Chris Redar’s Top 10 of 2013 – B.S. Free

Originally written by Chris Redar

Lot of shit happened this year, huh? Let’s talk about some fuckin’ music.

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10. KATALEPSY – AUTOPSYCHOSIS

This was described more than once as tech. Now, “tech” generally translates to “pointless fretboard wankery.” This, on the other hand, is groovy as fuck. It’s so groovy that it has grooves in its grooves. Reminiscent of Foreshadowing Our Demise, but with not-shitty guitars.

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9. GIGAN – MULTI-DIMENSIONAL FRACTAL SORCERY AND SUPER-SCIENCE

Picking up where his spaceship last stopped for space repairs, Erik Hersemann deputized a new crew of space bandits and explored the darkest corners of space with this spaced-out outing. Multi-Dimensional is jagged in all of the right places, but never gets in too far over its own head. Quite a feat for an album that by all rights should be a suffocating mess.

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8. ANTIGAMA – METEOR

Time to come clean – yours truly forgot these guys even existed until this one came out of nowhere like some sort of falling object from the atmosphere. (I’m drawing a blank on this simile.) Then it all came crashing back like a… something or other. Grindcore in spirit only, there’s no way to tack Meteor onto one single bulletin board for reference. That’s what’s so appealing about it – and the fact that it became a pleasant surprise in a year filled with that sort of thing.

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7. WORMED – EXODROMOS

A brutal death metal album that manages to captivate and sound fresh – even exciting – for more than two or three songs at a time. I never thought I would make that statement. That’s about all you need to know. Check Exodromos the fuck out, like, yesterday.

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6. WAKE – FALSE

This album hates you. And this album makes no attempt to hide the fact that it hates you. False would put a pillow over your face while you were sleeping and smother you to death if it had arms. As far as nasty, unrelenting grind goes, this is the prize that used to come in cereal boxes before some kid choked to death on one.

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5. PORTAL – VEXOVOID

Can you even call anything on Vexovoid a “song?” The hallmarks of songs are present – guitars, drums, vocals – but what comes out of sound devices is pretty far removed from what we earthlings define as “music.” It sounds more like the noises people don’t talk about when they’re suddenly revived after being brain dead for a couple of minutes. Use the bathroom before you fire this one up.

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4. JUCIFER – THE RUSSIAN ALBUM

Normally, an album lacking any sense of urgency has a tendency to find its way into the dreaded “center console” division of music. They’re not going to get thrown away – they are documents, after all – but the odds are strongly against any of them finding their way back into the rotation. The Russian Album, on the other hand, uses nearly twenty minutes to build tension and calmly points towards the exit for those of an unadventurous nature. It also sets up a couple of well-placed plateaus to divide itself into three distinct sections, each one a vastly different soundscape from those previous and forthcoming. The results are mostly great, and, at times, simply brilliant. Skip this at your own peril.

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3. GORGUTS – COLORED SANDS

What’s most impressive about Colored Sands is its restraint. That’s not to say Lemay and Co. wasted any opportunities, but this group of musicians putting together this focused of an album without resorting to over-the-top technicality is nothing short of heroic. This could have easily been awash with pointless noodling and eight-arm typewriter percussion. Instead, it’s one of the most complete and elegant death metal records since the turn of the millennium.

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2. ALTAR OF PLAGUES – TEETHED GLORY & INJURY

The print ad kind of nailed this album in one word: harrowing. Just about every individual song runs a course of tension, anger, contempt, sorrow, and grief. What’s missing is what makes for some of the most compelling art of AoP’s career: closure. As buildup leads to expected payoff, nine times out of nine you’re left standing on a cliff, unsure whether to run back and try again or leap and hope for the best. These grey areas are where Teethed Glory & Injury truly thrives as a modern classic – there are a thousand ways to interpret the presented material, and every one of them is right and wrong.

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1. BEATEN TO DEATH – DØDSFEST!

Of fucking course I would put some oddball grind record at number one. Wanna know why? Because this thing fucking cooks, that’s why. This one has not left the rotation since the first time my ears were thoroughly fucked over by this strange combination of grind and whatever else Beaten to Death decided to throw in the blender. An absolute blast from start to finish, Dødsfest! is far and away the most fun I had with an album in 2013. Roll that beautiful Beaten footage.

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TOP 3 EPS:

3. Aktor – I Am the Psychic Wars
High Spirits meets Pink Floyd; does more drugs. More awesome.

2. Grayceon – Pearl and the End of Days
For as straight-forward as Grayceon ends up playing this little slice, it sure is compelling.

1. Orbweaver – Strange Transmissions From the Neuralnomicon
If this wasn’t an EP, it would be up above. Mandatory for anyone with ears.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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