Dave Ingram Jr. – End of Year Summary 2017

 

I told you that this year would probably be lacking. And boy howdy… due to familial illnesses and well-documented personal strife, I’ve gone an entire year without a single review, which is a rather frustrating first. Alas, summaries are still tradition; all of these releases have been given thorough spins over the course of 2017, and nearly all of them do have writeups in the works for early next year.

 

I told you that this year would probably be lacking. And boy howdy… due to familial illnesses and well-documented personal strife, I’ve gone an entire year without a single review, which is a rather frustrating first. Alas, summaries are still tradition; all of these releases have been given thorough spins over the course of 2017, and nearly all of them do have writeups in the works for early next year.

So don’t think of it as missing out, approach it as… delayed payment. Which is something else I’m bloody well-known for. Still, everything is here in full Dingramified glory for reading pleasure – I’m aware that a lot of releases have passed me by this year, including new releases from Obituary, The Black Dahlia Murder, Annihilator, Cannibal Corpse, and Akercocke to name just a few, but I assure you that they’re all on my naughty list for 2018.

As a result, we do have a few things missing this year, however: no Fetid Wank Award, as I didn’t hear anything so repugnant and foul that it made me choke on my own bladder, and there’s no Neil Turbin Award as I think many acquaintances of mine know exactly who that one would go to. That said, a few extra awards have been added to make up for it (even though they were planned for last year, but SHHHH) and thanks to this year being quite prolific with releases, the AOTY list is back up to ten. Immeasurable thanks once again to Bossman Twan for his patience with my lacklustre output for the second year running, and to all of the friends who have put up with my shit along the way. Onwards!

 

10. Shrapnel – Raised On Decay

CALLED IT! I told you all back in 2014 that Shrapnel’s second album would be a blinder, and here we are! It’s difficult to state whether or not it’s superior to The Virus Conspires quite yet, as Raised On Decay has been a very late addition to my collection, but it’s a cracking release that deserves to be heard.

9. Wakeham’s Terrortory – Tales Of Undiluted Aggression

About fucking time Wakeham’s Terrortory finally got around to releasing more music. Yet another late acquisition on my part, but one that I’ve been waiting for for a very, very long time, and I couldn’t be happier. Riproaring thrash from some incredibly talented fellas – no CD release yet, but head over to their Bandcamp page right fucking now and buy it. You can’t go wrong!

8. Municipal Waste – Slime And Punishment

Well, uh… it’s a Municipal Waste record. I can’t say much more than that, really… What were you expecting? A change in style to space-rock? It’s Municipal FUCKING Waste. Come on, they just don’t do bad records, and they don’t deviate from what they’re good at.

Take it for what it is and headbang ’til your bollocks fly off.

7. Endeavour – Bring Upon The Rising Day

Finally, Endeavour took time out of their busy schedule of ignoring my love letters and released a followup to 2014’s outstanding From The Darkest Grounds EP! While I feel that Bring Upon The Rising Day isn’t QUITE as focused as its predecessor, it’s still a fantastic set of progessive metal tracks that deserves recognition. Endeavour are one of the best bands the UK has to offer right now, and this new EP only makes me crave more. Now if only they’d return my letters…

6. Voyager – Ghost Mile

I absolutely loved 2011’s The Meaning Of I album, yet somehow completely missed V in 2014, and then very almost missed Ghost Mile as well; nobody appeared to be talking about it, so stumbling blindly into their Bandcamp page to find a brand new release was quite the pleasant surprise. Voyager have slightly toned-down their progressive dials this time, focusing more on melody and memorable hooks that boarder on parasitic, with the end result being the best work they have ever done. Not a flavour everybody will enjoy, but if this thing is up your alley, you’ll never turn it off.

5. Memoriam – For The Fallen

I was a cheeky fucker and gave Memoriam’s Hellfire Demos single a spot on last year’s list, only to get two more Hellfire Demo releases alongside the full album later on. Sure enough, it’s old-school death metal; not dissimilar from the Benediction and Bolt Thrower legacy of the band’s very own lineup, you know exactly what to expect. For The Fallen is a bloody marvelous death metal album, nothing more and nothing less. At the time of writing, their sophomore effort, The Silent Vigil, has been finished and is set for a March release, too!

4. Body Count – Bloodlust

Ice T and his not-so-merry men are back! Their so-called ‘comeback’ album, 2014’s Manslaughter, was one of my favourite releases of that year (even though I forgot to mention it in my 2014 summary… sorry!) and Bloodlust takes things a step further; it’s heavier, catchier, nastier, and contains a two-for-one cover of Slayer’s Postmortem and Raining Blood. The lead single, No Lives Matter, is my absolute favourite single of the entire year because it’s just fucking incredible in every single way. Body Count’s in the house… and at no.4!

3. Ursinne – Swim With The Leviathan

David Ingram is back on the list again for another year, this time with Jonny Pettersson of Wombbath fame, with more heavier-than-thine-buttocks death metal for our putrid face-holes. A finely-crafted behemoth (leviathan?) with some bizarre, hilarious, unexpected and yet disturbingly well-done cover songs thrown into the mix for, I can only guess, ye olde shits and giggles. The abrupt contrasts between covers and original material are the sole complaint to be had with Jog With The Dog, an issue voiced by a few folks that I have been assured will be remedied for the next Ursinne album(!) Which, being far from a dealbreaker, earns Walk The Dinosaur the coveted no.3 spot on my list. Hurrah!

2. Marty Friedman – Wall Of Sound

This was so painfully close to getting the top spot this year! The former Cacophony and Megadeth guitarist has really outdone himself with Wall Of Sound, surpassing even the highest peaks of 2014’s Inferno by darting between crippling speed and virtuosity and the most melodic work he’s ever done in the blink of an eye. I’ve nearly worn my copy out due to overuse, I’ve enjoyed Wall Of Sound THAT much this year – instrumental music might not be to everybody’s taste, and the more technical material might alienate less patient listeners, but your patience is well and truly rewarded. One of the finest releases I’ve ever heard from one of the best guitar players in the world.

1. Outrage – Raging Out

Good grief! Having spent most of 2017 quite rightfully celebrating their 30th anniversary in style (see below!) Japan’s Outrage rounded off the year by releasing one of the fastest, heaviest, and most impeccably-composed albums in their entire discography; a little less melodic than the past few records, and right back to the eighties with an exceptionally hard-thrashing album more reminiscent of Black Clouds or The Great Blue. Naoki Hashimoto is still one of the best singers in metal, and for a bunch of guys who must be in their mid-fities at least, they’ve put a large majority of younger bands to shame. The inclusion of two re-recordings from the first EP on the special edition is a huge bonus, too! If there’s any release from this year you absolutely must own, it’s Raging Out. Even ignoring the fact that Outrage are one of my favourite bands (nepotism doesn’t QUITE reign supreme here) it’s safe to say that Raging Out is one of the best thrash metal albums we’ve received in the past fifteen years. Yeah, it doesn’t do anything new, but it rocks really, really fucking hard and it’s one of the best things the band has ever done. Imagine Metallica if they took their balls out of the safety deposit boxes they’ve been in for the past twenty years, then went on a major speed and whiskey binge before banging their shins on a coffee table, getting really pissed off about it, then writing an album, and you’re pretty close. And that’s why Outrage are the kings of 2017 – well done, gentlemen!

 

 

Outrage – XXX Box

As you may have guessed from the last paragraph, Outrage have been doing the rounds for quite some time. So they released a neat box set to celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, featuring two discs spanning their entire career (with three exclusive new songs) alongside a DVD with interviews, the entire Shine On: A Travelogue Of Outrage documentary, music videos, live and rare performances, and a whole host of other content. On top of that was a hefty booklet with all the old photos and such – it’s a shame that everything is presented exclusively in Japanese with no subtitles or translations, and therefore enjoyment is somewhat limited for many, but the XXX Box is one of the few such compilation sets that really feels like some genuine effort was put into it for the fans. Yeah, there’s some stuff missing that would have been neat inclusions, but it’s outstanding for the price and a great introduction to a criminally underappreciated band. Somebody get these guys some tours outside of their native country, for fuck’s sake!

 

Footprints In The Custard – The Descent Of Decency

How did I miss this?! I backed the fucking Kickstarter, for fuck’s sake!

Well, things moved so fast by the end of 2016 that The Descent Of Decency just completely flew under my radar until AFTER my annual summary had been posted, much to the dismay of both the band and myself. So I bought the bloody thing, and what do you know, it would have likely been given the no.2 spot had I actually managed to get a copy in time. It’s a fantastic little romp about penises and such, and it’s well worth £9 of your hard-earned/stolen money, so Footprints In The Custard get the first ever (and probably not the last) Prostration Award, along with a sincere apology and perhaps a gift basket with some scented lotions for Russ’ legs.

Having said that, the band did put out a new release this year – entitled “The Fanny Pee”, because of course it is – which I haven’t heard yet. I was planning to rectify this, but decided that they would probably use that to get further sexual favours out of me, and my jaw still hurts from last time. A full review is on the cards, so fear not!

 

Kreator – Gods Of Violence

Although I didn’t hear anything this year that was truly dogshit terrible, hence the lack of the beloved Fetid Wank Award this year, I did hear a fair few releases that brought absolutely nothing to the table whatsoever; good albums hooray and bad albums yaboo is fine, but what about all the crap inbetween? The stuff that isn’t quite cum in a mouth ulcer, but is still a far cry from a free bag of Starmix? Following in the steps of Croshaw and Sterling, I’m introducing the White Noise Award for albums that just kind of… exist and offer little, best summarised with “well, it’s an album” and then left on the shelf. And this first one goes to Kreator, surprisingly enough – I wasn’texactly a fan of Phantom Antichrist, but it at least had moments of intrigue, which is a damn sight more than I can say about Gods Of Violence. Far from a terrible album, but an incredibly boring and predictable one that feels like Mille and co. are starting to get a bit tired of this hevay thrash metal bullshit. Fanboys will love it, everyone else will sleep through Gods Of Violence like it’s your kid’s christmas nativity performance.

 

Marty Friedman – Wall Of Sound

Sometimes less is more when it comes to art, both visual and musical. Marty Friedman’s new album cover immediately reminded me of something like The Old Grey Whistle Test (HA! Let’s see who gets that one!) with a fantastic font choice and a lovely, warm sepiar tone. It’s not a big, complicated or busy piece, and that’s what makes it so good. I want this framed on my wall.

 

Coroner

It’s no secret that Coroner went into the studio to record their first album in 24 years this summer, and it supposedly scheduled for release at the end of 2017 – yet we’ve heard absolutely bugger all about it ever since. No snippets live, no news about artwork, tracklisting… ziltch. Zippo. Nada. And that makes me very cross indeed, because I’m an impatient prick who has waited long enough for new Coroner by now. One can safely assume that we’ll be getting the record in early 2018, and it’s certainly going to be… interesting, as the release is either going to be a resounding success, or an enormous failure for Coroner. There’s no inbetween. Come on, lads, we’re dying of thirst here; show us what you can do!

 

Much like the last, this year has been a difficult one for the metal community. Sincerest love and respect in memory of Nic Ritter, Chris Cornell, Chuck Mosley, Martin Eric Ain, Chester Bennington, and Warrel Dane, to name just a few.

Interviewer: Dave Ingram Jr.

Dec 27, 2017

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