Wednesday, 19 December 2012

2012 Chronicle (Year in review) part 1 - Best of January

Here it is, as promised.  Part 1 of 12 in the year in review ...

January 1 - BLOOD RED WATER (Tales of Addiction & Despair EP) - The year started strongly with the demonic sludge of Italian band Blood Red Water. Their EP "Tales of Addiction and Despair" is a punishing 23 minutes of relentless sludgy doom with the most despairing vocals one can hope to hear  Grab it for free here. Highlights include "Ungod" and "Considerations/Commiserations". Rating 3.5/5

January 4 - IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS (ST) - In the Company of Serpents' self titled debut is "best heard through a cloud of dopesmoke and bad vibes", according to the band. Their take on sludge is extremely groove laden and highly addictive. 37 minutes and 6 songs of brutal UK sludge.  You can buy their tape or download the album here. Highlights include "Dirtnap" and "Immolation". Rating 4/5

January 5 - Son of a Witch (ST)

January 5 - ALEPH NULL (Dale EP) - This German doom band released one of the year's better EPs in Dale and it's absolutely FREE on bandcamp.  The title track and "Kill the Colossus" are worth your time (or a possible donation) alone, superbly catchy, heavy and dark.  I haven't been able to get "Kill the Colossus" out of my head since I first heard it.  The rest is great too.  Highlights include "Kill The Colossus" and "Dale".  Rating 4/5

January 8 - Hesper Payne (The Strange Tale of Samuel Gonzalez)

January 16 - Doublestone (Set The World Ablaze)

January 21 - THE BAD LIGHT (Marrow of Sound) - This Californian based band has one of the most unique takes on stoner rock, blending unusual performance styles that sound almost jazz-like, southern fried and lazy, yet the music still comes out distinctly stoner rock.  Sun soaked is a term that comes to mind when thinking about this band.  Their playing styles are often unpredictable and they will push the tension of a build up in a song to the absolute breaking point ... then casually run through the main parts.  The overall effect is something to behold.  This EP really made its hay for me on summer mornings after work.  I can't explain it, but it was the perfect soundtrack for those moments.  You can find the 6 song EP here on bandcamp.  Highlights include "Hypathia" and "Hours Burn".  Rating 4.5/5

January 23 - BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH (Defender, Redeemist) - Excellent, excellent proggy doom with thrash elements Behold! The Monolith's sophomore effort holds not a single bad moment.  They site High on Fire and Mastodon as influences but that really doesn't tell the tale as this band sounds to have transcended their roots and have crafted something highly individualistic.  It's a sci-fi fantasy soundtrack that creates its own visuals.  It's Lord of the Rings in space, it's Star Trek in Mordor.  It's progressive, thrashy doom with neck breaking song structures and killer riffs.  This music is timeless and will be something I come back to for years to come.  And the cover art is excellent.  Get it here. Highlights include "Halv King" and "Desolizator".  Rating 5/5

January 24 - SUMMER LOVE (ST demo) - Anybody who tells you they didn't initially come to this one for the cover art is lying, yet the music found within was truly a pleasant surprise.  This was something I discovered way later in the year but when I found it I made up for the lost time in a major way.  Their name makes it impossible to find any info on the band and their bandcamp page is spare with info as well.  By spare I mean "a complete lack of".  Whatever.  Great doom inspired psychedelic rock with the same vocal effect used by Ozzy on "Planet Caravan" on every song.  That may sound like a gimmick and it may not be everybody's cup of tea but it seems to hit the right spot.  This music is Acid Drenched and terrific.  Highlights include "Voice of a Queen" and "By the Wayside".  Rating 4.5/5

January 27 - PILGRIM (Misery Wizard) - Slow and heavy as a lead bath the lads in Pilgrim play like wizards weaving a spell to slow down and eventually stop all life functions everywhere in the universe.  They make you feel every note and for that reason not a drop of creativity is wasted as the message sinks in heavy as a browbeating. Slow, slow, doom.  Get it here. Highlights include "Astaroth" and "Adventurer".  Rating 3.5/5

January 30 - SPELLJAMMER (Vol. II) - This Swedish foursome's second release totaled three songs and some 26 minutes, each song over 8 minutes long.  Vol. II unleashed a wicked sound of punishing, groovy doom riffs and wailing echoed vocals that sound like a mountaintop lamentation.  The songs were long but were neither repetitive nor overly structured.  The songs were long because the riffs were monumental.  Grab it here.  Highlights include "Electric Ground" and "Aun's Mountain".  Rating 5/5

January 31 - BLACK PYRAMID (II) - Before parting ways with original guitarist / vocalist Andy Beresky the band recorded their second full-length album.  Before releasing 'II' they parted ways with Beresky.   This is a release that sits in no man's land but it produced some very memorable and catchy moments.  Their take on doom was punkier and vaguely Irish sounding in places.  Get it here.  Highlights include "Sons of Chaos" and "Mercy's Bane".  Rating 3.5/5

Best Album from January 2012:
'Defender, Redeemist' by BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH

Best Song from January 2012:
"Kill the Colossus" by ALEPH NULL

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