Monday, December 31, 2012

0 Jeff McNulty's (Android Hero) Top Albums of 2012

My Top 12 for 2012
In order of how long they were stuck in my headphones or on my turntable...

1. Coffinworm – ‘Great Bringer of The Night’

Seems like Coffinworm might have been rerecording the same 9 songs for the last few years but who cares?!?! Turns out it takes a while to get the word out here from Indianapolis. Admit it, you've probably never heard of them, but every time I turn around there are more heads at the Highline with Coffinworm patches and shirts and even a back patch or two.
I have literally listened to these guys more than all these other records put together. No offense. With song titles like “Stripped Nude for Your Killer” and  “Start Saving for Your Funeral” you can see why.
They have the coolest logos by Dusty Neal and two of my favorite guitar players in metal. Judd from Laudanum is my second.

2. Serial Hawk – ‘Buried in the Gray’
I am a HUGE fan of this local Seattle band. The first time I saw Serial Hawk I was doing sound for them and was blown away. After their set I introduced myself and asked how it was our bands had never played together before (and promptly remedied that fact by getting them on the bill of our next show!)
I rock the demo version of this album a lot but it sounds so much better on vinyl... duh. A lot of bands have tried to follow in the footsteps of legendary NY band Unsane but not many pull it off without sounding derivative. Buy this EP now and spend the extra dough for the record cause you still git the download right away!

3. Torche – ‘Harmonicraft’

What can I say about Torche that hasn’t been said? I went to see Sunn0))) one time and ended up seeing Floor. Their album ‘Floor’ is now in my top ten favorite heavy albums of all time.
Up until I got a listen to this record I thought Torche’s self-titled first record was their best.
I was wrong; Steve and company have done it again. Almost every song on this record is good.
I was lucky enough to do sound for them when they played in Seattle last and I will freely admit to shedding a tear while headbanging to them playing Scimitar. Nothing is better than mixing one of your favorite bands!

4. Tragedy – ‘Darker Days Ahead’

My favorite Tragedy record before “Darker Days’ was their first self-titled full length, which didn’t leave my turntable for over a year.
Not to be confused with the title of a recent Terrorizer album, ‘Darker Days Ahead’ builds on the more epic style they are known for as opposed to the D-Beat stuff they do sometimes. I can dig a straight-ahead ass kicker but my money is on the huge songs with choruses you can sing along to like “The Grim Infinite”.  Tragedy can hold it down on the bottom strings my man and that’s one of my favorite things ever. This record is phenomenally produced, as usual. One of the things Tragedy has going for them is they are the real fucking deal, no fakes, no poseurs, just bad ass musicians with great taste kicking out some of the best Crust Metal ever written.

5. Absolute Monarchs – ‘1’

True story: I was in my friend Colin’s truck the other day on the way to band practice when he cued up this record. I spent a few minutes singing along before remarking to him that I hadn’t heard this record in a while, then checked myself and realized how new this record was. What I’m trying to say is that this record is a CLASSIC and these songs are every bit as good as anything ever laid down on wax. No lie.

6. Kowloon Walled City – ‘Container Ships’

I first saw Kowloon Walled City accidentally; I showed up late to a friend’s show and just managed to catch their set. Like Serial Hawk, this band is made up of people who understand how to be HEAVY without being METAL. KWC is currently my favorite band from the Bay Area (along with Turks, Stormcrow, and Asunder, to name a few). They had equipment trouble the night I saw them open up for Sleep but I still enjoyed it like crazy.

7. Thac0 – ‘Demo 2012’

Have you seen this band yet? Thac0 are one of the best bands in Seattle right now. I mostly just added this in to get their guitar player Lee’s goat but seriously, I rock this one all the time. Did you know Dungeon and Dragons geeks could kick it this hard? Turns out the ones who were being picked on were going home and channeling their anger by practicing their instruments. Now they rule and those “cool” dudes suck.

8. Gaza – ‘No Absolutes in Human Suffering’

One of the few good things coming out of SLC at all lately is Gaza who lobbed us this ball of molten wax earlier this year. Kurt Ballou makes studio magic again with an intense recording of a truly intense band.
Phil from Great Falls loaned me this one before we went in to the studio together and it took me a few days to get it playing. The first time I heard it, ‘No Absolutes’ didn’t sit well with me but after a few more spins I was onboard all the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into it in time to go see them when they came through last. This record smokes. Like Tragedy, this is another band made up of real, no compromise hardcore motherfuckers.

9. Gaythiest – ‘Stealth Beats’

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I’m into anything Jason Rivera is involved with. Be it, band, zine, blog or whatever I think he is smarter that everyone I know put together. His current band is no exception. Jason and his bandmates Tim and Nick lay down some heavy hardcore punk with superior choruses and sometimes ironic, often hilarious lyrics. I like any band that isn’t afraid to fly the rainbow flag but I always love it when it’s done in the spirit of good fun. The only reason Gaythiest isn’t getting more spins is because the record is so short and catchy I already know all the words ;-)

10. Slave Traitor – ‘To High to Reach’

My personal opinion about Slave Traitor is that most of Seattle really missed out on one of the best metal bands we’ve ever had. Call me crazy, but more and more I like my Metal mid-tempo with enough fast and slow parts to keep it lively. I have never seen a bad ST show and when these dudes are on they are on all the way, brother. Check out the opening track “Living the Lie” or the closer “Turncoat” to see what I’m talking about.  

After many years and two Jack Endino produced full-lengths full of world class metal, Slave Traitor recently called it quits. Boo I say, Boo!

11. Witch Mountain – ‘South of Salem’

Another often overlooked Northwest metal band is the long running and legendary doom band Witch Mountain from Portland, Oregon. After many years and a few bad-ass instrumental albums Witch Mountain wised up and added a singer. One of the things that bugs me most in modern heavy music is the lack of diverse and skilled vocals and Uta Plotkin is one of the best singers I have ever heard. She has the power and finesse of Dio and the soul of Janis. She’s singing the whole time, not just in choruses and I mean that in a good way. 

I love this record even though technically the vinyl came out in 2011 and their new release ‘Cauldron of the Wild’ is coming out now. I chose to talk about ‘South of Salem’ because the songs have stuck with me, it is good from start to finish and probably because I play it more ha ha. Go get ‘em both.

12. Narrows – ‘Painted’

In a weird way I was initially unresponsive to this group because there used to be a killer band in the Northwest called Narrows already and I used to play shows with them all the time. Then I found out who was in the band and word got around how amazing they were live so I figured I’d get over it. Damn am I glad I did! This band is pretty mind blowing live but for me the songs come through on the recording a little more. Having the record on repeat makes them easier to digest I guess? Narrows is playing the kind of music I would like to play if I could actually play my instrument proficiently. Like all the records I’ve mentioned above this one is a must buy.

My favorite bands to work with in 2012
I didn't add these to my favorite records list because it seemed weird… but seriously the top 3 are phenomenal records I am proud to have been apart of and deserve mention.  All the rest are singles or EP’s and remarkable in their own right.

Kelli's Starlight Wishes
Great Falls
Bat Country
Justin White
Gazebo of Destruction
Night Shades

Thanks! Have an amazing new year!
Jeffery McNulty


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