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GD’s verdicts – Best of 2009

GD’s verdicts – Best of 2009

31/12/09  ||  Global Domination

On this day, the very last one of the year, we bring you
another one of our respected Best Of lists. Here are all the answers
you’ll ever need when it comes to the most superior albums launched upon
mankind in 2009. Let’s get down to business, bitches.

Vomitory: Carnage euphoria 1. Vomitory: Carnage euphoria

Lord K. Philipson (In Fucken Charge):

This year’s not been overly fantastic when it comes to superb
albums being released, but fucken lucky for us a few of the finest
managed to squirt out a new recording. It wasn’t very hard to choose
2009’s winner; Vomitory’s “Carnage Euphoria” is a monstrous death metal
effort that pisses on everything else
put out this year when it comes to metal in general and death metal in
particular. Furious blasts, insane energy, memorable tunes and catchy
riffs mixed up with Vomitory’s trademark d-beats, well-oiled groove and
an ace production makes for a killer album and 2009’s winner, without a
doubt. The world’s most underrated band did it again. I take a bow and
hope for another 20 years of death metal coming from the Vomi-camp. The
world deserves it, but most of all – I fucken need it.

2: Xerath: I

Metal from the UK… As said before, you know that’s usually not a
good sign if we aren’t talking about Bolt Thrower or Acid Reign.
Xerath’s changed that a little with their debut album “I”. This is quite
possibly the most impressive release out of that country in many, many
years. With “impressive” I mean it’s been a long time since we actually
heard anything this competent, fresh, innovative and thought-through
from a Brit band. Or actually from any band. Xerath’s a fucken excellent example
of what you can accomplish with some determination and originality, and
since I know you missed out on this album I am now telling you to go
and fucken check it out. I expect massive recognition with the
follow-up, but for now it’s the second best this year.

3: Witchbreed: Heretic rapture

I read about Witchbreed in some review and what caught my
attention was the fact they had a girl doing vocals. We all know I am a
sucker for that shit so I checked them out and found myself ending up
with the third best album of 2009. Since I wrote the review
the album’s grown on me even more, and today I realize I most prolly
scored this recording a little too low. Shit happens. So, what the fuck
is Witchbreed about then? Well, some ex-Moonspell member(s?) creating
easy-listening metal with some of the best vocals in the business,
courtesy of Ruby. Yep, can’t go wrong with that.

4: Katatonia: Night is the new day

Katatonia is melancholy, beauty and ugliness in one. The music
is so well crafted, so full of emotion and passion, making Katatonia one
of the finest bands out of Sweden at the moment. I was never a huge fan
but I have always acknowledged
their impossible-to-deny quality. I am a fan now though all thanx to
“Night is the new day”. I need to seriously dive into their back
catalogue coz this shit is fucken magnificent.

5: Madder Mortem: Eight ways

The weirdest album on the list? Abso-fucken-lutely. Madder
Mortem mix it all up; pitchy vocals, excellent vocals, strange vocals,
weird-as-fuck sections, full-on metal and pretty much all the music
styles you can come up with. And the scary thing is – they manage to
pull it off and create a lovely fucken stew of original’n‘impressive
music. I didn’t expect this to be as good as it is, and I definitely
didn’t expect it to end up on this list. And it’s a grower as well…
Surprises are nice.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Slayer: World painted blood

Dear Slayer, I should have said this long ago… It’s time to hang
it up, guys. You have nothing more to prove, you are already legends.
Your attempts over the last decade and a half to create some frantic
metal have been fruitless. Face it, you haven’t released anything
worthwhile since “Seasons in the abyss”. That was 1990,
dammit! Need we say more? Thing is, much like with Metallica we, the
once-huge fans, expect and hope for remarkable albums even to this day,
all rightfully based on past classic efforts. We are always let down
though. Our hopes are too high. You could have avoided the honour of
being on this list had Metallica only released another shit-sandwich
this year. Fortunately for mankind, they didn’t. You will never be that awful, and that’s at least some comfort. Thanx for the memories. Goodbye.

Close but no anus:

Dark Funeral: Angelus exuro pro eternus

Necrophobic: Death to all

Sanctification: Black reign

The Project Hate MCMXCIX: The lustrate process 1. The Project Hate MCMXCIX: The lustrate process

Statik Majik (99.9% In Fucken Charge):

I could go on forever and ever praising this band, but I’ll try to keep it short. Lemme just say that Lord K and the gang ALWAYS
provide their 110%. Before I even heard a single tone from this album I
knew it would be number one, the main turd, the hair on yer balls aka
Teh Penis of 2009. Lord K is a fucken genius and this album proves it.
Again! 7 songs, about one hour of full perfection. And it’s definitely
not meant for background music. Yeah, you got it; TPH
isn’t about some easy-listening experience, not even close. It requires
multiple listens to fully appreciate the power and the level of
intenseness that’s present on “The Lustrate Process”. Listening to songs
clocking in closer to 8-10 minutes with loads of stuff happening in ‘em
is an experience worth every second.

2: Hypocrisy: A taste of extreme divinity

Peter Tägtgren. Another fucken genius from the land of porn,
blondes and irritatingly catchy pop music. Not to forget the best
goddamned death metal in the world. Sweden rules. And so does Hypocrisy.
Even at their worst (“Catch 22” anyone?) they’re riding there with the
best of ‘em. This release doesn’t pale in comparison to classics like
“Abducted”, “Osculum Obscenum” or their self-titled one. Far from it.
Meaning that it’s very close to the best Hypocrisy has to offer. And
they even named one of the tracks after us, so OF-FUCKENCOURSE Hypocrisy deserves as high a ranking as possible on this list.

3: Sanctification: Black reign

An album that’s a perfect mix of the early 1990’s Florida and
Stockholm sounds combined with the modern day, blasting production. Can I
have an “Hallelujah?!”… ehem, I mean “Shemhamforash!” and “Praise
Satan!”. This is how I want my death metal! It’s always a pleasure to
get your hands on an album where everything just “clicks”. “Black Reign”
is the bastard child of Morbid Angel’s “Covenant” and Entombed’s
“Clandestine” if you ask me.

4: W.A.S.P.: Babylon

After a few mediocre albums W.A.S.P. returns once again with a
perfect hard rock disc. “Perfect” even by their own standards, I might
add. I’ve followed their career devoutly since their legendary 1984
release “Winged Assassins” (later to be named plainly “W.A.S.P.”) and
have now purchased each and every album they released during their
career. Some of ‘em have been excellent, some not so much. Either way,
Blackie Lawless is always a pleasure to listen to. I don’t always agree
with his political rantings but his opinions aside, he is and always has
been one of the most talented musicians/entertainers in rock business.
And “Babylon” proves that the fire he had composing “I wanna be
somebody” still burns inside him.

5: Scar Symmetry: Dark matter dimension

After the nearly perfect “Pitch Black Progress” Scar Symmetry
released the not so perfect “Holographic Universe”, just to come up with
the less pleasant news of the departure of vocalist Christian Älvestam,
whose vocal skills were the main attraction for me in this band. I
haven’t heard many singers who can both growl and perform high, clean
vocals, yet sound “convincing”. King Diamond maybe, but that’s another
story and genre. So I decided to “fuck it” and just stick to “Pitch
Black Progress” instead. Well, they didn’t found a perfect replacement
for Christian but brought two singers to the band instead. Mighty
fucking good singers too, I might add. One for the growls, one for the
clean vox. Smart move, cos at some points one could almost believe it’s
still Christian doing the stuff. Yes, despite of my prejudice I did buy
the album just to notice it wasn’t just the vocalists who felt they had
something to prove, obviously the band felt the same as well because
this album fucken rocks! As much as “Pitch Black Progress” even and
that’s a huge compliment. So all in all, I’m more than happy that I did
give this album a shot. Just to have it on this list tells something
about it, right?

Major disappointment of 2009:

Marilyn Manson’s “High end of low”. It ain’t bad, especially
when comparing to 2007’s very weak release “Eat me, drink me”. But let’s
face it, Manson and the gang have released plenty of killer albums and
now that they obviously have their shit together I could at least hope
for something closer to “Antichrist Superstar” or “Holy Wood”. Well,
maybe next time.

Honorable mentions:

Pestilence: Resurrection macabre

Obituary: Darkest day

Two old-schoolers did release killer albums this year and I
always have a warm spot for both of ‘em. But top 5 is top 5, not top 7.
And as you can see, the top 5 happens to be fucken dynamite – as in
very, very hard to top. So I just wanna give two thumbs up to this duo
of 2009-released discs.

Code: Resplendent grotesque 1. Code: Resplendent grotesque

Kampfar (writer and somewhat in charge):

“Resplendent grotesque” is a brilliant album from start to
finish, at least I think so whenever I find myself in the mood for black
metal with a moody twist. Quite often, that is. Moody might not be the
perfect word to describe their particular twist, please forgive me, but
this platter anyhow doesn’t belong amongst the blackest of the black. At
times it rips and shreds but every as often it mellows down into pure,
dark melancholy. I love it.

2: YOB: The great cessation

The same day I learned these guys had reformed I found their
latest available for stealing. And steal it I did. I haven’t yet bought
it, shame on me, but this is anyhow the best doom release I heard all
year. Still desperate, still crushing, still fucking ace.

3: Gnaw Their Tongues: All the dread magnificence of perversity

Creating horrid noises is easy, nails + a blackboard gets the
job done, and so does stepping on cats. I would never do such a thing,
cruelty against animals is really rather depressing, but I could do so
if I was a total prick and thus wanted to. What I could never do,
however, is what the sick individual behind Gnaw Their Tongues has done
plenty of times already. Mending and bending noises into a coherent
stream of droning abhorrence, that is. Horrendously excellent, yet
again.

4: Trepalium: XIII

The French metal-scene is still going strong, stronger than ever
perhaps, and the same rings true when speaking Trepalium. I didn’t
think that highly of “XIII” at first – in fact
I thought of it as a bit boring compared to the flamboyant and fucked
up ride known as “Alchemik clockwork of disorder” – but repeated listens
obviously changed my mind quite a bit. It isn’t boring, it sounds
great, and executed by a bunch of excellent musicians it also is. Which
is why I recommend “XIII” to all those into groovy death.

5: Napalm Death: Time waits for no slave

The grinders from Birmingham is not about to change their
approach anytime soon. But – even though they aren’t doing anything new,
perhaps never again – they still manage to sound fresh and rejuvenated
with their every release. A neat trick this, and one they have managed
to pull off ever since the brilliance known as “Enemies of the music
business”. Grind on, ye bastards!

The Project Hate MCMXCIX: The lustrate process 1. The Project Hate MCMXCIX: The lustrate process

Trauma (writer and mistress of trolls):

Without this band I’d probably never be here at this site. So
don’t send your complaints my way. I thought “In Hora…” was a fine
album, and this one just surpassed it and all their previous records
with one giant leap. I feel I exhausted my thoughts in the TPH
forum with an absurdly long “review”, but let me add some more (read:
rehash) anyways. I love the techno break in the first track. “Our
wrath will fall down from the sky” has one of the best riffs on the
album, “The locust principles” takes the cake as the best track, Joergen
fucken growls like a madman yet again, Jonna sounds spectacular, and I
really like the sound of the toms. The rest of the drums could sound
like they were played on Tupperware as long as the toms sound like they
do. Don’t fucken as me why, I just LIKE them. In short: awesome guests, awesome tunes, awesome album. PEEEEEENIS.

2. Alice in Chains: Black gives way to blue

Two of my favorite bands had albums released this year that
didn’t suck. That’s amazing. Now I just need a good blowjob and if I
die this year I won’t much care. It grew on me very quickly from a
comeback that I was not too confident in, to a comeback that I was quite
proud to say that I really think is great. William Duvall will yet
make a fantastic new frontman/guitarist for the band should he become
just that, and Jerry can still write the tunes. If it wasn’t for TPH, this would be my number one.

3. Trepalium: XIII

Thanks to Kampfar I found out about this band and their album
“Alchemik clockwork of disorder” and immediately was hooked. Then they
released this album and I like it so much it’s in my top list of this
year. An impressive release. It fares really well when compared to
their previous, containing far catchier riff-work making for a whole
sit-through of the album a really pleasant experience.

4. My Own Grave: Necrology

All you gotta do is read my review.
A nice, refreshingly enjoyable death metal album. You’d be doing
yourself a favor to listen to and love this album. You’ve got top notch
vocals and a pretty relentless attack during it’s duration. The songs
to me are pretty much unskippable, so buy the bitch, or something.
Listen to it, motherfuckers!

5. Mustasch: Mustasch

I’m fucken hooked and I don’t really know why. This guys voice somehow just works, and the de-tuned riffs really add to the heaviness of the album. It’s like the ABC’s
on how to make some catchy hard rock after it pretty much went out of
style, which is something what these guys are doing this music with. I
originally held this spot for Expulsion, but found that I’m listening to
this album far more.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Immortal: All shall fall

I expected this to be so much better than it was. It really
bummed me because I’ve liked most of the later Immortal material,
especially “Sons…”. If only. Hopefully in time people realize that
this album isn’t all they think it’s cracked up to be. Or maybe I’m
just that far out of the loop when it comes to their music that I don’t
“get it”. Either way, I was very disappointed when I heard the album
because I just expected more.

Honorable mentions:

Expulsion: Wasteworld

Napalm Death: Time waits for no slave

Vomitory: Carnage euphoria

Agoraphobic Nosebleed: Agorapocalypse 1. Agoraphobic Nosebleed: Agorapocalypse

Khlysty (writer and hater of pussy):

Surprise, surprise! Even though I prefer the slow-and-low of
metal, this record is for me the best thing that happened in 2009 and,
most probably, the best thing that ANb has to offer us so far. See, the
boys and gal decided that the best thing to do after the OTT
“Altered States of America” (100 “songs” in 20 minutes, crammed into a
mini-CD) is to change things a little. So, by slowing down the bpm
factor, writing longer songs and, instead of doing the “three detuned
chords played in nuclear-strength-velocity” trick, paying attention to
composition, detail and hooks, ANb gives us a 13-plus-one-hidden tracks
masterpiece of grindcore dementia.

Of course, the known ingredients (the multiple-vocal attack, the
lyrics that are guaranteed to offend anyone living, the “surreal” –for
lack of a better word- humor, the Bren-gun chattering of the drum
machine, the great artwork, the hilarious song-titles) are still proudly
present. But, this time around, everything seems more, y’ know,
“whole”, more complete, more “here and now” psychotic. Scott Hull’s
riffing is discernible, the songs are songs and not just mere sonic
ejaculations of inarticulate blind hatred. The wild card, Kat’s vocals
are prime screaming of the best kind and everything seems bigger,
nastier, better. Euthanatos’ review does justice to the whole affair and, so, there isn’t much left for me to say, than that it kills and you should have it…

2. Moss: Tombs of the blind drugged

My main misanthrope, Kampfar, gave these guys an excellent review,
so go read it and fuck off my back. Funereal doom as it should be:
ugly, hateful, heavier than gravity, stone-crazy and more angular than
thorns. Listen and die!

3. Deathspell Omega: Veritas diaboli manet in aeternum (chaining the Katechon)

A 20-minute E.P. packing more ideas, more venom, more acidity
than a gazillion trad black metal records can ever dream of. The French
philosophically inclined Satanist commune returns with something that
burns, screams, writhes and slashes in ways that I don’t think that lots
of people can easily handle, much less appreciate. Fuck them. This is
so good that after really absorbing it –music, lyrics, artwork- you’ll
be changed in ways that you wouldn’t believe existed.

4. Cobalt: Gin

Experimental black metal as transcendental experience.
Incredibly thick in ideas, incredibly nasty in execution. Only people
who have passed the sundance rite, drunk the bitterest of drugs, seen
the most horrifying of visions and scarred themselves –inside and out-
can come up with such majestically fucked-up music. To call it black
metal is to try and redeem it. This is music as rite of cleansing and
then some.

5. Shrinebuilder: Shrinebuilder

An unholy marriage of four “Illuminati” (Scott Kelly, Scott
“Wino” Weinrich, Al Cisneros and Dale Crover) of the “heavy”,
Shrinebuilder is a bona fide supergroup and a joy for
sore ears. Combining each member’s m.o. and influences, the whole is
much greater than its parts, without ever moving towards
“look-ma-how-cool-I-am”, masturbatory territories. Also, the record’s
obvious fun and laid-back ambience makes the music a real pleasure to
listen to. Post-apocalyptic-psychedelic-sludgy-stoner-doom? Nah, just
great music by great musicians.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Immortal: All shall fall

Kthulhu knows that I’m an Immortal fanboy, through and through.
But this is, to these ears, at least, pretty tepid and by-the-numbers,
so no cookie for the war-painted ones this year…

Almost made it:

Isis: Wavering radiant (pretty heavy for a post rock record)

Sunn0))): Monoliths and dimensions (seems that I’m the only one here in GD who likes them boys and their drone-y ways)

Khanate: Clean hands go foul (even though not on par with their psychotic excellence of the past, still a good record)

Devin Townsend Project: Addicted 1. Devin Townsend Project: Addicted

GardensTale (writer and eater of snot):

Devin’s just one of those musicians where you need to go into
each and every album with a completely blank slate on your expectations.
I mean, there was SYL’s “The New Black”, followed by “Ziltoid” which
was completely different, then “Ki” which… Yeah, you get my point. And
lo and behold, “Addiction” is another complete turnaround. And yet, it’s
another great album. In fact, it’s a big improvement over “Ki” even
though I loved that as well (it’s only not on this list because I felt
kinda irky about one artist twice on the list) and I’d actually not
hesitate to call it one of the most new and original things in modern
metal. It’s very dense and detailed metal, but with all the
accessibility and ‘good time’ feeling of pop. Yes, pop. In the non-stop
depressed world of metal, this is an incredible fresh breath and
straight away the ultimate execution of the idea. You may refer to my
full review as to why something poppy took my #1 spot for 2009.

2. Týr: By the light of the northern star

I’d always managed to somehow miss these guys with each new
release. After the review of their latest piece on here, I decided to
make a change about that, and what followed was three weeks of me
shouting: “I WILL DECIMATE, AND DECAPITATE!”
It’s amazing how well Týr can convey the whole rape pillage slaughter
and battle thing without being truly overly aggressive, like Amon Amarth
or other Viking buddies. Not saying Viking metal, I don’t like the
moniker, but they’re fucking Vikings all the same. “By the light…”
scores entirely on perfectly executed charm and bloodthirsty charisma.
Honor, blood and mead at the feast under the northern star!

3. Guilt Machine: On this perfect day

Taking me by surprise, this little symphonic gem kept my
attention tied for far longer than I initially expected. It’s not heavy,
it’s not groovy, but it’s completely engaging in its epic and
progressive grandness. Intelligent lyrics (perhaps with the exception of
“Over”) and phone calls from all over the world make the whole feel
like a worldwide confession on guilt, life, and death. It’s like reading
comics. Sometimes you just want to see things get smashed and really
fucking angry people throwing cars around. That’s what Hulk or Hellboy
is for. But then you feel like you need to get into something deeper,
something that touches you beyond the skin. That’s when you read
Watchmen. And that’s when you listen to Guilt Machine.

4. Diablo Swing Orchestra: Sing along songs for the damned & delirious

There’s a spot in the human mind that finds dark and threatening
things wonderful and hilarious. I think Diablo Swing Orchestra got
their inspiration from there with their latest album. The first one was
good, but missed the consistency in quality that this record manages to
provide. When I play this, I see circuses where demons frolick on
Russian polkas, I see gentlemen in high hats smiling slightly too wide, I
see an opera where murder and sodomy go hand in hand behind the scenes,
sometimes peeping into the show. It’s wild. It does evil things because
it enjoys evil. And it is flamboyant in every single aspect of its
being. Mr. Dark has the soundtrack to his carnival.

5. Black Pyramid: Black pyramid

Colon stompings are said to be painful. Strange, then, that it’s
not pain I feel when Black Pyramid stomp my colon beyond recognition.
Stoner metal is something where you pretty much know what to expect, and
Black Pyramid is no exception, but they do it with so much charm and
groove, in addition to their perfect feeling of riffs that vary between
steam-powered bulldozer and psychedelic mind warps, it’s like Black
Sabbath got a complete make-over and lessons on how to stomp more
colons. There’s really just one correct word combination for this
release, and though I’ve said it before, I feel it needs the emphasis. Colon stomping.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Clutch: Strange cousins from the west

I guess the small decline in quality with “From Beale Street to
oblivion” was a sign of things to come; I’d just hoped it wasn’t. I love
nearly all of Clutch’s varied body of work; the first and now the last
two albums are the only three exceptions. “Strange cousins” just wasn’t
engaging, it didn’t groove nicely, the whole thing just breathed ‘tired’
for me, where “Robot hive/exodus” still breathed the fresh power of a
band that after 40 years in the desert had established their perfect
sound. Clutch themselves say they’re heading more towards blues, but it
sounds to me like they’re just heading towards early retirement. Maybe
they’ll still be able to pull a turnaround à la Danny Glover in Lethal
Weapon. I won’t hold my breath.

Pantheon I: Worlds I Create 1. Pantheon I: Worlds I Create

CadenZ (writer and choirboy):

As fine a black metal album as has been released in many a year, Worlds I Create
is a harsh and grim, yet haunting and beautiful piece of dark art. A
perfect blend of harmony and disharmony. The fact that it’s top dog in
an album-wise extremely good year (when the likes of Marduk, Katatonia
and Swallow the Sun are left out of the top 5, you know the annual
harvest has been good) gives you some kind of hint of its class. And in
case you didn’t get it/you’re a moron, it’s fucken top-notch.

2: Lost Soul: Immerse in Infinity

Right at the end of the year, this monster of a record enters
the scene. These Polish bad-asses sure know how to execute their
technical death metal. Fantastic musicianship is coupled with a keen
sense of subtle changes in the atmospheric nuances. Seems like a big
chunk of death metal’s future lies in the land that gave us Copernicus,
Chopin and Vader. And two bands on this list.

3: Behemoth: Evangelion

“Evangelion” pulverizes everything else they’ve done, and that’s
saying a lot. “Of Fire and the Void” is an instant classic and belongs
without a shadow of a doubt on the “best death metal songs of all-time
list”, and the rest of the songs uphold an impressive high standard.
When listening to this masterpiece there’s nothing you can do but
relinquish yourself to the merciless flood of beastly riffs and
blastbeats coming at you from all directions – you are simply consumed
alive by the divinity of Behemoth’s onslaught!

4: Dååth: The Concealers

Who would’ve thought that expertly executed melodeath, thrash,
blastbeats, proggy elements and even some stompy riffs could be arranged
into this delicious a soup of extreme catchiness? Well, not me – but
I’m glad “The Concealers” exists, ‘cause listening to this riff- and solofest is a pure and utter pleasure.

5: Shining: VI – Klagopsalmer

Kvarforth proves that misanthropy doesn’t have to be overtly
minimalistic or possess a production where guitars sound like crooning
geese and kick drums like rats’ claws clicking against a cavern floor.
Well-written, well-produced and well-performed hate. Me like.

Major disappointment of 2009:

The tiredness of the old guard.

Both Slayer, Immortal and Megadeth released OK albums, but with
their back-catalogue, more is warranted. A 6 out of 10 record isn’t good
enough, not when it’s done by King/Hanneman, Mustaine or
Abbath/Demonaz. Maybe retirement would be the right way to go after all,
or is their hope in the horizon? I’m guessing no – pack your bags, your
time has passed. Don’t spoil your legacy by mediocre and drawn-out
swansongs.

Propagandhi: Supporting caste 1. Propagandhi: Supporting caste

Habakuk (writer and investigator of the male crotch):

The album that shits on its entire genre. I forewarned the metal scene in my review
a while ago, but they didn’t listen. And here I am, further praising
this post-punkish, almost progressive-sounding, melodic yet heavy,
catchy yet intelligent and greatly produced album by a band that for a
second might sound more like modern day Green Day than anything metal.
However, given a few more seconds, “Supporting caste” reveals awesome
tunes that should be checked out by anyone with a remote interest in the
faster side of rock music with a slight metal tinge. I can’t recall
enjoying any other punk album as much as this since my old “The
Offspring” days. Victory. Also includes the song of the year, “Dear
Coach’s Corner”.

2: Wormrot: Abuse

The album that flew the grind flag high in 2009. Inherits my
personal “Best Grind Album” trophy of 2008 from Insect Warfare’s “World
extermination”. Short, dirty, crusty, fast, nasty, simple, in your face
and armed with an icepick. The way grind should be done.

3: Ahab: The divinity of oceans

The album that took me a while to appreciate. At first the
unexpected additional clean chants that hadn’t been present on the debut
put me off, but sitting on a boat somewhere in the pacific, gently
rolling through the waves made me “get it”. The description will sound a
bit cheesy, but these guys indeed paint an aural picture of the sea in
all its facets, from soothing and calm to monumental and crushing. If
you’re interested in Funeral Doom and haven’t heard this, you’re
definitely missing out. I wasn’t expecting much different after the
awesome first album, but they managed to significantly evolve their
sound and take a step further while still staying undeniably Ahab.

4: Karl Sanders: Saurian exorcisms

The album that does exactly what it’s supposed to do. I haven’t
heard the new Nile, but Karl Sanders’ second solo output again focussing
entirely on the oriental, acoustic side of the main band makes up for
that. Hypnotic, swirling guitar work, great percussion arrangements and a
dark and sombre tone is what could be expected after the debut and what
has been delivered again, this time even a bit more gloomy than before.
Stunningly awesome music. Keep the frantic blast beats for all I care,
this embodies the best parts of what makes Nile unique.

5: Mastodon: Crack the skye

The album that I should have listened to more. After the very,
very disappointing “Blood mountain”, 2009 brought this return to form
for Mastodon. Return to form, mind you, not return to
the same style they played on “Leviathan”. Nowhere near as heavy as that
one, this album concentrates on piling layers and layers of awesomeness
on top of each other. The main difference to the direct predecessor is
that the guys had the right feel for the overall sound, and left out all
the annoying and superfluous “progressive” additions. “Crack the Skye”
sure sounds “progressive”, but the major difference is the sense of
cohesion that becomes obvious in the delivery, and there’s still a lot
to discover during multiple listens. Everything fits. Big plus: A lot of
work has gone into improving the clean vocals, which had been a weak
point earlier. Not so anymore. This looks like the final departure of
the “heavy” Mastodon, but if they continue producing music as inspired
as on “Crack the Skye”, I’ll be the last one to complain.

Disappointment of the year:

Clutch: Strange cousins from the west

Not even seeing them live helped me appreciate the new songs.
Simple explanation: They sound too thin, too slow, too boring. Not bad,
but far from good, and that’s a lot less than I’d expect from the band
with a back catalog like Clutch. I haven’t listened to this for months,
and I remember enough to safely assume it’s not going to happen anytime
soon either. Yawn.

Almost on the list:

Leeches Of Lore: Leeches of lore

Wardruna: Runaljod – Gap var ginnunga

Mastodon: Crack the skye 1. Mastodon: Crack the skye

The Duff (writer and part-time princess):

“Crack the skye”, although even more progressive than their
latest past outing, is far more measured in such a field and as with
“Leviathan” before it, although suffering from some minor incoherence
from the brief openers to the true majesty of the album (i.e. the rest
of it), a perfect delivery from the band; with such an evolutionary leap
(witnessed already from “Remission” to “Leviathan”), we’re once more at
one of the finest metal albums of the last thirty years.

2: Ulcerate: Everything is fire

At first a disappointment over their debut as it was more
cohesive an album, in the end the dark nature of the music revealed
nothing short of an absolute gem, something on par with the most classic
of discs from the band’s influences such as Immolation, Neurosis and
Deathspell Omega – to merge such into a tech death record, writing some
of the most fluid, swirling and foreboding sections of the metal genre
is what will leave “Everything is Fire” an indelible mark on the scene
for years to come as with the greatest.

3: Blut Aus Nord: Dialogue with the stars

My choice for finest black metal release was a tough one indeed,
but I had to restrict myself to full-lengths for my own mental
well-being in excluding Deathspell Omega. That said, Blut Aus Nord I
think marginally trumps it due to the gloriousness of the music, the
eeriness of “Work Which Transforms God” mixed with prog, moments at
times exceeding the beauty expressed by some of the finest bands of the
70s.

4: Steven Wilson: Insurgentes

Two years ago it was Porcupine Tree that nestled into my top
five; unfortunately this year’s release, “The Incident” fails to match
the scope and variation of the band’s frontman’s solo effort, a truer
definition of progressive rock/metal. The breathtaking grandness of
bands like Sigur Ros mixed with Sabbath, spacious prog and eerie
atmospherics make this what I doubt would have been a risk releasing
under the Porcupine Tree moniker but rather an outstandingly bold
development on the band’s part.

5: Gorod: Process of a new decline

A toss-up between Anaal Nathrakh and Gorod, my allegiance to
sub-genres is evident. These French techsters have always been a gifted
outfit, but never before have they smoothed everything over so nicely;
layers are always a mighty fine idea and an easy route to tickling my
bell-end, so whereas before leads were more flashy and secondary to the
meaty riffing, now we get to the goods a la Anata and such, just the
ways I likes it.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Nile: Those whom the gods detest

Devin’s “Ki” and “Addicted” could have made it if they weren’t
so complementary to each other, so Nile is my next choice, everything up
until “Those Whom the Gods Detest” having been absolutely essential to
my palate. My gripes as mentioned from the November 2009 Audio Autopsy
remain, and I’ve made the effort to let this one sink in since; a good
album, fantastic production, but I’ve given up on the likelihood of
being enthralled when it comes to George’s drumming and every second
riff seems a recycled idea, it’s clear that two years writing an album
this late into your career as a technical death metal band is rushing it
no matter how impeccable your discography.

funeral-mist 1. Funeral Mist: Maranatha

theProphet (writer and prophet of man-juice):

This is how you write awesome goddamned (because if you can get
away with this, the fear of God is not to be taken seriously) black
metal! You throw out all the faggoty accessories such as bullshit
plastic armor with a pentagram on the chest and corpsepaint that totally
looks like an EVIL SKULL,
and focus on what’s important; crafting moody, suggestive music that
makes promises of utmost depravity if you dare to wholly commit yourself
to it. Funeral Mist does not rely on playing incredibly fast, and
indeed, the band (or guy, Funeral Mist is all about its mastermind
Arioch/Mortuus) sounds its best on the slower tracks, where the many
layers in the music becomes the most apparent. Fuck the faux devil
worshipping used by many bands of today to convey an image of evil,
because this is what evil really sounds like.

2: Kylesa: Static Tensions

I’ve seen this band mentioned a couple of times over the years
but my first encounter with their music was a month ago, when this fine
orchestra opened for Clutch here in Malmö. I was pretty much blown away
by the entire show but one song in particular caught my attention,
“Running Red”. Seeing it was from their latest album, I decided to
further investigate and found to my great enjoyment a quite simply
awesome musical effort. On “Static Tensions”, Kylesa churns out an
eclectic maelstrom of riffs, with influences ranging from stoner and
doom metal to hardcore.

3: Marduk: Wormwood

So by this point it should be pretty obvious who gets to put his
sin-flesh in my mouth. I’m not saying that Mortuus appearance made
Marduk good, I’m saying that it propelled them from being a high-quality
black metal band to being one of the bands in the Swedish supreme
trinity of black metal bands, together with Watain and of course,
Funeral Mist. This album also gets some pretty high irony points for
containing the “ROCKINGEST SONG THAT WILL MAKE YOU NEVER WANT TO HEADBANG AGAIN”. The winner? Why, “Symphony of Cracked Necks” of course.

4: Nile: Those Whom the Gods Detest

Their inner circle of fanboys might be utter retards, what with
their beguiled, perpetual fellation of Nile’s ithyphallic, but don’t
forget that the band themselves have been known to exhibit clearly
douchy tendencies. Yet you gotta hand it to them, because this time
around they actually made a pretty damn awesome album. It’s no
“Annihilation of the Wicked”, sure, but it’s safe to say that it’s a
step of gargantuan proportions from the last measly effort that was
“Ithyphallic”. “TWtGD” induces visions of the angry dead clawing their
way to the sun-baked surface of ancient desert lands, wreaking the
vengeance of the damned upon the hapless mortals.

5: Wormrot: Abuse

A motherfucking solid grind platter this is, opening with
possibly the most awesome sampled recording I’ve yet to encounter in
metal it quickly descends into ferocious pandemonium of blasting blasts
and buzzing riffs. A very pleasant new acquaintance for me, and
Singapore can now show off two great metal bands. Seriously, book these
guys as the opening act for Impiety, and you have ONE HELL of a show.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Too many to mention

Judging from the bands that released new albums in 2009, this
should be an immensely hard best of-list to pick out. However, some of
my absolute fave bands totally fell through on meeting my expectations
this year with some pretty sub-par releases. Bands such as Totalt Jävla
Mörker, Job For a Cowboy, Vader, Rammstein, Behemoth, Gorgoroth and The
Project Hate, just to name a few, managed to fuck up their legacies to
varying degrees, from mega-fail to okay-not-good-enough. It was nice
that you tried guys, next time do it way better!

Honorable Mentions:

Clutch: Strange cousins from the west

Converge: Axe to fall

Behemoth: Evangelion 1. Behemoth: Evangelion

Euthanatos (writer and subscriber of cum):

What could I possible say that I haven’t already?
I climbed the mountain with my mighty staff, I filled my lungs with
breath, inspite all sand and dust, and I yelled at the four winds, to
all those who would listen: All Hail Behemoth, grandest of the grand,
most eloquent and ferocious warriors to come from Polish land!
“Evangelion” is the crowning achievement, the masterpiece of epic glory,
the cherry at the top of the cake.
Death/black/pompous/barbaric/blasphemic metal of the best kind, nothing
this year tops Nergal and his acolytes.

2: The Project Hate MCMXCIX: The lustrate process

The moment I had been waiting for ever since I came across
“Cybersonic Superchrist”. The day when Lord K, our beloved ruler,
spanker of bottoms, lasher of foul words, would overcome even himself,
dive deep into the abyss of creativity and come forth holding the holy
grail of satanic death metal with techno beats. Everything in “The
Lustrate Process” screams perfection, from the performances of the band
and multiple guests, to the sparkling production. An epic for the ages,
the definite moment in the hateful discography.

3: Týr: By the light of the northern star

If you want to make me all gay and creamy inside, give me a good
slab of viking metal. Viking metal from the Faroes? Fuck me, you might
as well give me a vagina, ‘cos I’m all wet. I had always enjoyed Týr,
their pagan/chanting battle metal hit just the right notes, but with
their latest offering, everything and then some came together. The riffs
are just right, the vocals are straight out of a battlefield and the
production is top-notch. Does’t get any better than this. No, sir.

4: Mumakil: Behold the failure

I love it when a band come out of nowhere and surprises me in
such a positive manner, I’m compelled to buy their shit immediately.
Switzerland, of all places, did me a solid this year, presenting me with
grindcore newcomers Mumakil. This is only their sophomore, but it’s
pretty much everything I could possible dream of wanting from a
grindcore album. It’s violent, brutally fast, but cohesive and
comprehensible in a way only the best musicians can deliver. Like Pig
Destroyer, these guys have taken aggressiveness into a whole new realm
of horrific beauty. I expect great things from these fuckers.

5: Baroness: Blue record

I expected a good album from these Southern crazies, since the
previous one was already pretty neat. I didn’t expect them to come all
guns blazing and destroy my ass with this blend of insanely heavy
post-metal, southern sludge, Mastodonian rock. Trippy music with ballsy
vocals, and the proggiest instrumental you’ll listen to that doesn’t
turn boring or self-absorbed. True, very close to, as you could have
guessed by the description, Atlanta-based Mastodon (whose “Crack the
Skye” was also one of the better offerings of the year), but Baroness
have certainly come into their own, making their own mark on music and
taking metal somewhere far beyond. No Blind Guardian reference intended.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Slayer: World painted blood

Not a terrible album, but far akin to the greatness that is
Slayer. Slayer is supposed to lead the pack, deliver the killing blow to
all that is unworthy, Slayer is god in the thrash metal world. Yet, I
feel helpless and wanting after listening to “World Painted Blood”. Two
or three killers tracks, the rest are just fillers and some hideous
experimentation. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take “Christ Illusion” over
this any day.

So close, yet so far:

Cobalt: Gin

Swallow the Sun: New moon

Ahab: The divinity of oceans

Megadeth: Endgame 1. Megadeth: Endgame

HailandKill (writer and David Hasselhoff’s chesthair’s better half):

Dave, we love ya, even if bad luck (and bad press—heard of that
tiff with a European girl journo half his age?) seems to come your way
on a regular basis. Get this: “Endgame” is a total smash marking
Megadeth’s long overdue return to form with a brilliant new lineup of
slaves, er, bandmates, then ollafa sudden their record label no longer
pushes the album. Apparently, being old school isn’t so nice cos you get
screwed over more often than newer bands who are too naive to navigate
their way through the treacherous music biz. With that said, is anyone
excited about Overkill’s “Ironbound”?

2: Tenet: Sovereign

Wow, Strapping Young Lad plus Exodus! Total hemorrhoids inducing
metal. HailandKill loved it. What he didn’t love were the hemorrhoids
he endured mid-year (actually caused by unhealthy meat intake) and had
to medicate with frequent enemas, hot water baths, a vegetable diet, and
careful observations of his stool. It was a painful (lustrate) process.
He now thanks the Lawd Gahd it’s over and his bunghole is back to
normal. Heck, he thinks he can even hear it laughing while he craps.
What’s that? Oh yeah, “Sovereign”. If it weren’t for Tenet’s debut,
HailandKill would have become a nervous wreck while curing his anus.
Thanks guys.

3: Lamb of God: Wrath

Being totally honest here, HailandKill expected these rednecks
to drop a fartbomb of an album. Lo and behold it actually slays him
seven different ways, from the menacing “In Your Words” to the bare
knuckle “Contractor” and the stomping finisher “Reclamation.” Jesus,
what an unholy muthah of a, what? Fifth album? HailandKill is grateful
to Lamb of God for ruling the earth and just rolling with the punches
despite what the detractors say.

4: Rammstein: Liebe ist für alle da

HailandKill, disgusting perv that he is, jacked off to “Pussy”. Ugh. Trust him, you don’t wanna know any more details.

5: Scar Symmetry: Dark matter dimensions

The awful truth is only about half the songs on this album are
good compared with the sheer awesome proportions of their masterful
“Pitch Black Progress”. But still, HailandKill is such a fanboy of Scar
Symmetry he goes homosexual on anything they touch. Even better, on this
delicious milkshake of a melo-death release, the two replacement
singers for estranged frontman Christian Älvestam really fill their own
shoes. A superb job throughout. Wunnerful. Wunnerful.

Major disappointment of 2009:

Shadows Fall: Retribution

What [tha fuck] happened???

Honorable Mention:

The mighty Immortal’s comeback “All Shall Fall”. Fuck yeah, THIS
is how black metal should sound. Bursting with frozen testicles, icy
frog croaks, and wintry breaking of winds, the album’s a terrifying
return by Norway’s fabled Blashyrkh warriors. A bit short though.

Wolf: Ravenous 1. Wolf: Ravenous

Baalzamon666 (writer and licker of sweaty balls):

Bestial shapes hunt in the night, howling at the moon with
ravenous hunger and insatiable lust for blood… to the sound of some
badass heavy-fucken-metal! The brilliant Swedes have put out yet another
excellent effort that bridges the best influences of the classics with
the impetus of the new. “Ravenous” has been the most entertaining listen
for me this year on a gut level, a perfect album for the moments of raw
enjoyment of the thrills of metal in its purest form. So get all your
guns ready to blaze, say no prayers for those about to die, howl up to
the evil stars and get ready to bite some throats till the blood flows
in yer mouth, ‘cause the age of the Wolf has arrived!

2: Mastodon: Crack the skye

There is no stopping this behemoth. There are no limits for
Mastodon, my friends. They’re simply one of the very best bands of our
time, and I’m grateful to have witnessed their astonishing progression
from day one. On “Crack the Skye” they have raised the stakes yet again,
tackling on prog armed with seemingly unlimited skills and their
irreverent ways to make songs come alive. Their ethereal, phantasmagoric
epics are written in that distinctive style of their own that makes
them a wildly original and unique entity. Love them or hate them, these
guys are simply geniuses of metal, have no doubts about it.

3: Alice in Chains: Black gives way to blue

Fuck me sideways, was this unexpected or what? My heroes of
yesteryear, minus a presence larger than life, have returned in such a
convincing manner I’m still surprised and will be for a while. The
darkness lurking in these songs is as profound as it ever was. My first
listen, I had the creeps right away. It truly seems they were never
absent. The sinister vibe, the unease and the gloom are still strong.
Layne can’t be replaced; his ghost will haunt us until the end of Alice
in Chains, yet in William Duvall, Jerry and the guys have found somebody
that has a menacing presence of his own. I’ll be eagerly anticipating
the next chapter, the possibilities are endless!

4: My Dying Bride: For lies I sire

The masters of doom have returned, weaving their tales of shadow
amidst the mournful crying of returning violin strings. “For Lies I
Sire” is yet another chapter of woe and misery, full of dirges to love,
death and despair. Epic and emotional to a fault, these Brits have been
so consistently depressed for so fucken long that it must be must be
some kind of record. My Dying Bride is still king of the valley of
doom-death, despite the intense pressure from Swallow the Sun. They
remain so by virtue of their incredible ability to write great songs
that embody misery, songs that will replay themselves vividly in every
painstaking, overwhelming detail, all in yer head, long after you’ve
turned off the lights and all sounds have died.

5: Gorod: Process of a new decline

These insanely talented purveyors of the finest frog metal of
technical death incarnate are quite fucken demented. As they try to
dissect and pummel yer brain, they demonstrate their exquisite technique
and flair, not to mention their dynamism and uncanny sense of the
violent groove. The beret-wearing fuckers are trying hard to be crowned
kings of the fancy, flashy tech death universe, and that’s fine by me,
‘cause they’re succeeding so far! The collection of over-the-top riffs
and solos present in this baby are worth getting yer tech- cock out and
rocking as hard as a firm of engineers with a boner for death-dealing
machinery. Highly recommended stuff!

Major disappointment of 2009

Amoral: Show your colors

From the sublime heights of technical, ballsy trash-death, to
the ridiculous lows of some lame power metal devoid of any cojones,
Amoral here is a perfect example of how to fuck it up. This is a mistake
of cold-lake proportions. Un-fucken-believable how sometimes musicians
simply don’t have a clue about what to do with their talent. I scream
sellout!

Close but not quite there:

Immortal: All shall fall

Swallow the Sun: New moon

Amorphis: Skyforger

Absu: Absu

Behemoth: Evangelion

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2014 by in Verdicts 06-13.
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