Well, Lonesummer is first black metal band that I know of to cover Mount Eerie. Or, more to the point, “Lost Wisdom Pt. 2,” a track from the decidedly black metal-inspired Wind’s Poem.

The end result kinda sounds like the moody chaos of Wreck and Reference, but bigger question: Do black metal cover songs by black metal bands ever sound any different than the original?

In terms of bickering in the metal world, I think there’s a good chance Altar of Plagues might be this year’s Liturgy, but for different reasons than what Triple H got metal kids’ battle jackets in a twist — no philosophical BS… that I know of. Teethed Glory and Injury is the kind of Ministry-heavy, anything-goes black metal record that Nachtmystium’s flirted with, and this stylized video for “God Alone” sets the tone.

Now look, I love straightforward, song-driven “trad” (ugh, that term) metal as much as I love the stuff that dismantles it. And I’m attracted to artists — metal or not — who toy with image, but I question Altar of Plagues’ intentions here. I’m not wholly convinced the b&w interpretive dance sequence for “God Alone” works other than to mash up something pretty (frankly, stunning cinematography and choreography) with something caustic (AoP’s chaotic, Dillinger Escape Plan-esque track). It’s a statement for a record (that I really like, by the way) that I need to noodle in the noggin for a while.

So much of what’s called “blackened hardcore” these days just sounds like reheated Entombed apple pie. Well, the French make goddam asymmetrical apple tarts, that’s what they do. Anyway, I like this new record by The Phantom Carriage. It’s like Deathspell Omega grew up on late ’90s hardcore.

Top 25 Metal Albums Of 2012


Sometimes NPR Music likes to keep the year-end list deal tidy. Top 10. No more, got it? I get it: wheat, chaff, etc. You can read my opening spiel and blurbage for my top 10 metal records of 2012 there, but get everything else here. At some point, these things just become bullet points of the dumb stuff I listened to, so these are the metal records that I really hated to cut, feel me?

The list in alphabetical order because ranking is silly. There are also links to stream full albums where available. And by year’s end, I’ll publish my personal top 25 here — you know, the one with “Call Me Maybe” on it (seriously).

(Converge fans get super mad in 5, 4, 3…)

The “top 10”…

  • Aksumite, Prideless Lions [Colloquial Sound Recordings]
  • Asphyx, Deathhammer [Century Media]
  • Bosse-de-Nage, Bosse-de-Nage III [Profound Lore]
  • Derketa, In Death We Meet [self-released]
  • Horseback, Half Blood [Relapse]
  • Pallbearer, Sorrow And Extinction [Profound Lore]
  • Panopticon, Kentucky [Handmade Birds]
  • Pharaoh, Bury The Light [Cruz del Sur]
  • Pig Destroyer, Book Burner [Relapse]
  • Testament, Dark Roots Of Earth [Nuclear Blast]

15 more for a neat 25…

  • Accept, Stalingrad [Nuclear Blast]
  • Baroness, Yellow & Green [Relapse]
  • Blood of the Black Owl, Light The Fires [Bindrune]
  • Gaza, No Absolutes In Human Suffering [Black Market Activities]
  • Hivesmasher, Gutter Choir [Black Market Activities]
  • Ilsa, Intoxicantations [A389]
  • Incantation, Vanquish In Vengeance [Listenable]
  • Kowloon Walled City, Container Ships [Brutal Panda]
  • Krallice, Years Past Master [self-released]
  • Malignancy, Eugenics [Willowtip]
  • Royal Thunder, CVI [Relapse]
  • Saint Vitus, Lillie: F-65 [Season of Mist]
  • Satanic Bloodspraying, At The Mercy Of Satan [Hells Headbangers]
  • This Station Of Life, Plastic Fire [Colloquial Sound Recordings]
  • Unknown Artist, RH-12 [Rhinocervs]

Bonus: 5 hella sweet splits…

The final installment of the One Man Metal documentary is the inevitable section about isolation and misanthropy for Xasthur, Leviathan and Striborg. On some levels, I can identify with their desperation to be alone and how living in that darkness can inspire art, but at some point years ago, I said, “This is awful. I can’t even function.” That’s the thing that always makes me wonder about folks like Jef Whitehead (it’s confirmed here, by the way, that this was taped before the assault charges), what actually drives them out of that pain - it’s never quite answered by the film, at least not satisfactorily. More to chew on…

Watch part 1, part 2.