Saturday, January 14, 2012

I decided to assemble a top metal list of 2011 too, if for no other reason so I can praise the greatness of Locrian's latest album. I dug a lot of things on the heavier side in 2011 but wasn't sure how to classify them on the other lists, so here we go. Probably the most interesting metal/noise band for me this year was Horseback, but they (he) didn't release a full length, unless you count the excellent Gorgon Tongue 2CD (Relapse), which combines two releases from 2007 and 2010.

Top Metal of 2011

10. Leviathan True Traitor, True Whore (Profound Lore) CD - Wrest works out his domestic angst with another screaming blitzkrieg of blackened prog thrash hate. Sounds like the last Leviathan record -- that is to say it kicks ass muchly.

9. Liturgy Aesthetica (Thrill Jockey) CD - The most polarizing metal album of 2011. In spots Liturgy is a pretty average black metal band that I can take or leave, but when they turn up the mathy post Zeppelin time signatures and let 'em rip for 7 minutes without interruption (as they do on "Generation"), I'm down for the count.

8. Aluk Todolo Ordre (The Ajna Offensive) CD - Their metal origins are barely perceptible by this point. Equal parts psychedelia, metal, industrial and beyond across two epic dirges.

7. Krallice Diotima (Profound Lore) Cd - Something of a black metal super-group with connections to lots of classy NYC metal and noise acts (Behold...The Arctopus, Orthrelm, Flying Luttenbachers, etc). Diotima is black metal to its core, but progressive (and weird) enough to transcend the genre entirely.

6. Cultus Sabbati Descent Into The Maelstrom (Land Of Decay) CS - Definitely one of the most original black metal releases dropped in 2011. See here.

5. Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand + Aluk Todolo Untitled (WKN) CD - Creeping, crawling industrial fuzz splay meets a haunted hall of mirrors.

4. Wolves In The Throne Room Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord) CD - They still matter, and this is probably their best record yet.

3. Yob Atma (Profound Lore) CD - Doom quotient fulfilled.

2. Locrian The Clearing (Fan Death) LP - A fine followup to the excellent Crystal World that combines ambient textures and full on doom sludge with the occasional black metal squall. Slow and grim, but narcotically alluring thanks to its massed layers of textured distortion. And lest we forget, their excellent cover of Popol Vuh's Dort Ist Der Weg that dropped over the Summer.

1. Blut Aus Nord 777: The Desanctification (Season Of Mist) CD - Of the two Blut Aus Nord records released in 2011, this one is less likely to make you want to kill yourself. Actually it's a moody psychedelic groover that holds sway from beginning to end while rarely kicking up faster than mid-tempo. The Desanctification is pretty mellow for Blut Aus Nord but never boring.


Travis Johnson said...


Anonymous said...

I get confused about what's being called metal these days. Things that are being tagged with "metal" today might have been called "dark ambient" etc. 25 years ago.

I'm confused....

Hmmm...a switch in fashionable tastes? I dunno. I do know that, as a writer, the more I ditch subsubsubsub genre as a descriptor, the better off I am...

Unless of course that descriptor is..."TABLE CORE"

Lee said...

Yeah that's sort of my line of thinking. I use the term metal very loosely these days and skew towards the more abstract side of things. Horseback for instance owes equally to say early Godflesh and early 90s shoegaze, as well as minimal composition, thrash, doom, etc. Destroy all barriers I say (and monsters too).