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.
It’s hard to believe that Marduk have been at it for close to thirty years now, harder still to believe that the Swedish black metal stalwarts have maintained such a consistent level of quality over the years with regard to their recorded output. Case in point, Viktoria is the band’s fourteenth album and it picks up right where 2015’s excellent Frontschwein left off, pulverizing listeners with yet another blasphemous blitzkrieg of World War II-themed black metal.
When I was in college, there were a few instances where I was beyond dirt poor. Back then, people actually still gave a shit about CDs, so painful as it was, I’d sell off chunks of my music collection so that I could like, pay my bills and eat ‘n’ shit. One of the CDs I sold was an original pressing of Birdflesh’s Night of the Ultimate Mosh on Razorback Recordings.
That was really stupid of me.
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.
Swedish black metal band Marduk recently had the Oakland, CA date of their tour with Incantation cancelled due to certain groups that shall remain nameless lobbing threats at the venue and the Oakland Police Department being unable to guarantee the safety of concert goers.
Formed in 1995, Sweden’s Soils of Fate are OGs of slamming death metal. Their two early full lengths, 2001’s Sandstorm and 2003’s Crime Syndicate are the purest distillations of slam you’re ever likely to hear and are among the genre’s seminal releases. After a decade-long break from recording, the band returned in 2014 with Thin The Heard, arguably their grooviest and most crushing album to date. I recently caught up with founding guitarist Magnus Lindvall to discuss the band’s return, their influences and whether or not we’d have to wait another decade for the next Soils of Fate album.
Many moons ago Relapse Records introduced me to noise. That’s probably a bit hard to imagine for younger folks that only know the label as the beard metal stronghold it is today, but trust me, way back when Relapse was releasing some seriously bonkers shit. You see, Relapse used to have a sub-label called Release Entertainment and it was to noise, dark ambient and experimental music what Relapse once was to death metal, grindcore and the like.