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


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.

My Favorite Albums Of 2015


Well, here we are. Another end of year list. This is the first time I’ve ever had a platform other than Twitter/Facebook to talk about my favorite albums from the past year. My original idea was to do 27 albums to coincide with 27 seasons of the Simpsons. But that seemed like a weird number, so I just evened it out to 20.

Note: These are the albums that have been on constant rotation for me since they were released. I’m sure the new Yellow Eyes and Mgla would have made this list if I just had more time with them. These 20 albums hit me hard and deserve all the attention they could get.


#20: Veiled – Omniscient Veil


Excellent black metal featuring members of Gnosis Of The Witch. This is one of the strongest first albums I’ve heard from any band. 4 songs of exactly what I want to hear when I listen to more of a raw style of black metal.

#19: Dragged Into Sunlight/Gnaw Their Tongues – N.V.

dragged into sunlight gtt

If you’re looking for something dark, both musically and emotinally, look no further than this collaboration between Dragged Into Sunlight and Gnaw Their Tongues. It’s a brutal piece of art filled with grim noise and sound clips of serial killers to add to the harshness Dragged Into Sunlight normally bring to the table. This album is very grim and distressing at points, which is exactly what you would expect from both acts involved.

#18: Dr. Colossus – Shut Up & Eat Your Pinecone/Whack Sabbath 7″

dr colossus

Dr. Colossus have gotten better and better with each song they’ve released. The two songs on this 7″ are a perfect example of what Dr. Colossus does: doom rock/metal with lyrics about The Simpsons. Also check out the singles for Stupid Sexy Flanders and Excellent they released this year.

#17: Vile Creature – A Steady Descent Into The Soil

vile creature

Two people shouldn’t be able to sound this heavy. These 3 songs form one piece that is emotionally draining and raw. Lyrically focusing on what it’s like to be trans/gay in an unaccepting world, Vile Creature produced a doom masterpiece.

#16: Immortal Bird – Empress/Abscess

Immortal bird

Blackened grind with some heavy doom influences is Immortal Birds specialty. These songs are catchy and memorable, which is something that a lot of metal bands can’t pull off. The vocals are harsh, with lyrics about how mankind is complete garbage. The perfect soundtrack for the end of days.

#15: A Pregnant Light – All Saint’s Day 

a pregnant light

Damian Masters is a pretty prolific musician. He has numerous bands that all sound different, yet all have the same Damian Masters touch. A Pregnant Light is his most popular project, especially following the My Game Doesn’t Have A Name album last year. This EP is a good mix of older A Pregnant Light mixed with the sound he perfected on My Game…  The song ‘Phoenix Street’ is one of my favorite things Masters has ever written.

#14: Twilight Fauna/Old Thunder – Boodlines


Featuring 2 songs from each artist that highlights their Appalachian metal, black from Twilight Fauna and doom from Old Thunder. This pairing works so well that after listening to it, all I wanted was more. Both sides of the split feature the best work each band has released so far.

13: My Fictions – Stranger Songs

My Fictions

My Fictions were a new find for me this year. This album is a phenomenal emotional hardcore album that cuts straight to my core. The drums are a huge highlight and one of my favorite performances of 2015. The sound clips on the album remind me of Bob Dylan (not totally sure who they are) and add a nice breather in between the blasts of hardcore.

#12: Bjork – Vulnicura


Bjork is one of my all time favorite artists. Every single one of her albums is a masterpiece to me and Vulnicura is no different. It’s a beautiful album full of emotionally raw lyrics about her divorce from her ex-husband Matthew Barney. Bjork delivers some of her best vocal deliveries in her career. The song ‘Black Swan’ is a huge highlight in an exceptional career.

#11: Mar – Demo


Mar is a band I don’t know anything about. I stumbled across this demo on Bandcamp and was immediately enamored with their lo-fi doom metal. Both of the songs on here are exceptionally heavy and have a nice dose of punk to them that make them stand out from their contemporaries. I’m hoping they are still together because I’d love to hear a full length.

#10: Curezum – One Hundred Years/The Top


All I’ve wanted me entire life was metal versions of The Cure that were done earnestly and with love. That dream has finally come true and it’s amazing. Sounding like a mix of black metal and industrial, these songs are both incredibly heavy while retaining the spirit of The Cure’s originals. Keep an eye out for a full length in 2016.

#9: Cult Leader – Lightless Walk

Cult Leader

This album is fierce. Lightless Walk features all of the elements that Cult Leader do well: fast as fuck hardcore mixed with Tom Waits/Johnny Cash inspired slow parts. It’s a mix that shouldn’t work, but Cult Leader makes them their own and creates some amazing music. They also write the best album closers. I didn’t think they could top their cover of ‘You Are Not My Blood’, but the song ‘Lightless Walk’ knocks it out of the park,

#8: Clouds Collide – All Things Shining

clouds collide

The latest Clouds Collide follows in the footsteps of the beautiful Until The Wind Stops Blowing. This time focusing on the springtime, All Things Shining is warm and breathtaking. There is a lot more clean singing and lushness in Clouds Collide’s signature black metal, to a much greater effect. The first time I heard the album, it made me weep. It’s a beautiful progression and some of the best black metal being made today.

#7: King Woman – Doubt

King Woman

King Woman’s Doubt is probably the most beautiful album released this year. It’s full of heavy doom mixed with lush shoegaze elements. It’s what I imagine Mazzy Star would sound like if they were a metal band. The album is lyrically about singer Kristina Esfandiari’s struggles with her religious doubts. It’s a breathtaking release.

#6: Wildspeaker – Survey The Wreckage


Wildspeaker are ferocious. A mix of blindly fast hardcore and doom with black metal elements, Survey The Wreckage is a album full of lyrics about humanity disappearing and letting nature take the Earth back, all being spewed fourth by vocalist Natalie, who is one of the best vocalists in the hardcore game. Get this, play it loud, and pray for the end of humans.

#5: Kowloon Walled City – Grievances

Kowloon walled city.jpg

This album took me by surprise. I was vaguely familiar with Kowloon Walled City, but this album was like a sucker punch from out of nowhere. I was immediately hooked. Everything about Grievances is wonderful, but especially the bass. Ian Miller is phenomenal and makes this album unmissable. The album is exactly where I wish Aaron Turner would have taken Isis. Check out the song ‘Your Best Years’ and be glad there are still bands that experiment with their sound instead of resting on their laurels.

#4: Couch Slut – My Life As A Woman

couch slut

While this was released digitally in 2014, it wasn’t physically released until 2015, so I’m counting it. Couch Slut sound like a mix of Made Out Of Babies and The Jesus Lizard if they were 1000 times more psychotic. Vocalist Megan Osztrosits sounds truly manic and unstable over the off kilter noise rock laid underneath. My Life As A Woman is an album that needs to be heard to understand. It’s a truly original work of art that is uncomfortable and way more brutal than any death metal band could hope to be.

#3: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

cattle decapitation

I don’t know how they do it, but Cattle Decapitation have managed to top themselves with each album. The Harvest Floor was a masterpiece that was them outdone by Monolith Of Inhumanity. Cattle Decapitation blew both of those albums out of the water (no pun intended) with The Anthropocene Extinction. Focusing on how much humans have ruined the waters of the Earth and what it is doing to us, the album is a brutal listen. Musically, there is a more focused approach the Cattle Decapitation’s brand of death metal, this time with more of a black metal feel to the guitars. It’s exceptional and makes the music more memorable. The vocals are an extension of what Travis Ryan was doing on Monolith Of Inhumanity, including more of the “clean singing” that have made Ryan standout as one of the best death metal vocalists around. I don’t know how Cattle Decapitation will top this album, but I can’t wait to hear how they try.

#2: Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors

royal thunder

I’ve been trying to put into words how much this album means to me since it came out in April. I still can’t. It’s a complete work of art. It’s beautiful and emotional and heartbreaking. It’s one of the most gorgeous break up albums ever made and makes me want to weep every single time I’ve listened to it. Vocalist Mlny Parsonz is in top form and is my standout performance of the year. Especially on the closing tracks ‘The Bear I & II’. Crooked Doors is completely brilliant. Again, it’s difficult for me to put into words how much this album effects me.

#1: Vattner Viskar – Settler


Settler is the only album that could top Crooked Doors for me. It’s very rare that a band releases and album that truly feels like it was written just for you. I couldn’t believe how perfect it was when I first listened to it. Vattnet Viskar have streamlined their black metal sound into an amazing amalgamation of black metal and post hardcore that works so well. Lyrically focusing on the Challenger space shuttle explosion and space travel in general, Settler is full of lush guitar parts that sound heavy and wonderfully melodic at the same time. A song like ‘Dawnlands’ sounds like you’re being rocketed into space while a song like ‘Glory’ (which features a full fledged nu metal riff) feels like floating in the atmosphere over the Earth. The album has an incredibly original feel and at times has a lightlessness to it that is refreshing. The interplay between the rhythm section is a standout performance in metal this year. Casey (bass) and Seamus (drums) helped take Vattnet Viskar’s sound to all new levels. Settler also features the best solo of the year at the end of closing track ‘Coldwar’. It’s made me cry and numerous occasions. It’s equally depressing and uplifting at the same time and put a beautiful cap on an album that is utterly perfect. Settler hits me right in the heart and doesn’t let go even after it’s over. There is no other album that has made me feel the way Settler does, not only this year, but in recent memory.


Honorable Mentions:
Castrator – No Victim
Regnvm Animale – Et sic in infinitum
Full Of Hell & Merzbow – Full Of Hell & Merzbow/Sister Fawn
False – Untitled LP
Caina – Setter Of Unseen Snares
Ethicist – II
Seltar – Are teike
Deafheaven – New Bermuda
Ashbringer – Vacant
Twilight Fauna – Shadows Of Ancestors

Josh Thieler’s Top Ten Songs Of 2015


A month or so ago, I reached out to Josh about doing a best albums of 2015 list on here, but he had already had one set up on another site (you can check that out HERE courtesy of Inhale The Heavy). So, Josh put together another list, this time his top 10 songs of 2015 for Xtapolapometal.

If you are unfamiliar with Josh, he plays drums and sings for the band Slaves BC. Slaves BC are from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and play a form of hardcore that is heavily influenced by doom and black metal. They’re really, really good and will be releasing their first full length sometime during the first half of 2016. I can promise you it will be worth the long wait. Until then, check out Slaves BC and check out anything from this list.

From here on, the rest is from Josh.

I had 36 albums that I absolutely loved that came out in 2015, and I wrote a top 15 end of year list for Inhale the Heavy. Those 15 releases did not include some of my favorite and most listened to songs of the year. I have felt like I was doing a disservice to these songs by not talking about them, so thank you to Nathan for agreeing to post them on his site!

Author & Punisher “The Barge” https://authorandpunisher.bandcamp.com/track/the-barge

Author & Punisher has (deservedly) been getting a lot of press in the last couple of years. I feel that “The Barge” perfectly demonstrates why this one-man industrial wasteland has been generating so much buzz. This song clocks in at over 8 minutes and it does not really change much. The track is very repetitive and takes its time getting its point across. “The Barge” feels like some post-apocalyptic junkyard robot is just pummeling you into swamp of nuclear waste.

Chelsea Wolfe “Carrion Flowers” https://chelseawolfe.bandcamp.com/track/carrion-flowers

This song was used for the first Fear the Walking Dead trailer, and it was the perfect choice. I could not have cared less about that show, but “Carrion Flowers” brought the “Fear” to life for me and got me super pumped for the show. This song rules. I never knew how much I needed to hear a sludgy industrial soundtrack with Chelsea Wolfe’s gorgeous voice. So good.

Couch Slut “Lust Chamber” https://handshakeinc.bandcamp.com/track/lust-chamber

I was recently turned onto Couch Slut. The music is crushing, noisy and straightforward. By itself, the music reminds me of some of the better offerings from Kowloon Walled City. HOWEVER. Couch Slut’s vocalist, Megan, is my favorite new vocalist. She sounds like Julie Christmas (Spylacopa , Made Out of Babies) was caged and tortured for years, and she just escaped and is screaming at her captors while smearing their blood all over herself. The vocals in this song give me chills every time.

Cursed Graves “Opus Dei” https://cursedgraves.bandcamp.com/track/opus-dei

Cursed Graves does not fit into my usual musical box that I put myself in. “Opus Dei” is a punk song with rock’n’roll swagger. The album is great, but I have played this track over and over again. Cursed Graves don’t do much with the song, but as soon as it comes on, I’m having fun. I need to see these guys live so I can fist pump, high-five, circle pit, or whatever they do at Cursed Graves show.

Ghost Bath “Golden Number” https://ghostbath.bandcamp.com/track/golden-number

Within five minutes of starting this song, I went from being aloof, to weirded out and confused, to the realization that I was listening to one of my favorite records of the year. “Golden Number” is breathtaking and epic. I don’t know if this is a solo project or where the guys from, but I do know that this is one of the most beautifully expansive songs that I have ever heard. Listen to it, if you can get passed your “THIS ISNT CVLT” knee-jerk reaction, you may find this song as refreshing as I do.

Imperial Triumphant “Twins” https://auralmusic.bandcamp.com/track/twins

I sleep to playlists of all of the most horrible sounding black metal that I can find, and I sleep like a baby. This track made me shoot out of bed in complete horror, not understanding what I was hearing. It sounded as if Cerberus was bellowing out from the gates of hades challenging me to continue subjecting myself to the aural abuse that possesses this entire album. This track is great, but seriously, listen to the whole album. “Abyssal Gods” is one of my two favorite records of the year.

King Dude “Deal With the Devil” https://kingdude.bandcamp.com/track/deal-with-the-devil

I love King Dude. I am fascinated by the way that he and Chelsea Wolfe can write such chill music but it feels so freaking metal! If Tom Waits sounded scarier, and the music was interesting (sorry, Mr. Waits, I love you) he would be King Dude.

Monolord “Cursing the One” https://monolord.bandcamp.com/track/cursing-the-one

This is my favorite doom song of the year. “Cursing the One” reveals its main riff a minute in. I’m listening to it again right now as I type and I just keep smashing fists into the desk. This riff. This riff is one of those riffs that Monolord will spend their entire musical career trying to recreate or eclipse this riff. Monolord is great, but this is one of those perfect riffs that most people will never write, and no one gets to write more than one of them (unless you are Electric Wizard). Also, the vocalist sounds like some kind of water spirit or something crying out through the mist (read: weed smoke). Hold on. I’m playing this song again.

Napalm Death “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” http://napalmdeath.org/

I feel guilty saying this is my favorite song on this album as this song is a very different Napalm Death than what I’m used to. 2015 has brought a lot from different bands experimenting with industrial influence. Napalm Death is one of the bands that executed this the most successfully. This industrial influence is most prevalent on the opening and title track. This song is solely responsible for opening my eyes to this genre. It is fantastic. Napalm Death is one of the oldest and best grind bands there is, and they have written one of the best industrial songs I have ever heard.

Sufjan Stevens “Should Have Known Better” http://music.sufjan.com/track/should-have-known-better

I’ve loved Sufjan Stevens for about 12 years now. I had great expectations for this album and they were completely blown away. This album is his most stripped-down release which allows the melancholy and passion to really ring through each lightly strummed chord and softly crooned lyric. I am not afraid to admit, that I have cried every time that I have listened to the album in a sitting. “Should Have Known Better” is only the second track, and it is usually about the time the tears start to flow. After over 15 years of releases, Sufjan is still evolving. This song is wrought with sorrow and loss. It is as beautiful as it is tragic. Give it a listen.


Thanks again to Josh. You can find him on Twitter through the Slaves BC account.


Six Degrees: Vattnet Viskar


This is a new thing I’m going to try and do periodically where I spotlight some of the smaller bands/projects from members of “bigger” bands. For the first one, I wanted to talk about the bands featuring current members of Vattnet Viskar. All of these are far from the atmospheric black metal Vattnet Viskar has perfected, but are all excellent. Hopefully you find something you like and support these projects because they all deserve it.

Vattnet Viskar is currently on tour and you should go see them if they’re playing near you. Check for dates at vattnetviskar.com

Hetfield & Hetfield

First up is my favorite of the groups, Hetfield & Hetfield. Featuring Vattnet Viskar’s bass player, Casey Aylward, on guitar and vocals, H&H music is a mix of pop punk and metal. Think The Dillinger Escape Plan covering Coheed & Cambria with Chris Conely from Saves The Day on vocals. Or something. Their sound is pretty out there. And it’s amazing. I’m a massive fan of Hetfield’s music and listen to them at least once a week. Casey’s vocals and lyrics are a highlight, as are Brett’s drums. They’ve have three releases (Plays The Hits, Tidal Wave Dreams, and Hetfield & Hetfield) on Bandcamp, all of which I highly suggest picking up. Give these songs a couple listens because they’re pretty weird but completely amazing when they click with you. Check them out HERE!

Rust Belt

Rust Belt is a solo project from Vattnet Viskar’s guitar player, Chris Alfieri. So far, Rust Belt has released one EP full of beautiful ambient soundtrack style recordings in tribute to the films of Michael Mann. Chris is a huge fan of Tangerine Dream, whose soundtrack work is a big influence on Rust Belt’s sound. Featuring guitar, synth, and drum machine, the EP is a great start to something I hope Chris continues to work on when he has time. I’d love to hear more from him in this style. Check out Rust Belt HERE!


Astronoid is a band, like Hetfield & Hetfield, that is hard to explain. Their sound is rooted in metal, with a massive space rock influence. Astronoid is the brainchild of Brett Boland and features guest spots from both Casey Aylward and Nicholas Thornbury of Vattnet Viskar. Casey provides the guitar solo on the song ‘Stargazer’ from the Stargazer EP, while Nicholas appears on the November EP. Astronoid is set to release a new album sometime soon that I can’t wait for. All of their songs are pretty incredible. Check out Astronoid HERE!

My Fictions

My Fictions is a hardcore/punk band in the vein of Touche Amore or Defeater. Featuring Vattnet Viskar drummer Seamus Menihane, My Fictions have a handful of releases that are a must listen for anyone into modern day hardcore. Stranger Songs, their latest release is especially great and features some of my favorite work Seamus has done. Don’t sleep on this! Check them out HERE!

Fever Dream

Lastly, Fever Dream is another band that Seamus Menihane drums for, this time in a more laid back indie rock/emo style. Fever Dream have released one EP full of extremely well done rock songs. If you’re a fan of early 90’s style emo, check this out. The EP is great and I’m hoping they release something else soon. Check out Fever Dream HERE!

Top 15 Favorite Horror Movies

With Halloween coming up, and celebrating Treehouse Of Horror, and horror in general this week, I thought I would post about my favorite horror movies. There are probably thousands of lists like this one all over the internet, and mine is nowhere near as infallible as the rest, but it’s fun and might turn people on to movies they’ve never seen. Some of these are gory. Some are laid back and full of amazing atmosphere. Some are just plain goofy or have sentimental value to me. Regardless, I’ll back these movies forever and can rewatch them all of the time and not get tired of them. I hope you find something new or rediscover old favorites.

Special guest commentator on #8 is Megan Osztrosits from the band Couch Slut. She rules and I’m so glad she was down to write a bunch of words about one of her favorite movies. Go buy ‘My Life As A Woman’ by Couch Slut HERE!

Fifteen – Night Of The Lepus

night of the lepus

Like most 19070’s monster/creature movies, this one isn’t great and definitely a weird choice to be on any horror list. Night Of The Lepus is a movie from 1972 about killer rabbits. That’s right: killer rabbits. A rabbit being tested on as a way to stop rabbits from breeding and taking over an area is given as a pet and escapes. Basically, after the escape, all kinds of goofy hell breaks loose. The movie is great as a dumb 70’s horror movie, but the reason I love it is because of sentimental reasons. My wife and I had a rabbit for 7 years or so and one day my wife brought up seeing this movie as a kid. From then on, the joke was always that Edwardo (our rabbit) was planning on leading a Night Of The Lepus style attack on humanity.

Fourteen – The Cabin In The Woods

the cabin in the woods

Coming out in 2012, The Cabin In The Woods is a movie that is very hard to write about without ruining the crazy plot and twists that happen within. This is a movie that should be seen totally fresh. I randomly watched it one day with no prior knowledge about it and was completely blown away. Basic plot is a group of teenagers/twentysomethings go to an abandoned cabin for a weekend of fun and crazy, and I mean crazy, shit happens. Keep an eye out for the motorcycle jump that ends in the most surprising way. This is a great horror movie if you’re looking for something different with a good amount of humor.

Thirteen – The House Of The Devil

the house of the devil

Ti West has become one of my favorite horror directors. His films all have an 80’s VHS feel to them that I love. The House Of The Devil was the first one I saw of his and still my favorite. The old school feel combined with modern special effects work so well together and West’s directing adds some incredible atmosphere to all of his films. The House Of The Devil follows the story of a college student looking to make some extra money and takes a babysitting job. Like most babysitting jobs, she finds out that the family is harboring a demon child that eats raw human flesh and the parents want to sacrifice her to him. You know, the usual stuff babysitters have to deal with. The midpoint turn in the movie is great and the kid in the movie is genuinely creepy. Also, check out The Innkeepers if you like this movie.

Twelve – Hatchet


Director Adam Green has become one of my favorite horror filmmakers in the last couple of years. He has a massive love and admiration of all things horror. His Hatchet series (there are three) is a love letter to series like Friday The 13th and Halloween. Following a group of tourists in a swamp tour that come across the legend of Victor Crowley (played by Kane Hodder), Hatchet is ultra gory and has some of the most brutal killings I’ve seen on screen since Dead Alive. One person gets her head ripped in half from the jaw while another gets and electric sander to the face. The movie is a bloody mess of fun and takes the slasher genre to new levels. Hatchet also has a cameo from Robert Englund to watch out for.

Eleven – Audition


This Japanese horror-drama-completely-fucked-up film is a slowburner leading to one of the most memorable last 15 minutes or so in cinema. Takashi Miike is probably the most well know Japanese horror director based on films like Audition, Oldboy, and Ichi The Killer. Audition is his masterpiece for me. Following a widower trying to join the dating scene again and creating a mock casting audition for women to be his new wife, Audition is psychologically brutal and ends with one of the most stomach turning torture scenes over put on film. It’s one of the very few movies that has ever made me uncomfortable. It’s also beautifully shot and wonderfully paced. The acting is top notch and the ending is so realistic that you can almost feel it yourself.

Ten – Evil Dead remake

evil dead remake

The original Evil Dead is an absolute classic. Remaking it sounds like an idea that would be a guaranteed abysmal failure. I saw this movie in theaters and full expected the worst. 99% of remakes are total garbage, but I had hopes that with Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi involved, it would be at least descent. This movie completely shattered all expectations. The ways they homage the original while making this movie new were incredible, especially with the lost hand/chainsaw. The violence is incredibly real while also being completely over the top ala the original Evil Dead movies. The crowbar to the hand legitimately made me squirm in pain. They turn a character that for the first half of the movie is pretty unlikeable into someone you end up rooting for. By the halfway mark, I was 100% invested and in love with this movie. The violence is over the top and realistic at the same time. And the last 20 minutes or so are completely bonkers. Don’t let your love of the original make you skip this. It’s probably the only remake worth your time.

Nine – Return Of The Living Dead


Return Of The Living Dead is a movie everyone loves. I don’t think I want to know the person who doesn’t love it. It’s a perfect combination of horror and comedy with a great soundtrack. The acting is pretty goofy in the best way. The talking zombies calling for more cops and paramedics just so they can eat there brains is genius. Return Of The Living Dead has to be the first movie to have talking zombies (in the Romero fashion, at least). It’s a pretty intriguing concept. The zombie woman talking about eating brains to ease the pain of being dead is an incredible special effect, as is the weird goo-monster in the basement of the morgue. This movie is amazing and if you somehow haven’t seen it, redeem that.

Eight – The Devil’s Rejects

the devils rejects

“Allow me to begin this piece by proclaiming my boundless and undying love and admiration for musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie. While I do not particularly give one small fuck about his music (though 15 year old me most certainly did) his journey into the realm of horror cinema has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise recently stale and boring genre that’s given us a dozen fucking Saw films and the Paranormal Craptivity franchise (barf).

It was April of 2003 and I was nearing the end of my senior year of high school when my mother – who is solely responsible for my obsession with horror and gore, allowing her four year old daughter to stay up late and watch Hellraiser or Nightmare on Elm Street – took me to see the theatrical debut of what would become one of my favorite modern horror movies of all time, House of 1,000 Corpses. I was positively delighted by the gritty nature of Zombie’s filmmaking style, the songs he chose as the soundtrack – especially his use of Slim Whitman’s “I Remember You” during the panic-inducing scene in which the main protagonist, Otis Driftwood (Bill Moseley), shoots a cop in his yard execution style – but most of all, this new family I was introduced to, the Fireflys. Holy absolute shit, I hadn’t witnessed a fictional clan so gloriously twisted and deranged since those lovable psychopaths in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; so in awe of these freaks that I actually went back the theater for three subsequent viewings over the following week.

About two years after my introduction to House of 1,000 Corpses, I began to notice previews for The Devil’s Rejects, a sequel to the gorefest of torture and depravity I knew and loved. My initial thought was: “Oh. Fuck. This is going to be a shitshow.” Sequels are, in my opinion, rarely ever decent, let alone worth seeing. Actually, fuck being gentle about it: most sequels are total hot garbage and we all know it. I decided I couldn’t bring myself to face the inevitable disappointment of this second film, and waited until I could watch it in the comfort of my own home. No wasted money on a movie ticket and no regrettable popcorn binge, probably better off.

What a bonehead mistake that turned out to be. The first time I watched The Devil’s Rejects, I legitimately had to take a couple breaks to compose myself, if that’s any indication of how much more disturbing this film was than its predecessor. During my first viewing of this film, it seemed that Zombie decided to trade in a lot of the dark humor and bizarre montages (common in House) for a far more sinister narrative, one that includes quite possibly the most disturbing sexual assault scene I had ever seen by that time.

The Devil’s Rejects is a story of the Firefly family being hunted by the cop brother of one of the police officers shot to death in the first installment. While on the run, our mentally unhinged protagonists torture and kill a bunch more people, this time in a less humorous way and with seemingly more aggression, anger, and despair, like maybe they know their time spent killing is soon coming to a halt at the hands of a man determined to avenge his brother’s untimely death. The film ends with a wonderfully memorable scene set to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” (I’m a big Skynyrd fan and do not care what you think about that) so it wrapped up the two part saga rather awesomely, in my mind.

Without spoiling what happens in the movie, I will say that while the final scene was incredibly satisfying and I walked away from The Devil’s Rejects feeling a little morose and dejected. That was it. A film and its sequel, and no promise of any additional adventures with the Fireflys.

In sum, both of these films are unique in their execution, a real treat for someone who grew up appreciating a lot of the early grindhouse genre. Films so absolutely gory, brutal, and punishing – two musts for any fan of sardonic humor, twisted gore, and sadistic torture. Any time I am feeling down, I simply watch one or both of these films, and before I know it, I’m cheering on one horribly demented and abhorrent circus sideshow of a barbarous family, and all is well again. Thanks, Mom.

Sidenote: The deleted scenes, which can be found on YouTube, are also fantastic and I highly recommend checking out Rosario Dawson as a nurse having her throat savagely ripped out by the one and only Dr. Satan.” – Megan Osztrosits

Seven – A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

a girl walks home alone at night

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a movie that I know the more time I have to sit with, the higher it will end up on my list. This movie isn’t scary, but is about a vampire set in Iran. This film is beautiful and has an incredibly moving atmosphere to it. It’s a very subdued film with minimal dialogue. Sheila Vand who plays “The Girl” (the vampire) is incredible and perfect casting. The soundtrack is perfect and works in contrast to the desolate Iranian backdrop. This film is utterly brilliant and should be seen by as many people as possible.

Six – Evil Dead 2

evil dead 2

The Evil Dead trilogy is a perfect trifecta of films. The first Evil Dead is terrifying. The second is scary, over the top, and has a Three Stooges level of violent humor. Army Of Darkness is basically an action adventure film with the humor of Evil Dead 2. All three are great, but Evil Dead 2 is by far the best. The movie ends up being the Bruce Campbell show, including a scene where he fights himself with dishes and his own severed hand. It also introduces the iconic chainsaw hand.  I assume every horror fan has seen this movie. It’s pretty much perfect. The gore is so  over the top and the blood is often different colors, like green and yellow, to add to the craziness of the entire thing. Bruce Campbell has talked about how brutal it was to shoot this movie because of how physical everything is and it shows. Bruce is often smashed into everything in the room and this was a time before CGI existed.

Five – The Thing

the thing

John Carpenter’s 70’s and 80’s output is pretty much unfuckwithable. Halloween, Big Trouble In Little China, The Fog, and The Thing are all brilliant. The Thing is by far my favorite of his films, though. It’s technically a remake, but you would never know from watching both films. Kurt Russell is the perfect leading man from the 80’s and turns in an excellent performance in The Thing. But let’s be honest, the absolute star of this movie is the practical effects work. This was made in a time before CGI and still looks way better than anything being produced today. The scene with the head tearing away from the body, falling to the floor and growing spider legs is still mind bending. If you haven’t seen The Thing, GO WATCH IT NOW! It’s one of the best movies ever made.

Four – Frozen


Adam Green, the director of Hatchet, took an idea that when I first heard about it, I thought was going to be the dumbest movie ever made. The plot revolves around 3 kids who get stuck on a ski lift over the weekend during a snowstorm. This movie is terrifying in how real it is. It something that can, and probably has happened. It makes you think about what you would do in the same situation. The scene where someone jumps and breaks his legs is brutal and makes me squeamish. The most brutal stuff in the movie is the small things, like falling asleep with your face on the metal bar of the ski lift. Waking up with your cheek frozen to the bar and the frostbite starting to take over. This movie is highly underrated.

Three – Alien


I back the entire Alien Quadrilogy fully. But Alien is definitely the most terrifying. Ridley Scott created the perfect horror/sci-fi film with Alien and the sequels never truly hold up to this one (Aliens comes close). The chest burster scene is so well done and genuinely horrifying. The alien deigned by H.R. Giger is beautiful and totally inspired. But the highlight of Alien is Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Ripley. She is tough as nails and doesn’t put up with any of her male counterparts bullshit. Without even trying, Weaver portrays one of, if not the, ultimate horror/action star. Ripley forever!

Two – Let The Right One In

let the right one in

Let The Right One In is such a beautiful and well written, directed, and acted movie. It’s made me tear up or full on cry every time I’ve watched it. Lina Leandersson’s portrayal of Eli is completely androgynous and beautiful and heartfelt. You can’t not feel for her. The same goes for the character of Oskar. All you want throughout the entire film is for them to end up happy. I hold this movie in the highest regard. It’s easily in my top 5 all time movies. It’s got a similar feel to A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. It’s not really scary, although Let The Right One In has much more violence. The entire film banks on your feelings for Eli and Oskar. Most people can probably relate to growing up and not feeling like you fit in, or getting picked on. Watching Eli encourage Oskar to stand up for himself, or taking it upon herself to help him not be messed with is great. Their friendship (relationship?) is beautifully portrayed and all culminates in one of the most heartwarming and beautifully shot endings I’ve ever seen. The swimming pool scene where you don’t see what happens, just the aftermath, is incredible and ballsy. In fact, everything from the swimming pool scene to the true ending is what makes me cry. It’s so fulfilling to see Eli come back and help Oskar. It makes my heart swell. It’s actually making me tear up just typing this. That’s how much this film means to me. Skip the remake. The Swedish version is forever the best and should be seen by everyone whether they are into horror movies or not.

One – Dawn Of The Dead

dawn of the dead

Dawn Of The Dead is my all time favorite movie. I’ve been in love with it and George Romero’s work ever since I first saw Dawn Of The Dead when I was 15. I think it’s the perfect zombie movie, in that it focuses on the group of survivors with the zombies as the background. It’s the same thing that makes The Walking Dead comics work so well (which I assume Robert Kirkman was majorly inspired by Romero’s Dead films). You get to watch this group of people who barely know each other finding a safe space, fortifying it, and then slowly splintering due to constantly being stuck with each other. They think they have everything they want living in this mall, but become bored with having everything they thought they always wanted at their fingertips. George Romero always has some strong social commentary in his writing, and Dawn Of The Dead is a perfect example. The zombies all converge on the mall because it’s “all the know.” They’re coming back to the place that they just mindlessly went to when they were alive. It’s consumer culture being shown themselves in a mirror. It’s also a film where no one is likable. You end up finding yourself routing for the zombies. In fact, Flyboy is so unlikable to me that I could watch him being swarmed in the elevator forever. I’ve actually been to the Monroeville Mall and completely geeked out on the two parts of the mall that are still in tact from the movie, especially the escalator. I could go on forever about Dawn Of The Dead, but people that are more articulate than me have done a much better job. This is the only movie that could possibly top Let The Right One In for me on this list. Dawn Of The Dead basically solidified the mythos of what we think of as zombies today. My entire fascination and love affair with everything involving zombies started here. I’ve owned at least 6 different versions on DVD and will watch any documentary with George Romero talking about any of his work on the Dead movies, even though I’ve heard all of the stories hundreds of times at this point. I have distinct memories of who I’ve watched this movie with throughout my life and can remember what stores I bought the DVDs at. It’s a movie that is so ingrained into my being at this point that I think about it at least once a day and it always makes me happy.

I had a hard time figuring out what movies would be on this list. In truth, it would have basically been all classics. It was painful not having Re-Animator, Dead Alive, Suspiria, and The Exorcist on here, but I wanted to have a good mix of classics and more modern films. I think I did a pretty good job of making that happen. I want to give a sincere thanks to Megan for helping out with the Devil’s Rejects part. I’m really glad I finally found a part for her on Xtapolapometal since she’s seen about half of a Simpsons episode ever. She is a pretty amazing person and everyone should absolutely check out her band, Couch Slut. And watch any movie on this list you’ve never seen. They’re all pretty easily available (except for Night Of The Lepus). This was genuinely a daunting task to put together and I’m pretty proud of it. Thanks so much if you checked it out and feel free to leave me a comment here or on Twitter to tell me what your favorite horror movies are. I’m always on the lookout for new ones.

Retrospective: Send More Paramedics

send more paramedics

Send More Paramedics are probably the only band that can claim to have “risen from the grave” at their inception. Playing crossover thrash and using the gimmick of being a band of zombies (their name is a reference to Return Of The Living Dead), the band existed from 2001-2007, when they broke up with the claim that their bodies had decomposed far too much to carry on. Complete conviction to the end.

Featuring fast hardcore/Slayer style riffs, old school trash drums, and high pitched vocals fit for the living dead, Send More Paramedics sound straight out of the late 80’s thrash scene. Their fusion of punk, hardcore, and metal with their zombie gimmick were a much needed shot of fun to the metal scene. Lyrically, they use a lot of references to movies like Dawn Of The Dead, Return Of The Living Dead, and Zombie/Zombie Flesh Eaters.

During their time as a band, they released 3 full lengths (A Feast For The Fallen, The Hallowed & The Heathen, and The Awakening), 2 splits (one with The Nothing and one with Zombie Apocalypse), and a post mortem compilation. Send More Paramedics seemed to fly under the radar and broke up before the big zombie boom with stuff like the Walking Dead exploding into popular culture. This retrospective will be a list of 10 songs throughout their career that I think best encapsulates their work. I have been a huge fan of Send More Paramedics since first hearing the song “The Hordes”, a song about my favorite horror movie of all time, Dawn Of The Dead. I hope this introduces the band to at least a handful of new fans.

The Hordes (from A Feast For The Fallen)

The Hordes is the opening track from the debut Send More Paramedics album. This was the song that introduced me to the band. The recording on A Feast For The Fallen is definitely the most raw of all of their output, but it really works for tracks like this. The vocals are almost indecipherable at points, but has one of the best choruses (“When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth!”). This song encompasses everything great about their first album: fast, raw, and catchy.

I Can Feel Myself Rotting (from The Hallowed & The Heathen)

I Can Feel Myself Rotting is one of three super short songs in Send More Paramedics discography. Lasting only 30 seconds and an obvious reference to the iconic scene from Return Of The Living Dead, Send More Paramedics prove they don’t need the normal 3+ minutes to get their point across.

Zombie Crew (from The Hallowed & The Heathen)

Zombie Crew is without of a doubt the goofiest of Send More Paramedics songs. It’s also probably their most well known. Throughout the blatantly goofy lyrics (“back from the dead, going to the show. I cannot feel my pulse but I’m still gonna go.”) is an incredible catchy song that shows off their more hardcore/punk side. I believe this is their first of three music videos.

Burning The Body (from The Hallowed & The Heathen)

This is a song that I bet was fun live. The sing along of “Burning the body!” in the chorus was probably a staple of their live show. Burning The Body, a reference to Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, is one of the best examples of when Sam (B’Hellmouth) uses his talking/storytelling vocal style during the verse.

Zombie Versus Shark (from Tales Told By Dead Men split with Zombie Apocalypse)

Zombie Versus Shark is probably my second favorite Send More Paramedics songs. The Zombie Apocalypse split is also one of my favorite splits of all time. Both bands are great and totally crush it on their respective sides of the split. This song is a reference to a scene from Zombie (or Zombie Flesh Eaters) by Lucio Fulci in which a woman witnesses one of the undead having an encounter with a shark. It’s one of the craziest movie scenes since this was done with a real shark. The lyrics go a bit farther and consider what would happen is a shark ate a zombie which then eats the shark from the inside out. Feeding frenzy!

Nothing Tastes Like This (from Tales Told By Dead Men split with Zombie Apocalypse)

Nothing Tastes Like This, an ode to eating human flesh, is the start of Send More Paramedics refining their sound into what it would become on The Awakening. This is where they started to take things more seriously and write really great crossover thrash songs. It’s also where I think they started to run out of ideas with songs about zombies and expand into general cannibalism.

Follow Your Programming (from The Awakening)

This song rules so much. Everything from the fast riffs to the awesome hardcore breakdown and sing along at the end just makes me so happy. This song is a perfect example as to where Send More Paramedics started to expand themselves lyrically into themes less zombie related, but still sort of zombie related. Following whatever your programming is regardless of whether it’s right or wrong like a zombie. Also, did I mention how great the end of this song is?!?

The Awakening (from The Awakening)

The Awakening came with a bonus disc of John Carpenter/Goblin style synth music. A soundtrack to the zombie apocalypse, the album is very influenced by Goblin’s Dawn Of The Dead soundtrack. The Awakening is the last track and features a spoken word story line about the beginning of the zombie outbreak. The story is well written and the music is beautiful.

Blood Fever (from The Awakening)

Blood Fever is my favorite and what I think is the quintessential Send More Paramedics song. I think it’s the culmination of all of their metal, hardcore, and punk influences merging together and rivals any other crossover thrash song. It sounds like it could have been written in the 80’s, which works perfectly for the bands sound. The breakdown at the end is pretty great and I imagine went over like crazy live.

Send More Paramedics and their label In At The Deep End Records don’t seem to have anything available on Bandcamp, but all of the Send More Paramedics albums are on Spotify. Also, I believe all of their albums are available on CD from In At The Deep End’s store through their website.

“Stop, stop! He’s already dead.”


I realize the last thing the internet needs is another list no one asked for. But I’m making one (hopefully each month) anyway. The idea is to take an artist or band I love and reduce their output to 10 songs I could listen to forever. Sort of a desert island sort of thing. For the first list, I chose an artist that has been with me since around age 7, Mike Patton. His work has shaped a lot of my musical tastes, from rock to metal to jazz to noise. Loving his work introduced me to John Zorn and Masami Akita, two other artists that will probably get the list treatment down the line. Patton’s vocals range from soulful crooning to full on manic, wordless noises. I think I did a fair enough job getting a good mix of his styles on this list. And by all means, if you like any of this stuff, his work is pretty easy to find around the internet, so check it out. I can’t back his work enough.


10. Matador by Faith No More

Matador is the newest song on this list, coming from this years excellent Faith No More comeback album, Sol Invictus. For me, it’s the best song on the album and comes off as a spiritual successor to the only other Faith No More song that will be on this list, Just A Man. It gave me chills the first time I heard it, especially the vocals towards the end. How this wasn’t the swansong for Sol Invictus is beyond me. It’s a perfect closer.

9. Six Pack by Rollins Band/Mike Patton

Coming from the Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs To Benefit The West Memphis Three compilation, this song is basically Mike Patton with the Mother Superior version of Rollins Band covering an absolutely perfect Black Flag song. The final scream of “six paaaaaaaack!” at the end of this version is throat shedding. Plus, knowing Mike Patton doesn’t drink makes the irony of this cover and the “Fuck it, make it a Zima” line even better.

8. Where Is The Line? Fantomas Remix

Bjork is probably my favorite voice ever. Her music means a lot to me. When I heard she was going to be doing an album comprised of only vocals, I was excited. Then I found out Mike Patton would be on two songs. This was a dream collaboration for me. Medulla is a fantastic album, and the original version of Where Is The Line? is amazing. But this Fantomas remix is incredible. It takes the beauty of the original and basically turns it into a Fantomas cover. This remix doesn’t seem to show up a lot on lists of Patton’s discography for some reason, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

7. Archie & Veronica by Lovage

From Songs To Make Love To Your Old Lady By, Archie & Veronica is the closing track to this Dan The Automator led group. Featuring Patton and Jennifer Charles from Elysian Fields, the song is very lowkey and downtempo trip hop. Most of the album, Jennifer Charles is the highlight, but I love Mike Patton’s work on this song. It was a pretty close decision between this and their cover of Berlin’s ‘Sex (I’m A)’, but Patton’s vocals on this put it over the top.

6. Litany IV by Moonchild Trio

Moonchild Trio is a group put together and overseen by John Zorn. From the album Six Litanies For Heliogabalus and featuring Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn, and Joey Baron, their work is truly avant-garde. Litany IV is Mike Patton at some of his most manic since his Adult Themes For Voice album. I’m not too sure about the background of this track or how he decides on what sounds to make. There is a live video of Patton performing this online that looks like he has some form of sheet music for this. Regardless, this is insane and brilliant and slightly terrifying.

5. Julia by Carla Hassett

Carla Hassett and Mike Patton do wonders to this personal and subdued version of the Beatles song, ‘Julia’. Singing in both Spanish and English, the song is sparse and beautiful. Patton is there mostly to provide back up vocals and sounds great next to Carla Hassett.

4. Catch My Heart by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

I only have cursory knowledge of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore. I’ve always liked what I’ve heard, but haven’t fully dived in to their discography. Catch My Heart. a cover of the heavy metal band Warlock, is the first for Bohren & Der Club Of Gore to feature vocals. Patton was a prefect choice for this song. His crooning fits perfectly over Bohren & Der Club Of Gore’s ambient jazz sound. This cover and the number one song on this list have both made me tear up or openly weep while listening to them.

3. Merry Go Bye Bye by Mr. Bungle

Disco Volante is a beast of an album. It’s still one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard. And I dearly love it. Merry Go Bye Bye is the closing track (minus a hidden noise track) and features everything that makes Mr. Bungle great. Poppy, 50’s style sounds smashed together with noise and even some death metal. The middle part of this song is incredibly weird and wonderful, and the vocals towards the end when it all slows down is great. Disco Volante should pretty much always be listened to as a whole album to truly get an idea of how brilliant it is. The fact that it still sounds as weird and relevant 2 decades later is a testament to how genius Mr. Bungle were.

2. Just A Man by Faith No More

Just A Man is easily my favorite song from one of my top 5 favorite bands of all time. Most people point to Angel Dust as Faith No More’s best album, but for me, King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime is their best. Closing out the album, Just A Man features some of Mike Patton’s best vocal work with Faith No More. His soaring vocals backed with a choir for the last half of the song is beautiful. It’s hard for me to put into words what this song means to me. It simultaneously makes me happy while making me want to cry at the same time. This song definitely ranks in my top 10 songs of all time. Maybe top five.

And number 1. Ballad Of A Thin Man by The Jamie Saft Trio

Bob Dylan is my favorite artist of all time. His songs, especially during the 60’s are timeless. Ballad Of A Thin Man, a poetic and hate fueled track gets a jazzy treatment from the incredible Jame Saft Trio. Mike Patton captures the essence of the original while adding his own original interpretation to a song that has probably been covered hundreds of times. His vocals have an anger, contempt, and sadness to them that fits the song perfectly. I’ve always wondered if Dylan has ever heard this and what his reaction would be. I could listen to this song all the time and never tire of it. Everything from Patton’s performance to the laid back jazz drums and gorgeous piano playing make this my favorite thing Mike Patton has ever been apart of.

Honorable Mention
I wanted to put Delirium Cordia by Fantomas on this list, but felt like it was unfair to pick an hour plus long song. Delirium Cordia is a terrifying listen full of the sounds of surgery and fills me with dread. We’re Not Alone by Peeping Tom and Dub Trio is another one that just barely got cut off. And I couldn’t figure out a song out of Mike Patton’s work with Eyvind Kang to pick because they’re all beautiful and should be heard as whole. John Zorn’s Elegy features Patton on all of the tracks and it’s another great album that should be heard as a whole.