Friday, December 25, 2015

The Thrash Corner: Combat in the Frozen North, Destroying Your Enemies While Surviving the Weather

This week on The Thrash Corner we begin our countdown to the release of Winter's Doom with a series of short features written by vocalist and guitarist Alan Binger (center right above). With four weeks left until the release date we start with some advice on surviving battle in the Yukon.

Alan: Combat in the north is all about stealth. It's about speed, logistics and knowing the land. The animals are your friends. The spirits are your allies. The Vuntut Gwitchin longbow is the weapon of choice when warding off invading southerners. Frozen beer grenades are another hot item of violence but are frowned upon by some as they're viewed as a waste of liquor. Nail guns with magazines of raven beaks are used to incapacitate foes. If hit and run tactics are failing to meet their objectives, then brute force is used. Mammoth chariots with rocket launchers are effective in getting the job done. Staying warm is easy. Just do as the Russians do... vodka!

There is also a free download of the song Corpse Brigade being hosted on Pure Grain Audio. Click here to grab it. Check back next week for: Winter Witches, How to Find Them and How to Kill Them.

Merry Christmas,

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Listless 2015 Part Two: Metal Injection's #1's take a big #2

Don't. You'll be fucking wrong. 

So many best album year's end lists. So very little time. So in that respect, on this feature of Listless, we're gonna be mixing things up a bit. Initially Brenocide and I had discussed the top 5 EPs of the year so considered by Andy Synn of No Clean Singing. However, in the case of bigger metal blog, Metal Injection, there are several year end lists already up by several different reviewers already. Each list has 10-15 full length albums, many of which neither Brenocide or myself got the chance to listen to throughout the year. By the time we would be able to finish getting through everybody's list, it would already be too late. I would be already fully recovered from my New Year's Eve hangover. And we would already have an entire 2016 of shitty metal to look forward to.

So here's how this will work.

1. I'm doing commentary on this particular set of lists solo. Brenocide will be handling the next feature on his own (more on that later), and then we'll team up again once we get more defined, singular lists from some major publications.

2. Since there are 5 different Injection staffers involved at the time of this writing, each with their own list, I'm going to zone in on what each individual thought was their #1 absolute favorite album of the year, and review that album and that choice specifically.

3. I'm going to link to their lists so that the info is available to all of you, and from them I'm going to personally pick what I thought would have been a much more appropriate number 1 album. It never ceases to amaze me how people end up arranging these things; or how they have the capability of enjoying perfectly amazing full blown metal delicacies, only to ultimately prove that they prefer inferior lameness down the line.

Let's kick things off with the first MI staffer, Daniel Cordova.

Daniel's #1: Native Construct - Quiet World

Click here for the rest of Daniel's list.

I like progressive metal as much as the next bloke, I guess. But that's one of those terms that gets tossed around more than my junk at your sister's place, so I try not to claim it outright. It's become such a loose definition; covering a wide array of avant-garde composition, jazzy interludes, and most often modernly, just djent. This isn't djent, thankfully. Native Construct seems to me like the perfect marriage of Haken's soaring highs and BTBAM's crushing lows -- and less fortunately -- BTBAM's occasional, intentional silliness. This is good music composed by very good musicians, and it's certainly worth your while. Daniel writes "Native Construct have a knack for infusing ridiculous technicality with finesse, so it doesn’t feel like just another group of musicians over-wanking on their instruments. The diversity on this album is incredible with moments of black metal, funk, and even sections that sound like they’re right out of a Broadway musical". I agree with the lack of over-wankery. The melodies alternate abruptly much like most modern prog bands, but not to obnoxious, jarring levels.

This a great album by a great band, but is it really metal album of the year material? Maybe to a guy like Daniel, whose refined penchant for prog and metal's more delicate side is made obvious with some of the other albums that made it to his list, (Caligula's Horse, Pomegranate Tigers, Leprous and Chelsea Wolfe to name a few) Yet Native Construct is the type of prog band that isn't afraid to put a too big and thick slice of cheese right on top of what would otherwise be a satisfying, juicy musical burger. The gentleman of NC are the type of performers that make suggestions during the writing process to each other such as "hey guys, wouldn't it be funny if we put some carnival sounding ragtime big tent calliope circus music in our metal?"

You know what? No. It wouldn't be funny. It stopped being funny 4 BTBAM albums ago. Stop it.

What should have been Daniel's #1 instead:

So Hideous - Laurestine 

Ugh... The obvious choice. Definitely the very quintessential best among what was sort of an oddball selection. So Hideous' post black metal blends perfectly with symphonic overtones in a way that proceeds most acts that stand alone as either post black or symphonic black. Daniel's list was plagued with probably a few more questionable choices than the other MI writers (Jeff Wilson, Deafheaven, Clutch?), but I was glad to see this get a mention here.

Shayne's #1. King Woman - Doubt 

Click here for Shayne's list.

Really? Out of all the ear-splitting, headbanging, soul crushing, musically proficient, undeniably awesome pure metal that the world granted us in the year of 2015, Shayne Mathis picks some slow, droning, fuzzy bandcamp EP fronted by a moaning lady as his top album? Do you even riff, bro? I mean, this album was ok -- King Woman is for all intents and purpose -- ok. Yet there was even better music a lot like it to be heard this year. Hell, your list proves that much. All the stuff on it was better. How is it that King Woman is the kind of stuff specifically that puts people on cloud nine higher than other metal albums? I think I have to smoke more herb, or something.

What should have been Shayne's #1 instead: 

Mgla - Exercises in Futility

Shayne didn't get it it all wrong, hell, Shayne didin't get most of it wrong. Faceless black metal masters from Poland, Mgla was in his top 5. I'm just gonna come out and boldly state that Exercises in Futility was the best black metal release of the year. Period. Fuck you, try it with your deny it. It's in more lists than I care to share as exactly such. How the hell did King Woman top it? He had some other solid choices on his list like Yellow Eyes, Visigoth, Panopticon and Vastum to name just a few, all much better stuff. Honestly, most of his list resonates with me as a metal listener. It was really tough to pick Mgla over VHÖL as what I thought should have been his number one. He clearly has great taste, that much is apparent. I guess it's just been a rough year for him, seeing as how he mentions his dad passing after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He refers to Doubt as a "cathartic" listen for him, so we'll give him a pass as it probably helped him get to a better place. It sure didn't do it for me.

Matt's #1. Dreadnought - Bridging Realms 

For the rest of Matt's list, click here. 

Denver based folky-proggy-doomy-post rock group Dreadnought is another fuzzy, female-fronted no-name band that a completely separate member of the Metal Injection staff managed to select as his favorite album of the year. Did these two have a meeting before all this? If it were up to these guys, 2015 would be the year of the Doom chick. I've messed around with those type of girls before in my younger years, fellas. They might look cute with their patchy denim vests, wild hair, crusty boots, sloppy nail polish, nose rings and lack of make up, but more often than not, their entire personality begins and ends at marijuana. 

My proud and blatant underground metalhead misogyny aside, Dreadnought's music is truly something to be admired. It's far from balls to the wall shredtacular metal, even at its fiercest. However, if you're in the mood for something a little different, on the softer side of hard rock and harsh vocals, Bridging Realms would be a nice backdrop of a quiet Sunday afternoon spent reading, painting or writing shitty blogs about how you hate music. Matt may be under the impression that "this album is it motherfuckers", but it is far from it.

What should have been Matt's #1 instead: 

Ensiferum - One Man Army 

My immense fandom for epic, Nordic metal music was something restricted to my youngest years as a budding metalhead. Time has taken its toll upon me; leaving me cynical, tired and impossibly difficult to please. Booming synthesized symphonies, viking war chants, epic wailing guitar melodies; that which once raised many a hair on the back of my neck, now only warrants an eye-roll. So overdone, so cliche', so predictable, and at this stage of my life, just plain fucking dorky. I don't like this type of music anymore, I couldn't if I tried. The latest addition to Ensiferum's many releases is itself, far from my album of the year. It wouldn't even show up if I were to prepare my own list of twenty or so. Not even for honorable mention.

However, it was earnestly the album I liked the most out of Matt's list. (Save for the So Hideous album again at his #9). I just think One Man Army probably would have been my favorite album like 10 years ago. It gave me that feeling that you poseurs probably get when you hear a Slipknot song and get embarrassed about how much you used to love that stupid shit. This guy Matt seems like the type of guy who I would start chatting with once I found out we were both metalheads, but then spend an awkward, eternal-feeling 20 minutes lying about hearing of the bands we each asked each other about. "Oh yeah, um, I think I've heard XII Boar before. Yeah, they were pretty good from what I remember. It's been a while though, haha!" Then I would go home, get on Spotify and find out that XII Boar are another Clutchy drunken party rock band that I would never even consider thinking were "pretty good". But it wouldn't fucking matter anyway, because I would tell this guy I think they're pretty good to his face even if I knew better, just so I could be polite and avoid the social conflict. God damn it, I'm sick of being polite to you twerps about your ass taste in music. Fuck guys like Matt asking me about bands I don't know about that I have to go look up and find out I wouldn't like anyway. Stop liking things that I don't like.

Gregs' #1. Ghost - Meliora 

God damn it. No.

Click here for the rest of Greg's list.

What should have been Greg's #1 instead:

Panopticon - Autumn Eternal (or anything else, really...)

I would love to take this moment to gush about Autumn Eternal because it's a stellar album, but it's been discussed as such by numerous publications already, so I'll just take this moment instead to say fuck Ghost. Why...? Why has the collective heavy metal internet fallen head over heels in love with this soft radio butt rock bullshittery? I legitimately heard Circe on the local radio rock station when I was going through some shipping warehouse where they play that fucking music for pickup truck drivers. It was at like 2:00pm sandwiched between the usual Green Day and Nirvana easy-listening 90's alt hits where it belongs. Not here, not in my fucking backyard. These fucking clowns wouldn't have gotten a single toe forward in terms of exposure if it weren't for their dumb shit Papa Pope Spooky Face gimmick standing up there dangling his spidery gloved fingers in limpish frailty at his droves of adoring dumbshit fans. Fuck Ghost. This album and every other of theirs is soft and limp and fucking bullshit. It's not metal and it sucks. Get out. You're not welcome in my genre if you like this. Fuck off. B.C stands for Bull.Crap. You like this because it's pop music and pop music is easily digestable snacking for morons. It's the McDonald's of music, it's designed to be enjoyed and consumed by simple-minded morons. If you talk about Ghost to your friends, you might as well be talking about NFL or Big Bang Theory. I bet when Ex's and Oh's comes on the radio by Elle King, like it does 48 times a minute; you pudgy, greasy, pathetic cunts crank that shit on your Toyota car radios and tap your steering wheel along to the zazzy beat. Oh my god, die and then come back to life and redie.

So much.

Kevin's #1. Satan - Atom By Atom

You nailed it Kevin. We cool.

Tune in next week when Brenocide takes a gander at what Metal Sucks has to say about the year in metal music. I'm sure he'll be reasonable about it.

- Deth Leppard

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Thrash Corner: Now Streaming SANKTUARY's Newest Single "Space Race"

Welcome back to The Thrash Corner, today we have a dose of metal straight from the Yukon. SANKTUARY hails from the city of Whitehorse and have been playing their brand of power infused thrash metal since 2007. Their newest single Space Race is the opening track on the upcoming album Winter's Doom, and what an opener it is. Like a cross between 3 Inches of Blood and Judas Priest, this song kicks you right in the ass and leaves you wanting more. The album drops on January 22nd, but you can listen to the single right here. We should have more features from the band being posted in the coming weeks as we count down to the 22nd of January so if you like what you hear be sure to stay tuned.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Listless 2015 - Part One: No Clean Singing Top 5 EPs

Deth Leppard: Salutations once more, TRV Believers. Welcome to Listless. This will be a new End of the Year Feature on Metal Snob where we take a hard look at what some other prominent metal bloggers and publications considered this year's very best in metal music releases, and with the much appreciated assistance of Brenocide, we will harshly criticize their opinions on the matter accordingly.

Brenocide: This sounds like a cheap knock-off of Listmania over on No Clean Singing. Something everybody should check out instead, because I guarantee they're handling it in a way that's actually worth reading. Unlike some people.

Deth Leppard: See, that's where you're wrong. Listmania is a collection of  the top metal album lists that other metal blogs and metal zines prepared, that Islander then posts on NCS and shares his opinions about said lists and wow yes this is going to be exactly fucking like that.

Bren: Nice. 

Deth: Hey man, if we learned anything from our dealings within the metal community, it's that originality hurts. This is a fight for clicks and we will take them where we'll get them. We're going to be the I, Omega to NCS's Protest the Hero. 

Bren: You could have picked anything else in the metal genre otherwise but you pick that. NCS doesn't have a Protest. They would never have that. It's implied right in their fucking name that is not their can of beans.  

Deth: You know what's implied in your name? That you're some teen angst MTN DEW chugger on Xbox Live.

Bren: Whatever you say, Cock of Ages. 

5. Pyrrhon - Growth Without End

Deth: Turn your head sideways and squint. What does that look like to you?

Bren: Exactly how this EP sounds.

Deth: Haha, come on, you don't think this band rips?

Bren: They're ripping something, alright. What the hell is it with people's draw to squiggly noisecore bands and all 5 million of them that get haphazardly started every day throughout the globe? This is the kind of music people just pretend to like so they can maximize their edge factor among their basement show buddies. It's like, we get it Captain Crust, here's your honorary Underground Merit Badge. You can pin it somewhere to that denim shirt you found in a dumpster. Now you don't have to listen to this anymore, since you've soundly proven your point. Go listen to something good now, we promise, we won't judge. 

Deth: This sort of stuff is an acquired taste, grandpappy. It's like alcohol or coffee or tobacco. It's bitter and weird at first to the untrained palate, but as you try more of it you learn to appreciate the subtle flavors and differences between the tastes that the genre has to offer. I thought this was a kick ass EP. It can't all be Tank.

Bren: It should all be Tank. Utopian concepts aside, my standards for extreme metal are just marginally different from yours. It can be raw and brutal, sure, but there's gotta be some nuance there. I'm not among the camp of metal fans that go around screaming "DEATH 2 ART" in a megaphone, then throw some pots and pans down a stairwell, record it all, and title it "experimental". I'll admit Pyrrhon gets better the more you put yourself through it. There's a progression there, they get to some riffage after a minute and a half of nothing like riffage. But I don't personally find the "ability to tolerate" totally synonymous with "enjoying". I have to wonder about most Grind/Noise fans...

Deth: I find my ability to tolerate you is totally synonymous with our friendship. There's a lot to be said for tolerance. I promise if you give this sort of stuff more of your attention, it will definitely grow on you.

Bren: Like chlamydia. 

4. Exgenesis - Aphotic Veil

Bren: This was definitely something I cherished earlier in the year, and tragically lost track of. I was glad to see it here on this list so I could be reunited with it. I will not make the same mistake of misplacing these guys and their music again. THANKS ANDY YOU BEAUTIFUL PERSON.

Deth: No arguments here. I always figured you were more of a melodeath guy from past posts, and Exgenesis here undeniably continues the tradition of the Swedes doing it best. 

Bren: Did you know that this was actually made by two dudes on separate sides of the globe? Jari Lindholm and Alejandro Lotero. One from Sweden, one from Colombia, (I'll let you guess which one is from where.) They created this project as a sort of online collaboration. I couldn't believe it. It's like these dudes did through file sharing and I'm sure some robust webcam sessions what most band mates couldn't even accomplish standing right next to each other. 

Deth: Wow, that's awesome. It's kind of like us and what we do here. :-) 

Bren: Aww, it is! Except we're not fucking talented. ;-)

Deth: I'm just glad this wasn't more of the same from Andy Synn on this list. I was concerned that this was gonna just end up you and I continuing to argue over the merits of experimental extreme deathgrind.

Bren: I'm glad too. I never enjoy watching you lose.

3. Cryptopsy - The Book of Suffering: Tome I

Bren: Yeah, Cryptopsy's cool.

Deth: BREEE. Cryptopsy has always been cool.

Bren: I'm surprised, honestly. It almost seems like too easy a pick for NCS. The writers there just live and breathe unsigned, underground death stuff. Cryptopsy seems -- I dunno -- dare I say maybe a bit typical for the NCS crew?

Deth: Cryptopsy? Pfft. Too mainstream. 

Bren: So mainstream.  

Deth: What sort of fucked up world do we live in where Cryptopsy is like pop music to us?

Bren: The metal blogosphere is a dark, bottomless void of which no light shall ever touch.

2. Sanzu - Painless 


Deth: I dunno, this seems fine.

Bren: Fine is fine. But if you actually go to the original article we're referring to, Andy shared many solid EPs he thought were worth mentioning before he got to the top 5. How did this one crawl up to number 2 considering what else was on there?

Deth: Well, you claimed to appreciate riffage. You definitely got it with this one, yeah?

Bren: You're starting to catch on that I'm just an impossible man to please.

Deth: I dunno, say what you want, but I think this one's a solid pick. If there's one thing a death metal band needs to kick ass, it's groove. These guys have groove in spades.


Deth: God, you're a dick.

1. Barús - Barús  

Bren: I actually thought this one was pretty damn good. Everybody go on bandcamp and buy Barús' stuff.

Deth: I don't get it. How could you like this and not appreciate Sanzu?

Bren: I dunno if I'd say I didn't appreciate Sanzu, I just thought it was good. I didn't think it was silver medal material. I don't even think this one should get the top spot. But it's got this doom element that I'm a sucker for in good death metal music. A solid release, and I'll give it my letter of recommendation.

Deth: I don't know exactly how I feel. I might go as far as to say this is kind of djents.

Bren: Oh man, it does djent, doesn't it?

Deth: Is the ruthlessly perfect true metal elitist Brenocide actually going to come out in favor of a djent album on his blog?

Bren: It's not an album, guy. It's an EP. I'm still in the clear.

Deth: So overall, any final thoughts on Andy's EP list?

Bren: Well, we can certainly attest to No Clean Singing staying true to their namesake. And while of course there's some ways Andy and my musical opinions differ, I really have to give him credit for showcasing the variety of flavors present in modern, underground extreme music. Death metal has a lot more going for it these days than I often give it credit, and that's on display here in what I can say is a pretty solid list. I might have arranged it differently, but these guys know their stuff, and their blog belongs in everybody's bookmarks.

Go check out No Clean Singing. They have a much better blog than ours. Tune in next time on Listless, when we shoot quite a bit higher in the blogosphere and check out what the gents at Metal Injection thought was good music this year.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Thrash Corner: Woundvac - Disgraced Convert

Welcome to The Thrash Corner, a new semi-regular column where I ask you to put on a fine dinner suit, grab a glass of wine, and listen to metal the way god intended. The thrash way. Because as we all know, thrash is the zestiest of all metal genres and it deserves a proper undistracted listen. There has never been a genre as robust and flavorful as thrash and there never will be. Thus, it deserves it's own corner. Don't think I'm right? Would I use this many sauce related adjectives if I wasn't? That's what I fucking thought.

Today we talk about Woundvac's newest release, Disgraced Convert. Woundvac is a grindcore band hailing from Phoenix Arizona. Now, you may ask why is a grindcore band being discussed here? Why is Metal Snob selling out right off the bat? If metal opinions are a human centipede, then Metal Snob is the head. But we are a caring head, and we make sure that we only crap the finest of music into your mouth. And Woundvac certainly deserves to pass through our digestive system and be enjoyed by all those who follow us.

This band finds a way to take grindcore, which typically has no semblance of proper musical structure, and infuse it with thrash metal. At times invoking Anthrax or Slayer in their riffage, but turning up the ferocity. Woundvac is everything the grindcore genre always could have been but never was. Is it metal? No, but it is an interesting take on what grindcore could be with a tighter focus on song structure and a slightly more controlled chaos. And if there is something grindcore desperately needs, it is the knowledge of when to control it's chaos instead of obscenely ejaculating it all over the listener. I want fucking structure in my music. I don't need some douche screaming at me while his backing band plays structureless noise. Thankfully this band manages to hold their load until the final seconds of the album.

Also, look at that fucking album cover. I don't know if that dog is supposed to be covered in blood, skinned alive, or just a big fan of red lighting, but that fucker looks like he's going to turn your genitals into his next meal. And a dog eating a man's genitals is pretty fucking metal. The only way I can imagine that being more metal is if that man was Ian Gillian and he was doing the scream from the beginning of Highway Star.

So please, take a seat, download Disgraced Convert, and enjoy the best that grindcore has to offer. Until next time, this was The Thrash Corner.