Friday, 7 December 2012

Soundtrack To My Year 2012

In no particular order, here are the albums that
have made me jump up and down, inspired me
to write my own music and in general have helped
me to survive a pretty stressful year.

I have not embedded music players as the whole post
would take hours to open!

Because I am such a good guy, I will include post descriptions
that I have done, otherwise - do your own research.

One of these albums is my personal favourite - but that
is for me to know!

Bubonic Bear - Fleshworld

This duo play a mixture of hardcore and sludge with
brutal effect. Dirty distorted riffs hammer away as
the vocals vie for levels against the noise rock
type song arrangements.

Hard to believe that two people can make such
a fucking racket but hey, here is the evidence.

The songs speed along leaving you no room to
catch a breath and the aggression shows no sign
of flagging by the end of this eight track album.

This is no mindless thrashing though, they display
intricate arrangements among all the chaos which
should please anyone into Botch etc.

Burning Love - Rotten Thing To Say
Using noise-rock song structures and fucked up blues solos, this
is a thing of mangled beauty that makes you want to turn the volume
up louder while shouting random obscenities at strangers just
because music like this makes you feel alive.

Recorded by Kurt Ballou, he has captured everything with a
clarity that tears your face off. Relentless distorted guitars riff
over sewer-infested bass and primordial drums while Colohan
rants like a man possessed.

I have been playing this since the summer and unless Black
Flag reform and record something, this will be my album
of the year. Put in your record collection along with 
Coliseum and Rational Animals.
Do not take my word for it - play the tracks
and listen to perfection.

Direwolves - Me From Myself, To Banish
The latest release from the always impressive Throatruiner
Records are the Direwolves. 6 tracks of heavy hardcore crossed
with crust and screamo make this a ferocious beast that wants to
track you down and tear your face off.

Fantastic production makes sure that every riff and scream comes
out crystal clear but still captures the awesome power of the music.

I have being playing this non-stop today and have come to the
conclusion that this could be one of my favourite hardcore
records of the year so far.

Eagle Twin - The Feather Tipped The Serpent's Scale
Goat Bong - Goat Worship & Sodomy

Goat Bong hail from Texas and like their weed strong
and dirty. The cover suggests an unhealthy obsession with
the occult but the evil here comes from man. This mainly
instrumental album plays like a soundtrack to an imaginary
early 60's film about the dangers of drug use and how the
'kids' were going feral from too much of the good stuff!

Down-tuned stoner riffs rub shoulders with doomy compositions
that are helped in no end by excellent use of vocal samples, slowed
down and distorted into slurring mantras praising narcotic abuse.

Heavily fuzzed solos are relentlessly played over riffs that are
made to get your head nodding. Now and then, keyboards come in
with a real '70's style vibe that suits perfectly.With Sabbath and Orange
Goblin influences throughout, Goat Bong have produced a collection of
tracks that should please anyone who worships the riff.

Godstopper - Crawlspace
Godstopper play music that unsettles at the same time
as hitting you over the head with its heaviness. Jarring
riffs fight for space in the claustrophobic production.
These are dark, slow songs sung with venom but in a
clean vocal style which hangs over the sometimes empty
space where you would expect notes to be.

The songs have the power of early Swans and the riffs
of the Melvins, all delivered in a sparse sonic envelope.

This is the music you hear when you overdose on sleeping
pills and vodka.

Hawk Eyes - Ideas
Huata - Atavist Of Mann
Kowloon Walled City - Container Ships
Released through Brutal Panda Records, Kowloon Walled City
have carved out an impressive slab of hardcore/sludge/noise rock
that is full of dirty, distorted tunes of disgust, regret and thoughtful

Feeling slightly less chaotic than past records, the band are not
scared to strip away walls of noise to reveal passages of stark
intensity which rely on vocals and picked guitar to set the scene
before blasting out a barrage of atmospheric noise and aggression.

Great production has melded the instruments into a massive force
that sounds unstoppable - if there is any justice in this shitty world,
this is a body of work that stands out in an overcrowded genre and
which other bands will be measured against.

Love Sex Machine - S/T
Make - Trephine

Trephine is a type of saw used to cut into the skull - Make
have produced an album that generates the same effect but
with music. Their own tag reads drone/post-metal/psychedelic/
sludge but all you need to know is that they have made one
of the most powerful albums you will hear this year.

The atmospherics are dark and brooding, helped by the
relentless riffs that are crashing out, creating a dense and
tension-filled collection of tracks that need to be listened
to in one sitting. You feel drained after playing this - you
don't so much listen to this but experience it.

I know that other genres have madly crushing, heavy as fuck
music which they will claim are better than this but I do not
listen to them ....... in the world of post-metal, this will take
some beating!

The sparse vocals almost push this album into an instrumental
one but when they do emerge from deep within the mix, you
realise how much depth and layering you are hearing, how
the dynamics have been thought out and most of all, just how
the searing riffs are in fact much more complex than realised
on your first listen.

For a debut release, Make have produced something
marvelous - highly recommended.

Millions - Failure Tactics

Seventh Rule Recordings have released the new album by
Millions and it fucking kills.

Post-hardcore/noise rock is the order of the day and the band
have upped the ante from the 2009 "Gather, Scatter". Shared vocals
give an urgency to the dark lyrics which are laid over meaty, chord led riffs.

The music is dense and loud, chaotic but controlled with a tension
that threatens to burst out in violence. The two guitars sound as
if they are at war with each other as they trade aggressive riffs
but they are underpinned with the very solid drumming and
the fuzzed up rumble-monster that is the bass.

The record was produced by Chicago’s Andrew Ragin 
(THE ATLAS MOTH), mastered by Kyle Spence (HARVEY MILK)
and the result is a sonic barrage of taut songs that will make you
play again and again.

This is a fantastic album that will be in my "best of list" this
year without a doubt and could well be the album that makes
people really take notice of Millions - Recommended!

Mudbath - Red Desert Orgy

Mudbath play a superb mix of doom-tainted sludge that 
threatens to obliterate everything in its path. Despairing, bleak
vocals howl out a litany of fury that are always fighting to be 
heard above the fat, heavy guitar tones that are crashing out 
gargantuan riffs.

This album is made up of 3 long tracks that take you to a dark swamp,
cut your eyes with razors and leave you to slowly sink into the mire.
Passages within the songs do pick up the pace at times before descending
back into the thick, bad-drug vibe that pervades the Mudbath sound.

The crowning glory as far as I am concerned, are the outrageously 
fuzzed guitar solos that forge the psychedelic with the heavy - kinda
like Vanilla Fudge crossed with Electric Wizard. At times I find this
genre sometimes suffers from a generic template but in my eyes,
Mudbath have produced one of my albums of the year.

Neurosis - Honor Found In Decay
Pigs - You Ruin Everything
Insanely good release from Pigs. Noise rock/punk harcore that
sweeps you along with the aggression and inventiveness of a
band at the top of their game.

Royal Thunder - CVI
Stubb - S/T
Uncle Touchy - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Violence
Uncle Touchy write on their band blog that "We're not pretty
boys with swept over emo bangs who sweep pick over
breakdowns. We just want to make your stomach turn"

It is certainly a statement of intent but this album does not make
me sick but makes me want to jump up and down a lot.

They have nailed down the AmRep sound, classy songs
overlaid with a brutal approach with riffs that get under your skin.
Hardcore/noise music attacks your head but unlike so many bands,
there are actual tunes which put these tracks into Jesus Lizard and
The Melvins territory.

Justin Lewis and Chris Moree were spectacular in their previous
incantation of Milquelizard but with Uncle Touchy have created
a vicious beast that wants to kick you in the teeth and make your
ears bleed.

Verdun - The Cosmic Escape Of Admiral Masuka

Verdun are named after one of the longest and devastating battles
of the First World War. Fought in the Western Front over 10 months,
an estimated 976,000 people lost their lives in an area so small
that parts of the ground were composed of more human flesh
and bone than of earth and vegetation.
Taking their name from such a gruesome example of mankinds
destructive urges should give you an idea of what the music sounds like.

3 songs all around the 10 minute mark deliver despairing epic
tracks that are the perfect mix of sludge/doom/hardcore. Battle scarred 
riffs that are droned and tortured get the head banging in slow motion
while the howling vocals that are mixed quite low, fight through the
murk of massive basslines and drums that have a monolithic feel to them.

Verdun create some masterful atmospherics and are not afraid to bring
a song down to the wire, creating moments of calm and eerie quietness
before delivering explosive climaxes that leave you feeling drained.
The song arrangements create a claustrophobic tension of bleakness
that make this album one to be listened to as a whole to get the
full effect.

We Had A Deal - Dialectics

After one LP and 2 EP's, We Had A Deal release their new
album which has a conceptual theme dealing with (as far
as I can make out) relationships, loss and loneliness.
The songs are split up into movements and broken up with
quieter passages that bring a stillness before the main tracks 
blast along. These are passionate songs, played 
with aggression and fuse post-hardcore with 90's screamo.

This album took me by surprise with its complexity and maturity - 
if you want your punk thrills with intelligence, look no further.
Spread the word with this one as it deserves a big audience.

Witchcraft - Legend
Wizard Rifle - Speak Loud Say Nothing
Wolves Carry My Name - Amongst Ruins And Ashes

This has all the elements I need to play again and again. 
Sludge heaviness combined with killer riffs? - Yep.
Post-metal atmospherics and a vocalist that sounds like a demon
trying to claw his way out of hell? - Check.

Fuzzed out stoner blues guitar solos with wah-wah? - Oh yeah.

Rather than fill space with empty words, just take my word
that this is heavy, thrilling and distorted. What more do ya need?

Those are my choices - remember my wise words if you
disagree with any of them: 
I am right and you are wrong!

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