Absolutely ridiculous doom specked with some death & black metal featuring a few Kayo Dot folks, this is some of the weirdest doom you’ll ever hear, ominous & fucking devastating, with a violin & trumpets, and scary as fuck. Lyrics are taken straight from the five parts of Donald Justice’s poem The Man Closing Up, which you can read here.
Before the folks in Book Of Sand were doing that avant black metal thing, they were doing this avant doom thing as Light. They put out three releases, and A Million Dead Beneath The Ice was the first, it came packaged in white folded paper with a bit of menstrual blood smeared on it, and the music was just fucking ridiculous, menacing faux organ, wall of static distortion, glacial hollow percussion, and tortured howling from the depths of hell, this is a slow droning slab of noisy old school doom with a tinge of Americana thrown in on the last song, absolutely horrific stuff, it’s perfect.
October OOPs: The Mausoleums – Blackened Fawns Cleanse The Earth With Fire (Chinese Workers Labor Union, 2008)
This is some serious Twilight Zone shit, a bizarre amalgamation of jangly 60s garage pop and the rawest most blown out lo-fi black metal. The Mausoleums is Andrew Allen of Avian Bones and head of the Chaos Of The Stars label (who put out an Ak’chamel tape last year!) and he’s been slowly releasing these amazingly fucked up records for the past 7 years, but this one is my favorite, and long gone on the CWLU label, so do some wacky time traveling and try to imagine a world where this is what topped Billboard some 50 years ago.
Xexyz (J.R. Preston of Tjolgtjar) has one release to his name, and it’s an NESBM record chiefly inspired by the classic game Rygar. “What’s NESBM,” you ask? Well that would stand for Nintendo Entertainment System Black Metal, aka 8-bit black metal, and it’s not nearly as ridiculous as you’d think it would be. This is some premium shit. Raw, lo-fi black metal with yowling Gilbert Gottfried vocals that could stand well enough on its own without the added chiptune awesomeness. Most of the songs are completely original that sample NES games, but a couple pieces are more like covers, like “Metroid,” which is just the best fucking song, you never would’ve guessed that the Metroid music would make a great foundation for black metal. Highly original and super fucking weird. You’ll love it.
This is Mamaleek’s fourth record. The first self released self titled album was absolutely insane experimental shoegazey black metal, then Fever Dream added some jazzy shit to the mix, then Kurdaitcha went Middle Eastern, but they always managed to fuck you up in different ways while still sounding like the same band. This new LP mixes everything they’ve done in the past and spits out a brilliantly unique and otherworldly black metal that should suite all fans of the fucked & twisted, sitting well with now label-mates Wreck & Reference and Botanist, sharing Botanist’s borderline poppy melodies that’ll get stuck in your head while the roaring gritty ferocity of W&R beats your bones to a pulp, along with mesmerizing mournful foreign sampled singing, blown out beat machines, obliterated vocals, and beastly buzzing guitars that favor distortion over tremolo, this is raw as hell and fuckin EPIC, lo-fi not in the shitty production way but like this was buried & baked in a desert for a hundred years and only just now unearthed, these guys are fuckin demons, thrashing in a new style of black metal that nobody else is doing or even can do, the best kind of blackness that you instantly fall in love with and makes you rethink all the other run of the mill shit you’ve been digging lately, this is what everyone else should hold as their standard, the fucking pinnacle of wretched heaviness.
Muther. Fucken. GOG. This dude rules all. Everything he’s done has been the highest caliber black drone metal and his newest self titled release on the ever trustworthy KOTM takes shit to the next level. Things are way rowdier than before, less drone (but also more drone?), more songy songs, even pianos & vocals (with Francesca Marongiu of Agarttha & Architeuthis Rex lending her incredible voice to one track), the heavy doom is amped up, cranked to 11, and absolutely mono-fuckin-lithic, serious blown out darkness spewed from a core of pure fury & pain, the black metal blacker and metaller than it’s ever been, Gog transformed into a dynamic beast capable of droning silent voids of non-existence and unholy squalls roaring from the depths of despair, listen to this at maximum volume and be prepared for a true pummeling, this is a wholly unique record, and as a Gog fan, I can safely say it’s my favorite thing he’s ever released. Only 300 copies pressed, and if you’re unfamiliar with Gog or KOTM, know that this will not stick around long.
No one else is doing this right now. Fuck, no one else has ever done this. Wreck & Reference are forging new ground here and have been since their insane Black Cassette debut. They’re a duo of limitless despair treading among noise, black metal, punk, dark ambient, industrial, targeted cacophony, everything bizarre & grim, that sounds brilliantly original and crushes souls every minute along the way, this is heavy as fuck and horrifically sparse, blowing through a drum kit and electronics with heavy handed dexterity, both dudes taking turns at the mic with bloody screeching & beastly roaring vocals, singing of staring deep into the void of misery and knowing nothing is on the other side, this heaves and creeps like an endless nausea rising from your core and black blood coursing through your veins, all hell has broken loose and we’re left to rot in the bleak absurdity, if Want was any more devoid of hope it would likely be banned in several countries. You’d be doing yourself a great disservice by ignoring this band.
P.S. These guys are currently on tour with Deafheaven and Pallbearer and they fuckin rip it up on stage. Even if you don’t care about DH or PB, just go for these dudes and you won’t be disappointed.
OMFG I can’t even handle how fucking awesome this new Wold record is you guys, so incredibly psyched the Canadian duo has some new aural wreckage this year, these two honestly spit out the most disgusting horrific black noise ever and it’s painfully unique, caked in grit & filth, Postsocial scales back the metal (barely) heard on their previous records and drowns you in an acid bath of static distortion, they beefed up the noise and scrubbed out the metal but this is still the blackest & grimmest fucking thing you’ll hear all year, the massive walls of burnt feedback and tinny clanging percussion are absolutely fucking obliterating, this is so dense you can taste it & smell it, it becomes an all enveloping shroud of nihilistic, misanthropic chaos, and there’s an endless amount of detail lurking beneath the devastation, devious shredding & pulsing electronics that make this so much more than a harsh wall of noise, and while this has supreme, definite motives & messages behind it, I’m not really even looking at that part, for me this is a purely aesthetic experience of wicked perversions, the sonic bombardment that can come from only the most twisted of artists, taking you to unimaginable depths, and Wold always fucking delivers.
After a ton of EPs and tapes and singles and splits and experiments, Planning For Burial, aka Thom Wasluck, finally follows up his 2010 debut LP Leaving with this second magnificent beast of a record (and his first foray into vinyl). Thom is the gloomiest bastard I know and Desideratum showcases that perfectly, this is beautifully depressing shit, taking the monstrous shoegazed metal from Leaving and building on it with the tender low-key sadness from other releases like Quietly, he’s turned a wild mix of styles & genres including doom, slowcore, black metal, drone, gothwave, and everything else into a patented buzzing darkness that’s loud as fuck and just pure fucking excellence, overwhelming in sound and emotion, bleak walls of noise that build and crumble, huge waves swelling & crashing against cliffsides in a foggy storm, it’s blissful and devastating in the best way possible. If you dug Leaving as much as I did, rest assured Desideratum will not disappoint. It’s PFB at his best and it will fucking destroy you.
Holy fuck this is some next level shit. Debut record from this duo featuring members of One Master and Morgirion playing some heavy dreamy gloom, mixing up elements of black metal, shoegaze, darkwave, and doom, giving it a (high) potential of sounding bland or generic but comes out sounding wholly unique and goddamn perfect. Just 4 songs, but each one fucking rocks, with echoing unintelligible vocals that blur into a hypnotic chant, this stuff is bleak, hard, and somehow still kinda catchy, ethereal buzzing guitars drifting through foggy cemeteries and then BAM a wall of blast beats to crush your soul, this burrows deep into your subconscious similar to that Charnel House’s Black Blood from last year, but this gets way more rowdy. Seriously, this is a killer fucking record. Hits all the right spots. Definitely keep an eye on this band.
There’s not a ton of black metal bands in the Boston area, lots of other metal/hardcore stuff, but for the most part it’s not black enough for my tastes, so when one comes my way, obviously I’m gonna rep em. Enter Grue, who as far as I know, have only put out one release, a split with Word Of Unmaking, prior to this debut full length. That split was good stuff but they fuckin bring it on Casualty Of The Psychic Wars, fast & furious wreckage that’s clean and surprisingly well produced for something that could have easily been another demo lost in the void. These dudes tear shit up, starting out non-fucking-stop, then scaling back to a slow doomed middle and bringing it back to full fledged chaos by the end, it’s cold, brutal, and bleak as hell. And yeah since they’re from Boston a little hardcore seeps in, and while I’m really not into that sorta thing, Grue truly make it work, the vocalist not taking the usual screechy demon/cookie monster route and instead just letting loose a beastly yell, lyrically diving into HP Lovecraft territory, and getting kinda weird instrument-wise, with maybe some synths or something, not sure, definitely not your run of the mill black metal, they manage to show off their inspirations & influences, taking cues from death metal, post black metal, and whatever else without sounding like a generic hodge-podge of watered down misanthropy, they fucking own it, and they’ve only got one full length under their belt. Just you wait.
Hell’s epic trilogy has sadly come to an end, but holy motherfuck what an end it is. III is pretty much everything you’d want in a doom record, mournful guitars bookending both side long pieces of pure devastation, a bleak blackened fury, nightmarish and fucking massive.
The record got the usual luxe treatment from Pesanta Urfolk, nice thick black/blood red vinyl with a large fold-out poster and an insert. Only 472 copies made and already sold out from both the band and the label. The whole thing is streaming on Hell’s Bandcamp, so feel free to scope it out before entering the contest.
To enter, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of Friday. If you win, you’ll be the gloomiest kid in town.
In a year where extreme metal sub-genres coalesced into a homogenized pile of badass, black metal stood its ground like a bleak beacon, giving us some of the truest & weirdest records the genre has seen in a while. This mix takes tracks from my favorite black metal records that came out this year (two, Mare & Dressed In Streams, compiled tracks from previous now-unavailable releases). Last year’s Volume III was a 3 parter, so it only made sense to make Volume IV a 4 parter, each the appropriate length of a mix to burn onto a CD if you so desire.
Each part has been vaguely divided into traditional raw (parts 1 & 2), post (part 3), and experimental (part 4). And I thought that since there’s a ton of songs here (54!) and that one of my favorite records didn’t make this mix because the tracks were too long, I’d give you an actual Top Black Metal list. I wrote about most, but not all of these records. I linked to the reviews when applicable.
So here’s my favorite 2013 black metal records and a 4 hour 22 minute mix of the raddest heaviness you’ll hear this year. It should keep you company during this overly joyful season. I’ll see you next year.
Top 15 Black Metal Records Of 2013
15. Aosoth – IV: Arrow In Heart (Agonia)
14. Mord’A'Stigmata – Ansia (Pagan Records)
13. Gris – À L’Âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée (Sepulchral Productions)
12. Leucosis – Leucosis (self released)
11. Ruin Lust – Ruin Lust (Psychic Violence)
10. Loss Of Self – Twelve Minutes (The Flenser)
9. Mare – Spheres Like Death / Throne Of The Thirteenth Witch (Terratur Possessions)
8. Fell Voices – Regnum Saturni (Gilead Media)
7. Charnel House – Black Blood (Sygil)
6. Spektr – Cypher (Agonia)
5. Hope Drone – Hope Drone (OSCL)
4. Surachai – Embraced (self released)
3. Rorcal – Világvége (Cal Of Ror / SickManGettingSick / Lost Pilgrims / Wolves & Vibrancy)
2. Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane (Hells Headbangers)
1. Paysage D’Hiver – Das Tor (Kunsthall)
Blut Der Nacht – No Hope To See The Light Of A New Day (from Sargnagel)
Sun Worship – Castle High (from Surpass Eclipse)
Wulkanaz – Paraskaiwe Paúrpurôn (from Paúrpura Fræovíbôkôs)
Galdr – Oath Of Blood (from Ancient Light Of The Stars)
Ruin Lust – Primal Vision (from Ruin Lust)
Arckanum – Spell (from Fenris Kindir)
Wild’s Reprisal – The Broken Circle (from Defiance Enthroned)
Black Cilice – Astral Cipher (from Summoning The Night)
Tukaaria – Chasms In Creation (from Raw To The Rapine)
Nightrite – Black Moon Rituals (from Black Moon Rituals)
Atvm – 8,000,000,000 Years And Counting (from Natura Naturata)
Frozen Ocean – Vanviddsang II (from Vanviddsanger)
Mord’A'Stigmata – Praefatio Pro Defunctis (from Ansia)
Hexer – I:III (from Hexer)
Stilla – Tidlösa Vindar (from Till Stilla Falla)
Cara Neir – Closing Doors (from Portals To A Better, Dead World)
Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult – The Eviscerator (from Necrovision)
Mare – Nachmahrwalzer – Invocation Of The Succubus (from Spheres Like Death / Throne Of The Thirteenth Witch)
Shadows Of The Fallen – Monotheist (from Monotheist)
Aosoth – Temple Of Knowledge (from IV: Arrow In Heart)
Lonesummer – The Destruction Of Words (from Planning For Burial / Lonesummer Split)
Smorg – Moonlight Eternity (from A Morbid Chapter)
Nuclear Corpse – Infernal Legions (from Infernal Legions)
Naaghan – Bloodlust (from Demo)
Manii – Liv-Øydar (from Kollaps)
Leucosis – Aponea (from Leucosis)
Hope Drone – Advent (from Hope Drone)
Dressed In Streams – Deep Saffron (from Dressed In Streams)
Redwood Hill – September (from Descender)
Misery – II (from Melancolie)
Clouds Collide – Deathless (from Until The Wind Stops Blowing…)
So Hideous – Rhapsody (from Last Poem/First Light)
Loss Of Self – Paradise Overgrown (from Twelve Minutes)
Panopticon – Eulogy (from Vestiges / Panopticon Split)
L’Homme Éléphant – Mist (from L’Homme Éléphant II)
Ov Hollowness – Grey (from The World Ends)
Súl Ad Astral (The Clenching Void (from Súl Ad Astral)
Life Has No Meaning – Faced With My Own Demise (from Demo)
Ragana – Curved Grass (from Unbecoming)
Cosmic Church – Näkyjä Indigolähteeltä (from Ylistys)
Earthenwomb – Miser’s Blade (from Ninjas For Hire / Earthenwomb Split)
Peste Noire – La Blonde (from Peste Noire)
Botanist – Arboreal Gallows (Mandragora I) (from IV: Mandragora)
Gris – Dil (from À L’Âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée)
Spektr – Antimatter (from Cypher)
Charnel House – Once Upon A Dream (from Black Blood)
Servile Sect – Evoke (from Glowing)
Cultes Des Ghoules – Festival Of Devotion (from Henbane)
Ihsahn – Tacit 2 (from Das Seelenbrechen)
Oranssi Pazuzu – Tyhjä Temppeli (from Valonielu)
Rorcal – II (from Vilagvege)
Trist – Květy Snových Dálek (from Večerní Samoty)
Sutekh Hexen – …Of Emanation (from Monument Of Decay)
Surachai – Surrender (from Embraced)
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.