Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Playlist: November 2016

Rotting Christ - Restoration of the Infernal Kingdom (1989): Kicking into November's playlist with something of a deep-cut, "Restoration of the Infernal Kingdom" from Rotting Christ's "Satanas Tedeum" demo is a crude and embryonic part of the band's legacy. Rough, and vastly less complex than their classic material, the track nonetheless bristles with vigour and visceral malice.

Opium Lord - Heroin Swirls (2013): Opium Lord combat the very real risk of doom-metal becoming too cheerful with a bleak, sludgy and skin-crawling slog through muck and misery. Brooding and harrowing in its threatening lower-end and addled discordance, "Heroin Swirls" reminds the listener that while you may love doom metal, doom metal hates you.

Lizzy Borden - Me Against the World (1987): Marking a massive mood-swing in the playlist, Lizzy Borden's "Me Against the World" is a familiarly catchy eighties foot-stomper that remains ingrained in the mind for about a decade after listening to it. Delivering everything that an eighties-metal hit should, the track romps through five minutes of sleazy but accomplished excellence.

Eyehategod - Methamphetamine (1996): What goes up, they say, must come down. "Methamphetamine" is a comedown indeed, albeit with the gnarly swagger that Eyehategod consistently do best. Animated and frantic, the music manages to be both deeply bleak and yet cathartic. As a friend once said to me, Eyehategod certainly know their way around a riff.

Tank - When All Hell Freezes Over (1984): As befits any Tank song, "When All Hell Freezes Over" is a raucous and memorable affair, met half-way by the gritty and ballsy sound that the band achieved consistently through the early eighties. The gravelly and distinct vocals of Algy Ward make for a great sing-along with nothing too pretty in sight. 

Benediction - I Bow to None (1993): Leaning more on the straight-up punchy side of Benediction's sound, "I Bow to None" is one of the fiercer tracks on their classic "Transcend the Rubicon" - a glimpse into British old-school death metal approaching its very best. Striving not for technicality or profundity, but simply for groove and forcefulness. 

Motörhead - Walk A Crooked Mile (2002): Underrated to an extent by the casual fan, later-era Motörhead is, in fact, typically very good material. Not a classic, perhaps, but each album holds gems. Hammered is no exception - indeed, a particularly strong record, with tracks like "Walk a Crooked Mile" being testimony to Lemmy's consistently good songwriting chops.

Oz - Turn the Cross Upside Down (1984): Although considered to be somewhat inconsistent, Oz do have a menagerie of solid tracks under their belts; not least the rough-around-the-edges profane belter "Turn the Cross Upside Down", a ragged but enjoyable bit of blasphemy with a deeply vintage and flamboyant heavy metal sound.

Gorgoroth - (Under) the Pagan Megalith (1994): For my money, the best track Gorgoroth ever made, and even one of the best black-metal tracks in general. (Under) The Pagan Megalith is absolutely soaked in black-metal majesty, with a roaring and biting tone and some of the most malicious and evil sounding riffs I've ever heard.  

Frostmoon - Vikingmakt (1998): Soundwise, Frostmoon are roughly what you'd expect given the artwork of the Tordenkrig EP from which "Vikingmakt" comes. Intense drumming propels a raw Nordic soundscape; folky, but for the most part avoiding being overly merry sounding, aside from a few non-disruptive sections.

Barrow Wight - No Sleep 'Til Gondor (2016): It's absolutely no slight on Barrow Wight to say that their rough-edged musicianship serves them well in recapturing the sound of Venom at their very peak; the crunchy riffs, snarled vocals and raucous abandon are all present in force, and "No Sleep 'Til Gondor" is all the more absurdly fun for it. 

Setherial - In the Still of a Northern Fullmoon (1996): There's no denying that the worlds of black-metal pre-and-post "In the Nightside Eclipse" were rather different places. Of the grandiose and soaring style, few bands do it better than Setherial did on their first record. "In the Still of a Northern Fullmoon" is a majestic blizzard of a track throughout its entire twelve-minute run-time. As far as I'm concerned... better than Emperor.