Last month we reintroduced an old Hellbound tradition – our monthly staff picks/playlists! We’ve asked our regular and longtime contributors to weigh in on a few categories as follows (expect a few variations to our lists throughout the year, as well as some individual quirks and touches):
- Listening to – an album, ep or song from the library shelves (a pick that is not new)
- New release – a worthy album, ep or song released within the past couple of months
- Live – a recently enjoyed live recording or gig
- Non-metal – an album, ep or song of choice from the non-metal world
- Wild card – a recommendation outside or beyond the above (any example of entertainment/infotainment/activity/culture/etc of note)
Listening to: The Beach Bullies – We Stole The Universe LP (Manufactured Records). This one’s the most recent project by former Containers front man James Smith. In keeping with fresh start releases, We Stole The Universe features a few re-workings of material from Smith’s previous projects (including The Containers), but presented with a new coat of paint applied and more than a few new lessons learned. Of course, the stars of the show are the new songs which were written specifically for this album, but each of the pieces fits together so well that, before long, listeners just relish in the album as a whole rather than fussing over when the songs originated.
New Release: Lemuria – Recreational Hate LP (Turbo Worldwide/Asian Man Records). I got hooked on this album on my very first play through it (writing a review now, actually), and have been unable to put it down since it arrived on my doorstep. Between the beautiful vocal melodies set up by singer/guitarist Sheena Ozzella and the songs penned by drummer/singer Alex Kerns (many of which have the tag “future standards” displayed prominently), the album is just bursting with instantly hummable melodies and instantly memorable song craft. Better still, not one song EVER GETS OLD or begins to feel overplayed, no matter how often one runs through the album (believe me — I’d have found one by now).
Wild Card: Attack of the Killer Tomatoes DVD/Blu-Ray reissue, MVD. Say what you want, I’m still as hopelessly in love with Attack of the Killer Tomatoes now as I was when I saw it in 1984. The new DVD/Blu-Ray set features re-touched sound and gorgeous visuals which honestly improve the experience, rather than simply elevating the set’s price point.
Listening to / new releases: Primordial, Exile Amongst the Ruins (Metal Blade), Tribulation, Down Below (Century Media), Visigoth, Conqueror’s Oath (Metal Blade), Greber, Cemetery Preston (Pink Lemonade)
Non-metal: Jóhann Jóhannsson (RIP), Fordlândia (4AD)
Wildcards: Reading – Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. Watching – The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro, dir.)
Listening to: Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears. It makes me wish we still had a paying public buying records, as this is the kind of well produced metal album we miss, and that title track is epic. It would be sad if the Double-O never made another studio album, but I fear that will be the case.
New release: Corrosion of Conformity’s No Cross, No Crown. now there is a title to live by, a plea for a civilized secular world, free from patriarchal religious domination; the music more than backs up its lofty ideas and ideals. COC have always had what so many bands lack: sincerity and songs. At a time when so many artists of their era are milking an ever-decreasing ‘farewell’ circuit, COC are here for all the right reasons and deserve our support.
Live: Rory Gallagher – BBC Sessions: a two-CD set, one live, one in the studio, and even the studio one is live and dangerous. Just the most beautiful, heavy and heartfelt music, love it.
Wild Card: Last Saturday I watched an excellent film called Suffragette on Channel 4, staring Carey Mulligan. Just the most moving film; every man should watch it to get an insight into what women have and still do endure. It is a film that changes how you look at the world and not many films can you say that about.
Gene A. Gaona
Listening to: Harlott ~ Extinction, Killer Bay Area sounding thrash band from the Land Down Under.
New release: Genocide Pact ~ Order of Torment, Relapse Records out February 2.
Live: Obituary ~ Ten Thousand Ways To Die (Live Album)
Non-metal: Canned Heat’s Greatest Hits
Wild card: Super Bowl 52, one of the most entertaining Super Bowls I can remember. It was also an excellent example of why the NFL is the greatest sport known to man. What a game!
Listening to: Saint Vitus – Born Too Late on repeat
New release: Thy Kingdom Slum – A History of Dissent (cool new band from Windsor, ON)
Non-metal: “Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
Wild card: Liberty Commons, the Big Rock brewpub in Liberty Village (Toronto), is wicked awesome!
Listening to: Monster Magnet – Powertrip (1998)
New Release: Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe (Feb 9, 2018, New Damage/At the Dojo)
Non-metal: My kids have been making me listen to “Stay Awake” by Julie Andrews from the Mary Poppins soundtrack every night.
Listening to: Gravedigger — Heavy Metal Breakdown (Banzai)
New release: Black Wizard — Livin’ Oblivion (Listenable Records)
Non-metal: Mogwai — Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence)
Wild card: Jam (TV series, Channel Four UK, circa 2000)
Listening to: Monolord – Empress Rising (Easyrider Records, 2014)
New Release: Omega Point – The Descent (Independent/Unsigned)
Live: Panopticon/Falls of Rauros/Alda/Woman is the Earth, concert at Turf Club, St. Paul, Minnesota
Non-metal: Ween – 12 Golden Country Greats (Elektra Records, 1996)
Listening to: Morgion – Cloaked By Ages, Crowned in Earth (Dark Symphonies, 2004) and The Relapse Collection (2008)
New release: Harakiri for the Ski – Arson (AOP Records)
Live: Decibel tour stop in Toronto, February 20 @ the Phoenix, featuring ENSLAVED, Wolves in the Throne Room, Myrkur and Khemmis
Non-metal: “No Woman, No Drive” by Hisham Fageeh (2013) – an a capella cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “No Woman, No Cry” critiquing the Saudi ban on women drivers (h/t BBC podcast The Documentary)
Wild cards: The Memory Palace, episode 122: Hercules.
Listening to: David Maxim Micic discography (davidmaximmicic.bandcamp.com)
New release: The Atlas Moth – Coma Noir (theatlasmoth.bandcamp.com/album/coma-noir-2)
Live: Decibel Magazine Tour – Enslaved / WIITR / Myrkur / Khemmis (Toronto)
Non-metal: Jóhann Jóhannsson – Arrival (OST)
Wild card: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (Season 2)
Chime in with your own recommendations in the comments, and let us know what’s got your attention this month!