by BBG

Aaron with Defeatist at their last show (more by BBG)
Aaron of Defeatist

I previously posted my highlights of 2011 but my opinion is obviously just one of many. To try and get a better feel for the year, we cornered some of our favorite artists and heavy music industry friends to ask them about 2011 in music, art, and memories. We have so many responses that we needed to split it into three posts. Here is the first. Head below to hear from members of Noisear, Monarch!, Mammoth Grinder, Pulling Teeth, Sulaco, Bloodiest, and many more...


Aaron Nichols of Defeatist
Things that came out this year:
Sulaco - Build and Burn (Handshake) The only reason I made a list was to put this on the top.
Ga'an - Black Equus (Captcha) The New Zuehl Review.
Craft - Void (Carnal) Swedish meatballs.
TRTRKMMR/Dead TImes - split LP (Aum War) The new shit.
Dead Language - s/t (Iron Lung) More like super duper group.
Chelsea Wolfe - ?p???????? (Pendu) Fashion show notwithstanding.
Grails - Deep Politics (Temporary Residence) Insert dewey decimal system joke here.
Virus - The Agent That Shapes the Desert (Virulent) Extra terra firma.
Bastard Noise - Skulldozer (Deep Six) Semen in the ear socket of whoever's on Wood's shitlist today.
Cloud Rat/Oily Menace/Wolbachia - split LP (IFB) Johnny Kaleseed strikes the first blow.
Gride - Záškuby Chaosu (Insane Society) Turn on, tune in, Czech out.
Column of Heaven - Ecstatically Embracing All That We Habitually Suppress CS Liber AL vel Legis.
Psychic Limb - Queens (Clairvoyant) "Queens"

Trevor Shelley-de Brauw of Pelican/Chord

Looking over my list I notice there's no debuts or newcomers (Horseback were new to me, but they've been around for awhile under my radar); for me the theme for the year was bands and musicians coming into their own and delivering on the promise of their earlier material. As excited as I get for new bands and sounds, I find nothing nearly as fulfilling as bands and artists developing over time and honing their talents into more cohesive, mature efforts. With that in mind I think this was a great year for music.

1. Young Widows "In And Out of Youth And Lightness" (Temporary Residence)
I've loved this band from day one, but even at the doomrock/pigfuck/hardcore hybrid pinnacles of their last effort, the masterful "Old Wounds", there was little to suggest that the band had a certifiable timeless masterpiece up their sleeves. Trading the heavy riff exercises of former albums for vast midnight-hued atmosphere, this album creates its own self-contained world that subsumes everything else for the duration of its playing length. Everything from imagery of the lyrics, the relaxed playing and arrangements, the in-the-pocket performances, the dynamic songwriting, the warm and rich recording, and beautiful album artwork exhibits a comprehensive thoughtfulness of approach and execution.

2. KEN Mode "Venerable" (Profound Lore)
What an utterly pulverizing record. Perfectly tempered aggression brilliantly executed. They also put on one of the most punishing heavy music shows I saw all year.

3. Grails "Deep Politics" (Temporary Residence)
This one is a bit of a left turn from the bombastic psych-rock of their last album, Doomsdayer's Holiday, with the band turning their collective focus to the production end of things. I tend to associate carefully constructed or meticulously produced music as belonging to the electronic realm, but Grails crafted an album that feels warm, human, and very much like an actual band mastering the art of aural architecture.

4. Radiohead "The King of Limbs" (TBD Records)
Speaking of "carefully constructed" or "meticulously produced" music belonging to the electronic realm. When I first heard this album I knew it was a grower; and though I didn't love it at first periodic spins revealed that buried within layer upon layer of sounds and rhythms there was a beautiful order and amazing songs (this effect was driven home by the excellent companion piece Live in the Basement). It's fantastic to see a band willing to take on risks despite their success and continue to effectively evolve and stay vital so deep into their career.

5. Various Artists "Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978" (Now-Again Records)
I went in hard on Asian/Middle Eastern psych reissues this year; hearing familiar sounds through a regional veil can act as gateway into folk sounds and ideas from different cultures while also revealing what's vital at the core of the source of familiarity. While most of the records of this ilk that I got this year feature a ramshackle approach to performance and/or recording (which I chalk up to a presumed lack of resources); when I happened upon this 3xLP from Now-Again I was staggered by the professionalism and clarity of the songs and bands on the collection. This is an immense look into a fully developed and and vibrant rock scene that emerged from an island nation that most recently made music headlines for detaining and forcibly shaving off punks' mohawks. An amazing time capsule and fantastic collection of jams.

6. Tombs "Path of Totality" (Relapse)
When Pelican toured with Tombs in 2009, as they were beginning to work on the material that would comprise this album, it felt very much like they were on the cusp of an aesthetic breakthrough. What emerged on the other side is massive and immersive and easily one of the best metal records of the year.

7. Horseback live at Utech Fest
Although I loved the whole fest, by 1am I was beginning to feel a little burnt out, hours deep into a sonic diet of ambient and experimental sounds. I was instructed NOT to miss Horseback by several of my friends and man, am I glad I stuck around. They did a 180 on the vibe in the room, churning out a four song set that was energetic and heavy, but also charged with their trademark hypnotic repetition. They have a new one dropping next year, easily one of the records I'm anticipating most right now.

8. David Bazan "Strange Negotiations" (Barsuk)
I'm a longtime fan of Bazan's songwriting. His first solo album was good, but felt a bit self-obsessed lyrically. Here he returns to his strength of writing in parables. It's not my favorite record of his by any means, but some of the songs (see "Virginia", "Wolves at the Door", "Don't Change") are undeniable from a songwriting perspective.

9. Various Artists "Pakistan: Folk and Pop Instrumentals 1966-1976" (Sublime Frequencies)
Another from my bevy of psych reissues that I binged on. This one covers a ton of territory, but overall has a sense of fun that is irresistible.

10. Cave "Neverendless" (Drag City)
Wow. Chicago's masters of psychedelic/krautrock revision really came into their own on this one. Only five songs, but each of them featuring some of the best grooves laid to tape all year. Definitely one of the most exciting bands keeping psych alive right now.

Descrator 777 of Villains at Saint Vitus (more by BBG)

Desecrator 777 of Villains
List of stuff that didn't suck in 2011
1. Frigid Bich Tyrants of a Generation LP [stormbringer] re issue of first class street metal mania!
2. Boss Tweed Die You Bitch LP [stormbringer] same as above, but from texas
3. Cassle s/t Cd {shadow kingdom] fucking creepy re issue of california doom rockatorrr
4. Voivod To the death demo LP [Alternative tentacles] argghhh The masters of angle riffs re issued!
5. Southern Tier Pumpking Ale 22 0z bottles + three cases = a smurf that isn't always cranky
6. Helstar Live at the Blue Room New Jersey only grim jersey strip joints are real!
7. Winter Live at Union Pool Brooklyn linen zoot suits and bqe hit and runs fuckin guy
8. Cult Of Daath Doomed by the Witch Tape [NWN Prod] chi town greek death metal yuckiness
9. Diamond Head Live at BB Kings in NYC rock n roll hoochie coo! dancing shoes pal! dancin'
10. Raspberry bulbs nature tries again / rb tries again lp/tape [seed stock] umpa fucky umpa
11. Hellion Your not welcomed here LP [maniacal records] Sleazin' and Pleasin'
12. Pentagram Live at Europa Brooklyn please invert the cross and drink again pals fuck jesus forever
13. High Spirits Live at Saint Vitus Bar Brooklyn and another night Lp and 7" [planet metal] The professor is smarty smurf
14. Meeting Tony Iommi at saint vitus bar Brooklyn for book signing and drinking good stuffs and yelling
15. Bone Awl Bowing heads Tape on [ Klaxon/ iron tyrant] conversation dominator and black metal brunch
16. Negative Plane Stained glass revelations LP [ajna/ invictus] eat a plum and its go time!
17. Astaroth 7" [unseen forces] gets yer plevis shakin' and satanas bakin'
18. the law none escape LP [unseen forces] re issue from the mayors of the mountains so....chill the wine moe!
19. Necros christos doomed of the occcult LP [ajna] the pipeline pirates strike again!
20. Occultation 7" [witches brew] its european like in the seventies moe smile every once and a while...

Curran Reynolds of Wetnurse/Today Is The Day
Highights of 2011:
European tour with Today Is the Day
The recording of Today Is the Day, Pain Is a Warning
The recording of Wetnurse, album #3
Another year of Mondays at Lit
Matthew Barney, Djed
Nicholas Winding Refn, Drive
Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
Krav Maga Academy
Andy Perez Tattoo
My niece, Paloma

Tim Call of Aldebaran at Rites of Darkness (more by BBG)

Tim Call of Aldebaran/Parasitic Records
Favorites of 2011:

Andrew of Velnias
Old Forest "Tales of the Sussex Weald ; Part 3 (Andredsweald)"
Ice Bound Majesty "How Can We Live In A Kingdom And Never See The Throne"
Aosoth "III"
The Wolves of Avalon "Carrion Crows Over Camlan"
Nightbringer "Hierophany of the Open Grave"
Taake "Noregs Vaapen"
Obsequiae "Suspended in the Brume of Eos"
Peste Noire "L'Ordure a l'etat Pur"
Goatmoon "Varjot"
Black Vomit "Let It Come Down"

Jon Rossi of Pilgrim
My only album for this year is ICE DRAGON's "The Sorrowful Sun"!

Greg Cristman, Photographer
Favorite shows of the year (in chronological order)
1. 3/15 & 18- Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple & Church of St. Paul The Apostle
2. 3/28- Horseback, Hull, Batillus, Caltrop @ Studio at Webster Hall
3. 3/29- Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band & Friends (Lou Reed, Antony Hegarty, Nels Cline, Greg Saunier, Michael Leonhart and more +), Patti Smith Group & Cibo Matto @ Le Poisson Rouge
4. 4/3- Wormrot, Winter, Death Cycle, Kings Destroy @ Union Pool
5. 5/2- Krallice, Withered, Ipsissimus @ Studio at Webster Hall
6. 6/1- Ghost, Sabbath Assembly, Natur @ Studio at Webster Hall
7. 6/3- Marduk, Aura Noir, Black Anvil, HOD, Panzerfaust, Natur @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
8. 6/22- Sleep, Winter & White Hills @ Terminal 5
9. 6/25- Indian, Bloodiest @ Union Pool
10. 7/12- Yob, Dark Castle, Batillus @ Le Poisson Rouge
11. 8/6- Disma, Coffinworm, Unearthly Trance, Oak @ St. Vitus Bar
12. 8/18- KMFDM, Army Of The Universe @ Irving Plaza
13. 9/10- Weedeater, Oxbow, Bison BC @ Europa
14. 9/12- Wolves In The Throne Room, Thou, Krallice @ Bell House
15. 9/17- Urfaust, Black Anvil, Krallice @ Union Pool
16. 9/23- Kyuss Lives!, The Sword, MonstrO @ Terminal 5
17. 9/25- Enslaved, Alcest, Junius @ Gramercy
18. 10/22- Kvelertak, Skeletonwitch, Tombs, Psychic Limb @ Rocks Of Cruises
19. 10/25- Amon Tobin, Emika @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
20. 12/2- Inquisition, Disma, Agrath @ Studio at Webster Hall

Bruce Lamont of Bloodiest at Saint Vitus (more by BBG)

Bruce Lamont, solo artist and member of Bloodiest/Yakuza
11 recordings, events, people, and places that made 2011 awesome.
11. winters in osaka-clandestine
10. Bloodiest Manor BBQ Oct. 9th Chicago il
9. anatomy of habit-self titled
8 indian -guiltless
7. Mans Gin-live at st vitus brooklyn ny
6. roadburn-April 2011 tilburg holland
5. seldon hunt
4. sanford parker
3 fred pessaro (i mean it)
2 the soft moon- self titled
1. empty bottle chicago il

Mike Meacham of Loss
1. Wold - Freermasonry - CD
2. Lycus - Demo XXMI - Tape
3. Bizarre-SS-Mania - What's Your Pleasure Sir? LP
4. Antediluvian - Through The Cervix Of Hawaah CD
5. Sewer Goddess - Disciples Of Shit - Live Waste CD
6. Anhedonist - The Drear LP
7. 40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room CD
8. Mania - Grotesque Mirth - 7"
9. Fellatrix Morgue - Mortuary Rape - Tape
10. Necros Christos - Doom Of The Occult LP

Nathan Carson of Witch Mountain/Nanotear Booking

As usual, I saw A LOT OF shows this year. Over 100. And I'll be the first to admit that some of the best bills I saw, I had the honor of playing on. I also voted for some of my booking clients here. Guess what--I work with some of my favorite bands. This is as honest a list as I can compile. Another GREAT year for live shows. Can't say that I stumbled across that many albums that I got truly excited about. Virus was the first new album I heard in 2011, and it held the #1 spot all the way to the end. Vektor was the late addition/game-changer. More "V" bands in 2012!

Top 20 Albums of 2011
1 Virus - The Agent That Shapes the Desert
3 The Wounded Kings - In the Chapel of the Black Hand
4 Ulcerate - Destroyers of All
5 Vektor - Outer Isolation
6 Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1
7 Rwake - Rest
8 Danava - Hemisphere of Shadows
9 Hammers of Misfortune - 17th Street
10 Amebix - Sonic Mass
11 Craft - Void
12 Circle - Infektio
13 Enslaved - Sleeping Gods
14 Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients
15 Corrupted - Garten Der Unbewusstheit
16 Atriarch - Forever The End
17 Dark Castle - Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
18 Zombi - Escape Velocity
19 Premonition 13 - 13
20 Krallice - Diotima

Top 25 Concerts of 2011
1 Agalloch/Worm Ouroboros/Musk Ox (Music Hall - London, Ontario)
2 Rush (Amphitheater at Clark County, Ridgefield, WA)
3 Ludicra/Christian Mistress/Atriarch (Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR)
4 Nanotear Showcase: YOB, Agalloch, Witch Mountain, Worm Ouroboros, Amber Asylum, Arabrot, Wizard Rifle (Barbarella Patio - SXSW - Austin, TX)
5 Scion Music Fest: Agalloch, Dispirit, Christian Mistress, Cough, Obituary, Morbid Angel... (multiple venues - Pomona, CA)
6 Saint Vitus [as part of Metalliance tour (Roseland - Portland, OR)]
7 Zola Jesus (Holocene - Portland, OR)
8 Wolvserpent/A Story of Rats (East End - Portland, OR)
9 Fall Into Darkness day 3: Acid King, Premonition 13, Witch Mountain, Bloodbraid (Rotture - Portland, OR)
10 Judas Preist, Thin Lizzy, some other shitty band (WAMU - Seattle, WA)
11 Amanda Palmer + Neil Gaiman (Aladdin Theater - Portland, OR)
12 Earth (Doug Fir - Portland, OR)
13 Rorschach/Rabbits (Branx - Portland, OR)
14 Melt Banana/Aranya (Star Theater - Portland, OR)
15 Orange Goblin (Dante's - Portland, OR)
16 Lost Lockets (Rotture - Portland, OR)
17 Slayer (Memorial Coliseum - Portland, OR)
18 Extra Life (Holocene - Portland, OR)
19 Queens of the Stone Age (Roseland - Portland, OR)
20 Man... Or Astroman? (Doug Fir - Portland, OR)
21 Stryper (Alladin Theater - Portland, OR)
22 Mares of Thrace/Natur (Plan B - Portland, OR)
23 YOB/Dark Castle/Wizard Rifle/Sloths (Branx - Portland, OR)
24 Danava/Rabbits/Lesbian/Diesto (Plan B - Portland, OR)
25 Grouper/Daniel Menche (Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR)

Dorian of Noisear at MDF (more by BBG)

Dorian Rainwater of Noisear

Heres my top albums in no particular order,love them all!
1.Psudoku-Space Grind
Insane odd meter freak out grind with a cosmic Discordance Axis/Netjatjev SS vibe.Cant stop listening to this one man manifestation of sheer genius! Super spastic and chaotic.Theres even a few tracks where what sounds like a synth is incorporated in the mix.Refreshing and totally off the grid!

2.Maruta-Forward Into Regression
Excellent Floridian hybrid of death metal and grindcore that destroys everything in its path.Mitch Lunas Vocal range goes from brutal low to abrasively high in the blink of an eye with amazing results.Eduardos abstract and dissonant riffs are brooding,unique and at times sinister as fuck! The addition of Mauro on bass and Daniel Morris on drums replacing Nick Augusto(who left to join trivium) was a total leap forward in the songwriting/brutality factor.So sad these guys called it a day this year. Im sure they will come back with a bang and grind our faces off though in whatever they do next.

Singapores finest. Pummeling grind that never lets up with lots of punk and hardcore energy thrown in for good measure. Tons of great song titles,lyrics,Arif's super brutal glass gargling vocal style,Rasyid's shifting riffs and Fitri's bombastic drumming are a great recipe for a true blend of pure intensity and unbridled rage. In an oversaturated sea of bands these guys have been hard at work 24/7 to bring forth their unstoppable musick.

4.-The Afternoon Gentlemen-Pissedography
Total grind insanity from the U.K. This one totally caught me off guard as i was introduced to it by a friend earlier this year. These guys are so off the wall with a really unique blend of comedy,scathing and blistering grind,stop start breaks,unorthodox patterns and some of the highest pitch screaming this side of Changville i have ever heard. Had the opportunity of seeing them live a few months ago on the U.S. tour with Weekend Nachos and their live performance was every bit as intense as anything i have heard prior to witnessing the fury. Love it when a band can capture the essence from thier releases and bring it to the performance full on!

5.Rotten Sound-Cursed
Not much need be said about these pioneering purveyors of finnish blast and the amazing style of classick grind they always serve up. Keijos vocals are furious as ever and the guitar tone is like a 100 chainsaws gone haywire in a crowd. Love the way they mix it up on this with some anthemic and groovier tunes thrown in for variety(hollow).Non stop aggression from start to finish,this is another great one that still holds up after multiple listens.

6.Ulcerate-The Destroyers of All
Very unique and twisted hybrid death metal/progessive/grind/tech and everything under the sun kind of stuff here. This and Deathspell Omega were recommended to me as well this year.Technical but always tasty.Insane double bass patterns and Super sick Growling vocals are great highlights on this release but what really grabs you is the guitarists strange choice of chord voicings,phrasing and song structure. Very artistic and creative stuff.

7.Weekend Nachos-Worthless
Super pissed off powerviolent crust with elements of grind and punishing hardcore that blows me away with its ferocity everytime. Wailing feedback,crushing distorted bass and Johns HUGE vocals make this band sound like ten tons of dynamite in your head. Back when i lived in Chicago a few years ago i got to see/share the stage with these guys tearing up basement shows and venues quite a bit. Believe me those were some of the most high intensity shows i have ever witnessed. for sure.Every release from these guys shows a progression and maturity that is not present in most bands these days.Mosh parts,hate filled lyrics dealing with social disorder and everyday life. This shit pummels!

Super group dream team featuring members of Discordance Axis,Human Remains,BBTS,Noisear and Mortalized have come back to kill us all with this earth shattering follow up to their first release Amber Grey and holy snare its a killer!!!

Ultra shredding guitars that sound like a swarm of bees gone mad driven by dizzzying bass lines that could give Jaco a rude afterlife awakening.Fajardos jackhammer blast is full tilt on this one as it is on any other release he does.

Jon Changs unequivocal highs are painful bliss and raging bursts of intelligent lyrics are like bullets laying waste to your ears.Takafumis guitar playing is unparalleled by other six stringers in this genre. Adding Procoppio to the fold was a great desicion and has only further accented this outfits insane sound for the better.

9.Fantomas-Directors Cut Live; A New Years Revolution
Lombardo,King Buzzo,Patton,and Dunn. Need i say more???
Bungle,Slayer,The Melvins and Secret Cheifs masterminds team up for this awesome live representation of the legendary directors cut album. All these tunes fucking rule. There is so much embellishment and talent displayed here and i can never get enough of everything they put out. Eagerly anticipating a new album. lets hope its soon!

10.AnB/Despise you split cd
Despise you tracks on this are instant classics.Chris and Cynthia vocals are amazing in transition and all the vibes are furious and angst as hell. Have toured with these guys a little and they have always been a fave since my crusty tape trading youth. AnB always delivers the sickness as well. Electro grind kings whip em out again. Hulls guitar noodlings are ever present here and Randall/Kat/Johnson always taer through craniums with off kilter rants,shouts and screams with a variety of different topics and sometimes hilarious toungue in cheek sadism.Drum machines blazing perfect for all electrogrind freaks. Great stuff!

Jamie of Drainland
Ten things that made 2011 bearable:
1) Roadburn Festival. First time going - so many great sets but seeing Voivod twice, and them being utterly amazing both times in particularly stood out.
2) "Tyrannosaur" - best film I saw this year, and I saw plenty of good films this year.
3) Column of Heaven - hardcore for grown ups in a time when more than ever, it seems like a genre for children.
4) "Scorch Atlas" by Blake Butler - I can't recommend this book enough. Read it.
5) Intervision Picture Corp - discovered these guys this year: dedicated to re-releasing the best/worst in lost trash and straight to vhs horror on dvd. "Things" has to be seen to be believed.
6) Negative Plane "Stained Glass Revelation" - first classic black metal record of this decade. Great live too.
7) Adam & Joe podcasts - essential commuting soundtrack,so funny.
8) The sudden abundance of burrito places in Dublin, particularly Boojum and the Little Ass Burrito Bar.
9) "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" season 7. Americans, this is your best comedic export in years.
10) "Sweet Tooth" by Jeff LeMire. I'm not a huge comics guy. This almost single handedly reignited my interest in comics.

Diane "Kamikaze" Farris, WFMU DJ (Thursdays Noon-3PM at
Voivod - Warriors of Ice
Kvelertak - Kvelertak
Mastodon- The Hunter
Might Could - s/t
Batillus - Furnace
In Solitude - The World. The Flesh. The Devil.
Tombs - Path of Totality
White Mystery - Blood and Venom
White Wizzard - Flying Tigers
Whitehorse - Progression
Vasaeleth - Crypt Born & Tethered To Ruin
Volture - Shocking Its Prey
Hail Hornet - Disperse the Curse
Saviours - Death's Procession
Obits - Moody, Standard and Poor
Nightsatan - Midnight Laser Warrior
Cauldron - Burning Fortune
Raspberry Bulbs - Nature Tries Again
Slug Guts - Howlin' Gang
Naam - Naam

Oathbreaker's selection of 10 records that stood out in 2011 (in no particular order)
TOMBS - Path Of Totality
RISE AND FALL - Deceiver
TRAP THEM - Darker Handcraft
DEAFHEAVEN - Roads To Judah
TRUE WIDOW - As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake
LOW - C'mon
J MASCIS - Several Shades Of Why

Brian of Sulaco
Pink Floyd - Animals (Remastered)
Pink Floyd - Meddle (Remastered)
KEN Mode - Venerable
Tombs - Path of Totality
Khann - Erode
Animals as Leaders - Weightless
Charred Walls of the Damned - Cold Winds on Timeless Days
Defeatist - Tyranny of Decay
Russian Circles - Empros
Radiohead - King of Limbs

Lon of Sulaco
(In no specific order)
Defeatist -Tyranny Of Decay
Praetura - S/T
Radiation Blackbody - Mythologies
Castevet - Mounds Of Ash
Thou - To The Chaos Wizard Youth
Weedeater - Jason The Dragon
KENmode - Venerable
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Gonna Eat That?
The Sea and Cake - The Moonlight Butterfly

Max of Morne at Union Pool (more by Greg Cristman)

Max Furst of Morne
Top 11 Releases of 2011 (in alphabetical order)
Alaric - s/t (20 Buck Spin)
This one definitely caught me off guard. Alaric is a newer band from the Bay Area, mixing the heavy with the gloomy, all driving alongside at a droning rhythm. To me it sounds like the quieter parts of "Souls At Zero" mixed with subtle, tasteful, elements of 80's post-punk. Alaric have their own distinct sound and atmosphere that easily makes this one of the most interesting releases of the year for me.

Bloodkrow Butcher - s/t EP (Total Fucker Records)
Young nihilistic punks and jaded old dudes all agree, this band fucking rips. Needless to say, "raw punk" has been drilled into the ground over the past few years and become a generally uninspired music clique. Although their production and aesthetic fits the style, clumping these boys in the noise punk category would be selling them severely short. This is because unlike their less memorable contemporaries, Bloodkrow Butcher actually have RIFFS. Good riffs. And no matter what style of music you play, it's all about the riffs. Always.

Corrupted - Garten der Unbewusstheit (Nostalgia Blackrain)
From reading reviews online, it seems this album has been met with a very mixed bag of opinions. I won't lie, I'm probably not as educated on Corrupted's back catalog as I should be, but for me "Garten der Unbewusstheit" is exactly what I want from a doom album. Mellow, droning, somber, wonderful. I'm a sucker for bands who manage to convey such grim, melancholic emotion through heavy music, and Corrupted achieve this with total success. I foresee this one getting lots of play during the brutal Northeast winter that is inevitably around the corner.

Death Evocation - s/t EP (Quality Control Records)
This record is so damn good. Spot on Sacrilege worship without any attempt to hide it. The songwriting is so on target it could pass for lost outtakes from "Behind the Realms of Madness". I personally like that they didn't try to go for an overt retro sound in the recording, the modern day production gives an extra "UMPF!" to the songs and offers some reassurance that this record is not a mere throwback piece. Great stuff.

Dry Hump - Fucks Your Ears (Sex Cult Records)
These perverts has been lurking in the peripheral for a few years now, but after much procrastination they have finally unleashed their debut LP to the world. In addition to the over-the-top cover artwork by Chip, this record packs a mighty punch to the balls from start to finish. The songs vary from typical fast MA hardcore in vein of Out Cold, to weird tripped out experimental jams crossing over into territory rarely visited by their peers. Personally I prefer the latter, as it shows some interesting shimmer of their potential output in the future.

Elder - Dead Roots Stirring (Meteorcity Records)
I haven't heard anything by Elder since their initial demo, so I was very surprised when I discovered they had a new album out. The earlier incarnation was more Sleep-inspired stoner/doom, but on "Dead Roots Stirring" the band has expanded their sound considerably. There's a lot more melody and musicianship on this record and it's refreshing to see that they are growing rather than stifling themselves within the bounds of the sub-genre.

Heirs - Hunter EP (Denovali Records)
I first met Heirs in 2009 when we (Morne) played a few shows with them in Germany. Aside from being absolutely incredible live, they manage to successfully blend doom, industrial, drone and post-rock without coming off as contrived or cheesy. I was immediately a fan. Something about Heirs moves me. Perhaps knowing that the minds behind this wall of beauty are sincerely dark and disturbed is what adds that elegance and appeal to their music for me. I've loved everything they have released thus far and "Hunter" is no exception.

The Impalers - s/t EP (Todo Destruido)
No fashion, no bullshit, just straight forward hard and heavy d-beat. As much as I enjoy the record, I think the Impalers really leave their impact best in a live setting. I was fortunate enough to catch them on their brief tour with Miasmal this year, and to say the least I was quite impressed by the power of their show. Great musicians, killer vocals, and loud amplifiers amounted to one of the best bands I managed to see this year.

Kim Phuc - Copsucker (Iron Lung Records)
A last minute album to just barely come out for 2011, but considering my anticipation for it's release it easily made the cut. Kim Phuc was perhaps the most interesting band I saw at Chaos in Tejas two years ago. Something about them just seemed so sincerely weird (in a good way). Deranged, moody punk with a dash of sass and sarcasm. I won't try and dissect them or try and compare Kim Phuc to other bands in order to sell you on their sound. Just check it out and judge for yourself. Be forewarned, it's not intended for everybody.

Misery - From Where the Sun Never Shines (Self Released)
It's hard to think of many bands that have been as consistent as Misery with their output throughout a 20+ year career in punk. Sure there has been a few flops along the way, but ultimately they have always stayed the course and remained true to their crust genesis. "From Where the Sun Never Shines" is an excellent record and serves to further reinforce why I love this band so much. As of now this album is only available for streaming on their website, however there is rumor that the vinyl pressing is currently in the works. Let's hope that sees the light of day soon.

Ripper - s/t (Black Water)
Their name says it all, this band kills it! A double-bass whirlwind of Motorhead/Tank inspired riffage that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The youthful energy and enthusiasm of the Ripper crew may make me feel old and boring in comparison, but it also makes me feel legitimately happy knowing that there are still bands like this out there playing music for the sake of having fun.

Most Anticipated Releases of 2012 (in no particular order)
Magic Circle LP
New Tragedy LP
Antisect 10" and tour
Koward EP/LP/Whatever
Frenzy EP
Negative Insight Zine Issue #2

Dom Romeo of Pulling Teeth/A389 Records
Top Ten Of 2011
1) Fatherhood and Husbandry.
2) All things A389.
4) TheXBeast.
5) Old dudes in new bands that rule just as hard if not even more than their previous ones.
I'm looking at you Jeff Beckman (PICK YOUR SIDE), Scott Angelacos (JUNIOR BRUCE), Fred Tremblay (ENFORCERS).
6) Hardcore bands I grew up loving are still around making exciting new music (INTEGRITY, RINGWORM, GEHENNA).
7) My cats.
8) Sean Patrick Rhorer.
9) Booger Sugar (The Band)
10) Developing Nations Recording Studio.

Paul of Black Anvil at Saint Vitus (more by Stephanie Crumley)
Black Anvil

Paul Delaney of Black Anvil
The Devil's Blood: The Thousandfold Epicentre
Insane Vesper: Abomination Of Death
Saxon: Call To Arms
One Tail, One Head: s/t & Tandava EP's
Aosoth: III
In Solitude: The World. The Flesh. The Devil
Saturnalia Temple: Aion Of Dakon
Sheer Terror: Spite
Necroblood: Demo & EP
Marduk: Iron Dawn

Aidan Baker, solo artist and Nadja
2011 Top 10 List In No Particular Order:
Favourite New Release: Grouper - A | A: Alien Observer & Dream Loss
Most Listened-to Old Release: Public Image Ltd. - This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get
Newly Discovered Band That I Probably Should've Discovered Earlier: Enablers
Best Show: Circle at Heliosphere Festival in Talinn, Estonia
Another Best Show: Melvins at Blå in Oslo, Norway
Best Show From A Band I'd Never Heard Before (But Also Probably Should've): Electrelane
Best Own Performance: Playing at the Zemlika Festival with a 10 piece ensemble in a 400 year old Lutheran church in a tiny town in Latvia.
Favourite New Book: Aurorarama - Jean-Christophe Valtat
Favourite Re-Read Old Book: The Sheep Look Up - John Brunner
Favourite Film: Page Eight

R. Loren of Pyramids/Handmade Birds
1. CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS "Eleven Fingers"
2. PJ HARVEY "Let England Shake"
3. SOFT KILL "An Open Door"
4. WOODS OF DESOLATION "Torn Beyond Reason"
5. JOSH T. PEARSON "Last Of The Country Gentlemen"
6. MAMIFFER "Mare Decendrii"
7. PRURIENT "Bermuda Drain"
8. CONTREPOISON "...Until Next Morning"
9. CURRENT 93 "HoneySuckle AEons"
10. 40 WATT SUN "The Inside Room"

Chris Ulsh of Mammoth Grinder/Hatred Surge/The Impalers/Powertrip/Innumerable Forms
Chris Ulsh

Jason McCash of The Gates of Slumber
1.Knowing that you have to remember yesterday in order to look forward to tomorrow.
Enough said

2. Touring with both Victor Griffen and Wino in the same year
We were able to tour with Wino's new band Premonition 13 and Victor Griffen's band Place of Skulls this year. Its one of those things that five years ago if you said I would be able to do this, I wouldn't have believed it. It was really awesome to hang and really get to know these two giants of the Doom Community on a very real and personal level. Not to mention seeing them play live every night!!!!! I'm so looking forward to doing this again!

3. The New CONAN THE BARBARIAN film being released!!!
Something that I have been waiting for since I was a child. Another Conan film and it finally came to life. I saw this in the theaters probably four times. 2 times in 3D and 2 times in 2D. The movie is awesome. Haters need to stop talking crap about it, pick up a REH book, read it and realize that this is more of a Conan film than those of the 80's (The first Arnold movie was more a King Kull story rather than a Conan story.)

4. Seeing Voivod two nights in a row at Roadburn
What self respecting fan of Metal wouldn't be blown away by this!!! Two full sets with different songs thrown in for two nights in a ROW! That was as good as it is going to get. Its all downhill from here on out.

After the travesty from 2010 with the shitty ass Volcano in Iceland which forced our hand to miss Roadburn that year and spending more than I ever wanted to in airports and flights that overlapped each other. It was finally great to be able to at least make it this year and get to experience all that everyone talks about year in and year out about Roadburn. Truly the best Festival in the whole world.

6. Having AWAY admire my Killing Technology Back patch on my Denim
So while at Roadburn this year, I was hanging talking to some people and out of the blue, someone comes up and puts there hand on my shoulder, I turn around and there was the man! AWAY!!! I had my Denim on with my home made Killing Technology back patch on it, well it isn't home made, I basically cut out the back of a shirt that I had when I was 14 that no longer fits me and turned it into the patch.

This was probably one of the best, smartest movies I have seen all year. Hands down just brilliant from beginning to end. Not one flaw in it. Instant classic!

8. Touring the US and Europe with my two dudes
With the release of our latest album 'The Wretch' we were able to do a lot of touring (not as much as I would have liked) in both Europe and the US. Spending time with Karl and Cool Clyde, as much as we rag on each other and cut each other down, those dudes rule and I'm so glad to be able to able to experience this journey with them.

9. Spending two days at the Beech in Barcelona
So on our Place of Skulls tour in Europe, we flew down to play a one off gig in Barcelona to only finally get off the plane and have the promoter meet us at the airport looking very down and finding out the show was cancelled due to the city changing the zoning laws which in effect closed down something like 8 venues the day before, canceling our show. He put us up in a four star hotel right across from the beech for two days and picked up the bill for everything even though no show happened. It was a very beautiful and pleasant time, for us, I'm sure he was kicking himself the whole time falling deeper and deeper into the TGoS money pit that surrounds us and everyone that deals with us!

10. Finally playing FINLAND!
Our first tour ever, was in Europe. Our first shows over there was in Sweden with Reverend Bizarre, ever since then we wanted to and talked about actually making it over to Finland. Over the years and many other Euro tours later we still could never make it to Finland. It started to become like it was never going to happen to lo and behold, finally happen this year, our 9th tour of Europe. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Amazing place, amazing people and amazing shows. It was everything I hoped it to be.

Adam Bartlett of Gilead Media
2011 Records
1. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
2. Ash Borer - Ash Borer (Psychic Violence/Pesanta Urfolk)
3. Loss - Despond (Profound Lore)
4. Young Widows - In And Out Of Youth And Lightness (Temporary Residence)
5. Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies (Hot Green Records)
6. Ruin Lust - Ruin Lust (Psychic Violence)
7. Hammers Of Misfortune - 17th Street (Metal Blade)
8. Panopticon - Social Disservices (Flenser Records)
9. Battles - Glass Drop (Warp)
10. Ascension - Consolamentum (World Terror Committee)

Runners up
Deafheaven - Roads To Judah (Deathwish Inc.)
The Decemberists - The King Is Dead (Capitol)
Absu - Abzu (Candlelight)
Hollow Sunshine/The Austrasian Goat - Split/Collaboration (Vendetta)
Implodes - Black Earth (Kranky)

2011 CS
Lycus - 2011 Demo (Graceless Recordings)
Barghest - Untitled CS (Big Mountain Tapes)
Velnias - Velnias CS (Land Of Decay)
Ash Borer - Discography 2CS (Land Of Decay/Psychic Violence)
Hell - II CS (Eternal Warfare)
Algernon Cadwallader - Live CS (Sex Cave Records)
Ruin Lust - Ruin Lust CS (Psychic Violence)
Mutilation Rites - Mutilation Rites CS (Poison Infiltration)
Alda - Tahoma CS (Eternal Warfare)

2011 Shows
False - Irish Knot, Milwaukee, WI
Thou/Northless/Protestant - Borg Ward, Milwaukee, WI
Rocky Votolato - Cactus Club, Milwaukee, WI
Alcest - Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL
Utech Records Music Festival - Cactus Club, Milwaukee, WI
Mutilation Rites - Maritime, Appleton, WI
Algernon Cadwallader - Strangelight, Chicago, IL

Best records released prior to 2011 that I just heard in 2011
Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Reprise)
Alcest - Écailles De Lune (Prophecy Productions)
Deathspell Omega - Paracletus (Season Of Mist)
Astomatous - The Beauty Of Reason (Self-released)

Monarch! at Union Pool (more by BBG)

Michell Ramirez of Monarch!
Top 13 shows/top 5 bars of 2011 (because metal and drinking go hand in hoof).
1. The Body - Casa Del Popolo, Montréal, Québec.
2. The Melvins - Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan.
3. Yob/Dark Castle - Mogambo, San Sebastien, Spain.
4. Unearthly Trance/Eagle Twin - Manning Bar, Sydney, Australia.
5. Wolves In The Throne Room/Electric Wizard - Supersonic, Birmingham, UK.
6. Aluk Todolo - La Miroiterie, Paris, France.
7. Krallice - Katacombs, Montréal, Québec.
8. Wizards of Firetop Mountain - Twisted Peper, Dublin, Ireland.
9. Coffins/Birushanah - Antiknock, Tokyo, Japan.
10. Woe - Acheron, Brooklyn, New York.
11. Secret Chiefs 3 - Txoznas, Mungia, Spain.
12. Contrast Attitude/Eternal Elysium - Club Zion, Nagoya, Japan.
13. Blood Ceremony - Katacombs, Montréal, Québec.

1. Konton, Osaka, Japan.
2. Flat Iron, Chicago, Illinois.
3. Bar Open, Melbourne, Australia.
4. St. Vitus, Brooklyn, New York.
5. Katie Daly's, Bayonne, France.


And this was just Part 1! Stay tuned for Part 2!

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