Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nasum - Grind Finale (a.k.a. Up Yours, 2013)

Grind Finale

Attention No Funeral faithful! Don't sleep on this record. You've got to hear this. This is the ultimate rarities collection from the ultimate grind band of the modern era. Let me explain.

In the mid-1990s when NAPALM DEATH swapped its punk foundation for a death metal one, it appeared that grindcore as a sub-genre had reached its logical conclusions. Then, karma smacked said sub-genre in the face when Nasum released Inhale/Exhale in 1998. Nasum brought a new level of musicianship to the grind's blinding speed. The band sparked a new wave of abstract thinking in grind bands. Nasum was beloved in its time but the band tragically ended when guitarist/vocalist Mieszko Talarczyk died in the 2004 Thai Tsunami disaster of 2004.

...But enough about the bummer stuff. Grind Finale is 152 tracks of blastbeats and psychotic guitar playing underneath a genuinely deranged vocal delivery. These songs were originally released as...

Disc 1:

1-6 Blind World split 7" EP with AGATHOCLES
7-15 Really Fast Vol. 9 compilation LP
16,33 previously unreleased
17-24 Smile When You're Dead split 7" EP with PSYCHO
25-32 Grindwork 4-way split 3" CD
34-47 Domedagen demo
48-66 Industrislaven LP
67-82 World In Turmoil 7" EP
83-90 The Black Illusions split 7" EP with ABSTAIN

Disc 2:

1-16 Regressive Hostility compilation CD
17 In Defense Of Our Future (DISCHARGE tribute CD)
18-21 tracks from bonus 7" included with Inhale/Exhale LP
22-25 split 7" EP with WARHATE
26-29 previously unreleased
30 The Bloodbath Is Coming compilation double 7"
31-34 outtakes from Human 2.0 sessions
35 Requiems Of Revulsion (CARCASS tribute CD)
36-40 split 7" EP with ASTERISK*
41-45 split 7" EP with SKITSYSTEM
46-48 Polar Grinder compilation LP
49 Japanese bonus track from Helvete
50-56 outtakes from Helvete sessions
57-58 Japanese bonus tracks from Shift
59-62 outtakes from Shift sessions

So, this year ended up being a pretty cool year. This post is more than likely the last one of 2013 and I'm glad that I kicked this year in the ass. I'm even happier that you were along for the ride. It was a bizarre year. Had to change my thinking around the reality of the situation. Got a lot of stuff done. Accepted the challenges of life and met them head-on. Yeah, there was some bummer stuff that went down but it's cool. I'm looking forward to next year. This should be cool. Stay tuned for more idiocy.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Year Of Our Lord - The Frozen Divide

The Year Of Our Lord
The Frozen Divide

I was sitting in front of the laptop with a rerun of Law & Order: SVU flickering in the background when it hit me. It hit me why I was struggling so bad to write an introduction for The Frozen Divide. It's a good record and The Year Of Our Lord was a good band, but so what? There are tons of good records out there but I'm on the hunt for the great ones, so please forgive this introduction. I found it hard to get pumped up about something that grades out at 8/10.

The Year Of Our Lord was New England's great blackened metalcore hopeful in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. For those unfamiliar with its sound, imagine an intentionally less-polished version of the BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. The band is also peripherally similar to BLEEDING THROUGH in that this was the wave of hardcore kids embracing their tastes in darker sounding metal. There are even a few riffs on The Frozen Divide that sound like DARKEST HOUR (or is that the other way around?).

"Mechanism 014028000" is supposed to be creepy and scary but it comes off like the sound effects to the old Castlevania games, but then the metal kicks in. USBM attack? Not quite, but The Frozen Divide is way closer to EMPEROR than to AT THE GATES. Still, The Year Of Our Lord wasn't grim enough for the true metal crowd and it wasn't moshy enough for the Hellfest crowd. I suppose this band, for whatever reason, never embraced the commercial instincts of its contemporaries. As far as being more brutal, TEEN CTHULHU did this same sound but did it better. I do dig how, like the Black Dahlia Murder, The Year Of Our Lord hammers the crowd with euro-riffs and leaves the kids waiting for a breakdown that's never going to come. That shit's cool.

Once upon a time, The Year Of Our Lord was going to be the "next big thing." In the late 1990s, when metalcore influenced by melodic Swedish death metal was a new concept, the influential magazines of the day (METAL MANIACS, TERRORIZER, MAXIMUMROCKANDROLL, FLIPSIDE, etc...) predicted future superstardom for not only The Year Of Our Lord but also for POISON THE WELL. Of course, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LAMB OF GOD won the Great American Metalcore Sweepstakes, but at least this band can take comfort in the fact that, for one brief shining moment, it was in the conversation.

It may sound like I'm getting down on The Year Of Our Lord for being metalcore also-rans but I'm not. I'm simply trying to figure out why the band didn't "blow up" as it was predicted to do. I'm not any closer to understanding why. I do know that The Frozen Divide is an overlooked record from that era. It's worth another listen.

Reunion show at Chaos In Tejas? Let's make that happen.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Genghis Tron - Cloak of Love

Genghis Tron
Cloak of Love
Crucial Blast

Here's a quick review of Genghis Tron's 2005 EP Cloak of Love. These New York weirdos deliver five tracks of spastic yet doomy grindcore mixed with EDM-ish electronic passages. The easiest and most obvious comparison is to IWRESTLEDABEARONCE but there's a problem with this "influence" issue. Genghis Tron existed long before IWABO, so a case could be made that Louisiana's finest have been ripping of Genghis Tron for years. This may be the case but I doubt it. I doubt that anyone in IWABO has ever listened to this band before. Who knows? The only point here is that these bands serve as good reference points for each other's sounds. I will say that Cloak of Love is less cutesy than anything ever released by IWABO. This should give you a clue to what's going on with this record. It's enjoyable but not essential. Take it or leave it.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bonfire Beach - Lit

Bonfire Beach
Buddyhead Records

This record was submitted for review by Prime Minister Travis Keller of Buddyhead Holdings Ltd. On first listen, I realized that Bonfire Beach's brand of dreamy electro-pop is as foreign to me as speaking Martian. My natural listening habits are a world away from this music's genesis and origin. Fortunately, the internet exists so it was easy to catch up with this marvelous musical act.

Notice I said act and not band. Rock and roll is a team sport so, theoretically, the band format is necessary for musical success. Plus, rock music's primary aesthetic is heaviness. Lit is heavy but this is not brutal music played by a band. This is something else.

This is the singular musical vision of a sassy lady that is executed flawlessly. Dexy Valentine and her husband Chris Valentine are the songwriting core of alt-pop band MAGIC WANDS. Magic Wands is signed to Bright Antenna Records, home of OMD and THE WOMBATS, so these guys are not chumps.

Already a respected musician in the world of edgy pop, Valentine teamed up with musician Bryan Nope to rework some of her "older, dreamy, goth punk rock material" that she recorded prior to the formation of Magic Wands. The result is Bonfire Beach's debut album Lit.

Valentine created the music for Lit with the history of L.A.'s seedy rock and roll past fresh in her mind. While her own X, THE CRAMPS, and THE DOORS influences are readily apparent, I also hear other sounds in the band's music. I hear MGMT filtered through the lens of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. A case could also be made that Lit is what VERUCA SALT always wished it could sound like but could never pull off.

Which brings us back to this whole band issue. Bonfire Beach performed rock music that is both elegant and powerful. Sure, it's not a full line-up pummeling the audience over the head with riff after riff but no one cares when Trent Reznor writes and records like this. We're not going to get bogged down in semantics and lose sight of what's important.

What's important here is that 2014's first great record has arrived. "Spit U Out" has the potential to be a radio single and I'll take the Vegas odds that Austin's own 101X will be playing "Voices in the Trees (Hollywood Forever)" within the next 12 months. No word on whether or not Bonfire Beach will be playing SXSW. I will certainly let you know if when I hear. In the meantime, listen to Bonfire Beach before they become the next big thing. The East Austin hipsters are going to eat this up.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Sike - Demo 2012

Demo 2012

This demo tape was passed to me by Deltoid Biceppia of 99 Miles of Bad Blogs. Please visit his website for the best in underground rock music.

The first thing that struck me about Sike's 2012 demo is the mixture of different straightedge styles from the Eastern U.S. Sike sounds like equal parts COKE BUST and SSD with some old-school AGNOSTIC FRONT/WARZONE stuff jammed in there. I also hear moments reminiscent of MINOR THREAT and even DISTRICT 9. Not only is it cool that Sike is playing a modern version of the classic straightedge hardcore punk sound (i.e. not metalcore), did I mention that the band is from the Ukraine? Who's ever heard of the Ukrainian straightedge scene? This is just further proof that hardcore is a worldwide phenomenon, hardcore is here to stay, and technology is allowing everyone from all corners of the to be heard and seen by all.

Precious little else about the band is available online. No Facebook. No website. I suppose they're "keeping it old school." Then again, maybe the band is being affected by the current Ukrainian political climate. Maybe they have a headache. Who knows? Sike does have a Bandcamp page (linked above) with this demo posted and its 2013 demo as well. Of course, the 2012 demo is available below. Play loud and remember, "Hardcore worldwide!"


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Southern Front - Join or Die

Southern Front
Join or Die

Austin's own brutal metal warriors deliver a punishing LP with 2011's Join or Die even if the record has a mild identity crisis. Call it "Family Guy disease" in that Family Guy's most funny and brilliant moments are when the show hits its own groove but, inevitably, it goes back to ripping off The Simpsons. Family Guy's weakest moments are when it plagiarizes The Simpsons, but it just can't help itself.

Join or Die has the same problem. The record's best moments are when Southern Front gets into a groove and dives into some original riffing, like the verse riff on "See Sharp" or the breakdown on "Opposition." The original parts are awesome but then the band dives back into the pool of used PANTERA riffs. It's not just Pantera. It's LAMB OF GOD and MACHINE HEAD and any of the other typical American metal bands, but it's mostly Pantera. I realize that there are no new ideas and everything comes from somewhere but those generic passages on Join or Die are easily identifiable. "Hey, that's the Sepultura part" and that sort of thing.

Then again, there's another side to this "influence" issue. If any of you remember when the first DOWN album was released in 1995, Phil and Company went out of their way to point out that Down wasn't so much influence by BLACK SABBATH itself rather than it was influenced by bands that were themselves majorly influenced by Sabbath; TROUBLE and SAINT VITUS specifically.

The same logic can be applied to Southern Front. It's not so much that Southern Front is influenced by Pantera than it's Southern Front having so much in common with the bands like PISSING RAZORS and SKINLAB that were heavily influenced by the Cowboys From Hell. This is likely closer to the reality of the situation than anything else.

Nitpicking aside, let it be known that Southern Front is out-of-this-world talented and can play circles around your band. Constantly playing live around the state, Southern Front is determined to fly the flag of the Texas Metal legacy.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mindrot - Dawning


It's a brutal, grainy, overcast, nasty, depressing day here in Austin and we only get about 15-20 of these days each year, so what better time than now to dive into some harrowing-yet-elegant gloom metal. Orange County, CA doom band MINDROT is one those "they shoulda got big" stories. Musically speaking, the Dawning LP is the middle ground between TYPE O NEGATIVE and DYSTOPIA (ironic because both guitarist from Dystopia were originally members of Mindrot. They left in 1992 but Dawning was released in 1995. Go figure...).

Mindrot was dominating the LA metal/punk scene back in the early 1990s. Appealing to both punk rockers and metalheads, the band was opening for all the big shows in Southern California and had signed to Relapse Records. Alas, the inability to stay out of jail coupled with (alleged) substance abuse issues led to this band's premature demise when drummer Evan Kilbourne split to join ska-punks SAVE FERRIS in 1998.

Yeah, if these guys could have kept it on the rails, Mindrot could have played the Ozzfest, had a video on Headbanger's Ball, and generally ate from the tree of rock success. It wasn't meant to be but at least this SoCal powerhouse left us all with some kick-ass music.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bowel - Ploughers of Land and Sea

Ploughers of Land and Sea
Skum Records

Crawling out of the bayous of Houston is Bowel, purveyors of epic, suicidal sludge in the vein of EYEHATEGOD, BUZZOVEN, NEUROSIS, and similarly-minded deranged lunacy. Simply listening to Ploughers of Land and Sea will cause you to fail a drug test. Pregnant women and those taking anti-depressants are not recommended to click on the below-posted full album stream.

I feel comfortable saying that Bowel has been mistreated by the "music industry." This record itself was released under a cloud of controversy. Ploughers of Land and Sea was issued by the short-lived Skum Records in 2005. [I actually interviewed the owners of Skum Records way back in 2006 for the debut issue of No Funeral. I guess I'll post the really old stuff (eventually). -BNF] Skum Records only released four CDs before shuttering and this was one of them (another was the first INDISGUST album). Suffering from poor distribution and promotion, the four-song EP failed to attract much attention outside of Texas and Louisiana. Without addressing or dignifying any rumors concerning it's former label's demise, it's fair to say that Bowel suffered from business missteps that were no fault of its own. But Bowel soldiered on.

In the past two years, Bowel has been more active than ever before, consistently opening for national tours in Houston and writing new material. As a matter of fact, here's a funny anecdote, taken from the band's Facebook page, about opening for MORBID ANGEL at Warehouse Live on 4Dec13:

Either the lead singer of Morbid Angel or one of their tour managers decided we were playing for too long and during our last song they turn the vocals off and started playing the house music and during the last song came up to the stage and was trying to get us to stop and when we stopped at the end of our song they wanted to f****** argue with us it made Morbid Angel look like total f****** douchebag

I'd like to think that 2014 is the time for Bowel to shine. Hopefully, these high-profile gigs the band has been booking will lead to more people becoming fans. Sounds to simple, doesn't it? All you Houston maniacs, you can check it out for yourself tomorrow:

...and don't forget this show on the 29th:

No word on whether or not Bowel will be making the trip to Austin with EHG for the next night's show at Red7. We can only hope. Houston weirdos! You have no excuse. Both of the shows are at Fitzgerald's, hardly an obscure hole in the wall. Let's do this, Texas!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Album List for the No Funeral YouTube Channel

EDIT: The Man killed the No Funeral YouTube channel during the Summer of 2014. We'll try this streaming thing again later. -BNF

Welcome to the knockoff version of TV Guide for the No Funeral YouTube Channel. My mission for this year (and from here on out) is to post my records and those records being reviewed in one spot with easy access for everyone. That spot would be the No Funeral YouTube Channel which can be seen here. As the records get uploaded, this page is where the master list will be kept with links to each record. Records are listed alphabetically by band with the link placed on the album title.

This list will be updated as more items get uploaded. Once an album is listed and linked here, that album's YouTube stream is finished with all appropriate artwork, links, and songs cues in place. The link for this list can be found on the left-side of the screen under the heading "Interviews and Features." Stay tuned for more wackiness and enjoy the music.

The No Funeral YouTube Channel:

-(16)- - Blaze Of Incompetence
Aborted - The Purity of Perversion
Anodyne - Berkowitz
Anodyne - The Outer Dark
Anti-Flag - The Bright Lights of America
As The Sun Sets - Each Individual Voice Is Dead In The Silence
Blood For Master - debut LP
Bloodlined Calligraphy - The Beginning of the End
Bonfire Beach - Lit
Bowel - Ploughers of Land and Sea
Burnt by the Sun/Luddite Clone - Split EP
Coalesce - There Is Nothing New Under The Sun
Coliseum - No Salvation
Cursed - One
Dead Earth Politics - The Weight Of Poseidon
Dead Horse - Boil(ing)
Devin Townsend - Ziltoid The Omniscient
Flawless Victory - Nuestra Herencia
Frightmare - Midnight Murder Mania
Genghis Tron - Cloak of Love
Hatred Surge - Collection 2005-2007
Insect Warfare - Endless Execution Through Violent Restitution
Megadeth - Cryptic Writings
Mindrot - Dawning
Napalm Death - The World Keeps Turning
Nasum - Grind Finale
New Lows - Harvest Of The Carcass
No Warning - Resurrection Of The Wolf
Oceano - Depths
Periphery - Clear
Pig Destroyer - Book Burner
The Red Chord - Fused Together In Revolving Doors
Rorschach - Autopsy
Scissorfight - Mantrapping For Sport and Profit
Sike - Demo 2012
Soilent Green - Pussysoul
Southern Front - Join or Die
Taproot - Gift
Taproot - Welcome
Throwdown - Haymaker
The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza - Danza IIII: The Alpha - The Omega
Tripping Daisy - i am an Elastic Firecracker
Turnstile - Step 2 Rhythm
Unearth - The Oncoming Storm
Unpersons - II
Various Artists - Up The Dosage! (Wonderdrug Records comp.)
Vision of Disorder - Imprint
Will Haven - El Diablo
The Year Of Our Lord - The Frozen Divide
Yuck - Glow & Behold




The WSTLND EP by Austin's DSGNS was released last year and, in this writer's opinion, it should have raised the band's profile higher than its current level. That's not to say that DSGNS is some obscure, kvlt band that avoids sunlight. DSGNS is well-known in Central Texas, if not the entire state. The band is a consistent draw on its own headlining shows and also serves as an energetic opener for the national touring act that frequent pass through town. DSGNS is one of those bands teetering on the edge of hitting the big time.

DSGNS successfully blends several styles together with interesting results. The most obvious component of its sound is the super-technical metalcore of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and THE FACELESS. As a matter of fact, DSGNS headlined an after-party for BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME last year, so this should provide a clear indication of the foundation of the DSGNS sound.

But then there is the other side of the DSGNS sound and that would be the noise-rock influence. The chaotic riffing of BOTCH, THE JESUS LIZARD, and BIG BLACK can be heard all over the WSTLND. This combination of styles is not easy to play and requires a lot of imagination. Honestly, I thought DSGNS was going to get signed off of this record, maybe to someone like Sumerian or Victory.

But this ain't over yet. Maybe America hasn't caught up to the DSGNS funk yet. Maybe this is the band's year. There's a show scheduled for January at the Dirty Dog on Sixth Street. Check what all the fuss is about for yourself.

EDIT: I was contacted by the band and they let me know that they will not be playing the Dirty Dog in January. However, they will be playing with PACK OF WOLVES at Red7 on 4Jan14. --Brian No Funeral 24Dec13.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Red Chord - Fused Together In Revolving Doors

The Red Chord
Fused Together In Revolving Doors
Robotic Empire

Honestly, I thought that I posted this record years ago. Sorry about that. It makes so much sense. Bands like THE RED CHORD, bands that blur the line between metal, punk, and any heavy you can throw this way; these bands are what No Funeral is all about. If there were a No Funeral Hall Of Fame (and who's to say there won't be, eventually?), Fused Together In Revolving Doors would be in the initial class. The record is a no-brainer, first-ballot, unanimous-selection Hall of Famer like Nolan Ryan. Well, the band is from the Revere, MA. Maybe I should say, "like Ted Williams."

For those late to the party, here's the lowdown on The Red Chord: According to singer/main honcho Guy Kozowyk, The band's name is derived from Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck, in which a schizophrenic man slits his lover's throat, then reverts to his normal self and asks, "My love, what is that red cord across your neck?" Fused Together In Revolving Doors, the album's title, is a reference to the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston during the Winter of 1942. Most important of all, The Red Chord's now-classic debut album became the go-to playbook for the deathcore explosion of the late 2000s.

My own introduction to The Red Chord was seeing them open for BLEEDING THROUGH and HIMSA at the old Emo's on Sixth Street back in 2003. The band's setlist was this album. The crowd got floored and Himsa looked weak by comparision. I got to see them a few more times over the years, including once opening for The Black Dahlia Murder at Houston's Meridian club, and the band always delivered.

The Red Chord made three more albums, played festival tours around the world, and appeared on countless video shows and channels. For all of its success, The Red Chord found its old fans crying "sellout" and accusing it of becoming a "Pantera-type band." Before the backlash took hold, The Red Chord did manage to become a major influence on younger bands like WHITECHAPEL, SUICIDE SILENCE, JOB FOR A COWBOY, and THE FACELESS; among countless others.

As it stands, The Red Chord is inactive with its members moving on to other bands and other careers. Will they reunite? Hopefully and probably but, in the meantime, let's enjoy this legendary debut LP by this now-legendary band.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Wasteland (Vol. 4)

"It's better to be in Metallica than to not be in Metallica." - Lars Ulrich

Lars dropped that nugget of wisdom in Some Kind of Monster and it has become the band's mantra ever since. They came dangerously close to breaking up and (at least I'd like to think) the world is a better place with Metallica in it than without.

I had a good year. All the pieces fell into place. I have a loose outline for what I hope to accomplish in the new year and, most of all, I feel grateful to still be in the thick of this swamp called underground rock music.

It's better to be in the game than to not be in the game.

Today's album is the doom/sludge classic Dawning by Mindrot. I'll post a proper review of the record after the New Year's holiday.


That, right there, is the central motif of No Funeral. Each and every record has a story behind it. Let's discover them together.

It's better to live in Austin than to not live in Austin.

This was the year where everyone showed their true colors. This country is at a point in its history where riding the fence is no longer permitted. How will history judge you?

Choose your side. There is a war. This is a weapon.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Coliseum - No Salvation

No Salvation

This entire No Funeral project started with my record collection. I wanted to share my records with the world and I started doing so while I was in college. In the six years since, The Man decreed that there will be no more Reindeer Games with the downloads, so that's no longer an option. What is an option is the new No Funeral Youtube channel. I'm using 2014 to fulfill the original mission of No Funeral, to upload my record collection. Everything will be posted to the Youtube page so everyone can enjoy it and (hopefully) no one feels slighted. Again, and this is important, I'll be converting and uploading CDs, records, and cassettes out of my personal collection.

I'm kicking of the Youtube channel experiment with a repost. No Salvation by Coliseum was originally posted back in April 2009 but the Mediafire link was disabled long ago. Click here to read the original review. Not sure how I got off to talking about Libertarians but that's the fun of going through the old stuff.

So, this is what we're going to be doing in 2014. If you have any requests, send them to nofuneralatx@gmail.com. I've had a few people mail in CDs already and those future posts will be available on the website before February. Like always, I'm working out the kinks as we go. This is going to be fun. I LOVE DEMOS! Contact me though the No Funeral Facebook page for the mailing address.

In the meantime, please enjoy this classic album by Louisville's Coliseum.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

2013- The Year in Review

It's that time of year again. I had big plans for the end-of-the-year blowout but real life got in the way again and, with the entire internet putting out its best-of lists this week, it time to simply drop the bomb on all of you and move on. Without further ado, here's the best of 2013!

Fun Fact: My homeboy Deltoid Biccepia took this picture last week in East Detroit.

Okay, this list is a countdown, right? So, we're going to countdown the Top 40 albums of the year from 40 down to Number One with a few bonuses along the way. Let's do this...

40. The Neighbourhood - I Love You - Columbia
Yep, you're not imagining this. A mainstream album kicks off the countdown (hint: there are four more). The difference between these guys and the rest of the radio crap is that The Neighbourhood can play. Click here to watch them play "Sweater Weather" at SXSW. I'm not going to begrudge someone's success if they're coming correct. These guys are bringing it hard.

39. Metallica - Through The Never - Blackened
Metallica makes its version of The Song Remains The Same. The movie will play at the Alamo Drafthouse for decades. The live album is a good mix of all eras of the band. It sounds great. Put your pretentions aside and just rock out.

38. Volbeat - Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies - Vertigo/Universal
Volbeat snagged Anthrax's former lead guitarist in time to record this LP, resulting in a polished yet melodically heavy album that solidifies the band's place as arena rockers.

37. Amon Amarth - Deceiver Of The Gods - Metal Blade
Speaking of bands solidifying their places as arena rockers, Amon Amarth finally hit the big-time in the U.S. this year by stealing the show at the Mayhem Festival. Releasing this record didn't hurt either.

36. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks - Atlantic
Trent Reznor returns with another new line-up on another record label. Soundwise, Hesitation Marks is a return to the keyboard-heavy NIN sound featured on With Teeth and Pretty Hate Machine but avoids the nostalgia trip. Good stuff.

35. Howl - Bloodlines - Relapse
The pride of Quahog, err... I mean Providence brings it on Bloodlines, a doom album with touches of NWOBHM. Think of a grungier version of The Sword.

34. Down To Nothing - Life On The James - Bridge 9
The only straightedgers in Richmond, VA get shockingly heavy while cracking smiles. Three cheers for a band that knows how to rock without getting preachy.

33. Terror - Live By The Code - Victory
Terror doesn't try to reinvent the wheel here. The band sticks with what got them to the dance in the first place: well-played, metallic hardcore that's fan-friendly and kid-friendly. That said, I would not recommend that any kids get in that pit...

32. Kataklysm - Waiting For The End To Come - Nuclear Blast
The Northern Hyperblast returns on this Montreal death/grind band's 11th LP. Heavier than ever. On tour everywhere.

31. August Burns Red - Rescue & Restore - SolidState
Jesus's favorite progressive shredmasters hit the Top 10 this year (No. 9 to be technical) with this barnburner of a record. They tore it up at Fun Fun Fun this fall.

Video of the Year: Down To Nothing - "Life on the James"
Low-budget band gets super-creative and makes a killer video. Other bands, what's your excuse?

30. Seeker - Unloved - Victory
Although 2013 was a strong year for metal and hardcore especially with reunited older bands (more on that later), it was slim pickings for new bands and debuts. D/FW's Seeker was a bright spot for the new bands. I already dissected that record here but I'll summarize by saying the Unloved is the middle ground between progressive metalcore and beatdown metalcore. Cool stuff. Can't wait to hear more.

29. Mammoth Grinder - Underworlds - 20 Buck Spin
Grindcore psychos. Hatred Surge's rhythm section. East Austin weirdos. Mammoth Grinder is all this and more. Switching from Relapse to 20 Buck Spin didn't alter the band's sound at all. Not for the faint of heart.

28. Newsted - Heavy Metal Music - Chophouse
Jason Newsted teams up with Staind's Mike Mushok for some mega-shred and they end up emerging from the long shadows of you-know-who and you-know-who-else. A pleasant surprise. Underrated.

27. Sand - Spit On Authority - BeatDown HardWear
Japanese hardcore inspired by the NYHC sound but it doesn't sound derivative. Not for everyone but played from the heart. Awesome.

26. Dead Letter Circus - The Catalyst Fire - UNFD
This Australian band mixes Chevelle with the The Mars Volta resulting in awesome proggy, doomy, nu-metalish radness. Unfortunately, in business terms, Dead Letter Circus isn't proggy enough for the prog scene and isn't commercial enough for rock radio. Here's hoping that these guys catch their big break in 2014.

25. Battlecross - War Of Will - Metal Blade
Blue-collar thrash metal from Warren, MI that decapitates all listeners and then punts the heads down the street. Battlecross's Metal Blade debut melts faces with riffs and brutality. Stole the second stage during this summer's Mayhem Fest. Highly recommended.

24. Remembering Never - This Hell Is Home - Dead Truth
The Florida brutality brigade returns with its first new album since 2006. Remembering Never is sick of your shit.

23. Bastard Noise/Brutal Truth - The Axiom Of Post Inhumanity - Relapse
Two grind/violence legends, who weren't exactly normal to begin with, return on this 12" slab of harsh punishment. Guaranteed to clear out any unwanted houseguests in 30 seconds or less. Jam this in a sensory deprivation tank for maximum results.

22. Pelican - Forever Becoming - Southern Lord
America can't handle instrumental music. If Pelican had a singer, the band would be Pearl Jam-level popular. But here we are, Pelican slugs it out in the clubs while jackasses like Asking Alexandria live the life. Get with it America. For the sake of the children...

21. Cage The Elephant - Melophobia - RCA
In a lot of ways, Cage The Elephant is the commercial version of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Then again, there are no new ideas. Cage The Elephant is a genuine alt-rock band. They would have been on SST Records if they were around in the 80s. Awesome stuff. Stop being too cool for school and get behind this band.

Misfires, Ambitious Failure, and Straight-Up Shitty Albums of 2013 (in no order):
Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Black Gives Way To Blue was awesome. What the hell happened?)
The Misfits - Descending Angel 12" (Stop, Jerry Only. Just fucking stop.)
Sepultura - The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart (Stop, Andreas Kisser. Just fucking stop.)
Deafheaven - Sunbather (Sweet Jeebus, where do I start with this one?)
The Dillinger Escape Plan - One Of Us Is The Killer (swing and a miss)

20. Lorde - Pure Heroine - Universal
Yep, your reading that correct. The teenage wunderkind vocalist scored rather high on a metalcore website that's harder than a coffin nail. Lorde is the real deal. You're kidding yourself if you don't see (hear?) the talent. Yes, this is a dreaded mainstream album but good is good, no matter what.

19. Broken Hope - Omen of Disease - Century Media
Many bands have been reuniting. Most of them should not. Broken Hope, who never got their due back in the day, delivered the goods this year. Hopefully, they're around for good this time.

18. Coffins - The Fleshland - Relapse
Japan's greatest crusty doom band brings the hate on its Relapse debut. Imagine a 50/50 mix of Bolt Thrower and Pungent Stench with 40s taped to its hands. You get the idea...

17. Impending Doom - Death Will Reign - eOne Music
Jesus's favorite deathcore band doesn't disappoint. I like the way this band has evolved over the years. Death Will Reign did not disappoint.

16. Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent - Roadrunner
Jesse David Leach is, was, and always will be the REAL singer of this band. I'm glad the real line-up is back together.

15. Kylesa - Ultraviolet - Season Of Mist
Savannah's favorite sons and daughter keep the slow southern steel rolling across the world. Never not on tour. Let's do this, America!

14. Toxic Holocaust - The Chemistry Of Consciousness - Relapse
The greatest East Coast thrash band since Anthrax? Yes.

13. Soulfly - Savages - Nuclear Blast
After a string of average to bad albums, The Swiss Family Cavalera returns to form with its new record on its new label. Unexpectedly good.

12. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance - Peaceville
Darkthrone isn't a band. Darkthrone is a way of life. Not for yuppies. Not for the timid.

11. Red Fang - Whales and Leeches - Relapse
Red Fang has never put out a bad record but Whales and Leeches is so head-and-shoulders better than the past material, it made me pause. After much consideration, this record is what happens when you stop giving a fuck (in a good way), you embrace your roots, and you just let it fly. The members of Red Fang took Scarface's advice and just let their nuts hang.

BREAK TIME! Here's the afore mentioned Red Fang performing the single "No Hope" live at some radio station in Seattle.

Now, we're down to the Top 10. Less talk, more rock.

10. Weekend Nachos - Still - Relapse
For a band that I previously considered a silly sort of grind band, Still is as serious as a heart attack. Listen to this album under medical supervision.

9. Skeletonwitch - Serpents Unleashed - Prosthetic
Skeletonwitch is on one of those streaks where when asked, "What's their best album?", for the time being anyway, you can just say, "The new one." Metallica, Mastodon, and Opeth have previous had similar streaks. Let's hope that this one doesn't ease up.

8. Clutch - Earth Rocker - Weathermaker
It feels like Clutch should place higher than No. 8 but this was an exceptionally strong year. Remember what I said about the older bands bringing the hate this year? Soulfly, Broken Hope, NIN, etc...? You can add Clutch to that list.

7. Iron Reagan - Worse Than Dead - Southern Lord
Ex-Darkest Hour and current Municipal Waste personnel join forces to shove 80s-style crossover jams down America's throat. Any public sightings of Iron Reagan are immediately followed by reports of large mosh pits throwing everyone and everything akimbo. Pissed!

6. Black Sabbath - 13 - Vertigo/Universal
It's not everyday that (most of) Black Sabbath releases new material. Not just that, it totally rules. 13 sounds like the classic albums from the 60s and 70s. Bravo, gentlemen.

5. Deicide - In The Minds OF Evil - Century Media
Seriously, who would have thought 12 months ago that Deicide was about to release its best album? You're a liar if you say yes. I chalk it up to the presence of new guitarist Kevin Quirion (ex-Order of the Endead). You can't solely credit him but Quirion was the spark that got this long-running USDM band back into gear.

4. Nails - Abandon All Life - Southern Lord
Oxnard, CA's life-extinguishing trio drags the listener to the edge of existence, robs them, and toss the corpse to Satan for a pick-up soccer game using the victim's head. If that sounds harsh, it's because the record is that harsh. Not recommended for anyone. You can't handle it.

3. Protest The Hero - Volition - Razor & Tie
After fighting its former record company and launching a record-setting crowd-funding campaign, Protest The Hero shows that perseverance pays off. Read the whole story here.

2. Power Trip - Manifest Decimation - Southern Lord
Power Trip is a band from Dallas that defies description. Based in thrash punk, there's also elements of death metal and "traditional" hardcore but Power Trip plays with the ferocity of an insomniac wolverine. They would have the year's best album if a certain other band had not reunited. Catch them live before they party to death.

1. Carcass - Surgical Steel - Nuclear Blast
This was the reunion that mattered. This was the reunion that didn't disappoint. If anything, this proved the at Carcass should have never broken up in the first place. It seems like, every time Carcass releases an album, it gets Album Of The Year accolades from across the globe. This year is no different. Surgical Steel is the best album of 2013.

Most of all, I'd like to thank you for sharing another year of No Funeral radness with me. I'm looking forward to next year. Enjoy the holiday season.