This month we continue a revived Hellbound tradition – our monthly staff picks/playlists. Every few weeks we ask our regular and longtime contributors to weigh in on what they’re listening to, watching, going to see… Expect a few quirks and idiosyncrasies now and then, but these are our standard staff pick categories:
Listening to – an album, ep or song from the library shelves (something that isn’t new)
New release – a worthy album, ep or song released within the past couple of months
Live – a recently enjoyed or highly anticipated live recording or gig
Non-metal – an album, ep or song of choice from the non-metal world
Wild card – a recommendation outside of or beyond the above picks
One extra pick for this month: we also asked Hellbounders to name their favourite heavy release of 2018… so far.
Listening to: Art Bergmann – The Apostate LP (Outside Music – June 13, 2016 although the vinyl released has been recently reissued by Weewerk)
New release: Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness LP (Red Music – March 16, 2018)
Non-metal: Ford Madox Ford – This American Blues LP (Porter House Records – February 16, 2018)
Wild card: Vamos – 1,2,3 LP (Maximum Pelt – March 16, 2018)
Best metal of 2018 so far: Fucked And Bound – Suffrage LP (Atomic Action! – March 2, 2018)
Listening to: Tribulation – “Spell” (The Formulas of Death, 2013)
New release: Tribulation – Down Below (released 26/01/2018). Not new but I discovered it recently and I totally recommend it.
Wild card: reading – Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir | movie – Molly’s Game
Best metal of 2018 so far: JINJER – “Pisces” (Live Session) | Napalm Records (to be listened on repeat)
Listening to: one album not new, Metallica’s Death Magnetic. I resisted this when it came out as even my patience was exhausted by years of disappointment. But Death Magnetic really has a raw 80s thrash/NWOBHM metal vibe. I love the production (no apologies for that, it’s an antidote to pro-tools; to me the first four Venom albums have the best production ever, as do the first four Bathory albums). And “All Nightmare Long” is a classic.
New release: Judas Priest Firepower. Just a special band; when they are gone, there will be a void that can’t be filled, so make the most of the Priest while they are still here.
Live: Amsovel at Siege of Limerick this Easter. A great festival always, and Amsovel had a killer raw Venom/ Motorhead/ Hawkwind vibe. The real deal, a special band even though they don’t know it (which may be one of the things that makes this trio special).
Wild card: Mick Fleetwood’s Play On autobiography. A musical soap opera – the Mac must be one of the most screwed up bands of all time – a masterclass in what not to do, and well worth a read (as I type this, their line-up has changed once again; at this rate I’ll be joining soon).
Best metal of 2018 so far: C.O.C’s No Cross, No Crown. An admirable sentiment, and a superb album. We need more bands of this quality and sincerity.
Gene A. Gaona
Listening to: John Carpenter’s Anthology
New release: Vitamin X – Age Of Paranoia (released date May 5th via Southern Lord). A good old fashioned early 80’s Punk sounding record.
Live: Dying Fetus and Thy Art is Murder live in San Jose were both amazing.
Non-metal: Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
Wild card: My recent visit to the famed Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood CA was unbelievably cool; I even did a little write up on the experience.
Listening to: Brujeria – La raza odiada (Roadrunner)
New release: Body Void – I Live Inside a Burning House
Live: Acid Mothers Temple @ The Garrison, April 17
Non-metal: Lindi Ortega – The Comeback Kid
Wild card: Recently discovered the David Simon show Treme, set in post-Katrina New Orleans, with some of the leading actors from The Wire. Great stuff!
Best metal of 2018 so far: Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown is going to be right up there, for sure.
Listening to: Belus – Apophenia. Doomy, psychedelic black metal from Brooklyn.
New release: Aura Noir – Aura Noire. Endlessly repeatable “trash” metal. Out April 27th from Indie recordings.
Live: Reptoid – live at Coalition, Toronto, April 19th. Straight up face-ripping death metal.
Non-metal: Carpenter Brut – Leather Teeth. Absolutely danceable synthwave.
Wild card: The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force – Jeffrey M. Schwartz & Sharon Begley. Fascinating foray into the far reaches of our mysterious minds.
Listening to: I’ve been bingeing on old stuff recently. Monster Magnet, Brant Bjork, The Sword, and most recently Hermano.
New release: I’m gonna go with Used Future by the Sword. It sparked my back catalog binge. It is quite different than their first 3 or 4 albums, but also different than High Country. People have been ripping on this but there’s only one real dud if you cut out the interludes.
Non-metal: I’m walking a fine line here but I’ve been using Lullaby Renditions of Iron Maiden to put my daughter to bed.
Wild-card: I recently watched the extended versions of the three Lord of the Rings movies. It had been SO long. The Hobbit movies are next.
Best of 2018 so far: Some tough competition from the likes of COC, Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu but the surprise release of The Sciences by Sleep on 4/20 takes the cake. It keeps getting better every listen and “Giza Butler” has found a special place in my heart. Al Cisneros is a monster. Matt Pike is Matt Pike. Jason Roeder makes me not cry that Chris Hakius quit music. Couldn’t ask for anything more. [Sleep – The Sciences reviewed by Gruesome Greg]
Robin Trowler – Time and emotion. My favorite album of 2017 filled with awesome blues rock riffs and creative song writing.
Anciients – Heart of Oak. The band really deserved the Juno win. I like this album I find it had equal parts Opeth, High on Fire and Death in just the right amount. Progressive metal at its best.
Striker – Stand in the Fire. Ripping speed metal mixed with power and some trash epics. Good for a Saturday night beer drinking and headbanging gathering.
Paradise Lost – The Plague Within. PL wrote a fantastic album last year called Medusa but this little precursor has all the tidbits you want with a classic PL album. You have your death, doom, groove and gothic melodies, riffs and choruses that epics are made of.
Peter Green – The end of the game. Just a straight up guitar driven psych album. Listeners will find it so easy to get lost in the hypnotic riffs that seem to go on forever. Might say this is a masterpiece for whose so love psych and guitar playing. More than a few modern players have used this one as a benchmark in the style.
Listening to: Iron Maiden — Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Capitol/EMI, 1988)
New release: Dan Weiss — Starebaby (Pi Recordings)
Live: I’m not getting out much, but I’m looking forward to Uriah Heep very soon!
Non-metal: Ralph Towner — Batik (ECM, 1978)
Wild card: WKRP in Cincinnati reruns on MeTV.
Listening to: Pestilence – Testimony of the Ancients
New release: Ghastly – Death Velour
Live: Decibel Metal and Beer Fest
Non-metal: Queen – News of the World
Wild card: Been record shopping a lot more than usual.
Best metal of 2018 so far: Hooded Menace – Ossuarium Silhouettes Unhallowed
Listening to: BENEDICTION – Transcend The Rubicon (Cosmic Key Creations, 2016 reissue)
New release: SLEEP – The Sciences (Third Man Records)
Live: Judas Priest / Saxon / Black Star Riders at the Masonic Temple, Detroit MI
Non-metal: MY BLOODY VALENTINE – Isn’t Anything and Loveless new 2018 vinyl reissues on My Bloody Valentine Records
Wild card: NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Have been really enjoying watching the Toronto Maple Leafs/Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals/Columbus Blue Jackets series. Go Leafs! Go Caps!
Listening to: Vildhjarta – Måsstaden (Century Media, 2012)
New release: Wayfarer – The Dreaming Plain (Single) (Profound Lore Records, 2018)
Live: Satyricon – Live at the Opera with the Norwegian National Opera Chorus (Napalm Records Handels GmbH, 2015)
Non-metal: Ryo Fukui – Scenery (Trio, 1976)
Wild card: The Andrew Haigh film, Lean on Pete (A24, 2018)
Best metal of 2018 so far: Panopticon – The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, Part 1 & 2 (Nordvis, 2018)
Listening to: “Rats” by Ghost, from the forthcoming album Prequelle (Loma Vista Recordings)
New release: Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology (Willowtip Records)
Live: April 11 – Russian Circles w/ King Woman @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto. What spectacular musicians!
Non-metal: The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site (Epitaph)
Wild card: I’ve been vending at some seriously rad artisan markets this past month including my favourite one – Bazaar Of The Bizarre! Occurring roughly twice a year at The Spice Factory in Hamilton (as well as Toronto), this gathering of macabre and misfit crafters is a one stop shop for local, handcrafted goods on the “edgier” side. It’s always a nice afternoon out, and I love that I can grab a beer and drink while I shop.
Best metal of 2018 so far: I’ve got high hopes for that Graveyard new album Peace! (Nuclear Blast)
Listening to: Loss – Horizonless and Bathsheba – Servus
New release: Audrey Horne – Blackout (Napalm, released 12 January 2018)
Non-metal: Phil Collins-era Genesis and early Phil Collins, inspired by the audiobook version of Phil’s autobiography, Not Dead Yet
Wild card: After years of procrastinating, I was finally persuaded by Greber‘s Steve and Marc to start watching The Wire. When I’m not watching NBA playoff games.
Best metal of 2018 so far: Harakiri For The Sky – Arson (AOP)
Listening to: Warning – Watching from a Distance
New release: Altars of Grief – Iris
Non-metal: Phantom Thread (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Jonny Greenwood
Wild card: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
Best metal of 2018 so far: Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart