Green Druid – Ashen Blood (Earache, 2018)

It seems that not enough people are talking about Green Druid, but they damn well oughta be, because the quartet has released what should rightfully be considered as one of the stickiest of the icky doom metal releases of 2018 in the form of Ashen Blood, out now on Earache Records.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin, 1995)

My wife recently surprised me with tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour, and as such I’ve naturally been compelled to revisit their catalog.  For the longest time I’ve proclaimed that the band’s 1993 breakthrough Siamese Dream was my favorite Pumpkins album, but right now I’m thinking it might actually be Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

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Harm’s Way – Posthuman (Metal Blade Records, 2018)

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.

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Atsushi Onita: Hardest of the Hardcore

Atsushi Onita is generally credited with bringing the deathmatch style of professional wrestling to Japan.  Most American pro wrestling fans are familiar with Japanese deathmatch wrestling thanks to Mick Foley (competing as Cactus Jack), who famously took on Terry Funk in the finals of IWA’s King of Deathmatch tournament on August 30, 1995 at Kawasaki Baseball Stadium, but Onita was having deathmatches in Japan as far back as 1989, even going so far as to create his own promotion, the legendary Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, or FMW.  FMW might be the very first hardcore wrestling promotion, as ECW didn’t go “extreme” until 1994 and Combat Zone Wrestling wasn’t even founded until 1999.

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Misfits – The Devil’s Rain (Misfits Records, 2011)

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.

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Misfits – Wasp Queens (Sonic Boom, 2017)

Given how revered the Glenn Danzig-lead incarnation of the Misfits is and how few people had the opportunity to see them in concert during their heyday, it seems more than a bit unusual that there is only one official live album from that era, the rough and ragged Evilive.  Thankfully, there are a ton of unofficial releases floating around out there, the latest of which is Wasp Queens, a full 1982 live set from NYC’s Irving Plaza with a radio interview from 1981 tacked on for good measure.

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Doyle – II: As We Die (EMP / Monsterman Records, 2017)

Back in 2017, ex-Misfits (Current?  What exactly is the status of the Misfits following the Riot Fest reunions?) guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein released one of the year’s best under-the-radar metal albums in the form of Abominator, a groovy, crushing disc that came off like the bastard child of Danzig and Pantera.  Collaborating with Cancerslug frontman Alex Story, Doyle was finally able to fully step into the spotlight and out of the respective shadows of Glenn Danzig and his brother Jerry Only.

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