The List of 2013 Year-End Lists

Photo Collage - 2013 Shows - by Asya Yanyo

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Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!

But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…

 

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Out Tomorrow: Icy Black Metal On Waldgeflüster’s Third Album

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WaldgeflüsterMeine Fesseln (Bindrune Recordings, 10 January 2014)

 

This week has seen a wave of record-breaking cold all across North America, with sub-zero HIGH temperatures in some places, as well as dangerously low wind-chill factors that prompted widespread closures of schools and businesses in many areas. Those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to be able to stay home under several blankets could be seen bundled in as many layers as possible while still being able to walk, in a vain attempt to protect against the freezing winds. The point I’m trying to make is, it’s been pretty damn cold around here.

And so, I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate time than this, for a new album to be released by the German one-man black metal contingent Waldgeflüster (just that name — which approximately translates to “whispering woods” — evokes images of icy cold darkness). The full-length due out tomorrow (10 January) from Bindrune Recordings will be the third overall from the project, which consists chiefly of a guy called Winterherz (“Winter Heart”). Comprising seven tracks in all, and lasting just over an hour, new album Meine Fesseln (“My Shackles”) also includes contributions from a variety of other musicians, including Austin Lunn of Panopticon (mandolin, vocals, and guitar solos) and Johan Becker of Austaras (violin), among others. Incidentally, Johan has also appeared on Panopticon recordings, and both he and Austin happened to have guest spots on Vit‘s The Dry Season — which had just been released when I spoke with that band’s drummer prior to last year’s Winter’s Wake festival in Pittsburgh; furthermore, Johan had accompanied Vit at that performance, and shortly afterwards he mentioned to me that he was working on a few other upcoming projects at that time — which happened to be my first time hearing of Waldgeflüster. Not that any of that has any particular relevance to this review (or to anything at all); I just thought I’d share some trivia with you.

 

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Two New Splits From Tankcrimes!

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Cannabis Corpse / GhoulSplatterhash (7 January 2014, Tankcrimes Records)

 

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Exhumed / Iron ReaganSplit 12″ (7 January 2014, Tankcrimes Records)

 

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Tankcrimes Records has been known to put out some fairly unique and sought-after releases over the past few years. (For instance, who could forget 2012′s hugely successful Toxic Waste split featuring Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste?) Well yesterday, just barely a week into 2014, we find the label has issued not one but TWO more excellent split records to add to that impressive repertory.

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Fatality – Psychonaut (New Album // Coming to Pittsburgh TONIGHT!)

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FatalityPsychonaut (self-released, 28 June 2013)

 
Hey, guys and gals! Remember Fatality? I first introduced you to this cool Canadian thrash band last summer when they were holding a contest, but at the same time I wrote a few words about their 2011 T.F.E.S. EP. That three-song release is still available to download for free (I’ll toss the Bandcamp widget at the bottom of this post), and the title track (“Thrash Fuck Eat Sleep”) is still one of the catchiest pieces of thrash metal I’ve heard in ages.

Anyway, the guys have a brand new album out now — they released Psychonaut two months ago, and since then they’ve been jaunting all across the United States and Canada on what they’re calling the “Towards Disastour”. (It’s a play on words, because there’s a song on the new record called “Towards Disaster”. Funny, right? These guys are just full of hilarity — just check out vocalist Spencer Le Von‘s ongoing tour blog over at Dead Rhetoric, or his series of Backseat Podcasts, or the band’s blog which he occasionally updates “with fervent apathy”. Seriously, check that shit out.)

The Towards Disastour tour is coming to a close tonight — Wednesday 28 August 2013 — with a stop in Pittsburgh, PA. Readers who live nearby are highly encouraged to come on out to Howlers in Bloomfield tonight. The show will also feature local thrash/traditional heavy metal greats Vermithrax and the NWOBHM-flavored Lady Beast (see full details about the show here). If you need more convincing than that (or if you live somewhere far away and won’t be able to go see the band in person tonight), keep on reading and I’ll tell you a little more about the new album Psychonaut.

 
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What To Do In Pittsburgh This Weekend: Skull Fest 5

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Ladies and gentlemen of the Pittsburgh region, it’s time to sew that Amebix patch back onto your shorts (you know, the one that almost got ripped off by some hardcore kid who kept trying to start a mosh pit the last time you went to a basement show), and make sure your Docs are laced up tight.  That’s right, Skull Fest — the annual celebration of all things punky and crusty — returns this weekend!

Dozens of bands — locals big and small, old and new, as well as several traveling from all over the country, and even a couple from Canada and Europe — are scheduled to perform at various locations all over Bloomfield, Polish Hill, and Lawrenceville all weekend long!

Everything kicks off this evening (Friday), so without any further delay, below you will find your schedule of events.  Each show is individually priced, but passes are still available which will give you access to everything happening on all three days; just visit the Skull Fest website to buy yours.  (Any tickets purchased now will be held at the door.)

 
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THE TROLLS ARE COMING!! (Finntroll and TrollfesT Announce North American Tours)

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THE TROLLS ARE COMING!!

 
Specifically, the Finnish masters of “humppa” style folk metal, Finntroll, and the originators of “True Norwegian Balkan Metal”, TrollfesT, are both coming to North America later this year — separately, although each of them will be part of a tour package that will surely have any fan of folk/pagan metal salivating with anticipation! Even better, both bands will be making a stop in Pittsburgh!!

 
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Fister – Gemini

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FisterGemini (self-released, 19 March 2013)

 
Lately, a close personal friend of this website, Mr. Jason Cantu (read more about him here, as part of my wife’s ongoing interview series), has been all atwitter about this sludge/doom band from Saint Louis called Fister. Now, I’ve always had a lot of respect for his judgement about things, because anytime he’s recommended something it’s always been a winner: he seems to really pay attention to what people listen to, and so if he says “You’ll like this,” chances are you will.

But you don’t just have to take my word for it. Jason’s opinions have just gained a whole new level of credibility, as he has recently joined the ranks of The Sludgelord as a contributing writer. So you know that’s no B.S., since that site is world-renowned as a leading authority on heavy music.

So anyway, Fister. The first time I heard of these guys was last year, when one of their songs was included on the Doommantia benefit comp. That song was very slow and heavy, raw and noisy. All things that I would later discover to be part of this band’s signature style.

Fast forward to the present day; Fister are currently in the midst of an excursion across the Midwest and the northeast, which includes a stop in Pittsburgh tonight! All the members of Cantu‘s band Slaves BC have been talking about how excited they are to be part of this show, so I figured it was about time for me to do some investigating.

As it turns out, Fister has quite a lot of material available on their Bandcamp page, so I decided to tackle their most recent album, Gemini (released earlier this year), which is their second full-length. Here’s what I discovered…

 
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