Kevin Baker of All Pigs Must Die @ Power of The Riff (more by Taylor Keahey)
Here is our third and final installment in a series where we asked our favorite artists about their highlights of 2011. This batach includes contributions from members of All Pigs Must Die, Altar of Plagues, Hull, "Grim" Kim Kelly, J.Bennett, Chris Bruni (Profound Lore) and many others. Part 1 is HERE. Part 2 is HERE. Part 3 is below...
Kevin Baker of All Pigs Must Die
1. Conquering the Grand Canyon
2. Power Of The Riff west coast tour
3. SWANS - live in Boston
4. PENTAGRAM - live at SXSW
5. CRAFT - Void LP
6. SAINT VITUS - live in Worcester MA.
7. CRO-MAGS - live in Quincy MA.
8. LEVIATHAN - True Traitor True Whore LP
9. NIHILIST - Carnal Leftovers Discography 12" + 7"
10. Kurt Ballou and Godcity studio
Stephen LaCour, ex-Trap Them
1. Chelsea Wolfe - Ἀποκάλυψις
2. Deafheaven - Roads to Judah
3. Thou - The Archer & The Owle/To the Chaos Wizard Youth
4. Russian Circles - Empros
5. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
6. YOB - ATMA
7. Ravencult - Morbid Blood
8. Bastard Priest - Ghouls of the Endless Night
9. GDP - Useless Eaters
10. A$AP Rocky - LIVELOVEA$AP
11. Craft - Void
And: A ton of the records I listened to the most all year (Klaxons - Surfing the Void, Crocodiles - Sleep Forever, Inquisition - Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm) all came out last year. Day late, dollar short.
J. Bannon of Converge, Deathwish Records, Wear Your Wounds, etc.
Marriage, Friends, and Family
All things Deathwish (shameful I know, but it is true for me)
J. Mascis "Several Shades of Why"
How To Dress Well "Just Once"
40 Watt Sun "The Inside Room"
Leviathan "True Traitor, True Whore"
Cold Cave "Cherish The Light Years"
Harm's Way "Isolation"
Omegas "Blasts of Lunacy"
Ryan Lipynsky of Unearthly Trance at Saint Vitus (more by Greg Cristman)
Ryan Lipynsky of Unearthly Trance/The Howling Wind/Serpentine Path
I didn't get into much new music or go to many shows this year. But here goes anyway... In no particular order:
Aldebaran - Buried Beneath Aeons
Masterful EP of Epic Death Doom done in the heaviest of ways. Reminds me a bit of Morgion "Solinari"
Oranssi Pazuzu - Kosmonument
The new album is just as stellar as their previous album. Psychedelic and noisy black metal with weird rock parts mixed in.
Autopsy - Macabre Eternal
This album sounds fucking perfect and Autopsy are clearly still in top shape. Filthy no bullshit death metal as always!
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
She can do no wrong in my eyes. Every album furthers her sense of artistry and it always equals good music.
Virus - The Agent the Shapes the Desert
This album isn't quite equal to its predecessor "Black Flux" but I still admire the guitar and bass playing immensely.
Opeth - Heritage
I totally lost touch with them over the years. But this new one is a breath of fresh air. I welcome the omission of death metal vocals.
Retox - Ugly Animals
This one is loud and nasty chaotic hardcore. I like. Pissed off to say the least.
Bohren und der Club of Gore - Beileid
This EP is another slow, elegant and dreary recording by this awesome ensemble. The instrumental title track, in particular, is excellent.
Black Cobra - Invernal
Just got a hold of this but I'm definitely into it. Heavy production and Rafa + Jason are killing it as always.
Odz Manouk/Tukaaria Split
Listed mostly for the Odz side. Killer out-there-lo-fi blackness. "The Scavenger" has a demented harmonic riff. Good stuff.
Chiyo Nukaga of Noothgrush
10) Hammers of Misfortune - 17th street
9) Brainoil - Death of theis Dry Season
8) Dispirit - Rehersal at Oboroten
7) Vastum- Carnal Law
6) Corrupted - Garten Der Unbewussthcit
5) Loss - Despond
4) Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
3) Mournful Congregation - Book of Kings
2) Atriarch - Forever the End
1) Alaric - S/T
"Grim" Kim Kelly, writer
20 FAVORITE GIGS OF 2011
(so far...and in completely arbitrary order, and only including the bands I saw/remember/liked a lot. I was lucky enough to spend the majority of 2011 on tour or traveling, and have been to at least 250 gigs this year; eternal thanks to everyone who came to a show, bought me a shot of whiskey, gave me a place to stay, or introduced me to something new. Out of all those decibels and feedback washes and bruised ribs, these are the ones that stood out the most!).
1. Cannabis Corpse, Komatoz, Transilvanian @ Plan B - Moscow, Russian Federation
2. Pat Walker (40 Watt Sun, ex-Warning) solo acoustic gig @ Betsey Trotter's - London, UK
3. Rites of Darkness Fest 2011 (Antaeus, Midnight, Black Witchery, Pallbearer, Weapon, Vasaeleth, Cianide, Dispirit, Anhedonist, Cruciamentum, Anatomia, Mournful Congregation, Mitochondrion, Infernal Stronghold, Adorior, Inquisition, Demigod, Ritual Necromancy) @ Backstage Live - San Antonio, TX, USA
4. Brutal Assault Fest 2011 (Mayhem, Excementory Grindfuckers, The Exploited, Hail of Bullets, Dordeduh) @ - Jaromer, Czech Republic
5. EyeHateGod, The Impalers @ Siberia - New Orleans, LA, USA
6. Mortuary Drape, Proclamation, Scythian, Adorior @ Elecrowerkz - London, UK
7. Roadburn Fest 2011 (Winter, Wardruna, Blood Ceremony, Sabbath Assembly, Ramesses, YOB, Ludicra, Coffins, Sourvein, Evoken, Acid King, Zoroaster, Pentagram, Winterfylleth, tons more) @ 013/Midi Theatre - Tilburg, the Netherlands
8. Fall Into Darkness Fest 2011 (Acid King, Premonition 13, Laudanum, Author & Punisher, Agalloch, Witch Mountain, Atriarch, 8 Bells, Wizard Rifle) @ Branx/Rotture - Portland, OR, USA
9. Impiety and Funerus @ Saint Vitus Bar - Brooklyn, NY, USA
10. Wolves in the Throne Room, Vit, Woe, Megaton Leviathan @ Broad Street Ministry - Philadelphia, PA, USA
11. Hooded Menace, Negative Plane, Anhedonist, Ilsa @ Union Pool - Brooklyn, NY, USA
12. Cough and Moloch @ The Unicorn - London, UK
13. Procession and Brigantia @ The Pint - Dublin, Ireland
14. Batillus, Mutilation Rites, Worms in Women and Cattle @ Machines With Magnets - Providence, RI, USA
15. Cannabis Corpse, Indyus, VIBRATÖR @ Schrott-Rock - Hohenems, Austria
16. Proclamation, Black Witchery, Abazagorath, Villains @ Europa - Brooklyn, NY, USA
17. Hour of 13, Natur, Pilgrim @ Cake Shop - New York, NY, USA
18. Abaddon Incarnate, Contort, Wizards of Firetop Mountain @ Fibber McGee's - Dublin, Ireland
19. Ash Borer @ Tommy's Tavern - Brooklyn, NY, USA
20. Metalliance Tour 2011 (Saint Vitus, Crowbar, Howl, Red Fang, The Atlas Moth) @ El Corazon - Seattle, WA, USA
Casey Moore with Psychic Limb at Death By Audio (more by BBG)
Casey Moore of Psychic Limb
1. Nemesis - "Dou-Koku" EP
Six minutes of relentless, disarming Japanese hardcore played by a bunch of teenagers. There you are at band practice muttering "what's the fucking point?"
2. Scapegoat - Scapegoat LP
Forget the obvious comparisons to Crossed Out and No Comment--this LP channels perfectly that all-informing claustrophobia made famous by fellow Bostonians Siege.
3. Defeatist - "Tyranny of Decay" LP
The collective negativity of this New York three-piece borders on profound and informs every antisocial inch of this album, the band's swan song. I'd say I'm sorry to see them go, but now these riffs are up for grabs.
4. Zombi - "Escape Velocity" LP
Zombi's first real departure from the world of Goblin and Tangerine Dream is succinct, terrific, and remarkably warm considering you pulled it out of the bin labeled "electronic."
5. Crazy Spirit - "I'm Dead" EP
The best band in New York. This record is a little darker and more angular than their 7" that stole my heart last year. Ripper.
6. Tit Pig - "S/T" tape
At a show in Seattle last summer, Tit Pig's bass player was so drunk he played three completely different songs from his band in a row. When they called him on it, he looked at them like they were the most unreasonable people in the world. A highlight.
7. Total Control - "Henge Beat" LP
This reverb-drenched full-length oscillates between driving goth ruminations and pointed Wire-esque rock. It all works.
8. Condominium - "Warm Home" EP
A hardcore record that sounds like it's falling apart. Condominium are as adept at writing catchy punk as they are at crafting captivating soundscapes. Not unlike the meanderings of early Sonic Youth, which is a lazy comparison to draw.
9. Void - "Sessions 1981-83"
No great revelation here, just a fun reminder that the best split in American hardcore was written by a bunch of suburban goofballs.
10. Bastard Noise - "Skulldozer" LP
The follow-up to last year's "A Culture of Monsters" delivers, and then some. Everyone who purchased a T-shirt at last year's Cake Shop show got a bear-hug from Eric Wood, myself included.
Bill Dozer, of the Acheron music venue and member of Trenchgrinder
TOP 10 MOMENTS IN GAME OF THRONES SEASON 1
10) Tyrion Lannister bitch slapping Joffrey after waking up in the dog kennels - This really cements Tyrion as a favorite for not only the season, but the whole series. Joffrey is such a little punk ass bitch!
9) The first appearance of The Wall. - the first scene of the first episode of the first season is a shot of The Wall. The massive, ancient, frozen border between the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the wild north, home to wildlings, giants, wight walkers, and things even worse. The shot sets the tone for the whole series to come: winter is coming.
8) The first beheading - Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, in the Name of King Robert Baratheon, the First of his name, sentences this deserter to die. In forcing his young son Bran to watch, Stark teaches a firm lesson about honor: The one who passes the sentence must be the one to swing the sword
7) Eat your heart out: Young Daenerys Targaryen, youngest of the ousted and butchered Dragons of Valyria, has it pretty rough. She's sold (err, whored out) by her whiny bitch of a brother to a giant brute who wears more makeup than a Myrish slut. What a honeymoon they have. That really was a beautiful sunset to get raped in front of. However, when life gives you lemons, you eat a raw horse heart in front of a rowdy horde to give strength to your unborn son, now hailed as the Great Stallion who will mount the world.
6) A crown fit for a king - Viserys Targaryen is a whiny little bi-polar bitch-ass punk. He throws a temper tantrum at every opportunity, talks down to the army of giant savage horsemen he claims to control, and when he is met with the slightest resistence, he cries like a schoolchild. Showing up drunk to a Dothraki celebration, he threatens his sister, the Khaleesi, in front of the great Khal, demanding his golden crown. Well, Drogo certainly gives it to him. custom fitting and ever so molten. Guess we know who the dragon is and who it's not at this point, eh?
5) "You don't fight with honor!" "No. But he did." Bronn the sellsword makes his presence known acting as the champion for the accused Tyrion Lannister. Fighting the way only a hired killer can, he allows the fancy-pants Ser Vardig to wear himself out in his metric ton of shiny armor, before Bronn neatly opens him up like a can of beans, and promptly kicks him out the sky door, to fall for gods know how far. Fighting with no honor? seems more like fighting like a guy who wants to live through it. One thing G.R.R. Martin makes very clear: Honor is a good way to get your head on a pike.
4) The Mountain who rides - Nobody ever called Ser Gregor Clegane a pussy. And his first appearance in the series at the Hand's Tourney shows why. He quickly makes a kebab of the pompous Ser Hugh of the Vale, and then beheads HIS OWN HORSE when the tricky little nancy boy Ser Loras enters the match with a mare in heat. The casting on this guy is spectacular. This dude is fucking terrifying. And his presence makes the joust one of the most unforgettable scenes in the first season.
3) Alas, poor Ned. You never saw it coming. Or maybe you did. I know I did. but it's still a hearbreaking scene of pain and anguish when, at last, The King punk-ass Joffrey decides to defy his mother and toss aside his bethrothed. In order to look like a tough guy, he callously executes the last honorable man in the Seven Kingdoms. But, of course, he only passes the sentence. Ser Ilyn Payne swings the sword. What was that line, Ned?
2) MORTAL KOMMBBAAATT!! - Khal Drogo. Up to this point it's always said and never shown that he's a badass. Sure he looks like a persian Conan the Barbarian, but when do we get to see him kick some ass? Well all it takes is some mouthy underling threatening the Moon of His life. You see, the young Khaleesi objected to the rampant practice of raping anything with a hole in the unwitting cities unlucky enough to fall in the Khalasar's path. There are only three words to describe how the lord of the Dothraki dispatches his traitorous minion: Like. A. Boss.
1) FUCKING DRAGONS!!! holy shit! what can ever surpass, in the mind of any young metalhead, the vision of a lovely naked woman, unburned, emerging from the embers of a funeral pyre, bearing THREE NEWBORN FUCKING DRAGONS! of course you had to end the season on that, it can't get any fucking better!
Season 2 starts in April. oh fuck yes.
Thomas of Planning for Burial (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Thomas of Planning for Burial
Top 5 Favorite Shows This Year.
1. Pageninteynine reunion show at Best Friends Day. Will go down as my favorite show ever.
2. You And I secret reunion show in a spare bedroom in a 2nd floor apartment in the ghetto of Philadelphia. Found out about it 1 hour before it happened and drove as fast as I could to Philly. You and I were the first show I ever went to when I was 13 and have been in my Top 3 bands I want to see reunited list forever.
3. The Protomen at some random fire hall near New Brunswick NJ, besides the mothers who stood in the back I'm fairly confident that my friend and I were the oldest people but a long shot. They put on such a great show and there music is so rad even if it's based on a videogame.
4. Wreck And Reference in a living room in Davis California. They are so fucking crushing and intense live. I was glad I didn't have to play after them. I can't wait for them to come to the east coast.
5. Deafheaven at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. The new line up on the last tour were really tight and you could tell they were really feeling it that night.
J. Bennett of Decibel Magazine and member of Ides Of Gemini
Top 10 Reasons I Stayed In Bed in 2011
1. Couldn't walk for 4 ½ months (true story)
3. Waiting for my cane to get re-fitted with a sharper hidden blade
4. Pinned down by the sheer gravitational force of that 40 Watt Sun album
5. Plotting my revenge against all the fuckin' fucks what wronged me
6. Communing with the ghosts of G.G. Allin and Richard Nixon (They're a couple now, btw. Don't ask.)
7. Eugene Robinson from Oxbow choked me out
8. Okay, okay: Mad Men
9. Too busy listening to Tombs' Path Of Totality and In Solitude's The World. The Flesh. The Devil. on psychotic repeat.
10. Covered in cats
James of Altar of Plagues
Burial and Massive Attack.
Bosse De Nage.
The Haxan Cloak.
Blackest Ever Black (label).
Four Tet (FabricLive59).
Gerrhard Richter retrospective at Taté Modern.
Sunrise atop Mullagmhor.
China and inner Mongolia.
The increasing digitalisation and over-saturation of music, and the challenges this presents as a listener and a writer.
Watching the London riots unfold. Discontent remains.
Carmelo Espanola, writer and contributor to BVChicago
Top 10 Chicago Metal albums of this year (in no particular order):
Leviathan-True Traitor, True Whore
Anatomy Of Habit-self titled
Cianide-Gods Of Death
The Atlas Moth-An Ache For The Distance
Rabid Rabbit-Czarny Sen
Top 10 Metal albums everywhere else:
Negative Plane-Stained Glass Revelations
Disma-Towards The Megalith
Exhumed-All Guts, No Glory
Witch Mountain-South Of Salem
Mournful Congregation-Book Of Kings
Subrosa-No Help For The Mighty Ones
Ryan Patterson of Coliseum at Public Assembly (more by BBG)
Ryan Patterson of Coliseum
Good stuff from 2011 and beyond:
The best new records I heard this year:
Boris - New Album
Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
Deerhoof - Vs Evil
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Pygmy Lush - Old Friends
Reigning Sound - Abdication (For Your Love)
Shaved Women - Self Titled
The Skull Defekts - Peer Amid
True Widow - As High As...
Records from last year that I listened to a lot this year:
The Austerity Program - Backsliders...
Merchandise - Strange Songs In The Dark
Milk Music - Beyond Living
Album from last year that has now entered my list of all-time favorites:
Complications - Self Titled LP
The best new movies I saw this year:
Beginners - Mike Mills
Drive - Nicolas Winding Refn
Hanna - Joe Wright
Hugo - Martin Scorsese
Midnight In Paris - Woody Allen
13 Assassins - Takashi Miike
The Tree Of Life - Terrence Malick
X-Men First Class - Matthew Vaughn
The good things in life:
California hangout tour + Twin Infinities
My first solo art show at Static Age in Cincinnati
Releasing a split 7" with Superchunk
Many great tours with wonderful folks
A safe and healthy extended family
Great friends and bandmates
Awesome new house with my awesome wife
Humanity managed to stave off extinction for yet another year
Ian Dickson of Hardcore Gig Volume Productions
TEAR IT UP LAST IN LINE CELL MATES @ EUROPA
BOSTON STRANGLER WASTE MANAGEMENT HOAX BRAIN SLUG @ ACHERON
CRAZY SPIRIT MALE NURSE GOOSEBUMPS HANK AND THE HAMMERHEADS @ ACHERON
RIVAL MOB YOUNG OFFENDERS GIVE AIRFIX KITS HOAX @ ACHERON
OMEGAS BOSTON STRANGLER CREEM GOOSEBUMPS IN SCHOOL @ 538 JOHNSON
CEREMONY VEINS GIVE HOUNDS OF HATE + 1 @ 538 JOHNSON
TRAGEDY CITIZENS ARREST NIGHTBIRDS TEARGAS @ EUROPA
GOVERNMENT WARNING OMEGAS NIGHT BIRDS @ 538 JOHNSON
DOUBLE NEGATIVE KIM PHUC POLLUTION NOMOS @ 538 JOHNSON
FUCKED UP @ WARSAW
Let the record show I don't remember all the bands that played Chaos In Tejas but VEINS, DOOM, KRIGSHOG, YOT, DILLINGER FOUR, NO STATIC & CAREER SUICIDE were the bands that really stick out to me.
Brock of Seven Sisters of Sleep
In no particular order:
Inquisition- Ominous Doctrines of The Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm (actually came out late last year, but I don't care...it kicked ass even in 2011)
Autopsy- Macabre Eternal
Nihilist- Carnal Leftovers (I will sneak this into every yearly top ten list I'm ever asked to do for the rest of my life)
Esoteric- Paragon Of Dissonance
Anal Cunt- Fuckin A' (also technically came out last year, but obviously better than EVERYTHING that came out new this year)
Lemmy- 49% Motherfucker, 51% Son Of A Bitch DVD
Graveyard- Hisingen Blues (Eddie's pick)
Rich Hall of 1000 Knives Productions
1.Unbroken.Indecision,Jesuit,Damnation A.D,.Unrestrained,Psychic Limb at Santos party house, NYC, NY
2.Hot Snakes at the bell house, Brooklyn NY
3.Psychic Limb, tit Pig,Cross @ Black Lodge Seattle WA
4.Full Metal Texas showcase @ Emo's Austin TX
5.Trap Them/All Pigs Must Die weekend Union Pool/Cake Shop Brooklyn,NYC
6. A389 Anniversary Bash Integrity,Seven Sisters of Sleep + more Baltimore MD
7.Shellac @ The Bell House Brooklyn NY/ Shellac @ ATP Asbury Park NJ
8.Youth of Today @The Acheron Brooklyn NY
9.Nightbirds,Give,Devotion,Wet Witch at the acheron , Brooklyn NY
10.Converge,Narrows,Black Breath,Heiress,Devotion.Cascabel @El corazon Seattle,WA
Chris Bruni of Profound Lore
Top Non-Profound Lore albums of 2011
1. NEGATIVE PLANE - Stained Glass Revelations
2. CHELSEA WOLFE - Apokalypsis
3. KATE BUSH - 50 Words For Snow
4. CRUCIAMENTUM - Engulfed In Desolation
5. PRURIENT - Bermuda Drain/Time's Arrow
6. CORRUPTED - Garten Der Unbewusstheit
7. BLUT AUS NORD - 777 - The Desanctification
8. SONNE ADAM - Transformation
9. NECROS CHRISTOS - Doom Ov The Occvlt
10. WILL HAVEN - Voir Dire
Jeff Wilson of Wolvhammer/Chrome Waves
Soft Kill - An Open Door
Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years
The Atlas Moth - An Ache for the Distance
Prurient - Bermuda Drain
Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings
Loss - Despond
40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room
M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
Leviathan - True Traitor, True Whore
Wolvhammer - The Obsidian Plains (I'm arrogant, fuck off...)
George Paul of Mutilation Rites at Saint Vitus (more by BBG)
George Paul of Mutilation Rites
Top ten nick names I have for my guitar player Michael Dimmitt this year.
1: Old man dipshit
2: Slow hands
4: Drippy Dick Dimmitt
6: Big Lair
10: Ol' Dusty Bones
Justin Bartlett, Visual Artist
. Burzum "Fallen"
. Inquisition "Ominous Doctrines Of The Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm"
. Trap Them "Darker Handcraft"
. Inquisition "Ominous Doctrines Of The Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm"
. Seeing Aura Noir for the 2nd and 3rd time in NYC and LA respectively
. Necros Christos "Doom of the Occult"
. Seeing Ghost in NYC
. Burzum "Fallen"
. Inquisition "Ominous Doctrines Of The Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm"
. Surviving 2011, realizing that making a living in music is nearly impossible and moving on to other things
Joe Mack of Complete Failure
TOP TEN WORST BAND AND FANS COMBO OF ALL TIME.
I'm genuinely not sorry if this offends anybody in the slightest.
This is in complete disregard of any of the septic reject that exists on Victory Records as its not even worth noticing whereas these bands actually are decent but just have shitty followers....and albums.
10. Clutch (Maybe its just that sate. I don't know.)
9. Death (The recent upsurge of 18 year olds that are ready to crush you with The Sound Of Perseverance (2CD Reissue) Vs. Your second place musical pleasure are just fantastic).
8. High On Fire (More the band than anything else.)
7. Behemoth (Fuck off.)
6. Jedi Mind Tricks (Fuck off.)
5. Today Is The Day (No wait. There are none.)
4. Opeth (Fuck off!)
3. Converge (There were a couple decent albums. THATS IT.)
2. Pantera (No need to even say.)
1. Devourment (Come on. You know "that guy".)
Karlynn Holland, visual artist
Top Ten Albums 2011
1. Oranssi Pazuzu 'Kosmonument' : This album was the last addition to my list, and it went straight to the top. Psychadelic black metal reigns supreme in 2011. Industrial french black metal and porno gore grind, better luck next year.
2. Blut Aus Nord '777/Desanctification' : What is better than yet another perfect album from french black metal deities, Blut Aus Nord? Why a double release, of course.
3. Triac 'Always Meant to Hurt You' : ...and hurt you it absolutely will. GRINDHARDDIEYOUNG
4. Gridlink 'Orphan' : Not only does this album completely destroy, its release was strangely timed just after the death of my friend Brendan Majewski, half of the New York duo Orphan. This album got me through a sad and trying beginning of 2011.
5. Chelsea Wolfe 'Apokalypsis' : Perfect soundtrack to a quiet rainy night in. High school goth me searched and searched for this album, but it just hadn't been made yet. Now here it is, and I am so, so thankful.
6. Psychic Limb 'Queens' : Short and crushing, very sweet.
7. Autopsy 'Macabre Eternal' : They may be getting old, but they still do it right. Respect your elders!
8. Kevin Hufnagel, solo ukulele works : These solo compositions are hauntingly delicate in their virtuosic grace. As they rolled out across the year, my mind and expectations were blown away track by gorgeous track.
9. Disma 'Towards the Megalith' : Just fucking solid, and heavy as all hell live.
10. Corrupted 'Garten Der Unbewusstheit' : May not be another El Mundo Frio, but this album still found it's way into my studio playlists with exceptional frequency. Some bands simply can do no wrong.
Honorable Mentions: Krallice 'Diotima', Batillus 'Furnace', Flourishing 'The Sum of All Fossils', Trap Them 'Darker Handcraft', Horseback 'The Gorgon Tonge', Ulcerate 'The Destroyers of All', Corrupted 'Garten Der Unbewusstheit' and, finally, Best Coast 'Crazy for You' which would have made the list, but was released in 2010. 'When I'm with you I have fun!'
Top Ten Visual Experiences 2011
1. U-Ram Choe at Asia Society : This kinetic sculptural installation was the highlight of my entire year. On the floor of the gallery room, the metal skeleton of a gate keeper lay over the imaginary portal to another world. Rising from the slowly expanding and contracting ribs were long strands and golden metal feathers that waved with grace and delicacy. Just the memory of the sound of the hundreds of tiny spinning gears makes my stomach knot and steals my breath. It was love at first sight.
2. Richard Serra at Gagosian : Sculptures I can literally get lost in always win.
3. Cat Bomb flyers: If wolves playing flying V's and puking rainbows wasn't enough, then Despise You, Magrudergrind, The Kill, Noisear, and Shitstorm at Shea Stadium sure was.
4. Hubble's music video collaboration between Ben Greenberg and NASA. http://vimeo.com/user301007/hubblehubble
5. Cover and tour artwork for Blut Aus Nord's 777/Desanctification release by Valnoir Artfield Lautrec. One of the most meticulous and talented artists working in metal today, Lautrec has done other remarkable packaging and imagery for bands including Watain and Ulver.
6. Lustmord Live: Watching a man play around on his laptop while atmospheric sounds swirl and boom is a recipe for boring, but watching that same man while behind him projected smoke, fire and evil geometry ebb and flow in the dance of fluid dynamics is basically the coolest thing ever.
7. Psychadelic space metal graphics and visuals of Sleep and Oranssi Pazuzu: As if it wasn't already clear, astronauts, space, weed, metal... these are my some of my favroite things.
8. Cover artwork for the Gorgon Tonge by Denis Forkas Kostromitin. The first time I saw Denis' work, I was so compelled and moved by it, I was filled with the urge to simply quit making art altogether. Nothing I ever make will ever touch the symbolist brilliance this Russian artist wrapped around Jenks Miller's latest release from his southern noise metal project, Horseback.
9.Brian Montuori at the Habitat, Greenpoint: Santa's sled and reindeer crash into snowy suburbia. Check out this explosive painting installation before it comes down on Thanksgiving 2012. The bar's craft brew tap selection isn't half bad either.
10. Dreams Were Made For Mortals: I'm not generally one to pat myself on the back but this idea was the best one I had all year. Curated by yours truly and hosted by my favorite bar in New York City, St. Vitus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Dreams Were Made For Mortals is an art show series featuring artwork by people inspired by or involved in extreme music. Work by 15+ artists hangs all day for one day while DJs spin their listening taste. Next installment, featuring work by JL Joseph Beaulieu, Seldon Hunt, Jeremy Hush, Paul Romano, Justina Villanueva, Under the Same Shadow and many more, is Sunday January 29th, 2012.
Nick of Hull at Mercury Lounge (more by Greg Cristman)
Nick Palmirotto of Hull
This 2000 goes to 11... Such a good statement, but unfortunately, I cannot claim ownership. This gem must be attributed to my bros in Brooklyn based doom outfit, Lost Coves, as that was the name of an earlier tour they did this year. It was so meaningful that I felt the need to swipe it and use it in my year end Best Of's, for this year definitely went to 11! Here is a list of some of my highlights of 2011...
ALBUMS: In no particular order...
Dark Castle: Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
Today Is The Day: Pain Is A Warning
Bell Witch: Demo
Brutal Truth: End Time
Tombs: Path of Totality
Black Cobra: Invernal
Every year we tour down to Austin for SXSW Festival, and it is always a blast, and this year was no exception!
Wednesday 16 March, 2011: Austin, TX (Broken Neck):
Our first show in Austin was at Broken Neck, an anarchist, DIY, Skate warehouse squat, full with a plethora of dogs and face tattoos.... Just the way we like it! This show absolutely ruled! We were also very fortunate to see our good friend's, Trey and Emily Jacobs who recently relocated to ATX so that Trey could tear it up with Skycrawler. So many great bands, including Dark Castle, The Roller, Skycrawler, Green & Wood, Royal Thunder, and Asahara fucking killed it in pure punk rock fashion.
Thursday 17 March, 2011: Austin, TX (Emo's/Ale House):
Full Metal Texas was fucking ridiculous! So many amazing bands, and the promoters are our good bros, Fred Pessaro from Brooklyn Vegan and Rich Hall from 1000 Knives based in Brooklyn. It should have been called Full Brooklyn Texas, with Label mates Goes Cube and All Pigs Must Die playing, along with Funeral Pyre (replacing Rwake), Kvelertak from Norway (New label mates), Trap Them, and the mighty YOB!
After playing to a packed house, we decided to cart all of our gear the three blocks to our label's, The End Records, showcase at the Ale House, as finding a parking spot for a van and trailer in Austin during SXSW is like trying to find an honest politician. This proved to be a more arduous mission than originally thought, dodging the drunken frat dudes and scantily clad females, while staying focused on the task at hand. Finally we made it, along with all of our gear, to the venue, set up the merch, and took a much-needed break, hanging with The Body before our set. Braveyoung opened the show with a fantastic smorgasbord of instrumental soundscapes. Goes Cube was great once again, and we played surprisingly well, considering how tired we all were. Immediately following our set, I ran to watch Agolloch and YOB at the Nanotear showcase, as I had to miss them in NYC due to our tour. Agolloch was wonderful, and somehow I managed to end up with the very last Horkey poster and got all the dudes to sign it! It was great to hang out with Mike, Aaron and Travis from YOB one last time before they flew back to Portland, along with Stevie and Rob from Dark Castle, Dixie from Buzzoven/Weedeater, Rob and Frank from Metal Injection, and countless other amazing musicians and bros from the scene... I felt like a Juggalo at an Insane Clown Posse show, but with much better music and much better people.
Friday 18 March, 2011: Austin, TX (Triple Crown Tattoo):
We played outside, along with Mutilation Rites, Pack of Wolves and Batillus. I didn't know the sun could be so fucking hot! It was as if Satan himself was barbequing The Goat of Mendes in the parking lot while we were playing. The show still ruled though and everyone at Triple Crown was so nice. Sean and I wound up getting tattoos, and I convinced the artist, Zach Nelligan, to clamp my Go Pro camera on the top of his gun while tattooing. The footage came out amazing!
Saturday 19 March, 2011: Austin, TX (Shiner Bar):
The Shiner Bar seemed like it could be good vibes due to the location, but it turned out to be kind of a bummer. Of course Pack of Wolves and Batillus were great, but sitting through the crab, metal-bro core, and the ska-core/Decemberists (Yes, imagine if The Decemberists played Ska core and had two back up singers that sounded like Aretha Franklin) bands before us totally harshed our mellows, MAN! It was pretty awesome how loud we were and the reaction we got from the crowd that decided to stick around, though.
Sunday 20 March, 2011: Blanco County, TX (The Caven Ranch):
Ahhhhh... a day off! And what better way to spend it than shooting guns and riding ATV's on a 1500 acre, GEN-U-WINE, Texas RANCH! Fuck. Yes!
Our tour foster parents, the Caven's explained that they had this ranch in the family since 1833, and we could go out and explore the natural Texas terrain, while scoping wildlife, shootin' guns (at cans!), riding ATV's and relaxing in the natural spring that ran through their property! I think it was pretty much a unanimous vote that this would be the way we were going to spend our only day off on tour, and what an unparalleled day it was! After having a picnic with the Caven's, shooting a few rounds (to quote Tom Caven, the blast from the barrel was "the sound of freedom"), and exploring the trails on the ATV, we settled back in the house and had our last supper with our surrogate family. SXSW was over for another year, but we will be back!
Judas Fucking Iscariot, MDF is, hands down, one of the best metal festivals around these days! So many ridiculously incredible bands, I didn't know where to start... this is why I went directly for the merch tents. Merch tents don't even do it justice. There was the most merch (shirts, vinyl, cd's, belt buckles, patches, pins, posters, koozies, underwear... you name it) I have ever seen in one gathering. The gods of distro hath strewn their incessant hands upon Club Sonar with a mighty fury. I personally spent way too much money on Neurosis merch alone.
The fest had so many high points, but seeing Neurosis, Inquisition, Dropdead, Doom, Tragedy, Buzzoven, and Hooded Menace were some of my personal favorites. I definitely suggest checking out MDF if you have never been! I also got to meet and hang out with Billy Anderson for the first time in person, and we were able to talk about his mixing of our new record.
Beyond The Lightless Sky:
I never forget how grateful I am to have the chance to play music with my best friends, and the writing and recording of our second full length, Beyond The Lightless Sky, although grueling at times, was such an extraordinary experience. We had the opportunity to track with our best friend and former drummer, Brett Romnes of I am The Avalanche. Brett played drums on and helped to record Viking Funeral and has been considered the sixth member of HULL ever since. I grew up with Brett in Florida and we have been friends for many years, so it was very special to get to work with him. The other reason this experience was so delightful was working with the infamous Billy Anderson. I have been a fan of his for a very long time, and when I took the chance and sent him an email asking if he would be interested in mixing our record, it turned out that he was actually a fan of the band and was insanely stoked about doing it! The album exceeded our expectations and we are very eager to start working on the next one.
YOB at Le Poisson Rouge:
God damn it, YOB never seizes to amaze me. This band is so good live, and LPR was no exception. Fortunately they were touring with our good friends, Dark Castle, so I was able to hang out and catch up with them as well as watch them destroy that stage! Rob from DC was playing drums for YOB, as Travis was unable to do this tour, so it was a bummer to miss Travis, but Rob is a killer drummer, and YOB sounded heavy as ever. It's always good to bro down with those dudes. Mike and Aaron are such good people.
Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra at Le Poisson Rouge:
I absolutely love SMZO. They are one of my all time favorite bands, and every time I see them, they have the ability to pull tears from the blackened void that is my heart. One of the high points of my life was sharing the stage with them in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2010 at Impetus Fest, so whenever I have the chance to see them, I do so. The sound at LPR was phenomenal! You could hear a pin drop and the band sounded perfect.
The Next Great Baker:
One day I received this email from a production manager from the tv show, The Next Great Baker, a Cake Boss spin off, asking us if we would like to perform on the show. It was during the time that the Big Four were in town, and Megadeth were originally asked to perform for Mauro's Birthday (Mauro is the Cake Boss' right-hand man and brother-in-law.), as he was always a big metal head back in the day, but Megadeth couldn't do it for some reason. HULL was mentioned at a board meeting, and low and behold, they contacted us. We showed up in Hoboken on a rainy afternoon to a huge production. They had us set up and perform on top of two box trucks while the contestants displayed their best attempts at metal themed birthday cakes. It was a truly one of a kind experience, and we are still looking forward to episode 8 sometime in January 2012!
Finally, after years of touring, HULL made it to the west coast! We went out for a month... the first two weeks were with The Fucking Wrath from Ventura, CA, and we had a blast! Those dudes are such a good band, and some of the best people around! We played so many good shows, but a true highlight of the first half was the Brooklyn Vegan Fun Fun Fun Fest kickoff show with Toxic Holocaust and The Pushmen. The second half, we went at it alone, trudging through the great American landscape. We got out to LA, and contacted Billy Anderson again. He literally MADE us stay with him for the three days we were there, and we had a fuck ton of fun! We did an interview in his hot tub for a documentary they are making about his career, got to see the 2" analog tape machine that Led Zeppelin recorded Houses of the Holy on in his garage, and finally, looked through all his old photos of him hanging out with Kurt Cobain, Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover, SLEEP, and the lot. It was pretty surreal to say the least!
Inquisition Studio Webster Hall:
After seeing Inquisition at MDF for the first time, I swore that I would never miss them for the rest of eternity if they ever came within a suitable proximity. This band is so fucking good it is ridiculous. For a two-piece, their sound is crushing. Recommended for fans of the darkest of Satanic black metal!
Last but not least, it was sharing the stage with Eyehategod at Europa for our final show of 2011. What a beautiful mess of a band this is! These dudes rule! The first time I met them was at breakfast at the hotel we were all staying at in Norway for Inferno Fest in 2010 where we ate and drank coffee with Gaahl and and laughed when Mike stated that EHG is "black metal from the ghetto". Seems like every time we go through New Orleans nowadays, we stay with Gary (bass) and his wife Tomasa, so I kind of feel like family around them.
It's always a party around these guys, and they always bring the fucking house down! There was definitely no better way to finish out 2011 than jamming with these heathens.
Brian Montuori of Psychic Limb
Top 10 of 2011
10. Rape Fantasy - "MUSK"
Hot on the heels of 2010's Hardener, Rape Fantasy's 13th studio effort, Musk introduced a shimmery new pop element to one of the most abrasive acts on the planet. Tinkered on for over a decade and clocking in at just under 110 minutes, the duo has stated Musk started off as a simple love song, that became a full album as the 2 band members became romantically involved in the late 1990's and gravitated towards a more electronic direction in their work. Almost completed but shelved several times, 2011 finally saw its release to practically no fanfare, except for a few hundred die-hard fans who lined up to see it performed in its entirety at Lenny Kravitz's LeBaron nightclub in Miami this past July.
9. Saigon Whore - 1976-1987
The complete recordings of this severely underrated band that invented grindcore, depending on who is telling the story. Their singer was a formidable biker named The Wall, and other members were named Jesus, Chavez, Bull, etc., Either way, the 27 tracks here have been remastered from the original LP's and actually manage to sound like more of a mess than when originally released. Both albums are represented here, as well as the infamous 1987 live set at Whiskey Pete's Casino that burned down the building and and adjacent gas station, and left Jesus unable to walk. The liner notes are new and informative (ie- Saigon Whore began as 2 rival drug dealing operations who began talking and musicians happened to be on each side.) and written by whoever in that camp can still hold a pen. Serious riffs, serious addictions.
8. Prurient - Bermuda Drain
A cd of 40 new goofy songs about girls, pizza, beer, and your mom catching you masturbating from the artist formerly known as Atom & His Package. Not sure what's with the new name, but it's exactly what you'd come to expect at this point. This record is perfect for a car ride to TGIFriday's with your friends, but the cd is die-cut to look like a slice of pizza, so be careful it doesn't get stuck in your system.
7. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
this ripper came out back in March and i practically melted the wax that first month. a beast of a release. beyond brutal drumming and the vocals have never sounded better. but then this past summer I heard Scuba was out, and now i'll never listen to them again. that's called BROS. Steve, if you come back to NY and need a place to crash, i got you, dude.
6. ANY GRINDCORE RECORD RELEASED BY A MAJOR AUTO CORPORATION
2011 was a rough year financially, and some of the most brutal underground releases would never have happened had it not been for the deep pockets of the Toyota corporation stepping in to do what literally thousands of high school kids with part time jobs had done for decades before them. If you missed the chance to own any of these ultra-rare pieces of automotive history, rumor has it that second pressings of 20,000 units are in the works. if this collaboration/clash of businesses and ethics seems bizarre, here is a list of other car companies that have invested their money into underground music.
5. Cult Cargo - Salsa Boricua de Chicago
Here's another fine release from the Numero Group, which is sort of like the Criterion Collection for obscure regional music. All of the packaging is top notch, the liner notes extensive, the vinyl good weight. this particular one documents the latin music scene in the mid 70's on the west side of Chicago. Put this on and turn your living room into a bodega or car service ride immediately. Also, the drummer on the album cover looks like Ben Koeller from Converge/APMD playing a set of bongos. Way to go, Ben!
4. Jesuit - discography
its funny when music that was recorded back in like 1997 is better than music recorded in 2011. Jesuit were one of those bands that people said they were into for cred reasons but could never actually stomach listening to. it lacked the hooks, tech, nostalgia, production, or any of the tricks of the trade associated with the genre it was a part of at the time. in fact, it was a complete shitshow and most of the people who would watch them had a smile on their face, an acknowledgment of this disaster before them. as does anything good, it ended out of nowhere, with balls still in the air, so this Florian-drawn gatefold does a nice job of bookending the career of a band that still manages to destroy any band you'll ever play in.
3. Dope Body - Nupping
cover art that makes you feel like an uncle touched you wrong. band sounds like Daughters doing nu-metal, which might give you a similar feeling. i think i just unsold the record with that description, so i'd rather just hear this and not have to really talk about it.
2. Psychic Limb - Queens
1. Psychic Limb - Queens (Vellow Vinyl)
Thanks to all! Check out my list HERE.