I couldn’t just do a Halloween special on AGB Radio (tonight from 7-9 EST on BFF.fm!), I had to make a creep filled mix especially for you guys. However you party, this will be the perfect score for your Halloween.
Dark Cloud Rising
1. Mississippi Fred McDowell – Dark Cloud Rising
2. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
3. Wilt – She Walks The Night
4. The Sensational Whirlwinds – (Make Old) Satan Leave Me Alone
5. Have A Nice Life – The Parhelic Circle
6. Wreck & Reference – Abhorrence
7. Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch – Owl Cave
8. Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven-Shape-Note Singing Convention – God’s Gonna Set The World On Fire
9. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Maximum Black
10. The Angelic Process – Welcome To Oblivion
11. John Carpenter – The Fog
12. Lonnie Johnson – Lonesome Ghost Blues
13. Jasper TX – Black Sleep Part IV
14. Robert Johnson – Hellhound On My Trail
15. Avgrunden – The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows
16. Rev. I. B. Ware – I Wouldn’t Mind Dying
17. Empire Auriga – Waiting For The Fall
18. The Pod – Collecting Dust
Rorcal’s Világvége is so fucking amazing, I need to make sure at least one of you guys has a copy. So I’m gonna give one away.
WIN IT: Show me your best bunny. Cute ones, disapproving ones, big ones, tiny ones, floppy ones, sassy ones… draw it, find a picture, take a picture, I don’t care, just give me bunnies. Comment on this post with a link to the bunny image of your choosing before Sunday, 4/14, at midnight/11:59 pm, and you might win a copy of the best metal record this year.
RULES: Multiple submissions are welcome & encouraged but probably won’t increase your chances of winning. Who knows, though.
Gifs are great, videos are not.
If you find a great bunny online, you get extra points if I haven’t seen it before (heads up, I’ve seen a lot of bunnies in my internetting).
No real-life sad bunnies. Fake sad bunnies (like this guy) are totally ok.
Make sure when commenting you use an email I can contact you at if you win. Don’t worry, it won’t be published with your comment.
And just fyi, Világvége‘s jacket & sleeve have a slight crease in one of the corners (it arrived that way). It could probably get flattened out over time, though. Just some minor cosmetic stuff that I felt you should know about.
Show me some good bunnies yall.
This has been playing non-stop ever since I found it a couple months ago. Totally fucking relentless black metal with heavy doses of doom, death metal, post-hardcore, and whatever other heavy as fuck metal you want to throw in there, Rorcal are raining devastation through the whole record. The only times they let up on this are the atmospheric intro and two short & dramatic operatic interludes, other than that, this is a total fucking onslaught similar to Portal’s black/death brutality. And motherfuck this is as heavy as it gets, black as hell, yeah, but every time they change time signatures they rupture another organ, every blast beat followed by a sludgy lurch gives you another concussion, and the vocals are like a black metal Scott Kelly, screaming like his vocal chords are getting torn out of his throat, the dense guitars almost going post black metal but lacking the beauty, instead just giving you a grisly impenetrable wall of apocalyptic loud as fuck that honestly feels like the best fucking thing I’ve ever heard. As awesome as it gets. Hands down one of my favorite metal records. Super super limited, only 333 copies pressed (and some tapes too but I don’t know how many) with a jacket that has the title die cut out. So sexy.
This is the third installment of Black (Metal) Mixmas. The “Metal” is in parentheses because I hoped to make the Black Mixmas/Black Christmas pun a tad more obvious and because this isn’t entirely black metal. There’s some black doom, black noise, black ambient, etc. But it’s primarily black metal so don’t lose your shit if you’re a purist.
Speaking of which, this here’s a three parter, and each part has its own aesthetic. Part I starts off with your more straightforward black metal. It’s still raw and brootal and super awesome, just not too many bells & whistles. Part II gets a bit more melodic and moves towards some of that shoegazey post-etc stuff. Part III (my personal favorite) gets totally fucked up and brings in the twisted shit, extra raw, extra noisy, extra extraordinary. Each part stands on its own as a killer mix but back to back to back they make the biggest most badass black metal adventure you’ve ever been on.
As with everything else on this site, I tend to give priority to the under-represented and pass over the more high profile bands. That means as amazing as Ash Borer and Panopticon are, they don’t need to be here. But tons of awesome blackened shit came out this year that wasn’t on Profound Lore and in fact is available for free/name your price downloads on Bandcamp. I linked to all the ones I knew about but dig around and you might find some more. Also, everything on this mix (except Esequiem’s track) came out in 2012, so consider this the unofficial AGB Best Of Black Metal list.
I’m taking an AGB vacation for the holidays starting now. If I’m not back before the new year, I’ll be back after the new year. These 3+ hours of depravity should keep you sane until then.
1. Aven – The Last Thought Of Judas
2. Kaevum – La Mitt Rike Komme
3. WORT – plumplestiltskib (download)
4. Mgła – With Hearts Toward None V
5. Pendulum – Le Verre
6. Klor – Helmet Overgrown With Weeds
7. Alkerdeel – Horsesaw
8. Larvae – Cold Dead Face (download)
9. Jute Gyte – The Cry Essaying The Waters (download)
10. Lucifugum – Щелочь антинатализма
11. Obolus – Desolation (download)
12. Permafrost – Ende
13. Esequiem – An Old Castle In The Fog
1. Vattnet Viskar – Weakness
2. Aegrotum – Thy Perdition Manifest
3. El-Ahrairah – Drown Alone
4. Loss Of Self – The Mind; It’s Form And Function (download)
5. FIN – Insignia (download)
6. Aisuragua – A Mirror Reflecting The Silence
7. Ragana – Burning Structures (download)
8. Rhinocervs – Untitled (track 1 from RH-12)
9. Hordes – The Darkest Conjuration (download)
10. Infinitas – Immerwährende Nächte
11. Daughters Of Sophia – III: Black Sun Enlightment
12. Seirom – Strands Of Golden Light
1. Sutekh Hexen – Lead Us In Warfare
2. Mhönos – Ex Nihilo… Ad Nihilum…
3. Funeral Depression – Visions Of Broken Life
4. Misery – Sous L’égide Des Martyrs (download)
5. Gates – Forest Passageway, Hallway to the Void
6. OEDE – 8063 (download)
7. Затухание – зора утихает (download)
8. Dead Times & TRTRKMMR – An Appendectomy
9. Trepaneringsritualen – All Hail The Black Flame
10. Cloak Of Altering – Ancient Paths Through Timeless Voids
11. Immaculate Paragon Of Insanity – Invaders From Darkness
12. Venowl – Hung Alive By The Ribs To A Gallows
Technical Note: Затухание’s whole album is way loud, like, louder than anything else on this mix. I tried to tone it down in Audacity but I’m not totally sure how that worked out. So just beware. When that track comes on, you might shit yourself.
These dudes already put out one of the most visceral black metal/doom records this year, Patterns Of Failure (sold out quick and already in its second run), and they’ve decided to drop another brutal bomb as this Gnawed Gristle And Bone EP. A single 20+ minute track of pure fucking hell, these guys conjure Khanate and The Body but add up to something uniquely bleak, coming from the depths of demon’s dungeons, tortured howling, vocals that can only be screeched with a throat full of blood, monstrous drums keeping the perfect bangability, atonal lurch, scratched grit guitars, prolonged buzzing feedback, and bass that will rupture your skull and tear your house down, this is the blackest doom you can imagine, disgusting & depraved, disastrous & devastating, a true horror. If this doesn’t fill your nightmare niche, you’ve got some problems dude.
Two ladies from Washington that bring some serious fucking heaviness. Not sure if there’s a scene over there where this type of insanity is the norm and I just haven’t heard it yet, but All’s Lost is impossible to peg. They’re doing something totally original and it’s the fucking best. Some sort of black sludgy screamo garage that just melts my heart. Sweet hooks & melodies run through a fuzz filter, blistering screams, massive riffs next to atmospheric tremolo, blast beats forgone for everything but, depressing lyrics and a permeating darkness to knock it out of the park. Not really weird on a song by song basis but put together this is a wholly twisted beast. Best of all it’s cheap as shit. Digital is PWYW, tapes or CDs a mere $5, and they have some killer shirts for the same amount. I fuckin love these guys. Now just gimme some vinyl.
Their name’s a bit misleading. No folke here. No black folk either. Nothing folky at all. Maybe some blood if that’s your thing. These guys are a trio from Minnesota playing a strange and totally fucking awesome blend of doom & black metal, with some post rock climaxes thrown in for extra epic points. Instead of the usual guitar/bass/drums setup, though, they’ve ditched the bass for a viola, so, wow. It’s the best. It adds to the heaviness in its own way, giving me a neo-classical noir vibe, except when those strings are crying out like some DSBM howls, which is weird as fuck and 100% welcomed. The vocalist doubles up with bear-like growls and throaty mumbles while shredding his axe, teaming with the viola creating melodic crescendo blasts and discordant blackboard screeching, and the drummer is destroying his kit when things get locked down, a massive doom groove that just doesn’t let up. The whole thing is dark and supremely fucking heavy, blacking out the sky and reigning its twisted doom over your wretched soul. Truly great stuff here and for $8 it’s a goddamn steal.
Holy fuck. How has this been out for almost a year and had barely any press? This is insane. Both of these dudes are going to be on everyone’s radar pretty soon. Dead Times is currently Steven Vallot’s solo thing, he also runs Aum War, did some vocals on The Body’s All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood and occasionally played with them live. Lee Buford (drummer for The Body) used to be involved until The Body relocated South. TRTRKMMR is a solo thing for Brad Dumville, who was the vocalist for the tragically disbanded Otesanek). So, wow, lots of awesome already bundled up in this split and they’re unbelievably perfect to share some vinyl space together.
But it’s something bigger than the sum of its parts. This split is unholy, pure black and twisted as fuck. A potently caustic black noise with a lots of doom & gloom, industrial & power electronics, and even some melodic synthy organ & bell sounds, like a funereal black pop à la The Mausoleums except way less golden. Tons of samples that talk about redemption & homicide & shit making this creepy as hell. Absolute chaos with plodding crumbling drums, decrepit guitars, blown out electronics, demonic vocals shrieking & creaking up from beyond the grave (with Sewer Goddess joining in on Dead Times’ “Pain Arrives”) everything falling apart in a gloriously fucked up way that could only mean the end of the world. They even do two collaborations, one on each side, and they’re totally fucking killer.
This is truly some of the best of the genre, and all the better that both of these guys are just getting started with these new aliases. Both have new material in the works, TRTRKMMR has an upcoming debut full length on Iron Lung, and Dead Times’ work will likely show up on Aum War again. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled because this is not something you want to miss out on. I’d probably be putting this on some year end list if it didn’t come out last year. All the same, it’s still available and I wouldn’t hold off on picking up this beast.
How these Chicago dudes aren’t as well known as Locrian is beyond me. Sun Splitter have just as must genre blending as Locrian, just a different blend. They’ve got this incredible black industrial psych doom thing with some dark ambient noise/drone and even a little HANL style gloomgaze tossed in. I think III is their first vinyl (limited to 500, white, sexy, etc) and it’s monolithic & pure fucking evil. Seriously, this is just monstrous in every way. The riffs are skull crushing, a wall of reverb and distortion sounding like napalm melting your core, drum machines hitting harder than any human could, explosive blasts that level cities, with an abusive assault of rapid-fire fury for the second half of “The Serpent’s Golden Death” where the individual hits coalesce into a waterfall of insanity, static vocals that roar their way to the surface, guitars that chug & rattle, at home only in Hell’s scorched valley, crusted under the black sun. These guys get in a groove and don’t let up until they’ve reached total devastation, the drum machine locked in a loop, sealing their fate as endless riff demons. If you need some fucking heavy in your life, this is where you should be looking. This is the fucking best and most original metal. And with killer artwork by band member Anthony A. Dunn, you would be doing yourself a major disservice by passing this up.
I can’t even handle this one, you guys. It’s too much. Absolutely brutal, the best black noise I’ve heard in a long time. Harsh wall of sound that’s dark as fuck, a solid mass of devil drone, furious feedback & blown out riffage that’s caustic and pulverizing. Three tracks, each one with a slightly different vibe. The first is a frenzy, pure Skullflowery chaos, like the black noise version of Love Is A Stream, and buried way down is a Mick Barr style shredding and the occasional blast beat. Then there’s an atmospheric black metal track that takes the most destructive riffs and cranks everything way up, distortion and effects turned into a badass nightmare. The final track is some Sunn O))) blackened doom drone worship, pure fucking evil and depressive beyond belief, massive slabs of static rising up from the depths, apocalyptic feedback crumbling in on itself. This whole thing has an end of days feel to it and it’s the fucking best. Eintraum is definitely one of my favorites this year by a long shot. There’s not enough black/drone right now but Gates are sitting right on top and fucking delivered.
One of my favorite black metal releases of the year right here. Solo French dude Thomas Bel making absolutely killer atmospheric black metal on what’s quickly becoming my new favorite label (BLWBCK also put out the EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad album that I kinda freaked out over). This is something else entirely, though. Brooding & miserable as fuck, long bouts of chilled ambience, church bells & organs with hymn-like mantras, Paysage d’Hiverian frozen windscapes, stiff lumbering drums like a giant stuck in a blizzard, blistering sheets of icy fuzzed out guitars, and raspy tortured vocals that are clearly identifiable as such but blurred and muffled to perfectly blend with the wall of sound. This is soundtrack to the moments between the top of the cliff and the arctic glaciers below, howling winds & cracked bones, it drones the blackest & bleakest, a depressive cloud of ambient metal that’s just too fucking awesome in every way. And this is his goddamn debut? Perfectly timed to be the next Xasthur.
Fuck yes, alright everyone, pay attention. The one man nature themed hammered dulcimer & drums black metaller is back with his second/third album and he’s gone doom. Dreams can come true. Forget that Pallbearer shit, Doom In Bloom is this year’s best and weirdest doom record. Botanist has kept the two instrument thing for the most part, although I definitely hear some harmonium style reeds in there occasionally. His take on black metal, which is basically “fuck the norms I’ll make my own,” is exactly the same with his doom stylings. Most doom tropes are tossed out while still somehow keeping within the genre. Absolutely amazing stuff. I get some serious Jesu vibes on this, especially the opening track which sounds like it could’ve been a Silver demo, but that’s the closest comparison I can make and it’s a total stretch. Doom In Bloom is dissonant & destructive, with vocals that range between creaking doors & torture victims, epic major key crescendos, wonky lurching brain fucks, rhythms & melodies that make absolutely no sense at first and sound like a fucking wreck, then everything clicks and it’s perfection incarnate.
But wait there’s more! This is a double disc. Allies, the companion, is like some weird covers/remix album, where Botanist gave his buds (GET IT???) the drum tracks for each of the songs and said do what you will, just make sure it’s about nature. So you get some black ambient, black metal, more doom, and all sorts of cool shit, from Matrushka, Cult Of Linnaeus, Ophidian Forest, Arborist, Lotus Thief, and Bestiary, all of which sound nothing like the originals, all of which is totally awesome.
Botanist is kicking so much ass and Doom In Bloom is absolutely incredible. Dude is essentially unstoppable and he’s only put out a few records. Do not miss out on this.
Normally these PA dudes (full name: Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy) do black metal type things, with some other strangeness thrown in. UAG (aka Undercovered Ancient Gateways, aka we get it you like acronyms) has them stripping all metal from their sound but going blacker than ever. Black noise, black ambient, black industrial, just completely fucking black. The metal fury is gone and replaced with a bleak industrial howl, a post-mortem skullcracking drone that rots your bones from the inside out. I’m not sure where UAG was recorded, but they’ve been known to do field recordings in asylums & crypts, so who knows the location of these haunted sounds. These guys can take the sound of the wind and turn it evil, and there’s lots of percussive elements, cemetery gates and butcherware clanging in an arhythmic lurch, and on one track it’s even akin to a faded blastbeat, heard through six feet of earth a thousand miles away. Boiling static and hissing rain, thick with decay, harrowing walls of death, so much creep & screech that it’ll be hard to sleep soundly after hearing this. There’s even a track that’s made from the sounds of scraping a contact mic “across the rotting flesh of an actual corpse.” It doesn’t get more fucking necro than that. T.O.M.B. really outdid themselves on UAG. So glad there are labels like Crucial Blast putting out awesome shit like this.
It’s been at least a couple years since I’ve written about Book Of Sand (How Beautiful To Walk Free), or his previous doom project Light (A Million Dead Beneath The Ice and Life Is Meaningless & Goes On Forever, so I’ll forgive you if you don’t remember him. But only partially because this dude has always been the fucking best. Don’t forget it. His new one, Mourning Star, is packed up all sexy-like courtesy of MRL and might be his best one yet. Black metal doesn’t even begin to describe this beast. This dude is a master genre bender, using black metal as a melting pot to throw in everything from doom to neo-classical. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to get your brain situated, raw discordant riffs starting off mostly in synch until they devolve into a sloppy mess of noise, furiously relentless drums, tortured screams, drunken lurching doom, slow & massive, burnt & charred Americana guitars, caked in ancient dust and disintegrating before your eyes, atonal strings turning a blackened nightmare into a ghostly eulogy, xylophones plinking away in some distant room in the corner of a rotting mansion, at times atmospheric and ephemeral or in your face and undeniable, but always churning your stomach, brutal, tasteful, and wholly fucking original. Book Of Sand is at the top of his game, Mourning Star giving you everything you want from 21st century black metal. He’s fucking doing it and you fucking need it.