Venom – From the Very Depths (Spinefarm, 2015)

Layout 1Yes friends, I realize that hating on any Venom album that isn’t Welcome to Hell, Black Metal or At War with Satan is the cool kid thing to do.  But, I’ve never been one of the cool kids, and as such I’ve found much to enjoy amidst Venom’s latter-day discography; even if those albums aren’t as ground-breaking as the first three, that doesn’t mean they aren’t entertaining.  From the Very Depths is Cronos and Co.’s thirteenth full length, and although it’s by no means perfect, it’s certainly as enjoyable a slab of throwback heavy metal as you’re likely to encounter in 2015.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Monuments to an Elegy (Martha’s Music/BMG, 2014)

smashing-pumpkins-monuments-to-an-elegy-1024x1024During my misspent youth, I obsessed over so-called “alternative rock” almost as much as I did heavy metal.  Among my favorites was The Smashing Pumpkins; the band’s swirling and spacey yet surprisingly metallic hard rock was like nothing I’d heard before at that point, and I found it much easier to identify with main man Billy Corgan’s nerd/asshole/hopeless romantic shtick than Kurt Cobain’s junkie poet.  I might have had more Nirvana posters on my wall, but I listened to Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness way more than I did Nevermind.

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Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds (Nuclear Blast, 2014)

Bloodstone_&_Diamonds_album_coverNo matter what you think of Machine Head vocalist/guitarist/mastermind Robb Flynn, it can’t be denied that he’s one ambitious motherfucker.  Following his band’s unfortunate descent into the deepest, darkest gutters of the nu metal ghetto, Flynn has re-molded Machine Head back into a post-thrash/groove metal juggernaut, known for penning epic-length tunes that cram more riffs and moods into eight to ten minutes of music than most bands of similar ilk bring to the table over the course of entire albums.  For those familiar with Flynn’s tendency to throw everything and the kitchen sink into his records, it should come as no surprise then that Bloodstone & Diamonds, Machine Head’s eighth full length release, is their most sprawling and wildly varied work to date.

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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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Tony Tears – Voci dal Passato (Universal Consciousness, 2014)

a3992817145_10Universal Consciousness, the label run by Andorkappen of Lord Time (aka Sandor GF of Harassor), is home to some seriously “out there” metal acts.  Voci dal Passato, the debut full-length from Italy’s Tony Tears, might be the label’s weirdest release yet and a fine example of an outsider take on an established form within the metal paradigm.  Originally released independently back in 2009 and finally getting the vinyl treatment here, it’s forty minutes of quasi-psychedelic traditional doom that’ll likely leave you scratching your head for the first few listens, yet will quickly endear itself to you due to its naive charm.

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