December 31, 2013

Ulla - My Year 2013 In Review

Written by Ulla Roschat.

There is of course no way to log-out from this year correctly without doing a list of what was best. So here is my list in terms of music. The list is easy to read. First I listed albums I reviewed for various blogs (Metal Bandcamp, Free Your Soul, and the now closed Temple of Perdition) and I just added some lines from the reviews. Then I listed all the great releases I unfortunately hadn't have the time (yet) to review. so they stand here quasi naked, but no less loved by me. The order is only roughly be understood as a ranking. That's why I put no numbers to them.

Eibon - II

This is about 2x20 minutes of violence, dispair, pain and hopelessness with the vigorous organic intensity of a live recording. Eibon absolutely capture the atmospheres and emotions of Otto Dix's triptych Der Krieg, which they chose as cover artwork, and they transformed the painted artwork into a richly textured soundscape of atmospheric blackened doom.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cultura Tres - Rezando al Miedo

Cover art from the painting "Day of Judgement" by Damian Michaels.

Intricate multi layered structures and an enormous dynamic range are the base and frame on which Cultura Tres build and which they fill with their individual blend of sludge, doom, psychedelia. blues, drone, folk and whatnot. With their unique use of bent, blue notes and dissonances they create a special sense of hypnotic creepiness and alienation.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Nightslug - Dismal Fucker

This is the epitome of sludge, a nasty grimy monster that crawls through your ears into your brain to rearrange your poor brain cells with unrelenting thick heavy riffs, punishing drums and vicious vocals. This is a head spinning trip through destructive rage and groove laden doom. It's bold, abrasive, brutal and slugs right into your face.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Cult of Occult - Hic Est Domus Diaboli

This is the devil's house and Cult of Occult cordially invite you to enter. Images of occultish doomy atmosphere. ritualistic rhythms, slow heavy abrasive sludge, waves of distortion and screaming vocals with the energy of a hot blazing firestorm accompany you during your visit in this house.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Year Of No Light - Tocsin

Is it the fact that the album is entirely instrumental, or Year of No Light's experience of actually having made movie soundtracks, the overall dark and orchestral sound (3 guitars, 2 drums, 1 bass, 4 of 6 band members taking care of all electronic sounds keys/synths) or their ability to create that incredible balance and tension between heaviness and atmospheric parts of which both strike with devastating emotional impact?... whatever might be to blame for creating movies in my head... who cares.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Lords of Bukkake - Desagravio

There's intensity all over - the intensity of direct nasty brutality, of the depressive heavy doom and of the intricate jazzy structures that drench everything in a kind of jazz-doom mood thats absolutely amazing. And Lords of Bukkake merge it all so well into an organic experience with a feel of chaotic anarchy not least because of the insanely brilliant jammy guitar solos with a huge amount of emotional impact.

Napalm Christ - 2013 Demo

This is an utterly refreshing mixture of grinding crust HC, death, sludge and doom metal. Refreshing it is especially because Napalm Christ's style of combining the elements is so unique. They don't simply throw them all together into a cauldron and stir and boil them to one clump. Instead all is dispersed in unequal lots to the songs to give each a different taste of the atmosphere.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Buioingola - Dopo l'Apnea

Artwork by Virgilio

With their mix of black, ambient, post, sludge metal, some crusty HC and industrial influences Buioingola create atmospheres of darkness and discomfort in different shades and nuances. There are moments of dispair and fear, panic, desolation and sorrow and most of all there's an overwhelming feeling of melancholy and detachment.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Deep - Vol 1

This is a lysergic trip on a thick fuzzy magic carpet through various places and atmospheres, always carrying a bit of the previous mood to the next place and still each place, each song has its own magical mood, drawn from a variety of musical styles and influences. With a kind of wild and anarchic creativity Deep made an album that takes you on a magic trip with unexpected turns to unexpected places (Deep's Bandcamp is streaming-only).

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Shroud Eater - Dead Ends

Here are groove ridden swampy sludge riffs, furious tribal drumming, thick driving basslines and bellowing howling vocals drenched in a haunting and brooding atmosphere. Dead Ends is a coloss, the sound is monolithic, but what amazes me most is the way the musicians play off each other.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]


This is a superb blend of atmospheric post metal and doom. Most striking are the slow and long build ups that are able to carry their tension into the ambient soundscapes without drowning all the subtler details. This gives the songs a kind of filigree elegance and texture still embraced by doomy heaviness.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Obelyskkh - Hymn To Pan

A sense of lushness is carried through the entire album. Be it the strong compelling melodies, the violent, heavy riffs, the psychedelic vibe, ritualistic chants and rhythms or even the beautiful quiet piano parts, everything breathes abundance. And this sense of lushness and abundance gets even enhanced and multiplied, because Obelyskkh max out their dynamic range and use it effectively by either creating contrasts or slow build ups of energy.

Dopethrone - II

I'm sure Dopethrone have no blood running through their veins, but filthy sticky mud, pumped through their bodies by blues filled hearts. They don't breath air but dark smoke and they blow it right into your face. Their bundled energy hits hard. Thick heavy punishing riffs, tons of distortion numbs your mind to ease the way for the demonically snarling vocals to spit their venom into your heart.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu

Cover art by Costin Chioreanu

Colorful psychedelic space rock and cold, dark, bleak, black metal - two mood settings that are millions of miles apart from one other, one should think, but Oranssi Pazuzu show us that they don't only get on well together, but that they can create completely new atmospheres. Different styles and elements laid upon each other in varying manners, intertwining and merging, thus creating depths, intensity, and motion.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Boneworm - Boneworm

The songs take about 666 years to expand and pour their viscous corrosive venom into your ears to unfold gloomy soundscapes in your heart. Ostensibly unobtrusive, but relentlessly intense and menacing they carry a sense of omniscience and inescapability where no hurry or outburst of rage is necessary. You are doomed, there is no way out of it.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Plague Mask - The Frailty of Human Existence

Art by Václav Trajer

"Blackenedstonerrocksludgedoom"! Short as this EP is, no second is wasted here. Plague Mask experiment and play with contrasts, tempo changes and musical styles to create cohesive but varying moods. It leaves a hint and a feel of this quite young band (formed 2011) being capable of refining their already individual style.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Palm Desert - Adayoff

This band spends one day in the studio and comes out with an album that sounds breathtakingly soulful. It proves that brilliant musicianship doesn't necessarily need overly intricate constructions and yet is able to create exciting music that contains a veriety of moods and facets. A kind of laid-back unobtrusive attitude and tons of heartfelt tunes is all Palm Desert need to create something special.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Tentacle - Ingot Eye
Fyrnask - Eldir Nótt
The Disease Concept - Your Destroyer
In The Company Of Serpents - Of the Flock
Uzala - Tales of Blood & Fire
Curse the Son - Psychache
Young Hunter - Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain
Coltsblood - Beyond the Lake of Madness
Barbarian Fist - Demo 2013
Massive Thunderfuck - Kill the Thunder (Demo)

Now having logged-out correctly there shouldn't be any problems to log-in to 2014.
Thank you Max for letting me be a part of Metal Bandcamp!
A Happy New Year to you all!

  1. Great list Ulla. Your Temple of Perdition list led me to some terrific discoveries. Here's some for you: Dark Buddha Rising - 'Dakhmandal', Sea of Bones - 'The Earth Wants Us Dead', Ocean Chief - 'Sten', and what about Inter Arma - 'Sky Burial'?

    I've subscribed to your Wicked Lady Show podcast to keep up with you in 2014.

    1. Thanks! I'll check out all your recommendations. It's like always: So much music, so little time.

      And thanks for subscribing to the podcast!

    2. So little time indeed…I'm relying on you to do the heavy lifting for me next year!

      Altar of Plagues ruled 2013 for me. I'll probably have it inscribed on my headstone that I promoted a gig for them :)

      My full list is at:

      I've a feeling you might enjoy #40 in particular.

    3. Thanks for your trust in me :)
      Hopefully 2014 will be an equally good year for music.

      Beast in the Field, yes one of those albums I didn't get to listen to.
      Great list btw.

  2. That Cult of Occult album is seriously hypnotic. I may have gone into a trance listening to it last night, and I may have done...things, as a result. Horrible, horrible things. But it's O.K. Nobody liked my neighbors that much. :)

    1. Haha, hypnotic indeed... and everybody who knew your neighbors will be thankful :)

  3. Thank you very much for including Plague Mask in with such great releases. It means a lot to me to see that.

    1. "The Frailty..." totally deserves it. The only flaw is, it is too short, but that makes me all the more curious about your next release.

  4. I really like that Year Of No Light album. Vanessa Salvia wrote about it on Invisible Oranges "I spend many hours nearly each day writing about something or another, and I need music, but I also need to be able to think my own thoughts ... so I need heavy but melodic instrumental music that is interesting and expansive but that doesn't need me". And that is a perfect description of Tocsin.

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  6. Cant disagree with any of the bands here, great list Ulla. I see the Palm Desert album which is great, I forgot about that one when putting my list together, as well as Plague Mask.

    1. Thanks Clint. We should make a list called: "The forgotten albums" :D my entries would be Lumbar, Blood Red Water, When the Deadbolt Breaks, Jucifer...

    2. ... Buzzherd, Fister, HuataBitcho Split, opium Lord, Meth Drinker/Moloch Split, Iron Heel. :)