Every year I come up with a list of albums, and every year I have trouble trying to firmly rank them. Also, doesn’t everyone just scroll to the end to see what the best album is? I know I do. So here’s my list where the first entries are the best, and it gets decidedly fuzzier after that. But one thing is certain, every album on this list is one of the best albums of the year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
(ed: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or just happy Wednesday, whatever. Consider this a break from the family deal where there’s too many bags of torn gift wrap and cousin Eddie is playing banjo on your last nerve. Enjoy Charles’ picks and check all these out seeing as you’ve got all those gift cards and/or extra cash burning a hole in that pocket.)
Welcome to a new monthly..ish column from Charles, where he dives into his Bandcamp addiction each month and indulges in the sin of gluttony, with the intent to force-feed all. The rules and picks are completely his own and there’s no limit on what he includes; genre, quantity, or otherwise. Without further ado…
Do you miss mixtapes? I miss mixtapes.
Twenty years ago, all my music discoveries were coming from Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, a now defunct Canadian magazine that came every month with a CD full of new metal tracks. I discovered so many bands through these discs. Hell, I only just disposed of them a couple years ago; I had one of those ridiculous old giant CD binders filled with discs. So, here’s my take. Continue reading
If you’re a regular reader of my columns on this website, it’s been pretty easy to see the kind of pattern I fall into with my metal listening habits. I’ve made no secret that I like my metal on the more extreme side, in particular the realms of funeral doom, black metal, death metal, and the intersections thereof. Recently, though, I’ve felt like I needed to break out of my rut and see what else has been out there that I’ve been missing out on. Prior to this article, my experience with the diverse world of post-metal was limited to my hometown heroes, Russian Circles and Pelican, with a Red Sparowes album thrown in for good measure. When talking about this with my Nine Circles colleagues, I was bombarded with a slew of highly recommended albums that I had somehow missed out on over the years, and it became clear that this was the avenue I needed to pursue to broaden my metal vocabulary, so to speak. Thus, the seed for this piece was born. Some of these albums are classics that I never got around to visiting, some are more recent releases that simply flew under my radar, but all of them helped rekindle a love for a subgenre that I had been sorely missing out on. Continue reading
Another trip around the sun, another stellar year for metal, with a wealth of riveting riffage, pulverizing beats, blood-curdling growls and blazing tremolos. Verily, this is an era of abundance, where it is impossible to stay on top of the deluge of top-shelf metal released every week. Best of all, quality seems to go hand in hand with quantity. If there ever was an antithesis to the contemporary temptation for instant gratification and disposability, every album I included in my mid-year stocktaking exercise ended up on my end-of-year list, having continued to impress and astonish me as time went by, testament to the spectacular songwriting, boundless creativity and killer riff delivery of the bands that conjured up these stunning works of art. And just when I thought things could not get any better, both seasoned veterans and hungry newcomers arrived, bearing gifts of seismic impact. I hope the following releases enrich your life, even if only with a fraction of the effect they had on me. Now, dig in! Continue reading
Guys, 2015 was pretty rad, at least in terms of music (I’d also argue it was a watershed year in almost all creative and entertainment media I follow, but that’s a different discussion. Plus, I just had a really good year, in general).
The nine albums listed below earned their spots because they stuck with me all year for one reason or another. However, I wanted to give lip service to a few that ultimately didn’t make the top nine, but that still brought some great musical moments into my life. For instance, I have spent many a rainy night nodding to the cyberpunk synthwave of GosT’s Behemoth while riding the train home, feeling like a character in a William Gibson novel; I took long hikes in Oregon’s lower Willamette Valley to the sounds of Enslaved’s In Times and Misthyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu; and I got to experience the sonic energy of Mutoid Man’s Bleeder (and Helium Head) live in its entirety, in what was probably my favorite show of 2015. These little moments are just a few in a year filled with them.
Anyway, enough nostalgic waxing from me. Here’s to hoping 2016 is as good of a year as 2015 (I’m looking at you Gorguts, Gojira, and Horrendous).