Weeping Rat – Tar (Handmade Birds, 2015)

1526659_825951394136465_8729640222783617169_nSacramento was positively drenched with rain last weekend.  The meteorologists called it an “atmospheric river;” I called it a great time to wallow in some seriously depressing music to match the shitty weather. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no better band in 2015 to accompany overcast skies and sheets of (probably toxic) precipitation than Australia’s Weeping Rat.  The band is set to drop their debut album Tar via the mighty Handmade Birds, and it’s a deliciously dismal listen, to say the very least.

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Burial Hex – The Hierophant (Handmade Birds, 2014)

burial-hex-the-hierophantAs a reviewer, tons of releases come across my desk every year, but few of them actually make me stop and say “Wow, this album is really something.”  Burial Hex’s The Hierophant is just such an album; its seamless mixture of disparate tones and textures is simply unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  Please believe it when I say this is not another case of music journalist hyperbole, this is simply one of the most stunningly unique, beautiful and unsettling recordings ever to ravage my unworthy ears.

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THKD’s Top 100 Metal Albums #11: Danzig – Danzig II: Lucifuge (Def American, 1990)

Danzig-Danzig-II-Lucifuge

How in the blue hell did I manage to get even this far into the THKD Top 100 without covering a Danzig album?!  Granted, the list is in no particular order, but given my Danzig super-fan status, you’d think I would’ve touched on one of the man’s records within the first few posts.  The bands/artists you love the most are always the most difficult to write about and let’s face it, I’ve already devoted a fairly exhaustive amount of digital ink to the goddamn mighty GD (here, here, here, here… need I go on?).  What’s left to say about my love for the man and his music at this point?

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Emptiness – Nothing but the Whole (Dark Descent, 2014)

a0173805231_10Underground metal is a land of extremes.  Bands playing so fast that a human drummer can’t keep up, bands playing so slow they make a glacier look speedy, bands trying to play the heaviest, the most technical, the most brutal, the most… ah, fuck it, you get the idea.  What I’m attempting to get at is, there’s typically no such thing as subtlety in the circles we travel in.  This is what makes Emptiness’ Nothing but the Whole such a refreshing album.  Where other bands seek to crush your soul in the first thirty seconds, Emptiness would rather watch it slowly wither and die.

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Ars Phoenix – Violent Rain (Etxe Records, 2014)

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I’ve long had a thing for the gothic/darkwave sound, and although I don’t seek it out as rabidly as I do metal, some great bands in this style have been coming my way of late.  Last year saw Ghost Noise releasing a promising debut album and the past few months have been all about Bad Psychic’s stunningly beautiful Soon.  Now we have Gainesville, FL trio Ars Phoenix gracing us with yet another must-hear take on the genre in the form of Violent Rain.

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Bad Psychic – Soon (Sygil Records, 2014)

Bad Psychic - Soon - bad_psychic_ FRONT

It’s been a little while since we last heard from Sygil Records, in fact it’s been just over a year since I reviewed one of their releases (Charnel House’s excellent Black Blood).  I’m pleased to say that after an all-too-lengthy silence, the label is back with yet another recording that challenges our perceptions of what dark and heavy music can be.  That recording is Soon, the debut full length from Bloomington, Indiana’s Bad Psychic.

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