Br00tal-lists

COREY’S TOP 10 BLEEDERS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2011

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Hopefully, you Suckahs have been following my Bleeders’ Lists this year. If not, you can play catch-up here — Missed Albums Finally Listened to from the First Half of 2011JuneMayAprilMarchFebruaryJanuary.

As of the end of June, I have listened to 356 new releases this year — each one all the way through. I have listened to several live releases and re-releases but did not include most of them on my lists. Surprisingly, just under 29% are Bleeders (or the best each month). This is nearly 15% higher than I expected, so that’s the first good thing. The second is that those 103 Bleeders comprise a vast array of what we call “heavy metal” and have made for a stellar year already.

Being a lifelong metalhead, there are obviously going to be certain acts I just don’t like — number one amongst those this year is Ghost. But my Bleeders’ Lists aren’t about what I don’t like, but rather what gets me stoked. I’ve listened to, literally, more than 10,000 metal releases and been to more than a 1,000 metal concerts. In other words, I’m jaded. So, when something excites me, I want to share it with everyone. Thankfully, I’ve been able to do that 103 times this year.

Below you will find my Top 10 of those 103 Bleeders with their original mini-reviews plus updated commentary.

Of course, I just heard the new Decapitated and have a sneaking suspicion it will be be firmly entrenched on my 2011 Top 15 list come December.

Enjoy. Despise. Eviscerate.

COREY MITCHELL’S TOP 10 BLEEDERS

FOR THE FIRST HALF OF 2011

10. Of Legends – Stranded

Updated note – this is about as close to “Djent” as I will ever get. Of course, the nine-minute opus “We Wish Death” is about as far from Djent as one can get.

What if the late, lamented comedian Sam Kinison fronted a Meshuggah-like metal band that stripped bare its sound to the essence of a hooky breakdown? Nightmare, right? Wrong. Of Legends is, more or less, the side project of one Luis Dubuc of The Secret Handshake, a band that specializes in electronica-tinged Motown. Kudos to this young man for stepping outside of his comfort zone and offering up some seriously disturbed Halloween-themed mathsludge. Huh?!? Awesome record that gets better with each track.

9. Jungle Rot – Kill on Command

Updated note – Just last month I had Looking For An Answer’s Eterno Treblinka ahead of this one as best release of June. Didn’t take long for Jungle  Rot to leap ahead and land on my Top 10 Bleeders.

Enough of this ultra-proggy-techy-wanky death metal already… I simply want to Eat, Kill, Fuck, Repeat!! These long-time Wisconsin Death Metal vets bring the groove back to the ever-increasingly wankified genre and stick it down your throat and expect you to lick its balls simultaneously. No frills, meat and potatoes, bread ‘n butter, whatever the hell you want to call it, Jungle Rot will simply get your ass moving, your head banging, and your fists pumping. Oh, and producers take note — this is easily one of the best sounding heavy albums of 2011. Every instrument sounds crisp, yet HAF, the drum sound is spectacular, and the vocals sit exactly where they are supposed to. It was produced by the band and “audio mixer” Chris Wisco.

8. Olde Growth – Olde Growth

Updated note – This one kept going up and down in my estimation. One more listen clarified that I was crazy as it fucking rules! Especially coming from a two-piece.

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.

7. Infestus – ExIst

Updated note – I had no idea Inquisition’s Dagon used to be in Infestus. I don’t believe this record would have been as good with him singing, even though I like his croakals. Simply amazing that Infestus is one man (Andras) because he is such an incredible composer and musician.

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!

6. American Heritage – Sedentary

Updated note – Wormrot and Sader Nadek snuck up past this one in my estimation since I first wrote this praise piece back in March. But it is still a stellar record through and through and should be picked up by any Mastodon fan out there.

I grew tired of Mastodon after witnessing their less than stellar live performance at the 2005 Ozzfest in Houston. In fact, I haven’t really cared for them since Leviathan. Thank God/Satan for the rise of American Heritage. They do what Mastodon used to do – rock the fuck out with full-tilt boogie, smashing guitar riffs, and minimal proggy elephant stomping madness. This is a beautiful record that simply destroys most anything else I’ve heard so far this year (save for Horned Almighty and SubRosa). Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher plays bass on one track (he’s one of several guest bassists to appear).

5. Wormrot – Dirge

Updated note – RRRROOOAAAARRRRGGGGFUCKRRRGGGHHH!!!!

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….

4. Nader Sadek – In The Flesh

Updated note – I love the supremely twisted “flesh guitar” video for “Negrido in Necromance,” one of my favorite songs of the year so far.

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.

3. KEN Mode Venerable

Updated note – Caught these guys in June and they rocked balls! Bring your earplugs.

This Kurt Ballou (Converge) produced masterstroke brings to mind the best of Helmet (Strap It OnMeantime), Quicksand (Slip), and Poison the Well (You Come Before You). Alternative noise metalcore (not the bastardization the subgenre has evolved into over the past five years) that rumbles rafters and unsettles neighbors. Aggressive, precise, and one mean bitchin’ Camaro of an aural onslaught. Can’t believe I missed these cats at SXSW!

2. SubRosa – No Help For the Mighty Ones

Updated note – Easily one of the most beautiful and haunting records I’ve heard in years.

If Siouxsie Sioux (of Siouxsie and the Banshees) fronted a funeral doom band, it would be SubRosa. There is so much wonderful depression going on here it is hard to describe. Take the arid desolation of Across Tundras, combine it with the quiet desperation of an angst-filled P.J. Harvey song, mix in some screaming violins from hell, and cross-breed it with a Godspeed You! Black Emperor cacophonous maelstrom and you begin to get the picture. Fans of Agalloch, Grayceon, YOB, Thou, Salome, and Earth will get/dig this. It is pure, brilliant metallic moodiness with plaintive instrumentation, deathly growls, atonal multi-layered group choruses, concrete crawl drumming, and oh so much more. Easily an early favorite for Album of the Year.


1. HORNED ALMIGHTY – NECRO SPIRITUALS

This post is a re-print of my “Albums To Fuck Your Face Off” selection from way back in January.

Updated note – No less of a Black Metal aficionado than Philip H. Anselmo gave this one his seal of approval. While chauffeuring Philip  around downtown Austin in my car during SXSW, he asked me what I was listening to at the time. I popped this one in and he immediately grooved on it so much that music fans walking on the Sixth Street sidewalk spotted him and began yelling at him while he continued to enthusiastically bang his head. He made sure I made him a copy before he left town.

Are there times when you just want to strip away the niceties of everyday life, flush away any remote sense of decorum, and turn off your brain? How often do you wish you had time to throw back a multitude of pints, curse out your God-fearing neighbors, and cause undeterred rampant chaos? Sometimes it’s best to revert back to your cavemanic id, and if you need a soundtrack to accompany your civil disobedience, listen no further than veteran Norwegian Danish (Thanks, Marco! – CM) black thrashers Horned Almighty’s newest collection of instigation, Necro Spirituals.

 These devil punks, led by former Exmortem lead singer Simon “Smerte” Petersen, referred to within HA as simply “S,” unleash unrepentant blackened thrash with runaway locomotive precision — in other words, it’s all-out thrashing chaos with minimal florid distractions such as no grandiose keyboard flourishes, no alt-crowd approval seeking operatic female voices, or any of the other recent trademarks of overblown black metal. HA harkens back to the days of early Floridian-based death metal mixed in with the best punky bits of Darkthrone, combined with some Impaled Nazarene for good measure. We’re talking the Motorhead of black metal — aggressive guitars, straight-ahead drum pummeling, and one-note guttural spews that incite and never bore. Mix in a little Shout at the Devil-era Motley Crue (that’s a good thing, believe it or not), early 21st century Satryicon, and long-forgotten British punk metalheads Rogue Male for additional spice, and you have the first true album of 2011 that will indeed, fuck your face off.

The highlights of Necro Spirituals are many, from the title track, a punchy punk-influenced metal bash that brings to mind pain, pits, and piss; “Fountain of a Thousand Plagues,” a thrashier amped-up treat reminiscent of To Mega Therion-era Celtic Frost (with a beautifully sloppy solo to boot);  to the ever-changing tempos of my favorite cut on the record, “In Jubilation and Disgust;” to the one-two slow, sludgy, doom feast knockout punches delivered at the end of the record in the form of “Blasphemous Burden” and “Absolved in the Sight of God.”

Necro Spirituals is the black metal record for metalheads who don’t like black metal. It avoids the trappings of many of today’s bloated symphonic BMers and unapologetically goes straight for the throat. It goes a step further, ala A Serbian Film, and continues the cranial consummation through each additional facial orbital — eye sockets, nasal passages, and, most importantly, ear drums. And you will beg for more.

Necro Spirituals was originally released in Europe last October. It will be released in the United States by Candlelight Records on January 25, 2011.

 

The Rest of My Top 20 Bleeders From the First Half of 2011:

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (June ’11)

Looking For An Answer – Eterno Treblinka (June ’11)

Origin – Entity (June ’11)

Argus – Boldly Stride the Doomed (May ’11)

Batillus – Furnace (Apr. ’11)

Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe (Apr. ’11)

Signo Rojo – promoalbum2011 (Apr. ’11)

DevilDriver – Beast (Feb. ’11)

Inquisition – Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (Jan. ’11)

Tuck From Hell – Thrashing (Jan. ’11)

 

YEAR-TO-DATE TALLY:

Metal Releases Listened to – 356

Bleeders – 103

Meh’ers – 141

Blowers – 112

Top 15′ers – 20

 

PREVIOUS MONTHS’ BLEEDERS

Missed Albums Finally Listened to from the First Half of 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

 

**Some of these releases are possibly late 2010 sets, first-time U.S. releases, or sneak peeks of upcoming albums.**

-CM

 

Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo write his autobiography.

Join Corey at Facebook and Twitter. Oh yeah, circle me at Google+, yet another fucking social network…

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