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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Dark Rituals: A Psalm 88 roundup

0003364467_100It’s been a while since I’ve discovered anything particularly worthy of coverage via Bandcamp, but just when I was about to give up hope, I stumbled upon Psalm 88, a sub-label of Berkeley’s Acephale Winter Productions that’s dedicated to producing limited edition C20 cassettes featuring black metal’s rawest of the raw.  The fledgling venture has already cranked out four releases in just a year of existence, all available on tape or for pay-what-you-want download.  All four releases are well worth your time, and you guys know I’m not a fan of lengthy intros, so let’s dive right in.

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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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I remember the future: A look ahead for THKD

lloyd-back-to-the-futureIn 2014, heavy metal wore me out.  Trying to keep up with the seemingly never-ending flood of new releases and developments in the scene while at the same time attempting to allow myself opportunities to enjoy the music purely as a fan finally caught up with me, and for a good chunk of the year, THKD felt more like a chore than like fun.  On top of that, the faux-outrage that lit up my various social media feeds every time someone got their feelings hurt was especially tiresome (although at times entertaining); as exhausted as I am, I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to be offended by everything, or to be convinced that other people are somehow out to ruin heavy metal for you.

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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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Human Bodies – No Life (Caligari Records, 2014)

a3067155656_10Caligari Records has only been active since 2013, but in that time the label has released an ungodly slew of excellent metal with no allegiance to any particular subgenre.  Indeed, the only thread that seems to tie Caligari’s releases together is an ear for quality, and that quality continues to run over the cassette label competition, this time in the form of No Life, the second demo (first EP?) from Boston black metal bruisers Human Bodies.

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Mortuary Drape – Spiritual Independence (Iron Tyrant, 2014)

CDDG4T1-004.pdfOf all the legendary bands making comebacks in the last few years, Mortuary Drape is surely among the most welcome around here at THKD.  It’s been ten long years since the Italians last released a full length, and given the fact that there’s not another black metal band on Earth (or beyond) that sounds quite like them, that’s far, far too long.  Of course, some misgivings are understandable considering the band that now surrounds drummer/vocalist/mainman Wildness Perversion consists of more recent initiates into the Mortuary Drape uh, fold, but rest assured fiends, Herr Perversion’s still got it on Spiritual Independence; in fact he’s still got it to the point that the album stacks up damn impressively next to stone classics such as All the Witches Dance and Tolling 13 Knell.

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