Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Absent Sky - Cielo Ausente

Absent Sky is the solo project of Lord guitarist, Willy Rivera, formerly of bands such as Kaemon and Ol' Scratch. For those familiar with those bands, Absent Sky is as far removed from that sound as possible. Sure, there's a certain amount of heaviness but in a different kind of way. What permeates Willy's project is a love for English 80's indie and eletronica. He cites Swans, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Cure and Hüsker Dü amongst his main influences and I agree, although I want to add a strong influx of Killing Joke and Sisters Of Mercy. But that's me of course. Regardless, you could hardly have better inspiration when playing this kind of stuff.

Handling everything himself except drum composition and programming which producer Brandon Dickey took care of, 'Cielo Ausente' caught me off guard at first. In a way it shouldn't because I have followed Willy's career for a long time and I know his affection for the "original" alternative music world. Still, I didn't expect this trip down memory lane. Apart from becoming a heavy metal kid at a very early age, I was also heavily exposed to electronica and indie music thanks to my best friend growing up. So most bands mentioned above are bands I enjoy quite a lot to this day. So imagine my "shock" when opener 'The Mountain' kicks in...a pleasant surprise indeed. And by each spin this wax grows and grows and grows...

One of my immediate favourites on the album is 'The Jester And The Killer'. It has the same vibe and mood as any song on Nick Cave's 'Murder Ballads' mixed with early Paradise Lost. It is so beautiful in all it's brutality and sadness. Another favourite is 'Two Virgins'. Why? Well, it reminds me so much of Thin Lizzy's 'The Friendly Ranger At Clontarf Castle'. Being a crazed Lizzy supporter there's no surprise at my fascination of this song. 'Saving Grace' brings a smile to my face as visions of Hüsker Dü appear before me. Great stuff, you hear!

Shame on me for taking so long to review 'Cielo Ausente'. It came out in March 2014 and it took me a long ass time to bring it to light. Better late than never huh? Well yeah, because Willy has put all his heart and soul into this project and it's been a long time in the making as well. Being busy with other bands, Absent Sky has been forced to utilize whatever time that has been available. But you can tell that despite his other endeavors, this is no half measure.

You want to expand your sphere of music input? Look no further waveriders, because Absent Sky is the band for you. If you like me grew up on this kind of music, 'Cielo Ausente' is the natural expansion of the genre and it is fantastic. So get a copy and let yourself be immersed by this amazing album!

- Swedbeast

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Gorilla Pulp – Hell In A Can

The album begins with 30 seconds of jungle jingle composed of the elegant gorilla grunt. I suppose the intro fits as Gorilla Pulp is the band name and judging by the cover and name combo one can assume they're in for a good time.

Hell In A Can is the latest release by Mother Fuzzer Records who, judging by their catalogue, possess parental powers in the fuzz metal realm. Rather than straight up fuzz rock, Gorilla Pulp stray towards a heavy punk rock and roll route, emphasizing the deadly combo of speed metal with punk rock and primal lust driven focus with melodically catchy chorus lines.

The 4 songs go relatively quick but pack enough heat to keep the juices flowing rapidly and wild. Gruff vocal chants by both lead and backup vocalists hammer out sleazy lyrics while visions of cheap domestic beer flats dance in their heads. Raise your cans high cause this EP will have you staggering in awe. Stoner fuzz and meat-head blues back the punk-ass vocal moans that lead in and out of tremendously groovy chorus lines.

At first I thought this was another spoof band judging off the cover, the band name, and the video for the single Mean Devil Blues featuring none other than porn star Marina Mantero (yes, I had to look her up). We all know that porn and metal go hand in hand right? Rather than blowing them off as a hoax, without a proper listen, I watched the entire video which blew my mind. Straight up heavy blues sets the stage twanging straight into a flying V guitar barrage. The melodic chorus kicks in midway through (as they do on each of the 4 songs) and breaks up the snarly vocal pattern quite nicely. Not only was it sexy, perverted and sarcastic, but it rocked hard and packed some serious riffage with a twisted ending. Listening to the full EP on Bandcamp brought more of the same. The great part is if you're into the spoofy band stuff, you'll love this. If you hate that sort of thing, there's still much to love as this is serious rock n’ roll. Hell In A Can is a genuine effort which should not be blown off by any fan of heavy rock. I can't wait to hear more from these guys.

-The Huntsman

Monday, December 29, 2014

PUTRID OFFAL Crowdfunding Campaign for Suffering Kollektor Series CD (Kaotoxin Records)

Kaotoxin Records has announced a crowdfunding campaign in support of PUTRID OFFAL's Suffering limited edition (100 copies) Kollektor Series CD.  The release is an autographed "vinyl replica" CD with exclusive sticker (and no future repress). Support the campaign at this location.  

Check out the Suffering teaser video here

The "Kaotoxin Kollektor Series" is a brand new series of ultra limited collector releases by fans for fans! All Kaotoxin Kollektor Series releases will be crowdfunded and coming as a 100 copies ultra limited edition deluxe "vinyl replica" CD (high-quality, spined-cardboard sleeve with printed inner sleeve), will be autographed by the bands and come with exclusive stickers. All funders' names will be listed in a dedicated thank list in the CD! 


1. Suffering (2014 version, taken from
Mature Necropsy) 
2. Suffering (2014 demo version)* 
3. Suffering (1991 version, taken from
Premature Necropsy) 
4. Livor Mortis*

* both tracks exclusive to this release, "Livor Mortis" being the very first Putrid Offal original released in 20 years.

BORDERLAND FUZZ FIESTA: Tucson, Arizona's First Annual Riff Party Reveals 2015 Lineup Including FIREBALL MINISTRY, WO FAT, MOS GENERATOR & More

The desert city of Tucson, AZ is host to a wide array of annual events in the musical realm and this coming February will see the addition of a still another: The Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Conceived and curated by the Rudell brothers of regional desert rockers Powered Wig Machine and Fuzz Evil, the inaugural show will take place on February 21st at The Rock.

Borderland Fuzz Fiesta 2015 Official Lineup:

Fireball Ministry
Wo Fat
Mos Generator
Powered Wig Machine
Yeti Ender
Conqueror Worm

When: February 21, 2015
Where: The Rock, 136 North Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719

“My brother and I have always wanted to put together a stoner rock themed fest and we’re definitely excited about this first year’s lineup,” comments an enthusiastic Wayne Rudell. The bill for the event certainly serves up ample helpings of the stoner genre with its fine mix of bands from the Southwest region and beyond, including Fireball Ministry, Wo Fat, Mos Generator, Powered Wig Machine, Skulldron, Asimov, Goatroper, Yeti Ender, Conquerer Worm, Methra and the Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show.

While the lineup is definitely under the wider umbrella of the stoner rock genre, there is a great diversity of sounds among the bands, from sprinklings of the psychedelic to slabs of doom and scorching thrash riffs, or pretty much something for every pair of ears inclined towards heavy music. Mr. Rudell certainly believes so: “We really feel that fans of this music would appreciate this event and will hopefully get behind it in the time to come, we’re going to be striving to make the Borderland Fuzz Fiesta bigger and better every year.”

Tickets for Borderland Fuzz Fiesta are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and are available now RIGHT HERE.

Sponsored by Eminence Speakers, Lace Pickups, Hovercraft Amplifiers, Greeson Custom Guitars, Tucson Maidens of Metal, Electric Beard of Doom, Radio,, and Wildcat Screen Repair.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Armageddon Premiere New Track At Decibel Magazine's Website

Today, heavy metal powerhouse Armageddon premiere the new track "The Watcher" at Decibel magazine's website. The song hails from the band's highly anticipated Captivity & Devourment, set for North American release on January 20th, 2015 via Listenable Records. Armageddon first came to life in Sweden in 1997 as a studio project, with cult album Crossing the Rubicon, a Sci-Fi-themed concept album. Two more albums followed, Embrace the Mystery in 2000 and Three in 2003, both featuring different lineups and different musical directions, with Christopher Amott being the sole original member. 
Armageddon is now resurrected in its most powerful form. The band is based out of New York City, and has brought unto itself a crushing lineup of musicians. Together, they have once again conjured up the force that is Armageddon. Their new album, Captivity & Devourment consists of 10 awe-inspiring and ingeniously crafted songs, full of devastating riffs, soaring guitar leads, and fist-pumping choruses. Heavy, melodic, technical, and groovy: this is creative metal songwriting with one foot in deep in the classics and and one eye gazing towards the distant future. Hear the first taste of all this exclusively HERE - as well as view more info about a special Listenable Records giveaway/contest - courtesy of Decibel, North America's only monthly metal magazine. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Armageddon's Captivity & Devourment
1) Captivity and Devourment
2) Locked In
3) Rendition
4) Fugitive Dust
5) Conquer
6) Thanatron
7) Background Radiation
8) The Watcher
9) Equalizer
10) Giants

Matt Hallquist - lead vocals
Christopher Amott - guitars and clean vocals
Joey Concepcion - guitars
Sara Claudius - bass
Márton Veress - drums

Witchrist Stream New Iron Bonehead Mini Album At

Today, Kiwi black/death barbarians Witchrist stream the entirety of their forthcoming Vritra MLP - set for international release on 12" vinyl on December 31st via Iron Bonehead Productions - at heavily trafficked web-portal Alongside Diocletian (with whom they share members) and Heresiarch, Witchrist are a part of a cabal of New Zealand bands bringing barbarity and savagery back into black/death metal, and they've proven their dominance with two uniquely challenging LPs, 2010's Beheaded Ouroboros and 2012's The Grand Tormentor. Ever restless, just like that beheaded ouroboros, and now with KzR from the mighty Bölzer on vocals,Witchrist yet again flip the script and smash boundaries with Vritra. Compared to the hypnotic bestiality of their first album and the war-metal overload of their second, on Vritra, the quartet drive deep into eldritch grinding death metal. World-eating in the realm of chaos, Witchrist prove with Vritra that in battle there is no law, and proceed to grindcrush the listener into all that remains. Three tracks, and all aptly titled - "Haruspex," "Transmuting Rituals," and the telltale "The Golden Ascent" - coalescing into a symbiosis of titanic heft and cosmic vastness: Vritra is the beginning, and the end. Hear its all-consuming totality in its entirety exclusively HERE, courtesy of CVLTNation. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Witchrist's Vritra
1. Haruspex
2. Transmuting Rituals
3. The Golden Ascent

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Huntsman – Top Ten 2014

By this time I’m sure you’ve browsed many other best of the year lists. I look forward to this time of year. Not only do my kids get to experience Santa Clause and all that excitement, but daddy gets to dig into even more great albums from other people’s lists that he may have missed out on. Not only am I a list junkie, but 2014 welcomed me into the kingdom of vinyl obsession, which only fuels the list fire. Take that for what it’s worth, I try and buy the records that I like the sound of and started out doing it without even owning a turntable. I didn’t get a turntable until months after I began collecting online from the good folks at Ripple Music, STB Records, Easy Rider Records, various bandcamp stores, and numerous other, mostly independent, record labels and outlets online. It’s probably a good thing my city doesn’t have a decent record shop cause I would have probably spent even more hard earned money essentially stealing from my children’s dinner plates. Little do they know, I am actually doing it all for them. At this rate, by the time I’m dead and gone they will have one bad ass inheritance of records to cherish or sell off for drug money. I even thought about buying them records for Christmas this year, they are 2 and 5 years old, straight from daddy’s wish list. Anybody else get it that bad? Of course, I would take very good care of them until they were old enough to know how awesome their dad is. Anyhow, I decided against that and just bought more records for myself and some stuffed animals for the kids. And who am I joking, the second a square cardboard box arrives inside my house it gets opened up and admired. No way would I actually have the patience to wrap it up and wait it out until Christmas to watch my kids open it up and hand it straight back to dad as if they got it for me. All joking aside, 2014 was a tremendous year for music in my opinion and I had a blast discovering record amounts of records throughout.

Each and every year since I started doing lists for music it seems they keep getting better. I think my first list was back in 2010 so it’s only been a few years. Since then the amount of music has increased each year, as has the quality and enjoyment I’ve found in the music being released. This year I estimate I listened to close to 1,000 new albums, based on my play counts, bandcamp streams and tallies. So it was a tough run leaving off literally hundreds of albums that I adore immensely. I was able to whittle it down to ten albums that I felt strong enough about sharing to call them my “Top Ten of 2014”. Here goes ranked from best to best:

10. Truckfighters  - Universe
Universe came out very early in the year and wasted no time in grabbing my attention. It sat at #1 on my charts well into mid-year. The progression and diversity the 3 piece displayed on Universe really caught my attention. I’ve heard a lot of people expressing their dissatisfaction with the album but I just don’t buy it. It is a bit more of a controlled output from an auditory production standpoint, straying a little bit from the straight up fuzzed out desert riffs they are known for and into progressive rock territory at times. Seeing their live show completely blew my mind and hands down, if I were to make a list of favorite live shows I attended number one would easily be the Truckfighters early in the Spring. I’ve never seen anything like the way the 3 dudes shook the stage with a riveting wall of fuzzy riffs and crystal clear vocals. They played practically the entire Universe record and it was immense!! Bought the vinyl along with the 3 disc box set they had available, which turns out was one of my smartest buys of the year.

9. Biblical – Monsoon Season

Biblical came onto my radar from an online friend of mine who knows I like the psychedelic stoner jams. Sure enough I was hooked after just hearing a preview of the debut record coming out on
Maple Music, a Canadian music label which had the pre-order of the sky blue record available. I
pre-ordered the record blindly on a hunch that this was the real deal. My hunch proved successful as the music hit all the right spots. Comparisons to QOTSA have been made with good reason. However it’s far from a direct rip-off. There are a bit more psychedelics going on and a bit less “weird” to deal with. The title track alone is better than most complete albums included on side B which was played over and over repeatedly for some time at my house.

8. Mothership – Mothership II
After being somewhat late to the game on Mothership’s debut album, I finally came around and was able to know enough about them to know I couldn’t miss their live show in my hometown of Reno, NV back in 2013. Totally blown away, one of the most intense live rock shows I’ve ever witnessed. I was within arm’s reach of Kelley Juett, the shirtless lead guitarist the entire show, sneaking a toke right up front of an intimate dive bar named “Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor”. The anticipation for the new album was peaked when I got word that none other than Ripple Music was putting out the new one in 2014. I contributed early to the kickstarter which scored me one of the stunning blue/white swirl limited editions. The record is rock n’ roll and compared to the first one, it’s an improvement to an already skilled game. The diversity of the album is what pushes the envelope with multiple instrumental jammers placed in just the right places, and the riffs are hard and heavy through and through as expected. I was bummed I missed their 2014 tour and the new album is surely not to miss. Highlights include Hot Smoke and Heavy Blues and the instrumental scorcher Tamu Massif. I don’t know what Paul Rote wrote on the bandcamp page linked below, but he couldn’t be further from the truth. I think he’s been spending too much time on Instagram under the hashtag for #mothership…..   
(Go look and you’ll know what I’m talking about)

7. Slow Season – Mountains
I still don’t think I’ve been as impressed out of nowhere as I was after discovering Slow Season’s debut album a couple years back with a free download on their website. There was an immediate connection to Led Zeppelin, which I hadn’t heard by any other band except Led Zeppelin.  However they bring enough modern riffage to elevate them into their own class. Modern times need a band like Slow Season. Nobody really wants to hear more Led Zeppelin do they? Plant has his own solo thing going on, and that’s great. We don’t need more Stairway, it’s cemented in time forever. I bought a copy of every variant available to the public including the clear limited to 75, blue limited to 100, and the black. I couldn’t miss out on this as I’ve been complaining to myself ever since hearing the self-titled that somebody needs to put this band to wax, and luckily for us Riding Easy Records did just that.

6. Moab – Billow
Scion A/V really hit the nail on the head with this free download from a Southern California retro doom band called Moab. I listened to a few songs on their soundcloud stream to know enough to panickly hit the download button to get the whole thing in my possession and go on to play repeatedly for days on my ipod. Wicked riffs encased by Ozzy-esque vocal moans carry Billow deep into an intoxicated state. The cool thing about Billow is upon pushing play on song 1 your attention is peaked and as the album plays each song seems to build onto the previous, and gets better and better to where by the end you are so jacked up that nature runs its course evidenced by the repeat button being pushed. It grew on me incessantly over the year and I was able to snag a clear vinyl copy from the band. Fantastic album and available completely for free on the link below.

5. Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus – Spirit Knife
Opening song Fog of the Steep wins the award for biggest set of chills running down my back upon multiple takes of any song all year. Hell, I played this record more than almost every record I gathered this year. Here is the full review I came up with. Small Stone Records rarely disappoints and I sure am glad I discovered this band this year. Their back catalogue is fantastic as well.

4. Stubb – Cry of the Ocean
You probably think I’m biased at this point including two of close to 1,000 albums on the Ripple Music roster on the Ripple Music page which I contribute to? Hell, maybe I am, but let it be known that I am biased to only the best heavy blues and retro rock the world has to offer. Stubb follow up their debut with an absolutely mesmerizing release. The opening “Cry of the Ocean” saga sets the stage for the rest of the masterpiece. The vocals remain hypnotic, the guitars sail like a breeze across the open sea as the retro fuzz tickles your mind into an earlier time. It’s hard to pick a favorite song, as after each song plays I feel like it supersedes the prior. Anyone snubbing this album as anything short of brilliant must be having a rough time in life, which I would prescribe they listen to Cry of the Ocean for a cure.

3. Planet of Zeus – Vigilante
Well, what more can I say about Vigilante? If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t own this one on vinyl, as it’s not available at this time that I know of, this may very well be my #1 album of the year. I haven’t recalled many other lists ranking Vigilante so high and I don’t care. Clutch’s Earth Rocker was my #1 album of 2013, and Planet of Zeus reminds me quite a bit of Earth Rocker era Clutch. The singer has the ability to effectively switch between Neil Fallon-esque party preaching into a jagged and onerous wail which balances the album out perfectly in my opinion. Each song has elements of heavy metal to classic stoner rock fuzz, grit, and straight on good time vibes. The album begs for maximum volume, and if I were to give it a comparison I couldn’t deny that it has a heavy Clutch vibe plus the thrashy, sludge soaked chorus runs, which really are the highlight of the record.

2. Aleph Null – Nocturnal                                                           
It took me a little bit to jump aboard the Aleph Null bandwagon with their stellar run of Eps back in 2012 and 2013, but Nocturnal was instant. The wickedest, spookiest, grungiest combination of riffs and noises one is likely to have heard all year. The groove is eerie as the grungy vocal chops power amongst gnarly time signatures. Songs 2 and 3 back to back create hands down the baddest ass pair of back to back songs of the year. Don’t believe? Listen to Backward Spoken Rhymes and Muzzle of a Sleeping God and tell me you aren’t completely hypnotized. Luckily Riding Easy Records stepped up to the plate once again and put this out on a massive 180 gram clear 2LP. The artwork alone will give you nightmares and you will have to rent a forklift to unload the vinyl package as it is that heavy!!

1. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
No matter how much this guy has blown up over the course of 1 year, don’t fall for the typical story fortune and fame in the music biz, and believe what you are witnessing. Sturgill Simpson has done what we all have been dreaming of ever since Rascall Flats came aboard and completely trashed country music. Actually, it happened sometime before that, but you get the drift. Sturgill has crafted one of the truest, most genuine albums in the last decade and it happens to fall into the country music category. I’m not ashamed to say I listen to a lot of country inspired artists and Sturgill has set the bar for greatness. Between his classic voice with somewhat of a slurred lyrical delivery and expertly strummed guitar passages, Sturgill has broken the big label barrier and given hope that humanity is only marginally idiotic. Give it a shot, I bet you surprise yourself.  Just get one of those big 43 ounce bottles of mountain dew, jump in the car, and push play, and drive on down the highway.

Until next time my friends. 2015 is already shaping up to be a big year. I’m expecting some big things. I know there are rumblings in Ripple camp on the horizon sure to cause some tidal waves. Let us know what you think and which bands I totally left off. I will not be offended if you tell me how shitty my taste is. In fact it just makes this stuff that much more fun.

Honorable Mentions:
The Graviators – Motherload
Wicked Snakes-Sleep Dance

-The Huntsman

Friday, December 26, 2014

BLOODMOON: No Clean Singing Streams California Blackened Sludge Act's Voidbound In Its Entirety

San Luis Obispo, California's blackened sludge act BLOODMOON is set to reissue their transformative 2013 album, Voidbound, on limited edition vinyl through Black Voodoo Records on December 20th. The new version has been completely remastered for vinyl by James Plotkin (Sunn 0))), ISIS, Conan, Slomatics). Luckily for all of us, the remastered version is now streaming in its entirety at NO CLEAN SINGING, with a glowing review to accompany it.

NCS writes, "The music on Voidbound crosses so many genre lines that it’s difficult to label. It interweaves elements of sludge, doom, post-rock, and progressive metal — not so much moving between the tropes from one to another, but somehow blending them all together at once, and that’s impressive…Meditativeness coexists with frenzy.”

Hear Voidbound in its entirety over at THIS LOCATION.

Gazing into the void with combined effort since 2010, BLOODMOON have been exploring the musical elements of sludge, doom, stoner, black and death Metal with heavy doses of psychedelia to give themselves a highly distinctive sound of their own. Over the past two years, the band has released two albums, embarked upon several tours, and played countless shows all over the west coast at any given point in between. Between shows, they are continually writing with the self-imparted directive of releasing new music every year while always experimenting with different ways to bring the heavy in their own way.

As if traveling an entire, bitter lifetime, Voidbound takes you for a ride through curiosity and emptiness in three movements. And once it ends, feels as though it has taken part of you back into the depths it calls home.

Preorders are live right here:


LP, Cooze, Shirt Bundle:

“If you're into epic demonic based sludge metal riffs, then Voidbound is going to speak volumes to you.”
- The Sludgelord

“38 minutes of pure, sludgy fury.”
- Metal Storm

Infernal Manes To Reissue Classic Demo Through Iscariah's New Label

From the western shores of Norway comes Infernal Manes, delivering heavy metal to the selected hordes who still swear oath to the glory days! The band will reissue its cult demo, Battle of Souls, as a limited-edition self-titled vinyl LP on January 12th, 2015 via Edged Circle Productions, the new label of metal veteran Iscariah (Immortal, Necrophaghia). Formed in the mid '90s, the band played a handful of exclusive shows and quickly gathered a diehard following in the darkest corners of the underground. Cloaked in the veil of NWOBHM and early hard rock acts such as early Scorpions, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, Manilla Road, Accept, and Iron Maiden, Infernal Manes recorded several demos before they finally recorded a professional recording in a studio in 2004. Shortly after that recording, vocalist TJ Cobra parted ways with the band, but the legacy of this now-cult recording finally sees the light of day on vinyl through Edged Circle Productions in a remixed version, sounding the way it was meant to be: take heed and join us in the Battle of Souls!

Tracklisting for Infernal Manes' Infernal Manes
1. Symphony Of War
2. Infernal Manes
3. Mind Destructor
4. True Force Of Power
5. Battle Of Souls
6. Come To The Sabbath
Infernal Manes remains active to this day and are busy writing material for their debut full-length album, which will be released in 2015! The band features members from bands such as Deathcult (Norway), Taake, Gaahlskagg, and Dead to this World among others.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Headshot's Best Of 2014

I. St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Half the City
II. Tusmorke - Riset Bak Speilet
III. Raveonettes - Pe'ahi
IV. Merlin - Christ Killer
V. The Moon and the Nightspirit - Holdrejtek
VI. Kap Kap - Flux of Solace
VII. Grouper - Ruins
VIII. Blonde Redhead - Barragan
IX. Nickel Creek - A Dotted Line
X. Dum Dum Girls - Too True

Special Mentions:
Merlin - Night Creep (Single)
White Reaper - S/T (EP)
Prism Wulf - Sky Burial (Single, and yeah, I played on it, sue me)
Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music 

     Let me explain this one, Sturgill won the year. This guy just took the stoner rock world by storm, in a lot of ways, while playing country music. That says something. I, unfortunately, never got around to listening to the whole album. I've heard snips here and bits there, but I can't, in good conscience, put an album on a top 10 that I haven't listened to.

Odin's Top Ten List for 2014

1.      Triptykon – Melana Chasmata  
  • Nothing else was even close to this album, untouchably good.

2.      Yob – Clearing The Path To Ascend
  • One of the most mind-blowing albums of the year, this one takes you on a journey

3.      The Body – I Shall Die Here 
  • Re-inventing themselves yet again with some beautiful darkness

4.      Exhumed/Iron Reagan – Split
  • The opposite of the others on this list ahead of them, just a bunch of punky, thrashy goodness

5.      Goatwhore – Constricting Rage Of The Merciless 
  • Solid, crushing, just what you would expect from them but with some tasty twists and turns as well 

6.      Falls of Rauros/Panopticon – Split
  • All of the intensity and beauty you could ever want from black metal

7.      At The Gates – At War With Reality 
  •  No, they didn't top “Slaughter of the Soul”, but did you really think they would?  Still a damn fine album from one of the all time greats

8.      Mortualia – Blood of the Hermit
  • If you want black metal,you got it with this one

9.      Death Penalty – S/T 
  • Take the best of traditional heavy metal and NWOBHM and you still wouldn't beat this album.  Great stuff

10.  Behemoth – The Satanist
  • Nergal is back and better than ever. Love it when bands keep improving on the past while still maintaining what makes them great.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Danger Doom - The Mouse And The Mask

Driving up to the massive hospital complex I was struck by the enormity of my surroundings and the problems concealed within their walls.  Two days ago I had been urgently summoned to the hospital, the psychiatric ward to be specific, to aid with a new patient's diagnosis.  A week prior this patient had appeared on the hospital grounds seemingly out of nowhere.  Amazingly the brilliant doctors working there had all come up short in their efforts to determine what sort of ailment plagues him.

"Doctor Penfold, thank you for coming."
"My pleasure Doctor.  Has anything changed regarding your patient?"
"Unfortunately not.  He still speaks in riddles and nonsensical statements that neither myself nor my staff can decipher.  Would you like to rest a moment before seeing him?  Your trip must have been rather taxing."
"Don't worry Doctor.  I was able to sleep on the plane and I have all my wits about me."
"Very well.  Right this way."

The Chief Psychiatrist led me to an elevator that took us up to the ward's fourth floor.  Upon exiting the elevator I was led down a maze of hallways under bright fluorescent lights.  We finally arrived at our destination and the door to the patient's room was opened.  I entered the room, and the strangest conversation I have ever been a part of began.

"Hello.  My name is Doctor Penfold.  What's your name?"
"Alright, when I say your name, you say here. And we will assume 'here' is short for 'Here I am, rock you like a hurricane.'"
"We can talk about music later, but right now I need to know your name."
"Yes, and I need a prehensile tail so I can grab onto things like a monkey."
"If you don't want to tell me your name out loud perhaps you'd be willing to write your name on this piece of paper?"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa...Lois this is not my Batman glass."
"Alright, we'll move on.  How are you feeling today?"
"It's like a koala bear crapped a rainbow in my brain!"
"I see.  How do you suppose that koala bear produced that rainbow?"
"You don't need a machine to make a rainbow for rainbows are made of happy thoughts and dreams and chocolate unicorns and gumdrops and licorice sunsets and fuzzy gum drop bears and chocolate covered chocolate gumdrop land..."
"Chocolate gumdrop land sounds like a magical place.  How old are you?"
"I'll be dead long before you were born and I'll be dead long before you'll be dead."
"Hmmm, that must make you..."
"Did you get...that thing...that I sent you?"
"I'm afraid I haven't received any packages today, no."
"You are expendable.  That oven is not!"

Understanding crept over me like the rising tide.  I excused myself and quickly left the room to inform the Chief Psychiatrist of my findings.
"Doctor I know what has happened to your patient!  At some point he went on an adult swim into the depths of his psyche."
"Can he be treated?"
"I am confident we can help him, but the treatment is unorthodox.  Someone get me a stereo and an auxiliary cable!"

Hey oh waveriders!  It's classic appreciation time once again.  Which album is featured inside the spotlight today?  Why it's The Mouse And The Mask from Danger Doom of course!  Yes, it's true.  I'm writing about an album that sounds just as crazy on paper as it does through speakers.  Don't believe me?  You will shortly!

What exactly is Danger Doom?  Good question.  Back in 2001 the evening programming on Cartoon Network was replaced with something new called [adult swim].  As the title suggests this new programming was intended for more mature audiences.  Slightly more mature audiences anyway.  Fast forward to the year 2005.  Producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse and celebrated emcee MF Doom collaborate directly with [adult swim] to produce an album inspired by the various shows aired under their banner.  Importantly the album contains a slew of original contributions from beloved characters from those shows.

So let's review shall we?  What we have with TMATM  is a hip hop album celebrating cartoons made for young adults featuring a guest list that is mostly made up of actual cartoon characters.  Oh yeah, this has classic written all over it!  When the album was released I remember debating with myself whether or not to pick it up.  At that time I had never heard MF Doom, and the only thing I knew about Danger Mouse was that he had put out the Jay-Z/Beatles mashup The Grey Album.  Sure I liked a couple of the cartoons on [adult swim], but I certainly couldn't be accused of being a rabid viewer.  To top it all off I was still in the infancy of my hip hop fandom.  Everything considered, I have no idea why I decided to buy this album...but I did.  Perhaps it was pre-destined?

Whatever the reason was behind my procurement of TMATM I am forever grateful.  This album is spectacular!  It was spectacular then, and it remains spectacular now nearly ten years later.  Every aspect of this album works.  The production is pitch perfect.  It's organic and varied, with a distinct vintage feel.  The rapping is creative and clever, perfectly in tune with the crazy subject matter.  Here is a taste of the insanity.

And we'll be right back, after these messages / Fellas grab your nutsacs, chicks squeeze your breastesses / We ain't all that grown, it's still funny / Like, going to the store on your own with rainbow money / Since then had an insane flow, sonny / Walkin' to the corner rhymin' in the rain, nose runny / Break dancin' maybe ten, bummy, is when SUB-ROC would run up handspring / Arabian somee! Ooh wee, like a Hong Kong Phooey kick / Or a weekend afternoon, karate movie flick / Slept good, no justice, no peace / Woody kept it hood, never discussed it with po-lice / Shot the fair one nobody ran to get the gat / Or felt they had to put it up in they raps to set it phat / And since when lyrical skills had to do with killin' a cat? / What type of chitlins is that? / The Super Villain as the bat, hide your tonic / Whoever willin' to ride, provide raw chronic

Most impressive of all is that all of the guest spots from the cartoon characters never lose their charm.  I still find them as amusing as I did when I first heard them back in 2005.  In fact one particular sentence spoken by the character Master Shake still finds it's way into conversations with friends and family sometimes.  Those recipients in the know chuckle and smile, while the others just think I'm continuing to lose my mind.  It's a trade-off I'm willing to make.

Waveriders, if you're one of those folks who already own this fantastic album then you know what I'm talking about.  If on the other hand you are a music fan who had no idea this album existed then you are in for a treat!  Get to listening and enjoy!

- Penfold

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Swedebeast's Best Of 2014

For most of the year I've been thinking about my Best Of-list only to be rushing to complete it as the deadline usual. I love Best Of-list just as much as I dislike them. Why? Because I always forget to include albums that should be there but the older I get, the quicker I lose track only to realize after the fact what should have been included. Oh well, here goes my favourites of the year at the time of remembering.  There is a first for me regarding lists like this. The top spot is shared....has never happened in my anorak world before!

1. Pale Divine - 'Cemetery Earth'(Reissue)
 - Those who know me and my musical tastes know Pale Divine is one of my all time favourite bands. So when Shadow Kingdom Records re-released their amazing 'Cemetery Earth' as a double CD, yours truly just about had a coronary. Long out of print, the album is available to a wider audience again and rightly so. For a completist like me the second CD is full of demo outtakes as well as some live songs. Best of the year along with a Canadian duo.

1. Zaum - 'Oracles'
 - Completely unknown to me, this Canadian duo absolutely blew me away with their debut album. Full of Egyptian mysticism, Kyle and Chris created an album of unseen proportions. Amazing stuff!

2. Volume IV - 'Long In The Tooth'
 - Heavy as hell, gong full tilt with a Southern darkness mixed with Motörhead's never-say-die-fuck off attitude, Volume IV's debut takes no prisoners.

3. Wo Fat - The Conjuring
 -  'The Conjuring' is the album that properly introduced me to Wo Fat. It's true and don't ask me why it took this long because we don't have time for that. I'm in on them big time now, that's what matters and this is the album that did it.

4. Grifter - 'The Return of The Bearded Brethren
 - The second album can usually be a tricky thing but not so for Grifter. Instead they've gone from strength to strength with this one. And this is how I want my heavy rock!

5. Kamchatka - 'The Search Goes On'
 - Swedish trio Kamchatka hits the target as always with their new wax. Never a band to disappoint, that hasn't changed with 'The Search Goes On', instead they have raised the bar considerably.

6. Human Services - 'Animal Fires'
 - Just as their self-titled debut did, 'Animal Fires' grabbed me by the balls immediately. One of the most original and great outfits out there at the moment.

7. Ocean Chief - 'Universums Härd'
 - Ocean Chief's new offering saw a slight change. Not only did the line-up expand again, they also changed the pace of the music. Shorter and somewhat faster songs although they have retained their sound. Great as ever!

8. Child - 'Child'
 - A brand new acquaintance to me, this Australian trio's take on power blues focusing on the real sleazy parts of life, is bar to none. Trippy, jammy and full of groove in all it's despair.

9. Lord - 'Alive In Golgotha'
 - This EP saw Lord go through a lot of problems to put it mildly but they came out stronger than ever. The four tracks on offer are brutal and face melting displaying how to channel frustrating situations into amazing music.

10. Dandy Brown - 'Damned To The Heels Of Success'
 - The founder of Hermano and renowned producer Dandy Brown is back with a solo offering and holy hell, it's good! Had I received this copy earlier it might have landed further up on my list. However, within very little time his fusion of Chris Goss/Masters Of Reality meets a plugged-in Neil Young tripping out in the Californina desert, has had a huge impact on me. Great, great stuff.

The nearly ones:

The Crown - 'Headhunter'(7"single)
Olmeg - 'Slab'
Mantra Machine - 'Nitrogen'
Beastwars - 'Blood Becomes Free'(Originally released in 2013, worldwide release was in 2014)
Mothership - 'II'
Stubb - 'Cry Of The Ocean'
Orange Goblin - Back From The Abyss'
The Skull - 'For Those Which Are Asleep'
Blackfinger - 'Blackfinger'
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