Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A look back on 2016

This year may have been a shit show for most of the world, but for metal it wasn't too bad. It had it's ups and downs, but there were a lot of great shows this year. So here's a list of the shows that Metal Cock Radio booked in 2016:

Jan. 17th: Axattack // Suppressive Fire // Sick Sick Sick @ Art Bar

First Metal Cock Radio show of the year and it was a good one! Circle pits, stage diving, and crowd surfing is rarely expected at a Columbia show, especially on a Sunday and ESPECIALLY at Art Bar! The one downside was the 21+ stipulation that barred a bunch of fans from the show, but despite that it was a great night.

Jan. 20th: Abacus // Funeral Chic // Joy // Unsettled // TONE @ New Brookland Tavern

First hardcore show of the year (at least first Metal Cock Radio hardcore show) and it was heavy! I had been wanting to get Joy down here for awhile and this show was one of those awesome shows that just fell into place. Second time seeing Funeral Chic, First (and only) time seeing Unsettled, first time booking TONE, and wrapped it up with Abacus. Good turnout and great bands!

Feb. 10th: Moon Tooth (ROUND 1) @ New Brookland Tavern

This was the first of 3 shows that Moon Tooth would play in Columbia this year, after 2 years since the first time they came down, and it was about damn time! This was on the heels of releasing Chromaparagon (See my Top 10 albums of 2016) and it was fresh! They played with Se'nam Palmer (before he moved away), Semicasual, and Trees on Mars (after Bocks dropped) and it was astounding. Turnout could always be better, but this solidified Moon Tooth's name in the Columbia consciousness and people definitely remembered.

Feb. 16th: Daedalus // Pallor // Republican Marriage // TONE @ New Brookland Tavern

This show was a bit of a headache to put together. I remember booking it as 2 touring black metal bands that ended up dropping their whole tour and I had to scramble to cobble the remains into something else. Daedalus and TONE thankfully jumped on what was Republican Marriage's first show! (if I remember correctly..) I remember Pallor in particular bringing the heat that night and blowing me away. In the end it worked out pretty well.

Mar. 2nd: Sex Knuckle // Waft // Favela @ New Brookland Tavern

This was a bit of a weird one. I booked Sex Knuckle to help them out since they hooked Axattack up in Asheville, but I wasn't really sure what to expect so I grabbed Waft and Favela (first time I saw them). It turned out to be a fun eclectic show with a decent turnout for a weekday. 

Mar. 10th: L.M.I. // Jerkagram // Sick // Cloud Witch @ New Brookland Tavern

Both L.M.I. and Jerkagram had been through Columbia before (although I missed Jerkagram last time) and both of them I knew deserved a better turnout then their previous shows. However, the date being so close to 2 other shows made it tough to get a decent crowd. The bands all got paid and had a good time though, good enough that L.M.I. may be coming back through again in 2017. 

Mar. 22nd: A Very Hungover Death Metal Show @ New Brookland Tavern

A fun attempt at an "After St. Patty's Day Metal Show" that worked out pretty well. I was asked to book a one man death metal band so I got Venality, Tyrannis (first and only show in Columbia), and Treacherous to hop on. The thing that really got me excited for the show though was the return of Deathstill with Matt Morris of Marrow of Earth and Pale Ritual (See my Top 10 albums of 2016) on drums! Then that one man death metal band (turns out he was a 19 year old kid) got busted by his parents for smoking pot and had to cancel the tour. Luckily, the slot was filled by the buds in Noctomb from Raleigh, which helped spark a relationship with them and Deathstill and lead to their Summer tour. 

Apr: 17th: THRASH SABBATH @ New Brookland Tavern

This show right here! This was a dream lineups of east coast thrash and was the first Axattack show in Columbia since the Art Bar show (first all ages show of the year)! I had Black Mass coming down for the first time and I had been a fan for a few years, so I knew Axattack was going to play. Nemesis had been wanting to come down from Charlotte for awhile so I happily had them on the bill and was lucky enough to get Deathstill on again too. While looking for one more band I was hit up by All Hell who were looking for a show around the same time. It fell together so perfectly and the lineup was so great, it turned out to be one of the most memorable thrash shows of the year. So good we did it again later on!

May 4th: Niah // Cloud Witch // Favela // Item @ New Brookland Tavern

This was a tough month for shows. Summer usually is. I had a hard time finding sludgey bands to match Niah's post metal aesthetic, but the bands I got put on a great show! It was the first time I saw Item in a while, Favela kept getting tighter and tighter, and I think this was also the last show for Cloud Witch before they changed their name to Prayer Garden, but I'm not sure. Regardless of turnout (despite putting corgi puppies on the damn flyers), it was a fun show with super cool dudes from Niah.

May 12th: Sein Zum Tode // Cave Moth // Cazador // Kill the Host @ New Brookland Tavern

Man this really was a rough month for shows. I mean, they were great shows just turnout sucked. This was the first time I booked Cazador and Kill the Host, and the 2nd time Cave Moth came through. This time they were a 2 piece and in my opinion were way tighter and more interesting this go around. And Sein Zum Tode made an appearance, which was great because they'd been alot quieter this year while working on new material. Awesome show; not enough people.

May 28th: Doomed II Thrash @ Art Bar

Ok, the turnout for this show actually was pretty good! Late addition to the bill, Alley Way, started the show off with some awesome Motorhead style rock n' roll, Dables with their eclectic performance, Hollowborn with what I think may have been one of their last shows in Columbia, Semicasual who helped set up the show in the first place, and Axattack headlining. I did Doomed To Thrash last year which seemed like a cool concept but didn't get quite a turnout. This year was definitely an improvement, although there wasn't really any doom on the bill... Whatever, it was fun!

June 4th: InAeona / Moon Tooth / Decadence / Lull / St. Jupiter @ New Brookland Tavern

Ok, this wasn't technically a Metal Cock Radio show. I helped secure some of the locals and promoted the hell out of it, but Hayden Graham from Trees on Mars booked this one. I had to put it on the list though because it marks Moon Tooth's round 2 in Columbia this year! And InAeona put on an incredible performance as well! Decadence pulled a boatload of people and it was the first time in a long while I got to see Lull. It was also one of the bigger shows my ambient solo project St. Jupiter played (I booked another St. Jupiter show this year but it isn't metal, nor was it a Metal Cock Radio Production, so yeah.)

June 7th: Cognitive @ New Brookland Tavern

Man I wanted this show to be so much better than it was. At least turnout wise; the lineup was fantastic. Cognitive has been getting alot of buzz this year, releasing a new album and playing MDF next year. Unfortunately all those announcements came after this show. The original lineup had Venality, Garrotte, Homicyde, and Treacherous. However both Venality and Garrotte had to drop off (and shortly after they both broke up) so I scrambled to get Kill the Host and Favela on the bill last minute. I will say that Favela put in some work and drew people out as they have for every show they've played. Seriously one of the most supportive locals in the scene right now (those guys go to EVERY show it's insane). But I was really disappointed in the turnout, ESPECIALLY for Homicyde's return! It was the first time in AGES I had them play and they still killed it! This show was a testament to how much the scene has shifted from Tech Death to Hardcore in the past few years. Not a bad thing, just interesting. I also haven't booked a show with a guarantee since. Ouch.

Jun. 19th: Torrid Husk // Pallor // Republican Marriage // Item @ New Brookland Tavern

Another lackluster crowd to an amazing lineup. A lineup that featured some impressive and unique black metal! Every band killed it, Torrid Husk was incredible, Republican Marriage and Item had started to build a bit of a following, and Pallor was as brooding as ever, but it wasn't enough to drag people out on a Sunday night. 

Jun. 24th: Carolyn // Lesser Life // Discomfort // Treacherous // TONE @ The Sludge Gutter

Holy shit 4 shows in June? Luckily this show was waaaay better attended then the previous two. This was my first time booking at Sludge Gutter, and I think my first time booking Carolyn and Discomfort! I'm ashamed to say I got sick and had to leave early so I missed a good portion of the show. TONE and Lesser Life slayed though, and Mike Busbee was awesome enough to play the show and settle with the bands on my behalf. Hell, he helped set it up and promote! In fact, TONE was a last minute addition per his request, and I'm glad they played.

July 3rd: Axattack // Satanarchist // All Hell @ The Sludge Gutter

This was Axattack's first show at the Sludge Gutter, and the first house show for us this year and it was spectacular. Satanarchist and All Hell brought black metal to Columbia and was VERY well received! For a lot of people this was their first time seeing Axattack and I've heard alot of people reference this show when talking about us. Such a fun night.

July 13th: The Lysine Contingency @ New Brookland Tavern

This was another show where I scrambled to get last minute bands, eventually booking hardcore band Withdraw and my solo ambient project St. Jupiter just to fill the slots. That being said the turnout was pretty good, and the last minute additions worked out well, accompanying Favela and the touring package: More of Myself to Kill and The Lysine Contingency. Lysine used to be called FX Zero and they were one of the few bands that could play a metalcore breakdown and get me excited. AND it had been some time since they'd been down here, so it was a blast to see them again!

July 28th: Last Metal Cock Radio Show of the Summer @ New Brookland Tavern 

This was a weird one. It started out as a show for Order of Leviathan, but when I got everything squared away the promoter told me that the band canceled their tour and forgot to tell me. Luckily I had a strong cast of locals on the bill already and this proved to be an exceptional show. Not only was it the Columbia date for Noctomb and Deathstill, but it was one of the only two shows that Pale Ritual played. With Item opening the show it was definitely a banger. Sadly, this was also the last Deathstill show in Columbia, as the band broke up after their tour. On top of that, as I said before, Pale Ritual only played this show and a show in Greenville before Cameron Morris moved up to New York. Luckily they're still writing music so we have more Pale Ritual to look forward to!

Aug. 12th: Moon Tooth // Gruzer // Invoking the Abstract // Fidelio @ New Brookland Tavern

Round three lets do this! Moon Tooth at this point had built a bit of a draw down here and I wanted to make sure that every band on the bill pulled from different crowds. Fidelio had been asking to play with Moon Tooth for awhile and I knew they'd draw from a group of people that wouldn't normally go to a metal show, seeing as how they're more rock based. With Invoking the Abstract's prog draw and Gruzer's monumental sludge/groove metal draw the show did very well. Moon Tooth themselves brought out people alone!

Oct. 30th: Heavy Halloween Finale @ New Brookland Tavern

Damn I really didn't book anything in September. I had been busy with a short Axattack run at the beginning of the month, and other promoters were busy too. Abigail Williams, Lord Dying and Joel Grind's new solo project, Baroness, and loads more came through South Carolina that month. Not to mention some huge hardcore shows, benefit shows, and Invoking the Abstract's album release. And I'm glad I took September off because October was FULL of shows. The last week of the month was dubbed Heavy Halloween Week (ok I was the only one calling it that, whatever). There was a show every night the last 6 days of the month, and Metal Cock Radio booked the one with the biggest lineup. Featuring Darsombra, Mo'ynoq, Treacherous, Lord Almighty, and Axattack (Bocks was supposed to play but had to drop off sadly), this show was awesome. And despite being the most expensive show of the week and being after several awesome shows, it did fairly well!

Nov. 15th: Thrash-acre @ New Brookland Tavern 

I hate booking Tuesday shows, but I couldn't pass this up. Black Mass and All Hell were on tour together and it just made sense to cobble together a Thrash Sabbath part deux! Sadly Deathstill was no more (and the show wasn't on a Sunday) so I couldn't call it Thrash Sabbath II, but the show was still awesome! It being on a Tuesday meant we didn't get the same crowd as the last show, but it was an awesome night regardless.

Nov. 19th: Occultist // Noctomb // Valle Crucis @ The Radio Room

This was the first Metal Cock Radio show that wasn't booked in Columbia, but in Greenville instead. The lineup was supposed to feature Enthean and Rapheumets Well but both bands had to drop off within a week of the show, and it definitely hurt the draw. It was still a good show with a decent crowd and it was Valle Crucis' first show! I'm glad we got it at Radio Room when we couldn't get it in Columbia. Occultist slayed and Noctomb was of course incredible as always!

Dec. 11th: Space Coke // Carolina Chupacabra // Mangalitsa // Item @ Art Bar

This was tricky because there was a punk house show the night before and a big house show the weekend afterwards. On top of that, Art Bar  had a last minute memorial service right before the show honoring local artist Anastasia Chernoff who ahd recently passed away. I think both of these things kept the show from getting the turnout it deserved, but every band played better than I had ever seen them. Granted I'd never seen Mangalitsa before but they were still awesome.

Dec. 16th: Axattack Release Party @ The Sludge Gutter

This was the last 2016 show for Metal Cock Radio and for Axattack and it was everything I could have asked for. The Ugly Chords opened the show with a tremendous performance and Death of Kings drove up from ATL just for the night and blew everyone away. It was a fitting return seeing as how they hadn't played NBT since March of 2014. The house was packed, everyone moshed, all the bands got paid, and Axattack got to have a proper local release for the new album.

2016 isn't over yet, and there are still shows coming up, such as Withdraw, Cutting Teeth, When I Say Jump and Soda City Riot and HET WARD, HISSY FIT, NTHNG, MERCURY UNCOVERED, not to mention the shows already booked for next year. To keep up to date go to Metal Cock Radio's Events page on facebook and subscribe!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Metal Cock Radio's Best of 2016

I figured I’d resurrect this blog because I have opinions and I like sharing them. I’ll skip the “2016 was a hellish year” stuff because we all know that. Putting that aside, I missed ALOT of albums this year that I need to go back and revisit. I seem to do that every year, so first up is a short list of a few records I’ve jammed the hell out of this year, that came out in 2015 and I just slept on them like a doofus.

3. Humungus - Warband: THRASH! I love Humungus, but when this album came out I kinda glossed over it. I listened to it, and I liked it but it had been so long since they’d put anything out that I wasn’t as excited about it as I would have been years ago. This year I gave it another shot and it stayed in my car for weeks.
2. All Hell - The Red Sect: I knew about this album last year, but I wanted to wait to buy it from the band themselves, so I waited until early this year. And then this year they got signed to Prosthetic records, so I'm sure they'll be on the list for 2017 with a new release.
1. Unrest - Grindcore: Like the rest of this list, I knew about this album and kept putting off buying it. It’s punishing and I’ve listened to it more this year than I’ve ever listened to Nails. The title says it all.

OK! Now that I’ve got that off my chest, here’s THIS year’s list. As always I tend to shy away from the big releases, so no Meshuggah, Gojira, or Metallica (Haha). These albums either hit me hard when I heard them or I listened to a lot. Or both. Mostly both.

10. Violet Cold - Magic Night

I know a lot of people are probably sick of the shoegaze black metal train, but this one man band is amazing. Brilliant blend of spacey post rock, black metal, orchestral/piano arrangements, and even some electronic synth here and there. Listening Violet Cold is like being suspended in space, drifting through the void. You know you’re going to die, everything is over, it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s sad, but goddamn you can’t deny the breathtaking view. For fans of Deafheaven in style alone. In execution it's a different beast altogether. 

Favorite song: Everything You Can Imagine Is Real...

9.  Enthean - Priests of Annihilation 

I don’t normally get excited about super technical/brutal metal, ESPECIALLY bands with symphonic elements, but Enthean does it just right. Blending symphonic samples and absolutely ridiculous guitar work without being overbearing or boring, these guys write really memorable and impressive blackened death metal. They've been kicking around for years, at first as just 2 guitarists with backing tracks; now as a full band. If they aren't signed this time next year I'll be surprised, because they've not only put in serious work this year, but they have this marvelous record to show for it. For fans of Emperor but more death metal.

Favorite song: Bring Forth the Raven

8. Suppressive Fire - Bedlam

Suppressive Fire busted ass touring on this album out at the beginning of the year. It’s a ripping follow up to their Hellwraith EP and it delivers more riffs, nastier vocals, and all around faster thrash. A few of the tracks are even rerecorded from the EP and they sound better than ever. And with a new lineup and another new album coming out in a month, I can't wait to see what these guys do next! For fans of Kreator back when they were good. If you ain't fast, you're last.

Favorite song: The Hellwraith

7. Razormaze - Spawnsong

New. Fucking. Razormaze. This EP seemed to come out of nowhere and since the band is divided around the country it wasn’t promoted too well, so a lot of people missed it. It’s definitely the heaviest thing they’ve put out, blending a lot of death metal elements to their calculated thrash style they developed with their last record. Now if only they’d just tour on it... For fans of Havok but heavier.

Favorite song: Spawnsong
Buy it here!

6. Pale Ritual - Carriers of Nothing

Pale Ritual is the project of the Morris brothers from Marrow of Earth and Divulgence, so of course it’s on this list. This time they’ve embraced the atmospheric black metal that was only barely present in Marrow of Earth’s last release, but they kept the technicality, intense drumming and ALL THE RIFFS. Seriously you don’t hear usually hear the words “atmospheric blackened death metal” and think it’ll be super riff heavy, but they do NOT disappoint. As punishing as ever. For fans of Morbus Chron and (lets be honest) Marrow of Earth.

Favorite song: Artful Death Display

5. Coagula - Vile Sacrement EP

I’ll be honest, I slept on this one for a little bit, and I’m bummed I did because it SLAYS. Visceral death metal with just the right amount of crust. This EP takes a few tracks from their demo, tosses a few new songs, and ups everything about them. The vocals are gnarlier, the drums sound better, and the guitars are crisp and biting. It hits harder, it goes faster, and it takes no prisoners. For fans of Entombed but ballsier.

Favorite song: The Other

4. Whores. - Gold

I’ve been waiting so long for this record to come out, and it was worth the wait. Fierce noise/sludge that can’t be beat. I don’t claim to be too knowledgable when it comes to the noise rock genre, but I’ve yet to hear a song by these guys that doesn’t get me pumped. After their punishing EP, Clean, I was instantly ready for more and Gold delivers. For fans of Melvins with less art and more oomph.

Favorite song: I See You Are Also Wearing a Black Shirt
Buy it here!

3. Axattack - Axattack

I know I know, I debated on putting it on here, ESPECIALLY so far up on the list, but if I’m being honest, I’ve listened to this record more than (almost) any record on this list. That’s what happens when you put an album out. So I won’t rant about how good it is or what’s good about it, because I’ve listened to it so many times I know every flaw and mistake on the record. I’ll just say that I’m super proud of it and have listened as it’s creator and as its fan. I don’t care if it makes me seem pretentious. For fans of Toxic Holocaust.

Favorite song: Ugh how do you pick your favorite kid? I don't know.
Buy it here (if you want I guess)

2. Oathbreaker - Rheia

This album really caught me by surprise. I like Oathbreaker and their last album was great, but I wasn’t prepared for the chaotic experience of listening to Rheia all the way through for the first time (let alone seeing it live). Oathbreaker took the ripping dbeat crust from their first record, upped the atmosphere and melody, and encorporated WAY more clean singing to the point where most of the record is sung instead of screamed. And it works SO WELL. A friend described it as Bjork in a black metal band, and that’s been my favorite description of this album. It starts heavy and jarring with an intense vocal performance and great guitar hooks, but as the record goes on it slows to a somber trudge that never breaks your attention. I was captivated and mesmerized through the whole experience and it covered a wide spectrum of intense, at times not even being loud and heavy. I have trouble doing a “for fans of” section here because they’ve been compared to Deafheaven and bands of that nature, but I really don’t think that does them justice. This album is unique and I urge you to listen to it.

Favorite song: Second Son of R

1. Moon Tooth - Chromaparagon

This record was on repeat for months in my car. Then I put it down for a few months, popped it back in on a whim and then it didn’t stop spinning for a few more months. I knew when this album came out that it would be on this list, and after the second monthly rotation I knew it would be at the very top. It’s catchy, it has riffs and hooks for days, it’s melodic, it’s interesting, and it’s HEAVY. And all the while it’s unique and different while remaining accessible. Hell, their vocal melodies at times are riffs of their own, singing blues scales and solos that at first glance are a little odd, but then they seem to make more and more sense as you listen until it’s its own instrument. This is another band that I’ve tried describing to people and I hate doing it because it never does the band justice. They have sludgy elements akin to Torche and Mastodon, but they don’t sound like either of those bands. If you haven’t heard this record you need to, no matter what genre of music (NOT JUST METAL) you listen to. There’s something here for everyone and it’s so rare to find an album like this.

Favorite song: Offered Blood