THKD’s Top 100 Metal Albums #12: Corrosion of Conformity – Wiseblood (Columbia, 1996)

wiseblood-51db93f64707eI often find that the seasons dictate my listening habits.  For instance, fall is all about the Misfits, Samhain and Type O Negative, while winter is a feast of frigid black metal (yes, even in California, ridiculous as that may seem).  Summer brings with it an obsession with Pepper Keenan-era Corrosion of Conformity and more specifically with Wiseblood.  Even though summer hasn’t officially hit yet, I already find myself blasting this album in the car with the windows rolled down as the days start to get warmer and the desire to spend them chained to a cubicle hits rock bottom.

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Heathen – s/t (Caligari Records, 2015)

a2755489943_10Not to be confused with the long-running Bay Area thrash/speed metal band of the same name, Norway’s Heathen is an obscure black metal entity that recently released its debut full length via the mighty Caligari Records.  The first thing that struck me about Heathen is that there is literally no information on them to be found; nothing is known about the band’s lineup, their online presence is meager to say the very least, and they’ve already developed a penchant for self-titling multiple releases. Indeed, there is an air of mystery that surrounds Heathen, but if this excellent tape is anything to go by, rest assured that they have much more than an esoteric image going for them.

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Bretwaldas of Heathen of Doom – Seven Bloodied Ramparts (Caligari Records, 2015)

a1537650385_10It’s been a few months since we last heard from the increasingly prolific Caligari Records, but fear not, because the label has recently released yet another slew of great tapes, the greatest of which just might be Seven Bloodied Ramparts, a reissue of the third album from obscure UK metallers Bretwaldas of Heathen Doom. Originally seeing an extremely limited physical release back in 2010, Seven Bloodied Ramparts might be a bit of an oldie at this point, but make no mistake, this is an album that deserves to be heard well beyond the handful of diehards that picked up on it the first time around.

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Satanic Warmaster – Fimbulwinter (Hells Headbangers, 2015)

satanic warmaster - fimbulwinter coverAlthough Satanic Warmaster has long been one of my favorite black metal bands due to their unwavering commitment to genre traditionalism, I found myself rather underwhelmed by their last full length, 2010’s Nachzehrer.  The production was atrocious (and not in a good way) and to be blunt the songs simply weren’t there; the goofy looking werewolf on the cover and the less than insightful interview SW ringleader Satanic Tyrant Werwolf granted me that year did little to improve my opinion.

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Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (Peaceville, 2015)

DHG_A Umbra Omega_frontcover_original_080115Beginning life as a traditional-sounding Norwegian black metal outfit, Oslo’s Dodheimsgard have evolved drastically with every release, to the point that if you were to play each of their full-length recordings to someone who was completely unfamiliar, they’d likely attribute them to several different bands.  This near-constant state of progression and reinvention has made DHG into one of the most exciting groups to emerge from the Scandinavian second wave, the lengthy periods of inactivity between albums doing nothing whatsoever to dull my anticipation of their next move.

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Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat (Century Media, 2015)

Napalm-Death-Apex-Predator-Easy-MeatHow good is the new Napalm Death death album?  Against all odds, this band continues to age like a fine wine, and Apex Predator – Easy Meat continues the unfuckwithable fifteen-years-and-counting roll they’ve been on since 2000’s Enemy of the Music Business.  I pretty much said everything I have to say about the band’s late-career renaissance in my review of 2012’s Utilitarian, but it’d be downright shameful if I neglected to spill at least a little bit of digital ink on the stunning piece of work they’ve unleashed in 2015.

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