Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Metal Cock Radio's Best of 2014 List

DISCLAIMER: As I did with last year's Top 10 list, I will refrain from putting what I think are "Obvious Choices" on the list. That means no At the Gates, no Revocation, no Exodus, etc. These are releases that I personally listened to the most, was most excited for, or had the biggest impact on me this year. Now, here we go:

10. Axattack - Toxic Wasted

Ok, ok, before anyone who knows me freaks out; yes, Axattack is my band. Yes, I know this is kinda cheating and shameful, putting your own band on a top 10 list, but I’d be lying if this EP hasn’t been the most listened to thing on my iPod this year. I’m not going to brag about my own band, because your own band honestly SHOULD be on your top 10 list. If you aren’t making music you want to listen to, who will want to? So yeah, I’m putting Axattack on the bottom of my top 10 list. Sue me.

Favorite Track: Bear the Mark

9. Iron Reagan - Tyranny of Will

Ok, so I lied in the disclaimer and I’m definitely going against my own rules a bit for this one, but this is the first time in a while that I dug a major release so much. I LOVED Municipal Waste’s first few albums, but after Art of Partying they seemed to get stale. Plus I was getting more and more into the punk side of thrash. Iron Reagan was the perfect answer to that and Tyranny of Will brought the band up as their own band rather than some side project. There were a lot of awesome thrash releases this year, but this one was my favorite (although Lich King still has a release due for Christmas...)

Favorite Track: Your Kid's an Asshole

8. Trees on Mars - The Sapling

When I first heard about Trees on Mars (when they were just called Trees) they were described to me as “math rock,” and while they definitely have roots in that area, the genre doesn’t quite fit their sound. For fans of Scale the Summit and Russian Circles, these guys are melodic and filled with soul. Featuring a guest solo from Australian guitarist Plini, these guys released an emotionally driven instrumental metal album that is both memorable and accessible for even those who aren’t into metal.

Favorite Track: Niacin

7. Cemetery Filth - Screams from the Catacombs

I am so glad that there are still bands like Cemetery Filth out there. These guys put together some impressive old school death metal with roots in Autopsy and Scream Bloody Gore era Death. Mixed and mastered by Damian Herring of Horrendous and Subterranean Watchtower Studios, this record is dark, heavy, and tastefully done. It’s no wonder that they were almost instantly scooped up and made poster children for Unspeakable Axe records.

Favorite Track: Screams from the Catacombs

6. Yautja - Songs of Descent

This may not be my personal favorite on the list, but it’s definitely the heaviest. Forcefield Records sent me this album in late 2013 before it had dropped and I was kinda disinterested at first. It wasn’t until I went back and listened again that I really grasped just how incredible this release is. This three piece sludge/grind/metal punk thing is truly a force to be reckoned with. Switching from slow oppressive heavy ass riffs to break-neck speed grind, you really get the whole package.

Favorite Track: Denihilist

5. Wings Denied - Mirrors for a Prince

Wings Denied is one of those bands that I think gets lumped into a category of newer up and coming prog bands such as Periphery and Tesseract, but I disagree. Wings Denied has a few things going for them that set them apart from these bands. On one hand their songs are brilliantly catchy. They aren’t out to write rhythm bending “djent” breakdowns. Every song on Mirrors for a Prince is memorable in some way and I’ll find myself humming their songs all the time. Another thing they have that really drew me to them in the first place is a tremendous vocalist. Luka Kerečin doesn’t do harsh screams (all the harsh vocals on the album are done by guest musicians) and he truly has no need to. Kerečin has a fantastic voice that is powerful and melodic without sounding “whiny.” Combine that with tasteful riff driven prog and you have a fantastic record.

Favorite Track: Maiden

4. Lazer/Wulf - The Beast of Left and Right

Oh Lazer/Wulf. You never cease to impress me. And by impress I mean warp my fragile mind into a Salvador Dali painting and then forcibly bend it back into place. In the best way. The trio’s first full length was FINALLY released on Retro Futurist records this year and because playing incredible progressive metal that is diverse, fun and intricate wasn’t enough for these bastards, they decided to make the album a palindrome. That is to say that the first half of the album shares elements with the other side, only backwards. Still trying to wrap my head around that.

Favorite Track: Lagarto

3. Marrow of Earth - EP

Another entry that some may think is cheating since I was in this band at one point, but I say NO! I was a huge fan of these guys before I joined back when they were Divulgence, and still am. They’ve always blended thrash, black, and death metal together with a very balanced formula that’s technical while still being not only catchy but exceptionally tasteful. While the new EP leans away from a lot of the old thrash stuff that Divulgence was famous for, they don’t lose any of that tasteful catchiness.

Favorite Track: Examiner 

2. Cryptodira - An Unmarked Grave

These guys made my top 10 list last year at number one with their full length Recursions, and for good fucking reason. So when this EP came out back in January I instantly knew that it would make it somewhere on my list this year. The only thing keeping it from being higher on the list is that it is only 2 tracks, but these 2 tracks have solidified Cryptodira as the progressive marvel that they are. Everything seems to click with this release and it shows that they’ve really found their sound.

Favorite Track: An Unmarked Grave

1. Horrendous - Ecdysis

The entire underground metal community is raving about these guys, and has been since they released their first album a few years back. And they fucking should be. Horrendous has been consistent with all three of their releases. They put out the best old school death metal today. And while Ecdysis is definitely rooted in the styles of Pestilence and Dismember, it isn’t afraid to venture into realms more akin to 80s traditional metal. Listen to When the Walls Fell and you’ll see what I mean.

Favorite Track: When the Walls Fell

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Das Plague - S/T

1. Ritmos Sincopados, Sonidos de Muerte
2. A Un Paso de la Determinacion
3. La Segunda Regla
4. Mimesis
5. La Marea de Piedras

Band Members:
Nelson - Vocals
Gabi - Guitar/Vocals
Blas - Guitar
Marcos - Bass
Javi - Drums

Imagine taking bits of Isis like post metal and then mixing it with crusty hardcore influence (think Recreant without violin). Then throw it in Spain. Das Plague. Seriously, this album is so masterfully done. The melodies, builds, and instrumentation blend perfectly to a beautiful, emotive, heavy experience. Sadly, I truly don't know much about this band and can't find much about them online. In light of this, this review is pretty short, so all I can say is LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM. You may be surprised, but you definitely won't be disappointed.

Support the band HERE
Download the album HERE

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BAT - Primitive Age

1. BAT
2. Total Wreckage
3. Code Rude
4. Rule of the Beast
5. Primitive Age

Band Members:
Ryan Waste - Bass/Vocals
Felix Griffin - Drums  
Nick Poulos - Guitars

Imagine if Ryan Waste from Municipal Waste decided to star a band where he played Venom style proto-black thrash with Felix Griffin from D.R.I./Blunt Force Trauma. Doesn't that sound awesome? Yeah, that's BAT. Hailing from Richmond VA, BAT is a force to be reckoned with.

The first track which is also the title track has everything you'd want in a release like this. The production has a low budget quality to it, but everything is still clear and mixed well. It sounds like Venom, if they learned to play their instruments a bit better, upped the production quality a little, and threw in more noodley solos.

Then Total Wreckage comes on smashes you in the back of the head with a half empty beer bottle. This song is fast and unforgiving. My only complaint for BAT's Primitive Age demo is that it's too short, but then it IS a demo, so I suppose I can overlook it. Definitely can't wait to see what these guys do next.

Follow them HERE
Get the demo HERE

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Six In Line - Even Though We Go Way Back, This Ain't Like Old Times (Though We've Gone Back In Time)

Track Listing:
1. Even Though We Go Way Back, This Ain't Like Old Times (Though We've Gone Back In Time)
2. Prison Rules
3. When All Is Sad and Done
4. Happy Again

Band Members:
Kaptain Nuke - Vocals
Jonathan Von Swaan - Guitar
Adrian Seifi - Guitar
Daniel Hate Crew Arvidzone - Bass
Hampuss Hansson - Drums

Sick thrash from Sweden. I could end the review right there, but I won't. Six In Line are back with their best release to date, and possibly my favorite release name ever. Hell, even the abbreviation (ETWGWBTALOTTWGBIT) would be a mouthful. These guys are fantastic and this release really shows it better then their previous two releases.

The title track is everything you could want in a party thrash band. Sick riffs, mosh beats, and angry screaming complete with party gang vocals. Not much more I can say, you just have to listen! Their single, When All is Sad and Done, is every bit as good. Instead of talking about it though you can watch their video for it:

I was lucky enough to see these guys play with Sonic Pulse about a year ago and I got to interview Adrian and Daniel, along with my buddy Dave from Sonic Pulse. I learned that Swedes love cheeseburgers. Check it out:  

Awesome thrash from Sweden. Eat cheeseburgers, thrash hard, stay laid.
Support the band HERE
Download their music HERE

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Turrigenous - Black Stone Opus

Track Listing:
1. Prima Materia
2. Drawn to an Edge
3. Hegira
4. Render Chaos
5. A Prism Divine
6. Whited Sepulchre
7. Citrinitas
8. The Annealing
9. Zephyr
10. Aurum Nostrum

Band Members:
Greg Giordano - Guitars/Vocals
John Vullo - Guitars
Phil Montalbano - Bass/Backing vocals
Ray Marte - Studio Drums

 This record solidifies the fact that Long Island is a hub for ridiculously good progressive metal. With fantastic guitar work and exceptional vocals, both harsh and clean (another one of those things that's becoming a rarity in modern metal), Turrigenous is dynamic metal indeed.  

One track in particular that stood out to me was The Annealing. It is everything you could want from a classic prog song. Awesome jazz influenced solos with rich full tone, heavy, epic, and melodic riffs, and Matt Barlow-esque vocals that all fit together so nicely. 

Another track, Aurum Nostrum kicks in and we're treated with a mid tempo heavy ass riff. And just as soon as you're getting into it, it kicks you in the nuts, yells "PSYCHE!" and blazes into a twin guitar speed metal riff before morphing into a thrash mosh riff. This song clocks in at 11:38 mind you, and in the first 2 minutes we've gone from groovy to Iced Earth to thrash.  

I won't go into too much more detail about the rest of the album, you're going to have to hear it for yourself. Turrigenous blends Dream Theater's best moments (sans Labrie and keyboards) with Iced Earth speed metal, and then puts its own modern prog spin on it (including the occasional deep gutteral). I'd also like to add that drummer Ray Marte provided drums for this album. He's also in Moon Tooth, which if you've read my blog before you know that I hold them in high regard! All in all, this album is worth your time AND YOUR MONEY.

Support the band at Turrigenous.com
Buy their album on iTunes, or CD Baby
Also check out their live album at Amazon.com