1: Deathspell Omega - Paracletus

2010-12-15 09:57:09 by johan

Paracletus Paracletus concludes Deathspell Omega's theological trilogy which began with Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice six years ago. Needless to say it's been a long wait, but it's hard to argue it hasn't been worth it. You can still feel some leftover madness from 2007's Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum but it's largely a restrained album (all terms here relative to Deathspell Omega, few others could release such and album and have it referred to as restrained). That said, this is by no means an easy album to listen to or appreciate, it will win no new fans, but if you're already deep in the Deathspell Omega world you will not be able to put this album down. Without a doubt a monumental achievement, one can only wonder where they'll go now.


Deathspell Omega

2: Watain - Lawless Darkness

2010-12-14 08:12:27 by johan

Lawless Darkness In many ways "Lawless Darkness" is the very logical heir to "Sworn to the Dark", it's cleaner, slower and in some respects more epic album than it's predecessor. I like that the vocals are more pronounced, but it feels like the guitars lost out a bit, I'd have preferred a slightly sharper sound and an uncleaner production in general. Despite these small gripes it's still replaced "Sworn to the Dark" as the Watain album I actually the most listen to, I'm sure that will change soon enough but for he foreseeable future this album will remain at the very top of my most listened to albums.



3: Canopy - Menhir

2010-12-12 20:31:54 by johan

Menhir Starting to listen to this album and you might just think you put the wrong disc in, the slow intro, build up and even beginning sound well, soft. Then after around 3 minutes the vocals kick in and well you know you're listening to death metal again. However this isn't normal death metal, it's not even the regressive death metal of Canopy of old, no this is some weird prog death metal. Knowing the bands influences I guess this evolution was inevitable, however at least so far they manage to keep the weight squarely on the death metal part of prog death metal label. It's shifted but it's still there, there is no telling what future efforts will hold but at least so far they are doing their thing really well.



4: Sargeist - Let The Devil In

2010-12-11 23:15:12 by johan

Let The Devil In One of this years pleasant surprises, in many ways pretty rudimentary black metal, but done quite well. The songs are pretty short but they still manage to be catchy and surprisingly memorable. Top notch performances by all involved here clearly propel this album, as with poor execution or production this could have been quite awful, but especially the guitars and vocals are so excellent here that it really makes this a beast of an album.



5: Drudkh - Handfull of Stars

2010-12-10 11:20:50 by johan

Handfull of Stars Drudkh gets the price for least metal album on my list so far this year, while Drukh's folk inspired metal has always been a bit in this direction, the cleaner production (especially on the guitars) takes this album into post-rock. Probably a let down for many die hards, but I do enjoy it, not as much as "Blood In Our Wells" but then few bands ever live up to their greatest moments.



6: Misery Index - Heirs To Thievery

2010-12-09 17:47:47 by johan

Heirs To Thievery I've followed Misery Index since the first EP was released almost ten years ago, and they've pretty consistently released quality death/grind albums. I liked Discordia(2006) better than Traitors(2008), but other than that progress has been pretty linear. So Heirs To Thievery was anticipated and delivered, while I sometimes wish they would have put more emphasis on their grind credentials and less on the classic death metal there is nothing here to really complain about.


Misery Index

7: Burzum - Belus

2010-12-08 15:42:21 by johan

Belus If somebody had told me a year ago that I'd be listing a new Burzum album on my best of list I'd have never believed them. It's been 14 years since I last bought a Burzum album, and with Varg's tirades against traditional instruments (only synth is real!) it was hard to believe I'd ever see this happening. However once out of prison and probably money it seems good old fashion black metal is once again kosher. That's a good thing, cause when he puts his mind to it he can still, unlike other recent ex-convicts, make quite the black metal album.



No, I'm not going to think of the children

2010-12-08 04:25:22 by johan

The Economist's Democracy in America blog today brings us news about the "Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2008". I won't rehash it all here, they do a very good job of explaining why this is a particularly terrible piece of legislation.

Needless to say your next car will probably be quite a bit more expensive, as whoever was in charge of the cost benefit analysis was drowned out by the indignant screams of "won't anybody please think of the children".

Whatever happened to taking responsibility? The reason the kid got run over was not because the car lacked a backup camera (which have been available for many years as long as you're willing to pay for it yourself), he got run over because the person driving the car wasn't paying enough attention. Now it's the car manufacturers fault because the buyer didn't get the optional backup camera? And the rest of us are left footing the bill. George said it best: fuck the children.

8: Ondskapt - Arisen From The Ashes

2010-12-07 12:44:03 by johan

Arisen From The Ashes To nobody's surprise the follow-up to 2005's Dödens Evangelium sounds, well pretty much like its predecessor. The production is better and overall the tempo has gone down, but other than that nothing really stands out as new on this album. In the case of Ondskapt that's not necessarily a bad thing, you get a solid orthodox black metal album, however by the time the next album rolls around I hope a modicum of fresh ideas have infiltrated them.



9: Nightbringer - Apocalypse Sun

2010-12-06 10:58:49 by johan

Apocalypse Sun I remember hearing Nightbringer first on the 2005 split with Temple of Not, well they fell off my radar but reappeared this year with their second album. This album is a bit of an anomaly for me while it features some pretty fast guitar picking, but on the whole the songs are slow, long and repetitive. There are riffs that feel like they go on forever with little or no variation. At the same time it has charm, and is an intriguing album, you easily get drawn in as it sweeps you away.



10: Ash Pool - For Which He Plies The Lash

2010-12-04 19:30:19 by johan

For Which He Plies The Lash This is Ash Pool's second album and little has changed since 2007's "World Turns on its Hinge". The good? Sound is a bit more polished while staying noisy and primitive. The bad? Vocals now frequently foray into some sort of semi-clean territory where this band doesn't really belong. One could make the claim though that the cleanish vocals add to the noise thus making this an even more disgusting album. In the end this is a solid piece of minimalistic, noisy black metal, though definitely not for everyone.


Ash Pool

The 2010 list

2010-12-03 11:34:30 by johan

Here we go again, customarily I will over the next two weeks be posting my top ten albums for 2010. Looking at the releases for this year my only comment right now will be that while on the whole 2010 has been rather disappointing the list itself is very competitive making it very hard to rank the albums that did make the cut. My feeling is that the internal order could change quite dramatically any given day.

Revisisting the 2009 list

2010-11-30 09:59:39 by johan

Looking back at my list from 2009, I think I pretty much still agree. I would rearrange the list slightly but no album has really appeared on my radar that should have been on the list but wasn't, nor has any album on the list so fallen out of favor that I'd have removed it. So with some hindsight after the break is my rearranged list of 2009s best albums:

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Nate Griffin's DMV

2010-06-09 20:16:51 by johan

You know what really grinds my gears? Going to the DMV! Every single time I go they manage to live up to and exceed every bad stereotype you've ever heard.

I arrive, the line is out the door and snakes down along the wall, it takes me 90 minutes to get in and get a number, just so I can go stand in a different line for another hour before somebody will see me, all that so I can spend 5 minutes, pay $44 and get my license renewed.

How is it that the DMV can suck so hard? We're not talking brain surgery here folks, this is dead simple stuff. First of all, the DMV is a monopoly, and a monopoly most of us have to deal with. With no competition there is no incentive to improve, and since everybody knows the DMV sucks it's not something we ever hold our elected official responsible for. I've yet to hear anybody, anywhere tell me they had a good experience at the DMV. So obviously it's not a local problem. Second given the stereotypical DMV visit there are no expectations of you as an employee, yet another incentive for the status quo. Nate got his revenge.