Thursday, December 21, 2017

Top 20 Albums of 2017

Hopefully by now, no one is tired of seeing another End Of The Year list.  As a music fan, I always enjoyed these, especially if I see something on someone's list that I must have missed.  But today, I give praise to some of this year's releases that helped me get through the year.  This one was tough because a lot of my favorite bands and artist came out with a new album.  And there were a lot of new bands and artist that just caught my attention.  But I was able to bring it down to 20.  So hopefully some of you will enjoy this list.  And let's hope for another awesome year for music lovers.

#20. Succumb - Succumb

When it comes to The Flenser, I usually rely on them for some post-punk/shoegaze influence bands.  Never did I think that they would put out something so brutal and haunting.  One of the reason why I love Succumb's self-titled release.  It is so gut wrenching and a vile atmosphere, which makes this album one of the most unique death metal albums of 2017.

#19. Kamikaze Girls - Sea Foam

A huge shoot-out to James of This Noise Is Ours.  After hearing Sea Foam, I can't help but adore Kamikaze Girls.  Their blend of pop-punk and indie punk is just in-your-face.  This UK duo create some great riffs to rock out and a chorus to sing along.  Every track on Sea Foam is just well written, that it really takes you to a happy place.

#18. Sick Wish - Riddlevoid

Who would have thought that Brett Nelson of Built To Spill would start a killer post-punk band in Sick Wish.  Everything about Riddlevoid is the reason why I'm so in love with the Boise music scene.  The textures in Riddlevoid is really dream-like.  As if you're up in the sky, just spinning around the clouds.

#17. Brain Fragment - LSD Is Good For You

LSD Is Good For You is a album that makes you see a very different side of punk.  What Dave and Luis have created is something that makes Brain Fragment stand out in the punk scene.  To me, this defines what artistic freedom can take you.  The shape of jazz and punk to come with this album.

#16. Iron Reagan - Crossover Ministry

Can't have a heavy metal party without blasting Crossover Ministry.  One of the most fun record to listen this year.  Every track on this record is meant to be turned up to 11.  Just like with Municipal Waste, Tony brings his love for 80's crossover to a generation who didn't grew up when DRI and Cryptic Slaughter where making some noise in the underground scene.  Crossover Ministry is a album that will take you back to the days of ripped jeans and denim vest.

#15. Unearthly Trance - Stalking The Ghost

Unearthly Trance is one of those bands that totally changed on how we look at doom and sludge.  With Stalking The Ghost, Unearthly Trance continue to push their sound.  The album is heavy, it has sweet riffs, and it takes you to a sonic paradise.

#14. King Woman - Created In The Image Of Suffering

Created In The Image Of Suffering is a step forward from their ep, Doubt.  For sure it's way heavier.  When listening to this album, I imagine being in a dark room, surrounded by fog, while a angelic voice is sing in the background.  The riffs are very crushing, and goes very well with Kristina's vocals.  If you want your doom with singing, and not growls, then this album is perfect for you.

#13. Dr. Colossus - The Dank

The Dank is a perfect doom love letter one of my favorite tv shows of all time, The Simpsons.  These heavy blokes from the land from down under sure made doom/stoner a fun experience.  Some of the best Simpsons episodes are mentioned here, and you can't help but look back at being a wee lad, watching the telly on Sunday night.  The fact that there's a song about our favorite school bus driver (Otto), should bring a warm feeling in your heart.

#12. Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks - Aes Sidhe

From As in the Wilderness to Mo Anam Cara, Joy Shannon has come a long way to creating a sound that will make her the artist she is now.  On Aes Sidhe, we hear Joy and her Beauty Marks evolving their sound.  Sarah of Ides of Gemini does guest vocals on a track, and it's everything I hoped for.  And Xasthur contributes to a track, which makes Aes Sidhe more enjoyable.  It's really great to hear Ms. Shannon pushing herself and creating something so genuine.  This was a album that got me through 2017.

#11. Myrkur - Mareridt

What Myrkur contributes to black metal, isn't something very fond to the more traditionalist.  But for someone like me who grew up listening to bands that create their own World, from many atmosphere and soundscapes, it is very welcoming.  Amalie Bruun may not be considered "trve", but she is one hell of an artist.  On Mareridt, Amalie holds her sound with pride.  It's who she is now, and I can't help but show admiration.  Her track with Chelsea Wolfe is beautiful and goes to show how much other artist respect Myrkur.  If there's anything about Mareridt, it's that Myrkur has found her place.

#10. Bathsheba - Servus

A awesome addition to the doom scene.  When you hear those apocalyptic riffs, you know that Servcus is gonna be one crushing album.  When the album opens up with "Conjuration of Fire", it feels like walking into a city of ruins.  And Michelle Nocon's vocals guides you through it.  If you're a fan of doom, definitely have this in your collection,

#9. Black Pussy - Power

Black Pussy is a band that I discovered this year, thanks to Doomed and Stoned.  Sadly for some reason, this over political correctness society took issue with the band name.  But of course this did not stop me from purchasing Power.  Listening to Black Pussy, it's everything I was hoping for.  The band just ooze of 70's sleaze and psychedelia.  On Power, they capture everything from an era that had a impact on my generation, when that retro phase was blossoming.  Spin this on your turntable and you're gonna have a great time.

#8. Sun Blood Stories - It Runs Around the Room with Us

I like to think that Sun Blood Stories defines what the Boise music scene is all about.  And that's finding your own identity.  It Runs Around the Room with Us is a great experimental rock album that takes you to places that you probably didn't think exist.  "Great Destroyer" is a track that shows what Sun Blood Stories are capable of.  It Runs Around the Room with Us made me a fan of Blood Sun Stories, and really looking forward to what they brew next.  Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

#7. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Murder of the Universe

I really feel like people should keep their ears open to the Land Down Under.  King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard should be a band on your radar.  Murder of the Universe is one of five albums that they put out this year.  And it is one hell of a psychedelic trip.  King Gizzard take you into a fantasy journey that will satisfy your inner geek.  I assure you that you haven't heard anything like Murder of the Universe.

#6. Drab Majesty - The Demonstration

We need more aliens from outer space to create more post-punk music.  The Demonstration feels like a blast in the past, into a World that was ruled by synthesizers, reverb drenched guitars, and vocals full of melancholy.  When giving this album a spin, you can't help but slow dance all alone, in your room.  Drab Majesty is one of those bands that made the whole 80's synth pop revival very genuine.  The Demonstration sounds like a album that came from the 80's, instead of "trying" to sound like the 80's.

#5. Mutoid Man - War Moans

When I heard Mutoid Man's first single, "Kiss Of Death", I got super psyched for War Moans.  And when I heard the whole album, it did not disappoint.  Where almost every metal band screams, Mutoid Man is one of few heavy bands that sing their heart out.  War Moans is a album full of catchy riffs and songs that makes you sing along.  And I'm pretty sure this exceeded everyone's expectation.

#4. Gold - The Optimist

One of the most amazing shoegaze bands to come out in recent years is Gold.  Their latest album, The Optimist,  brings new life to the shoegaze genre.  It's heavy, has lots of atmosphere, it can get dark, and very dreamy.  The Optimist creates a wall of sound around you, and builds a soundscape that feels like an oasis.

#3. Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun

Listening to Hiss Spun, I feel that Chelsea Wolfe has really exceeded herself.  It feels like the more Chelsea delves into the dark, the more we hear her create something that makes Chelsea Wolfe stand out more.  Hiss Spun feels like a lucid dream, where you just want to dig deeper and see what else lies ahead.  Hiss Spun has sealed herself as Queen of doomy-dark rock.

#2. Full Of Hell - Trumpeting Ecstasy

Full Of Hell is a band that breath new life into extreme music.  They really capture the intensity of what death metal and grindcore means to us fans.  Trumpeting Ecstasy is a album that fans have been waiting.  Once you give this album a spin, it just rips your face off, with aggression.  It's a album that continues to push boundaries, which is what makes Full Of Hell one of the most unique bands out there.  And they will continue pushing their sound as long as they're around.

#1. Monarch! - Never Forever

Since listening to Dead Men Tell No Tales, about 7 years ago, I knew that Monarch! were gonna be major players in the funeral doom scene.  Just the way they presented themselves, I knew there was something special about them.  Never Forever is a perfect evolution to Monarch's heavy sound.  It brings a nightmarish soundscape, which drags you into their dark World.  The use of glass bottles clinking together on "Cadaverine" was a fun addition.  The way Monarch! is able to add beauty to something that's heavy on gloom, is what makes them so special.  If you want to know what's the buzz about Monarch!, then go pick up Never Forever, and be sure to have it blasting.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Brain Fragment - LSD Is Good For You (2017)

It's been said many times that bands these days don't take risk.  Everyone wants to be successful and quit their day job so they can live off their music.  And I guess in order to do that, you have to play it safe.  It also seems that most bands think that being "experimental" is crossing two well know sub-genres that people are very familiar with.  When listening to Brain Fragment, you know they're really pushing things to a new level.  And they know the risk, which makes their sound adventurous.  
On LSD Is Good For You, what we get is "fun chaos".  There's definitely songs on here to get wild and have a good time.  Like when you hit the play button, and "Jammin'" comes blaring out of the speakers; you know that "outer-space/alien" sound means "this is gonna rip".  Then "Kill Yourself" follows next.  And you just can't help yourself say "holy shit" when you hear Dave's killer bass tone, and Luis jazz influence drum beats.  "I Become A Monster" is the punk rock song that this generation needs.  And as loud and vicious Brain Fragment can get, I really dig "Dandelion Kisses".  It reminds me of the late-80's post-hardcore bands like Rites Of Spring.
I like to thing that if Frank Zappa was still alive, he would had put out LSD Is Good For You on Bizarre Records.  To me, this album defines what free-form music and artistic freedom represents.  When you have no one to answer, and just create what you love; it brings out something organic and very real.  And it's those exact things that Brain Fragment brings to the table.  The musicianship between Dave and Luis is really tight and compliment each other very well.  Especially when it comes to vocal duty.  There are really great dynamics between Dave and Luis.  If you love your hardcore punk with a taste of jazz and avant-garde/psych, then LSD Is Good For You will be up your alley.  So follow the snail trail for one hell of a mind-trip

LSD Is Good For You gets "5 Hitlers Punched In The Face".

And if you're on Facebook, give them a LIKE at:

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Great Sadness - WEEP (2017)

First off, I have to give huge props to Doom & Stoned for introducing me to this band.  To see that they are from L.A., makes me proud.  And we sure as hell need more artist like The Great Sadness and Aboleth, here in the SoCal scene.  When you first hear that guitar riff, it feels like being slammed into the glass by a defenseman at Staples Center.  And to accompany it is one powerful voice and a skinsman with a mighty stick.  A sick combo for a heavy blues duo.
If their first two releases didn't get you hook, then I'm sure WEEP will do the job.  After hearing the hearing the S/T EP, you pretty much knew The Great Sadness were gonna make some huge noise.  On "Enough"- drummer, McNeely starts things with hitting the snare, as if he's getting the troops ready for battle.  Or in this case, a rock'm heavy blues jam session.  Cathy Cooper then comes in and brings her awesome riffs and bluesy vocals.  "Birdman" is probably their most rock'n track on WEEP.  It's a track with a killer riff that makes you stomp your foot on the ground and bang your head.  The Great Sadness also have a sweet twang, and "Desperate" is a track that displays it very well.
On their first full-length, The Great Sadness managed to keep everything flowing smooth.  The guitar tone sounds killer.  No doubt about that.  To me, that what give The Great Sadness their identity.  Cathy and Stephen are one hell of a combo that play off each other very well.  Every chord and beat played, feels natural and has soul.  They flow very well with the sound that Cooper and McNeely have created.  Heavy blues has been something that is really getting my attention.  And if I wasn't already a fan of the sub-genre, then The Great Sadness would seal it for me.  WEEP is a album that packs a lot of POWER.  They may not be heavy in a sonic sense, but they manage to be heavy by putting a lot of heart in their music.  It's probably the reason why you'll see a lot of bloggers and music journalist giving a lot of praise to this awesome L.A. duo.

WEEP deserve my stamp of approval with "5 Hitlers Punched In The Face".

You can purchase WEEP at

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Faethom - Fury Of The Scorned Witch (2016)

When first hearing Faethom, I knew their was something special about them.  There have been many bands who try to bridge 80's metal and the more modern sound.  Most of the times, it feels a bit safe that I tend to not have any interest.  But the way Faethom are able to capture their sound, totally caught my attention.  The blend of 80's metal with Black Metal.  The King Diamond inspired horror stories.  And of course a synth sound that reminds me of John Carpenter.
On Faethom's 2nd full-length, Fury of the Scorned Witch, we are told a tale of a fictional mining town in Bolivia, where the minors suffer by a demonic entity called "El Tio".  During the album, we come across other characters who hold something dark inside.  The album opens up with "A Ghastly Funeral Curse" which has a dark and creepy atmosphere.  Very Carpenter-esque.  "Slaves to the Dawn" then follows with some ripping guitar work by David Diacrono.  "Soul-Eating Mountain" is great instrumental jam that fits well with the Andean Folklore influence.  "The Fanatical Swarm" is probably my favorite track, and also displays Mariela Muerte's vocal style.
With October on it's way, it's that time to get in the Halloween spirit.  And to me, Fury of the Scorned Witch should feel right at home.  This is a album that should click with all generations in the metal scene.  Especially with a lot of bands bringing back that old school sound.  The album also features tracks from the Mark of the Devil ep, which to me, sounds better as a stand-alone.  Faethom have shown that they have something special.  Which is why I give Fury of the Scorned Witch 5 Hitlers Punched in the Face.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Aeonic Impulse - A Night For The Troubled (2016)

Ever since people started to get into Rush, Tool, and Opeth, I've notice a lot of people forming a lot of Prog bands, and then bashing other bands for not being "Prog" or "being diverse".  If done right, Prog can totally be a musical journey where you can set your mind free.  But most Prog bands I hear try to be Rush or Opeth.  Or they throw a barrage of self-wankery.  With A Night For The Troubled by Aeonic Impulse, I do not get any of that.  You do hear a band with many influences trying to bring that all together, and make it as one.
On the first track, "View of the Sunset", you hear some Tool influence in the sound.  Seeing that we already have Socionic doing the whole Tool thing, wasn't sure if Aeonic Impulse was another Prog band doing the Tool thing.  But by "Part II: Regretful Insomnia", you start hearing some post-hardcore in the sound, which by then I started to get hook.  Of course my favorite will be the last track "Part VI: View of the Sunrise"  Mainly because you hear some Post-Rock/Post-Metal in that song.  The build-up was well done and executed.  And hearing Charlie Chaplin's speech from The Great Dictator was a nice touch as things were building up.
As the album goes from track-to-track, things start to change up without sounding like another band.  That's the one thing I can get behind Aeonic Impulse and still get into the album without losing interest.  Nothing feels force, which I also like because it makes the music flow nicely.  A Night For The Troubled is definitely a album that not only Prog fans can get into, but also fans of experimental music, and maybe your casual listeners.  You can totally rock out to this album and also let the sound just sink in.

A Night For The Troubled gets "5 Hitlers Punched In The Face" Approval.

You can purchase the CD on their Bandcamp page:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Green Room (2015)

For anyone who is familiar with underground/DIY bands, you've heard the stories about the road.  The struggles of getting to the next town with little money or looking for a place to crash.  But the one I do hear a lot is the altercations a lot of bands have with the locals.  In Green Room, director Jeremy Saulnier brings this nightmare to the screens.
We are introduced to a punk band, trying to get from town to town, so they can play a gig, get paid, and then move on to the next.  The band made a stop at Portland (or some other Northwestern town) and met up with the promoter.  Sadly the venue that they were booked canceled the show, due to the previous band who played there.  But the promoter was able to book them at a diner.  Things didn't go that well and didn't make enough money at the door.  The promoter was able to help them get another gig so they can get some gas money to drive back home.  The only thing is that it's a neo-nazi skinhead bar.  The band agrees to play the show and make there way to the gig.  Once upon arrival, they meet the staff and are escorted to the green room until there set begins.  Once they hit the stage, they start off with a cover of Dead Kennedy's "Nazi Punks Fuck Off".  Of course the crowd wasn't having it, so they go to their originals, which the crowd enjoyed more.  After their set, they head back to the green room to get their stuff, but see that their stuff is out in the hallway.  They grab there stuff and head on out.  But one of the band members forgets his cell phone and runs back to the green room.  Once he enters, he see's a dead woman laying on the floor with a knife stuck in her head.  He then tries to run out and calls 911, but the staff catches him and brings back the whole band back to the green room.  Scared that the staff my try to hurt them for witnessing a murder, the band barricade themselves inside the green room while holding the bouncer hostage.  The situation would then bring the bar owner and ring leader played by the great Patrick Stewart.  The bar owner tries to talk the band to open the door, but the band doesn't trust him, thus frustrating the owner.  So later in the night, the bar owner ends the show and have his staff to gather some red lace skins.  From here, things start to get intense as the boneheads try to get inside the green room, as the band try to fight them off and look for a escape. Sadly, some will lose their lives as others will be changed by this event.
Green Room does bring out some intense scenes that make you hold on to your seat.  And as charming as Stewart's character can be, at the same time he can be frightening.  There may not be a lot of bloodshed, but whatever violence they show, it's pretty brutal.  Green Room is definitely a movie that fans of action and suspense will enjoy.  Especially with today's political environment, I'm sure there are some people who will enjoy some dead neo-nazi boneheads.

Excited For 2017

Well, we are in the end of January, and so far I've been enjoying what has come out.  Some kick arse movies will be coming out this spring.  New albums by Joy Shannon, Swartwoud, and King Women will be coming out.  And of course some killer shows.
This month I haven't done any reviews or a podcast, but I hope to be more active in February.  The one thing I want to do is record the Lock Your Doors podcast.  I'm also hoping to do some interviews very soon.  Right now I've been very busy with Diclonius.  Finally I've been getting some bookings and it's been really fun.  I do hope to record some new demos.  I'll still be promoting shows on the Code 415 fb page and I hope everyone is following it.  So please go out and support the arts.  Especially in a time where unity is very important.  Hope everyone enjoys the rest of 2017.  Peace out, girl scout.  

Mikey O)))
-Code 415 Blog-