January 3, 2013

Aaron Sullivan's 2012 Bandcamp favorites

Written by Aaron Sullivan.

It’s hard for me to keep it to some arbitrary number. So instead I will list the ones I enjoyed in no particular order.

Jodis - Black Curtain

Fantastic sophomore album for this supergroup of sorts. As I said in my review "Jodis’ sound have much more in common with Khanate or Jesu than Isis. In fact if you crossed Khanate with later era Earth, this may very well be how the music would sound." This is an album you can get lost in.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Agalloch - Faustian Echos

What can I say about a band I hold so dear. They prove whether it is an album or an E.P. they will deliver every time. Over 20 minutes and you never loose focus or turn away. It grabs you from the start and never lets go. To hear it live was also a highlight of my year.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65

DOOM legends. A title reserved for only a select few, Vitus being one of them. For a comeback album it’s a doozy. As I said in my review "For guys that had not recorded together in almost 15 years this album makes it sound as if they never stopped. This was always my favorite Vitus line up with Wino as the frontman. And while it would have been easy to do a quick record to cash in on past glory, this is not the case at all with Lillie: F-65, I’m glad to see they did not disappoint. This easily stands with their classic albums."

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

The Shadow Principle - Golden State

If Prog is your thing then this is an album worth checking out. As I said in my review "Golden State see them mixing elements of Post Punk, Metal, and Prog Rock. The kind of Prog they play is the kind I enjoy the most. It’s that sneaky kind where at first listen it sounds as though it is your normal rock song. But underneath lurks the little flourishes that show there is so much more going on." Add to this mix a vocal style reminiscent of David Bowie and you get an interesting and original sound.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction

An album that is blowing up everywhere and for a good reason. This is DOOM in it’s purest form. Having released a three song demo two years prior, you had a feeling of what they were capable of. Sorrow and Extinction far exceeded that. When Warning called it a day a void was left in DOOM. One that was vast. Pallbearer may just be the band to fill that.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Alda - :Tahoma:

One of the great Black Metal albums released this year that mix elements of DOOM, and Folk. This seems to be something that is catching on, and I for one am all for it. Alda really pushed forward the ideas that they were going for on their self-titled debut. :Tahoma: is like an album of Pagan camp fire songs.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Behold! The Monolith - Defender, Redeemist

Progressive Sludge with just enough grit and grime to never lose it’s street cred. No song stand still. Just as you get your DOOM on they hit you square upside the head with a riff straight from the Thrash handbook. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys three different times this year and they never disappointed. They sent the crowd into a frenzy. Quite frankly, Behold! wrote the best High on Fire album of the year.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

North - The Great Silence

This was one of the few bands to make my list that I was not familiar with prior. But man am I glad I am now. Playing Atmospheric Sludge with just a touch of Prog. As I said in my review "Whether you call it Post-Metal or Atmospheric Sludge it is a genre that is a bit on the bloated side. And while NORTH may not be innovators. They do enough to shine above the rest. Making a solid album that lends itself to repeated listens (also one that may very well be on my end of year list)." Self fulfilling prophecy perhaps?

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Planks - Funeral Mouth

A fantastic Sludge band out of Germany that I hope continues to gain in popularity. Never ones to rest on their laurels. As I said in my review "Planks has seen a lot of progression in it’s short time as a band. Starting as a Hardcore influenced Sludge band, they began adding Black Metal and Doom elements to later albums. This one adds the element of Atmosphere with great effect. Who knows what future albums will bring in terms of style. It’s just good to see a band want to expand their sound with each release.”

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Chelsea Wolfe - Unknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs

An artist that was brought to my attention thank to her opening slot for Wolves in the Throne Room. The minute I hear her I was hooked. Earlier albums have been described as drone-metal-art-folk. Which is quite fitting. But with this release she strips a lot of what she does to the bare bones. Making songs more intimate and allowing her voice to really shine.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Velnias - RuneEater

The second best album combining Black Metal, DOOM, and Folk comes from Velnias. As I said in my review "As a fan I was anticipating this album for some time. As Sovereign Nocturnal made such an impression on me. There were many delays but it was well worth the wait. The band took what they do so well, expanded on it and refined it. Making an album that was beyond expectation."

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

The Flight of Sleipnir - Ascension

Flight of Sleipnir combines DOOM with Folk in a way I have never heard. Lyrics about Norse mythology and battles. With three full lengths to their name all are quality. Ascension is a compilation album. Combining their demo and first E.P. along with a cover of Pentagram's Be Forewarned and a live version of Algiz from the Algiz + Berkanan album. I for one am a huge fan of this band and look forward to the new album come February.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Kólga - Demo

First off I am a Panopticon fanboy. You tell me he is attached to something and I am checking it out. So when I heard he was a part of Kólga, well you know the rest. This is not too far from what Panopticon does. Raw Atmospheric Black Metal. Three songs clocking in at almost 30 minutes. It’s also free. So if this sounds like something you would like, then you are out of excuses.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Rodha - Raw

Musically this what you would expect from a Sludge band. Heavy and slow. It’s the vocals that really set them apart. They bring a hardcore style to the album that fits well. Helping the lyrics a great deal. As I said in my review "The album is aptly titled. The recording has a rawness to it but more important the emotions contained within the lyrics are raw. You get the feeling these are not just words to be sung, but to be felt."

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

Samothrace - Reverence in Stone

I picked up their first album Life’s Trade after it made Decibel magazine’s year end list. I was glad I did. Playing a slow crushing style of DOOM. Not Funeral and not Death. Rather somewhere in between. For four long years we waited for a follow up and when released my first thought was, “FOUR YEARS AND ALL WE GET IS TWO SONG?!?!?” Oh but what songs they are. More about feeling than actual notes. Songs move like glaciers. Yes it would be nice to get more. But sometimes less is more.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. Alda's album came out two years ago :P But it was put on bandcamp last year so whatevs.

    1. Yeah you're right, should have double checked that. Still, it's a great album :)