Demon Head – Demo 2014 (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When traditional/proto-doom is done right, there are few things finer, and few if any bands are doing it better than Demon Head.  The Copenhagen-dwelling quintet recently had a demo tape released by the venerable Caligari Records, and it’s a slow-burning scorcher that quite frankly blows recent big-name practitioners of the style such as Kadavar and Orchid out of the water.  It really is that damn good.

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Fuoco Fatuo – The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains (Caligari Records, 2014)

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When I reviewed Fuoco Fatuo’s suffocatingly heavy EP compilation late last year, I stated that we’d likely have an absolute beast on our hands whenever the band got around to releasing a full length.  I hate to say I told you so, but it turns out this is one of those extremely rare occasions where I was right; the Italian trio have at last unleashed The Viper Slithers in the Ashes of what Remains, and you can rest assured that this crawling king snake of an album is every bit the monster you’d expect it to be.

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Weightlessness – Of Lachrymose Grief (Graceless Recordings, 2014)

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What’s in a name?  I’ll tell you what’s in a name, or rather, what’s not in a name in the case of California doom mongers Weightlessness.  After listening extensively to the band’s Of Lachrymose Grief, I’ve decided that their chosen moniker couldn’t possibly be any more of a misnomer.  You see, “weightlessness” indicates an absence of weight, but this debut EP wields enough down-tuned heft to sink their entire home state into the sea and then some.

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The Sun Through a Telescope – I Die Smiling (Mutants of the Monster, 2013)

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I first made mention of the one-man experimental metal madness that is The Sun Through a Telescope as a band to look out for back in 2011, when Bandcamp was just beginning to worm its way into the hearts and minds of metalheads.  While those early TSTAT releases skewed toward corrosive, feedback-drenched drone, the project took a drastic step forward later on that year with the release of the Summer Darkyard EP, which saw mainman Lee Neutron beginning to incorporate elements of black metal and electronic/industrial music into its apocalyptic framework.  But even that massive evolutionary leap couldn’t prepare me for the all-out insanity of I Die Smiling, which is not only TSTAT’s first full length release but also Herr Neutron’s most compelling and cohesive work to date.
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Sewer Goddess – Mutilation Process (Graceless Recordings, 2013)

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I’ll be the first to admit, I know Jack and shit (and Jack left town) about death industrial, power electronics and noise (aside from the most obvious/popular noise artists such as Merzbow, Prurient and Wolf Eyes), so Sewer Goddess’ Mutilation Process was something of a revelation for me when I received it in the mail from the fine folks at Graceless Recordings.  This twenty-three minute live recording is seriously filthy and fucked up, uglier and more unsettling than approximately 99.9% of the metal albums I’ve heard in the past year or so. Evidently there’s a whole wealth of nastiness and depravity out there waiting for me to explore, but for now let’s focus on this, my first foray into a world of shit.
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Fuoco Fatuo – s/t (Caligari Records, 2013)

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Caligari Records is quickly shaping up to be a label that can do no wrong.  First, they ripped us to shreds with the black thrashing excellence of DeathCult.  Then, they pummeled the gory remains into dust with the chaotic, noise-damaged black metal of Unru.  Now they’ve unleashed the unholy Italian trio known as Fuoco Fatuo to finish us off with a limited run cassette that collects two impressively gnarly EPs (Fuoco Fatuo and 33 Colpi di Schizofrenia Astrale Nell’Abisso Nero) worth of obsidian doom metal.

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Your world will hate this: THKD’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2013

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Normally, this is the part where I get all reflective regarding the year in metal.  I had a scathing year-end rant all ready to go, an ice cold glass of haterade to throw in the faces of the all the people and things that annoyed, dismayed and pissed me off in 2013… and then I read what I’d written and realized that I sounded like a complete dick.  What’s the point in dwelling on the negative when there was so much good this year?  I had one hell of a hard time whittling down my list to just fifteen albums, and there’s still a lot out there that I’ve either yet to hear or yet to fully digest.  It’s pretty darn easy to ignore the mountain of crap when there’s an equally tall mountain of greatness staring you in the face, and yet sometimes I forget that… I guess that’s what my anti-depressants are for.
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THKD’s top 10 metal cassette and vinyl releases of 2013

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2013 is a pretty strange time to be a metal blogger.  Big-time labels won’t send me CDs that probably cost all of a dollar to manufacture, but small labels that probably struggle just to break even don’t hesitate to send me the cassette and vinyl releases they’ve obviously put a great deal of time and effort into, effort that goes far beyond the pressing plant cranking out “product” like so many widgets out of a factory.  With these releases comes a far more intimate relationship; personalized e-mails rather than e-mail blasts from publicists, and a genuine sense that these labels and artists actually care about what I have to say and genuinely appreciate my support.  It’s been an absolute joy to work with the likes of Gilead Media, Sygil Records and Caligari Records, but to be honest when people are so gracious, kind and above all patient, I’m pretty darn hesitant to call my interactions with them “work.”

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Metal Affective Disorder: THKD’s top 10 most depressing metal albums.

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According to my calendar, Winter doesn’t start until December 21st.  I call bullshit.  It’s dark when I get up to go to work in the morning, it’s dark when I get home from work and it’s freezing out.  It’s fucking Winter.  When this time of year rolls around, all I want to do is eat, sleep and listen to depressing music.  I’m not allowed to hibernate, so I cope with the darkness of the season by listening to music that’s equally dark.  Not wanting to keep the displeasure all to myself, I’ve selected ten of the most depressing albums in my Winter rotation to harsh your mellow and keep you appropriately bummed out until Spring rolls around… if you make it that long.

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Fister – Violence (Gogmagogical Records, 2012)

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I was completely unfamiliar with Fister when Gogmagogical Records sent me their Violence EP for review; the band name might lead you to believe we’re dealing with some kind of sex dungeon worthy gore/porno-grind, but instead it turns out I’ve been missing the boat on some seriously sinister-sounding sludge.  The St. Louis-based trio bring the pain in a way that will be familiar to fans of genre heavyweights such as Eyehategod and Iron Monkey, but also incorporates a knack for oppressive textures and atmospheres of a more esoteric variety that’s decidedly their own.
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