I wasn’t terribly familiar with Harm’s Way prior to getting the promo for Posthuman, but I was somewhat aware of the buzz their previous album Rust had garnered, so I decided to give them a try. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Posthuman is a burly-as-fuck collection of non-stop mosh riffs mixed with electronic elements that wouldn’t be out of place on a late-nineties Godflesh record. It’s an odd combination to be sure, but I’ll be damned if Harm’s Way doesn’t make it work.
Back in my high school days, I ran a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for a small group of friends (because being obsessed with heavy metal, pro wrestling and Star Wars just wasn’t quite nerdy enough). I wish I had known about legendary Austrian black metal duo Summoning back then, because they would’ve made one hell of a soundtrack for those late night RPG sessions. Listening to their latest album, With Doom We Come, takes me back to those days of planning out adventures for those intrepid make believe heroes, filled as they were with orcs, kobolds and of course the occasional dragon.
When Watain dropped the The Wild Hunt back in 2013, I initially praised the band for their willingness to take chances with their sound. But truth be told, I haven’t felt much of an urge to revisit the album since that time, opting instead to reach for their more immediate, visceral works, such as Casus Luciferi and Sworn to the Dark. In retrospect, The Wild Hunt was a good album and an interesting change of pace, but it lacked the sense of urgency and hunger that characterized the band’s finest work, ultimately making it the weakest entry in their storied catalog.
Ah, the intro. This is the part where most writers attempt to regale you with an account of the myriad ups and downs they experienced throughout the year. However, most writers fail to understand one very important fundamental truth: no one cares. So without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of fifteen albums that grabbed a hold of my crank and kept on yankin’ in 2017…
In October of 1988, Sonic Youth released Daydream Nation, an album littered with references to the speculative cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson. While I have never read Gibson’s work (though I have seen the god-awful film adaptation Johnny Mnemonic), it is my understanding that his writing predicted many of the technological and cultural developments we now take for granted, including the ubiquitous influence of computers and the Internet on our daily lives. Just as Gibson’s writings predicted these developments in technology, so too did Daydream Nation predict developments in rock music; if there is such a thing as “speculative music,” then surely Sonic Youth’s sprawling masterpiece (and really their early career as a whole) falls squarely into this category.
Over the past several years, Jerry Only has been both lauded for keeping the Misfits alive and demonized for continuing to milk the Crimson Ghost cash-cow. To say that I’ve been skeptical of the Jerryfits would be an understatement; aside from the Project: 1950 covers album, I hadn’t checked any of the band’s post-Michale Graves discography until this year. Sure, Project: 1950 was a fun little experiment, but there was just something about Only continuing to front the band that didn’t sit well with me.
All of these album anniversaries are starting to make me feel old. But with that said, I can think of few better to celebrate than the silver anniversary of what is arguably Danzig’s masterpiece, How The Gods Kill. I can’t remember exactly what year I bought the album, but I do remember picking it up at one of the three record stores that populated the local shopping mall (ah, the good ol’ days), bringing it home and subsequently being blown away. It immediately struck me as one of the deepest, darkest albums I’d ever heard up to that point in my life, and given that I was still an impressionable teenager, I’d like to think it was one of the key albums that helped to propel me down the path of heavy music.