Saturday, 31 December 2016

Cacophemisms' 2016 lists

Unkle K

In no particular order...

Neurosis - Fires Within Fires
16 - Lifespan of a Moth
Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
Backslider - Motherfucker
Slomatics - Future Echo Returns
Fistula - Longing for Infection
The Ruiner - S/T
Black Mountain - IV
Voivod - Post Society
Looking Glass - Volume 4
With the Dead - S/T (2015)
Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
Holy Serpent - Temples
The Wounded Kings - Visions in Bone
Beastmaker - Lusus Naturae
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard - Y Proffwyd Dwyll
Cobalt - Slow Forever
Wadge - The End of Ethnology

Would have liked to listen more to the following bands' releases: Darkthrone, Weekend Nachos, Magrudergrind, Khemmis, Hornss, Poseidon, Salem's Pot, Moon Coven, Blood Incantation, Hymn, Cowardice.


1. Sumac - What One Becomes
With a sharpened focus in their deconstructive approach to colossal heaviness and nerve wracking tension, Sumac incorporated more drive, momentum and, well, groove on What One Becomes than they did on 2015’s The Deal. The result is a stunning album that moves like tectonic plates shifting and grinding with nature’s unpredictable rhythms. Mountains slowly collapse under prolonged, oppressive dirges, with Aaron Turner’s voice the sound of rock being crushed to dust. Elsewhere, unexpected earthquakes of furious guitar and shattering drums eventually subside to provide glimpses of the tranquillity that follows devastation. And then the tremors start again.

2. Martyrdöd - List
There isn’t much better in life than music that slaps you hard across the face and demands your attention. The first time I played Martyrdöd’s List, it mercilessly set my ears ablaze and my blood surging. I loved its predecessor, Elddop but this strips away the emotional baggage that album carried and shreds with pure, direct intent. Scorching d-beat, face-melting leads and those instantly recognisable dry, scarred, howling vocals all charge full steam ahead. “Dromtid” provides one minute’s respite to catch your breath, but really, I wish this album didn’t stop at all.

3. Khemmis - Hunted
While their debut, Absolution was a good record, Hunted is a great record that sees Khemmis truly hit their stride. It weaves together swathes of doom, metal, rock and prog so smoothly that it’s difficult not to slip and fall headfirst into its vast world of fantasy, adventure and introspection. Nothing feels out of place as the songs advance; purposefully crawling, galloping and soaring on an epic and varied journey through the album. And the best thing is that even as it transports and mesmerises, Hunted also pounds with headbanging triumph.

4. Neurosis - Fires Within Fires
What is left to say about Neurosis, an unstoppable force renowned for rending hearts and minds with the elemental power it wields? Fires Within Fires is, for the most part, warm and familiar. But it also exemplifies Neurosis’ ongoing determination to dig deeper and uncover new aspects of their particular form of expression. Approaches to vocal melody and harmony shine through, especially in “Reach”; some riffs seem to invite more than destroy, such as in “Broken Ground”; and Noah Landis’ noise manipulation washes over everything with persistence and nuance.

5. Ghoul - Dungeon Bastards
Crawling from the sewers of Creepsylvania to once more wreak crossover thrash/death pantomime havoc, Ghoul lured untold legions of numbskulls into their drunken shout-alongs with speedy riffs, searing leads, utterly sick, gut-punching drums and…a board game. And in the ridiculous world we’re faced with, why the fuck wouldn’t we follow a gang of bloodstained sack-wearing cannibals into battle against the tyranny of all our Commandant Dobrunkums? Even if the Omicron Bomb holocaust is inevitable, at least we’ll go out partying.

6. Hammers of Misfortune - Dead Revolution
One of the albums I have listened to most throughout the year, Dead Revolution is compelling from end to end. A high octane prog-metal rollercoaster drawing on everything from Genesis and Deep Purple to Scorpions and Queensryche, it offsets cosmic organ and multi-part vocal harmonies with proto-thrash riffing and stabbing drum fills. I love that a band featuring members of Vhol and Vastum drops into Morricone-style horn pathos (“Here Comes the Sky”) and closes with a brooding traditional previously performed by Bob Dylan (“Days of ‘49”). But for mine, the title track is the highlight, and a great jump off point if anyone out there needs convincing.

7. Bloodiest - S/T
After continuing to listen to this album since reviewing it in June, my perspective on what makes it interesting changed. I hadn’t really focused on the importance of repetition and the sheer distance between the instruments in the recording. Sparse, simple interwoven phrases played by each instrument collectively make the overall mood chilling, allowing small changes to have a huge effect. And the propulsive strength of the rhythms underpinning the music is critical. They don’t seem to have turned that many heads, but Bloodiest are still echoing in mine.

8. Wormrot - Voices
Raging, thrashing, punky grindcore belted out by Singapore’s finest. Having only picked up Voices late in the year, I’m still getting a massive kick out of exploring its details. Throughout Wormrot’s aim-for-the-face attack, maniacal twists and sharp turns are wedged in with suffocating precision. But this is far from an exercise solely in blastbeat carnage. The 20 tracks are diverse and expand Wormrot’s sound into areas of greater melody and more tempered pace. Time will tell whether those elements leave an enduring impression, but for now I’m going to spin it again.

9. Helms Alee - Stillicide
Helms Alee have a unique ability to make grandiose, monumental music that retains an urgent, sweaty jam room vibe. Kick-and-tom-heavy war drum patterns drive Stillicide, with unshakeable, churning, distorted bass providing ballast. Guitars drenched in delay usually tinker and drift overhead, alongside the voices, to create atmosphere. But when they all drop down to join the rhythm section, a roaring monster wakes. Less wild and erratic than Weatherhead, more engaging than Sleepwalking Sailors, Stillicide is a superb chapter in the Helms Alee story.

10. John Carpenter - Lost Themes II
I picked up both 2015’s Lost Themes and its 2016 sequel on a recommendation fairly late in the year and have been absorbing both albums simultaneously; so this one’s a bit of a wildcard. But regardless of which of the albums I play, my reaction is the same. There is something magical about hearing music by John Carpenter - who along with Goblin lit a torch carried by the likes of Zombi, Perturbator and others - because even though it's comparatively barer and cleaner, it’s still engrossing, evocative and unsettling. Recommended comic book pairings: Saga or Black Science.

Honourable mentions:

Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid
Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
Black Mountain - IV
Blood Incantation - Starspawn
Deny the Cross - Alpha Ghoul
Dispossessed - Insurgency
Horse Lords - Interventions
Looking Glass - Volume 4
The Nation Blue - Black
SubRosa - For This We Fought the Battle of Ages


Hierophant - Mass Grave
Deathspell Omega - The Synarchy of Molten Bones
Vermin Womb - Decline
Our Place of Worship is Silence - The Embodiment of Hate
Krypts - Remnants of Expansion
Blood Incantation - Starspawn
Magrudergrind - II
Fistula - Longing for Infection
Fange - Purge
Sex Prisoner - Tannhäuser Gate


1. Looking Glass - Volume 4
2. The Ruiner - S/T
3. Holy Serpent - Temples
4. Elephant Tree - S/T
5. The Levitation Hex - Cohesion
6. Die Antwoord - Suck on This
7. King - Reclaim the Darkness
8. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
9. Conan - Revengeance
10. Sinister Haze - Laid Low in the Dust of Death

Brad K

1. Inverloch - Distance | Collapsed
2. Wadge - The End of Ethnology
3. Blarghstrad - S/T
4. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Arc
5. Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder
6. Self Harm - Hektik Kaos Demo - One to watch in 2017.
7. Backslider - Motherfucker
8. Fistula - Longing for Infection
9. Oniku - Bokujou
10. Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
11. Cliteater - From Enslavement to Clitoration - Mostly coz it's funny.


1. Blood Incantation - Starspawn
2. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts
3. Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
4. Cultes Des Ghoules - Coven, or Evil Ways Instead of Love
5. Perfume - Cosmic Explorer
6. Inverloch - Distance | Collapsed
7. Perturbator - The Uncanny Valley
8. Wadge - The End of Ethnology
9. Spire - Entropy
10. The Ruiner - S/T

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