it has some stiff competition.

2. Runemaster-  Futhark Dawning: This is prime heavy metal. This is metal at it’s beating, stone heavy heart. Each anthem is catchy, each riff is killer, and the simple fact that it channels such a primal feeling of joy means that its a favourite.

1. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: This is one of the weirdest death metal mindfucks I’ve heard in ages, and that simple fact puts it to number one. Plague Rider are in no way afraid to do anything they need to create something truly special. ‘Paroxysm’ is my number one for its fearless invention and its brutality.

I did a full genre by genre breakdown last year, and while I’ll try to put that together in the next few days, I thought I ‘d start with my overall favourites. I spent 2015 listening to a shitload of independent, underground stuff, and a lot of older stuff. My favourite non-2015 record of the year was ‘British Steel’, closely followed by Accept’s superlative ‘Balls to the Wall’. It was clearly a classic metal year.I’ve also not heard anywhere near as many of the records I wanted to. So there’s probably been a few good ones you’re wondering why are missing. Tell me, so I can find them!

I’m adding a late disclaimer to this; at point of writing I haven’t heard the new Baroness record. It’d probably be in here, but its not fair to these other great records to stick it in just because I’m guessing how good it is.

10. Zgard – Totem: A Ukrainian windswept masterpiece of folky black metal. ‘Totem’ proved that while fellow countryman Drudkh has perfected the style, there are still bands that can challenge the supremacy. Majestic.

9. Paradise Lost – The Plague Within: What can be said? Yorkshire doom lords return with one of this year’s finest pieces of gothic misery. Proof that you can always rely on the old guard to bring it.

8. Plague Rider – Paroxysm: Only EP to make this list, English tech death stars Plague Rider makes this kind of mind bending death metal look easy. I cannot wait to hear what is coming next.

7. Islay – The Angels Share: German melodeath underground heroes Islay have written one of 2015’s most impressive records. ‘The Angels Share’ is an odyssey, owing debts to At the Gates and Amon Amarth, but always remaining their own.

6. Heathen Beast – Trident: One of India’s brightest hopes, and one of their most talented acts, Heathen Beast bring to you scathing, black metal with enough unique ethnic touches to make them stand out and be instantly recognisable.

5. Chiral – Night Sky: In a year where Sivjr Yar pushed him close, Chiral brought out my favourite black metal of the year. Epic in scope, majestic in execution, and truly heart-wrenching at points, ‘Night Sky’ is how atmospheric black metal should be done.

4. Undersmile – Anhedonia: A scorching, dynamic slab of proper British doom. Melancholy and bleak, but always vital and alive. ‘Atacama Sunrise’ is one of my favourite songs of this year, and it is my top doom record of 2015.

3. Shrapnel Storm – Mother War: In a year of epic death metal, Shrapnel Storm’s album kept getting played. Maybe it’s satisfying my craving for more Bolt Thrower, I don’t know, but maybe its just because it is a crushing machine of riffs and death. Love it.

2. Necrocosm – Damnation Doctrine: In any year where there WASN’T a new Nile record, this would have been my top record. I love the complexity, the unhinged savagery but also the supreme melodic flair with which these guys kill. ‘Damnation Doctrine’ needs to be the death metal record you hear this year

NUMBER ONE: Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed: I love Nile. I love everything they do. I loved this album before I heard it. But then I did. I heard how Karl Sanders and co had brought their signature sound to yet more intricate, punishing and most importantly GREAT death metal. Writing songs for themselves should be what they do more often, we are all just lucky to hear it.

Did I miss anything essential? Please let me know and I hope you seek out and support all the artists here.

 

Now my previous lists have been specific to genre, but this is my ultimate top 20 of the year. It’ll include some records that you won’t have seen in previous ones as, for example, I only really heard two good power metal records this year, so I can’t really make a list from it. Also, where do you categorise certain bands, like Triptykon, who cover a wide spread of genres? Anyhow, my top favourites of the year are as follows:

20. Killer Be Killed – S/T – A supergroup that combines equal parts of their bands to create awesome

19. Grand Magus – Triumph and Power – Riffs of stone and hooks of great magnitude, the title track alone is one of my favourite songs of the year.

18. Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity – Another record of spellbinding black metal from England’s finest. Windswept and vast

17. Edguy – Space Police – Catchy as hell and stupidly anthemic, Tobias and the squad bring some RAWK to their power metal greatness

16. Electric Wizard – Time to Die – A suffocating, occult riddled drag down doom alley. Evil and heavy as fuck

15. Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun – A big improvement over The Hunter and Mastodon’s prog doom trip extends further

14. Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare – A follow up to ‘Ordo Ad Chao’ was always going to be difficult, but the True Mayhem brought out another stormer

13. At the Gates – At War With Reality – Thank fuck we finally have the follow up to ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. They put all copycats to shame.

12. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod – NOLA sludge titans send Joey LaCaze off with one of their most superlative records yet. Angry, harsh and utterly devastating

11. Decapitated – Blood Mantra – Poland’s finest sons of death continue their streak of blinding records with yet another punishing exercise in tech death

10. Anaal Nathrakh – Desideratum – Nasty, abrasive and skullfuckingly epic in parts, Anaal do things their way, and better than most

9. Inter Arma – The Cavern – A Spellbinding 45 minute trip through the mind of one of post metal and doom’s brightest sparks. Wonderful

8. Hour of Penance – Regicide – Always brutal and relentless, I’ve grown fonder and fonder of this record the longer the year has gone on. Death to all!

7. Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall – Nasty, lurching death metal chaos, belching death and pestilence to all

6. Whalerider – Thanatos – A surprise late entry, and its been on constant rotation. A stormingly good rock record with doses of psych doom weirdness too

5. Panopticon – Road to the North – Soaring and scorching black metal, vast and hypnotic. Epic black metal is the theme this year, and its great

4. Sabaton – Heroes – I fucking love this band. No one writes more anthemic metal tunes than this. Fantastic record and catchy as hell

3. Mount Salem – Endless – A starkly beautiful trad doom record with perfect vocals and atmosphere. The fact it is third on my list is testament to its quality

2. Behemoth – The Satanist – The rebirth of a legend and a triumphant return. Any other year this would’ve been the best by a country mile

1. Triptykon – Melana Chasmata – Nothing could beat the pure misanthropy, despair and heaviness wrought from Tom G Warrior. A simply monumental release

2014 would struggle to live up to last year for major death metal masterpieces. 2013 saw the return of Carcass and Gorguts, along with stunning records from the likes of Ulcerate, Portal and Autopsy. There hasn’t been anything particularly to rival those releases this year, but what we have had has been some very good records, from some very good bands. So here is the Killchain picks for death metal records you MUST hear from 2014:

Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall

Obituary – Inked in Blood

Decapitated – Blood Mantra

Aborted – The Necrotic Manifesto

Benighted – Carnivore Sublime

Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral

At the Gates – At War With Reality

Cannibal Corpse – The Skeletal Domain

Cannabis Corpse – From Wisdom to Baked

Entombed AD – Back to the Front

Hour of Penance – Regicide

Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails

Incantation – Dirges of Elysium

Vallenfyre – Splinters

Vader – Tibi Et Igni

Vermin Womb – Permanence

There’s a few I’ll have missed, as I’m still catching up with this year’s releases. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Job for a Cowboy’s ‘Sun Eater’, so that might have been a late edition. I also want to mention the awesome Sentience demo and Live Burial’s debut EP as two fantastic death metal releases for the year, and bright hopes for the future

I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!