Sunday, 28 December 2014

Top Metal Albums Ov Teh Year 2014

Satan's balls there are a lot of best-of lists about this year. There must be thousands. Not just Rate Your Music content, but the hundreds of blogs and websites out there provide an overview of critically received music in 2014 to the point it is totally exhaustive. Any talked about record you can think of will be on someone's top ten, and someone else's shitlist. So just an unadorned top ten from me this year, the records I enjoyed the most (not restricted to full-lengths), and that's it. With so many other websites out there, the only reason this still exists is as a creative outlet for me. So don't take the list too seriously, but if I could emphatically recommend some stuff that came out this year, this is it.

Top Metal Records Ov Teh Year From Serberuz Hammerfrost: MMXIV Edition

Once again Draconis Infernum/ Hellucinate weapons expert Serberuz Hammerfrost is not messing around when it comes to his year-end list for this website. If anything, I look forward to reading his list more than I do any of the thousands of others to be found out there.

And I completely agree with what he has to say about Unlight and Watain. Enjoy.

Top Metal Albums Ov Teh Year Chosen By Extreme Metal Bands: Revenge & Desecresy

Once again metal band members choose their albums of the year for the Heavy Metal Saloon, although since I got a bit put off the whole list thing this year by its ubiquity, only a couple of regular contributors and good friends are involved. Click through for choices from Indonesia and Finland.

Shine A Black Light MMXIV.004: Hellucinate

"There is nothing "true" and "cult" about Sloth and Stupidity."

Shine A Black Light has been better by far this year, with more illuminating and scathing interviews and most importantly, the best batch of bands we covered with this feature yet. The underground is pretty fucked, often dull, and overpopulated, but it isn't dead yet. To read about the bands I featured earlier this year, click here.

The final and, to me personally, most significant band we are featuring, is Hellucinate from Indonesia. I have known that this was coming to rend open the Earth for quite some time; to you, the ignorant masses gurning for your next underground fix via seven different colours of splatter vinyl, this may well be the first you hear of them. Featuring Draconis Infernum vocalist and wielder of ayakashi bass Serberuz Hammerfrost, and drummer Torch, the band is as uncompromising in their music as they are in their weltanschauung.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Teh Best Free Shit Ov 2014: Top Ten

Fancy something new to listen to during the interminable hours as the relatives congregate for the annual un-hallowing of ancient pagan tradition? Maybe you've spent every penny on warmed up wine with fruit in it? Well here are ten choice demos, EPs and even full albums that are among the pick of the crop for 2014, and best of all can be downloaded entirely for free. I happen to know solid releases that can be held with your hands are available for most of these, and if not there's probably merch at least, so if you like them enough physical ownership can be arranged via the Bandcamps, Facebooks and so on of the artists in question.

In no particular order after the jump break:

Ningen Isu: Utsushiyo wa Yume ~ Nijuu Goshuunen Kinen Best Album (2014) Compilation Review/ 人間椅子 - 現世は夢 ~25周年記念ベストアルバム~ - 批評

Utsushiyo wa Yume is Ningen Isu's fourth compilation, and the second that stretches over two full discs - two albums worth of bluesy, proggy heavy metal drawn from throughout their discography. There's stuff from their debut EP (making this a good piece for those who can't locate the original) right through to 'Namahage' from their MV earlier in 2014. The first disc jumps around their discography a lot and could be considered more career-spanning. The second is a straight run-up from the crushing closing track of 2007's Manatsu Yoru No Yume to tracks from their latest full-length and, most excitingly of all, four new songs recorded specially for this release (meaning Nobu Nakajima's drumming features throughout the entire disc, which I think is appropriate as he has become essential to the band's heavy sound). Those last four are the songs I'm reviewing below.

As has been consistently proven, new material from Ningen Isu is a good thing, and these four songs are yet more solid gold heavy metal from the world's most reliable band in the style. As uproariously catchy as tracks from Rashoumon and as crushingly heavy as Shigan Raisan and Mandoro, the compilation is worth somehow acquiring even for non-collectors merely for this handful of songs.

'Jigoku No E Shoutaijou' is the record's curt, belting rock and roll number, rumbling along like a distillation of German and Japanese '80s outfits with 'Neon Knights' kept clear in the rear view mirror. 'Aketoku No Hae' is the most pure doom metal track found here, with sluggish, bluesy and outrageously confident Iommi-esque riffs sloughing away from Mr. Wajima's axe. The main riff here, is truly superb, an '80s style doom earworm. The energetic acoustic outbreaks and chanted, atmospheric final part is further proof of the band's seemingly endless creativity. Needless to say, there are some absolutely incredible solos to be heard, and the one on this song is probably my favourite from the new songs - totally brain-melting, pentatonic, triumphant lead work from a guy who is owed about a hundred magazine cover stories over here in the west.

'Kanashiki Toshokanin' is all about a sad librarian, but for its smooth and groovy hard rock vibe could have come from San Akudouchuu Hizukurige, Mr. Nakajima's debut with the band. Ten years later he is just as full of energy and ideas, lashing fills and invigorating drum patterns across the traditional classic rock structure of this song. So if Judas Priest's new one didn't sit well with you, you're bummed there's no followup to Saxon's Sacrifice yet, and you just can't understand what the fuss is over all these retro bands from Sweden and the US... get a load of the blaring main riff in this song. Everything's going to be OK.

There's been much mention of riffs. Despite the characteristic eloquent vocals, the terrific lyrical ideas and the sublime production, drumming and bass guitar, Ningen Isu is a band recommended on the strength of Shinji Wajima's groovy, godly riffs as Kenichi Suzuki readily admits. Complimented by crashing drum tattoos and a thoroughly beastly bass rhythm, the verse riff of 'Uchuu Kara no Iro' was worth getting up for this morning. I guarantee it. Bouncing, absurdly groovy and devilishly catchy. Add to that the splendid spacey guitar motif and the ominous chants over the chorus and this is yet another instant classic by this band, an extremely fitting way to conclude a career spanning compilation. 'The colour out of space' couldn't be more appropriate - this song is as mystical and suggestive as it is heavy and catchy.

This band absolutely rules. Always has, always will. Bring on the next full-length.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Centinex: Redeeming Filth (2014) Album Review

Despite my great enthusiasm for Swedish death metal, and things that sound like it, Centinex passed me by year after year. Even despite their being hailed as a pretty solid early contributor to the grisly and groovy sound of d-beats thrashed out alongside great throbbing riffs that low like the devil's own Satanic herd. Still, they have members of the great Demonical (whose set I caught part of this year and who are heavy as hell live) and of the solid Interment, whose stuff I also have around somewhere. Par for the course stomach-turning gore lyrics combine with churning and booming riffs that will bring that acid right up into the larynx on their latest full-length.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Ningen Isu: Mirai Romanha (2009) Album Review/ 人間椅子 - 未来浪漫派 - 批評

Following on from Manatsu Yoru No Yume, Mirai Romanha is an album from Ningen Isu's consistent decade with drummer Nobu Nakajima, in which they have released many of their best albums. Hoochie Koo presented the band sounding ponderously heavy much like more crushing cuts from their early works, and the albums that follow have stayed the course while tightening every screw and still leaving plenty of space for imaginative leads.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Ningen Isu: Kaijin Nijuu Mensou (2000) Album Review/ 人間椅子 - 怪人二十面相 - 批評

In their huge and utterly magnificent discography, despite their frankly staggering consistency, there are still a few albums that stand out as Ningen Isu's clear highlights and career triumphs. Six months into the current century Shinji and Kenichi, with incumbent drummer Mr. Masuhiro Goto, released undoubtedly one of their finest ever works, and what has become my favourite by them. Kaijin Nijuu Mensou takes its name from a recurring character in the work of Ranpo Edogawara, the Japanese author from whom the band also derives its name, and realises the tales and characters visited throughout the album in a truly delicious design on the cover.

Nightbringer: Ego Dominuus Tuus (2014) Album Review

Nightbringer are a band whose works I never tire of hearing. Although I have a fixation with their sophomore Apocalypse Sun's almost single-minded repetition and soul-swallowing atmosphere, their recent splits have hinted at even greater things to come, and with their fourth record they have made the thing they will be remembered for. Ego Dominuus Tuus sounds like a million angry desert gods taken human form. The wasted expanse of ancient empty seas and the tearing asunder of entire planes of existence. Pure raw and chaotic black metal of a soul-scouring nature.