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Thursday
Dec292016

The Top 10 of Metal (and Mosh!) 2016

I just can't help myself. I'm like a fat kid eying off the last slice of pizza or a Kardashian with an internet-enabled camera. I just have to do it. I've been writing these lists for about ten years now, so why stop? Because THEY don't want me to? In the words of the great prophet DJ Khaled, THEY don't want me to, therefore I must. (I don't think he said that last part. Did I just play myself?)

2016 sucked ass in so many ways. Music was the one way it didn't. Here's my Top 10 in order of what I thought was the best - remember when people did that? Yeah anyway:

SPECIAL MENTION: Gunship - Gunship

The fact Gunship is "retrowave" precludes it from a place on a mosh/metal/punk list. But it really is my favourite this year. It's not a mere 80s nostalgia trip, it's something trancendental. It's new, it's old, it's like it was always with you. (Killjoy Deluxe Owen tells me this came out in 2015. THANKS BRO)

SEE ALSO: The black celebrated 80s sounds of The Black Queen's Fever Daydream.

1. White Lung - Paradise

I might need a new copy of this on vinyl cos I've played it so much this year. Punk, pop, perfection.

Read my interview with vocalist Mish Barber-Way here

2. Dark Tranquillity - Atoma

I think our melodeath masters deserve to soundtrack 2016. It's like an ice-wind cutting through your ribcage. It'll draw you in and never let go.

3. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts

The second of my favourite bands released their best in many a year, reinvigorated by a new lineup. No fucking emo, just fire and balls.

4. Hellions - Opera Oblivia

It really is their Number of the Beast - a proud testament to being yourself and doing it right.

Read my cover story with Hellions, here

5. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

"Really Tom, you are into fuckin Architects now?" When a band produces something with as much heart as this, you bet your ass in the middle of a prison riot that I dig 'em.

6. Vektor - Terminal Redux

Space metal. Enough said.

7. Evergrey - The Storm Within

Sweden's dreamboat not only floats, but cruises over emotional seas in this front-to-back belter.

8. Rotting Christ - Rituals

Beware of bloodthirsty Greeks bearing riffs.

9. Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary

'Member prog metal? 'Member when it was cheesy but awesome at the same time? OH, I 'Member!

10. Sabaton - The Last Stand

History metal that's more historic, battle-ready, and epic than ever. Duh.

---

The Honourable Mentions

Gold Award: Deftones - Gore

Silver Award: Driven Fear - Free Thinker

Bronze Award: In Mourning - Afterglow

 

Monday
Dec212015

The Top 10 of Metal (and Mosh!) 2015

I'm drawn back to this empty screen each year to secrete my opinion on what I enjoyed this year. I've been doing it since at least 2009, back when I thought writing about music conferred some kind of numinous insight into music. I listen to a lot of bullshit and I'm cynical as hell. Sometimes, I leap out of my chair and whip my (no) hair back and forth in ecstacy. Some of those discs did that to me this year. Here's a numbered list of them.

1. Gazpacho - Molok

These guys are out of this world. Prog rock that's actually progressive and actually rock. It runs from ancient esoterics to futurist wanderings. This is such a trip. At the end there's this code that might blow the world up. For a second there, I tensed up and clenched my eyes tight...

2. Ghost - Meliora

It's pop music painted black. If metal had something close to Pet Sounds, this might be it.

3. Melechesh - Enki

Invoking ancient evil never sounded so badass.

4. Four Year Strong - Four Year Strong

Pop-punk? Fuck off, Tom. This can't be good. Actually no, fuck you. It's brilliant.

5. Hellions - Indian Summer

Saviours of Australian heavy music. Get into them before they burn out in a haze of cocaine dust.

6. Baroness - Purple

Sublime and surreal sounds from Savannah, again. John Baizley is a true artist in every sense.

7. Steven Wilson - Hand.Cannot.Erase

The concept reads like a Hugo winner and sounds like a stoner's dream.

8. Trials - This Ruined World

Thrash done with brains and heart. Riffs born with destinies deeper than "must imitate Metallica" are winners.

9. Soilwork - The Ride Majestic

I never thought Soilwork would make one of these lists again. Boy, I was wrong. Hard.

10. Pyramaze - Disciples of the Sun

lol Power metal. I thought these guys were just a cheap, clean version of Mercenary. Nope. Crisp production and brain-worming hooks do justice to the genre. Finally.

The Honourable Mentions

Gold Award - Black Breath - Slaves Beyond Death
Silver Award - Sigh - Graveward
Bronze Award - Gloryhammer - Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

14. The Black Dahlia Murder - Abysmal
15. Deafheaven - New Bermuda
16. My Dying Bride - Feel The Misery
17. Killing Joke - Pylon
18. Cancer Bats - Searching for Zero
19. Earth Caller - Degenerate
20. Born Lion - Final Words

 

Check Hysteria's albums of the year, here!

Monday
Dec222014

The Top 10 of Metal (and Mosh!) 2014

I have real trouble defining the parameters of my 2014 list. Swinging low on my Digital Editor perch at Hysteria Mag, I’ve kinda sorta found myself not hating a lot of the stuff thrown across my table. Punk and hardcore. Metalcore and deathcore. Rockcore and Applecore. “Fuck it,” I said, downing another cup of coffee-flavoured battery acid, “I’ll add whatever bullshit I want to my list.”

A long pause. Heavy silence. I turn to a non-existent camera. Straight down the barrel, I intone:

“Cos it’s my fuckin’ list.”

Adhering to my own editorial advice of “omit needless words!” Here's year’s musical journey summed up in one DELUXE page. So here we go:

 

 

1. Sleepwave - Broken Compass 

Spencer Chamberlain saved rock n’ roll. He did it not only with great tunes, but courage.

2. Decapitated - Blood Mantra

Growing tired of death metal is easy. Decapitated settle for nothing less than perfection. Blood Mantra is that perfection.

3. Gazpacho - Demon

Classifying this one is like expressing frustrations in an arcane tongue. Prog rock that's simple, haunting, beautiful. Jan Henrik-Ohme's androgyne vocals transcend music as music...it's a language of humanity.

4. Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed

Metal supergroup? Well that'll be shit. Wait, no. It's the polar opposite of shit.

5. A Breach of Silence - The Darkest Road

Metal and 'core will never find a more perfect chimera. Go home, Iron Maiden tee wearing fuckboys; your shit is OVER.

6. Amplifier - Mystoria

Pure rock delivered in a punch through your ear box. They trip on shrooms, they love big riffs, they kick total ass. Cat's Cradle is a rock masterpiece.

7. Goatwhore - Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Recorded on analogue, crushing as always. Goatwhore with Erik Rutan producing is unstoppable. It's hinted with real imitation crazy, feeling oh so frighteningly satisfying.

8. Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden

"Doom" has been hijacked by skinny-tee wearing SJWs set on finding life's answers in the back of a Foucault book. Fuck them. This is the real shit. No trust funds, no saviours.

9. Primordial - Where Greater Men Have Fallen

A late entry, but adding psychedelic touches and stoner jammin' really bumped them up the list. Primordial are ALWAYS God tier. This proves it.

10. Voyager  - V

If Australia has one metal export you should be spruiking incessantly (apart from King Parrot) it's Voyager. Prog metal's been sucking its own dick since Scenes from a Memory. Voyager bravely fly free outta prog's masturbatory hugbox. Keep it up, boys and girl.

Honourable Mentions:

Gold Award: Soen - Tellurian

Remember when Tool and Opeth were the only "prog metal" masters back in the winter of 2000? Imagine if they combined. Perfectly.

Silver Award: KXM - KXM

Metal supergroups seem to be kickin' major ass, and KXM is no exception. Down home blues and rock sung with Dug Pinnick's "I been around some" heart and soul. Can't beat that.

Bronze Award: Audrey Horne – Get Heavy

Are we absolutely sure the ghosts of Phil Lynott and Gary Moore aren't cutting these?

The Near Misses:

  • Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun
  • DZ Deathrays - Black Rat
  • Agalloch - The Serpent and the Sphere
  • Anathema - Distant Satellites
  • Aversions Crown - Tyrant
  • Desecration - Cemetary Sickness
  • St. Vincent - St. Vincent
  • The Amity Affliction - Let The Ocean Take Me
  • Darkest Era - Severance
  • Devin Townsend Project - Sky Blue
  • Crosses - +++
  • At the Gates - At War With Reality
Tuesday
Jan072014

Crushtor.net Top 10 of Metal 2013

I know, I know: I usually drag my Top 10 list out over a week and a half. I usually don't have to file copy on all of my precious decalogue, necessitating writing new shit. Truth is, I can't be arsed. I have a Top 10, of sorts. The word that comes to mind is rebirth. Metal has built its gleaming kingdom. Now, fans can sit and watch the blood and fight for the throne. Tremendous fight is what we hear.

The Crushtor.net Top 10 of Metal 2013

1.    Carcass – Surgical Steel
Carcass are back. You need no further explanation.

2.    Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
Check your cellars for demons because Rotting Christ will summon them. Each play through disturbs your soul a little. It's that fucking good.

3.    Orphaned Land – All is One
In the service of God is light and beauty. A cross-cultural triumph.

4.    Dark Tranquillity – Construct
The Gothenburg Kings distil twenty years of superior metal evolution into Construct, their finest foray since Character.

5.    The Fall of Every Season - Amends
Markus Strand's solo project weaves together dusky vocals, thunder from cloudy skies and a weak pulse of hope. It might just breathe new life into a death/doom genre at present best remembered.

6.    Witherscape - The Inheritance
Dan Swano's The Inheritance concept gathers doom, old school prog and power metal, wrapping them in a compelling combo. You'll find it jammed in your CD player for weeks.

7.    Nails - Abandon All Life
Nails are a clenched fist of 'fuck you.' Abandon All Life ain't no title, it's a command.

8.    Gorguts - Colored Sands
Luc Lamay returns with an armful of tunes from another timey-wimey face-melty dimension.

9.    Ghost – Infestissumam
Solid melodies and shaggy riffs hit the spot their second time around. Chuck it on, light a doob and get spooky.

10.    The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
Like I said at the time: lesser releases bruise, Everblack kills.

The Honorable Mentions

11.    Mercenary - Through our Darkest Days (Gold)
12.    Omnium Gatherum - Beyond (Silver)
13.    Locrian - Return to Annihilation (Bronze)

The Rest

14.    October Falls - Plague of a Coming Age
15.    Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & the River’s End
16.    Letlive - The Blackest Beautiful
17.    Red Fang - Whales and Leeches
18.    Jonas Renkse and Bruce Soord – Wisdom of Crowds
19.    Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen
20.     Audrey Horne - Youngblood
21.    Cult of Luna - Vertikal
22.    Deafheaven - Sunbather
23.    Lo! - Monstrorum Historia
24.    The Ocean - Pelagial
25.    Ulcerate - Vermis

1.      Carcass – Surgical Steel
Carcass are back. You need no further explanation.

2.      Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
Check your cellars for demons because Rotting Christ will summon them. Each play through disturbs your soul a little. It's that fucking good.

3.      Orphaned Land – All is One
In the service of God is light and beauty. A cross-cultural triumph.

4.      Dark Tranquillity – Construct
The Gothenburg Kings distil twenty years of superior metal evolution into Construct, their finest foray since Character.

5.      The Fall of Every Season - Amends
Markus Strand's solo project weaves together dusky vocals, thunder from cloudy skies and a weak pulse of hope. It might just breathe new life into a death/doom genre, at present best remembered.

6.      Witherscape - The Inheritance
Dan Swano's The Inheritance concept gathers doom, old school prog and power metal, wrapping them in a compelling combo. It'll get jammed in your CD player for weeks.

7.      Nails - Abandon All Life
Nails are a clenched ball of 'fuck you.' Abandon All Life ain't no title, it's a command.

8.      Gorguts - Colored Sands
Luc Lamay returns with an armful of tunes from another timey-wimey face-melty dimension.

9.      Ghost – Infestissumam
Solid melodies and shaggy riffs hit the spot their second time around. Chuck it on, light a doob and get spooky.

10.  The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack
Like I said at the time: lesser releases bruise, Everblack kills.

11.  Mercenary - Through our Darkest Days

12.  Omnium Gatherum - Beyond

13.  Locrian - Return to Annihilation

14.  October Falls - Plague of a Coming Age

15.  Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & the River’s End

16.  Letlive - The Blackest Beautiful

17.  Red Fang - Whales and Leeches

18.  Jonas Renkse and Bruce Soord – Wisdom of Crowds

19.  Ihsahn - Das Seelenbrechen

20.  Cult of Luna - Vertikal

21.  The Ocean - Pelagial

22.  Deafheaven - Sunbather

23.  Lo! - Monstrorum Historia

24.  October Tide - Tunnel of No Light

25.  Ulcerate - Vermis

Thursday
May162013

Article: Top 10 Eurovision Songs That Weren't (TheVine)

After World War II, US Secretary of State George Marshall thought it would be a good idea to help Europe rebuild after six years of demoralising, bitter warfare. Under his economic recovery plan, proud nations would prosper again, resisting the lure of Communism.

Leaders concocted a program to spearhead European technological progress and unity – the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) was born in 1955. "We’ll get Europe to sing", they said. "We’ll broadcast it live across the continent", they said. "It’s a great idea", they said.

No one had the heart to tell them. Read who really didn't.