In celebration of Sounds’ first 12 months since the re-launch in October 2016, I thought it would be interesting to go over some of my favourite albums released during this period.
Back in the old days, when Sounds established itself it was known for covering an eclectic, far reaching array of music; known as an early champion of movements such as Punk in the ‘70s and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the ‘80s. It’s due to this history that I wanted to add to that legacy by delving into the more aggressive, darker and heavier side of music that is happening right now.
Full of Hell – ‘Trumpeting Ecstasy’
Their third full length is a fierce, relentless piece of work. Songs averaging ninety seconds to two minutes and a couple of longer tracks. The album has a holistic feel, like it is one swelling, searing song. Seamless transitions, sporting a gritty and robust production. The title track has a haunting female vocal that is a complete departure from the tone set by the remaining tracks. The track is offset with typically throaty and blood curdling screams from Dylan Walker, the band’s vocalist. The groove of the white noise drum beat is a favourite moment of mine. Powerviolence, grindcore, death metal, noise. It’s all in there. Not for the faint hearted. LISTEN: “At the cauldron’s bottom”
Code Orange – ‘Forever’
The second album from Pennsylvania outfit Code Orange picks up from their first album, ‘I Am King’. This band has a unique approach, with three different vocalists being just the start. Incredibly creative Hardcore music from very talented young musicians. Their knack for an infectious groove is catching on wherever they play live, including an appearance on WWE’s NXT program is a huge achievement. The songs are punchy, with a prominent groove and aggression across the tracks that unites them as a whole, despite their marked differences in feel. The style of Code Orange combines this metallic hardcore with some dramatic, atmospheric, almost industrial inspired passages. These interruptions build tension, cutting a track prematurely and unexpectedly, only to explode back into full force. This band are on an upward trajectory of huge proportions and this album has helped this massively. LISTEN: “Real”
Gatecreeper – ‘Sonoran Depravation’
Gatecreeper’s debut album, ‘Sonoran Depravation’ is nine songs, around half an hour, and possibly one of my favourite death metal albums. They wear their influences on their sleeves. So, if Swedish death metal is your thing, mid tempos, slightly faster tempos in the region of punk territory. Hard hitting music, with savage, rusty buzzsaw guitars tuned all the way down and the typically low growls from the vocalist. If this is your thing, then this album is a must. Taking influence from the likes of Dismember, Grave, Morbid Angel and throwing a few flashes of hardcore punk along the way, this album is one I go back to constantly. Every track is rock solid and indispensable. Their upcoming support slot on Cannibal Corpse’s U.S tour is sure to win them more fans. LISTEN: “Flamethrower”
Necrot – ‘Blood Offerings’
Necrot are another band, like Gatecreeper, that are exploring the archives of death metal and concocting a new, dirty and twisted version of it. From Oakland, California, they are establishing themselves as a new beast on the scene and their debut album, ‘Blood Offerings’ is enough to demonstrate why. The 3-piece’s album has a great, muddy production that works perfectly with the songs. Complex music that seems to twist at every turn. Hypnotic riffs, with a thunderous low end and pounding drums, Necrot’s approach to death metal is unique yet familiar feeling. LISTEN: “Rather be dead”
Dead Cross – (self-titled)
I suppose this is a super-group but I doubt the band would appreciate the tag. Dead Cross are Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Mike Patton (Faith No More), Justin Pearson (The Locust) and Mike Crain (Retox). They play a wild, psychotic brand of hardcore punk and this self-titled album is their debut. Mike Patton takes us on grand tour of his wilder vocal personalities. Ranging from trademark croons to cartoon monster with equal brilliance. The band is backed by a monster of a drummer in Dave Lombardo, who should need no introduction. Throw in Justin Pearson from the original, schizophrenic and hugely fun band, The Locust and Mike Crain from Pearson’s other band, Retox. What we have here is a very high octane heavy punk album with frantic vocals that entertain throughout its short running time. A fun album to wake you up. LISTEN: “Idiopathic”
Darkthrone – ‘Arctic Thunder’
‘Arctic Thunder’ is Darkthrone’s sixteenth album. Norway’s Darkthrone are a legendary band that started out on their first album as a cosmic death metal band; then went on to help usher in the second wave of black metal with their second, third and fourth albums. These albums are known to fans as the ‘Unholy Trinity’. After this period, they experimented over the years with other sounds. Exploring crust punk and more traditional brands of heavy metal, they now seem to be closing the circle slightly by returning back to making music with further hints to their black metal history. As raw a production as ever, with Nocturno Culto’s throat ripping screams, crunchy guitars and very powerful, natural drum sounds from Fenriz, this latest offering is a great return after their previous album, ‘The Underground Resistance’ which wasn’t one of my favourites. LISTEN: “Arctic Thunder”
I acknowledge the hundreds of other albums released during this period too, many I was disappointed to leave out. Tweet us your thoughts. What albums would you have picked and more importantly, why?