I’ll probably catch a ton of flack for this, but I have to admit, Gaahl / King ov Hell era Gorgoroth is my favorite Gorgoroth. Don’t get me wrong, early albums such as Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell are classics in their own right, but the band became meaner and more brutal when Gaahl and King entered the picture on Incipit Satan and subsequently began their hostile takeover attempt, beginning with Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan) and culminating in Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam.
More so than just about any other metal album I’ve ever heard, Demoncy’s Joined in Darkness is about creating and sustaining an atmosphere. The music is a trance-inducing hellish miasma of tremolo-picked riffage that seems to move at a snail’s pace; even the fast parts feel like they’re being played at half speed, making it the perfect album to listen to in the dark on a good pair of headphones, preferably while in a heavily altered state.
I can trace my love of all things brutal, blackened and bestial to one album, and that album is Black Witchery’s Desecration of the Holy Kingdom. Sure, I’d already heard Blasphemy when I got my grubby little mitts on it back in 2001, but as nasty as Fallen Angel of Doom was, it didn’t quite grab me by the balls and rip my fuckin’ ears off the same way that Black Witchery’s debut did.
Sacramento’s bestial black/death masters Defecrator recently went on indefinite hiatus, but from their ashes an uglier, more barbaric entity has risen in the form of Abhorrency. The band just posted their debut demo on Bandcamp earlier this month and rest assured it’s some seriously gnarly black shit.
When I first saw the animated music video for “Blackened Call” I was not aware of Finnish artist J.P. Ahonen or his popular web comic Belzebubs. As such, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of a cartoon black metal band romping about the woods, “Call of the Wintermoon” style. I’m more than a bit ashamed to admit that my first thought was “Oh great, a corpse-painted version of Gorillaz,” yet there was something about the combination of quirky comic book visuals and frostbitten yet catchy and melodic black metal that made me want to see/hear more.
With the dawn of the THKD YouTube channel, I decided to do something a little different this year. I’ve split my year end top 20 metal albums list in two; half of them can be found below, the other half on YouTube. So, once you’re done reading this list, head on over to THKD TV and check out the rest of the list… if you don’t mind watching a semi-drunken nerd rant and rave about heavy metal for thirty minutes. But enough of my rambling; as I’ve been saying for almost a decade now, long-winded intros are bullshit. Let’s get on with it.
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.