COREY’S MAY 2011 BLEEDERS’ DIGEST
Here are the May 2011 releases that got under my skin, burrowed their way into my brain, made my ears bleed, or simply tickled my unmentionables:
MAY ’11 BLEEDERS
These are the keepers. I expect to spin these throughout the year and longer.
Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. I was never a big time Anvil fan back in the day. I enjoyed their documentary, but thought the more recent one on Pentagram was better. Interestingly enough, the new Pentagram record blows, while Anvil’s newest full-lengther is a balls-to-the-wall ace of spades riding down the highway to hell solid slab of heavy butt rock. Yes, there are shades of Accept, Motörhead, and Bon Scott-era AC/DC on display, but mixed in with enough of Lips’ Dave Mustaineish (but less nasally) vocals and tasty guitar riffs to make this more than just an overblown homage to great hard rock bands that have come before.
Aosoth – III
More killer French black metal ala Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. This has to be the darkest, murkiest, and heaviest black metal album of 2011 to date. Slow, plodding atonal guitar riffs combined with wicked vocal roars, minimal blast beats, and an overall solid conjuring of death that hints at the best of Bergraven and the worst (as in “best”) of Dragged Into Sunlight. This is a mean SOB of an album.
Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed
I love good quality death metal Cookie Monster-style vocals, but there is something to be said about being able to sing along, at top volume, with a great clear singer’s voice that’s easily understandable. Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Tate, Rob Halford — you know who I’m talking about. Argus’ Brian Balich is nowhere in the same league as the aforementioned metal gods, but I really dig his singing style. Higher pitched but heavy, with real emotion behind his tone and an unique sound that makes you want to pump your fist in the air and scream like a laid back banshee. Musically, Argus reminds me of mix between a slowed-down Iron Maiden meshed together with early doomsters Candlemass and Trouble; I’ll call it Maidoom. Great record.
Arsonists Get All the Girls – Motherland
Proggy Deathcore done right! I know, I know, that seems like a misnomer, but it’s true. Less HORSE the band, more early Between the Buried and Me this time around for AGATG and with stellar results. Heavy and riffy enough to get heads-a-bobbin’ and a fair amount of noodleonomy to appease those of you who prefer to geek out with your metal. Plus, the keys are more calliope vertigo-inducing and less annoying Nintendocore. This once rather jokey band is turning into something special. Far superior to the recent BTBAM EP.
Book of Black Earth – The Cold Testament
Anthemic death metal that should be hand-delivered to the masses. Pissed off about the new (June ’11) Morbid Angel record? Check out BOBE for quality early MA-inspired death riffdom, a Motörhead simplicity, and some Cro-Magsian group vocal shout outs for good measure. This blackened death thrash extravaganza is tasteful, sounds phenomenal, and crushes balls. Proof positive that Seattle is far beyond grunge and pompous power metal.
Finnr’s Cane – Wanderlust
Debut 2010 re-release from these Canadians delves into mellow black metal territory via an Earth/Across Tundras alleyway. If you dig Agalloch or Wolves in the Throne Room, but want things turned down a notch, this is the record you’ve been looking for. Simplistic, moody, not quite slit your wrists depressing. I won’t bore you with cheesy wintry frostbitten cliches or revel in the kvltness of it all. Suffice it to say that Finnr’s Cane will lull you into a false sense of security, rip your soul out with its metallic underpinnings, and then send it to your lover C.O.D.
Infestus – ExIst
I remember reading a comment on another MetalSucks post recently wherein the commenter stated that there is no good new black metal these days. I simply had to laugh as 2011 is turning out to be a stellar year for BM. Horned Almighty, Inquisition, Cavus, Blut Aus Nord, Dragged Into Sunlight, Helrunar, Infernal War, Kriegsmaschine, Deafheaven, Ravencult, Aosoth, and now you can add Infestus to that ever-expanding list. ExIst is EPIC black metal — broad in scope, yet somehow, an intimate listening experience. Of course, since this is a one-man project, that makes sense. Germany’s Andras displays a wide variety of skills on ALL of the instruments, including a mid-range growl that is decipherable, yet still heavy as fuck. Infestus is the antithesis to all of the Last Chance to Reasons and The Human Abstracts and Peripheries that are clogging up MS readers’ ears these days. Simple, yet crushing riffs, beautifully depressing atmospherics, and a sense of danger that does not occur with those other, trendier acts. Infestus is the real fucking deal!
Nader Sadek – In The Flesh
Easily the best death metal album of 2011 so far and probably on track to be the best for the entire year. Led by Egyptian artist Sadek (who does not play or sing on the album), NS is comprised of some DM/BM heavy hitters including Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel), Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), Tony Norman (Terrorizer/Monstrosity), Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy), Nicholas McMaster (Krallice/Gorguts), and Rune Ericksen (Mayhem). In The Flesh is a concept album about the evolution and abuse of oil and is a beautiful, brutal, straightforward modern near-masterpiece. Hauntingly heavy.
Necrophagia – Deathtrip ’69
Best album cover of the year so far. Killjoy brings his early Jeff Walker (Carcass)-style vocals to some more death metal/punkish killer tunes about Charles Manson, Barbara Steele, Kyra “I hurt” Schon (the actress who played the trowel killer in the original Night of the Living Dead) and anything and everything horror-related. Great, simple riffing, horror film samples, and a guest appearance from Slipknot’s Mick Thompson come together for a horrific slab of bloody joy.
Novembers Doom – Aphotic
Welcome back doomier Novembers Doom. After playing more in the Death Metal end of the pool on their last two releases, doom vets ND score big with a sludgier, more dramatic, yet still HAF (heavy as fuck!) new release. Aphotic showcases Paul Kuhr’s huge growl, but also presents his best clear singing voice ever. As per the norm for a ND record, some of the best tunes are also the quietest, especially “What Could Have Been,” featuring Anneke van Giersbergen of The Gathering. This gorgeous tune provides a perfect blueprint for how to provide contrasting moods within an album. It makes the heavy songs feel even heavier, and that can only be a good thing.
Olde Growth– Olde Growth
Boston duo’s 2010 debut album gets re-released by MeteorCity and we are all the better for having heard it. Thrashy doom with bass, drum, and vocals only. Strong riffin’, dope smokin’, pit slammin’ metal that will make fans of St. Vitus very, very happy. Ten-minute-plus closer “Awake” is easily one of the best songs of the year.
Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy
Okay, this should be a record that I would run away from immediately…prog metal, clean vocals that evoke Ozzy and David Coverdale, 80’s style choruses, etc., etc. BUT, but, but…there’s something about this ProgMetaLite LP that really grabs me. Actually, all of the things I listed as potential negatives are what stand out as positives. Strong songwriting, chunky riffs, not so OTT progginess. This would never make my Top 15 year end list, but it is solid, headnoddable, cheesy power/thrash/prog metal at its best.
Polkadot Cadaver – Sex Offender
Quirky metal pick of the year. These former Dog Fashion Discoers worship at the altar of Mike Patton (though I still say Chuck Mosley is da fuckin’ man!), Piggy, and Gibby Haynesified Ministry. Funk metal meets VoiVod in Prince’s underground sex dungeon while shooting smack with System of a Down after a Tool concert. Cool psychedelic crunch that is definitely NOT for everyone. Also, some of the best damn choruses I’ve heard in a long, long time.
Seidr – For Winter Fire
Posticus Doomicus Blackicus metal at its finest. You know the drill by now — spaghetti Western soundtrack combined with Isisian navel gazing, militaristic doom marches, topped with a blackened crust. This is in no way to belittle Seidr, but rather to say they take a relatively recent combo of musical tastes and create their own miasma of superior black doom. This one is in absolutely no hurry to get where you want it to. It takes its damn sweet time and the payoff is rather intense. Heavy enough for you DMers, icy enough for the most morbid among you, and cerebral enough to make you wish there was more new Isis available and not just those live recordings.
Wormrot – Dirge
Holy fuck!! I was lucky enough to catch these guys at the MetalSucks South by South Death party at SXSW this past March. They blew away the rest of the bill including MS faves Kvelertak. Guess what? They do it again with this incredible grindcore insta-classic. Twenty-five songs of unrelenting face pummeling that clocks in at just under 19 minutes. Fast, brutal, bassless, and fucking bad ass! Turn this one up way loud, piss off the sleeping corpses in your local cemetery, and then do it again…and again…and again….
Xerath – II
Djent Metal for metalheads who hate Djent Metal. Lots of great riffage combined with simple 4/4 snare beats not present on their debut. These cats pull out all of the skronks, wails, and Mechuggs without sounding wimpy or wanky. Still not sure if they need the “symphonic” overtures, but the guitar interplay is solid. Almost as if Lamb of God got a bit techier, without losing any testicular fortitude.
Good points throughout the record, but not enough to make we want to revisit it.
Altar of Plagues – Mammal; Anaal Nathrakh – Passion; Autopsy – Macabre Eternal; Boris – Attention Please (Great album, but not metal); Boris – Heavy Rocks (Metal album, but not great); Catalepsy – Bleed; Cave In – White Silence; Chrome Division – 3rd Round Knockout; Deceased – Surreal overdosE; Demonaz – March of the Norse; Destroyer 666 – To The Devil His Due; Devolved – Oblivion; Endstille – Infektion 1813; Forty Winters – Reflection; The Gates of Slumber – The Wretch; Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage; Jesu – Ascension; King Kobra – s/t; Marduk – Iron Dawn EP; Midnattsol – The Metamorphosis Medley; New Keepers of the Water Towers –The Calydonian Hunt; Samael – Lux Mundi; Shakra – Back on Track; A Storm of Light – As the Valley of Death Becomes Us Our Silver Memories Fade; Suidakra – Book of Dowth; U.D.O. – Rev-Raptor; Vastum – Carnal Law (almost a Bleeder!); Warrant – Rockaholic
Ark of the Covenant – Separation; Before the Dawn – Deathstar Rising; Black ‘n Blue – Hell Yeah!; Egypt Central – White Rabbit; For the Fallen Dreams – Back Burner; Gallhammer – The End (worst album of the year so far!); Gamma Ray – Skeletons & Majesties; In Solitude – The World. The Flesh. The Devil; Inevitable End – The Oculus; Ipsissimus – The Way of Descent; Leaves Eyes – Meredead; Liturgy – Aesthetica; Scar Symmetry – The Unseen Empire; Sixx A.M. – This is Gonna Hurt; Twisted Tower Dire – Make It Dark; Ulver – War of the Roses; Vampires Everywhere! – Kiss the Sun Goodbye; Voodoo Circle – Broken Heart Syndrome; While Heaven Wept – Fear of Infinity
Was not able to get my grubby little hands on these platters.
Acephalix – Interminable Night; Across Tundras – Sage; Alpinist – Lichtlaerm/Minus Mensch; Ana Kefr – The Burial Tree; Backslider/Nimbus – Terrifix split; Bringers of Disease – Gospel of Pestilence; The Crevices Below – Below the Crevices; Death Wolf – s/t; Desolate Shrine – Tenebrous Towers; Drainland – And So Our Troubles Began; Dynasty – Truer Living with a Youthful Vengeance; Forgotten Tomb – Under Saturn Retrograde; Gravehill – When All Roads Lead to Hell; Horde of Hel – Likdagg; Hrizg – Anthems to Decrepitude; Indestructible Noise Command – Heaven Sent, Hellbound; Isis – Live I: 9.23.03; Satan’s Host – By the Hand of the Devil; Scelestus – s/t; Title Fight – Shed; V8Wankers – Iron Crossroads; Weekend Nachos – Worthless; X Opus – The Epiphany; Zombi – Escape Velocity
BEST MAY ’11 RECORD
Wormrot – Dirge
BIGGEST MAY ’11 SURPRISE
So many great fucking records. I went back and forth over what deserved to be the best May ’11 release. Wormrot? No. Nader Sadek? Yes. Infestus? Hell Yes! Wormrot! 2011 is shaping up to be an incredible year for metal. The diversity, the quality, the innovativeness, it’s all pretty damn astounding. I have a hard time imagining a better month this year than what May brought all of us metalheads. Be thankful.
BIGGEST MAY ’11 DISAPPOINTMENT
I was literally one of the first DJs to play Napalm Death and Godflesh in the United States way back in the late ’80s when I co-hosted “The Metal Show” at the University of Texas student radio station. I dutifully followed Justin Broadrick wherever he roamed, from the aforementioned bands to his numerous side projects such as Techno Animal, Head of David, Ice, Final, TechLevel2, Krackhead, etc. When Broadrick launched his most Godflesh-like project, Jesu, back in 2003, I was stoked. Sadly, his newest release, Ascension, is rather boring. It’s not horrible, just boring. And that is about as mean a criticism as I could ever make in regard to JB. I’m holding out hope that the next one will be better.
2011 TOP 15 EARLY INCLUSIONS
Let’s see if they make the final cut.
Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed (May ’11)
Infestus – ExIst (May ’11)
Nader Sadek – In The Flesh (May ’11)
Olde Growth – Olde Growth (May ’11)
Wormrot – Dirge (May ’11)
Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe (Apr. ’11)
Signo Rojo – promoalbum2011 (Apr. ’11)
American Heritage – Sedentary (Mar. ’11)
KEN Mode – Venerable (Mar. ’11)
Of Legends – Stranded (Mar. ’11)
SubRosa – No Help For the Mighty Ones (Mar. ’11)
DevilDriver – Beast (Feb. ’11)
Horned Almighty – Necro Spirituals (Jan. ’11)
Tuck From Hell – Thrashing (Jan. ’11)
Metal Releases Listened to – 246
Bleeders – 63
Meh’ers – 108
Blowers – 75
Top 15′ers – 14
PREVIOUS MONTHS’ BLEEDERS
**Some of these releases are possibly late 2010 sets, first-time U.S. releases, or sneak peeks of upcoming albums.**
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.