Hey! I moved my site from goodshakes.com (RIP) to here. This is unimportant as I only post twice a year. So I’ll get right to it! You are here to read my digest of 2017 rippers (so far).

Woe – Hope Attrition (Vendetta)
Woe is one of my favorite bands, period, and this new batch of pissed-off, hardcore/aggro USBM songs properly rips some shit. Chris Grigg’s screams are more vicious than ever on topical tracks “No Blood Has Honor” and “Drown Us With Greatness” (iseewhatyoudidthere), and this is one of the finest drum performances in recent memory (Lev Weinstein, also of Krallice). The bright, large, and crisp production makes it so easy to spin again, and the 3-minute instrumental intro of “Unending Call of Woe” might be my walk-out song of 2017.

Below The Sun – Alien World (ToT Records)
I slept on their 2015 album Envoy, and I’m trying to make up for it with newly released Alien World. I was instantly hooked with “Mirrors” (above), a crushing doom number that boasts an intriguing atmospheric mid-section that doesn’t get soft or boring. They jump genres gracefully, and “Black Wave” (my personal fav) even has a Soundgarden vibe to it, made especially chilling given recent events. Their sound and image are not to be ignored, even if the bass player wearing the mask on his head gives me the gd willies.

Ulsect – S/T (Season Of Mist)
Perfect moderation: a formula that few bands can execute, especially when your sound consists of death metal, dissonance, and atmosphere. Their technical proficiency only adds to Ulsect’s nightmarish sound, and the head-turning moments are enough to give last year’s critical darlings Blood Incantation some competition. The beefy production is on par with heavyweights Behemoth and Gojira, and I honestly wish more bands would follow their 8-song, 42-min barometer. Again, it’s moderation, and it’s my personal sweet spot album length. Ain’t nobody want to hear your 100-min, triple LP (Schammasch!)

Lantern – Morphosis (Dark Descent)
While on the subject of death metal, I’ll blast through a few more releases because 2017 seems to be the year for it. I’m super into this Finnish band, whose latest combines all things brutal with clever, progressive song arrangements. The transition between tracks 1&2 is slick as hell, and instrumental “Necrotic Epiphanies” is one incredible showcase of talent. I’d be remiss to not mention star vocalist “Necrophilos” and his extremely unique barking style. I just love that scruff! And again, 9 songs, 41 mins = bullseye.

Phrenelith – Desolate Endscape (Dark Descent)
Gruesome, filthy oldschooldeathmetal that I don’t normally seek out, but after hearing their sleeper February EP and the post-apocalyptic environment painted on Desolate Endscape, I’m all in. Sure, there’s plenty of brutality scattered about, but the subtle somber touches on the instrumental title track and the hypnotic outro on closer “Channeling A Seismic Eruption” is what sets this Danish band apart from the horde.

Extremity – Extremely Fucking Dead (20 Buck Spin)
To know why I enjoy this record, just listen to “Bestial Destiny”, a Bolt Thrower nod with an intro riff that packs a pinnacle strut-inducing moment. I’m talking full shoulder shimmy action. I’m also a sucker for dual vocalists exchanging growls back and forth, as masterfully executed by guitarists Shelby Lermo and Marissa Martinez-Hoadley. And Aesop Dekker (VHOL, Ludicra) is my favorite metal drummer so any time I can hear him blast and gallop, I’m pleased as punch.

The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy (Season Of Mist)
OK guys, I get it: you really enjoy H.P. Lovecraft. He’s even displayed in their promo pic for cryin’ out loud. However one may interpret HPL, the world created by this French progressive black metal band is dark, bleak, and infinite. The sound is massive, very cinematic, and after having five head-turning “oh shit, what is this?!” moments in the opening 10 mins (song above), I knew this album would stick. Cower in a corner and let this harrowing experience envelop.|

Wode – Servants Of The Countercosmos (Avantgarde)
Just thirteen months after their incredible debut album, Wode is back with another full-length and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a little slicker and meaner than the debut, but their post-apocalyptic black/death metal vision is still alive as ever, with “Crypt With Sermon” rattling off their signature snarl and “Chaos Spell” delving into the abyss. And I will always take some black ‘n roll struts in the form of “Celestial Dagger”. Great arrangements, great riffs, great band. Keep the releases coming.

Floods – S/T (self-released)
This one’s been a constant spinner since its release in February. This NYC band infuses boastful technical prowess into their black metal and still produce catchy, interesting songs. “Coercive” is one of those tracks in which each part is awesome but better than the one before it, and I love that vocal mix of BM screeches and desperate-sounding cries. Such unbalanced aptitude belongs on the same elite shelf with like-minded neighbors Krallice and Anicon.

Devouring Star – Antihedron (Dark Descent)
The three songs on this 25-min EP are a drag-you-through-the-mud sort of hopelessness with the abysmal, existential lurking of last year’s VRTRA. Despite the repetitive riffing (really driving the misery home), none of the songs wear out their welcome. You’ll find yourself swaying along to the hypnotic blackened death/doom in no time.


Amiensus – All Paths Lead To Death (Apathia)
Really solid atmospheric/melodic BM from Minnesota with polished production and none of the bullshit (forest) interludes. <Bandcamp>

Gloson – Grimen (Art Of Propaganda)
Heady crushing doom that would make Neurosis proud. Bonus points for non-cheesy use of a didgeridoo! <Bandcamp>

Jagged Vision – Death Is This World (Retro Futurist)
Norwegian hardcore sludge similar to golden era Kylesa with less reverb and more blast beats. <Bandcamp>

Ars Magna Umbrae – Through Lunar Gateways (Flesh Vessel)
One-person cosmic/atmospheric BM full of nightmarish spirals and cavernous fear. Also has guest choir chants that surprisingly work! <Bandcamp>

Bufihimat – I (self-released)
Russian techdeath release that wows with mathy spins in its first few songs and develops some entertaining Dillinger-esque curveballs towards its conclusion. <Bandcamp>

Hey, follow me on Bandcamp! I’d love to connect and know what you’re listening to these days. For your convenience, I also included a Spotify playlist.

Thanks for reading!

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