Dec 22, 2013

AOTY 2013: Top 15 EPs

15. Nazgûl – Witch of the Northern Frost
Hygieia Records

Sweet epic black metal by a Tolkien inspired new band. It has great synths, great melodies, nice piano and generally solid ideas.The production is clean enough and the album is mostly middle paced, mostly for fans of atmospheric black metal. The changes between acoustic and distortion parts reminded me a little of early Ulver, but the music is not really any further equivalent to them.

14. Ingested - Revered By No One, Feared By All
Siege of Amida Records

As a fan of this band, I enjoyed the new EP as much I did of their last album The Surreption. Not much have changed since then and if you like their previous stuff, you will like this as well.

13. Firtan – Wogen Der Trauer

[Black clouds devour the light]
The first time I listened to this, I was impressed! Warm sound of melodic German / Swedish riffs and raged vocals, fused with amazing synths and keyboard. The record is mostly revolving around pagan black metal and it's German spoken, while it contains half an hour of amazing, well crafted music.

12. Zozobra – Savage Masters
Brutal Panda Records

[A chorus of war]
I didn't like this band until this EP, I can't get into their first stuff at all. This, however, builds the mixture of dirty sludge, hardcore and post-metal that's immense and crushing. Not to mention the breathtaking, vintage occult front art it has, among the best covers I saw this year.

11. Odem – Valley of Cut Tongues
Daemon Worship Productions

[Cult of flesh]
With this release, Odem combine pure death metal vocals with third wave, orthodox driven guitar work and nineties extreme metal solos. It creates organized chaos and it's captivating. To me, the signs shown in this EP are way better than what they did in 2010 and they should continue like that, definitely among the seriously aggressive bands of black / death.

10. Infernal Revulsion – Infernally Revulsed
Alliance Trax

[Will is to kill]
I'm glad these guys changed from pathetic brutal death metal into a more technical, modern death, bass drop and breakdown type of thing. I don't like the way they murdered their production but it sounds improved and fresh, really enjoyable.

9. Vampire – Vampire

[On my way down to hell]
Organic old school death / thrash, very honest and organic. This EP has four tracks and they all kick some serious ass, for fans of 80s / 90s underground metal, horror, Fenriz-approves bands and generally cult patch metal. I don't know how they got into Century Media, I'm looking forward to their full length in the spring of 2014. Under the grudge...

8. Jess And The Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat
Svart Records

Isn't this an adorable band? And trippy too... Two members of the death metal band Demilich (now named Deathchain) play here and the music itself is worderful, majestic and unique. The way I see it, if a new full length gets built at the level of these two tracks (and one cover) it will be better than their debut. Can't wait.

7. Grá – Necrology of the Witch
Unexploded Records

Even if this band is a little more silent than the rest of it's country and time, I think they are one of the best outcomes yet. The self-titled was brilliant and this is distorted, deranged and uncompromising, in the service of it's art and only. The songs are dark and alluring, with a great painting as a front art, a great Freezing Moon cover and a song title in Greek (On the Way to the Styx). Grá need more attention than what they get.

6. Gevurah - Necheshirion
Profound Lore Records

[Divine ignition]
I was unsure of what to think of the band with their first demo, which has few but good moments. With this new release, they totally got into the list of bands to look out for. The hammering sound is amazing, the musicianship is also very good, the compositions are tight and accurate, bringing up a unique and scourging style of black / death metal, full of dissonant riffing and bitter vocals. I love the particular subject as well, which puts them somehow into the orthodox scene. Anyway, fascinating release.

5. Pig Destroyer - Mass and Volume
Relapse Records

[Harder than gravity]
I was fond of this band, even though I can't stand grindcore for much time. They have some awesome records out already and their name is correctly a trademark for the genre. And what a turn is this! They decided to experiment in this new EP, creating some of the heaviest sludge I have listened, for what I know. I'm not sure what of the impression it will leave to the fans, since it's way slower and "indifferent" that what they usually do (the first track is 19 minutes, equal to their whole debut) but I love it. Lay back, be patient and it will burn you from the inside.

4. Sun Worship - Surpass Eclipse

Definitely not your average atmospheric black metal band. Two songs are contained in the EP and in the first "Castle High" lies one of the most wonderful riffs I heard this year, while "Eclipse" is also a thick, crushing and prodigious track. The record is intense and malefic, very deep and artistic. I didn't know this band and now I'm definitely a fan.

3. Ash Borer - Bloodlands
Gilead Media

You either get along with these bands or you don't. This band is honest and straightforward. They don't fuck around, they spend time for their releases and they hand them out when they are perfect. This EP hardly lacks anything and it's as good as their previous albums, in the same feeling and equally dark, devastating atmosphere.

2. Blut Aus Nord - Liber III - What Once Was...
Debemur Morti Productions

Loved the black metal, loved the ambient parts. I don't have much to say about this monster band. Third eye opener for sure.

1. War Master - Blood Dawn
Torture Garden Pictures Company

Fuck yeah death metal! If this doesn't get you moving, you should revise your standards and think things through again, because it's among the most brilliant records for this genre this year. They stepped out of the Entombed phantasm and grew into something of their own, along with their influences, and with their new Blood Dawn they shall tear everything apart. Top class, high quality, of the finest branch, only for you.


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