Top 20 Albums of 2013, Personal Picks, #10-1

#10. Infestissumam, by Ghost

“A surprisingly solid album, and a nice channeling of the days of Dio, but a little underwhelming on actual menace or bite; maybe the next one will focus on wrath and allow them to tear things up a bit more.”

#9. The Yellowgoat Sessions, by Yellowgoat

“Crunchy, gritty blasts of old-school death thrash, blended with frosty black metal intensity and punkish snappiness on the drums.”

#8. The Wild Hunt, by Watain

“…a wider variety of musical styles than usual, and they sound more like Ulver than Venom as they employ the different moods.  The songs are well-constructed, frequently intense, and the end of the album feels like emerging from a thunderous, echoing tunnel.”

#7. Sweeden, by Salem’s Pot (reissue)

“Heady, swirling psychedelic acid rock jam, in concentrated and overwhelming form.  This may seem like hyperbole, but it’s not something you should listen to on an empty stomach, as the buzzing edge of the guitar will cut across your nerves and leave you lost, dazed, and confused.”

#6. Thy Kingdom Scum, by Church Of Misery

“…a heavy slab of doom metal stemming very closely from Black Sabbath’s roots.  Bluesy riffs and a relaxed but on-target drumming style merge with hot and heavy guitar noodling, though the average tempos of their songs moves higher than previous albums… does a lot to argue in favor of Church Of Misery’s place in the top doom metal bands currently active.”

#5. Maniac (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), by Rob (reissue)

“The score to the remake of Maniac, provided by the mysterious ‘Rob’ (Robin Coudert), is an impressive work; it blends the ’80s warm-tube synth sounds and style of Jay Chattaway’s score to the original with engineering and production touches drawn from modern electrohouse (Justice, Daft Punk, and so forth), for a disorientingly anachronistic haze of electronic confusion and sickly synth hums, lightly touched up here and there with more traditional score elements… manages to remain cohesive while trying on one new approach after another, and does a splendid job of communicating the film’s uncomfortable sense of unease.”

#4. Mind Control, by Uncle Acid

“An effective channeling of the ’70s’ ‘Satanic panic’ and ‘deadly biker gang runs amok’ films, Mind Control continues the sound of the group’s previous record, Blood Lust, with fuzzy-fuzzy guitar, bass, and vocals, and the drums sounding like they’re in another room. Somehow, they pull off the strange acoustics with aplomb, celebrating both the psychedelic and the doomed…  There’s a story buried underneath all the reverb, but the droning guitar tone and sonorous vocal delivery makes it difficult to concentrate on, requiring repeated listenings from those who want to pick it apart.”

#3. Watch Me Kill You, by Salem’s Pot

“It’s hard to resist comparing this to Electric Wizard, from the drippy font, fondness for imitation woodcut illustrations and the color purple, droning doom metal, and horror miscellany imagery… it would be easy to throw this into the ranks of Bell Witch, Ufomammut, and Church of Misery.”

#2. Spliff & Wesson, by Ladybird

“…a dangerous undertow of bass with enough reverb to make your speakers rumble across the floor, sun-cooked desert rock guitar soup with big doomy production, and enough undulating harmonics to get your head good and properly reeling before it’s spooled out across the floor… This one will be listed alongside Sleep’s Dopesmoker in years to come, for reasons of swirling, riff-loving technique, being colossal, and being a challenging but highly rewarding experience.”

#1. Longing, by Bell Witch (reissue)

“Bell Witch’s debut album is doom metal with a focus on atmosphere.  It’s also one of those albums where the cover art really matches the musical content; the songs of Longing are big and spacy, for the most part, with some spooky thing lurking in the shadows.  In a really impressive move for a debuting doom metal band, they sample none other than Vincent Price (in his Masque of the Red Death role) for a particularly effective stretch of bass resonance and guitar-work that swings like a scythe.  One of the few albums I’ve heard recently that’s compelled me to dim the lights for the listening.”


Got my tape and patch of Yellowgoat today!