Aaron Lariviere

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When the Sky Turns Black (album two) is very much on par with the first one—both forgotten classics. I was never able to track down In Mourning so I can't really comment on that one. The album art looks appropriately bad-90s though, like a perfect companion to Grave's Hating Life. Whoa, just checked spotify and all three albums are available! I know what I'm doing this weekend.
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February 2, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2016
For anyone interested, the entire Obscura album is now streaming over at Guitar World. If nothing else, check out the insane closing track, "Weltseele". http://www.guitarworld.com/news-premieres/obscura-premiere-new-album-akr%C3%B3asis/28620
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February 2, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2016
I remember stumbling onto these guys a few years back and having the exact same awestruck reaction. They have some of my favorite lead guitar parts ever. Another great and occasionally overlooked band from that era is Disincarnate. Their one and only LP, "Dreams of the Carrion Kind," features excellent cover art from Dave McKean, which pairs perfectly with lyrics that occasionally drawn from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics (see "Monarch of the Sleeping Marches"). Along with Brutality, these are two of my favorite death metal bands ever.
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February 2, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2016
Ian and I are both really like that album, but we overlooked it during the deluge of fall releases. It definitely kicks ass though! The structure of the column means we miss things and sometimes don't get a chance to rectify it. C'est la vie
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January 29, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2016
The collective weight of bonus tracks this month is enough to crush a small city. I wanted to pitch probably 20 tracks all by myself, but limitations being what they are, the excess just has to spill down into the comments. One caveat: I'm not gonna link any of the big stuff we're definitely featuring next month (which Doug already mentioned in the intro, like Wormed, Inverloch, Aluk Todolo, etc.). Some of these might reappear next month, if they're eligible, or this might be the most love they get. Let's make the most of our time either way. RAVENSIRE - "Temple at the End of the World" Trad, sweet trad. These Portuguese lads (or old dudes, more likely) play heavy metal the olden way, with album art proudly emblazoned with the image of a warrior dwarf, or a viking or visigoth or someone fierce and hardy and solemn (who happens to resemble a dwarf). And the tunes sound pretty much how you'd expect. What makes it great are the lasting hooks, the excellent playing, and the shredded-larynx gravelly vocals, which give the whole affair some extra teeth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsd9uJryMh4 Ripper - "Neuronal Unity" Another perfectly titled band: ripping, thrashing, gnashing death/thrash from Chile, presented by the ever-impressive Dark Descent Records, featuring some of the best bass playing on a thrash record since you-know-who winked out of this world 30 years ago this September. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv9UbpFLuUw Miasmal - "Fear the New Flesh" One of my favorite of the newer crop of Swedish OSDM bands, Miasmal excel in the lead guitar department, drawing more from crust punk than most of their contemporaries. I'm hoping we get another crack at this next month. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnb5ZHeHIOw Ecferus - "Creation of a New Planet" Stunning cosmic / atmospheric black metal from this one-man USBM "band". For fans of Spectral Lore, Mare Cognitum, and of course Krallice, who edged this one out by the thinnest of hairs (at least in my mind). The musicianship, melodicism, and overall execution here are pretty much mind-blowing, especially considering it's all the product of one dude. I would kill to be this good at guitar OR drums, never mind both. Featuring killer cover art to boot. https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/track/creation-of-a-planet Suspiral - "Poisonour Essence" Another exemplary release from I, Voidhanger Records. This Galician duo plays long-form black/death utterly drenched in wailing lead guitars. Haunting stuff. https://suspiral.bandcamp.com/track/poisonous-essence Borknagar - "Winter Thrice" I posted this back in November before they had a video up, and I'm reposting it again because the album has grown on me even more in intervening months. It's heavily progressive, bountifully-weird, clearly-Scandinavian metal with blackened edges, not unlike recent Enslaved. This track sees original vocalist Garm (of Ulver, Arcturus, and everything else) guesting for a few clean-sung verses alongside ICS Vortex and Vintersorg. This year has already seen an insane amount of top-flight progressive metal in only one month, which is not a sentence I ever thought I'd type, especially not on this site. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDrrKv2wjvk Conan - "Revengeance" Somewhere smack dab between Electric Wizard and High on Fire, you'll find Conan hammering away at their instruments like the self-described cavemen that they are. This track is probably the fastest and shortest thing on the album, which means it sounds much more like High on Fire and much less the rest of the album, but it's perfectly solid and plenty destructive. I recommend listening to the whole thing—it came out today, and you can find it on Spotify right now. https://youtu.be/KT143oJUUKU Obscura - "Sermon of the Seven Sun" Again with the progressive metal. Obscura basically defines progressive death metal in the new millennium, at least to me—they build off the framework of Human-era Death, with nods to Atheist and Cynic (notice the robo-choir vocals at the beginning of this track, directly referencing Cynic's best album, Focus), but the intensity of the playing and the overall orchestration and arrangement of the songs tend to go much further than their progenitors were capable of. The other Black Market guys aren't especially fond of this, and I can understand why—jazz-fusion death prog isn't even an acquired taste, it's an abomination upon all of music, yet I love this record both for the ripping melodeath riffs and the quieter, ambient-acoustic sections that hold it all together. The fretless bass during the quiet parts reminds me of what Michael Manring was doing back on all those Windham Hill records (a label that released a slew of excellent, eclectic "new-age acoustic" records in the 80s and 90s; I'm sure I've already lost you), and when the band trots out the string section on the epic 15 minute closer, you'll either run to the hills or start taking notes. Hey, it's worth hearing once either way. I posted an earlier single way back in the November column's bonus tracks, and one of our regular readers left this comment, which hopefully inspires a listen in at least a few of you: "I think I might like that Obscura song better than anything that made the actual list, which surprises me because I'm not generally a big fan of overly technical death metal. I wouldn't have thought it possible for a tech-death song to be moody, melancholic and subdued, but they nailed it." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LSZMpxh80E
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January 29, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2016
Mickey Rourke's terrible rap on "Shining Star" counts as a cheesy duet, I think.
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January 11, 2016 on R.I.P. David Bowie
Adversarial was literally #51! I think it was #17 on my personal list—such a killer fucking band live and on record.
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December 10, 2015 on The 50 Best Metal Albums Of 2015
In addition to the Baroness recommendation, take a listen to Elder. It won't convert you to death metal or anything, but the guitar work is stunning and the album is approachable. It's more like epic and heavy psychedelic rock.
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December 10, 2015 on The 50 Best Metal Albums Of 2015
There was so much we couldn't cover this month, goddamn. Here's the usual assortment of bonus tracks, in a pitiful attempt to make a dent in the mountain of material that didn't make the master list. Happy holidays, heathens. LYCUS - "Solar Chamber" One of my favorite American funeral doom bands is back for a victory lap. New LP in January; here's your first taste of the gloom. https://lycus.bandcamp.com/ OBSCURA - "Akroasis" One of the nerdier tech-death bands, but also one of the most expressive. This one is moody, melancholic, almost subdued in its virtuosity. There are wheedly-deedlies to be sure, but they never stray beyond the boundaries of good taste. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNAqGrVrcMw FORN - Weltschmerz EP Gilead has a knack for finding bands like this: Forn play haunted, haunting sludge bordering on doom, and they do it better than anyone. I'm just now realizing how impressively depressing all these bonus tracks are. Tis the season, I suppose. https://forn.bandcamp.com/ BORKNAGAR - "The Rhymes of the Mountain" Like Arcturus, Borknagar has never quite been my thing, though I respect what they do. I'm not sure where this slots into their catalog, but I like it more than I thought I would. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoa9w7WB_Xo&feature=youtu.be KETZER - "Starless" Here's one from left field. Five years ago, these guys were the definitive Hells Headbangers black/thrash band, all Satan and bullet belts, the whole shebang. The new album drops all that and somehow lands in Tribulation territory (which is a very good thing), while drawing on a completely separate set of influences (black metal and angular post-punk). Definitely curious to hear the whole album. https://soundcloud.com/metalbladerecords/ketzer-starless/s-eZDYD HEGEMON - "Rays of Lie: There Will Be a Time You Will Give Up" And here's one last paean from the abyss: muscular, melodic metal from a long-running but little-known French black metal act. Highly recommended. You can stream the full album at their bandcamp page; this is my favorite track. http://hegemon.bandcamp.com/track/rays-of-lie-there-will-be-a-time-you-will-give-up
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November 30, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2015
Good call! We snoozed on With the Dead until just after voting closed for the month. I finally heard it over the weekend and it is unquestionably rad. I know we ranked Bismuth quite high, but With the Dead is more my speed, personally.
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November 30, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2015
This month was obscenely overstuffed. My ballot had something like 30 tracks on it (less than half of which appear on the actual list). This month was also drowning in excellent trad metal: Magic Circle is excellent; the new Cauldron is killer, as Ian discusses above; and my favorite of the three, which just missed inclusion here, is this ridiculous slice of perfectly rendered cock rock from Striker: https://soundcloud.com/strikermetal/too-late-1
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November 30, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2015
I neglected to post the link for Lustre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW8WPMEPOUY
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November 1, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – October 2015
Only a handful of bonus tracks this month, but they're all stellar and worth your time. VENEFIXION - Defixio (cassette demo) Best demo I've heard in forever from our friends at Iron Bonehead, with great (non-demo sounding) production to boot. They're French, play a bastardized stew of proto death/black/thrash, but the riffs are melodic and hook-laden, and I think fans of Horrendous or even latter-day Tribulation will find something to love here. https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/venefixion-defixio RAM - "The Usurper" Best arena/trad I've heard in forever. These dudes are Swedish, and they've been doing the trad thing for a while, but I remember their older material being a lot faster (the change is not unwelcome). The last album, and their first for Metal Blade was something of a stumble, but they more than make up for it here. "The Usurper" is one of my favorite songs of recent months, with a perfectly classic chorus. https://soundcloud.com/metalbladerecords/ram-the-usurper ANOMALIE - Refugium LP (including the single "Untouched Walls") Excellent 'post-black' metal from Austria, from one of the guys behind the similar Harakiri for the Sky project. Falls somewhere between black metal, epic melodic doom, and maybe a dash of hardcore/screamo/modern-crust, but it's doing its own thing. Either way, it's catchy as hell with glorious melodic lead guitars all over the place. https://artofpropaganda.bandcamp.com/track/untouched-walls LUSTRE - "Nestle Within" Here's a new standalone single from Lustre, from a forthcoming LP coming sometime next year. Lustre has been moving away from metal for years now with a greater focus on keyboard melody and atmospherics and less shrieking and guitar fuzz, but no matter—I love this stuff. Reminiscent of the quieter parts of other keyboard metal bands like Summoning, Midnight Odyssey, or Burzum's ambient records. P.S. Don't forget to pick up one of the absolute best albums of the year—the latest from Horrendous, which came out yesterday. https://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/anareta
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October 31, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – October 2015
September was fucking obscene in terms of the gluttonous smorgasbord of delectables that fell from the sky into our unworthy laps. Our list above is the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few things that we couldn't cover purely for lack of space: The new Grave album is an evil little ripper. Hopefully it'll get some love next month, if I can squeeze it in. In the meantime here's a lyric video as an appetizer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbAyWFbFmW0&feature=youtu.be New Intronaut seems promising. Super gnarly technical prog-sludge mastery from the reigning champions of that sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ujb4E7oEZq0 Fans of W.A.S.P. should rejoice, cuz the new album is a monster. W.A.S.P. rarely if ever slip, but the new one definitely rules pretty hard. The usual complaint is that it's basically Christian propaganda at this point, which is valid. But if you can detach the moral component from Burzum and listen your despite personal loathing, we may as well do the same in the other direction and give a born-again bro a pass. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S03jsNAiXY I wrote about a new Satan track at Black Market last month, and now you can stream the whole album over at Invisible Oranges. I'm not even kidding when I say there is no better band in metal right now, and these guys have to be pushing 50 by now. Stream first, buy later. Do it. http://www.invisibleoranges.com/2015/09/satan-atom-by-atom/ You might recall a post-punk band made up of metal dudes making some noise a couple years back, and they went by the name Beastmilk. They broke up, lost one guitarist, then quickly reformed after stealing the guitarist from the Oath. Now they're called Grave Pleasures, and the new album looks promising as hell. The singer used to be in Dodheimsgard and Code, so you can pretend you're only interested for metallic reasons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgln-C9_zFY New shit from Abbath! Who the fuck knows why he chose to debut the band with a live track, but the recording sounds sufficiently studio-like and powerful enough to count as a proper single. I hear shades of Motorhead, modern-day Satyricon (not unlike Abbath's previous solo outing, which went by the infinitely unmemorable "I"), and, of course, lots of Immortal. Sounds pretty sick. https://youtu.be/tyZNxzSHb-I For the fans of true metal of death, you'll want to indulge in the new Grave Ritual. Total rudimentary cavernous pummeling, kinda like Grave covering Incantation. Out on Dark Descent soon, this shit rips. https://soundcloud.com/dark-descent-1/grave-ritual-adversary-crown I've spent a lot of the year raving about various bands that draw influence from the Hellenic black metal scene (Scythian, Obsequiae, etc.), but here's one from a long-running, full-blooded Hellenic black metal band from way back when. Varathron were doing this shit alongside Rotting Christ and Necromantia all through the 90s. Fortunately they still rule. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-z5sgybgbI8&feature=youtu.be This hasn't dropped a proper single yet, but I have the album and it fucking kills. Dragged Into Sunlight did a full-on collaboration with Gnaw Their Tongues, and the result is basically Godflesh fed through a black hole. Incredibly gnarly, headache-inducing, life-repellent ugliness. Here's a trailer to tide you over. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wu0O-ald54&feature=youtu.be New shit from Revenge. Hopefully this will get some love next month. You know what to expect, and if you don't, you should find out what you're missing. https://revengeofficial.bandcamp.com/album/behold-total-rejection?mc_cid=6d71c6a1e5&mc_eid=2196dbf5a4 New Panopticon. Pretty sure we forgot to vote for it this month, as this is fantastic. Hopefully another track will arrive for next month's column. http://nordvis.bandcamp.com/album/autumn-eternal Bodyfarm! Death... the brutal way... aka the dutch death metal way, ala Asphyx, Hail of Bullets, et. al. This guys bring in just a hint of melodeath but otherwise it's straight Asphyx worship, which is perfect in my book. This time they even snagged Martin van Drunen for some killer guest vocals on their first single. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6IbUsNl3UA New Abigail Williams... forgot the old stuff. Ken Sorceron was playing with Lord Mantis for a while, and now he's in the new spin-off project whose name I can't recall right now and don't feel like looking up. The current Abigail Williams lineup includes Charlie Fell (formerly of Lord Mantis) and Will Lindsay (formerly of Indian, currently of Lord Mantis). So... fans of Lord Mantis, inquire within. http://www.revolvermag.com/news/abigail-williams-premiere-new-song-path-of-broken-glass.html NEW KILLING JOKE. this actually kills, and I would have written about it if I wasn't so personally swamped with work this month. Best band is best, eternally. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4wdbibV3IM Denner / Sherman is a new EP from the guitarists best known for playing in Mercyful Fate. They brought on the singer from Cage, who has his own brand of ridiculous falsetto, and the results are pretty epic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfllsliM_xY Not metal, still great. THE VISIT. Basically aggro string work paired with gorgeous vocals, it comes off a bit like Dead Can Dance covering Philip Glass. The album is fantastic straight through, and the instrumental bits actually get both shreddy and heavy. Highly recommended. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_ZmL03TLAg&feature=youtu.be And one last one from Dark Descent, I give you: BLOOD INCANTATION. Surprisingly proggy, spacey, awesome, slightly cavernous but generally cleanly produced death metal. Looking forward to hearing the rest of this. http://darkdescentrecords.bandcamp.com/album/interdimensional-extinction And for anyone that missed the news, Martin "Kiddie" Kearns, the drummer for the best death metal band of all time (in my humble opinion), Bolt Thrower, died at the horribly young age of 38. I don't much else to say other than that he will be sorely missed. Cheers.
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September 30, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – September 2015
ok ok, but are the lyrics better or worse than your platonic lyrical ideal, Converge?
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September 24, 2015 on Premature Evaluation: Deafheaven New Bermuda
Grammar nazi karma almost always comes back to bite you. It's absolutely a noun and an adjective, and if you look it up on any dictionary website, it comes up first as a noun.
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September 17, 2015 on How Five Finger Death Punch Got Huge By Writing Songs For Soldiers
It's slightly awkward that I apparently wrote that second paragraph, got distracted, forgot I wrote that second paragraph, then rewrote it from scratch. Welcome to the messy process that is my life.
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September 2, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – August 2015
Totally hear that. Based on that, you may actually prefer the later material. Karl Sanders does the gutturals; Dallas Toler-Wade does the barking midrange vocals (sometimes referred to pejoratively as rapping). Karl did almost all the vocals early on, or at least all the lead vocals, whereas Dallas has done steadily more over time. Check out Those Whom the Gods Detest for another great album in the vein of the new one. The guttural vox are long-running mainman Karl Sanders, while the midrange comes from his right hand man, Dallas Toler-Wade. Dallas's vocals have had a long evolution, from where they were mostly backups in the early day, to where they've taken over the lead role on recent albums.
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September 2, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – August 2015
Glad you like the new one! I'm definitely partial to In Their Darkened Shrines, but the first four are all pretty incredible. Annihilation of the Wicked has basically the same production as the newest album (i.e., heavy as hell, but discernibly clear), so that's another great place to start. The first two are a bit less dynamic and more fixated on relentless blasting, but the songs are generally a bit shorter so it works out pretty well. Decibel did a great Hall of Fame piece on the first album a while back, which is worth unearthing. As for their later stuff: Ithyphallic is worth exploring eventually, as it has some great moments and they explored much slower tempos and more doom riffs, it's just marred by less than awesome production and weirdly mixed vocals. Those Whom the Gods Detest was pretty great, actually—huge, heavy production ala Annihilation of the Wicked or the newest album, and the songs were generally back on track. At the Gate of Sethu is my least favorite album by far, with thin production and also-ran riffing, so I wouldn't even bother until you've exhausted everything else (and they have a lot!).
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September 1, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – August 2015
The whole Nile album is up on Spotify; definitely recommended. There's a block of songs in the middle of the album that just destroy me every time. Here's the first single they released a little while back. We sat on the album for a bit so we could highlight our collective favorite track, but everything on there is pretty insane. The sound quality from youtube is a bit diminished, so definitely check the spotify stream if you can. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSVqclCr4fI
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September 1, 2015 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – August 2015