Dear Maelstrom faithful,
Whew! Another year, another anniversary. This time, it’s #7 for Maelstrom.
What material does #7 correspond to? Plastic? Cardboard? Crayon? In terms of
zine lifespans, it’s probably more along the lines of silver.
We skipped an issue while I was away on tour, which means that Maelstrom #60
is a whopper at 119 reviews. We have two interviews, one with video game music
metallers Powerglove, and the other with Dendura.
We were also going to run my chat with record producer Colin Richardson, who
tells about how he got Carcass’ guitars to sound as they do on Heartwork,
but damned if I can find my digital recorder in all this remodeling mess. We’ll
have to save it for next time.
Something that you should be sure to check out this month is the report from
the 2007 Dubai Desert Rock festival, which will allow you a glimpse of what
the metal life is like in the Middle East.
This month, we're giving away a split grind/hardcore CD on the Japanese label
Bloodbath Records. The album in question is GESEWA (Jap) / UTTER BASTARD's
(USA) Rising Sun Fuckers / Kusottare Yankee. We really dug
Gesewa's demo years ago (read about it in our pages), and those few tracks are
also on here, but mastered.
To win, be one of the first to answer the following correctly:
Name one of the members of either Gesewa or Utter Bastard that appear
on this album.
The anniversary issue also conveniently co-incides with our end of 2007 issue,
which means best of lists galore. I know I’ll be scrutinizing these to
know what records that I hadn’t heard of to buy.
– Roberto Martinelli
Roberto Martinelli’s favorite
albums of 2007
of Beverast, The – Rain Upon the Impure: The music-collector,
metal-head, record-buying, list-making nerd facets of my multiple personalities
had been looking for that fifth album to round out the Top 5 All-Time Best Black
Metal Album list. Found it. (by the way, I know that this album is a 2006 release,
but I hadn't heard of it till last year AND we were sent it to review as a new
album in 2007)
Black – Requiem Mezzo Forte: A stunning marriage of two of
my favorite musical things: metal and classical, except the classical is all
done by actual, acoustic instruments, and the vocals are performed by highly
adept opera singers. The album is like hearing a soundtrack to the tragedy (and
glory thereof) of war.
– Demo 2007: I try not to consider that what one band deems
a “demo” severely outshines the “studio album” of most
any other metal band. They can call it what they want. No other album this year
made me hold my breath with excitement and also vindication — that someone
did make the kind of music I want to hear within the metal context.
of the Weak – Wrath of the Weak: I love the out-of-nowhere
underdog. It didn’t come more so in 2007, as Wrath of the Weak was the
sole black metal project on a noise label. The one-man band nailed the tone
of the raging, necro storm that simultaneously was relaxing and meditative.
5. DGM – Different Shapes: Simply, Different Shapes
is 2007's best power/progressive metal album.
Mind – God’s Equation: What I had hoped would be the
best album of the year (again, see 2005's list), but #6 ain’t bad... but
take into consideration that the ranking and my suckerdom for this band correlate.
– Conqueror: Pure bliss. Jesu made its downtrodden sound
more pop and simple, and as depressing as it’s purported to be, it’s
actually rather uplifting and relaxing.
X – Paradise Lost: It may not be the best music overall that
this band has done, but for damn sure it’s the best overall album Symphony
X has put together, and it rips.
9. Circus Maximus – Isolate: The second album by these other
Norwegian prog metallers (see Pagan’s Mind... does Norway do every style
of metal as good or better than anyone else?) showed that the debut was not
a fluke. Original genius with outstanding vocals.
– Antichrist: It’s hard to top Choronzon in
these departments, but Antichrist shows once again that you can be
extreme metallers and still write catchy, proper songs.
Mortis – Voust: A black metal torrent on full blast, it was
a good ride to let this Italian group overtake me.
in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone: Hey, three
Maelstrom staffers can’t be wrong.
– Gambling With the Devil: Yeah, I’m also a sucker
for this group, and for cheesy, gay power metal in general... but Helloween
does sing-along, forever memorable choruses better than anyone in the genre,
and this album is a great piece of work.
Heights – The Shadow Cabinet: The idea of turbo-jigs married
to prog metal, and with one of the genre’s most awesome singers (Patrik
Johansson) appeals to me, and The Shadow Cabinet finally sees Wuthering
Heights get its asses in gear and put out an energized, gonzo album.
– Rise to Ruin: Partially to round out the list to 15, and
partially because I’m a sucker for amazing, clear, heavy production. Rise
to Ruin was sonically impressive, and my roomate came in and got stuck
in the room, nodding his head in profound admiration.
Record that should have been on my tops list but didn’t make it/disappointment:
Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline: Tired
Sounds of the Stars of the Lid is my favorite album of all time. The follow
up sounds even better, but the music is far less interesting. What a shame...
Joshua Gottlieb’s 75 Pontifications
and Obfuscations of 2007
– Criteria: altered from previous years as Roberto instituted the “Josh
Rule” wherein the best ofs had to, in fact, have been released only in
the calendar year. Evidently I was up to the task…
– Creature Comfort: in a year where I grew increasingly frustrated with
finding music that rocked my little world I still managed to come up with a
list that sprawls like the Midwest plains on a road trip from hell. Or something
to that effect.
– Discomfiting Realization: I bought, absconded with, and/or obtained
three hundred fewer CDs than in 2006.
– Discomfiting Realization, The Sequel: the ole CD collection still increased
by half a thousand.
– Greatest Revelation: my fourteen-year old niece’s discovery, and
subsequent obsession with, extreme metal, the best conversational snippet with
her being: “Gorgoroth’s quite good but Cannibal Corpse is kind of
one dimensional.” Damn near brought a tear to my eye and warmed my black
– And The Winner Is: Down’s III: Over the Under. Let’s
see, a five year gap between albums, a frontman about as stable as acid and
base commingling on a mule train through a prairie dog shanty town, the near
wholesale destruction of the band’s hometown and the salient fact that
supergroups, as a rule, devour large quantities of rhino cock. Recipe for suckage,
right? Yet here they go and churn out a record that echoes the past while staying
firmly rooted in the present, giving all the young ‘uns a schooling on
how to rock, pulverize and, dare I say, emote without a dash, whiff or trace
of irony or eye liner. Brilliant.
The Top Ten:
1. Down – III: Over the Under
2. Baroness –
in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
of No Light – Nord
5. Chalk, Andrew – Goldfall
6. Sunny Day in Glasgow, A – Scribble Mural Comic Journal
Program, The – Black Madonna
8. Alcest – Souvenirs D’Un Autre Monde
9. Jakob – Solace
10. Jesu – Lifeline
Fifteen That Could Have Cracked the Top Ten on Any Other Day (in random order):
Wormwood – Starvation
The – Weighing Souls With Sand
Ea – Ea
Ufomammut / Lento – Supernaturals Record One
Rosetta – Wake / Lift
Ministry – The Last Sucker
Nadja – Radiance of Shadows
Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
Venetian Snares – My Downfall
Alchemist – Tripsis
Angel Eyes – …And For a Roof a Sky Full of Stars
Simulacra – Eidolon
Gnaw Their Tongues – Reeking Pained and Shuddering
Young America – An Ocean Without Water
Tigertailz – Thrill Pistol
Another Fifty That Found Heavy Rotation and Sloppy Kisses (alphabetized):
IXXI – IXXI
Alabama Thunder Pussy – Open Fire
Amiina – Kurr
Atavist / Nadja – 12012291920 / 1414101
Basinski, William – Shortwavemusic
Business – Here Come the Waterworks
Bjorkk, Henrik Nordvargr & Beyond Sensory Experience vs. Kenji Siratori
– Hypergenome 666
Deathspell Omega – Fas – Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum
Earth – Hibernaculum
Editors – An End Has a Start
Gainsbourg, Charlotte – 5:55
Gnaw Their Tongues – Die Mutter Wahlt Das Todtenkleidchen
Gog – Noriah Mills
Harvey, PJ – White Chalk
Hey Colossus – Project: Death
Human Quena Orchestra, The – Means Without Ends
Kleinbach, Wilhelm – The Funerary Notebooks of Herr Gratchenfleiss
– Power Hor
Lifelover – Erotik
– The Ritual Fires of Abandonment
Mnemic – Passenger
Monarch! – Dead Men Tell No Tales
Monster Magnet – 4-Way Diablo
Monument of Urns – Cruelty
Morkobot – Mostro
Nadja – Thaumogenesis
Narrows, The – Benjmain
– Given to the Rising
Ocean, The – Precambrian
Orenda – The Funeral
Pelican – City of Echoes
Place To Bury Strangers, A – S/T
– A Greater Darkness
of Beverast, The – Rain Upon the Impure
Voices of Omens
Snares (Venetian Snares) – Sabbath Dubs (10”)
Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline
Timony, Mary Band – The Shapes We Make
Today Is The Day – Axis of Eden
Torche – In Return
0 – Memory of a Dream
Tulsa Drone – Songs From a Mean Season
Type O Negative – Dead Again
Black – Requiem Mezzo Forte
When – Trippy Happy
Windmills By the Ocean – S/T
Wraiths – Plaguebearer
Ignacio Coluccio’s best
Best of 2007:
2007 was one of the best years for music that I personally had the luck of
living in. Another damn near perfect Tokyo Jihen album, a new, albeit short,
Joanna Newsom release, Dax Riggs' triumphal return and Reverend Bizarre going
out with a bang, and definitely the best bang I've ever seen a band go out with.
As good as it was, it also had its fair deal of disappointments: the good but
not up to their level Fiery Furnaces, Arcade Fire's albums, LCD Soundsystem,
and Burial's overhyped-to-hell-and-back albums that weren't really so good.
Anyway, with just one metal album, this is my own top 20 list. (Order's quite
a bit random, take it with a grain of salt, and know that they'll be ranked
based on personal preference, too, and not just pure objective analysis)
01 - Tokyo Jihen - Variety/Senkou Shoujo: Just one year away
from Adult, Variety's a big change: much less jazz, much more
western rock, and most of all, no Shiina Ringo compositions here. It's brilliant
anyway. And... Senkou Shoujo, the little 20-minute DVD with their "Osca"
and "Killer Tune" videos that introduces one of the best tracks of
the year, "Senkou Shoujo." It's been a good year for us Shiina Ringo
02 - Joanna Newsom - Ys Street Band EP: So far, she's recorded nothing
but masterpiece after masterpiece (hell, even her first EP thingy destroys most
folk artists out there) and I'm not really expecting it to change. This EP in
particular is great if only for the new song, “Colleen,” easily
the top 2007 track. Now, I can't choose this as the best 2007 release since
it's just an EP, but it's the best thing I've heard all year (and probably the
thing I've heard the most all year).
03 - Shiina Ringo - Heisei Fuuzoku / Dai Ikkai Ringohan Taikai
no Moyo: Shiina Ringo's short return to her solo career gave us two releases
to listen to for weeks: the original sound track to the movie "Sakuran"
(kind of), and yet another DVD documenting her jazz-orchestrated remakes of
pretty much every single "hit" of her solo career and some lesser
known songs ("Gamble", "Poltergeist"...). Both share many
songs, including many identical versions, and we had heard some of them already,
but those new orchestrations and songs turned Dai Ikkai... and Heisei Fuuzoku
into a must for us Ringo fans, and those identical remakes were just too good
for us to care. A perfect combo to remind those who think that anything made
in Japan is just bubbly 8-bit pop, cheesy techno para-para boybands and bad
hiphop that there's actual music there.
04 - Dax Riggs - We Sing of Only Blood or Love: Dax Riggs, if you
know his music, you love it. Be it his metal band Acid Bath, his criminally
underrated rock band Agents of Oblivion or his most well known Deadboy and the
Elephantmen, Dax Riggs has always released concise, down to earth albums with
some of the best vocals ever found in rock. And I just can't explain how good
We Sing of... is. Leonard Cohen-ish Bob Dylan-ish Deadboy-ish Dax Riggs
solo stuff with body (and distorted guitars!), one notch above Deadboy and the
Elephantmen, showing that even Dax Riggs can get better over time.
05 - Reverend Bizarre - III: So Long Suckers: No contest, the best
doom and metal album of the year. Double album, that is. Brilliant just like
every single Reverend Bizarre album, filled to the top with crushing bass and
guitar riffs, a great thick production, epic vocals like Candlemass' From
the 13th Sun, and long, long songs that actually go somewhere. Did I mention
five-minute bass solos? If you're at all into metal, you'll like this, trust
me, as it's easily the most epic album released in years... and the most original
traditional doom album ever recorded. They are no longer the Doom Over the
World stoner doom band, they are completely original and they've thrown
away most everything academical. And now that they've broken up, I doubt we'll
see doom this good for quite a long time. Gah.
06 - Battles - Mirrored: To this day, I still hate the fact that I
missed them when they were playing 20 minutes away from here. I know that now
that they're well known in the indie circle you might doubt their talent, but
do yourself a favor and get it. If you're into math-anything, I mean. Great,
great, GREAT math-rock with actual melodies, and a fair deal of postmodern angular
rhythms and loop pedals.
07 - Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer?: Best straight-forward
pop album of the year, bar none. Inhumanly catchy psychedelic indie pop but
with a certain ‘60s sound, some incredible vocal harmonizations and a
whole lot of fun. I know, it's a trendy thing now to like Of Montreal, but they
really are good baroque pop, especially if you're at all into catchiness.
08 - Polysics - Karate House: Tied with Of Montreal's for 2007's catchiest
record, Karate House shows a much more pop-oriented Polysics than the
usual Devo worship, but with the same weird time signatures and all around incoherent
structures, this time with actual choruses.
09 - Sleepytime
Gorilla Museum - In Glorious Times: The best avant-garde rock album
released in quite a long time, nothing more, nothing less.
10 - 9mm Parabellum Bullet - Termination: Saying "original J-rock"
is pretty much like saying "vocal post-rock" these days, but Termination
is an original release that comes as the culmination of everything started in
their previous EPs. If emotional but heavy rock with polymeters and weird time
signatures here and there is your thing, you should know about this crazy, out
of the norm rock band that sometimes records some normal songs.
11 - Carla Bruni - No Promises: So... yes, she's going to get married
to a president. And she's all over the news, and she's now known by pretty much
everyone who watches TV or reads newspapers. Trust me, it was weird for a fan
of her musical work to see her everywhere for some days, and I know that her
albums will probably sell much more now... but that's a good thing. No Promises
is a near perfect modern folk album with some seriously flawless and sweet songs.
12 - Explosions
in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone: They are one of the
leading post rock bands nowadays, and for a reason. That reason being that their
heavy parts are as gorgeous as they come. All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is
just another Explosions in the Sky album, with everything that it means.
13- Blonde Redhead - 23: Alternative, but note grunge-oriented, rock
with some of the best songs released this year, both weird and incredibly accesible.
14 - Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity: indie, artpunk, twee, whatever,
Deerhoof has always been awesome, and it's because of releases like this that
they are loved by many (yet not nearly as enough) indie fans. And they're getting
15 - Secret
Mommy - Plays and
16 - Winning
- This is an Ad for Cigarettes: two awesome free-jazz / free-rock
/ free-something indie albums that you should buy and play one after the other
to see just how postmodern rock can get without sounding amateur.
17- Keiko Matsui - Moyo: Just like every single Keiko Matsui release,
the perfect mix of new age and smooth jazz, with some terrific piano parts and
some of the best new age compositions ever.
18 - God is an Astronaut - Far From Refuge: Great great great great
post-rock, but you surely know that if you're at all into post-rock, right?
More varied than most post-rock releases, but still using the same sounds you
know and possibly love.
19 - Polyphonic Spree, The- The Fragile Army: theatrical, complex
yet at the same time singalong indie pop, The Fragile Army summarizes most good
things about indie, from the catchiness to the fun.
20 - Waerloga
Compilation- Radio Rivendell: Ok, ok, I know, unexpected, but this
is way too good, way too cheesy and way too nerdy not to mention. Nerdiest compilation
ever, and that's precisely why it's one of my favorite compilations, and, no
contest, the best medieval / RPG-soundtrack-thingy compilation ever released
(and maybe the only good one).
Mladen Škot’s top list
Music, and especially metal is supposed to be art, not a competition (say it's
not so and I'll kill ya). Therefore, my favorites of 2007 will be listed in
an alphabetical order. Now that you've read my excuse for not wasting my time
on numerating the albums, here is the list. What the hell, here are the
lists. Maybe some of them aren't exactly works of art, but if it says,
"I am what I am and thou shouldst accept me or get lost," has tremendous
personality, originality, adrenalin or it is just fun to have around, it is
in. Instead of trying to explain why, I have sub-divided my top 45+1 into categories,
to make things clearer — and they are, as follows:
The "essential listening of 2007" top 20:
Abigor - Fractal Possession
Todolo - Descension
in Stone - Tales of Glory & Tragedy
Countess - Blazing Flames of War
Deathspell Omega - Fas-Ite, Maledicti, in Ignum Aeternum
- Der Pfad Zum Fluss
Mist - Salvation (re-issue)
Art - Legacy of Evil
- Rom 5:12
Mayhem - Ordo ad Chao
Christ - Theogonia
of Beverast, The – Rain Upon the Impure
- Nefaria (and all the awesome re-issues)
- The Invocation of Demise
Bleak, The - The Wolves Go Hunt Their Prey
Remains - Icons of Evil
The "maybe it is essential, maybe it isn't, but it's damn great to have"
top 15, in alphabetical order:
- Evil Genius (re-issue)
Get all the Girls - The Game of Life
- The Apostasy
of the Black Owl - Blood of the Black Owl
- Throne of the Depths
- Third Act
Furze - Necromanzee
Furze - Trident
Gamma Ray - Land of the Free II
Graveland - Will Stronger Than Death
Moonspell - Under
Paysage d'Hiver - Einsamkeit
Doom - Shemhamforash
Zwischen Asgard und Midgard
Vinterriket - Und Die Nacht Kam Schweren Schrittes
The "I've played them more times than I expected" top 10:
Das Ich - Panoptikum
Lake of Tears - Moons and Mushrooms
Manowar - Gods of War
Propaganda - The First Strike
Waste - The Art of Partying
Nightwish - Dark Passion Play
Sodom - The Final Sign of Evil
Murder, The - Nocturnal
Tony Naima &
The Bitters - Dismember
Finally, the "fuck off" top 1:
Manowar - For Fans for Christmas
Brandon Strader’s favorites
2007 really seemed like a mixed bag. There was one album, however, that stood
out for me throughout the year, Kaipa’s Angling Feelings. It
features the talents of Hans Lundin, Per Nilsson, Morgan Agren, Jonas Reingold,
Patrik Lundström, and Aleena Gibson. Angling Feelings is one of
the most incredible prog rock albums I’ve ever heard.
In the second spot for 2007 is Powerglove’s
Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man. It’s really astounding.
Here are a few2007 releases that I really enjoyed in no real order.
Novembre - The Blue
Circus Maximus – Isolate
- The Apostasy
Townsend - Ziltoid the Omniscient
Theater - Systematic Chaos
Fire - Blade of Triumph
Magnum - Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow
Mechanical Poet - Creepy Tales For Freaky Children
Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura
Nightingale - White Darkness
Doom - The Novella Reservoir
- Hangman's Hymn
Sirenia - Nine Destinies and a Downfall
Swallow the Sun - Hope
- Gothic Kabbalah
Vitalij Kuprij - Glacial Inferno
Chaim Drishner’s best of 2007
2007 has been most notable for its abundance in everything post: post hardcore,
post metal, post black metal. From Dirge to Year of No Light; From Acrisia to
Baroness, post-metal and atmospheric hardcore were the dominating force in the
underground, infusing new blood into its stagnation. This and more: the black
metal excellence of Wolves in the Throne Room and Spell Forest raised the standards
for quality with the strange but only natural inclusion of post-rock and shoegaze
elements have reigned the underground. These are my nominees for the best of
- Killing Peace
Because there wasn't a better thrash album this year.
– Voices of Omens
Because intelligence, harshness and positivism walk hand in hand.
& Boris– Altar
Because this is something completely different, and classy, and so not Sunn
Because melodic and cheesy black metal has never sounded that good.
Rise of Black Dawn
Because this is the EP of the year – Part I
It Will Come
Because Sacrilege (UK) has never sounded this good since Sacrilege.
Ride for Revenge
- The King of Snakes
Because this is just fucked-up dark drumming-galore
of No Light – Nord
Because the ocean has never looked so vast as it has with those guys.
Because this is simple, pure fun.
/ Unpersons - A Grey Sigh in a Flower Husk
Because this is the best split of 2007.
- Hossanas Novus Ordo Seclurum
Because black/death metal has long since sounded this good.
Dirge - And
Shall the Sky Descend (re-issue)
Because this is the re-issue of 2007 - part I
Evoken - Embrace
the Emptiness (re-issue)
Because this is the re-issue of 2007 - part II
- Dark Songs of the Prairie
Because it wasn't included in the best-of list for 2006 and had to be included
in SOME best-of list.
Because this is the re-issue of 2007 - part III
Because this is a phenomenon of its own.
Fen - Ancient
Because this is the EP of the year – Part II
Dirge - Wings
of Lead Over Dormant Seas
Because I'm fucking speechless.
V:28 - VioLution
Because apocalyptic death metal has never sounded this luxurious.
- Marie's Sister's Garden
Because this is the epitome of excellence in song-writing, execution and vocal-approach.
Arbeit - Zum einem neuen Licht
Because WWII has never sounded this good.
Knell, The – Harm
Because it made me proud to be an Israeli.
Svartsyn – Timeless Reign
Because this is what vitriolic black metal is all about.
Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
Because this is black metal art I could have listened to a thousand times in
Spell Forest - Lucifer Rex II - Celebrare a Furvum Luna in Martis
Because black metal now has a new king of melody, cacophony, chaos and beauty.
Abigor - Fractal Possession
Because a new dark star in the black metal
skies is (re)born.
Because too much time has passed since
my ears bled to the sounds of such a bad-ass and in-your-face album.
Pal Meentzen’s favorite metal releases of 2007 – in random order
– Rise to Ruin (excellent dutch death)
2. Horna - Pimeyden Hehku (vinyl version) (Finnish black)
3. Ildra – Þær Swefende Hæleð Licgað
(demo 3) (promising new Pagan one man BM from UK)
4. Hellveto – 966 (Polish symphonic BM)
5. Tjolgtjar – Holnijimnjok (“the lunatics have taken over
6. Xasthur –
Defective Epitaph (Japanese version)
Advocam - Verbia Daemonicus (Great bm debut from France)
- Chapter 1: Delirium (amazing Finnish doom with ace grunts)
- Redemption Through Looseness (best neuro-metal release, from
10. Ophidian Forest –
Redbad (original lo-fi demo from bm pagan world)
Larissa Glasser’s 2007 Top Ten
I say phooey and good fucking riddance to 2007, mostly because I didn’t
enjoy music or even writing as much I should have. This was mostly due to a
personal setback that I have yet to fully recover from. Whatever, the past is
played out, metal still flows freely through these veins, and what bits of dried
offal I can salvage from last year are hopefully ones that you also managed
to chew or choke on.
– Given to the Rising CD (Neurot Recordings): the sound of
perseverance, revisited. Neurosis’s heaviest and most majestic release
since Times of Grace, this slab of incredible doom sails over a world
of spiritual decay, doomsday machines, and the most subtle of tonal shades.
2. Metalocalypse – Season One DVD (Williams Street / Warner
Bros. Home Video): I mean, really. What WOULD happen if a half-Scandinavian
/ half-American death metal band became the world’s twelfth largest economy?
I can only hope the results would be this superb. And watch out for their lawyer.
He means business.
3. Metalocalypse / Dethklok – The Dethalbum CD (Williams Street):
I was skeptical as to how Brendon Small’s television material would translate
to a standalone CD, but I think it’s that and more. The Queen / Behemoth
influences shine through a bit more clearly here, partly with the assistance
of live drummer and Death / Dark Angel / Strapping Young Lad alum Gene Hoaglan,
along with a lot more focus on the songwriting, rather than visual antics of
the show. Standouts include “Murmaider,” “Go Into the Water”
(perhaps my favorite funerary march of the entire year), and of course, “Thunderhorse.”
GO FORTH AND DIE!
4. Shellac – Excellent Italian Greyhound CD (Touch and Go Records):
A new Shellac release is always worth waiting for. It’s been seven years
since 1000 Hurts. As with bands like AC/DC, you pretty much what to
expect, but Steve Albini’s spontaneity keeps this project fresh. Beginnings
and ends of songs deliberately fall apart, gnarly jack knife guitar tones seethe
with contempt, and no lyrical punches are pulled when it comes to the battle
of the sexes — “Genuine Lullabelle” is a prime case in point.
“Be Prepared” swaggers with beer hall bravado before a sudden detour
to math videogame psycho-jazz, “Kittypants” defies the odds and
actually turns out to be a nice, Pixies-like instrumental, and “The End
of Radio” is the best sonic portrayal of Armageddon since the extendo-version
of “Warhead” by Venom.
5. Rasputina – O Perilous World 2CD (Filthy Bonnet): Like Shellac,
Rasputina is one of those projects where I see a new offering on the store rack
(often unexpected), and buy the slab instantly. Melora Creager’s personnel
have varied greatly over the years, but her twisted vision had downright adventurous
songwriting approach have never faltered. She is obviously the one in command,
then as now, and cello / cabaret / chamber rock has never sounded so good. On
this double CD, Rasputina is stripped down to her and drummer Jonathon TeBeest,
but their sonic arsenal sounds bigger than before. Songs touch on everything
from Fletcher Christian (Mutiny on the Bounty), child soldiers in present-day
Africa, the Iraq War (but not ham-handedly so), deathbed requests, and much
more. This project may sound extra-terrestrial to the uninitiated, but Rasputina
can never be accused of being boring. My year of wading in pig-shit-up-to-my-neck
was a little more bearable with this CD running on repeat.
6. Skeleton Witch – Beyond the Permafrost CD, (Prosthetic):
Sometimes you see an opening band that really grabs you by the short and curlies.
This happened at a Dying Fetus show not long ago, Ohio’s Skeleton Witch
really impressed me with their hyper-abrasive, old school thrash-mash of Kreator-mort.
Bearded, blood soaked, and big-bellied, their first full length on Prosthetic
Records brings great control and vision to the metal beast. Impressively balanced
between rawness and precision, Skeleton Witch is my favorite cudgel beating
of the year.
– Deathcult Barbaric Hell CD, (Foul Productions): Their name
is without ambiguity: a king of Hell, down-to-basics, bloodthirsty moniker that
a fifteen year old boy could come up with for a comic book character drawn in
study hall. The sound? Pummeling Hellhammer thickness, insane black thrash that
I propose even runs neck and neck with early Impiety — no small feat,
considering the chasm that lies between Singapore and Rhode Island!
8. Rome –
Confessions d'un voleur d'âmes CD, (Cold Meat Industry):
Rome’s militaristic folk outing touched me deeply this year. Layer upon
layer of brooding and melancholic texture folds in on itself, evoking a sonic
landscape of sheer regret and loss. A fitting sentiment. Leonard Cohen needs
to watch his ass.
9. K. Meitzer
- Dark Matters CD, (Old Europa Café): Lays out a pilgrim’s
progress through the deepest reaches of regret and misfortune. Superb dark ambient.
To paraphrase the film “Magnolia,” we may be through with the past,
but the past is not through with us.
– Ghostwoodlands CD, (Displeased): A very acquired taste,
my black metal brussels sprouts. Yummy! And grim.
Avi Shaked’s selection of top
Tree – Fear of a Blank Planet: A masterpiece that reveals
more and more of its finesse and keeps on growing with every listen.
2. Morglbl – Grotesk: Most possibly the liveliest jazz-rock
fusion release in quite some time.
– Prominence and Demise: Finally, Winds got it right, and
delivered an album packed with strong songs that carry the band’s unique
approach to progressive metal.
Peacocks – Shalosh: An adventurous collage by a distorted,
modern musical collective.
5. King Crimson – The Great Deceiver, Vol. 1 & 2 (Reissue):
The truth is I have yet to obtain these reissues (each is a 2CD set), but I
am familiar with the music they consist of (the entire musical content of the
expensive, long out-of-print box-set of the same title). Now, with a price that
is right and a widespread distribution, everyone can (and should!) put their
hands on these brilliant live recordings by the amazing lineup that yielded
such important works as Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Red.
Alisa Z’s top ten of
Watain - Sworn to the Dark
- Rom 5:12
- Shadows in the Light
Chimaira - Resurrection
Otargos - Kinetic Zero
- The Apostasy
Christ - Theogonia
Nifelheim - Envoy of Lucifer
Bastiaan de Vries’
best of 2007
Field Music - Tones of Town
Frog Eyes - Tears of the Valedictorian
- The Narcotic Story
Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Cue - Wedding Song
Do Make Say Think - You, You're a History in Rust
Logh - North
Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
Swan Lake - Beast Moans
The Sea and Cake - Everybody
Kim Hiorthoy - My Last Day