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

Pavel Chekov/Celestial Corrosion: An evening with Slade.

Slade Williams has been playing with Dallas, Texas power-violence/grind/Dallas warpcore band Pavel Chekov for a little while now. They have been gearing up for some new stuff as well as a December tour. Slade also has a little doom metal project called Celestial Corrosion, so let’s start out with that.

What inspired Celestial Corrosion?

Slade: My main musical influences for CC are Hooded Menace, Fuoco Fatuo, Evoken and Hell. But when it came to the mixing and stuff I really dig the production style of Temple Nightside, Abyssal and Irkallian Oracle. I’ve still got a bit of improving to do, but I’m really happy with how the demo came out.

How different is the approach to writing this slow stuff compared to the speed of the usual Pavel Chekov stuff?

The writing styles between the two are honestly pretty similar, just write cool riffs while not dragging them out to where they’re boring. The second song on the demo was originally going to be around 10 minutes but I listened back a couple times and edited it way down because I felt it dragged on way too long. The writing styles are similar, but way slower.

Is everything 100% you?

Yes and no. The logo was done by Parker Turney, he’s a crazy talented dude who actually was the original guitarist of Pavel Chekov, he has a new grind band called Vault Dweller that should be releasing a demo soon also! Then to finish it up, Stoney of Anvileater records helped me by putting together a layout for the tape that he’ll be releasing, give him all of your money, he deserves it for how cool of a dude he is to work with. The music is 100% me, this whole project has been a personal goal of mine, to write record and mix an entire demo by myself. For now CC will remain a solo operation while I sort my life out. I would like to be able to play shows and stuff, but we’ll see how it pans out.

celestial-c

I wholeheartedly agree with the Anvileater records statement. I like Stoney so much that I gave him a season pass to Abusement Park for life. Keep an eye on the Anvileater facebook for news regarding the Celestial Corrosion tape.

Anvileater bandcamp and store

 

Is this your first shot at this type of music, or have you been in other doom bands?

This is my first shot at doom, I’ve always wanted to play it, but I’ve never been in a band playing it.

Is this also your first attempt at mixing, recording etc?

Not really, I’ve been going to school for audio engineering so I’ve done all sorts of projects for class. Along with that, Alan and I usually tag team the tracking whenever we record for Pavel releases, so I’ve had a good amount of practice for the short time I’ve been doing it.

What are the meanings behind these two songs?

The first one is about the decay of the astral body after death, while denied ascent, the spirit seems to fade slowly with no hope of reach a higher sphere. The second is loosely based on the mythological idea that the universe was created through the sexual relations of the gods and how after creation, nature has the incredible driving force to spread and thrive all on its own.

Can we expect more Celestial Corrosion in the future?

I’m planning on trying to write more in the coming months, so you can definitely expect more music, but I’ve got a lot coming up with the new year so I’m not sure when it will happen. My plan is to at least have another release out by the coming summer.

Give the demo a listen/download here. It’s one of the best doom demos you’ll here this year!

pavel-1

Speaking of Pavel Chekov…. Is there anything new in the works for that band?

So we recently sent off three tracks for a comp coming out through Mind Ripper Collective, we’ve finished tracking instruments for three upcoming splits, and we have our west coast tour on Dec. 8th.

Also you heard it hear first people, Pavel Chekov will being doing splits with Concussive, Bandit, and TBA (Ft. Worth, TX). Be on the lookout for those! 

I’ve also always wanted to ask, why Pavel Chekov (of all people)?

Because he is the best Star Trek character! We all are big sci-fi fans, especially Alan, and we just we liked the name a lot.

I’m friends with you dudes on Facebook and it would appear that the drummer Alan is leaving the country. Will this be the end or a hiatus?

This will be a hiatus. Alan continually talks about how he’s going to try his best to come back so we can still do small tours over breaks and such. Todd and I are super stoked that he has the opportunity to go to school out there, but we don’t really have any plans to flat out call it quits.

You guys are doing a tour to close out the year. Are there any dates you’re extra excited about, or bands you’re excited to play with?

I’m really just excited to see friends, we’ll be playing with our friends in Saintbreaker, Concussive, Ingrown, Woundvac, and we’ll hopefully get to see all the non-band friends we’ve made as well haha. One thing I’m super stoked for is our Oakland show, we’ll be playing a split set with Concussive and ending the night will be fucking Godstomper and I’m so excited, they’ve always been one of my favorite PV/grind bands.

Since 2016 is almost over, what’s your favorite album of the year?

I can’t pick a favorite but some of my favorites this year are Skáphe – Skáphe2, Lycus – Chasms, Temple Nightside – The Hecatomb, QRIXkUOR – Three Devils Night, Uškumgallu – Rotten Limbs in Dreams of Blood

You have been given 48 hours to kidnap the greatest actor of all time, Steve Buscemi. Who do you call, how do you catch him, and where do you take him?

To catch Steve Buscemi I call Maximillion Pegasus from YuGiOh to use his millennium eye to trap his soul into a playing card, then I take him to Caesars’ Palace, I then place the card with his soul and four decks of cards into a shuffling machine and leave him to be lost in the wasteland of greed and excess.

 steve

If you are located around the west coast, see if Pavel Chekov are playing a show around your area and go see them! They will have a tour tape, sick shirts, and a split 7” with Endless Swarm.

DATES:pavel-tour

Smash that like button on the Pavel Chekov Facebook for future updates

Give them a listen on their bandcamp as well for all the anti-fascist blastcore.

Also drop Abusement Park a like as well. We’re low-key doing a little giveaway at the end of the year.

-REH

 

Pavel Chekov/Celestial Corrosion: An evening with Slade.

IT’S USUALLY JUST LOUD

AER banner

Today exclusively at Abusement Park we will have Papa Anvil AKA Mr. Stoney Bass the main man of Denton, Texas based record label Anvileater Records. A man of riffs, beer, and hot dogs. Let’s do this!

 One time I ate a bowl of anvils for breakfast without any milk, but anyway, what made you start Anvileater Records and what was the original goal?

AER: Well, I grew up in the punk and hardcore scene booking shows, (trying) to play in bands, and just doing things that go with having a bunch of friends running a venue and it just slowly led into me promoting releases and eventually just putting them out. It kind of happened without me planning for it to, which is kind of the whole mantra of the label. I moved away from scene I grew up with but wanted to help from afar, so I put a few of their demos out. It helped transition the label into a DFW thing. I’ve never had a real goal besides helping my friend’s music get heard and then finding ways to get music I like out to other folks.

 What inspired the name Anvileater? I personally love the name.

 AER: Sadly, there’s not even a cool story about it. I was playing with the idea of actually doing a release instead of just booking DIY tours while signing up for a fantasy football league. I tried to think of a clever name for the team, chose The Anvileaters, and it stuck with me. I didn’t have a name when I went to make a Facebook so I just wrote Anvileater, and it just stuck. 

The name Abusement Park has a similar story. 

Who were the first bands you worked with, as well as first release?

 AER: Well, two releases actually happened at the same time. I was doing a tape release of Cannonball’s 7” for their last show. They were some of my best friends, so it made the most sense. While doing that I became friends with this awesome powerviolence band in Denton called Meaner Demeanor. I got them on the last show and we spent all night trying to dub tapes for both bands. It was the most DIY shit you could imagine, but it was awesome. We drove back and sold a ton of tapes at their show. A lot of them were super janky and we redid the J-Cards for all we had. I’m really sorry if someone has one of those, but thank you.

What’s the hardest part about running the label?

AER: It’s really an everyday struggle to stay relevant, and make people care about what you’re doing. There’s a lot more waiting times in tapes and vinyl than when we started so you’ve got to have constant content in between to keep people engaged. I love it, it gives me a reason to show off my ever waning design talents.

 What keeps you releasing physical media in this digital age? (Please continue to release physical media).

 AER: Man, people are always going to want to hold something. It’s awesome to hold a tangible piece of music and be able to look at it and see people care about details as much as you do. Digital music definitely has its conveniences but I’m a man of ritual. It feels good to just sit down and listen to a record. Spotify is a great marketing tool, and I don’t expect to make any money off of it but I know there are plenty of people like us that get hooked and have to find a physical format. Long winded, but there’s people like me that love that feel. I’m constantly defending putting out analog formats, even if they’re getting bigger.

 I absolutely agree! There is nothing more satisfying than a pile of music to flip through and play after a long day.

Is it just you running it or do you have any help?

AER: Anvileater has always been somewhat of a co-op. I’m always the one running everything but I’ve always had a small crew that I could bribe with a case of beer to help fold, mail, or stuff records. Lately, my girlfriend Lacey has really stepped in and helped with the organizational side of things. Shipping and getting orders out is way easier with someone on top of it. I get super ADD and get ahead of myself, she helps get it functional and it shows.

Fist bump to Lacey!

How do you find most of your bands and ultimately what makes them good enough to work with?  

AE: I don’t really have one way. I’ve released bands from submissions, seeing them play at a show, or just getting drunk and agreeing. I really like bands that are playing shows and working at it. Show that you really care about what you’re doing. I hate music business shit, I’m more about passion and doing what you love.

 What’s a sure fire way to not get put out by Anvileater? 

AER: Add me on Facebook, make small talk, and then just hint about your band. Send messages over and over. Send me and email with 60 other labels in the same email. Use too many descriptors, MELODIC METALLIC BLACKENED CRUST DOOM DBEAT PUNK USBM OSDM PUNK RIFFS. Please just send me a regular email, a few bands in the vein and a nice bandcamp or some tracks.

 One of my favorite things about your label, is that you have a variety of music on it. Was this originally the goal or did it just happen that way? 

AER: I think it’s really just indicative of the music I like. I just like heavy music. The next few months are going to be even more varied.

What release are you most proud of?

AER: It’s always the last one I put out, I try hard to always be improving. Right now, it’s the Athamé release. It’s just so pretty, and those girls are great to work with. They were more involved than any band has been before, and it showed. Kelly stained and carved the boxes, and Megan carved the stones.

The Athamé boxset was excellent and worth every penny.

athame boxset(A glimpse of the Athamé altar kit edition that they did for High Priestess which quickly sold out)

Texas is pretty far from Sweden, how’d you get hooked up with Haoma?

AER: Robyn sent me an email with a soundcloud link, and honestly that kind of throws me off because I hate Soundcloud, but I finally did and was just blown away. I emailed them back and we just got started right away.

You recently worked with Mind Ripper Collective on the Pavel Chekov split with Endless Swarm, how did that come about? Also is that something that might happen again with Mind Ripper or a different label?

AER: Well, we put out the Pavel Chekov/Criminal Slang tape last year and I try to jump on anything those dudes are on. Seriously the best dudes and the most prepared band I’ve ever worked with. They hit me up about Graham (Endless Swarm, Mind Ripper) wanting to put out that split so I emailed him about doing the US distro and helping release it.

Yeah I love working with other labels, we co-released the Panzerbastard/Rawhide split 7” with Unholy Anarchy Records outta Baltimore last year too. I like working with other labels and seeing how they do things, and records are expensive so it’s cool to have other people pitching in.

How would you describe Anvileater records? 

AER: We release music that’s made by people that give a shit about what they do. It’s just a showcase of people doing things we enjoy, and helping people get their music out there. It’s usually Loud, Heavy, and Hazy. I grew up looking at the back of tapes and then researching the name on the back to find new bands, I wanna help people find music they normally wouldn’t listen to.

What does the rest of 2016 have in store for Anvileater? 

AER: Man, it’s gonna be weird. I have several tapes, a record or two, A book/zine, and helping release a Horror movie coming out before 2017, so I’ve been really busy trying to make sure that all happens. There will also be some interesting pieces of merch thrown in there. I’m always overloading myself so just keep watching.

 I cannot wait to find out what all those are especially the horror movie!

Thanks again for agreeing to do this! My final question is: 

If Anvileater Records was going to be stocked in a grocery store, what products would it be located by?

 AER: I would cross merchandise Anvileater Records with a side-stack by the Lone Star beer and one by the hot dog vendor out front. 

Coming Soon from Anvileater Records-

Canyon- S/T CS

Marla Stone CS

Haoma- Endless Stash CS

Blight (FL) Discography CS

Possessor- Dead by Dawn CS/CD (this will be the first cd ever put out by Anvileater!)

AER logo

 

Be sure to check out the FREE Summer Sampler for a taste of everything Anvileater puts out minus the hot dogs.

-REH

Bandcamp: https://anvileaterrecords.bandcamp.com/

Store: http://anvilleaterrecords.myshopify.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anvileaterrecords/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf&qsefr=1

IT’S USUALLY JUST LOUD