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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 1/10


The grim-faced troops brace themselves. The whistle blows and the sergeant yells, “Over the top, men!” They emerge from the trench to a hailstorm of machine-gun bullets.

I’m glad my sorting of hundreds of albums in various categories wasn’t anything like that, except for the “over the top” part. Or maybe “overboard” would be a better word. I cannot contain myself, not only because of my expanding waistline but because I love so many kinds of music. Last year didn’t disappoint me; 2015 was a great year for all the main genres I’ve grown to love during my two-thirds of a century.

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Matt’s Favorite 2015 Albums… so far. In No Particular Order.

UCPFaIsAs expected, 2015 is shaping up to be yet another stellar year for us metal fans.  And with Iron Maiden, BtBaM, The Sword, Deafheaven, Avatarium, and Ghost releasing new material in the coming months, it’s only up from here.  Here’s a selection of some albums I’ve enjoyed quite a bit in the past half of the year.  Check ’em out and share what you’ve been digging on.  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

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Mik’s favourite 2015 albums… so far. In no particular order.


Somehow it feels like it’s been a slow beginning of the year, but when I started to look over my lists of albums I’ve listened to and rated, I could gather quite a large collection of favourites. Counted 17 really good releases in 6 months, that’s not bad! Not including all of them, here’s some of my must-listens of 2015:

Bosse-De-Nage – All Fours (hipster black metal)

It’s a very clever mix of frantic black metal and chaotic post-hardcore, with a well structured, intriguing story in the lyrics, impressive drum work and everything else a good, memorable album should have.

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Reggie’s Top 15 of 2015…For Now…In No Particular Order

top-15-iphone-app-development-companies_0Throughout the year, I take all of the albums I like; the ones I think might be Top 15 quality and I put them on a list. In no particular order, they sit until a few months before the end of the year. Then, I start deciding what stays and what goes. Sometimes it’s a tough choice, sometimes I have to listen to a few things again to refresh my memory as to why they were on the list in the first place. But, there is a lot of weeding out, weeding in, and sorting. It’s actually kind of fun and I get to take a break from listening to new things for a short while.

This year, I decided to do a best of (so far) list, just to see where things are going. I haven’t done this before. There have been a small handful of albums that went over well with me and I think they will stay on my list, but overall I have to say that it is not a particularly great year in metal as far as I am concerned. The “wow” factor is just not happening all that much this year…for me. This list is in no particular order. It’s a list of albums I think have the most potential for end-year nods. We do still have a way to go though. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Crooked Doors by Royal Thunder

Crooked DoorsA couple of years past one of our readers suggested I give a listen to C.V.I. by Royal Thunder and pretty much right after the first spin I was absolutely in love with it.  It is unlike anything I had heard.  It encompasses the attitude of metal, the psychedelic tendencies of prog, the soul of blues rock, and the heart of Americana folk.  Yet, if one were to pin it to one or a mix of those genres, it just wouldn’t fit in too well.  It just sits there on its own doing its own thing.  Now the Georgian quartet are here with a sophomore release to one of my favorite modern records and it does not disappoint.  In fact, it quite surpasses any expectations I had.

As with C.V.I., a big driving force throughout the entirety of Crooked Doors lies within the singular voice of Mlny Parsonz.  Exuding soul, emotion, and gravitas on every single note her bluesy vocals float effortlessly through whatever color or mood her band mates throw at her.  Whether the personifying that snarl of grunge on ‘Time Machine’ or channeling her inner-Billie Holiday on ‘The Bear’ Americana suite, she will find a way tug at your heartstrings in some shape or form.  And her lyrics just amplify the passion put into the singing.

Capitol Photography ParntersRoyal Thunder is a band and not the Mlny Parsonz show however, and with such a notable voice like hers, you better believe the rest of the crew are no slouches.  There’s no superfluous solos, crushing rhythms, or show stealing riffs going on the record.  What the real talent here is how all four member work together to lift the other up and create interesting and concise songs.  On ‘Ear on the Fool’ a bright sounding ominous riff weaves through a serpentine rhythm creating this delightfully dizzying effect while the vocals keep the twisty turbulence in check.  On ‘Forget You’ the doom metal riffing feels right at home with rock and roll vocals and on ‘The Line’ the fuzzy guitar tone melds perfectly with the Mars Volta-like passages of proggy psychedelia.  There’s even a rather unique take on the ballad with ‘The Line’ delivering a grungy/country concoction. The record is filled with endless moments of one complimenting the other, and not only is it engaging but also makes repeat listens that much more enjoyable.  This is a band that really feeds off of each other and it’s a pleasure to listen to.

Starting with a bang and ending on a solemn and uplifting note, Crooked Doors is a complete package.  Whether you’re a fan of metal, rock, blues, prog, folktechbabbledethsludge-coorz, if you dig on simply damn great music this is a must listen.  Not wanting depreciate their outstanding debut, this album is the outcome of hard work and honing a craft.  There wasn’t a single moment I found my attention meandering from the music which is a testament to the strong songwriting and performances throughout its hour-long run time.  The highest of recommendations. Peace love and metal!!! 5/5

Interview with Pete of Baroness/Concert Review: Baroness & Royal Thunder at Tunnel Club, Milan Italy Oct. 15, 2013

IMG_4495Spending many years crafting, evolving, and honing one of the most original sounds in music today, Savannah, GA band Baroness have carved quite a niche for themselves that transcends musical genre barriers and deeply appeals to fans of all styles of rock music.  If one can say anything about Baroness, it would have to be about how incredibly hard-working and determined its members are in bringing their love of music to their fans and delivering it at the highest quality possible.  Even a terrible tour bus accident which could have easily killed any member of the band couldn’t hold founding members Pete Adams (guitars/backing vocals) and John Baizley (lead vocals/guitars) from powering through serious injuries, healing themselves up, and reforming their rhythm section after Allen Blickle (drums) and Matt Maggioni (bass) very understandably took leave of the band.  Just a little over a year since the tragic accident Baroness have once again jumped onto the tour bus and returned to Europe to continue putting audiences in awe with their stellar live shows.

On Oct. 15th I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with guitarist Pete Adams when they stopped in my city of Milan, Italy to play a show at Tunnel Club with Royal Thunder.  After witnessing my first live experience with a band I have followed for over 10 years and my chat with Pete I have found myself with an even deeper respect for the lads in the band.  All of the passion Pete put into his responses to my questions was reciprocated ten-fold when him and the band took the stage and the amount of smiles and good vibes the band exuded off-stage came with them onto the stage in a very uplifting way of saying ‘we’re back’.

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Tales From Bandcamp: CVI:A by Royal Thunder

a2509023863_10Thanks to one of our faithful readers I was turned onto this rocking band named Royal Thunder and have been spinning them very regularly since I got my hands on their debut record CVI.  It’s great, you should listen to it if you haven’t yet (player included below).  A totally engrossing slab of hard rock, stoner grooves, and at times trippy progressive and shoegaze tendencies.  I had posted before that they had acoustic tracks floating around, but the acquisition method of running to various sites and news stands to hunt them down was a tad tedious.  Luckily the 3 acoustic songs have just been released on Bandcamp and they are all excellent.  Best part, they’re free!  So check them out, what do you have to lose.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Royal Thunder are currently touring with Baroness in the USA during the summer and Europe in the autumn.  Check dates here.

Song of the Week: Isak by Baroness

Since I received notice that the mighty Baroness will be playing a show a stone’s throw from my humble abode I’ve been on a discography binger.  And after listening to all of their albums back to back reaffirmation as to why I dig this band so much ensued.  The very first song I heard from them back in 2006 was “Isak” after I was led to check them out after watching some Mastodon videos.  The trippy guitars, serpentine drums, and fat rhythms had me fall in love with them instantly and running out and buying Red Album was top priority.  Enjoy that first song I heard from Baroness, and if you happen to live in Europe, do make sure to catch them live with the totally awesome Royal Thunder (dates here).  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Royal Thunder and Some Grandpa’s Guitars

eshf_RoyalThunder0422139464Rolling Stone (Yech!) is offering a free download of the kick ass Royal Thunder track “Parsonz Curse” in acoustic form.  It’s really well done and I suggest you download it.  It looks like Royal Thunder went into the studio and recorded an acoustic version of their debut record C.V.I. but only 3 songs have been released and the rest have no plans for a commercial release 😦  Anywho, you can download the acoustic version of “Parsonz Curse” from Rolling Stone HERE and “Black Water Music” via Pitchfork HERE.  You can also grab “Whispering World” if you have the flexi-disc from July’s issue of Decibel (looks like I’ll be needing to take a visit to some remote newstand in the middle of nowhere that happens to carry the kick ass Decibel, or maybe just subscribe).

Tales From Bandcamp: CVI by Royal Thunder

1066376029-1Have you ever gotten an album, listened to it, liked it a lot, then somehow it gets lost in the mix only to be rediscovered on a random date down the road where you proclaim “Why the hell haven’t I been listening to this obsessively since I first got my hands on it”.  That is the case with me and Royal Thunder’s debut record CVI.  Last week I popped the album in for shits and giggles and something clicked and I have not stopped listening to it multiple times a day since.

Royal Thunder is a pretty hard band to describe.  On the surface I could say they’re a stoner rock band in the vein of a more rock and roll focused early Baroness with a chick on vocal duties.  But that wouldn’t do them justice.  While there are some very immediate songs on the record that rock from first note to the last like “No Good”, the real genius in this record shows when they take a nod to the post-metal/rock approach and let the songs build up into a moment where all the elements of the beginning of track come together for a huge stoner rock crescendo.  In particular the tunes “Shake and Shift”, “Drown”, and “Blue”.  They may not have the most immediate starts, but man, after all the pieces fall into place it’s nirvana.  They also have a penchant for some delightfully haunting doom tunes.  Tunes like “Sleeping Witch” and “South of Somewhere” are the kind of stuff beautiful nightmares are made out of.

So, when all is said and done, CVI is a triumphant and diverse album that needs you attention.  If you take a moment and listen with an ear closer you will be fully rewarded with a an album that is deep, dynamic, exploratory, and soulful, yet doesn’t get lost in itself and delivers on the hard-hitting rock and roll.  Give a listen, tell your friends, and let us know what you think of Royal Thunder.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Band Links: Bandcamp Facebook