Album Of The Year 2017

There were lot of brutal albums that came out this year, from just about all forms of Extreme Metal.  I knew by June that it’d be difficult to chose just one.  It was so bad that I even put out an Instagram poll – in which just one person voted…which is why this year’s Album Of The Year…is actually a tie.  One of these two is a record I had already reviewed over the summer, and the other one is a record that took me by surprise, not because I didn’t expect this one in particular to be any good – oh I did! – but the increase in songwriting quality and atmosphere absolutely blew me the fuck away.  So let’s get started:

Municipal Waste – Slime And Punishment

I reviewed this record back in August, by which point it had been out for a few months.  Here’s the link:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2017/08/03/municipal-waste-slime-and-punishment/

But in short, Municipal Waste are BACK.  Five years away plus the addition of additional guitarist Nick Poulos to beef up their sound, did the band way more good that I ever expected.  The album sounds fresh compared their previous albums, 2009’s Massive Aggressive and especially 2012’s The Fatal Feast, a seeming desperate attempt by the band to be more of a Crossover act.

The songs are all perfectly quick and to the point, with the longest one clocking in at just over three minutes.  The guitars are way beefier, and singer Tony Foresta found the perfect vocal approach, using the same high pitched scream he’s used for the last few Iron Reagan albums.  Bottom like:  With Slime And Punishment, Municipal Waste found a formula that absolutely works for them, one that’s focused yet reckless at the same time.  Let’s just hope they keep this for a bit, eh?

Key Tracks: Breathe Grease, Enjoy The Night, Shrednecks, Parole Violators, Poison The Preacher, Under The Waste Command, Think Fast

The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers

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The other album that blew me away.  I was dead set on making the Municipal Waste record my album of the year until this past October.  The Black Dahlia Murder went through a possibly band shattering change two years ago when lead guitar Ryan Knight left the band just a month after the release of Abysmal and after four albums with the band.  As far as I’m concerned, Ryan’s playing is what turned The Black Dahlia Murder into a full fledged Death Metal band.  In his place they hired Brandon Ellis of Arsis, marking the second time the band has poached anyone from Arsis – which is fine because Arsis are absolutely fucking BORING.  I never thought technical guitars with a black metal vocal could get so stale so fucking fast!

When I heard the band were releasing a new album I expected it to be good, until I heard this:

Oh fuck!  I knew the band were Carcass disciples but I’ve never heard Trevor Strnad sound so much like Jeff Walker until this moment.  Same with the music, it honestly sounds like the band’s best interpretation of Carcass during their early 90’s peak.  A lot of the credit here goes to guitarist Brian Esbach, the only other remaining original member of the band, for seemingly NEVER forgetting where he came from and NEVER straying away from what has essentially become his signature songwriting style.  You can hear any song from the band and know instantly who you’re listening too.

As mentioned earlier, BDM are essentially disciples of the old school and Nightbringers, at times, is without question equal parts Carcass and even Domination-era Morbid Angel – and if you’ve read this blog in the past you know I love that album!  Tracks such as “Matriarch”, “Widowmaker”, “Of God And Serpent, Of Spectre And Snake”, “Catacomb Hecatomb”, “As Good As Dead”, are absolute balls to the wall musical masterpieces that, while calling on the band’s obvious musical influences, enhance the band’s own signature style, one that seems to easily convey every single negative emotion I could think of.  I own every single BDM album going back to Unhallowed and that album was THE last time the band made me feel every negative emotion I knew of.  That was fourteen years ago, by the way.

I love reading the lyrics sheets to these albums.  Trevor Strnad’s lyrics at times are either straight out sadistic and very Poe-ish.  Take for example these lines from “Kings Of The Nightworld”: Enshrouded in ebony mystery/Blacker than the darkest pitch/A bond of blood to death an drek/Seeking to defile everything which bears his name we will/Destroy you all the same sucking each vein we shall corrupt and dismantle/waging a war without end until/The head of the one fettered Christ doth sate/Our lust for revenge…”.  Trevor never seems to run out of inspiration from the dark side.

So why was this a tie along with ‘Waste for Album Of The Year?  Consistency.  They never strayed to far from what works; they also have a unique signature sound that can reach out to more people than most modern Death Metal bands today.  It’s the reason why Nightbringers was the biggest pre-ordered album in the history of Metal Blade Records.  It’s the reason it’s a tie for my Album Of The Year.

Key Tracks: Of God And Serpant, Of Spectre And Snake; Matriarch; Jars; Kings Of The Nightworld; As Good As Dead; The Lonely Deceased

Honorable Mention

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

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Speaking of Morbid Angel!  I want to make it clear right now – if this came out earlier than it did it would’ve easily knocked off both ‘Waste and Black Dahlia for Album Of The Year without me hesitating.  But I couldn’t write this post without mentioning Kingdoms Disdained.  This is literally THE record no one saw coming regardless of how excited people were to hear Steve Tucker rejoined the band nearly three years ago.

I actually wrote an article on the situation at the time, debating whether David Vincent or Trey Azagthoth himself were to blame for that last pile of shit Morbid Angel released an it could’ve gone either way.  Yeah, David is now a completely different person, but apparently Try is actually into techno.  But with David’s departure, as well as the release of this track, it’s easy to see who wasn’t to blame after all:

Oh yeah.  This right out the gate reminded me of something off Covenant…but with Steve on vocals instead of David.  It’s absolutely brutal from beginning to end, chock full of polyrhythms, time signature changes, and the single most angry performance I’ve ever heard from Steve Tucker as a vocalist.  Sounds to me like he felt the need to make a statement after being gone for twelve years!

Another great addition to the band is new drummer Scott Fuller.  On tracks such as “For No Master”, “Paradigms Warped”, and “Architect And Iconoclast”, Scott shows that not only can he channel the legendary Pete Sandoval’s double bass expertise, but he also has his own feel and style.  That’s important because…there’s only ONE Pete Sandoval.  Back behind the controls for this one as former Morbid Angel and current Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.  I wonder if he was intentionally trying to give Morbid as much of a bare bones sound as possible because this doesn’t sound like any of the other bands he’s produced over the years.

What I’m thrilled about most, as I’m sure most fans are, is hearing Trey rip it up in a way we haven’t heard in a long ass time.  His solos remind me of the late Jeff Hanneman’s at times, always have.  Oh yeah, there’s structure.  But in that structure is so much dissonance and chaos, yet it all fits perfectly every single time.  Not many guitarists can pull that one off.  As one of my Instagram followers put it recently “thank fuck they are back!”.  And more so than even ‘Waste, lets hope they keep this up!

Key tracks: Piles Of Little Arms, For No Master, Architect And Iconoclast, From The Hand Of Kings

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Fucked By Satan: Goatwhore Live and Sold Out at Saint Vitus Bar 7/6/15

It’s been a few weeks since this show happened but I took awhile to finally do this blog partially because of time constraints, partially because of the fact that a lot of things happened at this show, partially because I was sure some drunk piece of shit blatantly sabotaged one of my video of the Black Breath set but as I now know she failed.  But I’ll get to her.  I’m doing this post a little differently than my other posts because there was a lot to cover so I’m going to recap this as quick as I can and then list the bands and I’ll add their pictures and videos that way.

So I arrived at the bar a good half an hour before the show was supposed to start and within maybe ten minutes of my being there I recognized the woman I was standing next to during the Crowbar show just a week earlier.  She had checked on me after the psycho fanboy kicked me in the back of the head and she now revealed to me that her legs at that moment we were talking were still bruised all over from that night.  We both spoke for a bit about the crowd as a whole that night, how brutal that show in general was because that pit wasn’t really a mosh pit – it was one big fucking fight!  See the video on my post about that night see what I’m talking about!

The first band of the night was a band called Theories, who are out promoting their latest album, Regressions.  I recorded the first few songs of their set which I will post.  They weren’t bad.  I don’t know that I’d buy their stuff but but I’d definitely see them again.  I’d say that their singer should definitely work a little more on coming out of his shell with his stage presence.  I imagine it will happen over time.

Ringworm were next and all I can say is…OW!!  There’s a reason James Bulloch is the “Human Furnace”.  Damn.  The band as a whole were absolutely brutal…so much so that that this where the circle pits and even some idiotic dancing began!  I stood to the side of the room while filming to avoid getting hit but some retard who was dancing around like a spaz  threw himself in to the guy next to me, who obviously bumped in me, hitting me right in the ribs and forcing my thumb to turn the camera off.  Within a minute or two of starting over I knocked into again twice, tailbone first in to the wall both times so this time I just got out until the band finished.  Again…OW!!!  By the way as of this writing my tailbone STILL hurts.

Black Breath…where shit went down.  What’s in a name?  That’s what I need to remember when it comes to Metal bands because these guys shattered all my expectations and fucking killed it! I couldn’t even use the word brutal to describe their intensity on stage.  They were PERFECT!!  So what was the problem?  I had gotten a brand new Droid Maxx just a few days earlier so I was unaware when filming that there was an automatic light that I had to remove.  So while I was filming there was a light on the whole time so I was a little confused when the woman in front of me began giving my phone the finger and then gave me the finger.  Of course I gave her the finger back.  She then turned to me and told me that the light on my phone was really bothering her and I was “making everything suck”.  I understood and kindly asked her to give me a minute so I could find a place to move and I guess that wasn’t good enough for her so she pushed me.

I didn’t do anything only because I assumed she was a bit drunk but the fucking bitch did it again!  When I was done filming she and her much calmer boyfriend thanked me.  I politely approached her and told her that there was no reason to push me.  “Well I tried to reason with you and you wouldn’t listen so I’ll push you all I want!” was her immature reply.  I called her out on it and she declared “I’m not afraid of you!”.  I never threatened her.  She then tried to insult me again and gave up.  It’s incredible, how tough women act when their boyfriends/husbands are around, although part of me thinks that this drunk bitch wears the pants in the couple.  And by the way you dumb twat, if you’re reading this I hope you get shot repeatedly in your fuckin’ head!  I do have to acknowledge the guy behind me, who saw everything and offered to lend me his spot so I could continue filming, but I was already finished at that point.  If you happen to be reading this, thank you bro, it obviously wasn’t forgotten.

After I took a few deep breaths in amazement that I didn’t punch the drunk bitch in her throat I got ready for Goatwhore.  I slowly got more in the mood the longer I heard Venom’s song “In League With Satan” blasting through the speakers…so bad but so good!  I was getting ready to film again and when I saw the guy in front of me looking up at my phone I decided to stop and look at the problem.  That’s when I discovered the light and turned it off – it still doesn’t justify some dumb bitch pushing me.

Goatwhore got on and they fucking tore it up!  I personally feel that leaving Crowbar was the smartest move Sammy Duet ever made; he’s a totally brutal, loud, heavy guitarist.  Let’s face it – he never would’ve been able to truly express himself had he stayed.  That’s no disrespect to Kirk Windstein, but when the band you’re in is the product of one guy’s sole vision you’re not going to have an easy time getting your ideas out there.  The good news here was I was in a spot were I was able to avoid injuries this time and STILL see the band!

This is actually the third time I’ve seen them in the last eight years and the second time I saw them while on tour for their latest album, Constricting Rage of The Merciless, an album I recommend HIGHLY.  Someone once said that Goatwhore is exactly what Venom would have sounded like if they weren’t such a joke and I couldn’t agree more.  The place really came apart near the end when the began their song “FBS” (right….I don’t know why they didn’t just label it what it is.), of the new CD.  At the end of the night everyone knew what is was to get Fucked By Satan…and they loved it.

Theories:

Ringworm:

Black Breath:

Goatwhore: