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Curt McGirt

Banging the head that does not bang

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9) Vastum -- Patricidal Lust

http://youtu.be/UeMtNLg5Izw

Metal lyrics rarely turn my stomach, being either too occult or too absurd. But Vastum's lyrics hew a little too close to reality, engaging in a pinpoint analysis of the most explicit depravity imaginable. That their music taps the vein of early Autopsy and Obituary makes the whole thing all the more unsettling. I dig the dueling male/female vox as well.

 

8) Conan/Bongripper -- Split 12"

I know there's some Conan fans lurking on here. Well, this track is a true culmination of their many heavy talents: a 15min epic of pounding drums, heaving guitars, fuzzed out bass, and echoing vocals. It's fuckin' awesome! The Bongripper track is also pretty nice, very atmospheric, very heavy.

 

7) Coffins -- The Fleshland

Coffins again. As I said, 2013 was a banner year for them. Their songwriting chops improved seven-fold and joining Relapse gave them the production budget necessary to sound absolutely mammoth (but for those of you who miss their older lo-fidelity sound, they released some demos for this album as The Colossal Hole EP). If you dig drinking the intoxicating sludge of a truly death-doom masterpiece, well, dial this one in.

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6) Defeated Sanity -- Passages Into Deformity

If Candiria had evolved into a full-fledged death metal band rather than a Christian rock band, well, they would've ended up sounding a lot like Defeated Sanity. Lots of odd-twists, off-time, and jazz riffs beneath a blazing blur of brutal/technical death metal.

 

5) Ulcerate -- Vermis

A record as dense and impenetrable as this takes awhile to settle in. Who knows, in a few years this might have grown into my number one. Ulcerate are truly incredible: dark, bleak, oppressive but in an oceanic way, like you're caught in a swirling undertow that proves eternal. This record hasn't hit me quite as hard as their last two but again, they always take their time with me.

 

4) Nails -- Abandon All Life

The hardest band on the planet: sheer heaviness, epic groove, unflinching anger coupled with wrist-slicing despair.

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3) Immolation -- Kingdom Of Conspiracy

Immolation is one of my all-time favorite metal bands. They are brutal, dissonant, and twisted but also thoughtful and intelligent. Ross has such depth and clarity to his voice and Bob Vigna's solos always inspire. This record is a lot more straight-forward and accessible than their previous work but it still kills (the title track especially).

 

2) Suffocation -- Pinnacle Of Bedlam

No album was listened by me more in 2013 (helps that it was released way back in February). Easily Suffo's best post-reunion record. I especially dig Dave Culcross's faster, more fluid drumming. Taking nothing away from Mike Smith but it is a nice change of pace. Really good songwriting here across the board.

 

1) Gorguts -- Colored Sands

Next level shit from the band that defined next level way back when. The level of craftsmanship, musicianship, sick solos, heavy riffs, insane drums, and overall inventiveness is mindblowing. A challenging work that holds my repeated interest on a deep level, I expect this record will be looked upon as another masterpiece of the genre for decades to come.

 

And that's that, though granted there is always a last second release at the end of the December that sneaks up and smacks me over the head resulting in the complete re-think of this list -- when and if that happens, I'll let ya know...

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Konkeror - The Abysmal Horizons

 

One of the best death metal records of 2012 that ya haven't heard. These guys are a local band 'round here in Detroit. They're the best we got. They've got a classic death metal feel to them, with a technicality that is never, ever overboard and a melodic sense just the same. Motherfuckers know how to write songs, too. Enjoy. 

 

 

You can get CDs directly from the band and vinyl will be out on Saw Her Ghost Records within the next couple weeks. 

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Man, that Ulcerate album is so fucking awesome. They're what I've been wanting out of a death metal band for eons. I like my death metal dark, technical, and dissonant, like Immolation. But Ulcerate is monolithic and hopeless. They're just straight up bleak. I love it. Their drummer, Jamie St. Merat, is the lord, as well. 

 

And yes, Nails is the hardest band in the land. The last band that was as pissed and nihilistic as them was probably Kiss It Goodbye. 

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And as expected, a last-second metal release that has totally blown me away:

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Left Hand Path almost ruined death metal for me. Like other straight up death records, I listen and go "well this is ok but why shouldn't I just listen to Left Hand Path instead" like 99% of the time.

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The last couple of years with all the worship of the record showing up in bands' music has underlined that a lot. Also, Incantation worship. Mortal Throne of Nazarene and Diabolical Conquest are right there folks. 

 

But hey! Who cares, I have Left Hand Path on vinyl. I also have Mental Funeral on vinyl. Now I never have to listen to any other death metal band again.

 

Do not get me started on the Motorhead trend in the crust scene either

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Disclaimer: I listen to a thousand bands that sound just like Discharge and also play in one. So I am kind of a hypocrite in that respect. 

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Disclaimer: I listen to a thousand bands that sound just like Discharge and also play in one. So I am kind of a hypocrite in that respect. 

 

I am the same way. I'll be the first to shout about how happy I'll be to never see the phrases "melodic death metal" and "tech-death" ever again, but I'm a sucker for any band description that has the word "doom" in it, even if there really isn't far to push those boundaries.

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Sometimes I forget that some of the albums Asphyx released without Van Drunen are actually pretty awesome:

 

And then there was that whole Soulburn detour, which is basically just a pseudonym for more Asphyx:

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I dug the Soulburn because the pace picked up a couple times in the songs. The S/T Asphyx is actually maybe my favorite album of theirs, even above The Rack. Have no idea why but it is. They also did a great job in picking Wannes Gubbels because he sounds JUST LIKE Van Drunen. Speaking of which, his other band Pentacle rules:

 

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Oh yeah, Pentacle is sick! They're back together now too. I also really dig the S/T Asphyx, probably because it sounds so different from their other material. Ditto God Cries, an album that gets a lot of derision but I think is actually pretty dope:

http://youtu.be/UNwEd1Q7Pus

 

Lately, I've been on a big Karnarium kick. They're Swedish but manage to actually sound a bit more fresh and different from the usual horde of Entombed clones:

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