2020 Preview and January Rankings

It’s winter, so to once again keep us all from that ledge, here’s a reminder that there is a reason we all endure these 3 (fine, 4) fucking months of nonsense–cool metal shit is on the horizon:

1. Festivals

Decibel Metal and Beer–Philadelphia–April 3 and 4

Converge playing Jane Doe and Pig Destroyer doing Prowler in the Yard?  Holy shit!


We are locked in this year, so look for a full report, provided I can remember any details. 

Also, can we get Philly locals Crypt Sermon involved?


Migration–Pittsburgh–August 1 and 2

My hometown of Pittsburgh becomes the center of the US extreme metal universe in August.  Tomb Mold, Spirit Adrift, Vastum, False, Falls of Rauros, Witch Vomit–20 Buck Spin has the deepest lineup of any label out there, and they’ll all be playing in beautiful Millvale, PA, right next to an old steel mill.  To be fair, that’s everywhere in Pittsburgh.

See you fuckers at Grist House.



2. New Records

Carcass–There’s no way it will be as good as Surgical Steel, but then again none of us thought there was any way Surgical Steel would be better than Heartwork, but here we are.

Deftones–On this list last year.  Let’s not make this a Tool thing, guys.

Enslaved–I am nervous about this one, but they are still Enslaved. Remember songs, Ivan?  See if we can get a couple of those on this record. 

Fuck, that’s really it. I hear rumors Argus and Pharaoh may have something in store? Let’s hope see, because otherwise it is shaping up to be a lean year. Though the new Midnight album fucking rules so no one else really needs to put anything out anyways. 


3. Shows

-Opeth–February 14–Riviera

Opeth with Graveyard, two bands I used to love who have…progressed?…into areas I’m not so into.  Still, I recall vividly multiple occasions where an Opeth show stopped my fucking heart, and Mikel is still a great stand up if nothing else. Hopefully the fact that I’m making this our Valentine’s Day celebration doesn’t stop my engagement in its still-fledgling status, but that is a distinct possibility. So boys, how about playing Bleak? That way it won’t be all bad when I’m recounting to my therapist why my life fell apart so I could see a band I’m kind of over. 


-Vader–February 20–Reggie’s

Reggie’s is welcoming some legends this “spring,” starting with Poland’s favorite Slayer-aping death metal lifers. That’s not a knock, by the way–Vader sounds like mechanized Slayer, get over it. De Profundis is still one of my favorite death metal albums ever.  Litany and Revelations both rule, too.  I haven’t kept up with the last couple, but I’m guessing they sound like Slayer. 

 

-Autopsy–March 7–Reggies

Legends part 2.  With Tomb Mold, Vastum, Witch Vomit and others flying the flag of the dirty, gurgling side of death metal, Autopsy is as relevant as ever. And on the back of their own strong output since reforming, this is likely to rule pretty hard.  Also Professor Black is opening! It is probably too much to ask that he mix in some Dawnbringer, but if Superchrist songs don’t give you dumb-metal-face, I mean, what the fuck man.


-Insomnium–March 22–The Forge

On quite the roll with Winter’s Gate and Heart like a Grave. Who wants to drive me to Joliet?

 

-Midnight–March 27–Empty Bottle

Fuck me Athenar.


-Monster Magnet–March 28–Metro

Powertrip in full!  Finally the band realizes this is by far their best record, and won’t play a bunch of BORING SHITTY MEANDERING NONSENSE FROM SPINE OF GOD AND SUPERJUDGE!!

Wow that felt good.  Whew. Fuck you all.  Powertrip and Monolothic Baby! are where its fucking at, and go see the damn show if you don’t believe me. 


JANUARY RANKINGS

An odd grouping of stuff from the year-end lists I didn’t hear the first time around.  A lot of prog/power, but theres also a band called Funeral Fukk, so I’m not getting too classy.

 

1.  High Command–Beyond the Wall of Desolation

Do you wish Power Trip wrote lyrics like The Sword’s first 2 records?  Do you occasionally headbang involuntarily until you stumble into a wall in your apartment? Get this shit immediately. 

 

2.  Wilderun–Veil of Imagination

Well damn, this was out of control.  I had to keep checking that I wasn’t listening to Blackwater Park, and not because the material is too close (though on occasion…). The melding of death metal with legitimate heft and progressive rock hasn’t been done to this level by anyone since Akerfeldt hung them up.  

 

3.  Funeral Fukk–Carnal Confessions

This album is shockingly successful. It executes everything it sets out to do, and invokes Woods of Ypres and Solitude Aeturnus in equal measure while establishing its own lane.  So why isn’t it number 1 of the year, let alone this list? 

Because its a concept album about the victims of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. It is SO fucking good, but how often are you going to find yourself in the mood for that?  Turns out, not that often.  

Let me be clear though–the songwriting is captivating, the riffs are memorable and crushing, and the atmosphere is pitch perfect.

Just–fucking ew, guys, come on.  Ew.  

 

4. Arch/Matheos  and 5. Dimhav

Every year I see power metal albums at the very top of charts, every year I scoop a few up, and then every year I’m reminded–I just don’t really dig power metal.

Except for Pharaoh, for whatever reason.  Get your asses back out here, Pharaoh. 



Up next

Aethyrick–Gnosis

-Blessed Black –Beyond the Crimson Throne

-The Great Old Ones–Cosmicism

-Haunt–Mind Control

Midnight–Rebirth by Blasphemy

Xoth–Interdimensional Invocations