Interview with Dave Muntean of Nucleus

Nucleus have teamed up with Macabra to bring us brand new music fresh off of their 2016 Full lengths Sentient (which came in at #6 on our Top 15 last year)  and …to the Bone. Both bands bring their own brand of twisted death metal on this split entitled Fragmented Self. These new tracks are almost definitely the best either band has put out to date. We dug them so much we hooked up with Nucleus guitarist/vocalist, Dave Muntean and conducted this interview in space while orbiting Ceres.

 

fragmented self

album art by Dan Seagrave

First and foremost, how are you doing? Now that Sentient has been out for over a year how do you feel about the success and feedback received on it?

Dave: Doing great! The response to Sentient was better than we ever expected. At that point we were still used to just selling copies to people in Chicago and maybe mailing a handful out of town, so it’s very cool to flip that and have out of town sales grow bigger than local.

Your full length was released through Unspeakable Axe Records, how did you get hooked up with them and do you plan to continue to work with them?

Dave: I believe it was Bill Hansen, who does a radio show (KFAI Roar of the Underground) up  in Minnesota, who heard or EP Hegemony and sent it along to Unspeakable Axe. Eric from Unspeakable Axe contacted us interested in doing a release. We are already working on the next full length for UAR. Really happy to be on the label, really solid set of bands on there.

How did you end up working with Macabra? Do you have any previous connection with that band?

Dave: Mark Riddick(Who does all the instrumentation for Macabra) sent us an email. He really dug Sentient and was interested in working with us. It was originally going to be something like 1 song each, maybe a cover too, and then sort of just expanded into a 3 song each thing. In that process I had the idea of the story that bridges the 3 songs together and made our side a little concept, which then turned into being a prequel that sets up our next album. That’s why the songs flow into each other, they’re meant to be one continuing story. So the next album is now going to be a concept album too.

 

On Sentient I know that some of the songs were influenced by books and movies, for example Cantos is based off of the book Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Are any of the songs on the split based off of anything or are the songs related in anyway? I was sorta getting that vibe from the lyrics.

Dave: The songs are one continuous story, but unlike a lot of the songs on Sentient its not based on any one book. I kind of scrapped together some ideas from multiple books and other media I like, which kind of expanded as it went. I already have the outline for the album that follows it done. I actually ended up writing all the working song titles and track order before I even started writing it. So when I go into writing each song I have an idea of what its about and a framework of how it sound based on the theme and its place in the track listing.

What is the current progress on the next full length and/or anymore new Nucleus music?

Dave: The album is mostly done writing. One full song left to write, and two half songs, the rest is all finished at least in a rough draft state. We always make small changes here and there once we actually learn it together at practice. We’ve finished learning the first track on the album together already, minus the lyrics. After hearing that I’m super excited to finish the rest of it and get to recording, but that’ll take a bit of time.

 

In the track “Fragment,” there are some almost black metal sounding vocals, as well as  doom metal like chanting in there as well. Then in “assimilation” there is once again a doom metal vibe going on. This is more prominent than what was heard on Sentient, is this something you think we will be hearing more out of Nucleus?

Dave: If you are talking about the high wails in Fragment, I actually did the same vocals for 2 lines in the song Starflyer on Sentient. That mostly came from me joking around at practice trying to do Burzum screams. I definitely plan on having the chanting type vocals continue to pop up occasionally. I think we’ve always had a bit of doom stuck in once in a while, with small sections on multiple songs on Sentient. Assimilation ended up how it was mostly because it felt right for the section of the story that progresses through the 3 songs. The layout of the lyrics was set out and going really slow for just felt right for what that was about. We might not have a full out song like that often, but definitely sections within songs could hit a similar style.

Once again there is another excellent album cover for you guys done Dan Seagrave, how involved in the creative process were you on this? Tell me anything interesting about it.

Dave: Macabra’s album art for To The Bone… was the artwork done immediately after ours by Seagrave. The split art was just a combination of the two ideas merged into one. Dan Seagrave actually posted a photo of all 3 side by side, with the split art in the center, which is a pretty cool image to look at. When we did Sentient, we gave him free reign, mostly just gave him the album name and the general theme. I tend to like to let artists do whatever feels right with as little input from me as possible, I feel like we’ve gotten some cool things that way.

 What is your favorite Seagrave album cover?

Dave: Trying to not put one over another based on how much I like the music, haha, but one of my favorites are Malevolent Creation – The Ten Commandments. Just the whole world just ripping itself apart in front of the figure at the center.  Although I have to say Sentient came out so good, its definitely one of my favorite pieces from him, which I’m super proud of.

 What are you currently digging as far as music goes (current favorite album of the year?) are there any books, shows, or movies you’ve been enjoying lately?

Dave: I’ve been really bad at keeping up with new stuff this year, but I have been jamming the new Undergang which just came out, the new Ascended Dead, and the killer demo from Mortiferum.

 

I have a never ending list of books I want to read, a whole bookcase of just Sci-fi. I’m trying to push my way through the Culture series Ian M. Banks, while jumping off between books to try and read some random other ones, like The Library at Mount Char which I just finished recently.

 Any more big plans for Nucleus this year?

Dave: We have a few shows lined up yet to be announced, as well as playing the Full Terror Assault open air fest in Illinois in September. Other than that we are trying to lay low and work on the next album so we can record it as soon as possible. It’s very close to finished writing, and we’ve already started learning the songs at practice. Really excited about whats done so far!

band promo John Mourlas
Photograph by John Mourlas

 Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise?

Dave: Hey, he tried to preserve himself from the inevitable death due to the Rule of 2 and the apprentices lust for power, tried to be all buddy buddy, go at it as two masters. Shoulda slept with one eye open.

-REH-

Stream the full split here

Nucleus bandcamp

Macabra merch

Interview with Dave Muntean of Nucleus

Of Flesh and Worship

glacial tomb

Glacial Tomb – Cognitive Erosion 

I heard about this band quite awhile ago and anxiously awaited to hear it for a few reasons. One of those reasons being that this band features current/ex members of Khemmis, Abigail Williams, and Cult of the Lost Cause. The other reason being that the band is based out of Denver, Colorado which holds a heavy music scene that has been killing it lately all across the board with the various sub-genres of metal. Glacial Tomb  fit nicely into the Denver scene because they manage to pull from several sounds and mold them together seamlessly. The music holds influence from black metal, doom metal, sludge metal, and there is even a hint of grind in there. If I had to compare them to another band I would have to go with Inter Arma just on how well they pull from many sounds and make them work together.

I think the riffs hit with the force of a hammer on anvil. This is definitely the case in the track “Of  Flesh and Worship.” The vocals howl like a wounded animal. The music definitely reflects the panic I would have if I woke up within a Glacial Tomb. My personal favorite track on Cognitive Erosion, is the closing track “Burial Shroud.” This track features abusive riffs, punishing drums, and a doom section. Glacial Tomb  is another band that can go on the list of promising bands from Denver, Colorado.

I urge you to give them a listen here

-REH

Of Flesh and Worship

Attalla – Glacial Rule

attalla

Attalla – Glacial Rule (2017)

A glacier is a slow moving mass of ice. They are massive, dense, and move very slowly under their own weight. If that’s the case then Attalla have chosen the perfect name for their new full-length Glacial Rule.

The opening track is “Butte Des Morts” which is a lake in Wisconsin ,which is where Attalla are from. This translates to “the hill of the dead” it would appear that Attalla have found the best way to be inspired by their surrounding area, and that is by creating songs with massive riffs. “Butte Des Morts” is a fantastic opener. The first riffs are huge. The band has a lot of groove in this track where the drums work perfectly with the riff. It is guaranteed to get some people moving. My first impression of this band is they sound a bit like The Sword’s early work but perhaps a bit slower. The vocals are very stripped down and work great for this band. They have some grit in places and are very polished at other times. The more this album plays the more I like the vocals. The second track, “Ice Harvest” is the longest on the album and features some impressive lead work. Throughout the whole album there are just massive slow moving riffs that work well with the glacial theme. The album is full of groovy moments and shows a band that are on the same page. The band were once again clearly inspired by their homeland with “Devil’s Lake” which is another banger of a track as well as a shorter and faster one on this album. It is the perfect lead into the closing track. Which is the title track “Glacial Rule,” another massive track. These riffs have a “prehistoric might” and are the best on the album. The ones that come before just add to the journey of coming to the end of “Glacial Rule.” This album is a journey through an icy landscape that will be seen and felt. It is welcome to multiple listens. This album should call to fans of doom and massive riffs.

-REH

Glacial Rule releases on March 24th check it out on Bandcamp or at the Obelisk 

Check out Attalla on Facebook 

Attalla – Glacial Rule

Figures emerge: Interview with Jeff Owens of Goya

We have talked about Goya on Abusement Park a few times, but this time we invited Jeff Owens vocalist/guitarist of Goya into the inner sanctum for a chat about the new full length Harvester of Bongloads.

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How is it going Jeff? Thanks for doing this. Why don’t you just go ahead and tell us a little bit about Goya and how this band got started, as well as why you play this kind of music.

Jeff: It’s going alright. Just trucking along, dealing with the ups and downs life throws my way. I like to refer to Goya as a 3-piece metal band, though we tend to get pigeonholed as stoner metal or doom metal, which is fair, since we fit into those genres for the most part. I started Goya back in 2011 after a revelation that I had been playing in other people’s bands my whole life, and had never really done what I wanted to do. I was in a punk band and an Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy-esque Nintendo cover band at the time. I enjoyed both of them, but didn’t feel like I was able to fully express myself, so I started writing riffs and lyrics for what would become Goya. I found a couple of guys who were on the same page, and we went from there. As far as why this kind of music, I suppose it’s just what comes naturally to me.

Alright so tell us about this new full length Harvester of Bongloads. Is this the Metallica reference we all think it is? You had a fairly busy year last year with the ep’s, how long have these songs been in the works? I believe you mentioned before that this is a concept album. Do you care to go into any details on that?

Jeff: It is absolutely a Metallica reference. Credit where credit is due, a while back The Atlas Moth put out a record titled “Master Of Blunt Hits”. When I saw that, the title for this album just sort of popped into my head, and I knew it had to be the name of something. For a while, we were calling Omen by that name, but it soon became evident that it had to be the album title. These songs have been worked on in various stages for quite some time. I have early demos of Omen that date back to some time in 2012, and I believe the other tracks began to surface some time in 2015. Germination, Misanthropy, and Disease took concrete form much sooner than Omen. We have been performing the second half of the album for close to a year now. We were honestly still sort of writing Omen when we got into the studio. In fact, I recorded vocals for it, went home that night and rewrote the second verse, and then rerecorded some parts the next day. Harvester of Bongloads is, more or less, the second and third act of a story, with the first act being Rites of Hashage (From 777). The concept of the album may or may not be easily decipherable, but I do have a very clear story in mind that I feel is represented well once you know it. There is this dude who gets strange psychic powers when he smokes weed. He realizes that his powers can potentially have a positive effect on the earth. Coinciding with this revelation, Satanic aliens come down from outer space and give him the power to grow crops that can turn people into his followers. As planned before he had a weed cult, he tries to use these newfound powers to make the world a better place. Very quickly, he realizes that the powers that be and the majority of humankind in general not only make that difficult for him, but flat out don’t want the world to be a different or better place. As a result of this knowledge, he decides to use his army of weed demons to destroy the world, and that’s where the second half of the album comes in. The second half is mostly an expression of his hatred and the destruction caused as a result of it.

harvester

I love it! So this is not your first attempt at a concept album?

Jeff: It’s not, no. 777 is not a concept album, despite the opening track tying in with Harvester, but Obelisk definitely is.

The story of Obelisk is not told in a linear fashion, as I felt that made sense with the material. It is a sort of twisted romance, and can be summed up relatively easily, though I’m a little more guarded about all of the details than I am with Harvester. A soul escapes from Hell, and three demons (one greater, two lesser) attempt to retrieve it by possessing the bodies of various murderers throughout history. Somewhere in there, the greater demon returns to Hell for an extended period and leaves the lesser demons to do the work, at which point they say fuck the job, and decide to do whatever they desire. When the greater demon returns, it sees what they have done, and absorbs them into it, ultimately finding the escaped soul and returning to Hell with it. There’s some more to the story, but I prefer to leave the rest to interpretation.

Okay so for Harvester, I have heard people say they think it’s a more stripped down approach, and I myself said it sounded like an extremely cohesive Goya album. What do you think about that and what was the approach to writing and recording this one?

Jeff: One big difference between this album and our first two is the length. When we were making this album, I was adamant that each side be right around 20 minutes. I looked at all of the albums I love from the seventies, and they were very much made for vinyl (particularly Sabbath records), so we followed that model. I really like that approach, and I think it’s the one we will be taking from here on out, though anything can happen, of course. Another difference is that we recorded our first two LPs in our rehearsal space, which was a medium-sized warehouse at the time. This album was recorded in the studio at Switchblade Sound, so things sound a little bit tighter, I think. Other than that, the recording approach was very similar. Joe has been working with us from day one whether it be as a member of the band, or recording us, so he knows what we’re going for. We tracked bass, drums, and one guitar live, then I doubled the guitar and added vocals. I will say that we didn’t add quite as much on top as we did on Obelisk. There are only one or two separate lead tracks on this album, I believe, and the weird noise stuff at the beginning and end of Omen. For the most part, we tried to be pretty faithful to how we play the songs live, which is what we have done in the past. I think the fact that it is a 40-minute album makes things a little more precise and refined, despite the fact that it is only 4 tracks. We were very conscious of how many times we repeated certain riffs, and even the speed at which we played them.

Speaking of recording I noticed you have credit as producer. Do you have a lot of experience with that type of thing? Also I thought your solos on this were outstanding especially the ones in Omen. What’s your approach to soloing?

Jeff: I only really have experience with producing when it comes to Goya records. Again, Joe knows what we’re after, so he and I tend to spend a lot of time working together and figuring out all of the little details of the album.

When I started Goya, a lot of my solos were just sort of by the seat of my pants type stuff. As it’s gone on, I prefer to specifically write out solos. What that process usually looks like is me recording a small section I solo over, and just playing that section on loop for hours, getting parts of the solo down here and there, until it finally all comes together. That gives me a foundation to work on from that time until we hit the studio. Sometimes, I still don’t have things hammered out when I hit the studio. I also will usually pick a single album I love to listen to a ton in the weeks before recording. With this session, it was Black Sabbath s/t, which is I feel is fairly evident in the solos on Omen.

Also speaking of vinyl I believe you’re releasing this one yourself through your label Opoponax Records. What made you start that? You also released the debut Toke album. Are you planning on putting out any other releases from bands that are not Goya?

Jeff: Opoponax was initially started out of necessity. I wanted 777 to be out on vinyl and I didn’t have any connections, so I looked into pressing records and that was that. At the beginning of 2016, I decided to take it a little more seriously and took out a loan and started an LLC. I always wanted to run a record label as a kid, so it’s been great bringing that dream to life. No regrets, so far!  I do have another non-Goya release coming out. Gray Gallows‘ “Underlord” will be out by the summer. Other than that, no current plans for any non-Goya releases. I get a lot of bands messaging and emailing me, of course, but the only bands I put out aside from my own are my friends’ bands, bands I’ve seen live and thought were amazing, or both. Maybe next year I’ll have more money to throw at releases, but at the moment, 2017 is pretty much booked for Opoponax.

One thing I have to ask about is the album art for Harvester of Bongloads. Especially since there is such an obvious tie to art with the band name which I assume is a reference to Francisco Goya and not the food company. I think it looks amazing. How did you end up having Hunter Hancock do it and how close did you work with him on it?

Jeff:  Hunter worked with us back on 777, and he did a killer job on that, so it only made sense to have him do another album cover for us. I’ve been friends with Hunter for a years, and he’s always been a really gifted artist. With this release, I honestly didn’t give him much direction. I just gave him demos and lyrics as they became available, told him the concept, and asked him to do whatever he thought made sense. I’m a huge fan of Aubrey Beardsley, and I think Hunter really channeled some of his style with this artwork, so I couldn’t be happier.

You guys covered Nirvana and Marilyn Manson. How big is 90’s music an influence for you guys?

Jeff: I don’t know whether or not it comes across in the music, but the answer is: huge. Kurt Cobain is the sole reason I was interested in playing guitar. I turned 12 in 1990, so my teenage years were mostly filled with 90s music. Nirvana, Soundgarden, NIN, Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson, and Pearl Jam were found in my Discman throughout the majority of my high school years, and I still like all of those bands. My tastes have continued to grow and evolve over the couple of decades since high school, but that stuff still resonates very strongly with me.

And for the final question: Goya stars in a sitcom where you live next to grumpy old man who is played by Willem Dafoe. What do you do to drive him crazy? Bonus points if you come up with a title for the show.

Jeff: Plot twist! The grumpy old man Dafoe plays is HIMSELF! We taunt him by acting like various characters he has played, dressing up like Green Goblin or Nosferatu (the deadliest foe!), throwing pumpkin bombs at him and sucking his daughters’ blood. He has catchphrases such as, “You blasted scalawags,” and, “How many times do I have to tell you lousy scamps? Stop eating all of my mayonnaise!” In the last episode, we all take scissors to our genitals and he has to clean up the blood we get all over his carpet. It ends like every episode does: the four of us have a good smile and laugh about our antics together.

The show is called “Dafoe and Dafriends”.

Upcoming Tour dates with Aneurysm

goya-tour

 

 Harvester of Bongloads drops March 3rd. Pre-order the digital album and Stream new Track “Disease” here

 Pick up some rad merch at Opoponax as well.

 

Figures emerge: Interview with Jeff Owens of Goya

Fade Away Into Oblivion

harvester.jpgGoya – Harvester of Bongloads (Opoponax Records 2017)

Those familiar with Goya know they are a three piece doom band from Arizona. Those who are not familiar with Goya may not know what to expect out of an album titled Harvester of Bongloads. If this is the first time hearing of Goya you have arrived at the right time because this is their  most complete release to date. The full length is set to drop March 3rd and if you like Stoner/Doom metal you are going to want to be all over this one.

Harvester starts out with a very ambitious 20 minute long song entitled “Omen” that consists of three separate parts. This will set the tone of the album and is great start to the journey. The first listen to this album is full of surprises. The build up in this sets up the coming of the first distorted riffs nicely. It’s best to just sit back and take it all in at this point. This makes up for an incredible first half of an album. The second half of the album is three separate tracks one of which is an instrumental. The flow is not interrupted from track to track and they all work together almost seamlessly. I think these are some of the best guitar solos on any Goya release to date. It almost feels like each one of these tracks gets more and more pissed off than the next. Germination serving a intro to Misanthropy on High. The final climax being Disease which is in my opinion the most aggressive track on the album and is a fantastic bookend to close Harvester when compared to the build up created at the beginning with Omen. This album also appears to tell a story about an individual who is just pissed off at the world, and perhaps tired of being alive. This is very much reflected in the lyrics and mournful vocals.

It seems to me that the three members of Goya were completely on the same page of this release. There is a solid foundation laid. This is doom metal so of course there is a huge focus on the riffs, but there is such a solid foundation made by the drums and the bass. Which all together makes for some incredibly heavy moments. These moments are so heavy and slow they may need an electric cart to get around a grocery store and I mean that in the best ways.  The thing I have also noticed on my listens of this album is how great the bass lines are underneath the guitar solos throughout this album. they make the solos stand out even more, and should not go unnoticed. There is a certain groove and atmosphere made by this album that just sucks you in because it is so cohesive. My recommendation is to just lay back and feast on this audio. Harvester of Bongloads is without a doubt an album meant to be enjoyed from start to finish. Which proves to be a very easy and enjoyable task.

-REH

This album isn’t streaming on  Goya’s  bandcamp yet but keep a eye on it and their facebook. March 3rd is right around the corner.

Keep up with us here we have something else cool involving Goya coming up soon.

Fade Away Into Oblivion

Summon Horrendous Destruction

petrification_shd_1500x1500Petrification – Summon Horrendous Destruction (Sentient Ruin Laboratories 2017)

It’s been quiet around these parts since the start of 2017, but we have been awakened by Portland, Oregon death metallers Petrification. This is the first death metal release of 2017 to really catch my attention. If you like stuff that has tapped into the vein of the old school then you have come to the right place. If the cover art hasn’t given it away then let me tell you that this release reeks of filth, gore, and riffs. The opening track is the title track “Summon Horrendous Destruction” and as soon as you hear those buzzsaw riffs one might think that horrendous destruction will indeed be summoned. The listener will know what Petrification are all about on this four song demo/EP after the first track. There are undeniable influences from the Swedish and Finnish death metal bands of the past. The second track “Stagnation of Transmigration” trudges along bringing its hoard of pummeling riffs with it. It will soon be apparent that this is a trend on Summon Horrendous Destruction. The overall delivery of the four songs are fantastic death metal from start to finish. This release leaves behind a foul odor that you will grow accustom to. It will linger around you and demand repeat listens. If you like nasty riffs and bands like Autopsy, Grave, Undergang, and Disma then you will be all about Petrification and their Summon Horrendous Destruction.

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Listen to the track Summon Horrendous Destructin here  (pre-orders also available at that link)

-REH

Summon Horrendous Destruction

Abusement Park: Top 15 of 2016

This is one of my most favorite times of the year. It allows us to take a look at all the great releases that have come out this year, and this year there have certainly been a ton of them. What I look at the most in my end of the year list is albums that demanded repeat listens. The order is not the most important thing but I suppose they are ranked. I also think the best part about this list is, literally none of these bands created this music to make this list, or any list for that matter. However, these 15 albums made my list so lets see them.

starspawn15. Blood Incantation – Starspawn (Dark Descent Records)

Who doesn’t love some really weird sci-fi Death metal? From the buzz that this album created when it dropped, it would certainly seem like very few people do not. I think this is an excellent death metal album and garnered many repeat listens. It’s drenched in atmosphere and it will certainly leave you feeling like the stargate. Favorite Track: Virtrification of Blood (Part I)

sewercide14. Sewercide – Immortalized In Suffering (Unspeakable Axe Records)

It should be no surprise that early into this  list there is a release from Unspeakable Axe, they without a doubt were the best label this year. Sewercide are a disgusting Australian death metal band. I’m pretty sure the band members recorded this in the dankest of places. It’s filled to the brim with sweet riffage and the vocal delivery is just superb. Favorite Track: Megalithic Tomb

mizmor-yodh

13. Mizmor – Yodh (Gilead Media)

Yodh by Mizmor is like one part black metal and one part doom metal. It seeps emotion and bad feelings. It also literally screams feelings of catharsis. The one man behind Mizmor makes you feel with this one. There is so much to take in with this album.  It is so good instrumentally, but the vocals really steal the show. They bring so much to this album and it becomes apparent from that first scream in the first track. That scream quite literally put a smile on my face when I heard it. I just knew I was in for a treat with Yodh. Favorite Track: i – Woe Regains My Substance

ustalost12. Ustalost – The Spoor of Vipers (Sibir Records/Gilead Media)

Ustalost is a solo project for W. Skarstad of Yellow Eyes. I could probably leave it there and not have to explain how good of a black metal album this is, but I’ll elaborate a little bit. This is progressive black metal that goes all over the place. It has incredibly dark moments as well as some bright spots. It features the use of synths pretty heavily. The bass work on this also takes it to another level. Gilead Media will be releasing the vinyl next year as well so scoop that up when the time comes. Favorite Track: IV

21002 [Converted]11. CTHE’ILIST – Le Dernier Crepuscule (Profound Lore Records)

This is another one of those albums that made a buzz this year, and with good reason. It quite literally sounds like the source of all your fears got ahold of some instruments and created death metal that is not of this world. This album is incredibly unique and technically crafted. The vocals do not sound human at times. I’m still not certain that playing this album at the wrong time will not summon a Lovecraftian horror into your home that will drag you into the depths of the unknown to never see what you once loved ever again. You just have to hear it for yourself. Also the slap bass, I gotta mention that. Favorite Track: Voidspawn

chasms_150010. Lycus – Chasms (Relapse Records)

Alright! We’re in the top 10 and to start it off we have the most astounding funeral doom album of the year. Lycus really impressed me with their last album Tempest, and they have impressed me further with Chasms. This is slow dreadful doom at it’s finest. Chasms is surrounded in thick heavy atmosphere. If you aren’t careful this album could crush you under it’s weight. Favorite Track: Obsidian Eyes

khemmis9. Khemmis – Hunted (20 Buck Spin)

Hunted by Khemmis is what Decibel Magazine deemed to be their album of the year, and while it may not be our #1 it’s certainly one of our favorites. It has been a wonderful year for doom metal and this album is a big reason why. Khemmis released their debut Absolution last year and I personally think Hunted is an improvement. The vocals are more triumphant and the guitar melodies hit harder. Khemmis also added elements from funeral doom that I just love. They are present in tracks such as Candlelight. It’s hard not to feel victorious after listening to this one. Favorite Track: Hunted

gatecreeper-sonoran8. Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation (Relapse Records)

I have been following Gatecreeper since they dropped their four song demo tape back in 2014. After a handful of some great splits, the wait is finally over and we have the full length. I got exactly what I expected and exactly what I wanted out of this Gatecreeper full length. It’s filled to the brim with GED Riffs that get you hyped up. Honestly when I listen to this I want to punch holes in things. Gatecreeper play music that shouldn’t be trifled with. They wear their Swedish death metal influence on their sleeve proudly and they should. Favorite Track: Rotting As One

north light the way7. North – Light The Way (Prosthetic Records)

The first thing I want to say about this album is that it is beautiful. It has incredible atmosphere and it is just powerful. This album is completely immersive, and is a pleasant listening experience. It would be hard to find a more recent Post-metal album better than this one. I will also say this is one of my biggest surprises of the year. I had not even heard of North until I cam across Light the Way, but I’m glad I found it. This album has gotten many plays this year and I imagine I will keep returning to it. Favorite Track: Earthmind

nucleaus sentient6. Nucleus – Sentient (Unspeakable Axe Records)

If you have been reading everything I have written so far you may remember that I said everybody loves  really weird sci-fi death metal. Nucleus have made some really good, really weird sci-fi death metal with Sentient. The science fiction theme really works for the album since it sounds like it was brought here from the future, but also brought from the past. Nucleus have a brand of death metal that is very much old school and technical, but still very modern. I love the sideways riffs and the sporadic soloing. The subject matter of the songs are great too with subjects like the film Cube and Dan Simmons Hyperion. Favorite Track: Swarm

take over self title5. Take Over And Destroy – Take Over And Destroy (Prosthetic Records)

Take Over And Destroy have always had a sound that is hard to pin down. This album makes it even harder to pin down. They have influences from all over the place and it shows in the music. The one thing I know for certain is this is the catchiest metal album released this year. Every single one of these songs has the ability to stay with you. Each song is pretty unique from one another as well, but the whole package works as an incredible listen. The heavy riffing John Carpenter soundtrack band have delivered once again. Favorite Track: changes day to day but lets go with Bring Me the Rope

scorched-echoes4. Scorched – Echoes of Dismemberment (Unspeakable Axe Records)

Oh yes Echoes of Dismemberment, the album that has as many riffs as a Hallmark store has greeting cards. I love this album, it’s my favorite death metal album of the year without a doubt. I just keep going back to it. Much like Gatecreeper I’ve been following Scorched from demo to splits and have been anxiously awaiting a proper full length. When the full length arrived I got what I wanted. This album features flawless drumming, and groovy riffs. Steve Fuchs and Nick Carucci assault the whammy bar like it wronged their families and I love it.  The horror movie theme is done so well with the album cover, the synth music, and lyrical content. Listen to Scorched. Favorite Track: Dealings of A Gruesome Kind

spirit adrift chained to ob3. Spirit Adrift – Chained to Oblivion (Prosthetic Records/War Crime Recordings)

Nate Garrett appears to have been the bringer of Riffs and Doom this year, having released an incredible EP as well as full length this year. Spirit Adrift bring top tier emotional doom that feels and sounds like a cathartic release. There are guitar melodies that sing, heavy riffs, and vocals that work with the music to perferction. The improvement from the EP Behind – Beyond  to Chained to Oblivion, make this album worthy of spot alone. The entire album creates a cohesive experience. There is not a single track that should go unheard, in fact its best to listen to it all in one go. The resurgence of doom metal lately has been incredible and Spirit Adrift have added to that with this one. I hope the bringer of doom and riffs brings more of both soon. Favorite Track: Chained to Oblivion

haunter2. Haunter – Thrinodia (Unsigned)

This is what I personally believe is the best black metal album released this year and if you have a label you need to listen to this album and sign Haunter. This album has incredible atmosphere. The production is polished at times but still incredibly raw. It’s hard to ask more out of black metal. Most U.S. Black metal is rooted somewhere in New York, but Haunter reside in San Antonio, Texas. They put a unique spin on their brand of black metal. There are plenty of riffs to go around, and very impressive bass lines that can be heard. It’s exceptional black metal and you just need to give it a listen. Favorite Track: Apnoeic (Polarized in Retrospective Contempt)

inter arma paradise1. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows (Relapse Records)

Here it is the Abusement Park album of the year. Paradise Gallows was my most anticipated release of 2016 and it delivered. It not only delivered, it exceeded my expectations. Inter Arma have a spotless history of releases, and just when you think they couldn’t possibly get better they do just that. This album is about as heavy as holding onto a boulder while sinking into the ocean at times. Then at other it manages to be as beautiful as a cloudless night, sometimes both at the same time. There are amazing riffs at every turn. Inter Arma manage to bring a plethora of styles from doom, sludge, and post-metal. They then put their own progressive spin on it and have composed a modern day masterpiece and I really mean that. They try a lot of new things on this and they all worked. It’s almost unfair, but I’m thankful for this album. Favorite Track: An Archer in the Emptiness

I’ve had a great year running this blog for the first time, and have had some incredible guests on here as well as support. So as a bonus here are some #1 picks by people I interviewed, celebrities, Abusement Park season pass holders… whatever you want to call them!

Andy Leemont (Take Over And Destroy): Grave Pleasures – Funeral Party 7″

Stoney Bass (Anvil Eater Records): Vermin Womb- Decline, and Blood Incantation –  Starspawn

Young Cubs/Night Rambler Records: Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy

Steve Fuchs & Matt Kapa (Scorched): Blood Incantation – Starspawn

Dave Muntean (Nucleus): CTHE’ILIST – Le Dernier Crepuscule

Slade Williams (Pavel Chekov/Celestial Corrosion): Death Fetishist – Clandestine Sacrament

Brandon Kellum (American Standards): The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation, and Oathbreaker – Rheia

A.L.W. (our editor): Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan

Jeff Owens (Goya/Spirit Adrift): Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker (as Jeff put it “heaviest album of the year, in one way, if not another”)

Nate Garrett (Spirit Adrift/Gatecreeper): Vektor – Terminal Redux, and Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows. (It also just occurred to me that Nate had something to do with 3 albums on our list. If we gave out awards he’d be our dude of the year or something what a year for that guy am I right?)

Now time to look forward to 2017

-REH

Abusement Park: Top 15 of 2016