Favorite Albums Of 2017

I haven’t done much here in a long time. Changed jobs this year and haven’t been too interested in metal for most of the year, so I haven’t felt like writing about it. But I felt like writing a bit about some of my favorite albums of 2017, metal or not (and too be fair, almost none of this list are metal albums). Anyway, let’s get to it.

First off, some honorable mentions.

Nazi Punch, Fuck Yes by Bleach Everything
The Deep by Clipping
Created In The Image Of Suffering by King Woman
You Will Be Hated by Old Thunder
False Flag EP by False Flag
Funeral Designs by Crowning
We Sing The Blues… by YÖU
Demos by Garden Of The Ark
ひとでなしつき by 四つ墓
Litterfall by Green Elder

25. Until The Darkness Takes Us by Nathan Gray Collective


Nathan Gray (of Boysetsfire) and Daniel E. Smith create lush, glommy, and sometimes heavy goth jam. This is the album I was listening to while everyone else was propping up the Ulver abum earlier in the year (which is also incredible and just missed this list by a hair). As someone that has been listening to Nathan Gray since 7th grade when I randomly bought The Day The Sun Went Out on a whim, I’m stoked to see him still expanding himself throughout his musical expressions.

Until The Darkness Takes Us on Bandcamp

24. S/T by Portrayal Of Guilt


Portrayal Of Guilt play a rad mix of screamo and black metal that has completely rocked my world this year. There is a lot of emotion crammed into this 3 song 7″, which I’ve listened to at least once everyday since I discovered it in June and will continue to do so for a very long time. I can’t wait to hear what Portrayal Of Guilt does with a full length, which will hopefully show up this year.

S/T on Bandcamp

23. \ˈpe​-​sə​-​ˌmi​-​zəm\ by mothmother


This EP is one of the most brutally emotional releases I heard all year. Dealing with sexual assault and it’s lifetime of mental and physical aftermath, this album is difficult and heartbreaking to take in. But mothmothers grindy hardcore make it worthwhile.

\ˈpe​-​sə​-​ˌmi​-​zəm\ on Bandcamp

22. Season One: The Gang Gets Over It by Newman


Sweden’s Newman may look like a goofy, fun band on the outside, with the Seinfeld references and all, but when you dig into their songs, it’s some of the best skramz I’ve heard. This EP is only 4 songs in less than 3 minutes and it rules so much. The vocals and drums are a huge highlight here, and the sample of Creed Braton talking to Michael Scott about bankruptcy absolutely makes the song ‘I’m Splitting’ a must hear.

Season One: The Gang Gets Over It on Bandcamp

21: Dadhelo- A Tale Of Wildfire by Chepang


I don’t care what anyone says, Chepang are the best grind band on the planet. Dadhelo is unique, interesting, and fun. The drums are absolutely insane, with two drummers playing at once, and often feel like they are just on the verge of falling apart but never do. The slow parts breaking up the grinding madness help keep things from getting stale and are some of the best moments on the album, especially on ‘Falame Fokso’.

Dadhelo- A Tale Of Wildfire on Bandcamp

20. Contempt by Couch Slut

couch slut

Look, If you’re not listening to Couch Slut at this point, what the fuck are you even doing with your life? Listen to ‘Won’t Come.’ It is the best song you will hear all year. This shit is the epitome of brutal and puts every single metal band on the planet to shame.

Contempt by Couch Slut

19. Fallow by Morrow


It’s a shame that Fallow came out 6 days before the end of the year. It should have been on every end of year list that deals with heavy music. It’s complete passion filtered into some of the best crust ever made. And the simple fact that they were able to top Covenant Of Teeth is a true triumph, because that album is one of the best albums of the last decade. The violin and cello compliment the sheer heaviness in Morrow’s music and are my favorite aspect of the band. Also, more bands should have Natalie from Wildspeaker guest on their albums.

Fallow on Bandcamp

18. Interiors by Jayson Green


These two songs (four if you count the instrumental versions) were a wonderful surprise for me this year. I’ve been listening to Jayson (Orchid, Panthers, Violent Bullshit) since the final Orchid album came out and he has been a huge influence in my life. The two songs here nothing like his previous bands and it is so rad to see hear him outside of hardcore. The title track might actually be my favorite thing he has ever done. I’m really hoping he releases a full length like this.

Interiors on Bandcamp

17. Sorrows by Love/Lust


“Reality keeps me from dreaming/Will I ever be able to feel again?” is one of the realiest lyrics I’ve ever heard, and a pretty good summation of 2017 as a whole. Love/Lust play emotional hardcore driven black metal that is often morose and beautiful. The closing track, ‘and drift away’, is a tour de force of black metal and the aural manifestation of longing. This album is a must hear.

Sorrows on Bandcamp

16. S/T by Pure Hiss 

pure hiss

“Walking home, you think you’re safe now, but you’re not alone. Footsteps creeping nearer, walking home, you can’t hear him. Peace of mind now a thing of the past. Walking home, you think you’re safe now, but you never were. Your little black dress is a target now.” Enough said.

S/T on Bandcamp

15. Prima Che Tutto Bruci by Øjne


This album is just….fuck, I don’t even know what to say. This is just skramz at the top of it’s game. Øjne have created an absolute masterpiece here and would  have probably been in my top 5 if I had more time to spend with it. Italy just fucking owns the skramz/screamo genre at this point. ‘Dall’Altra Parte Del Mare’ ending this album is one of the best feelings I’ve had listening to anything. It is so, so good.

Prima Che Tutto Bruci on Bandcamp

14. EP2 by Black Canary

black canary

This is the second EP of music created for the DC Comics character, Black Canary, and they fucking rule. It’s mid-80’s era, synth heavy goth dance songs reminiscent of Japanese Whispers by The Cure. As goofy as this whole thing should be, these songs are great and super catchy. ‘Last Days’ should be on every goth playlist for eternity.

EP2 on Bandcamp

13. A Shadow Circuit by Terrible As The Dawn


Terrible As The Dawn are one of my favorite bands. They are wonderful people and their music is exceptional. A Shadow Circuit, their second EP, expands and perfects what was so great about their debut. There are elements of grind, early pre-cello era Cursive, and Circle Takes The Square screamo weirdness. I love Caroline’s vocals so much and they are in top form here, especially on closing track ‘Lie Down’. A Shadow Circuit is an intense, emotional ride that I can’t recommend enough.

A Shadow Circuit on Bandcamp

12. Chill, Dummy by P.O.S.


Chill, Dummy is P.O.S.’s masterpiece. After taking time off after a kidney transfer, Chill, Dummy contains some of P.O.S.’s best work of his career. ‘I’m a huge fan of his use of the Gayngs song, ‘Faded High’, in the song ‘Faded’. And his rhymes in ‘sleepdrone/superposition’ are some of the most personal and wonderful he has ever done. If you are into hip hop, listen to this album. It’s is brilliant.

Chill, Dummy on Bandcamp

11. Empty Rooms, Full Bodies by Boneflower


Boneflower is a recent discovery for me. This album came out in November and ever since, I’ve been slightly obsessed with it and their first album. The clean, sing-talking vocals are a weird, interesting touch when mixed with the screaming and works perfectly with the bands screamo/post hardcore music. Parts of this album remind me of Orchid’s Gatefold LP, and that is about the highest compliment I can give.

Empty Rooms, Full Bodies on Bandcamp

10. Spreading Adder by Wildspeaker


I love Wildspeaker. Spreading Adder builds on everything good about Survey The Wreckage. The recording (done by Garry Brents of Cara Neir) is raw, almost live sounding, and works so well for Wildspeaker’s blackened crust. The drums here are intense and one of my favorite things this year. And as always, Natalie’s vocals are harsh as fuck and put almost everyone else holding a microphone to shame.

Spreading Adder on Bandcamp

9. Strangled Light by Less Art

less art

Less Art’s debut is such a brilliant album. I love Ian Miller’s bass playing so much and hearing him always makes me happy. But the highlight here (and possibly one of my favorite parts of 2017) is Mike Minnick’s vocals/lyrics. Curlupanddie has been one of my all time favorite bands for so long, and I am so glad he is still around. The lyrics to Optimism As Survival (“I’m too curious to kill myself/Everything passes, even doubt/What I can’t control won’t keep me down/I use optimism as survival”) are some of my favorite words he has ever written and I’ve gone back to them numerous times throughout the year during bad mental times.

Strangled Light on Bandcamp

8. Cheat Death, Live Dead! by Shizune


Italian skramz strikes again! Shizune are one of the best bands in the skramz/screamo scene that absolutely kill it with every album, and Cheat Death, Live Dead! is no exception. The songs are fast, melodic, and emotional and are topped with brilliant lyrics reminiscent of Orchid (“Take me to dance/and let’s make out/on the floor/there is no music nowadays/sweeter than our bodies”). They also use a mix of Italian, Japanese, French, and English, which adds a nice bit of eccentricity to their sound.

Cheat Death, Live Dead! on Bandcamp

7. The Dank by Dr. Colossus 

the dank

The Dank is a bittersweet album for me. It is such a fun album and is a perfect apex for the bands Simpsons themed doom. Unfortunately, a couple months after the release, drummer Nate Johnston passed away. He was a super nice guy and is a big loss. All of that aside, The Dank is fun, catchy, heavy, and filled with great Simpsons references that should delight any Simpsons fan.

The Dank on Bandcamp

6. III by Foxtails 


Foxtails were such a great discovery for me. Their mix of skramz and Midwestern emo works so well and is absolutely up my alley. Megan Cadena-Fernandez’s alternate between saccharine emo and some of the most throat destroying screeches I’ve ever heard. And on a non-music related note, they have a song called ‘Princess Caroline’ and the quote, “when you look at someone through rose colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags” on their Bandcamp page. More bands into Bojack Horseman in 2018, please.

III on Bandcamp

5. Mourning Cloak by Underdark


Underdark’s first EP is a brilliant screamo inspired black metal album and easily the best of the crop of bands in this very niche genre. It’s got all the bleak coldness of black metal with the grove and emotional aspect of screamo. I’d love to hear these guys do a split with Heaven In Her Arms because they would compliment each others sounds well. I believe they are in very early stages of working on a full length for 2018 and I can’t wait to hear it.

Mourning Cloak on Bandcamp

4. The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life by Great Wight

great wight

Great Wight is a New York emo/punk band that has completely entranced me throughout the second half of the year. This album is an absolutely brilliant album with a much needed and vital viewpoint. Erik Garlington’s lyrics are poignant, clever, and are the perfect fit for their Desaparecidos-esque punk jams. Dealing with everything from stage fright to the experience of being black in the south and racism in general, The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life is an album that every emo fan should hear.

The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life on Bandcamp

3. World Of Grief by I Hate Sex

i hate sex

This is another album that is hard for me to describe. I very quickly became emotionally attached to World Of Grief and I Hate Sex’s take on skramz. Their music is beautiful, engaging, and intense. Nicole’s vocals are emotionally harsh and compliment her lyrics so well. “Today I wish you saw me/I just wish you fucking saw me” is one of my favorite single lines of the year. I’ve spent so much time just listening to World Of Grief and being completely in awe at how brilliant it is.

World Of Grief on Bandcamp

2. Vattnet by Vattnet


Most people that know me are probably surprised that this isn’t my favorite album of the year. It missed the top spot by an unbelievably slight margin. Vattnet is a dazzling album from a band with nothing to lose and the will to do whatever the fuck they wanted. After Vattnet Viskar’s vocalist quit, they dropped the Viskar from their moniker and most of the metal from their sound and they have never been better. Playing like if Circa Survive started as a black metal band, their blackened emo (blemo?) sound is refreshing and impressive. Chris Alfieri’s riffs are immediately catchy and memorable and underlie Casey Aylward’s marvelous vocals. Casey’s lyrics are reflective and deep and personal and fit with bands new sound perfectly.

Vattnet on Bandcamp

and 1. Victory Lap by Propagandhi


I’ve been listening to Propagandhi since 1997 when I bought a Fat Wreck Chords compilation from a Hot Topic. I was 15 and a pivotal moment for me. Discovering Propagandhi set me on a course of caring about political issues. I genuinely believe that Propagandhi set me on the path to being a better person. They expanded my world view through punk. I’ve absolutely loved their progression into a metal infused punk band. Everything from Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes forward is essential and genuinely better than the last, leading to Victory Lap, which is Propagandhi at their absolute best. The album is heavy and deep. It features the best songs of their career, especially Failed Imagineer and Lower Order (A Good Laugh). The latter is the best song they have ever written. It made me cry the first time I listened to it and made me extremely glad to be vegan. Just listen to this album. It is highly vital work of art from a band that has been releasing stunning works of art for 20+ years and still topping everything they have done before.

Victory Lap isn’t on Bandcamp, but you can find numerous ways to buy it from Propagandhi’s website


Album Review: Igorrr- Savage Sinusoid


Savage Sinusoid is hands down the weirdest album I have ever heard. Gautier Serre, the mastermind behind Igorrr, was one of the people behind Whourkr which is how I originally discovered him. Their album, Concrete, is a favorite of mine. So, when I realized he was responsible for Igorrr, I eagerly dove into his latest bit of insanity. And I was not disappointed.

Savage Sinusoid is like if someone took Disco Volante era Mr. Bungle, death metal, opera, breakcore, and grind into a blender that was then jammed directly into your ears. There are moments of blast beats giving way to operatic singing and 8-bit dance music.  I think at one point there is an sitar thrown in? The harsh vocals are all gibberish sounds, reminiscent of Adult Themes For Voice era Mike Patton set to music. There is even a nice mellow track, Problem D’emotion, towards the middle that showcases the wonderful operatic vocals (I believe provided by Laure Le Prunenec) and offers a breather from the insanity of the rest of the album.

The complex compositions found on Savage Sinusoid often feature genres that are at odds, fighting each other head on to create magic. One of the major standout parts of the album for me is the song Spaghetti Forever, which opens with some clean acoustic guitar leading into a cool dance beat before diving headfirst into full blown controlled metal chaos. It sounds like something Naked City would come up with if they were all fed acid for a week and then thrown into a recording bender.

Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation guests on three of the tracks, providing his unmistakable vocals into the mélange of craziness. Hearing Ryan growl over an accordion is something I never ever thought I would hear, let alone fall completely in love with. Which, I guess, could be said for just about every other sound on Savage Sinusoid. Nothing about this album should work at all, yet it somehow coalesces into one of the most incredible and weird albums I’ve ever heard. It’s even more impressive that there are no samples on the album, meaning Gautier Serre and his guest physically created everything you hear on the album.

Savage Sinusoid is a complete masterpiece. It’s one of the most engaging and demanding albums I’ve heard in a long time and makes me long for the days when I first discovered John Zorn, Mike Patton’s work outside of Faith No More, or Yamantaka Eye. It’s an album you have to pay attention to while listening. Now, I can’t wait to dive into Igorrr’s previous albums and just wallow around in the chaos for awhile.

Savage Sinusoid is out now on Metal Blade Records. You can pick it up on Bandcamp HERE. Physical copies can be picked up HERE via Metal Blade.

Single Review: Dark Black by Vattnet


Lineup changes are a difficult and practically unavoidable thing for any band. There are very few bands that can make it 7 plus years without some sort of shake up. Not everyone is cut out for spending 250 plus days a year on the road that it sometimes takes to stay relevant in a genre as finicky as metal. But what do you do when a founding member, especially the vocalist, jumps ship right after a breakthrough album? If you’re Vattnet, you push forward.

After Nicholas Thornbury quit following a tour with Taake and Young And In The Way, remaining members Chris Alfieri, Casey Aylward, and Seamus Menihane restructured and decided to push on, dropping the Viskar from their previous moniker. Casey moved from bass to Nick’s former spot as guitar and vocals, a decision couldn’t have been easy or made without careful deliberation, but it makes total sense (Casey was the singer of a band called Hetfield & Hetfield, which featured about a third of the band Astronoid).

Now, 2 years after the release of Settler, Vattnet has released their first single with the new lineup and the first taste of their new sound with Dark Black. And it fucking rules. Hard. Dark Black is made for driving around town with the windows down and the volume turned up as loud as possible. It’s no longer the bastardized version of black metal of Sky Swallower or Settler, it’s a whole new thing to be fully embraced and just sounds exciting.  The simplest comparison would probably be a heavier version of Circa Survive, but that would be a disservice to Vattnet. It just sounds like rebirith. There is a renewed vigor within the bands sound that leads to some great moments.

Completely devoid of the blast beats or tremolo picking riffs of the past, Dark Black still has a through line from their previous incarnation, and that’s Chris Alfieri’s guitar work. Dark Black’s main riff sounds like the estranged sister of the riff from the Settler track, Glory, and there is even a nice atmospheric guitar part during the first verse that is very reminiscent of some of the interlude tracks from Sky Swallower. There is a clear progression going  from Settler  to their new sound and I feel like this is the direction Vattnet would have ended up two more records down the road if the lineup change had never happened. Alfieri sounds unrestrained and honestly has never sounded better. His playing works well with Aylward’s, creating one of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard in a long time. The main riff throughout Dark Black always sounds like it’s pushing you forward, a propulsion for the whole song.

Casey  shines here as a vocalist and lyricist. His voice is absolute magic and I’m so glad they decided to use him instead of finding a new vocalist. And while I said comparing this new version of Vattnet to Circa Survive was a disservice, it is slightly applicable. While no one on Earth sounds like Anthony Green, I get the comparison. Casey’s lyrics are personal and work really well within the groove of the song. Dealing with being let down by a family member or friends drug use (“Waste your life anyway you like/Dark black is all I’m seeing/It’s nothing but contagious feelings/Drop some more pills down your throat until anywhere feels like home/Then wake up tomorrow and repeat it”), Casey sounds amazing and I can’t wait to hear him in a live setting.

But the biggest takeaway from Dark Black is how much Casey and Seamus bring to the table. I’ve always stated that they were the secret weapon behind Settler. Their interplay together as bassist and drummer created the backbone for that album and I feel was completely underappreciated. But they both shine bright on Dark Black (pun kind of intended). Seamus, now unhindered by blast beats, sounds incredible. He’s always been a drummer I loved, especially his work on My Fiction’s Stranger Songs, and he brings so much swing and drive to Dark Black that it’s hard not to air drum along/ I can not wait to hear what he does on the rest of their upcoming album.

While Dark Black is definitely a stylistic shift for Vattnet, it is a necessary one. They sound revitalized and ready to push forward. And if Dark Black is any indication, the upcoming full length will easily be an album of the year contender.

Dark Black is available now through New Damage Records and can be purchased from a variety of retailers here.

Review Round-up

Since I’ve been busy as of late and haven’t had time to work on reviews as much as I would like to, I thought I would to a handful of quick blurbs about some of the albums I’ve been listening to the most as of late. Also, there will be more Simpsons content in the near future. I plan of suffering through all of the new episodes and reviewing them as the upcoming season airs (please don’t be horrendous). So, be on the lookout for that.


Twilight Fauna – Fire Of The Spirit


Focusing on fringe religious ideas, like snake handling, for example, Fire Of The Spirit is an intense listen. Paul Ravenwood is an anomaly in the world of black metal. No one else writes music like he does. Mixing in acoustic instruments with his usual sonic overload of guitars (I like to refer to Twilight Fauna as the black metal equivalent to Sunn O))), sonically), Fire Of The Spirit is fascinating, engaging, and often times overpowering. The sound clips of people speaking in tongues and snake handling sermons are strange and enlightening and add a nice touch of depth to the music.

Fire Of The Spirit on Bandcamp


Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation


Gatecreeper play death metal in the old school vein, and they’re really good at it. The riffs are groovy and not overly technical. They drums don’t rely on blast beats the whole time and have a really nice mid-paced death metal meets hardcore feel to them, sort of like Covenant era Morbid Angel. The nine songs on Sonoran Depravation are always engaging and harken back to the early days when death metal was fun. Also, the song ‘Desperation’ is the circle pit jam of the year.

Sonoran Depravation on Bandcamp


Cara Neir/Wildspeaker – Guilt And His Reflection


This full length split follows one narrative storyline covering both bands sides and is possible the best split release I’ve ever heard. Cara Neir’s unique take on black metal is always refreshing and works well when paired with Wildspeaker’s blackened crust onslaught. Garry Brent’s bass playing is exceptional and keeps the Cara Neir side almost jazzy, while Natalie’s vocals and Ricky’s drums absolutely crush the Wildspeaker side. This is album of the year material. Buy it immediately.

Guilt And His Reflection on Bandcamp


Chepang – Lathi Charge


This is absolutely crushing! I have a huge soft spot for unrelenting grind that is reminiscent of early Napalm Death and Chepang brings the grind in a big, bad way. Featuring 8 songs in just under twelve minutes, Lathi Charge never outstays its welcome. Everything is fast, with just a handful of slower moments to keep things interesting. Lathi Charge is an impressive debut.

Lathi Charge on Bandcamp


Green Elder/Pensive Ceremony Split


I’m mostly focusing on the Green Elder side of this split because it’s gorgeous. Green Elder is the neofolk project from Twilight Fauna’s Paul Ravenwood, and he offers up three of the saddest songs I’ve heard in a long time. ‘Scattering Ashes’ is so morose and beautiful and by the time the banjo starts, I’m in tears. The vocals on ‘Winter Spirits’, provided by Heather L. Galloway-Barker are full of sadness and work to highlight Ravenwood’s simple guitar playing. The wind instruments throughout the Green Elder side are a great touch, as well. The Pensive Ceremony side is just sounds like six different ambient intro songs and I’m dumbfounded as to why they were released like this.

Green Elder/Pensive Ceremony on Bandcamp


Crowtein -King Ov The Rats EP


Crowtein is a powerviolence band inspired by the TV show It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, because why not? But unlike most gimmick bands, Crowtien is really, really good. The music is heavy and catchy and the lyrics are hilarious. You’ll find yourself singing along to the chorus of ‘The Dennis System’ (“You’re a fucking sociopath!”) while smashing everything in your house. And let’s be real, the world needed a song that starts off with someone screeching “Waitress, why won’t you love me? Come and see my play.” More of this, please. But first, what is your spaghetti policy here?

King Ov The Rats on Bandcamp


Cara Neir – Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition


How Cara Neir aren’t more respected and well known in metal circles is beyond me? Their music almost makes me mad at how good it is. Garry Brents (all insturments) and Chris Francis (vocals and lyrics) are genius and have managed to stay vital and interesting even after 15 releases. Black metal can feel very stagnant a lot of times, but Cara Neir always brings something new to the table and Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition is no different.

Perpetual Despair Is The Human Condition on Bandcamp


Sallow Moth – Moss Deceptiva EP


Garry Brents strikes again! Instead of the black metal he’s usually associated with in Cara Neir, Sallow Moth is death metal with lots of d-beat influence. The three songs offered up feature killer riffs, brutal vocals, and excellent drumming from one of the best musicians in metal today. Also, 90% of the sales Garry makes through Bandcamp go to a different animal shelter each month, so you get some new death metal and animals in need get some  help. Win/win.

Moss Deceptiva on Bandcamp


Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree


Nick Cave released the saddest fucking album of the year.  Skeleton Tree is full of weird, ambient noise with Nick Cave’s lyrics that are incredibly poignant after the death of his son. Nothing else you hear this year will prepare you for how truly depressing this album is. Yet, it’s still truly brilliant and wonderful. It’s like the title track to Push The Sky Away pushed into a weirder territory, spread out over nine songs. This is Nick Cave like you’ve never heard.

Skeleton Tree on Nick Cave’s Webstore


Mar – Trust In Nothing


Mar released one of my all time favorite demos in 2015. Trust In Nothing is their first full length of soul crushing doom. The two piece focus on slooooooooow and raw doom that has a nice punk feel to it. The lyrics are emotional and deal with heavy issues (“These lines aren’t cuts, they’re my map”). Honestly, my words can’t do justice at how good Mar is. I completely adore this band and their music. If you like doom that is slow and heavy, pick this up. I would also love to hear a split release between Mar and Vile Creature to happen sometime.

Trust In Nothing on Bandcamp


Vile Creature – A Pessimistic Doomsayer EP


Following up last years incredible album, A Steady Descent Into Soil, Vile Creature are back with a new slab of emotionally raw and intense doom metal. A Pessimistic Doomsayer is one 17 minute long song that is a natural progression of what Vile Creature was doing with A Steady Descent Into The Soil. I enjoy that Vic sings more on this and her interplay with KW is enormously fulfilling. I love Vile Creature because they wear their hearts on their sleeves and have no problem screaming about the issues they hold dear. Trans rights, gay rights, animal rights, and anti-oppression are their calling card and all things I fully back.  The lyrics on A Pessimistic Doomsayer and raw and thought provoking and are relatable to anyone that has ever felt like an outcast (“We live like cicadas, burrowing for years, avoiding predators. When we emerge, our lives are short, time tenuous, days spent in fear. Craving escape but knowing it will lead to demise is our nature. We cannot see. refuse to believe. We do not submit to corporeality.  Sleep knowing death will come.”). These 17 minutes are emotionally brutal and leave me a wreck every time I listen to them.

A Pessimistic Doomsayer on Bandcamp

Album Review: WEAK by Terrible As The Dawn



WEAK, the debut EP from Terrible As The Dawn, kicks off with ‘Stains’, a song full of screeched vocals and atonal guitar work that is very reminiscent of the bands I loved (and still do) from the late 90’s/early 2000’s hardcore scene. Especially the ones doing weird stuff, bands like Daughters, Circle Takes The Square, and basically anything on the Three One G label. It’s a sound I adore and was very welcoming upon first listen. In fact, Terrible As The Dawn’s entire sound is a wonderful mishmash of genres I love. Everything from dissonant hardcore to grinding heaviness to indie rock to 80’s goth work together to create a sound that is often times chaotic and spellbinding.
Forming as a way to deal with the stress and emotions of their concurring and separate divorces, Caroline Fukuchi (guitar, vocals) and Stephen Smith (drums, vocals) created a sound that is emotionally brutal. The vocals often sound painful and invoke true emotions as opposed to just screaming for the sake of sounding “heavy”. In fact, WEAK might be one of the most emotionally real and raw albums I’ve ever heard. The interplay of grinding chaos and early Cursive style indie rock works well to counterbalance each other. ‘Dead’, the third song on the album, is the best Cursive song that Tim Kasher never wrote. The spoken word/singing into full blown screech of “all that I want is to find someway…. home!” hits me hard every time I hear it.
The marriage of genres reaches its pinnacle on closing song, ‘Ghosts’. Its fast punk feel crescendos into a heavy and noisy ending that feels cathartic and needed, like something being kept bottled up finally succumbing to the pressure and exploding. It’s my favorite part of the album and a perfect way for the EP to end. It leaves you longing for more.
WEAK is an album designed by conflict. Everything about the music and vocals is epitomized by the idea of conflict. The atonal nature of hardcore fighting against 90’s indie rock. The screeched vocals fighting against the clean singing. It’s all conflict, and conflict is something that is universal. Everyone deals with it and Terrible As The Dawn have recorded the perfect sound to help deal with those feelings of depression and anger that might result from any conflicts that happens in your life.

TATD live

You can pick up a digital copy of WEAK from Terrible As The Dawn’s Bandcamp page HERE!

Follow Terrible As The Dawn:

Otto’s Band Of The Week


Hailing from Bombay, India, Death By Fungi play a form of melodic hardcore punk that has completely captured my attention in the last couple months. Taking influences from bands like Shai Hulud, Propagandhi, and some of the more metallic parts of Converge, their four song EP, In Dearth Of, is a scorcher. Featuring fast hardcore riffs and vocals backed by some great metal influenced drumming, In Dearth Of  is young and angry hardcore done right.

“There’s no going back now, we’ve come to far to leave this all behind us”


Follow Death By Fungi at:

Album Review: A Forest/Siamese Twins by Curezum


There are few bands in the world that affect me as much as The Cure. Their songs, even when played by other bands, always hit me very hard. And if you can make one of their songs translate well into metal, you will forever have a place in my heart. Portland, Oregon’s Curezum are one of those bands that have firmly rooted themselves into my chest cavity and permanently set up residence. Following their One Hundred Years/The Top single last year, they’re now back with a new single. This time putting their black metalled twist on A Forest and Siamese Twins.
Now, there have been a lot of covers of A Forest. It’s usually a go to for most metal bands as it’s one of The Cure’s more popular songs and has a dark, goth edge to it. Originally from the Seventeen Seconds album, most bands fail miserably at covering it and it’s a song I’ve been adamant on bands ceasing covers of. Most of the metal covers I’ve heard of A Forest tend to just sound like a band that doesn’t totally like The Cure or maybe are covering it as a “hey! we’re a metal band covering a non-metal song!” scenario. It never works and always feels goofy or forced. Curezum on the other hand have absolutely crushed it. Their version has such an attention to detail and true love for the original that it shows in their work. The underlying bass and drums (Billy Anderson and Martti Hill, respectively) work incredibly well playing that all too familiar backbone to the song all while remaining heavy, even incorporating some blast beats into the mix. The guitars (Mort Subite) are incredible at their balance of playing fast and heavy while maintaining the melody and overall goth tone of the original. Everything crescendo’s perfectly into the “and again and again and again and again” part towards the end. It’s so satisfying. Curezum may have made me change my mind on metal covers of A Forest, at least until I hear another terrible power metal version.
The B-side song, Siamese Twins from the Pornography album, is hands down the best thing Curezum has done so far. The first time I listened to it, I couldn’t stop smiling. I really love that both singles from Curezum so far have been set up like a real Cure single, with a more popular song (One Hundred Years and A Forest) as the A-side, while the B-sides have been lesser known songs (The Top and Siamese Twins). Featuring a much slower approach that A Forest, Siamese Twins is an absolutely perfect cover. Its doomy approach adds to the heaviness of the lyrics (“Leave me to die/You won’t remember my voice/I walked away and grew old/You never talk/We never smile/I scream/You’re nothing/I don’t need you any more/You’re nothing”). The middle section has a really nice blast beat (courtesy of Eight Bells drummer, Christopher Van Huffel) fueled fast part that adds a brutal touch to the song and sounds intense when put against the slower parts of the rest of the song. The cover is a midpaced headbanger and I’m sure will be a huge staple of any live shows Curezum plays. Songs from Pornography are pretty metal friendly as the album is really harsh (compared to everything else in The Cure’s discography) and bleak, but Curezum just takes it to a whole new level. The vocals (by perfectly and mysteriously named Robert Vikernes) are especially fitting on Siamese Twins and makes it sound wonderfully evil.
Each song on the single features a guest appearance, Matron Thorn of Ævangelist playing lead guitar on A Forest and the aforementioned Christopher Van Huffel of Eight Bells. If you’re a Cure fan and a metal fan, do not skip on this. It builds on what Curezum did with their first single and just makes it better. I can’t wait to hear what they do with their full length down the line.  I know it will be incredible. Curezum are doing exceptional things, and in the long run, hopefully turning people on to The Cure.

You can pick up the A Forest/Siamese Twins Single from the Static Tension Records Bandcamp page HERE! There is a digital download and a pretty awesome physical package that includes a shirt, cassette single, three pack buttons, a signed postcard, and trading card for a very cheap $20. Limited to 50 so grab one quick!

Album Review: Fortress Of My Dark Self by Oceans Of Grief

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With a lyric like “Guards of my emptiness/keep away the joyful feels”, it’s safe to say that Oceans Of Grief aren’t here to deliver feel good moments. In fact, pretty much every lyric on Fortress Of My Dark Self is bleak. There is no silver lining. Everything is terrible and you just have to wallow in it. 
Oceans Of Grief come from Greece and their debut EP is a gloomy throwback to the 1990’s doom metal scene. It’s slow, incredibly heavy, and full of atmosphere. Most of the time, it’s very reminiscent of My Dying Bride, minus the Gothic flare. And while playing melodic death doom may not leave a lot of room for interpretation, Oceans Of Grief are perfectly adept at paying tribute to those that paved the way while doing their own thing. Their riffs are excellent and heavy, while just melodic enough to remain memorable. The vocals are low and harsh and fit will with the depressive lyrical content being spewed forth. 
The five songs on display don’t stray too far from the path of slow and heavy, but there are some really great moments throughout. The solo in ‘House Of Misery’ is beautiful and encapsulates everything I love about 90’s death metal. ‘The Birth Of Chaos’ is an excellent closing track and features a spotlight on the bass that is great. ‘Spiritual Fortress’ is definitely the album standout for me, though. It’s a damn near perfect death doom song. It’s a perfect opener and sets the tone for all the doom and gloom that follows.
Fortress Of My Dark Self may not be the most original album ever made, but it’s a well-crafted piece of 90’s inspired doom. I look forward to hearing what they do in the future, especially with a full length album. If you’re a fan of early My Dying Bride and their ilk, don’t let Oceans Of Grief pass you by.

You can pick up Fortress Of My Dark Self on Bandcamp HERE!

Follow Oceans Of Grief on Facebook and Twitter.

Album Review: Air by Astronoid


There is a moment a little over halfway through Astronoid’s first full length album, Air, that is so gloriously beautiful that I can’t help but smile when I hear it. It’s like experiencing the Aurora Borealis localized entirely within your kitchen, but unlike Superintendent Chalmers, you bare witness to it in all of its glory. The song is called ‘Tin Foil Hats’ and it’s a wonderful mix of fast black metal-esque riffs, pop melodies, and gorgeous vocals singing lyrics about clouds and the sun. If there was any justice in the world, it’s a song that would be a monster hit during the summer, with kids blaring it through boom boxes while enjoying themselves in the Springfield Pool-Mobile.
Astronoid are an anomaly in the world of metal; A band that can straddle a fine line of being really fast and heavy while writing killer hooks and catchy melodies. They’re reminiscent of current era Cynic, but with more metal riffs and a lot less prog. The vocals are light and airy (pun intended) and fit nicely over the astounding guitar work on display throughout Air. The guitar work is maybe the best I’ve heard all year, if not the last decade. There are riffs upon riffs upon riffs in ‘Up And Atom’ (with “at ’em” spelled A-T-O-M in a delicious pun) that will have you screaming out “jiminy jilickers!” The three guitars work together well without overbearing each other while also being different enough to make sense.
Most metal fans have probably already logged onto alt.nerd.obsessive and logged their complaints about how Astronoid aren’t metal or that the clean vocals aren’t metal and whatever else metal fans like to complain about. But if you’re open minded and S-M-R-T, there is a world of amazing music to discover in Air. ‘Resin’ is a fast paced banger than will make anyone air drum along to the incredible drum work. ‘Homesick’ is one of the best pop songs I’ve ever heard, buried in heavy guitars. The closing track, ‘Trails Of Sulfur’, features unrelenting drums and some of Brett Boland’s more dreamy sounding vocals. All nine tracks on the album are incredible. It’s really hard to pick out specific moment as almost every song features some of the best musicianship I’ve ever heard. Air is like a coffin and each song is a nail, burying you in beauty.
So, the next time you feel like life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead, put on Air and let it’s beauty and heaviness wash over you like acid, but be careful because the goggles, they do nothing!

You can pick up Air from the Blood Music Bandcamp page HERE! You can also hear their previous albums on the Astronoid Bandcamp page HERE!

You can follow Astronoid on Facebook HERE!

Top 10 Favorite Songs: The Cure


The Cure is easily my favorite band of all time. I’ve been listening to them my entire life and their music has been a key factor to many of my favorite memories. I even met my wife because of our mutual love of The Cure and have a Cure tattoo. Needless to say, I’m a diehard fan. So picking 10 songs has been almost impossible. This list has changed so many times since the idea to make it came to me, and would probably be different a week after this is posted (minus the top 3, which are always the same). I could talk about The Cure all day, so feel free to leave your list in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and let’s talk about fun Cure things!


Number Ten: Six Different Ways

Following a string of darker albums (Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography, and The Top), The Cure released the much lighter The Head On The Door in 1985. Six Different Ways is the fourth track on the album and is incredibly fun with it’s poppy keyboards and Robert Smith’s over the top vocal performance, which sometimes sound like he’s trying to hit notes he can’t reach. This is one of those songs that is impossible to be sad while singing along to. There is also and incredible Peel Session version where Robert sings the last third of the song in a ridiculous falsetto that is amazing.

Number Nine: From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea

Taken from my favorite album of all time, 1992’s Wish, From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea is one of those songs The Cure wrote during their most popular time that straddles that line of being kind of heavy while also being incredibly memorable. The Cure wrote the best gloomy, yet poppy, songs ever during the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s. This song features one of my favorite bass lines from The Cure and what has lately become my favorite Robert Smith vocal performance (“Never never never never never let me go she says/hold me like this for a hundred thousand million days”). The swirling guitar solo in the song is also excellent.

Number Eight: Babble

“Shut up, shut up and let me breathe!” The raucous and noisey Babble was originally released as a b-side to Fascination Street in the US (Lullaby in the UK) and later on the Join The Dots collection. Babble sounds so out of place with any of the other songs recorded during the Disintegration period. It’s angry, fast, and features some of the craziest keyboards in The Cure’s catalogue (rumored to have been played by a dog since the actual keyboardist was passed out). Lyrically, it’s pretty standard drugged out Robert Smith weirdness. This is probably one of the most underappreciated Cure songs, in my opinion. I rarely hear anyone talk about it, but I absolutely love it.

Number Seven: Push

Another one taken from The Head On The Door, Push is one of those songs I can listen to on repeat for hours without getting tired of it. The guitar throughout the song sounds like nothing else The Cure has done before or since. It’s a pretty unique sounding song in their vast catalogue. Lyrically, I’ve seen a lot of debate between fans trying to figure out what the song is about. I’ve always heard it as advice to a woman about leaving her terrible or abusive boyfriend (“push him away, no no no don’t let him stay”), but there are also live recordings of Robert saying it’s “about a train ride” or “about wearing a dress.” Either way, this song is a pop masterpiece.

Number Six: Doing The Unstuck

This has to be the happiest song ever written, right? Another one from Wish, Doing The Unstuck is almost ridiculous at how joyful, positive, and fun it is. The song is mostly about just pushing negative and bad things out of your life. And like most Cure songs, there is a underlying theme of sex throughout (“It’s a perfect day for kiss and swell/for rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well/there’s loads of other stuff can make you yell/let’s get happy!”). Doing The Unstuck also has an equally excellent alternate mix that was released on the Join The Dots box set.

Number Five: Underneath The Stars

The newest song on the list, Underneath The Stars comes from The Cure’s 2008 album, 4:13 Dream.  This song is the standout of the album and feels like it was written for Wish or Bloodflowers. It’s slow, beautiful, epic, and absolutely stunning. Musically, it almost sounds like it could be a sister song to Plainsong at times. The lyrics are as wonderful as the music, portraying a love so deep that nothing else matters. Being so at peace being with someone else that everything else just becomes a blur. This song is absolutely magic.

Number Four: One Hundred Years

The opening track from 1982’s goth masterpiece, Pornography, One Hundred Years sets the stage for the rest of the album. It’s bleak, drug addled lyrics and repetative music would be the building blocks of what eventually became goth music. The lyrics are a poetic mess of hopelessness and feature one of the most iconic opneing lines ever (“It doesn’t matter if we all die!” Robert Smith has stated that he knew who only had two options after their recording and touring cycle for the previous album, Faith, had ended: either commit suicide or get it all out by recording what would eventually become Pornography. You can hear and feel that pain while listening to One Hundred Years.

Number Three: The Kiss

The Kiss is, in my opinion, the heaviest song The Cure ever wrote. Opening 1987’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, The Kiss starts off with almost 4 full minutes of swirling guitar and doomy bass that just feels angry before any lyrics come into play. And those lyrics! The Kiss features the most hatefilled words Robert Smith ever wrote (“Get your fucking voice out of my head/I never wanted this/I never wanted any of this/ I wish you were dead!”). The vocal performance just bleeds emotion and intensity. You can feel the lyrical stab with every line Robert delivers. This song still gives me goosebumps to this day. I also have all of the lyrics to this song tattooed on my arm.

Number Two: Disintegration

This fucking song. The title track to The Cure’s 1989 masterpiece, Disintegration is maybe the best song ever written. Nothing I’ve ever heard comes close to the emotinal resonance of this song. The lyrics are so brutally sad and devistating. Lines like “And now that I know that I’m breaking to pieces, I’ll pull out my heart and feed it to anyone” and “It’s eaier for me to get closer to Heaven than ever feel whole again” are so unbelievably dark, yet relateable. This is a perfect song about the end of a relationship and the devistation that follows. Listen and get sad.

Number One: Jupiter Crash

Jupiter Crash is maybe a surprising choice to most Cure fans. Wild Mood Swings in general is a pretty underappreciated album. It’s weird and different and sounds nothing like the rest of their discography. It was an album that I generally ignored until I met my wife. Her favorite song is Jupiter Crash and she made me fall in love with this song and album. Jupiter Crash always makes me think of her anytime I ever hear it. The acoustic guitar is spacey and beautiful while the lyrics are gorgeous and wonderful. It even features what is probably my favorite lyrics Robert ever wrote (“She left to the sound of the sea/She just drifted away from me/So much for gravity”).  It’s a song about love, sex, and longing.


Honorable Mentions:

These songs were part of this list at different points while making it. I genuinely love every song The Cure has released and can’t recommend their entire discography enough.

Faith- One of my favorite songs from The Cure’s gloomier period. It’s a bleak and perfect ending to the album of the same name.

Plainsong- Plainsong is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It’s lush and spacey and features some stunning lyrics.

Charlotte Sometimes- Another amazing Cure song that straddles the line between goth and pop.

A Letter To Elise- My favorite Cure single. A gorgeous pop song with dark undertones.

Lost- Lost is a song that builds and builds into a heavy crescendo and features some of Robert’s best yelling vocals. Highly underrated.