16 Dec 2013

2013, Part II: Disappointments of 2013

For the past couple of years I've done top 10's as well as some other stuff in one long post. This form just isn't very easy on the eyes, so this year I've decided to split the end-year post into 5 parts, which are as follows:

Part I: Stuff I Missed in 2012
Part II: Disappointments of 2013
Part III: Top 10 - Non-metal
Part IV: Top 10 - Metal
Part V: Honorable Mentions & Runner-Ups

Part II: Disappointments of 2013
Though I'd say 2013 has some of the best new metal releases in recent years it doesn't come without its share of disappointments. These are almost exclusively delivered by bands you already know and love, but fail to keep things interesting with their newest efforts and don't come in any particular order.

Megadeth - Super Collider
I'm not sure this really qualifies as a disappointment. I enjoyed Endgame a lot, but found TH1RT3EN to be almost completely worthless apart from mildly enjoying Sudden Death and Public Enemy No. 1. With Super Collider I wasn't expecting much, and true to the tradition of modern Megadeth, the album has a few enjoyable tracks but is mostly dominated by a slew of unnecessary tracks. Come to think of it, if you took the okay tracks of Super Collider and TH1RT3EN you'd have an EP of pretty cool modern thrash/heavy songs. Some tracks on Super Collider features way too much of Mustaine and Co. circle-jerking around americana and blues, which might now have been so bad if it had been better incorporated in something super dirty and old school, but instead it was paired with boring songwriting and squeeky clean production.There's absolutely nothing of the old punch-in-the-dick Megadeth songwriting left, and Super Collider packs very little punch.

The Devil's Blood - III: Tabula Rasa, or Death and the Seven Pillars
Tabula Rasa is the sad promise of what could have been if the band hadn't broken up. From what I gather this last album is made of unfinished demo recordings, and that's exactly what it sounds like. A work in progress, an unfinished product. The album is as colorless as the cover art. The programmed drums are painfully undynamic, even by demo standards. Tabula Rasa starts out with the 22 minute long "I Was Promised a Hunt". The track features some okay ideas that I could see forming the base for a good track, but it comes off as a complete mess of unrelated parts sown together like a crude musical mockery of Frankenstein's monster. I was surprised to find that they had taken a more progressive approach to writing their brand of psychedelic doom-laden hard rock with even lengthier tracks than usual and songs that drunkenly dash through several climaxes and still waters, but the style just doesn't seem to fit the band and their music. Instead of an hour long mess I would've rather had a an album half the length, but more polished. I know that this given the circumstances of the band's demise was not possible, but then I would rather have remembered them as the band that did the masterful "Thousandfold Epicentre".

Joel Grind - The Yellowgoat Sessions
Joel Grind has many projects, most notable of which is Toxic Holocaust. He's also known for other projects like Tiger Junkies and War Ripper, and if there's anything that this latest self-titled project shows, it is that he doesn't do variation. I've enjoyed many of his releases from various bands and projects in the past, but they've all felt incredibly similar. War Ripper has that crusty feel that Toxic Holocaust never quite did, Tiger Junkies is way more punk/crossover oriented, and his latest eponymous project is more inclined towards Bathory-esque black/speed metal worship. The Yellowgoat Sessions has the same crispy sound and raw vocals as the other projects, and with it comes 25 minutes of the same D-beat repeated over and over again. It has some enjoyable rock n roll-infused guitar riffs, but those drums are already annoying beyond belief before the first track is done.

Peste Noire - Peste Noire
Some might argue that the weird frenchness of Peste Noire is what the band is all about, and on their newest opus it certainly makes them stand out. The Peste Noire album sounds exactly like what you would expect a black metal album riddled with French clichés played by a crazed Frenchman drunk on red wine would sound like. There's little to no rhyme or reason to Peste Noire, and somehow Famine found a place for accordion solos and French monologues. The riffs aren't as catchy as they've been on previous albums by the band, and it's hard to get into the rhythm and flow of the album. New drummer Ardraos does a great job keeping things simple and actually bringing some sense into the world of Peste Noire, and the purest black metal passages are awesome as always, but the weirdness of Peste Noire has become too dominant and makes the album tough to appreciate.

Satyricon - Satyricon
I remember Satyr saying at a show once that many bands write a self-titled song that really epitomizes their sound, and that Sign of the Trident was theirs, despite it not being entitled "Satyricon". If the new album is supposed to encompas the sound and feel of Satyricon, count me out. Some of my acquaintances have said to me "But Jakooob, Phoenix isn't that bad", but it is. Really, it is. The only track even remotely acceptable off the new album is Nekrohaven, and that track is still garbage. The Age of Nero and Now, Diabolical weren't exactly masterpieces either, and they were pretty far removed from the black metal roots of the band, but at least they were memorable and catchy as hell. Satyricon, on the other hand, is too long, boring, unvaried and uninspired.

Witch Cross - Axe to Grind
Considering all the commotion the re-release of their '84 album Fit for Fight caused, there is little cause for alarm with their newest album, Axe to Grind. It features everything a heavy metal album needs to be good, but not in sufficient quantities. It's a bit too clean around the edges, and while you can hear that the people behind the band are experienced musicians the album still feels pretty uninspired and lacks any zest. Witch Cross are safely fiddling around in pretty low tempoes with a slew of 80's metal clichés like the somewhat enjoyable brotherhood-of-metal track Metal Nation and the forgettable Demon in the Mirror, and the main problem lies exactly with this: They do the classic 80's heavy metal schtick with no effort whatsoever, making it a run-of-the-mill product of unmemorable riffs and playing it safe.

Think I'm wrong? Tell me why in the comments below. Also, tell me which albums disappointed you the most in 2013!


  1. I haven't heard any of these albums yet other than Yellowgoat, but the Peste Noire bit doesn't surprise me. Sounds like a continuation of the problems with L'Ordure from what you're saying. I'm also on board with you on Joel Grind too.

    I was pretty disappointed with Code even though the new release was okay. I just really missed Kvohst on vocals, they were an essential part of the band's identity.

  2. Pretty much, yeah. L'ordure à l'État Pur is, barring the new one, my least favourite Peste Noire album.

    1. Wait, not true. Had forgotten about Ballade.