54. Bruce Lamont - Feral Songs for the Epic Decline
This is the first solo release from a guy about whom I've learned a whole lot this past year. First of all, he is the saxophone-wielding, screaming / singing frontman and one of the lead creative forces behind Chicago's doom/sludge/post-metal outfit Yakuza
. He also fills a very similar role in the Illinois-based metal all-star collective Bloodiest
, who had one of the most awesome releases of 2011. Lastly, in addition to being one of the folks who runs the Empty Bottle, a metal-oriented venue in Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood, he is a major figure in the Chicagoland metal scene and one hell of a nice guy. I saw him perform twice this year, once on tour with Man's Gin
promoting this album and once as a headliner for a show with Batillus
, The Atlas Moth
. Both times, his performance left me speechless. What he does on this album is very psychedelic, tribal-sounding and atmospheric. I don't use drugs (anymore???
), but if I did, this would be a great album to use them to. There are a lot of loops, delays and other effects at play, and even though one might be tempted to write off music which uses technology so heavily as "taking the easy way out", as a person who has seen him do this live can attest, it's not easy in the slightest (he just makes it look and sound that way). Any way you slice it, this is a highly interesting album from an extremely prolific and influential musician, and I'm damn glad I had the opportunity to buy a copy of it from the artist himself. Plus, the album cover is fucking kickass, too (duh).
EDIT: Oh, and lest I forget - the night I bought this CD, I got to see / hear a Cobalt song performed live. So suck it.