The Year In Smear - 2013 Edition
Alright, 2013 is just about done with. I clocked in at about 50 shows and 4 festivals this year, which isn't bad considering I spent a couple months back home to get married and tend to some family health issues.
So, just in case you don't have enough lists to read here are one or two more:
[CENTER][SIZE="4"][B][U]12 DEMOs & EPs THAT I THOUGHT WERE PRETTY GOOD[/U][/B][/SIZE]
(in no particular order)
[B]Gates of Slumber - [I]Stormcrow[/I][/B]
Sadly, this is the final release from The Gates of Slumber as they have broken up since this EP came out. However itís a solid final note to go out on. This is 5 tracks of slow headbang inducing doom that will have your neck sore upon multiple listens
[B]Stone Dagger - [I]The Siege of Jerusalem[/I][/B]
The guys in Magic Circle have another traditional metal band, this time in the form of power metal played in the style of early Manilla Road. Beautiful, haunting and totally excellent production that creates the perfect atmosphere and sound for the style.
[B]Mount Salem - [I]Endless[/I][/B]
Traditional doom metal with a female vocalist out of the Chicago area. Really enjoyable EP if you dig Witch Mountain, Royal Thunder and the like.
[B]Widower - [I]Goat Throne[/I] and [I]Execration[/I][/B]
One of the most promising up and coming Austin bands is Widower with some deadly proficient black/death/thrash madness. I hope these guys gain some traction in and out of the Lonestar State.
[B]Mitochondrion - [I]Antinumerology[/I][/B]
Canadaís black metal scene is full of underrated talent and Vancouverís Mitochondrion has become one of the bands to keep a close eye and ear on. Their dense black/death is not a casual listen and goes beyond the usual Incantation clones to become something unique that demands repeat spins.
[B]War Master - [I]Blood Dawn[/I][/B]
If you havenít heard Houstonís War Master yet all you need to know is that they play brutal Bolt Thrower-esque death metal and theyíve snagged a slot on MDF 2014. As of last year the frontman of now defunct grinders Insect Warfare has taken over vocal duties for War Master.
[B]Ash Borer - [I]Bloodlands[/I][/B]
On this EP Ash Borer has begun to eschew some of their post-rock elements and have brought the darker pieces of their black metal side to the forefront. The 2 tracks are long, at 15 and 19.5 minutes, but the atmospheric stretches keep things interesting and build tension before crashing back to raw blasting.
[B]Torture Division - [I]The Worship[/I][/B]
This 3 man death metal troupe from Sweden consists of the drummer of Vomitory and one of the original members of Grave, then to top it off Dan SwanŲ (Edge of Sanity) mixes and masters most of their releases. They donít actually have an official full length album, but 10 or so demos and compilations which they offer as free downloads on their website.
[B]Rotten Sound - [I]Species At War[/I][/B]
Finnish grind masters Rotten Sound deliver 6 tracks in 8 minutes and while itís business as usual, that just means a dose of precision brutality at breakneck speeds.
[B]Temple of Void - [I]Demo MMXIII[/I][/B]
Death/doom out of Detroit that features the live guitarist of Acid Witch amongst their ranks. There are some more melodic stretches that venture into At The Gates territory to my ears.
[B]Grayceon - [I]Pearl and the End of Days[/I][/B]
This EP is the San Francisco trioís first output since 2011ís brilliant All We Destroy. These two tracks have me salivating for a new full length album from either Grayceon or Giant Squid.
[B]Royal Thunder - [I]CVI:A[/I][/B]
An EP featuring three tracks from last years CVI performed acoustically. I think I like the acoustic version of Whispering World more than the original. Minyís voice really shines on these simple arrangements.[/CENTER]
any EP list without the latest Real Friends EP is totally just WRONG
[QUOTE=mankvill;549387]any EP list without the latest Real Friends EP is totally just WRONG[/QUOTE]
Wat is a Real Friends? Poop punk or K poop? Get it? I said poop instead of pop. I are internet funny.
[QUOTE=smearCampaign;549389]Wat is a Real Friends? Poop punk or K poop? Get it? I said poop instead of pop. I are internet funny.[/QUOTE]
I didn't even know War Master had a new EP out. Same with Mount Salem. Awesome.
Temple of Void are sweet
[CENTER][SIZE="4"][B][U]2013 FESTIVAL REPORT[/U][/B][/SIZE]
March 13th - 17th
Every March downtown Austin turns into a sea of people from the technology, film and music industries for a festival that takes over every conceivable space. A crazy corporate sponsorship shit-show to be sure, but pretty much all the metal shows are free, so itís hard to complain. Blogs like Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Metal Sucks and Metal Injection have hosted some great shows in recent years. I think the House of Vans day show at the Mohawk on Wednesday was one of my favorites this year which featured Skeletonwitch, Pallbearer, Trash Talk, Power Trip, Inter Arma, Royal Thunder, Vattnet Viskar and others. Unfortunately most bands only get 30 minute sets, but when theyíre free shows that sometimes have free food and booze, any setlist length is acceptable. The Saturday Converse-sponsored show was awesome as well with Clutch and Orange Goblin headlining a two stage venue alongside Black Breath, Hatred Surge, Mammoth Grinder, Ancient VVisdom, Kadavar, Royal Thunder and more.
[B]Chaos in Tejas 9[/B]
May 30th - June 2nd
Austinís annual punk / hardcore / metal / indie fest might be the biggest and best Ďundergroundí fest in the country. Timmy Hefner is the mastermind that curates and organizes this DIY-feeling punk party across multiple venues near downtown and the east side. Since CiT takes place the weekend before MDF, Timmy usually is able to snag some of that metal talent and this year was no exception. The Bolt Thrower show was the shining star of the weekend. With Mammoth Grinder, Magic Circle, Iron Lung, Imprecation, Cruciamentum and all Tragedy opening for BT, the crust punks and metalheads rubbed elbows and traded stage diving opportunities. The Absu / Manilla Road show that closed out the weekend at Red 7 on Sunday was another not to miss with Anhedonist, Speedwolf, Mitochondiron, Satanís Satyrs and Abigail all on the bill as well. Chaos In Tejas has been my favorite festival every year Iíve lived in Austin.
[B]Housecore Horror Film Festival[/B]
October 24th - 27th
Phil Anselmo decided to bring his Housecore Horror Film Festival to Austin for itís inaugural year the weekend before Halloween. A celebration of horror films seems to be the perfect event to roll a metal festival into especially in a town with both a film and music legacy of itís own. They aired some new and upcoming horror movies alongside screenings of classics in 35MM with daytime and evening concerts going on as well. The highlights of the day shows included Pallbearer, Repulsion and Pig Destroyer (their first performance with a live bass player). The evening shows were headlined by Goblin, Down, The Melvins, Gwar and Eyehategod. The EHG set was notable for being their first return to the stage since the death of drummer Joey LaCaze. Dale Crover of the Melvins took over behind the drum kit for this emotionally charged set. Atilla of Mayhem, under his Void ov Voices moniker, provided and errie soundtrack for the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari utilizing vocal looping and effects. The weekend closed out with the Italian band Goblin performing the live score to the film Suspiria as it was projected behind them. Considering it was the first year of the festival it was all organized well and went as smoothly as could be expected.
November 8th - 10th
FunFunFun Fest is the perfect blend of metal, punk, comedy, hip-hop, indie rock and electronic. Itís a fest thatís able to pull some big names but also keep some underground gems in the lineup. I was honestly more excited for the hip-hop and comedy sides of FFF this year, but there was still some great metal. On the comedy side I caught Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman, Rob Delaney, Kyle Kinane and Matt Bearden; with Patton and Sarah being highlights that Iíve been a big fan of and have wanted to see for a while. Deltron 3030 and Jurassic 5 were the both awesome on the hip-hop stage, as were Flatbush Zombies and RJD2. Gojira, Pelican, Subhumans and Melt Banana all tore up the Black Stage. Body Count and Flag were entertaining at least. As most everyone who saw this last run of shows can attest, Slayer sounded great and was the best way to end the weekend.[/CENTER]
[CENTER][B][SIZE="4"][U]TOP 50 METAL ALBUMS OF 2013
50. [B]Toxic Holocaust - [I]Chemistry of Consciousness[/I][/B]
49. [B]Perversion - [I]Storm of Evil[/I][/B]
48. [B]Author & Punisher - [I]Women & Children[/I][/B]
47. [B]Kylesa - [I]Ultraviolet[/I][/B]
46. [B]MotŲrhead - [I]Aftershock[/I][/B]
45. [B]P.L.F. - [I]Devious Persecution and Wholesale Slaughter[/I][/B]
44. [B]Horna - [I]Askel Lšhempšnš Saatanaa[/I][/B]
43. [B]Vasaeleth - [I]All Uproarious Darkness[/I][/B]
42. [B]Iron Lung - [I]White Glove Test[/I][/B]
41. [B]KEN mode - [I]Entrench[/I][/B]
40. [B]Aosoth - [I]IV: Arrow in the Heart[/I][/B]
39. [B]Tribulation - [I]The Formulas of Death[/I][/B]
38. [B]Immolation - [I]Kingdom of Conspiracy[/I][/B]
37. [B]Coffins - [I]The Fleshland[/I][/B]
36. [B]Iron Reagan - [I]Worse Than Dead[/I][/B]
35. [B]Pelican - [I]Forever Becoming[/I][/B]
34. [B]Altar of Plagues - [I]Teethed Glory and Injury[/I][/B]
33. [B]Cult of Fire - [I]Ascetic Meditation of Death[/I][/B]
32. [B]Carcass - [I]Surgical Steel[/I][/B]
31. [B]Windhand - [I]Soma[/I][/B]
30. [B]Mammoth Grinder - [I]Underworlds[/I][/B]
29. [B]Autopsy - [I]The Headless Ritual[/I][/B]
28. [B]Wolvserpent - [I]Perigea Antahkarana[/I][/B]
27. [B]Obliteration - [I]Black Death Horizon[/I][/B]
26. [B]Grave Miasma - [I]Odori Sepulcrorum[/I][/B]
25. [B]The Ruins of Beverast - [I]Blood Vaults[/I][/B]
24. [B]Batillus - [I]Concrete Sustain[/I][/B]
23. [B]Ulcerate - [I]Vermis[/I][/B]
22. [B]Surachai - [I]Embraced[/I][/B]
21. [B]Inter Arma - [I]Sky Burial[/I][/B]
[CENTER][U][B][SIZE="4"]8 OF 2013ís FINEST HIP-HOP OFFERINGS[/SIZE][/B][/U]
(in no particular order)
[B]Killer Mike & El-P - [I]Run The Jewels[/I][/B]
After El-P and Killer Mike worked together last year on each otherís albums and a co-headlining tour, the magic continues with Run The Jewels. Excellent verses from both and great production from El-P put out as a free download made this an instant online hit and an underground hip-hop modern classic.
[B]Prodigy & Alchemist - [I]Albert Einstein[/I][/B]
Prodigy of Mobb Deep collaborates with Alchemist to create a record that recalls the glory days of 90ís east coast hip-hop. Prodigyís usual gruff delivery sounds the same as always and the subject matter is nothing new, but if like the old Mobb Deep records this is solid stuff.
[B]Deltron 3030 - [I]Event II[/I][/B]
One of alternative hip-hopís most well known supergroups return with another sci-fi concept album that returns listeners to the dystopian post-apocalypse of their 2000 debut. Del tha Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator and Kid Koala pick up where they left off with positive politically conscious rhymes juxtaposing a bleak 1984-esque future.
[B]Ghostface Killah - [I]Twelve Reasons to Die: The Brown Tape[/I][/B]
GFKís Twelve Reasons to Die is a concept album, based on a comic book. I found this remix version of the record to have even better beats than the original. This fits well in the Wu-Tang affiliate discography, donít sleep on this one.
[B]Flatbush Zombies - [I]BetterOffDEAD Mixtape[/I][/B]
Great East-coast hip-hop with killer beats and psychedelic-fueled rhymes. Their songs are full of both humor and street life lyrics without ever feeling too silly or thugged-out, good party hip-hop with off-kilter production. A free download, so if it sounds interesting youíve got no reason not to check it out.
[B]Death Grips - [I]Government Plates[/I][/B]
This is really more of an electronic album with some rapping intertwined. Personally I find this to be my favorite Death Grips release to date. I canít get behind the gimmicks and shady show cancellations, but they do something really interesting with hip-hop and release their music free, so as long as the music is good you canít go wrong.
[B]RJD2 - [I]More Is Than Isnít[/I][/B]
If you donít know RJD2, youíve probably heard him in the form of the Mad Men theme. But it was his debut Deadringer that put him in the same breath as turntablists and crate diggers like DJ Shadow. His vintage samples and drum machine work combine for great hip-hop beats. His most recent album tops his last couple, in my opinion.
[B]Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric - [I]Czarface[/I][/B]
Wu-Tang Clanís Inspectah Deck teams up with the Boston DJ/MC duo of L7 & Esoteric for this one. This is a really fun album and itís great to see some killer underground hip-hop coming out. If this release and the most recent Ghostface are any indication the 2014 Wu-Tang record will be a beast.[/CENTER]
[SIZE="4"][B][U]TOP 50 METAL ALBUMS OF 2013
Here's the final part of my list. Sorry for the lack of effort at the end here, if anyone's still reading this list...
20. [B]Gorguts - [I]Colored Sands[/I][/B]
These canadian technical death metal titans have returned in this years biggest comeback alongside Carcass.
19. [B]Darkthrone - [I]The Underground Resistance[/I][/B]
Fenriz and Nocturno Culto return with another throwback album of sorts. This is speed metal and NWOBHM filtered through lo-fi black metal and teutonic thrash structures. I never find their music to be insincere, they clearly love the source material referenced on this album.
18. [B]Power Trip - [I]Manifest Decimation[/I][/B]
Dallas crossover thrash that gets your blood moving like DRI and Cro-Mags did back in the day. Circle pits and stagediving are nonstop at Power Trip shows. The production here is a little odd to me, the vocals dominate the mix.
17. [B]Portal - [I]Vexovoid[/I][/B]
Portal is not metal you can casually toss on and have playing the background while you go about your day, this is dense metal that demands full attention to dissect the layers of sound.
16. [B]Yellow Eyes - [I]Hammer of Night[/I][/B]
One of the best and also lesser known bands of the ripe New York black metal scene.
15. [B]Church of Misery - [I]Thy Kingdom Scum[/I][/B]
The Japanese doom masters with a fixation on serial killers put out another great album this year.
14. [B]SubRosa - [I]More Constant Than The Gods[/I][/B]
Beautiful and moving sludge / experimental doom out of Salt Lake City.
13. [B]Primitive Man - [I]Scorn[/I][/B]
An excellent debut from a sludge / grind / doom trio out of Colorado. Their vocalist / guitarist is also in Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire and Withered, but Scorn surpasses any releases from either of those bands.
12. [B]Vattnet Viskar - [I]Sky Swallower[/I][/B]
Epic and atmospheric black metal that is heavily recommended for fans of WITTR.
11. [B]Clutch - [I]Earth Rocker[/I][/B]
Marylandís finest hard rock band put out a record that has them sounding like men half their age. Their last record was a mid-paced affair and by contrast Earth Rocker is full of fast and in-your-face tunes that will be instant live show staples.
10. [B]Skeletonwitch - [I]Serpents Unleashed[/I][/B]
I have always been a big fan of Skeletontitsí blend of black metal, thrash and melodic death metal. These Ohio boys have finally put out an album that captures the sound of their live show. The riffs and solos are memorable and catchy choruses will have you headbanging along involuntarily.
9. [B]Deafheaven - [I]Sunbather[/I][/B]
Hipster metal? Can that term die soon please? Black metal / post-metal / shoegaze; whatever you want to label it, it's really good.
8. [B]Nails - [I]Abandon All Life[/I][/B]
Brutally vicious grind / hardcore on Southern Lord produced by Kurt Ballou.
7. [B]Sacriphyx - [I]The Western Front[/I][/B]
Australian band putting out some epic and excellent melodic death metal.
6. [B]Magic Circle - [I]Magic Circle[/I][/B]
Magnificent traditional doom metal that sounds straight out of the early 80ís. More emotional and compelling than most of the recent throwback doom bands.
5. [B]VH÷L - [I]VH÷L[/I][/B]
Members of Agalloch, YOB and Hammers of Misfortune combine to form a black metal supergroup.
4. [B]Vastum - [I]Patricidal Lust[/I][/B]
2013 was a year packed with excellent death metal and San Franciscoís Vastum put out a bruiser. Patricidal Lust lives up to all the potential this band showed on 2011ís Carnal Law. They took their Autopsy influences and ended up putting out a better, more disgusting album than their forefathers this year.
3. [B]Cultes des Ghoules - [I]Henbane[/I][/B]
This is Polish band performs Ďhorror-themedí black metal that goes beyond just using samples from films and actually creates a convincingly terrifying atmosphere. Their vocalist employs a variety of styles which may turn some off, but upon repeat listens are memorable and fit the music perfectly.
2. [B]Jucifer - [I]There Is No Land Beyond The Volga[/I][/B]
The twenty-year-running sludge-nomad husband and wife duo Jucifer have finally penned their masterpiece with a concept album based on the history of the Russian city Volgograd.
1. [B]Inquisition - [I]Obscure Verses for the Multiverse[/I][/B]
In my opinion Inquisition is the best American black metal band currently making music. I feel like this matches the brilliance of their last album with even better production, more true to their live sound. Obscure Verses is not a departure creatively from their previous works, but that just means more excellent hypnotic riffs and this album builds on and continues their flawless discography. If I were to re-do my 2011 list, based on what Iíve been listening to since then, Inquisition would no doubt be in my top 3. Forget the metal elitists that have been shitting on this record, theyíre the ones that were going to hate it no matter what just because Inquisition is now signed to Season of Mist. Itís been said time and time again, but itís still amazing that only two band members can create their epic sound and even more jaw dropping when you see it live. Enter the Cult.
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