Here's a mix of what I found to be my favorite songs by some good bands that I happened to be listening to throughout January, 2012. I have compiled this mix to fit a regular 80 minute CD, so some songs have been modified to fit better. Not really any overall theme, just a good mix that sums up my musical tastes for the month of January/February 2012. Check it out!
1. W.A.I.L. - Agony (Wisdom Through Agony into Illumination and Lunacy, 2009)
This is easily my favorite song on the mix. I'm a sucker for well written funeral doom, this is shrouded in bleak occult vibes, it's vaguely militant, and it features some creepy, despondently nostalgic clean guitar leads that cut straight to the bone.
2. SubRosa - Borrowed Time, Borrowed Eyes (No Hope for the Mighty Ones, 2011)
This is a band that hails from the bullshit Mormon capital of America, Salt Lake City. But don't let that fool you, this song is based on the book The Road (also a movie that I very highly recommend), and captures the brink-of-hopelessness feeling and brutal struggle of surviving in a dying post-apocalyptic world. Gorgeous song.
3. Rotor - An3R4 (4, 2011)
I can't remember where I found out about these guys, they are a free-form jam-style band, mostly instrumental, good grooves, hints of sexy, psychedelic funk and it happens to be great to drive to.
4. Dopefight - Baby Goat Sick (Buds, 2010)
Every good mix should have one track to get you pumped up for something. Dopefight are some dirty UK potheads that clearly know how to have a good time. Pack the bong and shotgun some beers in the back of the pickup on your way to crashing some bonfire party out in bumfuck nowhere.
5. Dornenreich - Der Wunde Trieb (Flammentriebe, 2011)
Dornenreich has rebounded from their acoustic neo-folk album In Luft Geritzt with an elegantly performed blackened folk rager. I could describe this as black metal for the classical musician, to listen to in an opera house while wearing expensive tuxedos and whatnot. A cut above.
6. The Fërtility Cült - Return to the End of the Beginning (Eschatology, 2010)
Finland is a musical hotbed, that's no secret. Though I never expected such fuzzy warmth and cosmic Pink Floydianisms that emanates from this entire album. I can't get enough of the analog organs and saxophone breaks that somehow travelled their way out from the Dark Side of the Moon. Great song to fall asleep to.
7. Blood Ceremony - The Hermit (Living with the Ancients, 2011)
Not my favorite song from their latest album, but chosen due to time constraints, and it serves as a nice interlude about half way through. A good laid back summer tune in the vein of Jethro Tull and similar '70's psychedelic rock.
8. Dark Castle - Growing Slow (Spirited Migration, 2009)
Wow, I just love the guitar style of Stevie Floyd, who makes up half of this mesmerizing occult sludge doom band from sunny Florida. Admittedly, I don't exactly hear many hooks or particularly strong choruses or anything, but the subtle nuances and slowed down technicality of the riffs always find a way to burrow deep into my consciousness. I need to hear their new album.
9. Horrendous - The Somber (Desolate Winds) (The Chills, 2012)
Close your eyes and you'll think this came out of Sweden circa 1993. The retro death metal revival has certainly (over)ripened, yet you can't argue with the tasty leads in the latter part of this song, or the promising songwriting chops of the young members. Definitely a band to watch out for.
10. Virus - Continental Drift (The Agent that Shapes the Desert, 2011)
Virus always sound like Virus. Only this time, their focus is on the dry, arid theme of red desert heat and geologic transformation. This translates well with the music as sounds (sands) shift with the breeze like a constantly parched stream under the furnace of a sun that never fully sets. A must-hear simply for how unique this sounds.
11. Sarke - The Stranger Brew (Oldarhian, 2011)
Featuring an all star Norwegian black metal lineup, most notably vocals of Nocturno Culto, this black 'n roll stomper almost sounds like what latter Darkthrone could sound like with a polished sheen, for better or worse. Thankfully it rocks the fuck out, and I love the cheeky Cream reference in the title.
12. Wooden Stake - Skullcoven (Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades, 2011)
I'm not sure why this newcomer to the occult doom world has not yet received the coverage they are clearly due, but so far it's working to their benefit, as underground as they are, the two members that make up this morbid crew have quite the impressive pedigree in all things low, slow and black as a midnight crow (I know, I know, shut up). This is a potent witch's brew of infectious 60's melodies played on a stripped down rawer Hooded Menace frame. Delicious.
13. Wolf - Skull Crusher (Legions of Bastards, 2011)
It's okay to smile as you listen to heavy metal once in a while. Featuring such glorious ESL lyrics ("I'm a beast of burden, so gimme some heavy looooaaad!") and straight to the point, fist pumping crowd pleasing song arrangements, bands like Wolf make me proud to blast my tunes at 11 and forget all the bullshit we all go through day to day.
14. Yob - Atma (Atma, 2011)
Just listen to that guitar tone! It's like the fluffy static you hear when shifting the dial on an old am radio, or an antique gramophone with a dusty needle. The chalky serpentine riffs strike a refreshing contrast with the burly yoga biker gang vocals for a truly unique doom anthem.
15. Okkultokrati - Ragnarokian (No Light for Mass, 2010)
I've been recently checking out a lot of these Norwegian blackened sludgy hardcore records, they seem to be the only thing 'black' that actually sounds exciting coming out of the frigid north these days. The only thing serious about this tune is the menacing midnight mass keg party vibes.
16. LIK - The Other Realm (The Second Wind, 2011)
I can't help but smile every time this song plays. It possesses a particular charm in its awkwardness, I can't help but like it, even though I don't know why. It makes me feel good listening to it, despite it's obvious attempts at dark (but not totally black) occult imagery and lo fi production, but the delivery is completely honest and the conviction shows through well.
17. KEN Mode - The Iron Will... (Venerable, 2011)
A short sharp shock of Canadian hardcore to throw some spice in the mix, I love the guitar lines in this, to me it sounds shaky, almost unsure, but firm and direct. I don't know what that's supposed to mean exactly, but by the time you figure how retarded that sounds, the song's over and you'll want to play it again to make sure you heard it right. It's good, plain and simple.
18. Mongo Ninja - A Slow Death (Nocturnal Neanderthals, 2010)
I had to finish the mix with what could be argued as a pop metal anthem. It's a hometown ode to the dirty scuzzy shithole of a city, Oslo. Mongo Ninja is a Blood Tsunami punk/metal spin-off, politically incorrect in all the right places and easy to listen to over and over. Let's end this on a high note.