Monday, 6 January 2014

2014 in music: week one

The purpose of these posts will be to briefly detail the releases in 2014 as they come out.

Before I start, it should be noted that I haven't yet heard albums by Lvcifyre, Persuader, Skull Fist or Hail Spirit Noir, hence their non-inclusion here. Also note that any description here might be completely wrong - they are mostly from memory of one or two listens.

Thrash is looking a lot more promising in 2014 than it did at this time in 2013 (and remained so throughout the year): although the split between Sodom and Hirax, perhaps the only big-name thrash release so far this year, is ultimately disappointing, with Sodom doing more of the same old shit and Hirax producing nothing memorable, there have been two more-than-decent releases from new bands. Firstly, Nuclear Omnicide's Bringers of Disease EP is very promising, fundamentally sounding like a slightly cleaner-produced version of Darkness Descends with hints of Agent Orange. The other is Phantom's Triumph of Death EP. The band wears their influences quite prominently on their sleeves, not only with covers of Sodom and Destruction, but also with references to Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Venom with the EP title, and songs (not covers) called 'Dethroned Emperor' and 'Raise the Dead' respectively. Believe me, it's a tasty concoction.

Black metal is also looking decent. ROTS' The Night the Trees Burnt is probably the most exciting thing so far this year, offering a blackened take on the type of deafening, huge-sounding, slightly grinding sludge (if you can even call it that) exemplified by things like Rorcal's album last year. Abbotoir also offer a solid piece of funeral doom on their Reclaim EP, a single, 26-minute piece, the closest point of reference for which is probably Esoteric*. Nazghor offer a piece of black metal which can't decide whether it wants to ape Dissection or mid-period Darkthrone while forgetting that chucking all your longest songs on the end of a release probably isn't the greatest idea for listenability. Sammath's Godless Arrogance is pretty dull - by-the-numbers European black metal. Finally, Razörschrieck have Depressionnaire, the sole depressive BM EP of the myriad offerings thus far this year. It's pretty varied, which is refreshing for the genre, but nothing in it really stands out as excellent, or good even.

Of the two punk releases I've heard so far this year, Doom's Corrupt Fucking System is by far the best (and I'm counting it as a 2014 release due to the date of physical release). Perhaps closer to their roots than anything in a long time, it's a triumphant return for the crust legends after an 8 year absence. The other is Backstabbers Inc's M.I.A., which, contrary to the expectations you might gain based on the band name and album title, is not a beatdown hardcore album. It's modern d-beat with occasional grind influences. It hasn't struck me as excellent yet but I've got a feeling it's a grower. Solid Discharge cover too.

Of the stuff from other genres (which I haven't heard two releases from), Cimmerian's Hollowing is okay, which is a compliment as to me, progressive melodic death metal pretty much sounds like the worst thing ever. If the rest of the album was as good as 'Among Ghosts, We Slept', it would be an excellent release. The Fleshtones' Wheel of Talent is decent garage rock but nothing to write home about. Gum's But Woman Monkey sounds like fairly good stoner doom in the Electric Wizard vein with hints of Crowbar (which I could do without), but probably needs more listens to sink in properly. Jaldaboath's The Further Adventures... is the gimmicky shit one would expect from this band. Finally, the split between Exhumed and Iron Reagan shows Exhumed releasing more of the same fairly mediocre deathgrind they've been making all their career with perhaps a few nods to early Suicidal Tendencies and a poor interpretation of Minor Threat, with Iron Reagan doing the polar opposite in terms of quality and sounding the way Municipal Waste should have sounded.

Album of the week: Doom - Corrupt Fucking System

Here's an 8tracks mix to sample this stuff.

*The band are included in the black metal section because there haven't been any other doom albums I've heard.

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