Welcome to Dissident Aggression, where we sow the future, reap the present and highlight the past to bring you the underground of The Underground…
First and foremost, wishing all a safe and happy New Year. If 2013 is even half the year 2012 was, musically speaking then we are in for a treat. 2012 really was one of the greatest years for all things metal that I’ve seen in my many years as a fan. Every year though there are great releases I miss. I mean, really, no one can catch them all. So every year I take the last two weeks of December to play catch-up on albums that came out over the previous 12 months. It’s the perfect time to do it as most labels and bands go dormant for the holiday season. Most of the time I’m discovering bands that are completely new to me, but sometimes I find that I missed a gem from a band I already dig. This year I’ve decided to share some of my better findings with you. So without further ado here is ‘the best of what I missed’ from 2012:
Agalloch – Faustian Echoes
I owe myself an apology for this one. Granted this is really only one 20+ minute track (that you can only get in digital format from what I can tell) but I love this band and there’s no reason for me to have missed this one. If you’re a fan of their colossal brand of atmospheric black metal then I highly suggest you give a listen to Faustian Echoes straight away.
Indian Handcrafts – Civil Disobedience For Losers
Indian Handcrafts are a two-piece stoner rock band from Ontario, Canada. You will be hard pressed to find a band that simply rocks the eff out the way this band does. They totally remind me of all the great stoner rock releases from the late 90’s/early 00’s, from bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu Nebula, Orange Goblin, etc. In October they released the full length Civil Disobedience For Losers album. It’s a rock tour de force and totally worth your attention.
If These Trees Could Talk – Red Forest
Akron, Ohio’s If These Trees Could Talk play an ambient yet heavy brand of instrumental post-rock. The songs wax and wane from serene interludes to driving post-hardcore where I could easily imagine someone screaming over top of it all. The mere fact that they’ve chosen the instrumental route speaks to their ability to write songs that are at once engaging and transfixing. If These Trees Could Talk released their debut album Red Forest in March of 2012. Highly recommended for fans of early Anathema, early The Gathering and Red Sparowes.
Usurpress – Trenches of the Netherworld
Selfmadegod Records is one of the better up and coming labels in the underground today so I should have totally seen this one coming. Sweden’s Usurpress play a devastating blend of old school Swedish death metal mixed with crust/d-beat. It hearkens back to the great masters of Swedish death metal – Entombed, Unleashed, Dismember, Grave, etc. – yet also reminds me a lot of bands like Victims, Assuck and His Hero Is Gone. It’s brutally awesome and annihilates everything in it’s path. I expect big things from this band in the future. Their debut full-length, Trenches of the Netherworld, was released back in June. I have no freaking clue how I missed this album but do yourself a favor and don’t miss it any longer.
Rituals – Rituals
Phoenix, Arizona’s Rituals play music specifically designed to sonically pummel you over and over and over again. Their brand of doom is crust and even black metal influenced lending to it this apocalyptic vibe that can just become overbearing at points in the way that great doom metal should. It’s a bleak and oppressive musical experience in all the right ways. Their self-titled album was released back in March and is highly recommended for fans of Neurosis, Rosetta, and Wolves in the Throne Room among other.
Birth of Depravity – The Coming of the Ineffable
Greece has a been a solid contributor to the world of metal for quite some time. You can add Birth of Depravity to that list. This three-piece plays brutal, technical death metal inspired by the likes of Deicide, Suffocation and Krisiun. This is no frills, punch you in the mouth, old school death metal. They just released their full-length album, The Coming of the Ineffable, in November. Definitely worth a listen if you are fan of the bruuuuutal.
Windhand – Windhand
Every genre begins to get watered down as it rises in popularity. You can add the doom and occult rock genres to that ever growing list. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find the occasional diamond amongst the shite. I give you Richmond, Virginia’s Windhand as Exhibit A. These guys and gal play a deliciously dirty mixture of doom metal and stoner/occult rock. It’s equal parts lecherous and enticing as it is sludgy. Their debut self-titled album absolutely oozes with darkness and blasphemy the way bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Electric Wizard have perfected. Fans of those bands will find a lot to like here.
Earthrise – Eras Lost
Earthrise hail from Minneapolis, MN and play a brand of atmospheric post-hardcore that mixes in elements of doom. It reminds me a lot of what bands like Cult of Luna and Old Man Gloom are shooting for, not to mention borrowing from a lot of the great hardcore bands such as Acrid, Coalesce, Converge, etc. They released their full-length album, Eras Lost, back in June. If you are a fan of music that “leaves fault lines, blown eardrums, and empty beer cans in its wake”, as they put it then give this one a try for sure.