I haven’t been reviewing movies much lately (or at all) because, ya know, life. But I recently got one of those dandy MoviePasses, so I’ll probably be hitting you guys with a little more if I get the sudden motivation. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching recently.
Ready Player One (3D IMAX BLASTEROID EDITION)
Holy shit. I loved this movie. I’m a sucker for pop culture nostalgia references, and I’m an even bigger sucker for a certain 1980 film set in the Colorado Rockies, so this was the perfect storm for me. I was a big proponent for the book itself, though it is by no means a literary achievement. Like the book, just let yourself be a kid again when watching this. No one does exciting, childlike action quite like Spielberg, and he’s at his fun, 80’s best here. The soundtrack is a blast, the acting is joyously hamfisted, and holy hell, watch this on the biggest, loudest, most 3D screen you can, because this is what a wallet-breaking theater experience is all about.
Isle of Dogs
This is the first movie I have used my MoviePass with, and god damn, I could not have picked a better one. While I really liked Fantastic Mr. Fox, I couldn’t help but feel Wes was holding back a lot to try and appeal to the younger crowd. Being as dark as his comedy usually is, it just didn’t quite feel right watching these foxes not going full Baumbachian-existential-crisis mode. Well, here’s the retry. Dogs is dark, man. Like, not only in tone, but the message delivered, as well. I ate it all up. It’s not only a gorgeous love letter to man’s best friend, but a bitingly nasty take on the world’s political climate. This is a fun watch, and while not a typical Anderson film, it’s enough to satiate long time fans. Put this in the top half of his films.
Ok. Just listen. If you played this at the arcade like I did when I was a kid, you agree that the story behind the action was weak as fuck, but who cares, right? LET’S DESTROY THIS FUCKING CITY! Enter The Rock in a tiny t-shirt (let’s be real, it’s probably an XL) as a Primatologist *giggle* in his early 90’s, Schwarzeneggery best. This is by no means a good movie in the critical sense. And really, there could have been more destruction. But if you go into the movie expecting exactly what this movie is – a dumb arcade game – you’ll probably leave as I did: satisfied with some mutant animals absolutely annihilating a city.
A Quiet Place
Alright, I’m going to blame my experience with this movie on the crowd in the theater – most notably, this Starbucks-sipping basic beezy saying “No, no, no, no don’t, don’t, DON’T” in the most suspenseful of scenes throughout the entire film – but, I’m also going to blame my constant needing to know what other critics think of a film. I don’t always rely on Rotten Tomatoes, especially with horror, but seeing a 95% attached to a straight horror film is still surprising. Was the movie suspenseful, frightening, original, even groundbreaking? Sure. Definitely. Is it meant more to watch at home, away from the buzz of reclining seats, package rustling, popcorn munching, and constant bathroom breaks? For me, absolutely. So, if that shit bothers you like it does me, wait to watch this one at home in the dark. That being said, it’s a cool movie. I’m excited for Krasinski as a filmmaker. He’s definitely got the chops.
Alright, that’s it for me here. This probably sounded like an ad for MoviePass. It’s not in the commercial sense, but you should get one. I haven’t been to the theater this much in one month since I was a kid at the dollar theater on Spokane’s Garland Avenue, so at a measly $10 a month, you should probably get one.
We’ve got a New Year’s surprise for you, as Holly, the host of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, Just Fuck Already, and YouTube channel hollishillis came home for Christmas and drank all day (and part of the night) with CinemAbysmal Editor and co-host of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, and Ed Wood Jesus Do?, Nick!
They’d never seen The Room starring Tommy Wiseau, so accompanied by some Old Fashioned’s, and Christmas sweaters, the two sat down and watched it, and in true CinemAbysmal style, recorded their reactions on video for the hollishillis YouTube channel in the link below! Happy New Year everybody! Do us a solid and Share if you enjoy it!!
Well, here we are! We’ve come to the end of another year, and the hosts of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast are here to round up their favorites. We’ve included some surprises, like some stuff showed on (gasp) television! Amazing writers and directors are choosing this medium over Hollywood lately, so get over it. Anyway, enjoy the picks and let us know if you agree with the selections or want to let us know about any of yours!
10. Logan Lucky
9. Thor: Ragnarok
8. Guardians of the Galaxy 2
5. Legion (FX)
3. Baby Driver
2. Blade Runner 2049
10. Baby Driver
While I will contend that this film is style packed on to very little substance, the style is enough to carry this fucking joy of a film. Ansel Inglberghumperdink kills it, though every shot looks like a different actor. Wright is the king of this kind of movie and a heist flick is always welcome in the Lemons Casa.
This is a brutal fucking film that takes the Alien film and turns it on its microscopic head. Boasting a boring title and a lackluster ad campaign, this film snuck under many noses as just more space peril, but the stellar cast and nihilistic viewpoint thrive in this earth-shattering, intense horror sci-fi flick.
Sure it is French and not as fucked as we could imagine a French horror being, but the thrill of this film comes from the humanity within it. Focusing on a vet student with a lust for human flesh, we see the making of a monster in her most vulnerable and interesting state: maturation.
7. Logan Lucky
Soderbergh is officially king of making films better than they have to be in this rural heist movie; a genre that produces at least one interesting film a year. The film is funny, inventive, and builds around a story of idiots making smart moves.
Pennywise is back in this 80s remake that feels fresh and new, despite rehashing the same King notes down the line.
5. Kong: Skull Island
A frolicking flick for fans of 70s creature horror and Vietnam action fare. A nice mix of old school fun and new school aesthetics bring out the best in a revival of the Kong series.
4. John Wick 2
Easily the most fun I had watching a film all year. Non-stop action pours out and rubs against your legs in a manner that would be creepy if it weren’t so beautiful.
3. The Bad Batch
KEY-AH-NEW! We get more Keanu as he plays a minor villain (?) in a story of a girl caught between warring factions in a dystopic wasteland. Cast, thrills, and story is a lovely morality tale in a land without morality.
2. Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villanueve fucks us all real hard and good in bringing to life the future of Ridley Scott’s world in a film that is brilliant on its own before blasting your mind brain apart with its connections to the 1985 classic.
1. A Ghost Story
Every couple years comes a film that blows your heart apart and depicts some epiphany about the world around us. It changes the way you speak to your loved ones and the way you see yourself. A Ghost Story is that film 100 times over. A triumph unlike anything else.
Just Missed the Cut:
- Kong: Skull Island
- Wonder Woman
- Thor: Ragnarok
10. The Bad Batch
As far as straight-up coolness goes, no film matched this one in 2017. Between the literal trippy scenes, the music, and the jaw-dropping cinematography, this almost alternate dimension, post-apocalyptic thrill ride is sure to quench any action fiend’s thirst. Plus, Jim Carrey being weird as fuck.
9. Marjorie Prime
Holy shit. This is one crazy good flick. Jon Hamm is a hologram. Tim Robbins is at his best since The Shawshank Redemption. Geena Davis’ performance will tear your heart out. If you’re easily upset by dementia and Alzheimer’s in film, this one will probably get to you. It’s a little too indie to catch any awards action, but if I had a vote, I’d be all over this little wonder.
8. A Ghost Story
Oof. Speaking of having your heart torn out. Yeah, yeah, Casey Affleck is an asshole. Don’t fear, though. He spends most of the film under an actual bed sheet. That is beside the point of this incredible movie, though. Casual movie watchers beware: this is not a horror film. There’s hardly any dialogue for long stretches of time. But what it says about us as humans and the mark we leave on those we love is just heart-wrenching. Absolutely beautiful movie.
7. The Big Sick
I finally got around to watching this movie today after hearing about it nonstop for the last year. Oh man. I really dig Woody Allen films, and though this movie reminded me of Allen’s golden age in the late 70’s, it’s something entirely different. With that signature Apatow feel, this true life story between Nanjiani and wife Emily Gordon is funny as hell at times, and gut-wrenching at others. Also, they could not have gotten a better cast together for this. Zoe Kazan is amazing, Ray Romano is hilarious, Holly Hunter kills it, and god damn. Who knew Kumail Nanjiani could carry a film in a lead role? Also, Michael Fucking Showalter directed this! Looking forward to his new career path. Upsetting to see this got snubbed at the Golden Globes, but I recommend this one for anyone that’s enjoyed any Judd Apatow or Woody Allen films.
6. Legion (FX)
I know. It’s TV. But fuck, watch these 8 ‘episodes’ (creator/god Noah Hawley calls them ‘Chapters’) all together and it’s one of the coolest movies you’ll ever see. Yes, it’s Marvel. But it’s nothing like you’ll ever see in that universe. The music is incredible and the cinematography is one of my favorites in anything that I’ve ever seen. I’m fairly sure I watched the seventh chapter four times, and it’s absolutely thrilling to watch. Speaking of snubs, where the hell is Aubrey Plaza’s nomination? Seriously though, check this out if you haven’t yet. It’s essential.
Wow, man. I waited too long to see this one. I love Westerns, and this – though it’s a Marvel film – is one of the best Westerns I’ve ever seen. There’s no cowboys, but there’s pretty much everything else. I really dig James Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma and Cop Land, and the Rated R feel is perfect in this. It’s different than Deadpool, as much of this film is not funny at all, but the violence seems to never let up. I think Patrick Stewart delivers one of the best performances of his career, not to mention Hugh Jackman’s stellar and heartfelt spin as Wolverine. I know that Disney just power-grabbed Fox, but I’m really hoping we’ll get more R-rated superhero flicks. We deserve it.
4. Get Out
There’s not much to say about this flick that hasn’t already been said. So instead, I’ll just tell you how it made me feel. I have never been more uncomfortable sitting in a movie theater. At times, Jordan Peele’s funny side shows, but it’s more like nervous laughter than anything else. Peele designed the film this way, knowing white dudes all over the country were going to be watching it. I sunk lower and lower in my chair as the movie progressed, and though the movie isn’t particularly scary, the chills are incredibly effective in other ways. One of the better metaphorical film packages I’ve ever seen. Jordan Peele directing is going to be pretty damn awesome for years.
I really don’t like going to movie theaters, but I couldn’t pass this one up. So I went twice. Pennywise has been in my life since I was a kid, and I just read the book again last summer to refresh myself for the film. Though I like to fantasize what the first part of this two-headed monster could have been with Fukanaga at the helm, I think Muschietti did a damn fine job bringing history’s most horrifying clown to life. One of the most important things to remember with Pennywise is that It is not just a clown. It’s an interdimensional being out of time as we know it, and this film captures that perfectly. Not to mention, holy shit, some of the finest kid acting I’ve ever seen. I love this damn movie and can’t wait for Part Two.
2. Blade Runner 2049
I noticed that all three of us made this our second favorite film of the year. And if it weren’t for the next one, it would have been my favorite by far. I really dig the original movie, but everyone knows that it’s got its share of problems. Not 2049. This movie is perfect in every single way. Gosling was the perfect choice as the lead, his performance muted, yet commanding. Ford is great as an older Deckard, but the performances are just a small part of this gigantic event. The music, cinematography, story – everything is absolute perfection in this. From beginning to end, I was floored in its scope. Villenueve may be the greatest living director we have…but he’ll have to wait for this next guy to leave the throne first.
1. Twin Peaks: The Return (Showtime)
It’s not technically a movie. I know. But fuck off. It is filmed like a movie, and it’s the weirdest, most fucked up, absolutely beautiful thing we’re ever going to get in a theater or a television set. I’ve been waiting for a return to Twin Peaks for most of my life (not to mention a return from David Lynch doing anything), and now that I’ve finished this round, I don’t think I could be more satisfied. No, it wasn’t the same Twin Peaks. Like, even a little. But what we got instead was David Lynch free to do whatever the fuck he wanted for 18 hours and it is the most batshit insanity he’s ever produced. It’s violent, maddening, ridiculous, beautiful – just one of the craziest things that has ever been produced in any medium. I love that Showtime did this and hope it opens doors for other creative geniuses. Kyle Maclachlan turns in one of the greatest performances of not just his career, but television and film history as not just Dale Cooper, but three brand new characters. And don’t even get me started on Part Eight. This is the greatest hour I’ve ever seen on television, and may be the best and most Lynch piece that Lynch has done in his illustrious career. Fight me. I could legitimately go on for hours about his glorious cinematic event, and if you know me personally, you’ve probably caught some of it already. I’ll leave it here, though: we’re never going to get anything as insane as this again. So if you get a chance, sit down for a weekend and crush this. It’s the best and craziest “movie” you’ll ever see.
We here at CinemAbysmal value art of all kinds, so it felt right to have our members produce a Best of Music list. While we were only able to coax three of them to produce lists, there’s enough here to keep your Spotify busy for an entire weekend – oh yeah, there’s also links at the end of each list to our members’ Best Of 2017 playlists. Party on!
Eric Scot Lemons (Ed Wood Jesus Do? co-host, CinemAbysmal: The Podcast co-host, CinemAbysmal Managing Editor)
10. Twin Peaks: The Return Soundtrack
Jam packed with bands like The Chromatics, The Chromatics, and the Nine Inch Nails, David Lynch reaffirms himself as the mixtape messiah. Kick sand, QT. Boasting lyrics and sounds that highlight the dark brooding nature of the series, this album is an essential for anyone still combing over the fragments of TP:TR.
Favorite Track: Wild West (Roadhouse Mix) by Lissie
9. Fever Ray – Plunge
There perhaps isn’t a better artist than Karin Dreijer when it comes to conveying such an esoteric mood as eloquently as possible. This follow-up to The Knife vocalist’s 2009 Self-Titled album brings forth the same raw energy, poetic hypnotism, and kickass beats, with a refreshed element of clean and seductive wrath.
Favorite Track: To the Moon and Back
8. Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up
This year’s nomination for best slow fuck album. Just lay out on a bear skin rug with a crackling fire roaring, and let your lover see your soul. With a meandering sound, Fleet Foxes return with a sonic depth to accompany Robin Pecknold’s autumnal voice. Its looser song structure lends itself to vinyl play, feeling almost ambient yet folktastically proggy.
Favorite Track: Third of May / Odaigahara
7. Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream
Mike Eagle is an indie underground hip-hop poet avant gardist comedian. BBKSD is a glorious mix of spoken-word-esque flow and vocal backings that simultaneously feel timeless and fresh. There is no other album this year that enveloped me so thoroughly in its perspective.
Favorite Track: Hymnal (Featuring Sammus)
6. IDLES – Brutalism
IDLES was my surprise new favorite band for much of 2017. The album is dirty and angry, and the vocals sound so raspy and untethered to anything but rage. Vocalist Joe Talbot sounds like some mad man plucked from ranting on the street corner to front the band. And while there is a certain stream-of-consciousness outsider art element to the vocals, the music production is so fucking tight that the whole production makes you want to roll in the mud and punch your dad.
Favorite Track: 1049 Gotho
5. Future Islands – The Far Field
Truth be told, this is easily the album to which I listened the most in 2017. While not venturing too far stylistically from 2014’s Singles, TFF captures so much more angst and longing to go along with the band’s pop rock sensibilities. It is fun and dancy, and layered with enough melancholia to enrapture a reformed emo fan like me.
Favorite Track: Ran
4. Perfume Genius – No Shape
For years, Perfume Genius has sort of just existed in my periphery, and I never really attached myself to Mike Hadreas’ music. No Shape changed everything. Rife with a resolute bombasity, Perfume Genius brings the big guns with introspective power ballads and a heightened beauty in the production of this album. This is one I could see being my favorite album of 2017 ten years from now.
Favorite Track: Wreath
3. Brand New – Science Fiction
I have been a Brand New fan since I was in high school and singing Jude Law and the Summer Abroad in my head, as I looked over to the girl I had a crush on with her boyfriend. I am now 33 and happily married, but the lachrymose drenched lyrics of Brand New still hits me right in the sweet spot. Science Fiction is a subtle exploration in intentions versus actions, and the disillusionment that your thirties bring.
Favorite Track: Can’t Get It Out
2. Blanck Mass – World Eater
For much of 2017, I was resigned to the fact that World Eater was one of the greatest things I have ever heard. It is dark, dirty, and complex. It is an industrial EDM album from one half of EDM kingpins, Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power. It is an album I know inside and out thoroughly, and I find it consistently revelatory and refreshing. Put on some fucking headphones, light up the rankest of indicas, and see whatever deity presents itself in the meantime.
Favorite Track: Rhesus Negative
1. Mister Heavenly, Boxing the Moonlight
Full disclosure: For years, I have been a raging Nick Thorburn fan. From The Unicorns to the Serial theme, I just dig his style. That being said, I kinda shrugged of the release of the latest album by Mister Heavenly, one of Thorburn’s many side bands. The second album from the band, Boxing the Moonlight is just one of those albums in which every fucking song is a winner. Whether it be a meditation on physical stimuli versus internal living, or finding excuses not to dance, BtM is a vastly underrated indie pop album from indie pop all-stars. It is fun, light, and heavy all at the same time.
Favorite Track: Beat Down
Eric’s Best of 2017 Spotify Playlist: Eric didn’t make one, so here’s a link to his entire Spotify. He’d probably want you to pore over everything he’s listening to anyway… https://open.spotify.com/user/ericsubpar?si=Ed2KW3yCSySToZcW8_-Mfg
Ian Miles (Ed Wood Jesus Do? co-host, CinemAbysmal: The Podcast guest)
10. Slothrust – Everyone Else
The only reason this album is at the bottom of the list is because it actually was released at the end of 2016, but I didn’t hear it until this year and I have spent so many hours listening to this on repeat, that can’t let it slip out of my top albums of the year.
Favorite Track: Horseshoe Crab might be my favorite song of the year.
9. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
I’ve been pretty into Full of Hell for a while, but they truly outdid themselves with this album. If this were a book, you could open it to any random page and point to any passage, and you would always find the perfect aural description of anger. This album is blindingly pissed.
Favorite Track: My favorite track is Crawling Back to God.
8. Feral Anthem – Empire & Plain
If young Bruce Springsteen was imbued with the spirit of later-in-life Joe Strummer, you not only would come up with the sagest and most handsome songwriting mixture of all time, but you would also come up short in finding a good comparison for Feral Anthem. Just as not only is Jeremy Rouse a friend of mine, his music is colorful, inspiring, warm and undeniably American.
Favorite Track: White Swan Church is the goddamn jam!!!
7. Uniform – Wake in Fright
Deathwave? The child of Alien Sex Fiend and Dark Throne? Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Throbbing Gristle in a blender? I don’t know what to say about this album! It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. It’s dancy and industrial, but produced like a middle finger to your ears.
Favorite Track: My favorite tracks are Habit and The Lost.
6. Fever Ray – Plunge
My love affair with Karin Dreijer-Andersson is no secret! It was impossible for me to not put this on my top ten as I have a portrait of her tattooed on my arm. Fever Ray’s self-titled album was a game changer in my life. I began to hear music differently after its release, and I want to put this album higher on the list, but I have to admit that isn’t my favorite KDA release. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but it feels like leftovers from the last The Knife release. It seems to me rather impersonal, which drives the wedge between myself and this one, but I also know that this isn’t an album for me. I’m a heterosexual white male, and the primary function feels to be an act of sexual liberation for anyone marginalized by the members of my particular gender and station. I can appreciate and support it until I’m blue in the face, but like I said, this album was not made with regard for me. It does have some bangers, though!!!!
Favorite Track: Falling is sexy and empowering, and This Country is an anthem and a half!
5. King Krule – The Ooz
This jazzy, no-wave opiate of an album recalls Portishead and Suicide. Really interesting sonically and lyrically. It feels like a memory from a blacked-out pub crawl, but you can’t figure where or what part of the night it took place.
Favorite Track: I kind of like all the songs on the record equally but special mention should go to Biscuit Town and The Locomotive.
4. Alex Cameron – Forced Witness
This is the sophomore release from Australia’s king of sleaze. When I first heard this album, I was so put off by its shiny pop production but just like his first album, Jumping the Shark, his poignant lyrics began to paint undeniable portraits of such dirtbags and windows into despair, that I couldn’t help but invest more and more. Alex’s characters and tales are so dirty and charming, you can’t help but feel something for them.
Favorite Track: Choice gems are True Lies, Stranger’s Kiss, and Country Figs.
3. King Woman – Created in the Image of Suffering
This was one of those big game changing albums for me. I know there are other folksy metallic gothic Americana out there, but I think King Woman has really defined this doom folk for me. This whole album exists on this untouchable plain where sadness and crushing power meet Kristina Esfandiari’s vocals. Ethereal and iconoclastic at times, she is a howling crone and at other times, she’s a child-like angel frosting the cold and beautiful landscapes of guitar and drums and space.
Favorite Track: Hierophant is my favorite.
2. White Wine – Killer Brilliance
Another musical hero of mine, Joe Haege. I’ve been following this guy’s music for years through 31Knots and Menomena, but I think he’s more than found his ultimate form with White Wine, a project it seems that has gone from an experimental bedroom project with samplers and acoustic guitars, to a full-grown-force of a band of whose grooves are dark, and laden with worldly insight. This album is full of personal philosophies in regards to our technological and human climate, and wild mid-tempo aural textures that are frenetic, nervous, and jam-packed with vaudevillian drama. The sounds are reminiscent of the post-modern masterpieces of the Akira and Blade Runner soundtracks; there are live drums, woodwinds and brutalist synthesizers, as well as orchestral samples. As a whole, the album is scary but approachable like a handsome cyborg in a dark alley?
Favorite Track: Don’t skip a track.
1. Corbin – Mourn
Originally 14 year-old Corbin Smidzik released music under the name Spooky Black, which I lumped into a group with artists like Yung Lean and other sad boi shit-hop, and I’ll admit that when this new album started appearing on different Spotify radio stations, I found myself immediately skipping the songs as soon as they came on. Then I heard Revenge Song and was floored. I decided to give this album a not so passive listen and I’m so glad I did. This kid has got some soul! The music is fantastically simple, lo-fi and tasteful, and the vocals are not just your run of the mill R&B or Vaporwave – meandering but candid, full-throated, and earnest.
Favorite Track: Prime cuts are All Out, Ice Boy, Mourn, No Title, Give Up, Hunker Down… all of them! Every song on this album is a banger!!!!!
Ian’s Best of 2017 Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/seriouslyian/playlist/2MrmurqWk7uctzIPMgeidq?si=w4ZBzChWSXa1_aT3MlyDxQ
Nick Spanjer (CinemAbysmal Editor, Ed Wood Jesus Do? co-host, CinemAbysmal: The Podcast co-host)
I’m a huge metalhead, and normally I need to supplement my year-end list with non-metal releases. Not this year. Brutalists’ brims have boiled over with incredible releases in 2017 and I’ve never had a more difficult time putting together a top ten. I had over 20 albums ready to go as potential contenders, so here’s my agonizingly difficult top ten in metal for 2017.
Just Missed the Cut:
- All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal
- Black Anvil – As Was
- Nova Collective – The Further Side
10. The Faceless – In Becoming a Ghost
I’ve been a fan of these guys since their beginning. Their evolution is crazy, and the leader and only consistent member, Michael Keene, is a bit of a self-obsessed douchebag, but he lets it all out on this new one. The time signatures are insane, when it’s heavy, it’s really heavy, and there are some ridiculously pretty jams on here. Check it out.
Favorite Track: Cup of Mephistopholes
9. Woe – Hope Attrition
If you want some Trump-era anger, crush your speakers with this one. It’s a black metal-soaked aggrofest that is turned up to 11 from beginning to end. Only one album felt angrier this year, but it’s like comparing Bill O’Reilly screaming We’ll Do It Live! to Bobby Knight throwing a chair at referees. Smash everything in sight with this one blaring. Then start it over when it ends.
Favorite Track: Drown Us with Greatness
8. Rings of Saturn – Ultu Ulla
What hasn’t been said about these guys? Since their mind-blowing debut back in 2011, I haven’t really seen a band catch more shit from purist elitists. I don’t care, though. This album slays. From beginning to end, it’s brain-bending banger after banger with enough otherworldly technicality to make Stephen Hawking jump out of his chair and start a circle pit. Even if you’ve written these guys off, check this album out. It’s so damn good.
Favorite Track: The Macrocosm
7. Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy
Remember above when I said one album was angrier this year? This is it. 11 tracks clock in at a mere 23 minutes, but it’s some of the most furious music I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s cool to see Ian felt the same way about this one, and it’s turning up on most year-end metal lists I’ve seen. Well deserved. This is grind at its best.
Favorite Track: The Cosmic Vein
6. The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy
Anyone that knows me well will tell you how much I love H.P. Lovecraft’s writing. It’s dark, unforgiving, but unthinkably beautiful. This is what The Great Old Ones have given us with their new one. Epic would be the right word to use to describe this album, but it’s deserving of a much more grandiose adjective that probably hasn’t been invented yet. Every song feels like it’s caught on a storm-soaked beachfront being attacked by some indescribable, towering monster from another dimension. This is a deathy black metal masterpiece that will surely gain more loving attention with each passing year.
Favorite Track: The Shadow Over Innsmouth
5. Entheos – Dark Future
There are not many frontmen that have a more commanding presence over songs than Chaney Crabb. Which is confounding, since she fronts a band that includes ex-members of Animosity, Animals as Leaders, and The Faceless. Holy hell, is this lineup amazing. The time signatures are incredibly challenging, almost taunting jazz musicians, and each song feels more intense and melts your brain more than the last. I’m excited to see where this band goes in the future, but for now, we may have to view this band as the future. Also, Chaney Crabb rules. I hope this gets more kick-ass women to partake in extreme music.
Favorite Track: Inverted Earth (I)
4. Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky
Now begins the part where my brain turned to mush and poured out of my ears trying to figure out the top spot of the year. Honestly, it could have been any of these next four. We’ll start with this one. WOW comes to mind with Underneath a Melting Sky. I’ve really enjoyed Inanimate Existence for a few years, but thought their last album was a bit of a misstep, with some clean vocal sections in areas that just didn’t feel right. But this one. Oh man, is this a cool album. Not since Fallujah have I heard a band blend technicality and all-out beauty so well. They were just kicked off the tour with The Faceless, so I might catch some flak for including both one the same list, but who gives a shit? This is an incredibly well-done record, and I catch something new from it every time I listen.
Favorite Track: Old Man In the Meadow
3. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
I’ve seen this one on almost every year-end list, and it’s more than well-deserved. I’m not really much of a thrash guy, and usually need some real extremity out of the frontman if I’m going to dig it, ala Black Fast or Skeletonwitch. Well, here it is. The perfect blend of thrash brutality and hardcore energy. I’ve heard their shows are a blast, and this becomes extremely evident with every single track on Nightmare Logic. Whether you’re looking for a fist-pumping chorus or a Repo Man-era solo, this album has enough raw energy and fun packed into it to turn your grandma’s backyard into a scene at the end of a Motley Crue video. This one has endless replayability. Party on.
Favorite Track: Nightmare Logic
2. The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers
No surprise here. Being a ‘Blast Fiend,’ TBDM shows up on my annual list every other year like clockwork, and this one may be at the top of their eight release catalog for me. They have been my favorite band since their initial full length back in 2003, and almost fifteen years later, that has not changed a bit. Singer Trevor Strnad has never written more extreme lyrics, and may be becoming one of America’s best horror writers in any format. I love new member Brandon Ellis’ lead guitar work, his 80’s squeals working extremely well with the mind-numbingly fast riffing all over Nightbringers. This might be the best lineup the Detroit fiends have ever had, and if this next album on my list had not come out this year, it probably would have been my number one with a silver bullet.
Favorite Track: Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake
1. Archspire – Relentless Mutation
There is so much to say about this album. I really have liked Archspire for a while, digging deep into what Spotify has to offer in the Technical Death Metal arena. They show up often on playlists and similar artists’ radios, but this release really puts them in a class all their own. The riffing and drumwork is almost robotic, making you wonder how human beings are even capable of producing the sounds and speeds that are coming through your speakers or headphones. Oliver Rae Aleron’s vocals are unimaginably spit out at speeds that are beyond human comprehension, making rappers like Twista look silly (Aleron also recently started a GoFundMe to get The Faceless singer/guitarist Michael Keene singing lessons, in response to kicking Inanimate Existence off their tour – which I find hilarious). Really though, nothing beats this album this year, and may even be the historical crowning achievement for the world of Technical Death Metal. If you spend 30 minutes listening to any metal album this year, make it this one.
Favorite Track: A Dark Horizontal
Nick’s Best of 2017 Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1213386057/playlist/6b7WwpsBMxaxnhdyxrSrzB?si=-P0-pqNTRsGKFX1FWsv4FQ