11 January 2014

The 20 Best Albums of 2013

  1. Acacia - Tills Döden Skiljer Oss Åt
  2. Svart - Det Personliga Helvetets Spiral
  3. Triumph, Genus - Všehorovnost je porážkou převyšujících
  4. Rotting Christ - Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού
  5. Inquisition -  Obscure Verses For the Multiverse
  6. Witherscape - The Inheritance
  7. Satyricon - Satyricon
  8. Facebreaker - Dedicated to the Flesh
  9. Soilwork - The Living Infinite
  10. Death Tyrant - Opus Des Tyranis
  11. Diabolical - Neogenesis
  12. Ghost - Infestissumam
  13. The Monolith Deathcult - Tetragrammation
  14. Watain - The Wild Hunt
  15. Leprous - Coal
  16. Hate - Solarflesh
  17. Wardruna - Runaljod – Yggdrasil
  18. Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth 
  19. Deicide - In the Minds of Evil
  20. Persefone - Spiritual Migration

09 January 2014

Carcass - Surgical Steel

I love Carcass. I really do. They’re one of the most important bands in death metal history. I still spin the classics like “Heartwork” and the grossly underrated “Swansong” and of course “Necroticism”, but for whatever reason, something about this “Surgical Steel” album that should have made it one of 2013’s finest records is just not there. And I have my suspicions about what it may be.

First of all, the musicianship is fantastic. There are enough cool leads and solos throughout this record to satiate your needs for that kind of thing for an entire year’s worth of releases. Bill Steer has always known what to do with the guitar in his hands, and he does his thing very well on this one too. Though the leads aren’t as instantly catchy or groovy as the aforementioned masterpieces from the ‘90s, they’re all still fun to hear if you have any desire in your heart to hear finely performed guitar licks.

Much like the guitar work, everything Jeff Walker does is ace as usual as well. His growl has not aged a bit in over a decade. He still rips and tears through the lyrics’ flowery vocabulary with precision and excellent enunciation. The bass is even noticeable and sounds pretty groovy too.

However, despite all that, the album does contain a few glaring weaknesses that ultimately kill it, at least for me. The drumming, courtesy of Daniel Wilding, includes a multitude of blastbeats that really just don’t compliment this band’s strengths. I’m sure there are many out there who love it, but for me, I just don’t hear the fit. Don’t get me wrong. I love blastbeats. Most of the time, I can’t get enough of them. But for a band with such an ability to find a more traditional groove and with songs on their resume like “Black Star” and “No Love Lost”, the introduction of a plethora of blasting just seems a little counterintuitive.

The songwriting itself falls a little flat for me as well. When I first discovered Carcass, I was hooked within minutes of hearing them. There were songs that I’d listen to time and time again. There were tracks I wanted to learn on guitar. There were tracks I wanted to let friends hear. With “Surgical Steel”, that feeling just isn’t there. I feel like I’m left willing myself to want to like it because it’s Carcass, but I just can’t. Maybe I’ve just grown up, and my expectations for an old band’s new releases are unreasonably high. Maybe the band members themselves have just changed. I don’t know.

All I can tell you is that I’ve heard this album a few times all the way through now, and I can’t for the life of me mention any moment of any song that I thought was cool enough to remember. And that’s sad. This is Carcass. THE Carcass. Maybe they should’ve stayed away and stayed legendary.


19 November 2013

Logo Disaster: Logging

Please help me figure out exactly where this mess of MS Paint portrays a word or even a letter. This scratch belongs to U.S. black-metallers, Logging. It is truly laughable. Most of the bad logos out there are at the very least quasi decipherable. In some of them you can even pick out where a word ends or begins or maybe even a letter or two. But this? This is garbage.

03 October 2013

Logo Disaster: Vale of Koth

What is this? The maze in the kiddie pages in the Sunday newspaper? The Higgs boson? Apparently this smoky squirt of white on a black background says "Vale of Koth" or something. Whatever. Weak.

23 September 2013

Logo Distaster: Strigis

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...an owl. It's got an R in it, perhaps. It's terrible. It's Strigis.

04 September 2013

Black Metal Bust

Have you ever just wanted to lose yourself in hundreds of photos of black metal "bands" looking dumb whilst trying too hard to out-do one another in the areas of general tr00 kvltness? Look no further than Black Metal Bust, a blog dedicated to finding the world's grimmest and kvltest trolls and bringing them to you in their most hilarious visual glory.

02 August 2013

Planetary - Adventure (EP)

Strangely described as "instrumental blackened power metal," Planetary's debut EP, Adventure, features enough epic riffs and triumphant lead parts to overcome any of its production flaws and shortcomings to create an exciting and refreshing 24-minute opus that is truly an adventure. This could easily be written off as yet another poor attempt at one-man-band metal with programmed drums, but the end result is something much more. Songs live and breathe and evolve into beautifully constructed pieces of sci-fi-themed power metal that are heavy, groovy, and catchy.

The drums, as stated before, are indeed programmed and done very rudimentarily at that. The snare sound is entirely too soft, the kicks sound little too artificial, and some of the fills here and there sound awkward at best. If you're a stickler for good drumming or solid programmed drums, odds are you may find this album to be a little irritating. If you can look at the drums as simply a means to "keep the beat," then you'll probably enjoy everything else this record has to offer.

The album is comprised of seven tracks, two of which are actually very cool atmospheric electronic tracks. The other five tracks are the real meat of the material. I know this stuff is described as "blackened power metal" or whatever, but there are actually some cool traces of blackened qualities that take the power metal to a cool new realm, especially in a track like "Earth's End" with it's explosive and dark opening riff following the moody piano intro. A lot of what Planetary has to offer reminds me of a darker version of Lost Horizon or Iron Savior only without the vocals or killer guitar solos, which isn't necessarily all bad.

The guitar sound is thick and probably a little too bottom heavy, and it reeks of the "self-produced" label so many albums get these days, but the riffs are what Planetary does best. Almost every riff on the album will stick to your brain like glue. As for the leads, they aren't virtuosic or impressive in any imaginable way, but after you've heard them a few times, you'll certainly be singing along every other time they come up. It sounds cheap, but there's a lot of quality here in the songwriting department. In addition to the riffing, there is an enormous orchestration of synths underneath it all, belting out big chords on settings that can only be described as sci-fi or fantasy sounds. The whole package really takes your mind to a faraway place.

In the end, Adventure is nowhere near a perfect album.  But it is actually pretty fun to listen to and sing along with in all its cheaply produced glory. In fact, the CD version features a front cover with some neat art, a back cover with a track list and copyright, and that's it. No fancy booklet innards or anything. You can also hear and download a lot of the album for free from their assorted web outposts, so check it out.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: "Written by request by Sudendaemon")


Planetary - Adventure (EP)
Version: Compact Disc
Planetary at SoundCloud
Planetary at Bandcamp
Planetary on Facebook

As noted on the band's Reverbnation page, a compact disc copy in a jewel case can be requested at planetarymetal@gmail.com.