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 …
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:
Last month I wrote about the Housecore Horror Film Festival that took place a couple weeks ago. It was a smash hit, with some excellent acts, and great horror films, but my friend and organizer of the event, Corey Mitchell, died directly after the festival concluded. Shocking to say the least, he was 48 years old, had just finished a great event and while loading out suffered a heart attack and died. Coming to terms with the loss has been difficult the last few weeks, trying to put things in perspective in a scene that deals with death as a focal point should be easy; there has been no shortage of losses through the years in metal.
This month, I wanted to feature music from bands who have lost members and suffered extreme tragedy, some have been able to carry on, others came to an end, but either way as metal fans we help keep their memories alive through stories, albums, photos and paying tribute as often as we can. I have never dealt with death well, I usually just drink and try to forget, so let this serve as a dose of medicine to help me relieve my pain with losing another friend. RIP Corey and to donate to his family go HERE.
:Damageplan – Breathing New Life:
:Woods of Ypres – I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetary:
:Death – Altering The Future:
:Voivod – Voivod:
:Decapitated – Spheres Of Madness:
:Suicide Silence – No Pity For A Coward:
:Deftones – Around the Fur:
:Static X – Cannibal:
:Dio – Stand Up And Shout:
:Snot – Joy Ride:
:Gwar – Murderers Muse:
:Slayer – Spirit In Black:
:Rigor Mortis – Rain Of Ruin:
Last year the inaugural Housecore Horror Film Festival – curated by Phil Anselmo – cast its darkness on Austin for the first time, and it successfully bridged a film fest and music fest into one very exclusive party for metal and horror fans. As an attendee and host of the awards show, I had a great damn time at an event that elevated the culture of a scene that gets overlooked in our community all too often. It was imitated on the west coast, but honestly there is nothing like a good ole dirty southern party and this year will be even better!
Featuring so many cool things, the 40th anniversary of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, massive amount of exclusive docs and horror flicks, and special guests like Randy Blythe and Brian Posehn, but I focus on the metal music of course. Performances from reunited bands like Superjoint Ritual, classic acts like Napalm Death, Voivod, Danzig, Samhain, and Gwar, and cutting edge metal with KEN Mode, Origin, Unearth and Decapitated will all serve to deafen us for three days coming up October 23-26 at Emo’s and Midways. If you know nothing about it check HHFF out whilst you jam this month’s playlist!
:Acid Witch – October 31st:
:Voivod – Voivod:
:Danzig – Twist Of Cain:
:Unearth – The Swarm:
:Decapitated – Instinct:
:Superjoint Ritual – Haunted Hated:
:Gwar – Womb With a View:
:Portal – Awryeon:
:KEN Mode – Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick:
:Origin – Unattainable Zero:
:Napalm Death – Silence Is Deafening:
:Neurosis – Through Silver in Blood:
The recent news about Chimaira losing every single member other that their founder Mark Hunter (which has happened before) got me thinking about how metal is one of the few genres that seems to forgive and forget lineup changes in bands. Whether it is from death, disputes or simply creative differences, metal bands have been exchanging personnel for years and in some cases for the betterment of the band in question, and in others out of necessity.
So this month I pulled some of the more successful transitions to new membership in groups ranging from the classic metal bands like Sabbath replacing Bill Ward, Iron Maiden swapping out Paul Di’Anno or Carcass losing Michael Amott, to newer groups like Suicide Silence finding themselves after the death of Mitch Lucker, or The Faceless finding people who can deal with Michael Keene. Either way, a playlist of bands who have survived under extenuating circumstances and prevailed!
:Anthrax – The Devil You Know:
:The Faceless – Emancipate:
:Black Sabbath – God Is Dead:
:Suicide Silence – Don’t Die:
:Carcass – Mount Of Execution:
:Slipknot – The Devil In I:
:Chimaira – All That’s Left Is Blood:
:Iron Maiden – Stranger In A Strange Land:
:Death – Crystal Mountain:
:Gwar – Gwar Theme:
:Decapitated – The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God:
American Death Metal has been getting a bad rap in the world lately. For some reason the Eurozone and Scandinavians tend to look down their nose at the genre championed by Americans. I’ll concede Black Metal, Power Metal, Viking Metal and several other genres for not being ours, but when you think of the early bits in the genre, the umbilical was cut in the 50 states (mainly Florida).
Admittedly, the last decade has been rough on Americans – Polish, Austrian, Sweedish and even British Death Metal have garnered more favor for doing innovative and creative things, and I jumped on the bandwagon until a few albums struck this year. It give me hope to know bands like Origin, Fallujah and Misery Index not only have some history that is decent, but new albums that move what can typically be a tight subgenre in a new direction.
So my mix this month, DEATH! Some of this year’s best Death Metal songs and a couple classics to remind you from whence it came. The standout album being from Fallujah, seriously a game changer, in subtle ways, but nonetheless a dividing point between traditional and experimental. Enjoy!
:Fallujah – Carved from Stone:
:Aborted – Necrotic Manifesto:
:Vital Remains – Dechristianize:
:Autopsy – After The Cutting:
:Origin – Manifest Desolate:
:Cannibal Corpse – Sadistic Embodiment:
:Morbid Angel – Suffocation:
:Death – Mutilation:
:Misery Index – Cross to Bear:
:Deicide – In The Minds Of Evil:
:Incantation – Carrion Prophesy:
;Goatwhore – FBS:
There is no question that women love heavy metal. It may not be in the same numbers as men, but the women who love to listen and create metal music can have a difficult road to what they enjoy, questioned at every turn, objectified, crucified, taken advantage of and in some instances even injured or murdered. Most recently Aaron Lewis of the band Staind (Definitely not metal, but hard rock at least) called out some douchebags at their Rockfest show groping a young girl who decided to crowd surf. By its very nature, you might have an errant finger in your butthole while someone is trying to keep you aloft of the crowd, but many times if a woman takes to the crowd, bros try to get frisky, even tearing at clothes or worse.
Unacceptable, not because they are women or young girls, but because you shouldn’t act like an animal, groping at the smell of the opposite sex just because you can. Considering the world we live in, getting groped at a concert doesn’t seem nearly as disconcerting as being raped on a bus in India, but it still makes ladies wary of enjoying themselves when they should have the freedom to do so. So cut the crap Neanderthals and grow the hell up. This month, I wanted to pick out some bands with female members who freaking rule, not because of sex, skin or any of that superficial crap, they are players and singers who dominate.
:Arch Enemy – As The Pages Burn:
:Within Temptation – Paradise (What About Us):
:Benedictum - Burn It Out:
:Walls of Jericho – A Trigger Full of Promises:
:Chthonic – Supreme Pain for the Tyrant:
:Otep – Apex Predator:
:Electric Wizard – Black Mass:
:L7 – Shitlist:
:Eths – Ex Umbra In Solem:
:Kylesa – Unspoken:
:iwrestledabearonce – Letters To Stallone:
:Jucifer – Blackpowder:
We are just about at the mid-point of 2014 (I know, hard to believe), so I wanted to give you some of what I feel are the best metal songs of the year. I have heard a few more than what I have on this list that might grow into the top 20 of the year but I had to cut it off. Unfortunately one of my favorite genres, Death Metal, has lapsed so far in 2014. Misery Index, Aborted and a few others have made great albums, but on the whole it has been about a lot of bigger names bringing new music to us this year.
I would say on the top of my list at this point is The Satanist, the record from Polish metal act Behemoth. They brought their live show through Austin with the Metal Alliance/Texas Independence Fest and just destroyed. The album marks some of the most solid writing in their career and has brought the band to the front of extreme metal all over the world. We even featured an in-depth interview with Nergal, their lead singer, on the MetalSucks Podcast this week. So check out the single and if you are feeling safe try the NSFW version of the video for Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel, as it is pretty awesome.
:Behemoth – Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel:
:Triptykon – Breathing:
:Arch Enemy – War Eternal:
:Whitechapel – The Saw Is the Law:
:Black Label Society – My Dying Time:
:Trap Them – Salted Crypts:
:Fu Manchu – Radio Source Sagittarius:
:The Haunted – Eye of the Storm:
:Junius – Battle In The Sky:
:Ringworm – Hammer of the Witch:
:Mastodon – High Road:
Honestly I had every intention of moving on past the untimely death of one of my musical and artistic heroes, but in the present day we don’t spend enough time reflecting on things that should be important. Our attention spans are worse than that of a goldfish and I for one can’t really stand it, especially when it is something as close to my heart as Oderus Urungus. I know, a character someone plays on stage, but Dave Brockie and his alter ego represented so much more than just a joke band meant to shock people, he honestly was a thoughtful and hilarious person, genuine and one of those entertainers that no one will ever be able to replace.
So whilst the metal community moves on to the next thing, Tim Lambesis getting his long awaited sentencing, the line up for Mayhem, or whatever cat video makes you forget your pathetic life, I am going to sit a brood a little longer for the loss of one of my ultimate performers. RIP Dave Brockie, some of us will never forget, I promise.
:Gwar – Americanized:
:Gwar – We Kill Everything:
:Gwar – Biledriver:
:Gwar – Slaughterama:
:Gwar – Bloodbath:
:Gwar – Saddam A Go-Go:
:Gwar – Bring Back The Bomb:
:Gwar – Penguin Attack:
:Gwar – Metal Metal Land:
:Gwar – Murderers Muse:
It is impossible for someone sitting in Austin the first week of March not to broach the topic of SXSW. I would be remiss if I were to ignore the inevitable onslaught of music that will descend upon our fine city in just a few days. Most people are stoked for whatever pop or indie act will be vended to you out of some mighty Doritos machine, but I have taken some time to sniff out as much metal as humanly possible, and I thought it would be appropriate to expose it to you. Starting on Tuesday, this year marks the year of ‘doom metal,’ the sludgy, heavy slow attack, it seems to be the trend this year, or at least what people think is in, so let’s go with it! Also on this list, plenty of local favorites, it is one of the best years for local metal bands doing official showcases, so why not celebrate it a bit.
My featured song however, not local, not doom, but a recent addition to the genre pool, Djent. Animals As Leaders are featured atop the MetalSucks.net showcase on Friday the 14th and their new record is coming out two weeks later. This song is pretty brilliant, and relaxing, an adjective not often used with metal, but you’ll see what I mean.
SONG OF THE MONTH:
:After the Burial – A Wolf Amongst Ravens:
:Windhand – Orchard:
:American Sharks – Overdrive:
:We Butter the Bread With Butter – USA:
:Kylesa – Unspoken:
:Venomous Maximus – Give Up The Witch:
:Pack of Wolves – Destruction II:
:Trash Talk – Blind Evolution:
:Power Trip – Conditioned To Death:
:The Ocean – Eoarchaean – The Great Void:
:Rivers of Nihil – Rain Eater:
Widely known as the month for lovers, at least since a greeting card company decided they need to make more money, February give us Valentine’s Day, that special time when every man’s metal is tested against his fellow cretins by what kind of crap we choose to buy our significant other. Hate not being a strong enough word for my feelings toward this made up holiday, I am choosing to help you celebrate with a nice mixture of music for that special someone in your life and how you would chop them up into little pieces if it were not for the desire to stay out of jail. Love will make a man crazy and metal dudes tend to feel things a little stronger than the average, well, we express our hatred and angst more outwardly at the very least.
SONG OF THE MONTH:
I also chose to grab a little more female friendly song for my featured song, Within Temptation’s new album Hydra hit stores this week, and on the love theme I picked Paradise (What About Us) from the list to express my longing for something or whatever. Solid track featuring Tarja Turunen and is pretty damn catchy, like herpes.
:Within Temptation – Paradise (What About Us):
:Cannibal Corpse – Stripped, Raped and Strangled:
:Type O Negative – Love You To Death:
:Death – Together As One:
:Trivium – Dying In Your Arms:
:Dethklok – I Ejaculate Fire:
:Suffocation – Entrails of You:
:Faith No More – The Morning After:
:Six Feet Under – Let Me Put My Love Into You:
:Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache:
:Pantera – Throes of Rejection:
:Opeth – Porcelain Heart:
January is a particularly strange month for many reasons. In the music industry the wheels begin turning again after about a month of ‘best of’ lists and compilation releases, the New Year always marks ‘new beginnings’ and I celebrate a birthday. This year I cross over the four decade mark, while still trying to act like I am only one decade old. I am celebrating by heading out on my first trip on the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise ship, I got lucky that my other job at MetalSucks.net as the host of the weekly podcast is sending me as a ‘correspondent,’ but I will be utilizing my first cruise as a celebration of my b-day at the same time! I have wanted to go since its inception and this year some of my favorite bands are on the trip too, so I figured I would give you a preview (since I probably won’t remember much) of the 40 bands that will be shredding the high seas at the end of the month. Also, John is now having us pick a “song of the month” to go with our mixes, so there’s that, too.
SONG OF THE MONTH:
My pick this month comes from an amazing group who have been making waves in metal since 1993. Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal of the band Cynic create stunning soundscapes and creative juxtoposition between metal and soaring vocals in the early years, to much easier but no less complicated structures on their latest album.
:Carcass – Noncompliance to ASTM F899-12 Standard:
:The Haunted – 99:
:Soilwork – Spectrum Of Eternity:
:Dark Tranquillity – The Science Of Noise:
:SepticFlesh – The Ophidian Wheel:
:Death Angel – Kill As One:
:Satyricon – Phoenix:
:DRI – Tear It Down:
:Overkill – Electric Rattlesnake:
:Leaves Eyes – Elegy:
:Obituary – Chopped In Half:
This month I wanted to offer a little more depth into the metal offerings during Fun Fun Fun Fest happening at Auditorium Shores this weekend. ACL Fest was decidedly not metal, and that’s acceptable, but FFF has always offered a little more variety, including this year’s second appearance of the mighty Slayer! The festival proper is spending more focus on punk rock at the sacrifice of metal compared to years past, but I wanted to include some of the bands playing the ‘Nites’ this year in my playlist this month.
Many of the bands who just couldn’t fit on the rearranged stage setup this year have been forced into the club circuit for late night shows after the festival shuts down, but still included with the price of admission to FFF8. Local metal bands The Pushmen, Eagle Claw and national acts like Black Tusk, Inter Arma and Coliseum are just a few of the bands you need to check out this year, and support the metals. Have a great festival!
:August Burns Red – Internal Cannon:
:The Locust – Full Frontal Obscurity:
:Black Tusk – Set The Dial To Your Doom:
:Tenacious D – Dio:
:Body Count – Body Count’s In The House:
:Slayer – Raining Blood:
:Coliseum – Everything To Everyone:
:Quicksand – Baphomet:
:Eagle Claw – Ophidian:
:Pushmen – Blaze Some More Hate:
:Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage:
:Inter Arma – Sblood:
:Pelican – Ephemeral:
:Iron Age – Dispossessed:
This month finally marks the demise of summer. By now I am exhausted from all the metal festivals, and the damn heat destroyed all the beautiful things. Fall begins to decay the rotting corpses left to char in the sunlight, and gives birth to some of the best metal of the year. To be completely honest, this set includes a song from the best album of the last decade and first from the band Carcass in almost twenty years. I am that confident in saying so. I won’t disparage the other new tracks on this list, but they can only live in the shadow of Surgical Steel (the new album from Carcass). I did include some very good releases though, wear protective headgear when listening to Fleshgod Apocalypse and Grave, whilst the couple of ‘vintage’ tracks are bands I plan on seeing live this month, because it is all about me in the end. So enjoy the preparation for the dark times, and as some have been known to say, Winter is Coming.
:Between The Buried And Me – Astral Body:
:Trivium – Strife:
:Carcass – Captive Bolt Pistol:
:The Devil Wears Prada – Home For Grave:
:Fleshgod Apocalypse – Elegy:
:Skeletonwitch – Burned From Bone:
:Grave – Morbid Ascent:
:Red Fang – Blood Like Cream:
:Iron Maiden – Powerslave:
:Orange Goblin – Acid Trial:
:Iwrestledabearonce – Letters To Stallone:
On my way home last night, my phone started going insane with the news that Jeff Hanneman had passed away at the age of 49 from liver failure. I didn’t believe all the text messages that people were sending around, knowing what kind of fan I am of Slayer even my Mom sent me a message and I knew this was real.
People die every day. Some too early, some too young, some you know others you don’t. When a legend passes, many people don’t know what it means to you, honestly I didn’t know how much he meant to me until I realized I would never see him play again.
Their music coddled me through some tough times, gave me hope for music in the dark ages, and inspired me to plug away each week on my radio show. The world of metal is so much darker without Jeff Hanneman in it, and he can never be replaced. If you have never had the pleasure of listening to Slayer, take a few moments and listen to a few songs I have selected, and for you fans, give hails to another metal legend gone too early. Peace be with you Jeff, we will always stay metal in your name.
:Slayer – Raining Blood:
:Slayer – South Of Heaven:
:Slayer – Disciple:
:Slayer – Seasons In The Abyss:
:Slayer – Hardening Of The Arteries: