Once Summer ends for many it feels like back to the grind, but for metal folks this is when things start to feel right. Personally, I don’t feel right with that much sunshine and happiness, I yearn for the dark, the short days and long nights, the chill on the wind and the sounds of metal and horror. It all begins this month and you can see it with the releases that have been cropping up.
The last few months have offered a few gems here and there, but as we approach the Fall it starts to be a struggle to keep up with some of the latest releases. Not working to find the best music, it just lands right in your lap, and if it hasn’t yet, let my offering to you this month provide a guide for just the last couple of weeks of metal and the albums that will be coming out soon. Truly a great year so far, but its last months hold even more promise, so enjoy!
A data scientist for Degenerate State compiled over 200,000 songs, analyzed their lyrics to find the most heavy metal word, or at least the word that seemed to appear in the most songs from thousands of bands. Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing – Part 1 explained the process and at least some of the findings, and personally i was kind of shocked. I mean I figured it would be brootal and cvlt, but thought maybe Satan, or domination or something would be the one, well there can be only one and according to the study BURN is the most metal word over many years, songs, bands and genres of metal.
Which makes sense, fire, dragons, Hell, lava, so many things burn, whether it was the rash of Church burnings by Black Metal dudes or whatever the imagery stays ingrained as something pretty freaking metal. Plus I figured since we are in August, it is damn hot, time for some music about fire and burning. What I found though, is there ARE a lot of songs that fit either by title or lyrically, so here is a list of a few off the top of my head! Enjoy!
I am not sure why people like to think about Christmas in July, maybe it’s a simple longing for those happy times around the holidays for their family and friends, but more likely around our neck of the woods in Texas it’s because the heat is getting stifling about this time of year. We like to look at pretty pictures of ice and snow and think about what it would be like to not have to blast the AC twenty four hours a day and wear two shirts just to hold all the sweat from walking from your front door to your car that has turned into a blast furnace after ten minutes in the sun.
So this month, instead of listening to music from a holiday that will infest your earholes soon enough, let’s attempt to cool down in another way. Metal has a long standing tradition of celebrating the darkest part of the year, winter with its icy snow, snowy ice and wintery mix of evil in the air, it symbolizes death for many, and what’s more metal than that! So here is a cool down playlist this month of great blustery songs for you to enjoy while sweating away dreaming of cooler times.
It is difficult to wrap my head around the idea that 2016 is already halfway over, we’ll be hanging twinkle lights, tuning in football and cooking turkeys before you know it. We pause this month to take a look at what bands have put out some exceptional material so far this year. Many groups disappointed with lackluster albums versus their high expectations, but on the other hand, a plethora of surprises awaited as you dig into some of the lesser known acts and extreme metal fringes.
So I offer you this month the Best Metal of 2016 thus far…enjoy!
:Amon Amarth – One Against All:
:Toothgrinder – The House (That Fear Built):
:Architects (UK) – A Match Made In Heaven:
:Primitive Weapons – Ashes or Paradise:
:Black Cobra – Eye Among The Blind:
:Magrudergrind – Sacrificial Hire:
:Borknagar – Cold Runs The River:
:Ihsahn – Mass Darkness:
:Fallujah – Scar Queen:
:Gojira – Stranded:
:Fleshgod Apocalypse – The Fool:
You must realize by now that today is April Fool’s Day, and if you didn’t, you’re welcome. Before you ‘Love’ that post your buddy puts up about Donald Trump dropping out of the race or the friend request from your crush in high school gets you in catfish hell with your spouse, know this – IT’S ALL FAKE, as if it isn’t most of the time anyway. So instead of getting all tricksy with you this month, it’s time to be honest, and you can decide if this is a troll, or if in fact it is true, like it matters anyway.
I may be the most metal person many people know, especially when it come to my tunes, hence the reason I am on this page in the first place, but alongside my deeply embedded vein of metal lies a dark secret – A capella. To be specific, barbershop music has been and still is one of my favorite things in this world. I recently started singing again after too many years away, but when the hair on my neck stood up after that first chord I was hooked like I first was at fourteen. Whether you believe me or not, I put together a playlist of some of my favorite pieces, not even close to metal, or cool for that matter … but these are my jams.
I missed last month’s HMFT since I was sailing the seas of sleaze on the 70000 Tons of Metal cruise during my usual week, but that just gives me more bottled up aggression to release upon you this month. Many call March “Metal Month,” but for those of us in Austin, we all know it is time for South By Southwest. Every year we get thousands of bands through town, of which like four are metal bands. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but in reality, the distinct lack of metal is always a little depressing.
All things considered, the metal showcases are decent this year, offerings from Roadrunner, eOne, Metalsucks and Metal Injection all have a lot of good music, so I will point you to my blog for more info on which ones to look out for, and give you a nibble in my March playlist of jams … enjoy!
:Author And Punisher – CAUTERIZE:
:Weedeater – Hot Doughnuts Now:
:Black Cobra – The Messenger:
:Toothgrinder – Blue:
:Black Crown Initiate – Great Mistake:
:Today is the Day – Sick Of Your Mouth:
:Crowbar – All I Had (I Gave):
:The Contortionist – Language I – Intuition:
:Deftones – Root:
:Monuments – Origin of Escape:
:Exmortus - Foe Hammer:
:Killswitch Engage – Hate By Design:
With the New Year brings a new round of Death. Whether we are talking Bowie, Rickman or Lemmy, some of my favorite actors and rock icons have passed away the last couple weeks and it’s left me with a backward outlook on this virginal year of 2016. Death is a part of life, there is no Death there is the force, Death is a prick, whatever your cliché when you feel the sting of doom telling you to stop smoking and eating too many tacos doesn’t quell the disdain in our charred souls.
The only thing that ever made any difference to me? Reflecting on my music collection, diving in neck deep into the most depressing or at least the most representative tunes that breach my cold heart to help soothe the need to burn shit down and lash out at the world for being unfair. Yeah, we’re all gonna die, even you, in fact, you’re dying right now, if you aren’t already dead inside. Here is my list of tunes about our inevitable best friend Death and the power it holds. Maybe February will be love songs?
:Acid Bath – New Death Sensation:
:Strait Up – Angels’ Son:
:Amon Amarth – Embrace Of The Endless Ocean:
:Slayer – Spirit In Black:
:Carcass – Death Certificate:
:Pantera – Death Rattle:
:Death – Open Casket:
:Opeth – The Funeral Portrait:
:Iron Maiden – Heaven Can Wait:
:Neurosis – Away:
:Metallica – Fade to Black:
This month we have been inundated with the power of mother nature bringing the rain back to Texas. In just a few weeks of rain and storms a drought that was in place for almost a decade had its back broken, and there are no signs of the rain shutting off for the next few months. One of the rainiest Fall and Winters we have seen in a long time.
So I figured there was an opportunity to aggregate a bunch of songs about rain, thunder and floods for you this month. I really just skimmed the top of my memory (and some Twitter followers) to compile a list of metal songs that fit, but once I got going this could have been about 200 hundred songs! So sit in a gloomy place, grab your umbrella and enjoy the rain …
:Mastodon – Blood And Thunder:
:Dio – Naked In The Rain:
:Viking Skull – Heavy Metal Thunder:
:DRI – Acid Rain:
:Trivium – Brave This Storm:
:Enslaved – One Thousand Years of Rain:
:Motorhead – Thunder & Lightning:
:The Red Chord – Send The Death Storm 1:
:God Forbid – The Rain:
:Slayer – Raining Blood:
:High on Fire – Fire , Flood & Plauge:
:Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain:
:Megadeth – Dance In The Rain:
It’s that time where we get to examine the upcoming festivals for all of you who are into that sort of thing. I know that ACL starts today, and I don’t particularly care. They don’t do a thing with metal and probably never will, though they did add a Danzig show in the middle of the week, but I think that was a middle finger to this other fest coming up in November. Fun Fun Fun Fest is without a doubt the only outdoor festival that I can stomach for more than 20 minutes. Not simply because of the bands, but as I have said before, the people who attend FFF can typically be found at a club any given night partaking in live music as part of their regular culture.
This year’s FFF fest lineup has fewer metal bands than they ever have had on the Black Stage and even the FFF Nites leaves little to offer those of us who love the harder side of life, but still there are some worthy acts like Venom in their only US performance, Converge, L7, Mayhem, Rotting Christ and locals Power Trip and American Sharks. So turn this playlist up as you Uber all those douches from ACL fest, they won’t know what hit em …
:Venom – Don’t Burn The Witch:
:American Sharks – Curse:
:Skinny Puppy – Knowhere:
:Converge – Heaven In Her Arms:
:Rotting Christ – Enuma Elish:
:L7 – Shitlist:
:Power Trip – Conditioned To Death:
:Mayhem – Funeral Fog:
:Mutoid Man – Sweet Ivy:
:Watain – Storm of the Antichrist:
This week the Motorhead show at Emo’s ended early due to the ongoing health issues of the iconic Lemmy Kilmister. It was a tough sight to see, a rock and roll legend who is arguably one of the most important figures in heavy music experiencing the effects of getting older. At 70, Lemmy has lived more and rocked more than all of us put together and unfortunately it appears to have taken its toll on his body. When a God becomes mortal before your eyes, you want to deny the inevitable conclusion.
No matter what, Lemmy obviously wants to go out swinging, and though admirable, I am not sure if he knows what all of his fans feel … Lemmy, you owe us nothing. You have given your all over the 40 years we have been listening to Motorhead, and all we want is for your to enjoy your many years you have left, if that is on stage for you, so be it, but we all know you don’t want to let us down … know this, you never have or will! So this month, my list is all MOTORHEAD!
:Motorhead – Ace Of Spades:
:Motorhead – The Hammer:
:Motorhead – Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers:
:Motorhead – Poison:
:Motorhead – Bomber:
:Motorhead – Overkill:
:Motorhead – Electricity:
:Motorhead – Motorhead:
:Motorhead – Iron Horse-Born To Lose:
:Motorhead – Metropolis:
:Motorhead – Killed By Death:
:Motorhead – Mean Machine:
I just returned from an extensive trip to the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World. It might seem strange for a brutal metal man to subject himself to the onslaught of saccharine happiness that emanates from every crevice of that hallowed ground in Florida, but honestly, I love that place. Everyone goes beyond what is necessary to be nice and respectful, the rides are damn fun and it is almost as clean as Canada. Really though taking my daughter, who is not a metalhead, makes for some great family memories and leaves me colder and angry now that I have returned home, purpose served. So with that in mind, a quick Disney Metal mix this month!
A patriotic month around these parts, people in America love their trans-fats, fireworks, flags and freedom, and add to that a violent metal soundtrack and that is pretty much everything we can be balled up into one magical nutty freedom ball. This month in order to celebrate I wanted to provide you a soundtrack from the oppressors who made all of this possible, the British. Without their over bearing, snooty attitude toward God, we would all be sipping tea instead of guzzling down 900oz of soda every day. Depending upon where you mark the beginnings of heavy metal, Britain gave birth to the genre and some of the most prolific and interesting music still comes from the Ilses, so in celebration of Freedom, Justice and everything American in July, a nod to the country who without which the USA would be a Spanish colony, Great Britain.
:Architects – Naysayer:
:Viking Skull – The Blackened Sunrise:
:Bullet for My Valentine – Temper Temper:
:Venom – The Death Of Rock N Roll:
:Diamond Head – Am I Evil:
:The Hell – EVERYBODY DIES:
:Electric Wizard – Satanic Rites Of Drugula:
:Tesseract – Nocturne:
:Iron Maiden – Only The Good Die Young:
:Orange Goblin – Acid Trial:
:Judas Priest – Painkiller:
:Napalm Death – Smash a Single Digit:
:Motorhead – Iron Horse-Born To Lose:
I hate trends. We all say these words and then tend to fall into the traps laid by those who shape the media, me included. Taste makers and trend setters glom onto the latest and greatest in an effort to look like they are ahead of the curve and have some kind of insight into what is “cool” or “now” or whatever you call it. My favorite thing about trends is watching it come to an end. When something goes down, the only ones who seem to survive are the actual originators of it, many times decades old bands revived from the depths of carpentry, plumbing or a meth addiction to play that one song a genre has been derived from and imitated over a thousand iterations. Those bands at least deserve a little credit given that they were panned for 25 years ago and discarded only to be resurrected and paraded around.
The most recent trend for my end of the spectrum Doom Metal, which is characterized by Early Black Sabbath, obviously a trend setter as one of the original ‘metal’ bands, but the second wave brought bands who took their sound, slowed it, and became more deliberate with heavy riffs and distressed vocals. Thinking about it, this may be the third time we have had this particular genre resurge, maybe only the second if you consider the groovier spawn in the mid-90s as something different. So this month, DOOM METAL, a few classics and the trendier modern crap packaged and sold as Satan’s soundtrack, enjoy!
:Acid King – Infinite Skies:
:Yob – Nothing to Win:
:Candlemass – At The Gallows End:
:Valkyrie – Golden Age:
:Cathedral – Ebony Tears:
:Ufomammut – Temple:
:Crowbar – Existence Is Punishment:
:Trouble – The Tempter:
:Goatsnake – Elevated Man:
:Saint Vitus – Born Too Late:
:My Dying Bride – The Poorest Waltz:
:Pentagram – Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram):
:Lucifer – Purple Pyramid:
:Pallbearer – Fear and Fury:
I run a metal radio station called NO CONTROL Radio, and as part of that three years ago I had a friend of mine Metalmaster Steve, as he is known, start up a show that plays nothing but Christian metal, Faster for the Master. I know for some that may seem a little strange that Christian values and metal can exist in the same world, but there is a very long standing tradition of the two co-mingling since the early days of extreme metal in the 80s. I won’t try to give you a history lesson of anything, but I wanted to layout some tunes for you this month that spotlighted what my friend has been doing and what that side of the genre can bring.
Most of the time I am in league with Satan, and the majority of metalheads would probably stand with me in that regard, which is another reason the fans and bands who stand for their values are truly metal, standing in the face of opposition, contradictory to the norms that surround them and giving the finger to those who oppose them. So this month I give you a playlist of bands who stand with God in their corner. Enjoy! And Congrats Steve on three years!
:August Burns Red – Internal Cannon:
:Trouble – Pray for the Dead:
:Deliverance – Windows Of The Soul:
:Tourniquet – Ark of Suffering:
:Demon Hunter – Lead Us Home:
:The Famine – The Crown and the Holy See:
:Extol – Wastelands:
:Stryper – To Hell With The Devil:
:For Today – Fearless:
:Norma Jean – The Potter Has No Hands:
:Haster the Day – White Collar:
:Living Sacrifice – Awakening:
:Impending Doom – Doomsday:
When I started to look at this month’s mix, I began with the idea of Spring being that time when everyone and thing is thinking about procreating and having nasty sex, but then realized I kind of did that for Valentine’s Day back in February. I mean what would make you hornier than Meat Hook Sodomy, so I decided to do the next best thing. Metal dudes masturbate; I’m not talking about actually touching yourself, but the more existential version.
Whether it is the noodly guitar solo that only they (or other metal dudes) want to hear, or those blast beat thunderstorms that they crave so much, but the prime examples are all of the excellent metal songs about metal. You may not even realize it, but that strident self-love is all over the catalog of metal, songs about being metal, acting metal, the genre of metal, metal militias and metal women. Metal dudes love to talk and say the word metal … masturbation. Metal on metal, black metal, metal metal land, you get the idea. So this month we celebrate that giant circle jerk that metal can be and do songs about metal, or metal in the title or bands with metal in their name or metal metal metal … enjoy!
:3 Inches Of Blood – Metal Woman:
:Viking Skull – Heavy Metal Thunder:
:Anthrax – Metal Thrashing Mad:
:Venom – Black Metal:
:Anvil – Metal On Metal:
:The Crown – Death Metal Holocaust:
:Gwar – Metal Metal Land:
:Sodom – Witching Metal:
:Judas Priest – Metal Meltdown:
:Slayer – Metal Storm-Face The Slayer:
:Metal Church – Metal Church:
:Primal Fear – Metal is Forever:
:Metallica – Metal Militia:
:Pantera – Metal Magic: