Tag Archives: Metal Blade Records

014 Best of 2013

[Editor’s note:  Spencer was really lame and did not post this on time.  Metal Urges as a whole practiced due diligence in preparing, recording, and even writing this post on time.  Shame on you, Spencer]

We’re back with another year-end list, and this time we’re almost on time! This was another big year for reunions that resulted in new albums (for starters, Carcass and Broken Hope, both of whom made this list), old bands with amazing albums (Monster Magnet, Flotsam & Jetsam, Year of No Light, Gorguts, Immolation, Pyrexia, Autopsy), and relative newbies that totally owned the place (In Solitude, Watertank, Purson). There was a supergroup of note (Corrections House), and even a well-publicized swan song that didn’t suck (Cathedral). And no Converge this year to screw up our list, yay! Hopefully you’ll agree that our list meets and exceeds your expectations of what qualifies as metal…

Devourment:  their future's so bright, well. . .

Devourment: their future’s so bright, well. . .

#10: “Heaving Acid” from Devourment’s Conceived in Sewage (Relapse)

This quartet from Dallas, Texas has been slaughtering souls since 1995. Produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan at his Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida (not Russia), Conceived in Sewage is their 5th full-length (4 studio albums plus 1 compilation) and their 1st for Relapse Records. Put yer deth on, minions!

Batillus or Predator?  Perhaps some other hydra-like beast.  You decide. Photo by Greg C

Batillus or Predator? Perhaps some other hydra-like beast. You decide.
Photo by Greg C http://www.gregcphotography.com/

#9: “Concrete” from Batillus’ Concrete Sustain (Seventh Rule)

Pronounced “Leh-nerd Skin-nerd” (just kidding, it’s “buh-TILL-us”), Batillus is an industrial metal band from New York City. Originally started as an instrumental trio in 2007, later incorporating black/death metal vocals, synths, and samples, Concrete Sustain is their 2nd full-length…and it is a whopper!

#8: “Pouring Out the Hatred” from Grime’s Deteriorate (Forcefield/Mordgrimm)

Grime is from Italy, but not the ancient Roman-laden parts: these guys hail from Trieste, a port city in the northernmost corner of the Adriatic Sea bordering Slovenia. They play Grief/Noothgrush-styled sludge doom, replete with creepy voice samples and absolutely smothering chordage. The cover art for Deteriorate is by Jason Barnett, a Texas-based street artist who’s also done covers for Noothgrush and Cleric.

Grime

Grime.

#7: “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny” from The Ocean’s Pelagial (Metal Blade)

Based in Berlin, Germany, The Ocean is more of a collective: guest musicians contribute to each album, along with the core members of the group, led by guitarist Robin Staps. Pelagial is their 7th full-length and is a concept album about the ocean: each song is named after a deeper layer of water, and the music gets denser and darker as the album progresses. The cut we chose, “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny,” is the 2nd track and is very melodic, since it’s closest to the surface.

Th Oceans contained in a pool.  Wow, that's like poetry, man.

The Oceans contained in a pool. Wow, that’s like poetry, man.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

#6: “Rendered Into Lard” from Broken Hope’s Omen of Disease (Century Media)

After a decade of inactivity, Chicago’s death dealers Broken Hope reunite with a new vocalist and release their 6th full-length and one of their best, Omen of Disease. The deluxe CD comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the band’s career—which is absolutely essential for any death-metal fan—and included is a chapter on Joe Ptacek, their original vocalist who died in 2010.

#5: “The Portals” from Kongh’s Sole Creation (Agonia)

Formed in 2004, Kongh hail from Nässjö, a small town in southern Sweden (hometown of the Backyard Babies, if that matters). Their 2nd album, 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless, was one of our top albums of that year, but we didn’t really dig this new album until the 5th or 6th spin. Sole Creation is so different from Shadows: where Shadows was more post-hardcore doom like Lento or Callisto, Sole Creation is more head-down doom like Yob mixed with High on Fire.

#4: “In Remorse” from Author & Punisher’s Women & Children (Seventh Rule)

One-man band Tristan Shone does it again with his 5th full-length, Women & Children. It’s less brutal industrial than last year’s Ursus Americanus, but still just as infectious. We have an exclusive interview with Tristan to be featured as a future episode, so stay tuned!

#3: “In Awe Of” from Cult of Luna’s Vertikal (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Cult of Luna has long been a proponent of the harsher end of atmospheric post-hardcore. Vertikal is their 7th full-length and the first in which they’ve slowed things down to incorporate more melodic sections, like Jesu or Hyatari. They also released a companion EP, titled Vertikal II, with extra songs and a Justin Broadrick remix (!).

#2: “Winter” from Secrets of the Sky’s To Sail Black Waters (Kolony)

An amazing band from Oakland, California, Secrets of the Sky burst onto the scene with their award-winning debut, To Sail Black Waters. They were originally signed to Gravedancer Records, but the label went under and ripped off the band in the process; Kolony Records emerged from the dust to release the majestic new album. To Sail Black Waters is what we wish Novembers Doom became, instead of the overtly melancholic doom that they’ve choked out over the past few albums.

And our #1 pick: “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” from Carcass’ Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

The godfathers of UK grindcore & melodic death metal return with their first album in 17 years! Surgical Steel sounds more vicious than their genre-defining 1993 opus, Heartwork—may be their best album EVER. We’ve got a big surprise planned for Episode #015 as a continuation of our death metal theme…so stay tuned!

Best Carcass ever?  Hmm. . .

Best Carcass ever? Hmm. . .

 

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011 Best of 2012

Neurosis

Of course they’re on our list. They’re still Mad Max’s favorite band. (Neurosis, duh.)

We’re back with our Best of 2012 list, only four months late this year. Maybe next year, we’ll cut it down to three months? 2012 was yet another banner year for diverse metal offerings, and TONS of great metal releases struck our collective fancy, from well-established bands (Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Deftones) to not-so-well-known-yet acts (Author & Punisher, Abiotic, Inverloch, Dragged Into Sunlight, Mother’s Green). Our list mixes the familiar with the unknown, and without further ado…

#10: “Rise Up” from Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth (Nuclear Blast). Is it just us, or have Testament gotten better with age? Even more amazing is that four-fifths of the band is the original line-up: Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, and they added the mighty Gene Hoglan as drummer—who actually played with them previously on 1997’s Demonic during their lean years.

#9: “Wrong Side of History” from Kowloon Walled City’s Container Ships (Brutal Panda). KWC are a post-core/-rock quartet from San Francisco who’d probably be on Hydra Head if they were still around. On tour now with Zozobra (who also has a new album out, starring Adam McGrath and J.R. Conners of Cave In).

#8: “Ash” from Abstracter’s Tomb of Feathers (The Path Less Traveled). Like many metalheads, we have an affinity for Bay Area bands, and Abstracter blew our minds this year. They play Neurosis-styled, build-and-collapse doom but more in the vein of Mindrot, -16-, and Yob. “Ash” is 16 minutes long (our longest podcast cut yet), so get ready to DOOM!

#7: “The Innsmouth Look” from Chowder’s Passion Rift (I Voidhanger). Chowder play amazing, vocalless prog-doom from Maryland that’s a crooked cross between Rush and Karma to Burn. Their label, I Voidhanger, will be an interesting one to watch for cool bands. Chowder is not the greatest choice for names, mind you, but does that make their fans Chowderheads (“Chowdah-heads” for all you New Englanders)?

Haarp's brilliant and heavy Husks

Atmospheric and doomy, Haarp’s album cover previews their smart and arty brand of heavy doom, Lou-zianna style.

#6: “bear” from haarp’s Husks (Housecore). With a little “h” but a big sound, haarp are another New Orleans band molded after Eyehategod and Crowbar, but slower—more akin to North Carolina’s Weedeater but with longer songs. Three tracks only on this current album Husks, and our song pick “bear” is almost 9 minutes long. On Phil Anselmo’s label, Housecore, natch!

#5: “Curses Scribed in Gore” from Hooded Menace’s Effigies of Evil (Relapse). Here’s a Finnish band whose sole purpose is to emulate all the classic death/doom of Winter, Cathedral, and Candlemass. Special thanks to Mark & Jason for getting us into these dudes with Episode 048 of Requiem Metal Podcast!

 

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Don’t worry. The Mystery Machine is out back idling. Ready for the getaway. It’s okay that you’re freakin’ out right now. That makes two of us.

#4: “iDeath” from Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Don’t Hear It…Fear It! (Rise Above/Metal Blade). This oddly named band hails from England and is named after a real-life British naval officer from the 17th century. An obvious titular nod to Sir Lord Baltimore, this wily trio play psychedelic rock/metal like the MC5, Status Quo, et al., plus they have a man-sized red bird as their mascot!

#3: “Raise the Dawn” from Neurosis’s Honor Found in Decay (Neurot). Our third Bay Area band on the list, Neurosis always produces quality, thought-provoking music and has been a major influence on Isis, which in turn were the inspiration for countless more bands. They have always had exactly the same line-up, with the exception of Noah Landis, who joined in 1996 and quit just recently. This is their tenth studio album, and they show no sign of early retirement.

#2: “Vanquish in Vengeance” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable). This perennially solid band is also featured in our next episode, Episode 011: SDM Vol. 2, and we spend more time talking about them there. Hands down, one of the very best American DM bands!

 

Katabatic

Pondering Portuguese heaviness. Move over Os Mutantes: Katabatic is the new psychedelic.

And the #1 song of the year: “Wonder-Room” from

Katabatic’s Heavy Water (Raging Planet). “Katabatic” is an adjective describing the cold, fast wind that travels downslope from mountaintops. The band Katabatic are a four-piece from Lisbon, Portugal that play almost vocalless atmospheric doom in the vein of Isis or, more obviously, Pelican. The light/dark shift in our song choice, “Wonder-Room,” just blows us away like those katabatic winds!

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