Monday, December 12, 2011

Top However Many Albums of Whatever Year it Still Is

The end of the year is upon us, and I say it's about fucking time.  I've been battling what turns out to be the longest running minor head cold in human history, and I've been totally flaking on everything I do, from writing this pointless blog of mine to playing my guitar pointlessly to obsessing over Batman: Arkham City (which is far and away the best game of the year, and no, I haven't played Skyrim).  Indeed, my high-grade obsessive nature has been so co-opted by my lingering disease that it's turned me in to an apathetic turd man, lazing around on the couch, watching ancient episodes of Law and Order and getting pumped on Detective Lenny Briscoe's myriad wisecracks.

Pictured: Briscoe and Green being badass motherfuckers, in their standard fashion.
Additionally, all the piss and pomp has been drained from me by a relatively demanding work schedule and the fact that I'm so intimately involved in the process of moving our entire operation from our current location to a newer, bigger, more fantastic warehouse.  As such, I've been expending all of my creative efforts stacking inventory for the movers and concocting ever more elaborate reasons to not murder some of my coworkers.  It's a tough process that demands a great deal of my energy, so my idiot blog has suffered.  But since there are roughly two people who ever visit this site anymore, I think I should apologize to you by name: sorry, Dad and Ed.

My relative lack of posting and shortness of dick jokes hasn't stopped me from listening to lots and lots of music this year, though, and just like the rest of the Interhole masses, I've constructed a list of my top albums of the year, and have put them into an order that I felt made some sense.  It's pretty standard stuff, actually, if you've ever seen a list.  Now we all know that all of the Interbung music critics are going to be saying stuff like "2011 was a terrible year for metal" and "There wasn't that much good stuff happening this year" and a bunch of other stuff that translates to "I am a fucking douche bag."  But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this year has been fantastic for metal at large, and for the first time in years, I didn't have a clear cut favorite albums list, and was therefore forced to make tough, hard-reasoned, and--in the end--arbitrary decisions about what I would include on this giant list.

See what I'm talking about with the "lack of creative juices" thing?

So without further ado, here are the albums that I think were the best this year:


In what should come as no surprise to anybody who has ever read anything I wrote regarding my fanatical enthusiasm for Trap Them, their latest album won my Top Rated Super Lock Pick of the Year Deluxe award, given to the finest, crustiest, and most crushing album of the year.  If you haven't experienced this album yet, you are wrong and should have any children or animals in your home taken away by authorities and euthanized.  I'm sorry, that's just the way it is.

Exhumed almost usurped the top slot from Trap Them this year with their crushing and crusty brand of death metal.  Indeed, they inhabit the very essence of death metal, from the artwork to the subject matter ("Your Funeral, My Feast," and "I Rot Within" pop into my mind).  Exhumed may indeed be the ultimate death metal band; they tickle my D-boner in a way that no other band who plays diminished key guitar solos has done in years, and have subsequently reinvigorated my desire to eat entrails.

Anaal Nathrakh are the embodiment of aural intensity.  They're the sound of your horrible, violent death distilled into monolithic guitar tones and frantic, burning-witch shrieks.  I didn't know if they'd be able to follow up 2009's In the Constellation of the Black Widow (which was my Top Rated Super Lock Pick of the Year Deluxe of that year), but I closed my eyes and wished upon a shining star, and my wish came true!  Oh, the glory of it!  Anaal Nathrakh is not recommended if you are pregnant, have a heart condition, or are a pussy.  Please talk to your doctor before listening to Anaal Nathrakh.

I think it's safe to say that I've not been blown away by a black metal band so thoroughly in years, or maybe ever.  Blut Aus Nord play black metal that crawls with insects, all clawing horribly at their disgusting meat sack with their terrible pincers and things.  The year's most challenging--and rewarding--listen lies in wait in the nightmare that is 777 Sect(s).

How good can an album that is less than 15 minutes long really be, am I right?  Turns out, the answer is "really fucking good."  A nonstop orgy of frantic guitar riffing, whirling blastbeats and pterodactyl vocals, Orphan is a grind triumph of the highest order.

Revocation burst on to the scene a few years ago and showed everybody that awesome shredding is still cool.  A ridiculous mix of Children of Bodom style guitar wizardry and Dream Theater-esque progressive leanings ensure that lame shred nerds like me have plenty to think about while we jack off and change guitar strings.

Do you like crushing guitar tones?  Do you like pummeling tornadoes of blast beats?  Do you like when things FUCKING ROCK?  It turns out, you're a huge Rotten Sound fan.  Cursed sounds like the soundtrack to being mauled by a particularly angry bear, except it won't leave you alone when you play dead.  Also, don't climb a tree; Rotten Sound can climb faster than they can grind.

The technical death metal album of the year comes under the sage wizardry of Abysmal Dawn, who know how to level buildings with their awesome sound just as effectively as the worm monster that graces the cover of Leveling.  Whether it's a cascade of note-diarrhea or the lumbering crush of "Perpetual Dormancy," Abysmal Dawn show that it's actually possible to write cohesive songs as a technical death metal band.  And isn't that an achievement in and of itself?

Don't let the boring album art fool you; Ulcerate have carved themselves a unique sound from a monolithic hunk of Neurosis granite using a Gorguts chisel.  The Destroyers of All is an exhilarating listen, full of dissonant skronk, Earth-shattering heaviness and that certain something that my wife once described as "I can't listen to this.  Turn it off."

I've spoken at length with people who are longtime fans of Today is the Day, and it turns out that they don't like this album very much.  Me?  I think it's just dandy.  Forsaking the noisy grind standards of their back catalog, TItD have created something special that appeals to those of us who don't think that playing the guitar and allowing it to feed back endlessly are the same thing.  Excelsior!

Weekend Nachos--Worthless
The Atlas Moth--An Ache for the Distance
Lock Up--Necropolis Transparent
Protest the Hero--Scurrilous
Dream Theater--A Dramatic Turn of Events
Victims--A Dissident

Mastodon--The Hunter

1) Auroboros--Demo
2) Black Monolith--Demo EP
3) God Harvest--God Harvest Demo 2011
 Now, in accordance with the agreement I made with myself for finally finishing this super long post, I'm going to drink my expensive whisky I bought on Friday and play Mass Effect.  Later this week I'll be finishing my year end bullshit, if I decide to, which I probably won't.

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Can't believe Scurrilous didn't make it though. And you still haven't even listened to 2 of my favorite albums (Level 2 and Weightless)