Archive for the ‘2010’ Category
Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011
[Update, January 3rd]: And the winner is: Italy’s own Ufomammut with the album Eve! Felicitazioni! Congratulations, gentlemen!
Roadburn’s Album of the Day has become a tradition and now that the year is drawing to a close we at Roadburn HQ thought it would be fun to let our loyal readers, friends, associates and anyone who might have wandered in here by chance to put together a Roadburn Top 10 Albums of 2010, replete with stoner, doom, drone, heavy ’70s, psychedelica, post rock and spacerock delights.
How does this work? Just put your top 10 of Roadburn-worthy albums in the comments and we’ll sort them all out. Please be sure to post your picks by Friday, December 24th. We’ll post the final list for 2010 between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Roadburn’s Album of the Day will return in January!
Starting off with the house lists:
1. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Part II
Hands down easily best album of the year for me, possibly even last 2 years. Nachtmystium continued their divergent quest away from the confines of traditional black metal and created something quite unique. Arguably still full of the vitriol and despair we come to expect from Blake Judd but this time pushing further into the realms of post-punk and electronica. Nachtmystium did as all great artists should do – created an album that defies convention and classification.
2. Watain - Lawless Darkness
Flagrant Dissection worship aside, this was a ferocious, unrelenting release from blood soaked heathens Watain. Truly a culmination of their previous efforts, razor sharp production, savage riffs and the ever present atmosphere of pure evil. Watain are the real deal, and this album sealed the bloody pact. Higher! Higher! Come on you sons of fire!
3. Agalloch – Marrow of The Spirit
Released very late in the year this record just floored me the moment I heard it, the soundtrack to every one of my train journeys through England’s snow filled Christmas period. Reminiscent of the majesty of Wolves in The Throneroom’s Two Hunters but, with an atmosphere and mood all of its own. Bleak and melancholic without self-indulgence, it again proved that the best black metal of late owes more to The Cure and Joy Division than it does to Burzum.
4. Twilight – Monument to Time End
After the somewhat raw and disappointing initial release from the (lazily labeled) black metal super group I wasn’t sure what to expect from this – what I got was a well-produced, cohesive, sledgehammer of a record that owes as much to the post-rock bands as it does to the USBM scene. Featuring the core members of Blake Judd and N. Imperial and joined this time by USBM legend Wrest and ISIS guitarist Aaron Turner alongside Stavros Giannopolous and Sanford Parker they successfully created something truly special; aggressive yet melancholic, spiteful yet morose, truly an album for the nihilist in us all.
5. Wovenhand – Threshing Floor
David Eugene Edwards again proves why he is one of the most enigmatic and truly fascinating artists around today. Once again straying further from his 16 Horsepower roots, Threshing Floor blends a multitude of instruments and world sounds to create something dark and mystical that smothers you from the first listen. Too complex for simple tags like Folk or Americana, Wovenhand weaves a deeply dark and emotional sonic tapestry that is euphoric as it is introspective.
6. Deftones – Diamond Eyes
Always unfortunately labeled a ‘nu-metal’ band but always intelligent and emotive, Deftones returned to the form they displayed around the White Pony era. Thick, crunching guitar tones and riffs like slabs of concrete falling around your ears, vocals that switch effortlessly between whispers and roars, they seemingly triumphed in the face of adversity (founding member Chi’s hospitalization and subsequent ongoing coma) and released possibly one their finest albums to date.
7. Unearthly Trance – V
The esoteric juggernaut that is Unearthly Trance returned with their 5th full length and continued their unbroken run of faultless albums. Ryan Lypinsky et al proved once again why there is something magical about the power trio, stripped of excess, clear of vision and direction they delivered an album of molasses thick, darkly esoteric and crushingly heavy metal that transcends the dying beast that is ‘doom’ and sets them head and shoulders above the rest. Always heavy, always dark, and seemingly always able to deliver the goods.
8. Black Breath – Heavy Breathing
Building on their earlier EP, Black Breath’s debut release for Southern Lord saw them channeling the gods of Swedish death metal and beefing up their already potent blend of metallic hardcore and thrash to create a huge, unrelenting behemoth of a record that proved to be one of the highlights of the year. Seemingly the band on everyone’s lips they exploded with Heavy Breathing and steamrollered everyone in their wake leaving a trail of sore necks and shit eating grins.
9. Darkthrone – Circle The Wagons
Another year, another Darkthrone release, and again proving my theory that they’re just getting better and better. I know the purists will always covert their copies of Transylvanian Hunger and claim it was a pinnacle but the rest of us can enjoy Fenriz and Nocturno’s bloody minded, trend hating, scene avoiding and utterly infectious quest to write some of the best riffs known to man. Circle The Wagons was chock full of punk infused, 80’s speed metal riffs that cannot fail to make you bang your head and throw beer around like a fool. Isn’t that what metal is all about? Right?
10. Him – Screamworks
Let’s get this out of the way, yes HIM. Yes, the same HIM that makes teenage girls weak at the knees and teenage boys rush to make mix tapes for said girls. I am neither of the aforementioned, but I am a sucker for well-produced pop metal and HIM is pretty much the master of this. This was a killer release and really embraced the 80’s keyboards and essence of overly emotional pop music that I really can’t fault. 2010 was definitely the year of growing out of guilty pleasures. There is nothing guilty about loving a well-crafted pop record!
1. Urfaust – Der Freiwillige Bettler
Given their ability to redefine their legacy with each successive album, it’s hard to believe that this will ultimately stand as Urfaust’s masterpiece… but it certainly stands as a remarkable culmination of all they’ve done to date. Fair warning — the vocals are definitely an acquired taste. But it is so worth your time and effort to appreciate them, because this is an unbelievably fine and rewarding record. Innovative occult metal at its best.
1a. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
A glorious and transcendent record of magnificent indie rock. The Besnard Lakes are brilliant songwriters, and their clunkily titled “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent Pt. 2: The Innocent” is the song of the year for me. Boy / Girl vocalists, with the boy sounding rather like Brian Wilson in his prime, singing impeccably constructed pop gems reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes replete with stirring guitar work and devastating hooks. Nearly perfect.
2. Quest For Fire – Lights From Paradise
Best stonerrock record of the year, hands down. Fantastic guitar tone, great riffs, great songs… it’s all here. Super varied in it’s delivery, from desert-rock riffs to Zeppelin-esque acoustic numbers, and all tracks featuring great vocals. Excellent production makes it really easy to listen to and makes Quest For Fire my most anticipated Roadburn act of 2011 (along with Circle / Pharoah Overlord).
I really couldn’t decide which of these two French post black metal bands put out the best record in 2010, so I’m cheating and putting them both in one slot. Together they stand as a testament to the growth potential of the black metal genre into something much more broadly accessible. I’m sure the true nekro kult hoards are howling in dismay, but these are excellent records and give great promise for an unlimited future for black metal influenced music.
4. Bongripper – Satan Worshipping Doom
Super solid riffs, great production and interesting looooong songs. Good use of dynamics and varied pacing makes this album really listenable. I love the fact that they don’t need to sing (or bellow, yelp or howl) in order to keep your attention.
5. Wormrot – Abuse
The best grindcore record I’ve heard in decades. Literally. Fast furious and totally devoid of bullshit. This Singaporean band had me banging my head and air guitarring like it was 1988 again. Long live grindcore, all hail the new masters – Wormrot.
6. The Pack A.D. – We Kill Computers
My favorite pure rock n roll record of the year. These Canadian women lay down some uncomprising rock riffs and stellar songs. One of the best roadtrip records in a long time.
7. Cocorosie - Grey Oceans
Easily the strangest and most difficult “pop” record of the last few years, These French-Canadian sisters make Bjork seem totally normal and mainstream. Cocorosie break weird new ground with each track on this album, yet it’s amazingly listenable and constantly interesting. Beautiful, bizarre and brilliant.
8. Altar Eagle – Mechanical Gardens
Woozy, hazy electro-shoegaze. Catchy as all fuck. Could not stop playing this record this summer. Perfect sunny day music that also works well on a gloomy day.
9. Hooded Menace – Never Cross The Dead
Best metal riffs of the year? Right here on “Never Cross The Dead” by Finland’s Hooded Menace. Fantastic blend of death metal vox with Autopsy-esque sludge and heavy-ass doom riffs. Yes please, I’d like another shot…
10. Moon Duo – Escape
Awesome Krautrock from San Francisco sounds a bit like the Doors meet Circle at a garage rock show. Nearly impossible to turn this off once you hit play. Catchy, relentless and totally compelling.
10a. Electric Wizard – Black Masses
This is a very fine record. But, fair or not, since it’s Electric Wizard, there will always be a slight sense of disappointment when a release doesn’t measure up to the monumental Dopethrone, or even Come My Fanatics. There new release has some fine songs and excellent riffs but somehow I didn’t feel the emotional connection of the band like I did on their classic records. Still, it managed to squeak onto my top (ahem) ten, so there’s plenty to like here.
1. Bongripper – Satan Worshipping Doom
Crushing instrumental doom from Chicago. My introduction to the band was prompted by recommendations from the Forever Doomed Forum (thanks guys!). I got in touch with the band and got this massive 2LP immediately. And now a message to Bongripper: get your asses over here for Roadburn 2012!
2. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
The seemingly never-ending creative entity that is Enslaved. It was a pleasure working with them for Roadburn 2010 and they seem to have taken elements of all the bands they participated in (Trinacria, Dream of An Opium Eater, Enslaved / Shining Big Band) and integrated that into the overall sound of the mothership Enslaved. Their best yet?
3. Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
My fears that Michael Gira would have grown old and grey and abandoned the extremities that defined Swans in the 80s and 90s were unfounded. My Father… marks a glorious return, not a rehashing of old work but a new interpretation of his inner monotonous rhythms.
4. Hank III – Rebel Within
It’s Hank. Nuf said.
5. Deathspell Omega – Paracletus
My first thought on listening to Paracletus was “Is DO going mainstream?” Relatively speaking, of course. After a couple of spins on the turntable the album started to grow. It’s no FAS or Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice but there is still enough evil going around to be thoroughly enjoyed.
6. Count Raven – Mammons War
I used to play their records a lot in the early 90s when they were still on Hellhound, the only label at the time keeping the spirit of Black Sabbath alive. And Count Raven – with a singer that sounded more Ozzy than Ozzy himself – was the closest you could get. Mammons War is Count Raven’s triumphant return.
7. Watain - Lawless Darkness
In an age when most blackmetal (yes, I’m talking to you Dimmu Borgir, Immortal, Cradle of Filth and the lot!) is as scary as a Coldplay record, Watain still does what blackmetal should do. It confronts and terrifies and Lawless Darkness is their best yet.
8. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
The record that stayed glued to my record player when it was just released. After visiting a determined Tom Warrior in 2009, Walter and Iwere convinced that he would triumph after the break up of Celtic Frost. Even though we hadn’t heard one note of music yet. Listening to these tracks takes me back to the time spent preparing for his turn as curator and the day itself at Roadburn 2010. A highlight for Roadburn and me
9. Fumio Hayasaka & Masaru Sato – Akira Kurosawa’s Movie Soundtracks
A surprising choice perhaps, I’ve listened to these re-issued soundtracks a lot. After reading Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler book and getting interested in all of this weird Japanese soundtrack stuff from the 60s this beautifully compiled box set was not to be missed. And great music to boot!
10. Altar of Plagues – Tides EP
Obviously I’m biased because this one was released on my own Burning World Records. But objectively speaking (ahem!) these are still two of the best atmospheric blackmetal songs I’ve heard all year. With Winterfylleth coming in a close second.
1. Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Tom Gabriel Warrior’s triumphant return. Picking up where Celtic Frost’s Monotheist left off, Triptykon’s debut Eparistera Daimones is a bleak, deeply personal affair, and easily the best album of the year.
2. Sabbath Assembly – Restored To One
Created as a modern response to the musical activities of a cult known as The Process Church of the Final Judgment, Sabbath Assembly (led by vocalist Jex of Jex Thoth fame) has re-charged the cult’s original hymns by combining 60′s rock, psychedelica and gospel into a highly passionate but also deeply religious album. Thus honoring the creators’ guiding motivations: to reconcile Christ, Satan and Lucifer through deep love and awareness.
3. Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini
The superb follow up to Vertebrae puts Enslaved at the pinnacle of progressive metal. It’s the standard bearer for many years to come.
4. Cathedral – The Guessing Game
Celebrating their 20th anniversary, doom stalwarts Cathedral have never sounded better than on their latest album, The Guessing Game, which could easily be mistaken for a long-lost, progressive rock gem from the early 70s. Released on the Vertigo (Swirl) label, of course!
5. Nachtmystium – Addicts: Black Meddle Part II
One of the most highly anticipated albums of 2010, Nachtmystium delivered! Incorporating psychedelica, postrock, industrial and black metal, Addicts: Black Meddle Part II should be lauded for the scope of its artistic ambition alone, but the songwriting is spot on, too!
6. Quest For Fire - Lights From Paradise
Toronto’s Quest for Fire play a dirty, full-blown fuzzed-out mix of classic rock and amphetamine-fueled garage-acid-psychedelica, and the band’s sophomore album, Lights From Paradise, is conjuring up images of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising as well as molten lava.
7. Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
Black Mountain go beyond mere denim-clad revisionism with the release of Wilderness Heart as they stunningly juxtapose tender, pastoral balladry with some of their heaviest songs yet, showcasing a very confident sense of originality along the way, too.
8. Alcest – Écailles de Lune
Alcest’s latest album, Écailles de Lune, showcases DIY aesthetics and a production leaning to underground metal. The insistent riffing, arching atmospherics, celestial melodies and suffocating roars sound like the second coming of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine or Swervedriver. Those whoare willing to enter Niege’s dark yet romantic and poetic realm with an open mind are in for a beguiling trip filled with a dense, dreamy, hypnotic mixture of shoegaze and black metal that taps into the best of both worlds.
9. Wolf People – Steeple
Hailing from the UK, Wolf People’s debut full-length Steeple is a mix of psych rock riffs, blues chops and acid folk. Fiercely proud of their heritage both musical and cultural, they aren’t afraid to show their influences. At the same time, this work is still very much its own beast: majestic, heavy and real.
10. Ghost - Opus Eponymous
Stunning debut full-length by this devil worshiping ministry from Sweden that is currently making black, oppressive waves in the underground while casting their litanies of sexually pulsating and satanic rock on listeners
with the sole intention of achieving the downfall of humanity.
Tags: altar of plagues, Black Mountain, Bongripper, darkthrone, Deathspell Omega, electric wizard, enslaved, Ghost, Nachtmystium, Quest For Fire, Roadburn, Sabbath Assembly, triptykon, ufomammut, Urfaust, Watain, Wolf People, Wovenhand
Posted in 2010, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended | No Comments »
Posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
Lee Sakura, Roadburn’s video director, has uploaded brand-new professionally filmed concert footage of previous Roadburn festivals. Brace yourself for the full-length performance by Cathedral below: Audio mixed and mastered by Marcel van de Vondervoort (Astrosoniq, Spacejam Records, Torture Garden Studio)
Posted on Monday, December 20th, 2010
Two years ago, it looked as if funeral doom was going to be the new DSBM. In the early noughties, with the arrival of cheap and easy home recording software, solitary dudes around the world had begun to ape and (very occasionally) trump the big names in both of these much-maligned genres. Correspondingly, over the last decade the number of funeral doom releases rose steadily from just 11 in 2000 until peaking in 2009 with 109 (thanks, Metal Archives!). But now the boom is over: with only 86 new releases this year, could it be that the hordes of bedroom-bound […]
Posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Praise for Wind‘s Seasons from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: We couldn’t remember why, exactly, must have read about it sometime long ago in a krautrock reference book, like the Crack In The Cosmic Egg perhaps, but we knew that as fans of early HEAVY ’70s stuff – psych, prog, krautrock, proto-metal, what have you – that apparently the German band Wind’s 1971 debut Seasons was one to watch out for. Well, it finally just got reissued via the Long Hair label (who have recently brought us several kraut-prog winners from Cannabis India, Mammut, and Et Cetera, amongst others) and so, […]
Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2010
I don’t know the exact date when the line-up for Roadburn 2011 went from ridiculous to outrageous, but one thing is certain: next year’s event will be the bomb. Having managed to skillfully dodge that damn volcano last year, the organizers seem to have been keen on making next year’s experience a truly unforgettable one. As a promoter, how do you manage to bring together such a vast array of phenomenal artists? As a musician and a fan, how do you decide on who you want to see? I haven’t even booked my plane ticket yet and I’m getting dizzy […]
Posted on Friday, November 26th, 2010
Praise for Corrosion of Conformity‘s Animosity from Allmusic.com: Released in 1985, this second full-length Corrosion of Conformity offering features Mike Dean (bass and vocals,) Reed Mullin (drums), and Woody Weatherman on guitar. Just as the N.C. group’s lineup constantly shifted, so did their music. While still plenty hyper, Animosity has a bit more metal mixed in with the hardcore punk of the band’s debut, Eye for an Eye. Weatherman’s guitars and Mullin’s drums get a more sophisticated studio treatment, creating a thicker sound that reflects a mid-80s thrash influence. C.O.C. weren’t following any trends, they just incorporated all the things […]
Posted on Thursday, November 25th, 2010
Quality multi-camera video footage of seminal post-punk / industrial behemoths Godflesh performing at this year’s Supersonic Festival, which was held on October 22-24 in Birmingham, England, can be viewed below: Godflesh will perform its seminal debut full-length album, 1989′s Streetcleaner, in its entirety at the 2011 edition of the Roadburn festival on Thursday, April 14 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland. In addition, founding members Justin Broadrick and Benny Green will play the Tiny Tears EP, which was conceived as part of the overall “Streetcleaner” vision, in full as well. Continue reading: BLABBERMOUTH.NET – GODFLESH: Quality Multi-Camera Footage From […]
Posted on Thursday, November 25th, 2010
Lovingly pinched from Sea of Tranquility: Hailing from New Jersey, Riotgod exploded onto the hard rock scene with their 2010 self-titled debut. Taking one look at the lineup, it’s obvious that it’s one of the highlights of Riotgod, especially if you’re a fan of Monster Magnet’s rhythm section of Jim Baglino and Bob Pantella. Playing a heavy, riff-driven hard rock style, they are sure to please all fans of the genre. Although the debut leaves much to be desired in the songwriting department, I have to applaud the wonderful musicianship and professional production. Despite my few gripes you’ll read about […]
Posted on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Lovingly pinched from Drowned In Sound: The reissue of Relaxing With The Heads, the debut album by Bristolian stoner-psych mong-o-lude monoliths The Heads, is long overdue. From the perspective of you, the would-be consumer of the pepperiest riff salad, this is because it’s been out of print for… well, Christ knows how long to be honest, but it was released in 1996 and its original label, the UK division of Headhunter Records, released basically nothing afterwards. From the perspective of the band themselves, it means that this mud-flapping sonic throb is no longer ‘of its time’ and can get appraisal […]
Posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010
This past spring, two American rock bands embarked on a ten date tour of Western Europe. Celebrated, Los Angeles groups Ancestors and Night Horse traveled to Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria and the UK as part of a run of live shows bookended around the 2010 Roadburn Festival, an event billed as “Europe’s leading underground festival for psychedelic, avant-garde, doom or any other variation of leftfield sonic pleasures,” where each performed to rousing response. Both bands captured the journey digitally and part one of the resulting short film – the Converse-presented “Go on Tour” — is available for viewing now at […]