It’s the time of year here at Metalireland where we talk about how much we hate making lists and then… err… go and make lists. Yeah.
Anyway, I will justify what follows thus – you’ve seen everyone everywhere’s “top albums of 2016”.
You may be catching up on ones you’ve heard already, discovering one you weren’t aware of, or more importantly trying to decide wether you like the fucking Metallica record deep down or if metal journalists are all suckers for bribes.
To distract you from the rehashes,and because really the first month of the new year is pretty barren for new music, I thought I’d offer up some suggestions to get your year started right.
Some are new releases that maybe lost in the tail end stampede by being released in December, some are releases imminent in the new year, some are just underground bands I’ve been buzzing over myself and just really want to get other people to listen to.
That’s all this writing about music lark is. It’s about sharing music.
And if all else fails, think of it as a bored man on a laptop in his flat rambling at you about bands you might like so that you can sneakily listen to them at work while you’re bored in that weird period before it gets busy again. Ideally we’d all be in a pub but sure, this is it, writes Jamie Grimes.
Look, it’s like this: if Voivod recommends a band on facebook, I’ll listen to them.
That’s how this bizarre Canadian band first came into my life, and I’m glad they did, so I’m passing the discovery onto you lot to bask in their strange, alien musical light.
An instrumental combo landing that have constructed an intricate mesh of Shardborne, Gorguts and maybe a less frantic Behold the Arctopus, these guys are a pretty compelling listen, never veering too far up their own arse. Also anyone that throws a Hammond Organ into the mix every once in a while is good with me.
Made up of former members of a couple of other bands, some of Destriers will be familiar faces on the local hardcore scene to some here.
There’s certainly some of that in their music but as their debut release “Cynosure” shows, Destriers operate in generally heavier terrain, occupying a territory that comes on like some strange mid point between the sheer battery of modern downtuned metal/hc bands like Trap Them and the more angular riffage of Coalesce.
Thankfully forgoing HM2s and brutality for the sake of it, they have a gift for compact songwriting and short bursts of intensity that should make waves locally and hopefully abroad this coming year.
By know you’ll have heard “Sluagh” from their upcoming demo, possibly (depending on when this appears on the site) seen them live and will probably not need me to confirm their brilliance any further.
The most exciting prospect for the Irish Black/Death underground in 2017 is undoubtedly the Dublin based 4 piece, and given the experience and personell involved it’s no surprise they have a level of skill and vision many here simply don’t.
If you haven’t yet heard them… well, there’s a track below, and you can bask in the mastery of the thin line between black/death metal yourself. The demo drops via Invictus in February and a further live show in Dublin with Ereb Altor is on the cards for March. Essential local listening for the year ahead.
Responsible for possibly the single ugliest recording I heard in 2016 in the form of “Tapeone”, Drore are the most genuinely feral and threatening band to emerge from the UK probably since that first Iron Monkey ep all those years ago.
Essentially the answer to the question “What would it sound like if Lydia Lunch was English and did a record with Dystopia and Fudge Tunnel?” , the sheer filth this band have produced thus far is a thing of utter joy to behold.
An absolute carcrash of a sound, veering from one lysergic riff to a skulking downtempo bludgeon and back,new recordings are apparently on the way in 2017 and will possibly fry your brain permanently. Disgusting. Love it.
It’s odd but understandable that at no point has there been any mention of this band on MI so far.
For one thing they’re not technically metal, but going on the premise that many folks here are an open minded bunch with a general interest in harsh or ugly sounds, then this mysterious Dublin act should be on the radar.
Having released a debut late in 2016 which was essentially their own soundtrack to the legendary silent era horror film “Haxan”, this trio make a bizarre Satanic racket that goes from ambience and orchestration to screaming noise in the blink of an eye brings to mind the spirit of everything from the Virgin Prunes to Einsturzende Neubauten to Fantomas in places, but really it sounds like none of them.
A new EP is reportedly on the way in 2017. Fascinating to see a band like this on our doorstep.
There is, as usual, a fucking mountain of new Death Metal I could blather about crawling out of the proverbial graves.
I’m going to try and reign in the urge to list and just plop it in the forums or something instead (the Ascended Dead and Ensnared albums are fucking bonkers though, so I’m giving you a heads up on those).
But let’s recap on one of the things that people talk about in the genre – the unfortunate recent tendency for nowadays DM to be high on reverb and low on riffs. Do you long for the days of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx and Demigod, when power ruled over bluster?
Then Cynabare Urne will keep you company for those cold January nights hopefully, the Finnish duo’s mid paced bombardment of steamrolling death metal having just surfaced in the form of their first 2 song demo. Hopefully 2017 will see more from them.
Yes, some actual HEAVY METAL.
Copenhagen based Steel Inferno describe themselves as “fast and furious” which I’ll go with as a fine description as their sound takes plenty of speedy turns. Heads down sweat and thunder metal from these lads and lady who keep it no frills, just frantic guitars topped with some sneered vocals that sound like an angry school teacher scolding a class full of brats.
You could argue it’s generic, sure, but it’s also surprisingly infectious and vibrant. If you need some new session music for the new year, give this a go.
If I told you a former member of Dog Eat Dog had reinvented himself as some sort of musical traveller on an astral plane, steering a dark shop through the terrain between krautrock, the Bad Seeds and Black Metal you’d laugh at me right?
Grand. I wouldn’t blame you.
But Wolvennest is the end result of that transformation for guitarist Marc De Backer. Their self titled debut was released on a small label earlier this year but 2017 sees a wider reissue through the esteemed VAN label, allowing psychonauts the world over a second chance to experience the strange and enticing brew this band are cooking up, asisted on the debut by occasional appearances from members of controversial collective Der Blutarsch.
Not so much “Occult rock” as “Otherworldly rock”,. Absolutely no fucking fronts. Whatsoever.
And speaking of Black Metal… Domgard’s new one “Odelagt” should finally appear n Daemon Worship records on the new year, the follow up to the excellent “Myrkvidr” from about 5 years ago.
This Swedish horde operate very much within the parameters of the tradition’s old ways, but with a knack for songwriting that’s far above mere copycat nonsense. Torchbearers if you will.
Which given some of them spent a chunk of time in jail for church arson is perhaps not the subtlest comment I could have made, but oh well. It’s black metal. Subtlety has nothing to do with it.
Last but by no means least… do you remember the band Paw?
Their bluesy, grungey, Pearl Jam-meets-Black Flag sound was one of the better treats that the 90s flannel shirt explosion threw up, as anyone who spent their teens welded to John Kenny’s Metal Show ot MTV’s Alternative Nation will tell you.
Paw are the band that sprang immediately to mind when I first heard Virgina Creeper – a heavier take perhaps, with a little more of a ragged post hardcore feel in places, but it’s that same sense of organic, late night rock in a dirty club that kinda draws you in.
Fair play to them for having the balls to steal a Karp riff too. Oh you might know the singer. His name is JR. He’s in another band called Pig Destroyer.
Don’t let that taint your expectations as this is a completely different , more intimate sound. EP out now on Robotic Empire, the home of internet spam. It’s fucking great and seems to have recieved far less notice than it deserves.
– Jamie Grimes ::: 29/12/16