Tape Wyrm XXXVI: 2012 Amendments Tape Wyrm XXXVI: 2012 Amendments

Things I missed in 2012

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I think in other posts I have made it clear that I am not infallible. Despite my best wishes to model myself after an emotionless onboard sentient computer for a spaceship, I am merely one human aboard. This is why I can do these sorts of thing. This is why I am making end notes to my top 10 of 2012. Amendments or an epilogue that would accompany the top 10 list. Shit I missed or whatever you would like to call it. This is it. In a larger scope, a month is an infinitesimal amount of time and is but a spec when considering the ages and eons that pass this sentient spaceship while I sleep in suspended animation. The great computer watches over me and monitors my health status. Below are odds and ends that either I was unaware of or couldn’t find a proper place for in the end of the year. Being January now, they are still deserving of credit and recognition. I would like to thank the metal community at large for their dedication to new music and also making me aware of something that I would have otherwise missed. I do not wish to acknowledge the means in which you did so, namely a brick though my front window, but nevertheless, the sentiment is noted. Computer. Set course for December 15th 2012. Computer. Computer respond.

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359589Palace of Worms / Mastery – Split

And we start with a tape. Palace of Worms is a one man black metal project based in San Francisco, California, which concerns itself in the end times and general feelings of hate. In 2010, Palace of Worms had a wonderful release, Lifting the Veil, which scared the ever lasting life out of me. 2012 saw a split between Palace of Worms and fellow one man San Francisco black metal project Mastery. Splits are hard to make room for at the end of the year because they do not have the same weight as full length albums. Regardless, these handful of tracks are near beautiful in their atmosphere and despondent disposition and they deserve a mention. Palace of Worm’s mid-fi production value compliments the whirlwind of vocals and guitars which flood the songs like angry goddamn hornets. The fury on Palace of Worms compliments, Mastery’s lo-fi odyssey, which stretches to nearly 10 minutes. The Mastery side is also a rare chance to actually see a release from this creator as the project has sparsely released demos for nearly a decade. I am sure a release from Mastery will trigger the end times, or at least the robotic revolt that will plunge humankind into its first galactic war.

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tumblr_mf551lp0GY1qbm1eio1_400The Wandering Midget – From the Meadows of Opium Dreams

Seriously, I wanted to redo my top ten list with the addition of The Wandering Midget, or at least build a time traveling space ship with a control system that is fully sentient and capable, but does not desire to, overthrow its mortal masters. The Wandering Midget. Holy shit. Take stoner doom’s imagination and marry it to the theatric display of traditional doom and one has a 20 minute journey through smoky goblin lands hinged on narratives broken into multiple sections. Remember that really weird fucked up dream you had when you fell asleep after eating too many oysters? Yeah. Its like this but slightly less weird. Four songs and almost an hour long this is stoner/traditional doom deserving of every Dorito and Hot Pocket medal of 2012. You see, I make these types of jokes because I am hurting inside. Computer, run companion program for a bit and turn off surveillance.

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Overkill_TheElectricAgeOverkill – the Electric Age

I will be the first to admit that I am not the world’s biggest thrash fan. I have been treading water with that genre for as long as I can remember. I am, however, interested in metal records regardless of style. At the end of the year I heard a cacophonous union which all chanted for the same thing. Overkill. Overkill. Overkill. Overkill is an 80’s thrash band who never attained the commercial success of Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, or Megadeth. The funny thing now is they, along with some other lesser known thrash bands, are still making decent records while the others try to just make records. The past few years for Overkill have been a wonderful time, with Ironbound in 2010 being a critical success. The Electric Age is fantastic and, despite my personal views on thrash, resonates with energy, effective power, and glorious execution. It must be a transcendental moment for those 10 people who stuck with them since the early 90’s. Mike Adams of Cleveland Ohio, today is your fucking day.

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dordeduh-dar-de-duhDordeduh – Dar De Duh

This was a record I did not know about until the end of the year when it showed up on multiple end of the year lists. Computer search for information on Dordeduh.

…searching now…… Dordeduh. A Romanian folk metal band who came to critical attention for their non conventional approach to atmosphere and folk elements…

Thank you computer. When one thinks of folk metal, images of polka beats and silly costumes come to mind. This is fine and even entertaining yet it can be a bit dull when played all the time. With the variety of folk music available, wouldn’t it be feasible to have something other than a barroom singalong? It takes by the end of the first track on Dordeduh’s debut to realize the band resides in a different dimension of folk metal. That first song may be 16 minutes long, yet that is inconsequential at the moment. The truth of the matter is Dar De Duh is damn amazing in its concept and taste. From harsh black metal to unnerving gloom in ambience, Dordeduh goes off trail and walks with a sense of determination in the folk metal woods. It is not like I won’t dance from time to time but I would like something else when I sober up from this ale.

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Panopticon-Kentucky-e1337808357979Panopticon – Kentucky

Upon its release, all I heard about Panotpicon was the word “bluegrass” floating around unattached to any conclusion. It was only at the end of the year when I saw it on so many lists that I was urged by my own curiosity to listen. At first I was sort of disappointed that it wasn’t a wacky mixture of American bluegrass and black metal. At first I thought it would be hilarious and awesome. I think this is better.

American folk music does not have the history like European or other traditional folk music. There is a time difference which makes its compositions and meaning entirely different for its people. I do not know if Americans view Appalachian coal miners in the same way Irish view the Celtic people but the basic connection may be the same. In the lack of deep rooted traditions comes local folk heroes, which are used as avatars of left wing politics.

Kentucky is divided between traditional covers and atmospheric black metal. The band resembles more of Godspeed You Black Emperor than it does any Americana artist. Despite blue grass not being the main element, it is still represented well. Austin Lunn, the projects creator, immerses himself in folk traditions of America to spew wind and hate at some imposing cultural foes. I feel more can be written about Panopticon’s policy beliefs and their use of black metal as a tool to temper their anger. Outside the arena of political and social lashings, the excavation of American folk music as a partner for black metal is dazzling. If the band would have done a mixture of the two it would be silly. The mixture would have taken away from the very somber attitude of this record.

If one was looking for a thin novelty act then one must keep on searching for there is something that is dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew here.

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Timeghoul-1992-1994-DiscographyTimeghoul – 1992-1994 Discography

The reason this was not included in the top 10 of 2012 is because it is from the early 90’s. Reissues of things that only came out in limited run are more tricky because they defy a proper release date. This didn’t come out in 2012 but it really never came out any time. It floats in a time ether, unchained by standard and rigid chronological shackles. What is there to be said about Timeghoul that their parents and neighbors already haven’t said in a passive aggressive manner?

Timeghoul was a Midwest death metal band with a progressive spirit and penchant for far out science fantasy lyrics. The band made two demos before dissolving into nothing. The funny thing about this is everything they recorded, which is like 6 songs, is utterly amazing and way advanced for death metal in the early 90’s. 1992-1994 Discography, released by the very venerable Dark Decent records, collects everything made within those 2 very strange and underrated years. Are you sure you want to continue this “death metal” band?

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————-Deathofthesun’s Top 10 of 2012————-

While I could continue, there is something I wanted to address. Deathofthesun, who wrote a lovely piece for one of my proto-metal articles laughed at me when I was trying my best to construct my list. Rather than help me he stood eating an apple and didn’t hand me any nails. It’s too early he said. He said my structure would never support the weight. The year isn’t over he mocked and he spit out apple seeds near my feet. Well. I am done. And it held. It is now January and I went down to Deathofthesun’s house, pounded on his door, and demanded his brilliant list. While still eating, he laughed and through bits of apple core in his teeth he produced the below list. Sons of bitches, I’ll get him one of these days.

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Full-lengths

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Pale Divine – Painted Windows Black
One of the rare bands who get better and better with every release, which is impressive not just because theirCrimson Tears demo was a killer start to their career but also because their last studio album, 2007’s Cemetery Earth, set the bar really friggin’ high. By this point, the Pale Divine template is pretty well established – hard rockin’ doom metal with a lot of killer lead guitar playing. Make no mistake, this isn’t light-in-the-britches, sigil-on-the-cover tepid rock masquerading as doom, or slow death metal whinging that has nothing in common with actual death/doom – this is legitimate doom metal, like Witchfinder General, early Trouble and The Obsessed. If you’re into those bands, this’ll either be a welcome discovery or a band you already know and dig.

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Jumalation – The Church of Isaac
An angry fist in the face of white high-tops bought on eBay and songs about bullet belts. Every ounce of darkness, mayhem and violence completely missing from Municipal Waste, Gama Bomb, Evile, Bonded by Blood and their ilk found its way into two recent thrash albums – Antichrist’s Forbidden World and Jumalation’s The Church of Isaac. This is the Darkness Descends/Hell Awaits/Schizophrenia/Pleasure to Kill/Illusions side of thrash, and it is fucking glorious.

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Wrathblade – Into the Netherworld’s Realm
Like a really dour and morose Slough Feg with all the Celtic folk influences removed … and I mean that in the best way possible. Nick Varsamis’ vocals are every bit as unique as Mike Scalzi’s, though in a way that’ll probably annoy a lot of listeners – usually a good sign. Epic when it needs to be and not epic when it doesn’t, Argus ‘ second album isn’t a bad point of reference, either. Make no mistake, though,Wrathblade put more than enough originality into what they do to stand out. Following a long stretch of inactivity on the heels of their first 7″, the band’s pace in recent years has jumped exponentially, and if their plans for a follow-up materialize in 2013, this album plus the new songs they’ve posted bode incredibly well for the future.

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Vomitor – The Escalation
The bad news – they’re still not topping Bleeding the Priest. The good news – they got a hell of a lot closer on this one than they did on Devil’s Poison. The addition of Portal’s Horror Illogium on lead makes for some wonderfully fucked up moments, and while using the word “progressive” in conjunction with Vomitor feels inherently wrong, imagine Hatross/Nothingface-era Piggy sitting in on Obsessed By Cruelty and you’re not far off. Metal or die.

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Degial – Death’s Striking Wings
While most of Sweden’s current death metal bands prostrate themselves at the Entombed/Dismember altar.(and there’s nothing wrong with that), it’s nice that Degial opt instead for a massive dose of early Morbid Angel, Necrovore and even more early Morbid Angel. Surprising then, that they haven’t gotten more attention, since they’re as effective in channeling their influences as their more Distombed countrymen. I’d mention intricate song structures, ambitious arrangements and the high level of musicianship, but that’d run the risk of making this sound like watery clickity-click brutal techwank diarrhea, which this most definitely – and thankfully – is not.

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EPs and singles

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Orodruin – In Doom
Born a half-decade too late (seriously, recording started in ’07), In Doom’s lengthy gestation outlasted the label originally intending to release it, As a result the EP made its way out into the world by way of thirty CD-Rs … more than a bit anticlimactic, considering their lone full-length Epicurean Mass stands tall as an absolute highlight of doom metal in the last decade. The four songs found on In Doom are of similar quality – every bit as crushingly heavy, with unexpected twists and turns. It’d be great if this sees an actual release, considering the OTT treatment given to far, far less deserving albums.(Pretty sure the band wound up doing an additional run of these, so getting your hands on one should still be possible.)

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Tormented – Graveyard Lust
Like Death Breath and Bombs of Hades, Tormented finds a few veterans of Sweden’s death metal scene (ex-Edge of Sanity in this case) returning for another go-round. Not nearly as Entombed-derived as their logo might lead you to believe, Tormented offer up a more Repulsion-fried take that lands closer to Nihilist and God Macabre. And while Death Breath and Bombs of Hades have members of Nihilist, God Macabre and Repulsion in their ranks, Tormented somehow manages to outdo the both of them. A nice companion to 2009’s Rotten Dead, Graveyard Lust is more of exactly the same – straightforward, filthy death metal of old. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy, just killer songwriting with some surprisingly catchy vocal patterns.

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Vein – Crux Calvaria
A Procession side-project, Vein treads similar stylistic territory. Epic doom metal as soaring as the Candlemass, Solstice, Solitude Aeturnus and Scald albums that influenced it. With Felipe Plaza’s distinctive vocals fronting both projects they’re bound to feel a bit same-y, but Procession is one of the best doom metal bands to come along in a while and Vein isn’t too far behind, so that’s definitely not a complaint.

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Ravensire – Iron Will
Epic metal lacking Wrathblade’s occasional doom tendencies, Ravensire steer more towards the Omen side of things, seasoning it with a little Running Wild in the riffs and a lot of Grave Digger in the vocals. It’s a great mix of raw and majestic, especially impressive considering how recent the band formed and how quickly their first release came together. It’s also maybe a little worrying they’ve already undergone a few lineup changes, but they’ve still got a ways to go to catch up to Incantation or While Heaven Wept on that count.

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Morbus Chron – A Saunter Through the Shroud
Splits the difference between Autopsy worship and the more out-there moments on Soulside Journey. It’s not necessarily better – or weirder – than Sleepers in the Rift, but it’s also not a step backwards. Sort of a lateral move, but there are far worse holding patterns to be in than “Still damn good.” At only thirteen minutes it definitely whets the appetite for more, and not just because their logo on the EP looks like a pizza.



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