Hey thotlings! Hope everyone had a super killer holiday and didn’t have to endure too much unsolicited advice from relatives. Luckily I got away pretty unscathed this year, although my NYE ain’t going to be too thrilling. I had to get surgery and blah, blah, blah. But today is a new day, and almost a new year, in order to keep positive, I wanted to think about the bands I grew really fond of this year and would like to see more of in 2016. Some of these bands I saw, some of them I missed, and some of them I know I know I don’t have a shot in hell in seeing. So here it is, my definitive list, ranked from the most likely to see live to least:
1. Weedeater: Weedeater, to me, is just one of those bands that’s a lot of fun, dropping bombs like “I was born in South Carolina, man, I can’t read.” At the same time, they have this really compelling heaviness that comes to mind when I think of the oppression of Southern heat and hostility. I went through a long period where I physically couldn’t do my homework without listening to Sixteen Tons. I ironically missed them the last time they played Bmore because of school, but they’re fortunately playing Maryland Death Fest this year, along with Buzzoven and other favorites. So see ya soon, boys!
2. Rotting Christ: Oh man, Rotting Christ. I saw them open for Watain and Mayhem the day before Thanksgiving and I got way loaded because I was sad about a boy. I also rolled down a hill that night and cried until my sister took me to get a quesadilla. So RC was the band I remember most clearly that night, and I was definitely impressed to say the least. Although they hail from Greece, I am hopeful that the exposure from the Black Metal Warfare II tour will allow them to do a North American headlining circuit. I was especially obsessed with their song “In Yumen – Xibalba” when my ex started texting me out of nowhere and the hate was flowing through me. Use with caution, though – I nearly gave myself a heart attack.
3. Taake: I always thought they were pronounced like “Take” but my sister, who’s a lot better with foreign languages than I am, informed me it’s “toke-uh.” Well shit. I bought their album Stridens Hus on a whim over their summer and really dug it. I think it’s a great example of classic black metal elements adapted for a modern context. They had to cancel their last Bmore show (I think because of visa issues?), but they’re set to head out on another tour with Cemetery Piss and others early this Spring. I got be sure to buy my ticket soon, though, because I hear they’re in hotter demand than water bottles of Everclear at the junior high open gym night.
4. Pallbearer: Pallbearer is definitely one hell of an underrated band. I never knew Arkansas had much of a metal scene, but vocalist Brett Campbell schooled me that the doom is really on and popping in Little Rock. I saw them open for High on Fire in August, and it was definitely the show of the summer. I had pounded a bunch of KG and Red Bull (my signature pre-21 struggle drink) and thought it was a good idea to crowd surf (which I like never do because I almost died in the pit at Rammstein when I was 17) in a mini skirt, but it actually turned out okay. Great night. Great Band. Pallbearer, head on back North and let’s do it again.
5. Death Angel: I’m usually not much of a thrash kind of gal, but Death Angel was a great time. They played a big 4/20 show with this crazy hodgepodge lineup including Corrosion of Conformity and I can’t even remember who else now. Shit got weird. I think I was wearing daisy dukes. I don’t even know. But DA but on an entertaining show and has some of best guitar talent I’ve seen in recent memory. They also have some great arms. Bands that lift together stay together, I suppose. Anyways, they seem to be going strong, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they popped up again in the Mid-Atlantic sometime soon
6. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats: Oh man, where do I even begin with this one. I’ve been listening to Uncle A for a while now. They’re hella relaxing and conjure up all sorts of 70s vibes that make me wanna put on a bunch of cool rings and a peasant dress and spin around in a field somewhere. I missed them at MDF two years ago, so I was super jazzed when they came around in September. Long story short, I accidentally pre-gammed too hard, went on some horribly embarrassing tirade to a boy who goes to my school who happened to be at the show, and started touching strangers’ butts. From what I can remember, Uncle A was great live, but I more lucid do-over would be great.
7. Iron Reagan: God fucking damn it, I’ve missed this band twice now. They played with Angel Du$t when I was away in Denmark and again on the Indiemerch tour with Goatwhore when I was sick in bed with a sinus infection. I’m usually pretty choosey about the “hardcore-ish” bands I listen to, but Iron Reagan is definitely one of the ones I open my black/doom heart to. They seem to be keeping busy though, and they originate from not-too-far-away Richmond, Virginia, so perhaps I might get a third chance.
8. Fulgora: Another incredibly underrated band. They deliver a unique blend of influences that is too frequently absent from other modern metal bands. I saw them open for Superjoint in July, and while this is probably none of my business, I couldn’t help but feel as though they were worthy of performing right before Philip and friends, not first of the night. Some of Fulgora’s members are involved with multiple projects, though, so it’ll be interesting to see what their touring schedule will look like in 2016.
9. Classhole: I’ve gone on whole spiels about how much I love Classhole in past articles, but I’m more than happy to do so again. Classhole is just a fun, abrasive, bundle of madness, and completely stole the second stage at Horrorfest. The supergroup just released a new single “Shut You Down,” and I also heard that they’re releasing an album on CD for the first time ever. Exciting stuff for sure! They’re touring thus far seems to be mostly limited to the Gulf Coast area, sadly. I actually tried to see them while I was in New Orleans since they’re sort of the band that’s meant to be experienced in the context of a tiny club, but it didn’t quite work out. Maybe they’ll venture up to the Mid-Atlantic, maybe they won’t, but it’s great they’re going strong with new material.
10. Fórn: I’ve actually never seen Fórn, but my sissy did, and she wouldn’t shut up about it for a hot minute. I like to bust her balls about it because when she asked if they had any of their stuff at the record store she was like “FORN: F-O-R-N,” because she was paranoid it sounded like she was asking for porn. Despite what you may think, they’re actually an American band that classifies themselves as “funeral doom.” I’m intrigued as to what this entails, although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch them back in Bmore again since they mostly seem to be on the low-low. So, friends, catch the F-O-R-N if you ever get the chance.
11. Fuck You, Pay Me: Like a rollercoaster that your friend coerces you into going on, I’ve never thoroughly enjoyed something yet wanted it to end so badly at the same time as FYPM’s performance at the Eyehategod show in February. Vocalist Tony Erba was off the chain (Vice did a pretty cool interview with him if you’re interested) and said something directed at me along the lines of “something smells good in the front row.” Smells? I’ll take the compliment I guess. I do take pride in wearing deodorant and body spray. For real though, I got beat up and bruised from getting pushed up against the stage (which was only exacerbated when the Cro-mags played), but the gang was so wild it was hard not to have a good time. Sadly it seems to play a lot of shows close to their homestead in Ohio, but punks do seem to get around every once in a while, so I suppose you never know.
12. Spirit Caravan: Dang, I love Wino. The only time I’ve ever seen him, though, was when he popped up in the audience at the previously mentioned EHG show. I was too much of a wimp to talk to him, of course. I thought I would have my redemption at the Maryland Doom Festival where SC was headlining, but I was too lazy to take off work and drive to Frederick (a town many a mile away from Bmore) where it was being held. I think they’re headlining again in 2016, though, so maybe if I finally get that grown people office job where I don’t have to work weekends attending will be more feasible. But who am I kidding – the job market still kinda sucks. Hip-hip hooray for the low wage service sector!
13. Mortuary Drape: When most people think metal they don’t really tend to think Italy, but Mortuary Drape definitely shows that my homeland has more to offer than gondolas and sghettis. What’s neat about their Italian point of view is that they have the spoopy Catholic thing working, using some Catholic-type rites in their music. I unfortunately missed them while I was away in New Orleans, but I think there was also some Nazi band on the bill, so perhaps everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe they tour a whole hell of a lot in America, but I will continue to burn up the classic All the Witches Dance for a long time.
14. Scour: When I first got word that Phil Anselmo was doing black metal with my buddy John Jarvis I was excited to say the least. Anselmo has been vocal about his love of Darkthrone and the darker side of things for as long as I can remember, so it’s super dope to see him pursuing that BM life. I got a little sneak peak of some of their tracks the other night, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s some of Phil’s best work. Further, I think it possesses an accessibility that prototypical Pantera fans and black metals alike will enjoy. Scour’s tour game is still very much yet to be determined, but I think this is a case where patience will be worth it.
15. Midnight Odyssey: Midnight Odyssey is fucking great and you need to go listen to them right meow. Well, it’s not really “them,” since it’s a one-man band. So go listen to him, Dis Pater. I discovered his two hour album Funerals from the Astral Sphere one late night in Denmark and listened to it sitting in my window looking over a courtyard under the Northern stars. It was a spiritual experience, to say the least. I’m not holding my breath for a liver performance. I mean, one-man band. Ambient. From Brisbane, Australia. Like, no. But I do hope he keeps making music, although I can’t imagine how exhausting creating a musical feat like Funerals must be.
16. Xasthur (acoustic): Scott Conner, the man behind Xasthur, decided to take an acoustic turn, and even invite some other musicians to join him. The result is something like I’ve never heard before – folk in minor, like Outlaw meets black metal. The musical progression always keeps you guessing, and preserves the reflective qualities that are characteristic of original Xasthur, but in a way that highlight’s Conner’s ability to evolve. So, props to him. Acoustic Xasthur has played a few shows in California, but Conner seemed to indicate that any future touring would be on hold after a bad experience with some hipsters talking through his set. It flat at sucks knowing I’ll probably never get to see them, but I think Conner’s earnestness outweighs this reality, because caring is an underrated value these days.