Top 20 Heavy Albums of 2012

1609110009-1Honorable Mention: Eyehategod, New Orleans is the New Vietnam 7″

Haarp, Husks cover20    haarp, Husks

No appreciable evolution over last time, but still ugly trudge-laden aural misanthropy.

blood for the master, cover19    Goatwhore, Blood for the Master

They refined Carving Out the Eyes of God‘s formula by just a hair of a blade– but they’re  still an evil death metal Motörhead.

Hour of 13, 333 cover18    Hour of 13, 333

Ho13 always make the bottom of the year-end lists for me. Well written, unambitious traditional doom rock.

Witchsorrow - God Curse Us17    Witchsorrow, God Curse Us

Oozing stoner-y doom with a bit of Celtic Frost worship.

Dead Roots Stirring, cover16    Elder, Dead Roots Stirring

Witchsorrow if they drank hard liquor and beer and smoked less weed.

dragged-into-sunlight-Widowmaker-album-art-cover-2012-1500x150015    Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker

Blackened Sludge; the only thing outright uglier than this record is no. 13 below.

meshuggah, koloss, cover14    Meshuggah, Koloss

Again, a hairline refinement (in this case simplicity) for the kings of polymeter/ polyrhythm thinking (wo)man’s extreme music.

Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas13    Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas

UGLY. Worse than last time. The industrial grindcore of black metal.

ETwinCover300dpiCMYK12    Eagle Twin, The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale

Southern Lord (the label) blues; Tom Waits jams with Greg Anderson.

effigies of evil (high res)11    Hooded Menace, Effigies of Evil

Ripped-out Fangoria pages strewn across fresh asphalt, being pressed into the muck by a steamroller: The band.

ufomammut-oro-opus-alter-cover10    Ufomammut, Oro: Opus Alter

Hated it at first, went to Colorado and then Washington and learned exactly what this album is for, and why it is the perfect Dalí plays Dark Side of the Moon-esque material for those states.

Nachtmystium-Silencing-Machine9      Nachtmystium, Silencing Machine

As catchy as black metal gets; nearly psychedelic in its sonic randomness and anarchy.

Serpentine Path, self-titled cover (hi-res)8      Serpentine Path, Serpentine Path

Members of Ramesses and Unearthly Trance make the nuclear ice-breaker of glacial paces.

The-Sword_Apocryphon7      The Sword, Apocryphon

They got heavier while still keeping the psychedelic stoner mood of Warp Riders. The concepts running lyrically through this concept album are fascinating.

Lillie F-65, cover6      Saint Vitus, Lillie:  F-65

Pharmaceutical grade stoner metal.

Sylosis, original cover (hi-res)5      Sylosis, Monolith

The first muscular, melodic mature-yet-furious thrash metal record I’ve heard in years.

Layout 14      Windhand, Windhand

Hour of 13 + Witchsorrow + Elder = Windhand. Occult traditional stoner doom metal. Psychedelic yet sinister. Evil hippies. Evil hippies who are “just into the religion of love, man… love of Satan….”

Book Burner, cover3      Pig Destroyer, Book Burner

High gain mid-range turn on a dime deathgrind fury. Just as good as their classic last LP, but very different.

Witchcraft-Legend2      Witchcraft, Legend

Beautifully-written, gracefully arranged 70s-ish occult rock, with a vocalist who can go from cold, crystal-clear, taunting malice to roaring disdain– and still stay have melody running all up in this motherfucker.

Monolith of Inhumanity, cover1      Cattle Mutilation, Monolith of Inhumanity

What death/grind is supposed to be: musically complex yet logically arranged extreme music that can change from blisteringly-fast to Inception-the-third-dream-deep slow– that is also lyrically both literate and surprisingly shocking. Kudos especially to vocalist Travis Ryan for being streets ahead of every other extreme metal singer: there were so many different variations in the vocals it sounded like all of Milton’s “thousand demi-gods on golden seats” got a shot at roaring.

In 2011: Top 10 new Albums (to me) NOT released this year of your Lord

So. As 2011 winds to a close, here’s the top albums I got this year, that were totally new to me, yet that were NOT released in 2011. Maybe this should read, “Top albums heard this year not released in 2011…”?

1. Pig Destroyer, Phantom Limb

2. Witchery, Witchkrieg

3. Trap Them, Seizures in Barren Praise

4. The Devil’s Blood, The Thousandfold Epicentre (technically released in 2012)

5. Acid Mother’s Temple, Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind!)

6. Bongripper, Satan Worshiping Doom

7. Warhorse, As Heaven Turns to Ash

8. Melt-Banana, Cell-Scape

9. The Wounded Kings/ Cough: An Introduction to the Black Arts

10. Withered, Momento Mori

Honorable Mention:  Church of Misery, Master of Brutality

Top 20 Heavy Albums of 2011

Honorable Mention:

Indian, Guiltless

Top 20:

20: Skeletonwitch, Forever Abomination

Genre-less pure metal: 1982 Metallica, covering Iron Maiden, with Cronos singing.



19: Hour of 13, The Ritualist

Totally generic but awesome satanic Sabbath riff-worship.



18: Septicflesh, The Great Mass

Greek satanic death metal opera.



17: Dark Castle, Surrender to All Life Beyond Form

The most pot-informed Guru you’ll ever meet.



16: Archenemy, Khaos Legions

The death metal QueensrŸche of 2011.



15: Exhumed, All Guts No Glory

Best non-posing death metal album of the year: pure metal fury.



14: Criminal, Akelarre

Sepultura on Crossfit: death/thrash athletes.



13:  Landmine Marathon, Gallows

Straight-ahead no-nonsense death/grind.



12: In Solitude, The World The Flesh The Devil

The Ghost for this year; 1980s European heavy metal.



11: Rwake, Rest

Crazy screaming southern street preachers, preaching doom.




Emerging Classics: albums still regularly listened to, in the last decade or so

It’s all well and good to list your top 10 of whatever year it is, but when do we list top 10s for the last two or three? When do we list those albums we still return to, even several years later?

Never, baby. I’m innovating, yet again.

Not talking about classic albums. Everyone’s gonna think Master of Puppets or Vol. 4 or whatever; I don’t mean those. No desert island records. I mean, what records are you still regularly listening to that came out in, say, the last 8 to 10 years? (But NOT counting this year.)

I’m using regular listening to mean “at least once a month.”

Here’s mine:

Cynic, Traced in Air
Shrinebuilder, Shrinebuilder
Behemoth, Evangelion
Pelican, What We All Come to Need
Goatsnake, Flower of Disease
The Devil and the Sea, Heart vs. Spine
Zoroaster, Voice of Saturn
3 Inches of Blood, Here Waits Thy Doom and Fire Up the Blades
Acid King, III
Left Lane Cruiser, any
YOB, The Great Cessation


Top 8 Guitar Tones

(In no order:)

Stevie Ray Vaughn: heavy gauge strings (the low E is around .54), tuned down to Eb, barely distorted, but heavy and instantly recognizable (he starts playing around 0:54):

Dimebag Darrell: Randalls, solid state, high gain. Sounds great even in standard tuning: