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!
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:
March is here, Spring is knocking on your backdoor and for Austin SXSW is about to get all up in you. Although many are critical of what the conference has become in recent years, I for one am still in love with it even in my 19th year of attendance. Exposure to bands I might not regularly get or seeing bands that otherwise would be on huge stages in tiny clubs, just makes me happy. Plus industry folk canoodling together, people I have known for years in town once a year for a visit, magical. Commercialization, sell out, too big for its britches, whatever your argument, SXSW is what you make out of it, and no matter what your level of involvement a good time can be had by all.
That being said this year’s crop of metal bands shows a list not as strong as years past, even the free shows or day parties seem a little lacking in the metal arts, but some more announcements are coming next week and I will be assembling a “master list” of metal, if you are interested, on my blog for that will post on Monday. The playlist this month is the best of what has been announced so far, hope you enjoy and remember that Austin is nice, but don’t move here.
:Byzantine – A Curious Lot:
:Weedeater – Hot Doughnuts Now:
:Cancer Bats – Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake:
:Veil of Maya – Phoenix:
:Dillinger Escape Plan – Prancer:
:The Well – Trespass:
:Fallujah – Carved from Stone:
:Sick of it All – Road Less Traveled:
:KEN Mode – Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick:
:Power Trip – Conditioned To Death:
:King Parrot – Bite Your Head Off:
:Norma Jean – If You Have it At Five:
Few months garner the type of pleasure that February brings with such a special holiday like Valentine’s Day. No other holiday can match the selfless devotion to love and relationships the way one day, nay the entire month of February. So in the spirit of such an important day in your life, I assembled a very special list of metal songs that reflect the hard as nails love that every metalhead has tattooed on their blackened heart. Songs not only to dance, caress and canoodle too, but songs that will make you crave your love like a junkie craves their next hit, and possibly contemplate violence against small animals. So kick back, share those earbuds with that beautiful pierced prince or princess and maybe make a little love tonight …
:Cannibal Corpse – Fucked With a Knife:
:Type O Negative – Love You To Death:
:Converge – Heaven In Her Arms:
:The Beards – You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man:
:Faith No More – Be Aggressive:
:Strapping Young Lad - Love:
:Gorerotted – Can’t Fit Her Limbs In the Fridge:
:Six Feet Under - What Do You Do For Money Honey:
:Judas Priest – Ram It Down:
:Rollins Band – Liar:
:Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache:
:Pantera – This Love:
I know it’s a new year, we should be looking ahead and all that, but as my first mix of the 2015 comes only a week in I can’t post a bunch of music that isn’t out yet without a gaggle of lawyers breathing down my neck, and since I resolved to have less litigation against me in 2015 I’m instead having one last look back at some overlooked items of the past year. Every year a bunch of EPs hit the racks and they seem to get missed on the year-end metal lists. Whether it is big bands looking for a vehicle for that one good song that hit the cutting room floor or a grindcore band putting out a doom EP, they offer examples of short bursts of creativity that might not have otherwise seen the light of day.
My favorite out of the bunch last year by far was the band Junius with the Days Of The Fallen Sun EP, as a fan they can do no wrong anyway, but this little spark early in 2014 was forgotten by most but gave me a glimmer of brightness when I had new material from them to jam. Enjoy!
:Junius – Battle In The Sky:
:Black Tusk – Vulture’s Eye:
:Swans – Oxygen (Edit):
:Carcass – Intensive Battery Brooding:
:Pig Destroyer – Red Tar:
:Cloudkicker – Sky Guide:
:Periphery – Feed The Ground:
:Down – We Knew Him Well:
:Myrkur – Nattens Barn:
:Converge – Dark Horse (BBC Live Version):
:Godflesh – Dogbite: