Incantation / Funerus / Mortuous / Plague Widow @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA, 01/12/2015

1658248_10154919648200389_4327905701464784151_oThere’s no shortage of great shows happening in Sacramento every month, but the dregs of being a responsible adult often keep me from going to them.  When you’re a corporate lackey that gets up for work bright and early at 6:45 AM, going to a show on a weeknight that doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM isn’t really in the cards.  But there was no way I was going miss out on Incantation; the death metal legends are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a string of West Coast dates, and with Funerus, Mortuous and Plague Widow in tow, this one was guaranteed to be a rager.

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The Hyle – demo (Caligari Records, 2014)

a1700954893_10Earlier in 2014, Caligari Records brought us the debut demo from Denmark’s Demon Head, now the label brings us another round of Danish doom from The Hyle; has Caligari unearthed the beginnings of a retro doom boom in the country that blessed us with King Diamond, only to turn around and damn us with Lars Ulrich?  Ok, two bands do not an entire scene make, but given the excellence both Demon Head and The Hyle exhibit on their first recordings, you can’t help but wonder if there’s something in the water over there.

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THKD’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014 that I didn’t write about.

THKD2014In early December, I decided I wasn’t going to do a year end list.  It isn’t that I’m all of the sudden anti-list; I still love lists, but this year I just wasn’t feeling it.  I gotta be honest, after five years of doing THKD I’m fucking weary, and laboring over a list just felt like yet another metal writing chore.  Besides, if you read the blog regularly and follow me on social media, you already know what I liked this year.

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Scott Walker + Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD, 2014)

ed43c3a1Confession time: I had no idea who Scott Walker was prior to the announcement of Soused.  As those of you who read this here blog on the regular might have guessed, I’m not particularly hip to the avant-garde scene.  Furthermore, I was a tad apprehensive about another Sunn O))) collab being released this year after experiencing Terrestrials, their underwhelming team-up with Norway’s terminally overrated Ulver.  If you’re in the same boat as I, fear not; one doesn’t have to be familiar with Herr Walker’s work to enjoy Soused, and it blows Terrestrials out of the goddamn water.

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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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Compelling Natural Force: A Caligari Records round-up (Heavydeath, Act of Impalement, Ellorsith).

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As Caligari Records continues to pick up steam, it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the avalanche of quality cassettes.  Fifteen releases deep and not a single dud in the bunch is a hell of a track record, and you can pretty much rest assured at this point that anything Caligari puts its name to is going to be excellent.  Case in point: the label’s three latest releases are all very different from one another, but all well worth your time.  So without further ado, let us investigate the latest from Caligari’s cabinet…

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