Like most pioneers of form or style, Andrew W., founder and sole proprietor of Aversionline, has never really quite received his due as one of the hands-down finest, most incisive writers on hardcore, metal, and its sundry cross-pollinations. Yet on the eve of its eleventh anniversary, his webzine-cum-mp3 blog nevertheless remains one of the primary electronic watering holes where the discerning metal fan can get hip to those aural libations best suited to slaking a thirst for the tru-ist gnashing, wailing, and darkness. (He is also a Decibel subscriber -- coincidence? unlikely! -- and tweets awesome nuggets like "Hours long client phone calls are interrupting today's Brazilian death metal playlist. Not cool" and "Why can't every post-80's Helloween song be as good as 'Paint a New World'? German power metal is waaaaaay too inconsistent.") On a whim I emailed Andrew to ask if he mightn't offer Decibel readers his thoughts on what was hot (or not) in 2010. Happily, it turns out he was not only not...er, averse to the idea, but also appears to be a helluva nice guy to boot. Below (and after the jump) are his six don't miss picks for the year.
Sandokhan/Krupskaya split I just heard this for the first time a few days ago and it completely fried my brain. I don't even know where the hell Sandokhan is from (Germany?), but they tear through 13 tracks of relentless grindcore in less than seven minutes; while Krupskaya unload one of the most fucked up, twisted takes on grind that I've ever encountered. Chaotic, hyper-speed blasts, mangled chord phrasings and Gorguts-like dissonance, maniacal vocals that are all over the place... you've really gotta hear this shit to even begin to understand how crazy it is. I don't know how they're able to make such a frantic attack kick this much ass, but... they do.
Integrity "We are the End" Integrity's another of my all-time favorite bands, and while everything they've done this year has been totally on point, this EP in particular is just mind-blowingly amazing. Five minutes of sinister metallic hardcore perfection that represents the band's most explosive work since "Systems Overload". That's all there is to it.
Militia "Fiend of Misery" Maybe this is cheating since the material was recorded in the late-80's/early-90's, but because it wasn't reissued on CD until 2010 and Stormspell Records is an awesome label, it's going on the list. If I could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of my life, there's a serious possibility that I would choose late-80's/early-90's thrash, and this material (taken from the band's two demos) reminds me of Forbidden's "Twisted Into Form" (which just so happens to be the greatest thrash album in the history of all living things), so... two thumbs up from me. Badass cover art as well!
Red Vienna "s/t" More "extremely un-extreme" goodness from this Canadian act that I referred to as "alternative rock with a little bit of shoegaze fuzz and hints of that dark/somber 'new wave' type of edge" in a write-up earlier this year. I'm an enormous sucker for catchy songs, and the tunes on this EP are just:So. Damn. Catchy. I've seriously listened to some of these tracks like 10 times in a row, and I pretty much never do that. You can buy this as a "name your price" download from their Bandcamp page, and you very well should.
Charred Walls of the Damned "s/t" Despite boasting an "all-star" lineup of Tim "Ripper" Owens, Steve DiGiorgio, Richard Christy, and Jason Suecof (and thus an insane "current and former members of..." list that includes Judas Priest, Death, Sadus, Control Denied, Iced Earth, Capharnaum, and tons more), I just wasn't sure how I'd feel about this album. Well, I was an idiot for doubting its potential mastery, 'cause it rules. Raging, energetic metal with memorable songwriting and killer melodies. I was thoroughly blown away by this record, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for some straight-up, no bullshit metal. Be sure to grab their cover of Powermad's "Nice Dreams" from iTunes, too!
Death in the Park "s/t" Death in the Park is one of Andy Jackson from Hot Rod Circuit's new projects, and Hot Rod Circuit is one of my all-time favorite bands, so... of course I love this. I know, I know, there's absolutely nothing "extreme" about it (Or is it "extremely un-extreme"?), so it's probably not Decibel-worthy, but this is my list, damnit! Andy Jackson's a ridiculously brilliant songwriter, and this material is very similar to Hot Rod Circuit overall. Maybe it's just a tad more "poppy", but it's all gold, I don't care what anyone says! If you're able to stomach infectiously catchy emo/indie rock, I can't speak highly enough of Hot Rod Circuit (I even got Wrnlrd into 'em), and now Death in the Park.