Posts Tagged ‘altar of plagues’

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats’ Mind Control: Album of 2013 According To Roadburn Atendees, Readers, Friends and Associates!

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

In December 2013 we asked you, our beloved Roadburn attendees, readers, friends and associates, to list your top 10 Roadburn-worthy albums of 2013. By January 5th we had received 190 lists. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send us their list!

This is how we compiled the rankings: the albums on each list were awarded points on a scale of one to ten, with one point for the tenth album to 10 points for the number one album. Next, the total points for each album were added up to determine the final score for the album in question. Then all we had to do was rank the albums.

And the clear winner is: Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats with the album Mind Control! Congratulations, gentlemen!

Second place goes to Windhand, Cult of Luna came in third, Deafheaven came in fourth, and Beastmilk complete the Top 5. Have a look to find out how your faves fared in the overall rankings:


1.  Uncle Acid & The DeadbeatsMind Contol (296 points)
“’Poison Apple’,  with its mind-worm riff and brilliantly depraved lyrics, could genuinely be considered the best pop song of the year. But the album’s true standout is ‘Valley of the Dolls’, a Mellotron-fueled slow-burner that references Sharon Tate in its infectious chorus, and brings to mind Alice Cooper’s similarly demented “I Love the Dead.” As you sing along, you realize that Uncle Acid has indeed gained control of your mind, but at this point you feel too good to care”Karen A. Mann / Heavy Metal.


2.  Windhand Soma (249 points)
“Soma ends in a suitably foreboding manner, considering the potential the band shows throughout for future works. They’re not toying with cult idolatry, and they’re growing out of their Electric Wizardry, and if songs like ‘Feral Bones’, ‘Evergreen’ and ‘Boleskine’ — really the whole record — are a sign of things to come from Windhand, there’s a real chance the Richmond outfit could leave a lasting mark on American doom.

As their Relapse debut, Soma will no doubt be many listeners’ first experience with Windhand, and it’s got a palpable landmark feel. Helps that it’s of such staggering substance, but as someone who generally champions single-LP-length albums, the additional runtime of Soma is neither excess nor indulgence, but instead a necessary manifestation of Windhand‘s oppressive approach. One of the year’s best in doom, hands down” JJ Koczan / The Obelisk.


3.  Cult of LunaVertikal (239 points)
“This focus on making the music flow organically in time with the narrative is essential to any concept record, and each and every part of Vertikal is crucial to the overarching story; whether it be the electronic undercurrents of ‘The Sweep’, the detached yet engaging ‘Synchronicity’, the slow-burn of the punishing ‘In Awe Of’, or the Khoma-esque ending that is ‘Passing Through’ – a song which injects some human emotion into what is an otherwise desolate and often unforgiving listen.

The fact that after six full-length LPs Cult of Luna can still deliver an opus as challenging, engrossing and intricately layered as Vertikal is a testament to the abilities of this Swedish collective; a band who have now earned their place as one of the most essential in progressive metal”Dean Brown / PopMatters.

Deafheaven - Sunbather

4.  DeafheavenSunbather (213 points)
“With Sunbather, Deafheaven have made one of the biggest albums of the year, one that impresses you with its scale, the way Swans’ The Seer did last year. Like M. Gira’s masterpiece, it has the ability to capture the attention of people who don’t normally listen to heavy music. It’s also one of the most successful examples of a band using black metal as a starting point and ending up somewhere else entirely.

People cite the short-lived San Francisco band Weakling’s seminal 2000 album Dead as Dreams as the pinnacle of American black metal; Sunbather is another. Like Weakling, Deafheaven have changed things with this record– black metal won’t be the same now that it’s been released.

Of course, folks will argue over just how black metal– or even metal– Sunbather is, and will discuss the “un-metal” pink cover art and the fact that Clarke could probably be a J. Crew model. These kinds of arguments are irrelevant. Instead, try focusing on how much better Sunbather is than any other black metal album released this year, and how it’s, by far, one of the best in any genre. Or, maybe, just talk to your friends about what it feels like to listen to a modern classic”Brandon Stosuy / Pitchfork.

Beastmilk Climax cover

5.  BeastmilkClimax (209 points)
“Led by Hexvessel vocalist Mat ‘Kvohst’ McNerney, Finland’s Beastmilk excel at darkly throbbing ice-cold post-punk gothic desolation, possessed by Joy Division, Samhain, Misfits, Jesus and Mary Chain, and the oblique strangeness and angular rock ‘n’ roll of Roky Erickson”Walter / Roadburn

Carcass - Surgical Steel

6.  CarcassSurgical Steel (196 points)
“All hail the masters, all hail Carcass. Surgical Steel improbably manages to pick up where “Heartwork” left off, with perhaps even more of a nod to earlier albums like “Necroticism” and deliver the catchiest, slickest grind and roll ever committed to wax. A glorious and inspired reunion that made me realize just how much I had missed the combination of Bill Steer and Jeff Walker” –  Drew / Roadburn.

cw - pain is beauty

7.  Chelsea WolfePain is Beauty (192 points)
“Pain Is Beauty shocks. It loudly proclaims its motives from the very start and explores melodies for the duration of the album. Music doesn’t find very many visionaries anymore, and Chelsea Wolfe brands her darkly emotive music as an artistic representation of herself. Sculpting the greatest sum of tracks Wolfe has ever created, Pain Is Beauty, shines in the void that she dwells in. Bleak, distant, polarizing, and beautiful, Wolfe’s fourth album makes a gargantuan impact”Dylan Tracy / Prefix Mag.

Inter Arma - Sky Burial

8.  Inter ArmaSky Burial (144 points)
“It is clear this band have come on leaps and bounds since their Forcefield release ‘Sundown’ and the 12″ EP ‘Destroyer’ that got them inked with Relapse in the first place. Now this is a seriously brutal statement of intent from a band looking to take their place amongst their exulted peers”Mark Hunt-Bryden / The Sleeping Shaman.

Altar Of Plagues  - Teethed Glory and Injury

9.  Altar Of PlaguesTeethed Glory and Injury (128 points)
“Simply put, this is a really, really great record. It is expansive, evocative, multi-faceted. It is by turns exhausting and exhilarating – and ultimately, it is inspiring in its commitment to sheer inventiveness. Teethed Glory And Injury is another emphatic statement that Altar Of Plagues is a band unlikely to ever settle in one stylistic incarnation for too long. It’s bound to piss off plenty of fans… but equally, it should cause many a naysayer to re-evaluate their notion of what this band is truly capable ofGeorge Leeming  / The Sleeping Shaman.


10. Clutch Earth Rocker (126 points)”
Finally, an album that asked the question, “What it was I’m going to do I haven’t done?” I knew at the year’s halfway point that Clutch‘s Earth Rocker was going to be the one to beat, and that it wasn’t going to be easy for anyone else to top the Maryland kings of groove, who sounded so reinvigorated on songs like “Crucial Velocity,” “Book, Saddle and Go,” “Unto the Breach,” and “Cyborg Bette,” and on funkfied pushers like ‘D.C. Sound Attack!’, ‘The Wolfman Kindly Requests…’ and ‘The Face.’

They’d hardly been in hibernation since 2009′s Strange Cousins from the West, but four years was the longest they’d ever gone between albums, and it was past time for a new one. To have it arrive as such a boot to the ass just made it that much better, the band shifting away from some of the blues / jam influences that emerged over the course of 2005′s Robot Hive / Exodus and 2007′s From Beale Street to Oblivion — though those certainly showed up as well in the subdued “Gone Cold” and elsewhere — but thanks in no small part to the production of Machine, with whom the band last worked for 2004′s Blast Tyrant, Earth Rocker was huge where it wanted to be and that gave Clutch‘s faster, more active material all the more urgency, where although the songwriting was quality as always, Strange Cousins from the West languished a bit at a more relaxed pace. The difference made all the difference.

Whether it was the hellhounds on your trail (what a pity!) in ‘D.C. Sound Attack!’ or the Jazzmasters erupting from the bottom of the sea to take flight, Clutch‘s 10th album was brimming with live, vibrant, heavy on action and heavy on groove, and on a sheer song-by-song level, a classic in the making from a band who’ve already had a few”JJ Koczan / The Obelisk.

Here are the house lists:

Hot Lunch

Drew Webster

Hot LunchHot Lunch
“A rollicking, stomping ride through heavy blues-rock, punk and proggy stoner rock fueled by ripping guitar, skateboarding energy and a great sense of humor. The variety of styles, tight song writing and vintage sound make this impossible not to put on repeat. My most listened to album of the year, by far.”

Russian CirclesMemorial
“Album number 5 turns out to be the one. The one that propels Russian Circles to a new level altogether. The album is made up of distinct songs, but flows together into a perfect listen. While succinct (under 40 minutes), this record packs in an enormous range of music, with the common denominators being very tasty riffs and excellent songwriting. The band have expanded their stylistic range and even added (successfully) vocals into one track, while at the same time  maintaining their trademark technical brilliance, dynamics and masterful layering of riffs.”

GorgutsColored Sands
“An unbelievable and groundbreaking new album from one of death metal’s true legendary bands. Original vocalist / guitarist Luc Lemay assembled a technical death metal dream team with members of Krallice, Dysrhythmia and Origin and produced perhaps the most easily listenable yet technically complex death metal album ever. There are parts so discordant and complex that it sounds like time is folding in on itself, but it never seems like a difficult listen.”

Abyssal Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius
“A thick, dark, oppressive technical death/black metal hybrid, full of malice, lurching stops and impossible riffs. A monument of true suffocating blackness played with equal parts rage and delicacy and filtered through jagged shards of glass and blood soaked gauze.”

Before the EyewallBefore the Eyewall
“Without a doubt, the most surprising record of the year. A debut record from a previously unheard of instrumental Ohio three piece. This record is glorious blend of best aspects of post rock, crushing sludge / doom riffs and sweeping psychedelic vision. A truly epic record that transports the listener to a place far beyond the normal confines of instrumental metal.”

“Dark, dirty, heavy and catchy as fuck. Swiss 2-piece Bölzer bring blackened death to the streets and beat the shit out of anyone that comes their way. Wielding angular, complex riffs with the ease of a switchblade, Bölzer carve up formulaic black/death metal into tiny shreds and weave an evil tapestry of complex polyphony and thundering battery. “Entranced By The Wolfshook” is my favorite metal song of the year.”

Causa Sui Euporie Tide
“Veteran Danish psychedelic rockers finest, most concise album to date, includes my second favorite song of the year, the organ-enhanced tribute “Homage,” a brilliant, fresh look at everybody’s favorite desert rock band (and other 90’s bands) that Causa Sui took inspiration from. The rest of the record features great kraut / psych riffs layered with great jams delivered in a very organic, live sounding way.”

CarcassSurgical Steel
“All hail the masters, all hail Carcass. Surgical Steel improbably manages to pick up where “Heartwork” left off, with perhaps even more of a nod to earlier albums like “Necroticism” and deliver the catchiest, slickest grind and roll ever committed to wax. A glorious and inspired reunion that made me realize just how much I had missed the combination of Bill Steer and Jeff Walker.”

AgrimoniaRites Of Separation
“A sprawling, massive record from this trailblazing Swedish band that truly defies categorization. Perhaps they’ve invented post-crustcore? Start with a gasoline throated female vocalist, add in plenty of hardcore and crustcore pedigree and sound, throw in a liberal amount of metal and swirl until epic 10+ minute opuses form. The huge variety of textures, styles and dynamics keeps everything incredibly interesting.”

Grave Upheaval (No title)
“Imagine being blindfolded, hooded and stuffed in the trunk of a car and driven to a Portal concert where you can kinda mostly sorta hear the band. Grave Upheaval makes you feel helpless and confused in the best way possible. This is quite possibly the most dense, stifling, murky record ever. There are nebulous guitars buzzing away and distant dreary doom drums and the most unsettling moan / whisper / evilwind vocals. A enormously bleak, terrifying, exhilarating sound that reminds me to keep listening to every new metal record I can find… in hopes of finding something as enervating as this.”

Altar Of Plagues  - Teethed Glory and Injury

Jurgen van den Brand

Altar Of Plagues – Teethed Glory And Injury
“The swansong of one of my favourite black metal bands, and they certainly go out with a bang. Teethed… Is all you could wish for in a modern metal album: undeniable riffs and plenty of experimentation and atmosphere.”

James HoldenThe Inheritors
“Maybe not a household name in Roadburn circles but Holden has delivered one of this years best krautrock albums. As Pitchfork says: “Holden’s second album, The Inheritors, is a raging bonfire of electro-acoustic composition. His kindling is the open-field psychedelia of groups like Cluster and Popol Vuh, with a healthy amount of Boards of Canada’s dusty gaze.”

Jan JelinekTemple 12″
“Jelinek released 4 12″s this year and this is my favourite: 10 minutes of transcendent fuzzy drones.”

UzalaTales of Blood and Fire
“The best psychedelic doom this year came from Uzala. They have the riffs, the songs and the voice.”

UlverMesse I.X – IV.X
“Ulver never cease to amaze. This work with a 21-piece orchestra (and they really work together as one unit) never fails to satisfy, listen upon listen.”

LocrianReturn To Annihilation
“On this album you never know quite where you are or where you are going next. The promise that Locrian showed on earlier releases is delivered here in full.”

PrurientThrough The Window
“Not quite as impressive as Bermuda Drain and a tie with the latest Vatican Shadow, Dominick Fernow’s output this year was again of a high quality. I think what I love most is his way of producing, it’s harsh and cold but has some warmth in it at the same time.”

Harsh Toke Light up and Live
“Looking for riffs? Harsch Toke has ’em. Earthless watch out.”

Tamikrest Chatma
“As far as interesting desert blues rock goes I think that Tamikrest has surpassed Tinariwen. As The Guardian said about this album: “It’s a refreshingly varied set, from the slinky and optimistic Tomorrow, Another Day to the atmospheric mix of wailing guitar and voices on the gently drifting The Journey, influenced by Pink Floyd.”

“This one was a grower: at first I thought it was a bit too run of the mill but after repeated listing I think this is the album I played the most this year. To say it’s just Isis with Chino Moreno is too easy, they made this album into something deeply atmospheric. Here’s hoping there will be a second one.”


Paul Robertson

Voivod Target Earth
“Anyone who knows me knows damn well that there was absolutely no way that this wasn’t going to be my top release of 2013. Whilst I had to have a damn good think about the rest of the list, this was a no-brainer. To my ears, this is the album that sits between the aggressive skronk of Dimension Hatröss and the utterly sublime avant-metal of Nothingface and is absolutely no disgrace to the memory of much-missed original guitarist Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour. Target Earth is incontrovertible proof that Voivod have still got it, in spades, and that new-ish-boy guitarist Dan ‘Chewy’ Mongrain can fill D’Amour’s sizeable boots with ease.”

Queens Of The Stoneage…Like Clockwork
“The band’s first album since 2007’s divisive Era Vulgaris appears to have been just as divisive amongst those still who hanker after the long-gone days of their 1998 self-titled debut and, for the record, I liked that one a lot too so bite my shiny metal ass. This album has not left my playlist since it was released and I see no reason for that to change.”

The Haxan CloakExcavation
“Absolute pitch blackness.”

MelvinsTres Cabrones
“Sure, the goofy comedy songs grate but such things are very much part and parcel of the Melvins experience, as us old-timers learned a long long time ago. For my money, though, Tres Cabrones is the most solidly enjoyable Melvins album since 2004’s Lustmord collaboration Pigs Of The Roman Empire, chock full of chewy prime Buzzo riffs as it is.”

Carcass – Surgical Steel
“I hate nostalgia and I’m naturally very suspicious of any band of yore jumping on the reformation gravy-train but, fuck, this record is incredible. Surgical Steel does not feel like a quick cash-grab or a feeble attempt to recapture faded youthful glories at all – Bill Steer is ON FIRE for the entirety of this record, peeling off riff after riff like his life depended on it. Plus, open your album with a pile-up of killer harmonies and I’m all yours.”

“As far as I’m concerned, whatever guitarist John Cobbett does, I want to hear it. Throw in ever-dependable Yob frontman Mike Scheidt, Cobbett’s erstwhile Hammers Of Misfortune bandmate Sigrid Sheie and drumgod Aesop Dekker and you’ve got a seriously tasty proposition. Unlike some recent supergroups, Vhöl’s album does not disappoint. Consider my ass well and truly handed to me.”

ÄänipääThrough A Pre-Memory
“To these ears Through A Pre-Memory is the record that Khanate should have made after Things Viral. The combination of Mika Vainio’s icy synths and programmed drums with Alan Dubin’s excoriating howl and Stephen O’Malley playing actual chords again is horrible music to my clearly-completely-fucked ears.”

“Flawless genuinely progressive black metal, I’ve been coming back to this one rather a lot of late. Pushes all of the right buttons for me, which is unusual for black metal on the whole for me.”

Oranssi PazuzuValonielu
“Cosmic and vast, what’s not to like?”

“Riff after riff after riff after riff after riff. Serious chops.”

Yvonne Maclean

DoomridersGrand Blood
JJ Grey & Mofro 99 Shades of Crazy
Laura Marlin Once I Was An Eagle
LocrianReturn to Annihilation
My Bloody ValentineMBV
The Haxan CloakExcavation
The KnifeShaking the Habitual
True WidowCircumambulation
TribulationThe Formulas Of Death
Wolf EyesNo Answer, Lower Floors

Walter / Roadburn

Avatarium - Avatarium

“Avatarium’s S/T strikes the perfect balance between epic doom and classic rock, reminiscent of Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath and Rainbow. The crushing doom of Candlemass may be prevalent through the album, but Avatarium‘s 60s / 70s feel is also trippy, with a creepy and haunting vibe that makes space for moments of beautiful tranquility before pummeling you with surgically precise riffs of sheer Leif Edling brilliance.

Foremost among Avatarium‘s not-so-secret weapons are the haunting vocals of Jennie-Ann Smith — they infuse the introspective, quiet passages with goosebump-inducing emotional power, and propel the heavier moments into a cathartic juggernaut of inspired doom intensity. Easily the best album of 2013 for me!”

Selim Lemouchi and his EnemiesEarth Air Spirit Water Fire
“Slow-burning, elaborate, and musically pulling from all things past, Selim Lemouchi is on a mind-altering and poignant journey into unknown territories on this masterpiece, while artistically and musically re-inventing himself after the sad demise of The Devil’s Blood.”

“Led by Hexvessel vocalist Mat ‘Kvohst’ McNerney, Finland’s Beastmilk excel at darkly throbbing ice-cold post-punk gothic desolation, possessed by Joy Division, Samhain, Misfits, Jesus and Mary Chain, and the oblique strangeness and angular rock ‘n’ roll of Roky Erickson.”

Monster Magnet Last Patrol
“The space lord is back! Last Patrol sees Monster Magnet return to stunning form with its old school, psychedelic vibe and a knack for great songwriting. Dave Wyndorf hasn’t sounded so compelling and urgent since the release of Power Trip, (the last truly great Monster Magnet album) but Last Patrol ranks among their very best.”

Earthless –  From the Ages
“From the Ages finds Earthless at their very best; a full-on burner showcasing the amazing chemistry and near telepathic connection between Mario Rubalcaba, Mike Eginton and Isaiah Mitchell.”

ProcessionTo Reap Heavens Apart
“The utterly compelling To Reap Heavens Apart, carries the weight of the world to an emotionally effecting extreme and puts the band at the very top of their game – taking every haunting passage at a funereal pace, trudging through eternal darkness and utter hopelessness, Procession extinguish your very soul with their glorious despair.”

The Cult of Dom KellerS/T
“You can almost hear the trippy, kaleidoscopic flashbacks through hazy clouds of obscurity, flashing strobes and glowing smoke through The Cult of Dom Keller’s chemical feast of fuzzy, psychedelic madness, part shimmering feedback explorations, swamp-infested blues bastardizations, and part mind expanding stoner rock manipulations. The Cult of Dom Keller’ S/T definitely echoes throughout he deepest valleys of your mind. Do you need more?”

Vhöl – Vhöl
“Incredible old school thrash metal worship by the likes of Mike Scheidt, John Cobbett, Sigrid Sheie and Aesop Dekker, Vhöl’s debut full-length could easily be a long lost, yet bonafide classic from the eighties.”

Corrections HouseLast City Zero
“Corrections House easily shifts from Scott Kelly’s (Neurosis) downcast gloom and doom into Sanford Parker’s mutated industrial hissing and clanging EMB beats, underpinned by Bruce Lamont’s oblique saxophone squalls, and Mike IX William’s familiar phlegm-drenched fire-spitting ire and all points in between across Last City Zero’s dark and oppressive, industrial ambiance, preaching the end-times. It’s done with so much zeal that the sum is greater than it’s parts – Corrections House totally lives up to the expectations, and more!”

In Solitude  – Sister
“Showing the potential for great things on their previous albums, In Solitude bring it all to fruition with the release of Sister. Instead of the much revered Mercyful Fate / early Iron Maiden worship of their earlier sound, In Solitude now has a distinct musical voice of their own, allowing the band to incorporate dark gothic, and almost no-wave melodies next to their heavy metal roots.”

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Yob’s Atma: Album of 2011 According To Roadburn Readers, Friends and Associates!

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

In the beginning of December 2011 we asked you, our beloved Roadburn readers, friends and associates, to list your top 10 Roadburn-worthy albums of 2011. By January 2nd we had received 160 lists. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send us their list! This is how we compiled […]

Album of the day: Roadburn HQ Favorite Albums of 2011

Posted on Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Many excellent records came out in 2011. We don’t pretend to be arbiters of taste, we just think it’s fun to share which albums rocked our worlds, soothed our souls, lifted our spirits or otherwise burrowed into our systems this year. Of course, in addition to occupying our turntables, many […]

Album of the day: Altar of Plagues – Mammal

Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Praise for Altar of Plagues‘ Mammal from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: Record number two from these Irish heavies, who blend murky blasting black metal with slow build epic post rock, their songs sprawling epics that flit from frantic riffing to soaring churning majesty, guitars slipping easily from super distorted buzz […]

We want your top 10 Albums of 2010

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, […]