Sunday, November 20, 2016

20 that turned 20 in 2016

20 of my favourite albums that turned 20 years old this year. Simple enough premise but damn it took a while to get this just right. Anyway, list time!!! 

20. Opeth - Morningrise

I first heard Opeth on a bootleg black metal compilation CD called "Blackened Vol. I". The song on it was "Nectar" and it fucking blew my mind. When I finally got my hands on "Morningrise", the album did not disappoint and along with "Blackwater Park" it remains an album i revisit every now and then. 

19. Napalm Death - Diatribes

Napalm Death sold out. They have a rap song on this new album. That was the word on the street when this arrived on Indian shores. ND was one of my favourite bands at that point and I would not believe the rumours. As it turned out, there wasn't any rap on "Diatribes" but it was a whole new beast. Catchy riffs, more hardcore in nature than anything ND had done till then and overall an album that's stuck with me for the last 20 years. Not anywhere near the band's best but a sentimental and personal favourite. 

18. Cryptopsy - None So Vile

None more brutal. This album fucking blew minds. Ridiculously heavy and pummeling death metal, "None So Vile" is an exercise in brutality for brutality's sake. It's a trememndous rush while it lasts and one of the blueprints for modern brutal death metal. 

17. Type O Negative - October Rust

Initially, "October Rust" felt like a disappointment after the epic doom of "Bloody Kisses…" but over the years, this album has grown on me like a fungus. A bit more pop and less metal in some regards but the superior song writing and Steel's inimitable lyrics have made "October Rust" a perennial favourite. 

16. Marduk - Heaven Shall Burn... When We Are Gathered
"Heaven Shall Burn" was the first black metal album I heard along with "Transilvanian Hunger". The Darkthrone album was a bit scary to be completely honest and "Heaven Shall Burn" definitely the easier listen. I came back to Darkthrone much later in life and pretty much discarded Marduk apart from this one and the debut. This album was a black metal gateway for me. I remember friends from that 90s describing it as "death metal with fuck all production and screeching vocals" and that still fits. 

15. Pro-Pain - Contents Under Pressure

Mid 90s groove metal. This is just such a ridiculously catchy album that even today when I spin this in the car I'm singing along to every one of these songs. "Contents Under Pressure" is just filled to the brim with kickass riffs. A relic of it's time but has somehow managed to stay relevant and memorable. 

14. Desaster - A Touch of Medieval Darkness

I love the first 2 Desaster albums. The debut especially. Rooted in NWOBHM and thrash metal but exploring the whole pagan side of black metal, "A Touch of Medieval Darkness" has memorable songwriting and the passion of these young Germans is evident. 

13. His Hero is Gone - 15 Counts of Arson

Not much to say here. Abrasive, furiously angry American crust punk. Sometimes feel like more people should know this band. This one and "Monument to Thieves" should be essential purchases for anyone with even a little bit of interest in the whole punk/ crust/ grind scene.

12. Sacramentum - Far Away From The Sun

I didn’t actually get round to listening to Sacramentum till maybe the mid 2000s. Sometimes, a band just releases a special debut and then floats along for a couple more purely on the strength of that one album. "Far Away from the Sun" is that debut. Melodic black metal that took Dissection as a starting point but brought their own feel and immense skill to the game.

11. Corrosion of Conformity - Wiseblood

"Wiseblood" is the album Metallica wish they'd made instead of "Load". Great American rock music. Pepper Keenan was in control of the band at this point and "Wiseblood" went one step further in severing all ties to the band's hardcore roots. Superb guitar playing, great song writing and just one hell of a memorable album. 

10. Burzum - Filosofem

Burzum had peaked by this time. I think parts of this album were finished in prison and the songs sometimes have a slightly disjointed feel to them. In spite of that or maybe because of that, there's a weird hypnotic charm to this album. Kind of like if "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" and "Oxygene" were being played simultaneously and in close proximity to each other. Not his best but I really like this one. 

9. Carcass - Swansong 

I love this album. Carcass changed completely here and became a heavy rock band. Bill Steer and Michael Ammot just rocked out on these songs with groovy, catchy riffs, grooves aplenty and some neat soloing. Most people hate this one but what can I say? "Swansong" rocks like a motherfucker. 

8. Lux Occulta - Forever Alone Immortal

The first Lux Occulta full length has held up really well. Blackened doom metal or doomy black metal. Call it what you will but this album has some amazing songs and the melodies are genuine ear worms that get stuck in my head for days at a time. 

7. Adramelech - Psychostasia

Finnish death metal has come to be a description for a certain sound rather than just a geographical indicator. This album helped put that sound on the map. Absolutely sublime death metal. 

6. Amorphis - Elegy

"Elegy" saw this Finnish band finally discard all of the death metal of their first 3 releases and instead go off in a prog rock inspired hard rock direction. Excellent song writing, some amazing melodies through out this album and the Finnish folk music touches made "Elegy" a perennial favourite and even 20 years down the line, these songs kick ass. 

5. Integrity - Humanity is the Devil

Only 90s metal-core is real and "Humanity is the Devil" is one of the most important records to come out of this scene. Integrity are one of my all time favourite bands and with "Humanity…" the band delivered an album that was angry, abrasive and heavy as fuck. This is not an album for the weak of heart. 

4. Skyclad - Irrational Anthems/ Oui Avant-garde á Chance
Bit of a cheat here but Skyclad put out two amazing records in 1996. Martin Walkyier and his band of merry men first released "Irrational Anthems" which was a huge step up from the slightly disappointing "Silent Whales of Lunar Sea" from the previous year...

Penny Dreadful 

 ...but then went one better with the stripped down, mostly acoustic folk album "Oui Avant-garde á Chance". The band wrote some of the best music of their careers with these 2 albums and Walkyier wrote some of his best lyrics. Essential releases for fans of the band and an excellent introduction to new comers. 

3. Acid Bath - Pagaen Terrorism Tactics

More refined and focussed than the debut, "Pagaen Terrorism Tactics" pushed the Louisiana sludge sound to a slightly more accessible place. Dax Riggs is a little more reined in compared to the debut and the band backs him up with some amazing song writing. Among all the defining albums of the scene, this one displays maturity and an emotional weight that has seldom been equaled.

2. Immolation - Here In After

I fell in love with this album the first time I saw the cover art and read the lyrics to "Nailed to Gold". "Here in After" has stood the test of time and is still one of the greatest death metal albums to come out in the last 20 years. 

1. Neurosis - Through Silver in Blood

"Through Silver In Blood" changed heavy music as we know it. By 1996, Neurosis already had two great albums to it's credit with "Enemy of the Sun" and "Souls at Zero" but it was this release that firmly pushed the band to legendary status and got them the kind of press that they deserved. Mixing hardcore, psychedelia, tribal percussion, Swans and Black Sabbath, Neurosis blew minds and expanded on what metal could be.  

And that is that. 1996 was a pretty great year. Not as awesome as 1986 though... 30 albums that turned 30 this year should be my next post. Hopefully before 2016 dies. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Don't usually do food porn but this was exceptional. Preset, 3 course dinner based on the food of the North Atlantic, particularly Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands. 

The bread was ridiculously hard and served with a grey tasteless butter which didn't really get my expectations going but what followed was nothing less than stunning in terms of taste and presentation. 

Course 1 was a sublime and incredibly fresh Cod topped with fennel, pickled radish, finely chopped herbs and bacon bits paired with a delicate and slightly bubbly juice made of apples and elder flower. 

Course 2 was an Ox steak cooked rare served over a bed of brisket with carrot purée, carrots cooked in butter, shaved cauliflower and herbs paired with butter cooked Danish potatoes and a blueberry and grape juice. 
The final course was an absolutely sublime cinnamon cake with rhubarb sorbet, pickled rhubarb, butter milk foam and jellied rhubarb paired with a really delicate rhubarb juice. 

Off to France and Hellfest tomorrow and so far it's been a perfect holiday. Scored some amazing records, been eating some amazing food and generally being a lazy vegetable. 

Saturday, June 04, 2016

2016... some of it

Seven Sisters of Sleep - Ezekial's Hags
SSoS straddles an uneasy balance between metal extremity and sludge and fail to do justice to both. Ezekial's Hags is like the easy listening version of Death Mask by Lord Mantis. 

Desaster - The Oath of an Iron Ritual
There's something about the opening riff on the first proper song on this album takes me right back to the band's awesome debut 'A Touch of Medieval Darkness'. It isn't long before the chug chug chug kicks in and ruins what could have been quite good. Desaster's been on auto pilot for a while now. Consistent but apart from a few songs on various albums, also kind of boring. If you've never heard them, then listen to the first 2 albums and the Stormbringer EP. The Oath of an Iron Ritual is a bit dull. 

Lord Vicar - Gates of Flesh
This was such a disappointment. Lord Vicar now sounds like a generic Swedish stoner band. Biggest buzzkill of the year. 
signs of osiris

Metal Church - XI
Very shiny production but I'm enjoying this quite a bit. 

Greenleaf - Rise Above the Meadow
Greenleaf reached their creative apex with 'Nest of Vipers' in 2012 which was a distinctly Swedish take on 70s hard rock. Everything’s been downhill since then. 
tree of life

Phazm - Scornful of Icons
Phazm used to be a fun death n roll band with the occasional doomed out bit. Like stoner death metal. On Scornful of Icons the band's playing some pretty generic blackened death metal. Very disappointing. Should have come back with a different name. 

The Order of Israfel - Red Robes
Red Robes occasionally sounds interesting but is mostly boring.
von sturmer

Voivod - Post Society
Great stuff. Continuing from Target Earth and maybe going one better. One of the highlights of the year.

Bombs of Hades - Death Mask Replica
There's a rock n roll swagger to Death Mask Replica . Enjoyable but i have a feeling it'll also be quite disposable.
to walk through pyres

The Lion's Daughter - Existence is Horror
Sludgy noise rock done really well. This band released an amazing but ignored album called 'The Black Sea' with folk band Indian Blanket which is also worth listening to. Existence is Horror will probably feature highly if I get round to a year end list. 

The Levitation Hex - Cohesion
Another great fucking band that hardly anyone's heard of. Cohesion is maybe a slightly easier listen compared to the debut. Liking this one a lot. 

Hawkwind - The Machine Stops
This is alright. Not exactly a milestone in the band's career. There's a song on this called Solitary Man that annoys the crap out of me.
solitary man

Karma to Burn - Mountain Czar
Much too short. Doesn't last for more than 25 minutes but Mountain Czar rocks like a motherfucker in that time. K2B continue to kick ass. This is straight forward heavy rock and a worthy follow up to 'Arch Stanton'.

Vektor - Terminal Redux
The last 2 Vektor albums have promised plenty. This new one delivers. Absolutely epic thrash metal that has some great playing backed up by great songs. This album is blowing my mind.

Vektor Bandcamp

Saturday, April 09, 2016

At home with Mr. Flu

Hello again. Here's all the music I listened to this week. 

Scorpions - Lonesome Crow
It feels like the band just did whatever the hell they wanted to on this album and somehow everything fit. Awesome 70s rock. Completely fearless.

In Search of the Peace of Mind

Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday
Just for Sunrise. Over and over again. Someday. 


Gorguts - The Erosion of Sanity
Just some reassurance. Easy, familiar fallback. 

The Erosion of Sanity

Danzig - The Lost Tracks of Danzig Disc 1
Huge collection of unreleased stuff, rehearsals, covers and a few good songs buried here and there.  

Satan's Crucifiction

Demon Fuzz - Afreaka!
Fantastic afro-rock. Kind of psychedelic, jammy prog rock with funk and pop bits. Love this album. 


Abysmal Grief - Feretri
Feretri really is an amazing album. went back to this after a long while and it is some really terrific doom metal. 

Lords of the Funerals

Saint Vitus - Mournful Cries
Speaking of terrific doom metal

Dragon Time

Maybe getting Linda Perry to write you a song is pretty much all you need but you still have to sing it. Damn. She can sing.