Saturday, 21 December 2013

2013 Chronicle (Year in review) part 4 - Best of March 2013

March 1 - IRON HEARSE (Get in the Hearse) - This UK biker doom power trio has a well-groomed but still sleazy sound and 'Get in the Hearse', their first album in about six years fired on all the right cylinders.  I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of the CD and it's still in the mix here at ye ole homesteade.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "A Slow & Heavy Ride" and "The Ultimate Atomic Man".  Rating 4.5/5

March 4 - BLACK CAPRICORN (Born Under the Capricorn) - This vinyl only release teased me for the better part of the year before I finally got a hold of a copy of the files, thanks to guitarist/vocalist Fabrizio (again, thank you!).  It turns out 'Born Under the Capricorn' was an Italian psychedelic doom highlight with an experimental approach on Side A and some real bashers on Side B.  This album is slowly rising as more and more people catch on to it.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Tropic of Capricorn" and "Double Star Goatfish".  Rating 4.5/5

March 4 - Diesel King (The Grey Man EP)

March 6 - DEATH APE DISCO (Supervolcano) - Not to start a write-up with an oxy moron but Death Ape Disco are one of the more "polished sounding" of the "grunge-revival" bands [my label].  This UK quartet is gifted with sharp riffs and even sharper vocals, discordantly harmonized for maximum efficiency.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Kingdom of Others" and "Death Ape Disco".  Rating 4/5

March 8 - THE MANGLED DEAD (Hate Humans) - This Ice Dragon related project is a filthy Misfits inspired vision of what every white suburban teenager in the land wanted their band to sound like.  Well, these Bostonians actually did it, heavy punk ballads about vampires and other ghouls.  This EP is a brown bag full of fun.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Frankenstein Pays The Rent" and "Mutated Dracula".  Rating 4/5

March 9 - Aniara (Caress of Darkness)

March 12 - Cough / Windhand (Reflection of the Negative)

March 12 - WEREWOLVES IN SIBERIA (The Rising) - The Mangled Dead weren't the only ones slopping shovel-loads of horror sounds on the graveside [see the Paranoid Thoughts section below], this one man horror synth project offers one of the purest visions of throwback horror film inspired music out there.  The reason for this is the man behind the band has a background in metal, not something every horror synth slinger can claim.  Basically, Werewolves in Siberia is no dabbler, the horror is mean and intense.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Destruction" and "Blood Moon".  Rating 4/5

March 16 - Chivo (Cantankerous Rock)

March 16 - Olde Growth (Owl EP)

March 17 - King Goat (Atom)

March 18 - Intronaut (Habitual Levitations)

March 18 - POMBAGIRA (Maleficia Lamiah) - UK duo Pombagira's latest offering is two songs and 40 minutes of psychedelic doom.  Haunting melodies and haunted moods permeate the album which opens up like a kaleidoscope of song ideas while retaining a strong character, both within the new group sound and within each song.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Melficia Lamiah" and "Grave Cardinal".  Rating 4/5

March 22 - DEVIL (Gather the Sinners) - Devil's second full-length record was a triumph for metal, pure and simple, the way it ought to be.  Face ripping riffs, snarling vocals and stomping, crashing drums, this is a guaranteed recipe for head banging and 'Gather the Sinners' is steeped in it.  This is easily a top 5 album from a great year for rock n roll and doom.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Restless Wanderer" and "Ladies of the Night".  Rating 5/5

March 22 - High Priest of Saturn (ST)

March 25 - MOSS (Horrible Night) - Rise Above Records had a busy and highly artistically successful year and for me, it really began with Moss's 'Horrible Night'.  For one thing Olly Pearson did away with the growl and actually sang on this record while the band unleashed some of their older influences to create a satisfying and infinitely more accessible record.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Horrible Nights" and "Dark Lady".  Rating 4/5

March 25 - SHININ' SHADE (Sat-Urn) - This was one of the surprise records of the year for me.  Wasn't sure what to make of it on my initial spin, the record soon found traction with me and I found I couldn't put it down.  This Italian quintet moved through a psychedelic soundscape of doom with excellent vocals from Jane Esther-Collins.  Original review here.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Our Time and Space" and "Over-Sea Nightmares".  Rating 4/5

March 25 - S.I.M.B. (Monday Superblues)

March 26 - VICTOR GRIFFIN'S IN~GRAVED (ST) - I would put this album at or near the top of my list of albums I didn't listen to enough this year, such are the perils of running a full time music webzine, things have to keep moving forward.  But Victor Griffin's authentically old school doom remains a steady if trickly constant at the Paranoid Compound.  Get it hereHighlights include: "Late For an Early Grave" and "Digital Critic".  Rating 4/5

March 30 - Grey Host (Dawn for Vultures)

Best Album From February 2013:
'Gather the Sinners' by DEVIL

Best Song From January 2013:
"Restless Wanderer" by DEVIL

PARANOID Thoughts:

I've been a horror fan my whole life.  I'll remember watching Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984), Basket Case (1982) and April Fool's Day (1986) with my twentysomething metalhead uncle for as long as I live.  They really set the stage for a lifelong obsession with the genre.  This year my passion for all things horror was somehow, amazingly doubled or even tripled (I didn't think I had any more passion for horror in me to give!).  It was albums like the ones you'll find on the list below that did it for me.  Doom is the music of horror and nearly any doom metal album has that horror feel, but this year I managed to get into other kinds of horror music, such as the John Carpenter inspired horror synth.  It's an interesting subgenre of electronic music because if it wasn't for horror FILMS, the sounds might not be something you might associate with horror MUSIC.

Abysmal Grief, Moss, Cult of Occult and a whole bevvy  of others might have made this list, but it would have gotten ridiculous.  At its best, doom IS horror, so let's just take that as a given.  However, a number of albums related to doom metal find their way onto the list below for standing out, sounding different and incorporating elements of horror music / lyrics that go above and beyond the call of duty.

As I was thinking about putting this list together late last night / early this morning, I wanted to see if there was anything amazing that I had missed so I did a quick 'horror' tag search on bandcamp and came up with a couple things.  For the most part I found John Carpenter inspired dance / house music which only makes me want to commit horrors of my own, but I did find something that was exactly what I was looking for.  The album is called 'Spookhouse' and it's by a one-man synth tickler by the name of Slasher Dave.  The album would probably be higher on the list if I'd had more than a single day to process it.  Anyway, it's one to look out for ...

Top 10 Horror themed albums from 2013:
1). Head of the Demon - 'ST'
2). NYMF - 'From the Dark'
3). Blizaro - 'Strange Doorways'
4). Werewolves in Siberia - 'The Rising'
5). Oranssi Pazuzu - 'Valonielu'
6). The Mangled Dead - 'Hate Humans'
7). Slasher Dave - 'Spookhouse'
8). Rob - 'Maniac OST'
9). Lazerhawk - 'Skull and Shark'
10). Wolfmen of Mars - 'Universal Madness'
Honorable Mentions: Abysmal Grief - 'Feretri' & Cult of Occult 'Hic Est Domus Diaboli'

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