As always, here’s the Listening Log Speadsheet up top.
Summer is clinging on for dear life here in Ontario, as the leaves turn colour but the chilly morning still succeed to toasty afternoons. You know what that means:
It’s almost Doom Season.
A quick flip through the log shows that the cold hand of Doom hasn’t quite firmed up it’s grasp on me yet.
|# Releases||# Bands||# Genres|
|Oldest||Newest||Most Popular Year|
|# Countries||Most Popular Country||How Sick Was This Month?|
On the surface, this breakdown looks pretty similar to last month’s. My prediction of August being a high outlier in how many new albums I clocked might not hold much water anymore considering I just squeezed into the triple digits in September and as of writing this (October 1st) I have 8 records down in the Listening Log.
Parsing some of this data, you’ll notice that September’s Listening Log has an album-to-band ratio of 1.49:1. That’s almost one and a half (on average) albums per individual band I listened to this month. Obviously, I can’t count half-listens, and obviously I didn’t actually listen to 1-2 albums per band. What this kind of relationship means is that I likely did a lot of deep dives into a small number of bands’ discographies.
For reference, August had an album-to-band ratio of 1.36 and my January to July had a ratio of 1.53. August was definitely a month I did some poking around in specific scenes and through that I think built up the ratio, however, the first 7 months of the year is higher still because of the sheer number of albums I logged, many being by bands who only have one release. I’m curious to see how this number shifts in the future.
If You’re Not Into Metal, You Are Not My Friend
If you count all the genres above and sum the ones that contain the word “Death”, you get a whopping 71%.
I just wanted to get that out of the way first. You can what you want about me, but you can’t say I’m not consistent. Now, I think I’m having issues with Google Sheets since all these number end with a decimal zero, so give or take 0.5% on each of these numbers for my spreadsheet incompetence. Could also be that I hit almost 100 releases bang on, and the difference is lost to rounding, but who knows.
For the first time, Sludge is on the board, to which I have to credit the almighty Crowbar. I had heard Odd Fellow’s Rest before and really dug “Planets Collide” but never really got into the rest of the album, let alone the rest of their discography. Leave it to coming across a post on Facebook where a friend posted a picture of them playing in Kitchener with the caption “None heavier!” to prod me into actually checking them out. Obviously, the first album I tore through was Sonic Excess in it’s Purest Form because, c’mon. Just look at that title. Anyone who knows me knows that title was practically made for me. I come from the Yngwie Malmsteen School of More is More, motherfucker. None of this David Gilmour less is more shit.
Maybe now you understand why I like death metal so much.
Speaking of excess, Manowar fucking rules and I didn’t know it until now. I had only heard “Die for Metal” and while I thought it was hilarious, it didn’t really inspire me to check out their back catalogue. I can’t actually remember what spurred me to actually look into them, but by Odin I’m glad I did. Unfortunately, a large part of their discography isn’t on Spotify, but of the three albums I’ve listened to, three of them were straight up bangers. Kings of Metal is definitely my favourite, and if it wasn’t for some problematic lyrics in “Pleasure Slave” and “Hail and Kill”, I might consider it to be a perfect album. “Hail and Kill” drives home the Conan the Barbarian/ viking fantasy aesthetic hard enough that you can kind of forgive the off lines for leaning into the vibe, but the lyrics to “Pleasure Slave” are just not good. Shame, because that main riff is sexy as Hell.
USA! USA! USA!
Oof, how embarrassing.
I kid, I kid. I really don’t think the United States are ever going to give up their significant portion of their market share of my headphone time. They actually tied last month’s breakdown and is over a dozen percentage points lower than my first entry. It might be a war of attrition, but I think eventually it won’t be half-plus of the counted countries in the Listening Log.
Outside of the good ol’ US of A, the cast seems to be rotating healthily. European stalwarts Finland and Sweden are holding on tight, but here we see a big portion dedicated to Japan, whom I really connected with through the proggy-slap-bassy-Vader-on-PCP boys in Gotsu-Totsu-Kotsu. Holy Hell, these cats can rip. They pummel you with the straightforward 16th note assault that bands like Vader and Vomitory are known for, but bring in a Les Claypool level of percussive slap bass and some super tasteful (yet still face melting) lead guitar work. Occasionally some Japanese folk elements creep in, and while they never go full Tengger Cavalry, it’s a nice break from the otherwise constant onslaught of virtuoso death metal.
Austria also popped into the pie chart through a brief flirting with Belphegor, but after two full albums and countless attempts to listen to other releases, I realized they peaked at Bloog Magick Necromance and everything else is just kinda… boring. Maybe once Canada’s frostbitten winter picks up will I give these blackened death metallers from the land of Steigl another shot.
Nothing too special here, just a zoom in of the European countries who made it to September’s Listening Log. Other than the previously mentioned Austria, the only two other newcomers are Spain and Wales from The Wizards and Venom Prison respectively. The former I listened to after ingesting a lot of MK Ultra (look it up kids, and Mom, just don’t worry about it, it’s nothing) and hoooooly was it great. Now, on relistening it didn’t really live up to the first exposure, so while I don’t need to state the obvious, I am interested in checking out more of their stuff since it does remind me of Danzig meets Black Sabbath, so on paper The Wizards should be a shoe-in with my normal rotation of music.
Albums are the New Demos and EPs, Apparently
Why this pie chart shows decimals other than zero, I don’t know. Why it also doesn’t add up to 100%, I also don’t know.
I think I have an explanation for this shift since last month. My summer wells of band new filthy, beefy death metal have run dry. Summer saw me blasting through releases by my newly beloved Maggot Stomp and 20 Buck Spin. I recently discovered Redefining Darkness Records through Ohio beef dealers Sanguisugabogg, so mayhaps October will bring a revival in bands so underground they literally don’t have material into the fold again.
It’s Almost List Season, and I’m Scared
I got nothing here. Y’all knew exactly what this graph would look like before I even posted it. Recent albums are making the bulk of my listening habits because (shocker) they keep making more of them! The usual humps around early ’90s for their endless quality death metal and early-to-mid-2000s for their occasional comeback album from an early ’90s quality-turned-not-so-quality death metal band.
With so many 2019 releases passing through my grey matter, and many of them being sick as Hell, I think picking favourites from this year is going to be tough. We still have a ways to go. New Exhumed, Gatecreeper, Toxic Holocaust, Entrails, Municipal Waste, Cloak, Sunn O))), and Vastum are coming out IN OCTOBER ALONE.
Other Bits & Bobs
- While I never got into Bolt Thrower in the past, listening to Realm of Chaos seems to have planted a seed. I occasionally revisit it and listen to their biggest tunes, and I find myself digging them more and more. October might be the month the Great English War Machine steamroll me over.
- Both Foredoomed and Gygax‘s new albums might just make my best-of list at the end of the year (read: early next year). I’ll definitely be spending more time with them over the next few months, and who really knows what’ll be on the list by the time the dust settles, but damn, those are killer records. Highly recommend.
- Manowar are my new gym jams. Listening to music about steel and iron while lifting steel and iron. Wimps and poseurs, leave the hall!
- Sodom finally clicked for me, partly because of my dabbling with Tankard. I’m starting to see why German vs. American thrash is a big debate.
- Everyone needs to get off Eternal Champion‘s dick.
- The new Opeth record is interchangeable with any other new Opeth record.
- Is Opeth old enough that their earliest prog rock albums are considered old Opeth?