Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

2016’s Very Best Albums

December 22, 2016

2016 has been a trying year.  An emotionally draining trip around the sun filled with national tragedy and celebrity deaths.  In a much less important sense, it has been a difficult year for me, in the sense that the metal I love didn’t find me as it did in 2015.  I had to go out looking.  I had to dig.  And for that reason, I think I feel as though 2016 doesn’t stand up to 2015 in new album releases.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some great albums this year, some real genre-shattering, creative, innovative albums, but 2016 was not 2015. This list won’t be full of the one-man  symophonic ambient post-blackmetal shoegaze you’ll find on a lot of lists, but there are some great, innovative, fun albums on here.  Enjoy.

13. Hollow Leg-Crown

2016 has seen a renaissance in Death n Roll. This sludgy death crossover has quickly become one of my favorite genres, and while it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what bands fall into this subgenre, if any at all, all I can say is, you know it when you hear it.

Hollow leg may fall on the sludgier side of this particular subgenre, but boy do they know how to rock.  This particular 9 minute Death n Roll ballad shows off the sludge, but stays exciting.  These guys are awesome.

12. Xii Boar-Beyond the Valley of the Triclops

I’ll never get tired of metal bands and their album titles.  Beyond the Valley of the Triclops takes the cake this year.

Here we’ve got another one of these Death n Roll revival bands. So many adjectives come to mind, in the end Xii Boar put together an awesome album with some incredible catchy tracks.  Looking forward to seeing them live someday soon.

11. Barishi-Blood from the Lion’s Mouth

Progressive post-whatever.  These songs build and build.  Every track is atmospheric and raw.  The vocals aren’t for the faint of heart, but honestly, if you’re this deep into my list, raw growls and screams aren’t going to bother you.

10. Deviant Process-Paroxysm

This album is a bit more brutal than what I normally like.  The guttural vocals fit the sound though.  There is some weird off tempo stuff going on, but it is full of huge hooks and crazy tech-death wizardry.  Solid album.

9. Brought by Pain-Crafted by Society

This is an EP.  Three songs.  Is that cheating? What the hell do I care, this is my list. You may recognize that fretless bass from Beyond Creation. You’ll recognize it again later.  Everything Hugo Doyon-Karout touches is gold.  This guy is about to be a metal legend for years to come.

8. Goblin Cock-Necronomidonkeykongimicon

But Josh, this is barely metal.  Metal adjacent even! The fuck do I care, this album is incredible.  No two songs sound the same, minus the more metal version of the singer from the Offspring.  So much fun.

7. Astronoid-Air

What is this? They call themselves Dream Metal.  I guess that is appropriate.  Try to listen to just one song and not go through the entire album.  The vocals are clean.  The hooks are DIRTY.

6. Junior Bruce-Endless Descent

Death n Roll again! This is the best, by far, in this genre.  They aren’t as sludgy as some of their counterparts, but they can rock with the best of em. I don’t think this album got much attention, but they managed to put out one of the best songs of the year.

If it were the late 90’s, this track would be a radio hit.

5. Anciients-Voice From the Void

This band.  This freaking band.

I stumbled across Heart of Oak a few years ago.  I loved it so much.  I still love it.  Then they disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Well, Anciients is back.  They’re heavier, they’re tighter, they’re all around better.  Voice From the Void is incredible. If you want to sample 15 genres of metal in an incredible composed piece of music, see below.

4. Equipose-Birthing Homunculi

Symphonic Progressive Technical Death Metal with a Flamenco flare. Hugo Doyon-Karout. Who would have thought this EP would have ended up on my best of list.  That fretless bass though.

3. Revocation-Great is our Sin

Big suprise, the hardest working guys in metal put out ANOTHER killer album.  This is the almost the pinnacle of technical death-thrash.

2. Vektor-Terminal Redux

If you’re wonder why Revocation isn’t the pinnacle of technical death-thrash.  You’ve found the reason.  Terminal Redux is the epic we, as metal fans, deserve.  Vektor gets better with every album, and I don’t know how they can get better than this.

Convince you? Oh, how about this 13 and a half minute Blackened Tech Death-Thrash ANTHEM. Those hooks, those breakdowns, those solos.  That song man.  That song.

1. Cobalt-Slow Forever

Transcendent. That’s not all I can say.  Perhaps it is all I should say.  This is one of the best put together albums I’ve ever heard in my life. What happens when you cross this weird Americana with Sludgy Death Doom mixed with Black Metal.  Slow Forever is what happens. This album is nothing but raw emotion.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to the whole thing.

 

2015’s Very Best Albums

December 7, 2015

I am not a writer.  I am not a critic.  Once long ago I wrote blogs about sandwiches.  You can see them.  Just click the links.  I didn’t even update the blog page.

2015 has been an amazing year in heavy music.  If Beyond Creation and Black Crown Initiate hadn’t put out albums last year, I would declare it my favorite year in heavy music history.

Below are my favorites from 2015.  Listen to them if you’d like.  If not, read about sandwiches from five years ago.

12. So Hideous-Laurestine

Symphonic Post Black Metal?  One of my favorite things about metal is our desire, our need, to break every band down into the most focused genre our little brains can come up with.  This description fits this album perfectly.  This album is a non stop auditory assault.  If you’re visiting this blog post from facebook, which I assume you are, you may not be too big on this album.  That isn’t really my problem.  You clicked the link.

11.Battlecross-Rise to Power

Battlecross has done what they do best.  They smash you in the head with thrash.  Earlier this year someone described their song The Path as a new thrash metal anthem.  I agree.  I don’t need to write anything else.

10.Silence Lies Fear-Future: The Return

It sounds to me like these guys were listening to a lot of Damage Done when they recorded this album.  Plenty of speed, melody, and most importantly, the raw sound that defined the peak of Melodic Death Metal.  This is melodic death metal, something that has been missing from my life for a while now.  Silence Lies Fear has done a great job channeling the late 90’s early 00’s Gothenburg Sound.  Maybe this is the beginning of the Baku sound.

 

9.Black Fast-Terms of Surrender

I do not understand the negativity towards this album.  I want my metal to be fun, and Terms of Surrender is FUN.  Black Fast isn’t somer corpse paint wearing black metal band from north of the arctic circle with three members named Graz’zt.  They sure as hell know how to thrash.

8.Royal Thunder-Crooked Doors

Every review for this album that I’ve come across has been on a metal site. This album is not metal.  Metal adjacent perhaps?  It is raw emotion set to a series of fantastic riffs and a nonstop drum beat.  It is amazing.

 

 

7.Extinction A.D-Faithkiller

This album is metal.  I was under the impression that American Thrash had disappeared, in favor of the post Lamb-of-God Blackened Thrash.  I was incorrect, which is not uncommon.  This album kicks you in the teeth from the get go, and never stops kicking you in the teeth.  If you listen to this album, you will end up with no teeth.  Beware.

6.Rivers of Nihil-Monarchy

Monarchy is the makings of a special career.  The only reason this album has fallen so low is because I found so many great records since the day it came out.  With this album, Rivers of Nihil went from being solid tech-death to a genre innovator.

5.Wild Throne-Harvest of Darkness

This album is absolutely amazing.  Front to back, it is fantastic, but the Wrecking Ball Unchained bumps it up to the next level. Soulful, frenetic and fun, the song takes off, and never lets go.

4.Christian Mistress-To Your Death

When Christian Mistress teased us earlier this year with Open Road, I didn’t know what to think.  That song was amazing.  There was no way they could record an entire album with anything better.

I was wrong. Ultimate Freedom is the best single song that came out in 2015.  Just listen.  I don’t want to spoil the highs and lows, but Christine Davis is one of the most captivating voices in metal today.  To Your Death doesn’t just throw together great singing and fun songwriting, it blends them perfectly.

 

3.Mutoid Man-Bleeder

I’m sure anyone more plugged in than me knew about Mutoid Man last year.  I did not.  This album blew me away.  It brought me back into the fold.  It got me buying albums again for the first time in a long time.  This album rekindled my faith in heavy music.

 

2. Cattle Decapitation-The Anthropocene Extinction

If you’ve read any metal reviews this year, you’re probably familiar with the praise.  I’m afraid I don’t have the ability, talent or creativity to describe this album’s contribution to metal.  Anthropocene is perfect insanity. It is a pillar of extreme metal that will be relevant for years to come.

1. Gorod-A Maze of Recycled Creeds

Gorod slipped in towards the end of the year with something seriously special.  Jazzy, brutal, smooth, fast, innovative, exciting.  These are some descriptive terms that come to mind.  Every second of this album is an absolutely pleasure.  I cannot imagine how long it took to put these songs together.  Every single one of them is perfect.

 

I’ve had a lot of trouble picking my favorite song off this album.  I’ve listened to the entire thing twice today. I’ll probably listen again on the ride home.  For now I leave you with An Order to Reclaim.  This is progressive technical death metal at its finest.

 

 

Casa Razdora’s Tacchino

December 6, 2011

It’s been a while since the world has been updated on my quest to find the area’s best sandwich.  I haven’t been tempted to post in the past year or two, but after a long series of uninspiring sandwiches, I’ve found something.  Something of value.  Something of true worth.  This sandwich, the Tacchino from Casa Razdora in Boston’s financial district is something special.

The Tacchino is a testament to simplicity.  Freshly sliced roast turkey paired with some shredded lettuce, a few tomatoes, thin sliced onions, pickles and a fresh baked sub roll are held together with a little bit of oil, salt, pepper and a slice of cheese.  The simplicity is indeed what makes this sandwich so special.  I feel satisfied having eaten it, but I don’t feel the need to take a nap.  For $6.75, this is a sandwich that I will eat again, and one that has inspired me to continue my quest, to find the best sandwich in Boston.

The Big Texan

September 12, 2010

Brickhouse's Big Texan

The Big Texan.  What do you think when you hear a sandwich named like this?  I think big, meaty, spicy, flavorful.  I think of a balance between spicy and sweet.  I think of a sandwich that takes two sitting to eat.  Unfortunately this Big Texan did not hold up to my lofty Texas standards.  Brickhouse’s Big Texan wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t anything special, and it certainly wasn’t the best sandwich in Boston.

The Big Texan is a grilled chicken sub with bacon, sliced jalapeño, bbq sauce and cheese.  The biggest problem with this sandwich was the absolute lack of flavor.  The BBQ sauce was just there.  Not sweet, not spicy.  It worked as lubricant more than anything else.  The bacon was overcooked, hard, old, whatever you want to call it.  It wasn’t good.  The jalapeños were canned and lacked any type of heat.  The chicken was nothing special.  Nothing worth talked about.

As always Brickhouse’s bread was good, but good bread doesn’t make up for mediocrity in the middle.

The Big Texan was not worth the 8 bucks I paid for it.  Brickhouse is located on Washington St right outside of Brighton Center.

Cafe Latino Cuban

July 6, 2010

Cafe Latino

I often forget what a divine sandwich the Cuban can be.  The tender pork rolls around with the thinly sliced ham, supported by a thick layer of swiss cheese, tossed together with spicy mustard, some mayo, and a few hidden bonuses.  Then placed into a crusty roll and heated to perfection.  This is the sandwich that God ate on the Eigth Day.

Cafe Latino’s Cuban is impressive.  I wouldn’t call it better than Sam Lagrassa’s, but uniquely different.  They roast their pork right in front of you, and pull it off the bone fresh to make your sandwich.  Everything is done in plain sight and with an expert hand.  The Pork is tender, well seasoned and a little bit sweet, the cheese is strong and gooey.  I could have done with a little less mayo, which I will be sure to ask for next time I get this delicious sandwich.  It costs around seven dollars and can be found upstairs at Centre Plaza.

Al’s State Street Cafe-Roast Beef Sandwich

May 27, 2010

Roast Beef

It’s been a while.  Waning interest in my project to find the greatest sandwich the area has to offer caused a lull in sandwich updates, and while I can’t promise that I’ll be updating with the original regularity, I can tell you that today’s lunch inspired me to write another update.

This monster sub ($7.50 @ Al’s State St Cafe) is the size of my arm.  It is a fantastic combination of fresh roast beef and soft, warm baked bread.  The spicy mustard I requested gave it a perfect zing that worked with the beef’s peppery flavor to create an unforgettable dining experience.

Today’s lunch was made all the better by the location it was procured at.  Al’s.  Al’s is a perfect blend of chaotic efficiency.  If Al’s were a genre of music, it would be the oxymoronic melodic death metal, blending all the chaos that people love about death metal and smooting it out with strong, ordered and smooth melodies.

Marliave’s Pastrami

March 3, 2010

Pastrami

When you order a $12.00 pastrami sandwich you tend to order with certain expectations.  Before answering that burning question, I’d like to go into a bit of detail about this sandwich.

To start, the bread.  This bread is fresh-baked in-house.  The bread is good.  It’s soft, it smells good, it tastes good.  It’s just damned good.

The meat, coated with melted cheese, the meat falls apart in your mouth.  It’s tender, it tastes great, and the hot mustard manages to get into every bite.  This is good pastrami, and I’m not really a huge pastrami fan!

The mustard (I am a huge mustard fan) is fantastic.  It’s hot, a little spicy, and thick.  Really thick.

In conclusion, to answer that burning question, yes.  This pastrami is worth 12 bucks.

Pita Kabob’s Kubideh

February 25, 2010

Kubideh

I could imagine Cyrus the Great eating such a wrap after a hard day of uniting the Persian and Median empires. I could imagine a frustrated Zoroastrian cleric watching Islam take control of their former empire enjoying such a wrap.  Now I don’t know if either of those sentences are historically accurate, but I can imagine them.  In fact, I could imagine I could imagine myself in better times sitting under the Azardi Tower on the outskirts of Tehran enjoying the Kubideh I ate today.  The funny thing is, I actually didn’t know what Kubideh was until today.

This wrap is simple, yet it’s filling creates a surprisingly complex taste.  The meat kabob is a pressed grilled combination of ground beef and lamb, it is surprisingly light, tasty, and not greasy at all.  The wrap is smothered in tahini, mixed with a little bit of hot sauce and wrapped up with lettuce and tomato.  It was fantastic.

My Kubideh cost me $5.99 and was from Pita Kabob.  It’s on Chauncy st, not Ave de Lafayette.

Dorado’s Cemita

February 25, 2010

Cemita

I bet people reading this wonder if there is anything I don’t like.  Well here it is.  The first sandwich I have legitimately disliked.  The Pork Loin Milanese Cemita ($5.99 from Dorado Tacos & Cemitas) was not good.  The pork was fried to the point of being tough and difficult to chew, the bread was borderline stale and I’m not sure I understand why the cheese (yes those white gobs are cheese) was even on there, this cheese had a weird gelatinous texture and added nothing to this sandwich.

Now  I had never eaten a cemita prior to this, so I don’t know what a good one is supposed to taste like, but I am quite positive this was not a good cemita.  I feel inspired to find a good one locally.  Please feel free to provide suggestions.

New Saigon’s Banh Mi

February 24, 2010

Bahn Mi

How can I describe how good this sandwich is?  Well, it’s so good, I ate it two days in a row.

For $3.00 (not a typo, it costs $3.00), you get a nice sized sub stuffed full of carrots, cucumber, onion, carrots and bbq beef.  It’s topped with cilantro and has two condiments, a spicy sauce and a sweet sauce.  The crusty french roll breaks apart on the outside (see above picture for crumbs), but it’s soft on the inside.

I’d love to be able to hire a professional writer to describe the way the flavors come together in this delicious sandwich.  Moshpit could work, but I don’t mean to imply that the flavors are indecipherable.  It’s more of a three ring circus of flavors.  You can focus on each flavor individually, but when you take them all in, it makes the show.

This sandwich came from New Saigon Sandwich in Chinatown.  It’s worth the walk, drive, or flight.  Trust me.