Thursday, December 13, 2012

Handsome B. Wonderful's Thirty-Ninth Annual List of the Top Ten Rock Albums of the Year

Yeah, just used this. Wait and see.

Negative plain [see?]: these things, like everything else, are Mohs and Mohs difficult to scribble with each passing suck. Where once we had to sacrifice a goat to Reagan 'neath an eclipse, a comet, and a dragon after walking ten miles in the snow to & from school whilst barefoot merely to pretend hear windy whispers about new tunes, our ears permanently corked by the alchemick residue of burning pungency [read: existence] itself, The Kids get the fucking interwebs smorgasbord, and some of these clownshoes claim to jam to thirty, forty, a hundred platters over a calendar with justice for all. Ye are charlatans, or wizards, or both, ye are. Fuck, I didn't even know Jerome Fucking Reuter put out a new Rome LP -- that's long player, once upon a vinyl, following 2011's equivalent of three long players -- until after it had been out for a month. Someone get me a new telegraph, or fund Chips & Beer to publish weekly. Luck be a lady tonight & help me churn out my first verse in, yeah, a month. Goddamn, there's so much fucking music nowadays, so much fucking argh in my head.

Groove, get snatchin'.

Oh, instead of album covers, easily findable, samples, also easily findable, but much more useful. I love you like lazy Ozzy.

1. Witch Mountain, Cauldron of the Wild. Motherfucking doom blues. Last year's South of Salem came out of pretend nowhere, a near-decade hiatus triumphantly brushed away like the bones that once held the Sword of Aquilonia. This album's hip-swingers hammer over the enemy's shards like clouds, razor solos feathering over stops & starts, Uta Plotkin's pipes timeshifting between soaring, come-hithering, withering, graceslicking, nwobhming, half the time in every song, four masters having crafted something as rare as a good day, an album grabbing your collar, ordering 'let's rip this gyp joint.' 

The Bloodhound 7" and bringing it live only cements.

Season of the Witch, baby.

2. Katatonia, Dead End Kings. Like the Alcest [see below], this one was a grower, forsaking a batch of instant coffee hooks over textures for a recipe of nearly entirely the latter. Ain't nothing groundbreaking, but so fucking what. Mood music for mopes and I'm a moody mope. No one taps the vein better.

3. Agalloch, Faustian Echoes. The devil's apprentice with the blues dressing his milieu. Venomous & beautiful & epic like only these guys can do, especially since Opeth gave up the ghost for mellotrons & smoking jackets.

4. Worm Ouroboros, Come the Thaw. It ain't heavy, but brother, is it heavy.

5. High on Fire, De Mysteriis Vermis. Call me an old curmudgeon. Rightly so, because modern, desert-dry production, crisp or no, ain't helping. This plate sniper punches on headphones, but live? Everybody's doin' the toxic waltz.

6. Unto Ashes, Burials Foretold. That old gang of mine. Darkness, loss, big-R romanticism, lotta shared aesthetics with the rest of this list. Gravitas doesn't require a stack of Marshalls. Don't tell anyone I typed that.

7. Les Discrets, Ariettes Oubliées.... There's no Song for Mountains, but there are songs mountainous in their craft that lift the gaze from the shoes to the above.

8. Windhand, Windhand. Turn your noodle on, tune in, drop out imagining Electric Wizard fronted by the fairer sex. Slow and murky like a gravestone.

9. Occultation, Three & Seven. So spooky, even the Secret Imam refuses to come back. Negative Plane's Nameless Void hooks up with a couple of chicks, and their ménage à trois thumps as it trumps nearly all the bullshit "occult" metal the cool kids triumph after suddenly discovering their older bro's worn VHS copies of vintage Hammer and Tigon flicks.

10. Alcest, Les Voyages de l'Âme. Started the blurb, stopped, went to sleep help some patrons, read what the Duchess churned, which was pretty much what I was gonna pen, but since she got there first, credit where it's due.

11. Degial, Death's Striking Wings. Death metal these days is either Sominex math-tech or ineffective, borderline grindcore. Once upon a corpse, it was nothing but a vampire circus of fucking morbid riffs that even a hesher's angel could hum. Bless you, Sweden, for your scamps sure are drinking the Kool-Aid.

12. Van Halen, A Different Kind of Truth. I don't give a fuck if it's misty watercolor or not, it's Diamond Fucking Dave and The Maestro, together again. And, some filler aside [this truth is different], the best's pretty vintage.

13. Teitanblood, Woven Black Arteries. Last year's Purging Tongues shorty and a newbie. That's one song each, one long song of filthy fucking riff whorls, just dirty fucking shit, a shift from Seven Chalices to one big cup o' disease & blacked-out alleys, less bestial stomp this time 'round, more a morass of massed sound that'd make Dickens cringe right after he stepped in, what is that, offal, blood, shit? Probably all three and been here for a week. Who knew the Spanish economy had folks this unhinged.

bonus! Deathspell Omega, Drought. Some, not me, expressed disappointment with the last DsO LP, the final panel of a triptych heard less as Dies Irae holy fire and more watered-down, tech-accessible brimstone, & sure, 'twas neither Si Monumentum nor Kénôse, but also wasn't mimicking the incredibly overrated Meshuggah, & yours truly thought the hallucinatory, atonal layers fit the Patmos shroom trip's spiraling denouement. Omega, here's your Alpha, all spit & knuckles, save the legitimately pretty instrumental opener/closer, blasts wedlocking Satanica esoterica to old school, inquisitorial riffing.

bonus! Morbus Chron, A Saunter Through the Shroud. Violent riff blasts that flip the bird to their native NWOSDM melodicism in favor of sweaty American death metal, gleefully aping Obituary before those jerks started to suck.

Shit I neither inhaled nor cuddled with enough. Music, man: Rome, Fester. Rome, Hell Money (BEING PROLIFIC AIN'T COOL, PAL). Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay. Conan, Monnos. Winterfylleth, The Threnody of Triumph. Wodensthrone, Curse. Castle, Blacklands. Asphyx, Deathhammer. Weapon, Embers and Revelations. Overkill, The Electric Age. Graveyard, Lights Out. Orchid, Heretic. Ihsahn, Eremita. My Dying Bride, A Map of All Our Failures. BDR's favorite Blunderbuss, Jack White. Evoken, Atra Mors. Greenleaf, Nest of Vipers. Undersmile, Narwhal. Elder, Spires Burn/Release. Adrian H and the Wounds, Debut. Boss de Nage, III. Om, Advaitic Songs. Witchcraft, Legend. Kadaver, Kadaver. Uzala, Uzala. Pilgrim, Misery Wizard. Napalm Death, Utilitarian. Locrian & Mamiffer, Bless Them That Curse You. Ghost Tower, Head of Night. Anaal Nathrakh, Vanitas


Tom Harper said...

Damn, I'm supposed to be a metalhead and I can't believe how many of these groups I haven't heard of. And I have a bunch of Terrorizer Magazine CDs; I thought I was hip.

The Van Halen CD totally rocks. Funny, when I bought it and played that lame opening track (Tattoo), I was thinking "shit, I got conned. This really is just another reunion album by a bunch of gray has-beens with prostate trouble and gum disease." But after Tattoo, every other track on that CD totally kills.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I like that Witch Mountain, ya know.

Working through the rest.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I can't keep up either. I stopped trying a long while ago. But you keep on trying there until your ears bleed and your brain rots, here?

Beach Bum said...

I'm simply too old for the heavy stuff. My wife actually caught be listening to Yanni the other day.

Randal Graves said...

tom, dude, there's so much out there now that's available with the cliched click of a button, I don't know most of the stuff, and I kind of pay attention on occasion. Figure that if I can add another band to list of stuff I really dig, I'm coming out ahead.

As for VH, same here. They took the choicest unused cuts from the demo era (how Let's Get Rockin' hadn't gotten used until now is a mind boggler), and most of the brand new stuff is pretty good. You and Your Blues is total Diver Down pop goodness, and Stay Frosty is, obviously, magnifique.

if, everyone should like Witch Mountain, you bastards.

life, gotta do something to pass the time, no?

BB, you work in a hospital, sir, please avail yourself of the psychiatric services.

Demeur said...

Matters not to me I lost the best part of my hearing during the days of Hendrix. See whacha got to look forward to.

Prunella Vulgaris said...

indeed it was a swank year for tunery.

susan said...

There can never be enough music - at least as long as your hearing holds out.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

One Night Only

Your pal,


Brian M said...

I am decrepit (49 years old!) and I "own" at least in a digital copy format, too many of these albums. I even saw Alcest live this summer! Our tastes are almost scarily identical. I spend way, way, way too much money on music. I have f^%$ing FILLED an iPod Classic. (hangs head in shame). Love the Work women! LOVE LOVE LOVE Deathspell. Occultation is amazing!

here's some others from my recent list:

Sabbath Assembly: Creepy creepy "religious" music project which takes the liturgy and theology from the Process Church of the Final Judgement, and odd late 60s/early 70s cult (which has morphed into an animal rescue group kinda like the animal version of Medecins Sans Frontieres. The theology posits the unification of Jehovah, Lucifer, and Satan through the agency of Jesus at the end of time.

Marduk: Serpent Sermons. The last half of this album is simply amazingly heavy. Almost doom metal while remaining inimitable Norwegian Black Metal Never been a follower, but this disc just slays

The Ruins of Beverast. Creepy, creepy band with some great music

Wovenhand. Amazing apocalyptic folk-punk-bluegrass-rock. Nobody does black metal/folk better than a hard core fundamentalist Calvinist (Church of the Nazarene) who admit that Yahweh is right bastard evil deity but worship Him anyway

Brian M said...

Worm Ourouboros, I meant. Amazingly beautiful, yet heavy stuff. Like you said!