I never meant for this Demos & EPs list to get so out of control but, once I started itemizing them, the denim, leather and hell aesthetic simply proved itself a beast all its own. Those of us with this itch are usually forced to scratch it with smaller releases, so this list is mostly grimy disgusting stuff to kill your liver too. It might be the kvlt analog fetish, of course. How's a young ambitious group of blasphemers even supposed to coordinate the recording of a righteous analog-only full length album when the best studio tech/drug dealer in town only has a rotary phone? In any case, all you freeloaders thrifty types are sure to love the following collection of quick n' dirty releases as most of them cost a few pennies.
A rundown of the year's best dad rock and peacock prog is also forthcoming, so polish that T-Bird and get that Tawny Kitaen poster out of storage.
Demos and EPs
#20 Hedlok – Year of the Wolf EP
Unless you're a glutton for the painfully pedestrian, I wouldn't bother with Hedlok's earlier material. What we have on Year of the Wolf is a band born anew, feral and lo-fi, sacrificing nothing in low-end or musical competence.
#19 Black Magic Mountain Goat – Demo 001
Grimy death with superb musicianship. For fans of Dismember.
#18 Eternal Champion – The Last King of Pictdom demo
Epic heavy metal is not a genre; it is a redundancy. All metal needs more of the epic. No exceptions. It's hard to name a band that wouldn't benefit from a couple of hours locked in a room with an 18 pack and some Manilla Road records.
#17 Armour – Death Threat/No Heaven 7"
This came out on December 31st 2012 but no care. You don't have to like everything about Satanic Tyrant Werewolf (his moniker for example) but, between Armour and Street Wolf, his affinity for WASP and the Crüe manifests itself in pretty rad ways.
#16 Bitch Witch – Self Titled EP
This is an odd mixture of first wave black metal, crust, and occult rock that I can't really make heads or tails of. It's very unique, though, sort of like grunge was until we realized it was a conspiracy against us all.
#15 Witch Ripper – Self Titled EP
People keep comparing this band to Mastodon but the difference is that Witch Ripper is unsigned, from Seattle, has a sense of melody, is not boring, still likes metal, and does it all with a Floydian psychedelic flair.
#14 Begrime Exemious – Tour Tape MMXIII & Wasteland of Damnation EP
These guys are like a working man's Angelcorpse. They've toured the US and put out two EPs this year alone. Saw them live. Got the shirt. Bought all the releases. You should too.
#13 Obliterations – Self Titled EP
Punchy metallic hardcore punk. A nice change from all the drab crusty crossover stuff in circulation. We're gonna play the shit out of this at my first annual Maggie Thatcher is Still Dead Party.
#12 Bölzer – Aura EP
Brooding, dense riff structures. Good death metal growls and dynamic atonal cleans. Believe the hype.
#11 Slaughter Messiah – Black Speed Terror 7"
Make an appointment with your chiropractor before spinning this major whiplash inducer.
#10 Shadows in the Crypt – Fanatical (Ready to Die) Compilation
Guitarist Lawrence Wallace is one of the most unsung musical minds in the American underground. He was the guitarist for Serpent ov Old's virtuosic Withering Hope and that band has been nothing short of bad since his departure. This is a great compilation of old promo material and some live stuff. Shadows in the Crypt's latest LP, Cryptic Communications, is also a pitch-black musician's clinic.
#9 Old Skin – Self Titled Demo
Despite not currently owning a tape player, I bought this cassette at DIY show. In true underground fashion, there seem to be very few avenues for buying their stuff aside from seeing them live. You can try to write them here old.skin.demise(at)gmail(dot)com. Filthy and excessive yet well put together.
#8 Legs – Dark Rituals EP
Not metal. Brilliantly haunting folk rock.
#7 Bog of the Infidel – To Corrupt Your Sons and Lust After Your Daughters EP
Pretty sure these dudes sit around with a Ouija Board they bought from Amazon and channel Jon Nödtveidt's ghost every time they write a tune.
#6 Propast - Věstnik Preispodnji EP
Ultraorthodox black arts from Belgrade. Take 90s Ukranian BM and throw out all the silly punchlines and you've got Propast, which in most Slavic languages means "abyss". Superior production.
#5 Night Demon – Self Titled EP
Now that Superchrist is de facto broken up, you can look to Night Demon for all your NWOBHM revivalist needs.
#4 Stone Dagger – The Siege of Jerusalem Demo
This is the guy form Magic Circle, apparently, and like a billion other bands. The tape is sold out (of course) and the vinyl will be out next year on Electric Assault Records, which will probably be limited to like 7 unmarked copies that will be mailed to random addresses in the Caribbean. Yeah, I get it we're trying to keep the physical music culture alive but, mark my words, this will seem a little silly in retrospect. Too bad it's impossible to get this anywhere for the moment because it owns massively.
#3 The Last Exodus– The Last Departure from the Land of the Dead EP
In the spell of dense stoner rock influences, usually bolstered by performance enhancers, one has a tendency to forget that music being played should be fun to listen to. Enter the band Discharge. Discharge is a lot like hard drugs; I sure as hell am not into 'em but am damn glad my favorite musicians have a history of indulging in 'em. In Solitude guitarist Henrik Palm may not be the primary songwriter here, as it's hard to tell, but I reckon he's the one who finally got this band into Discharge. It shows and it rocks. "This year's Kill 'EM All," gets tossed around incessantly. The stoner rock fundamentals notwithstanding, this is the the closest to the actual sound I've ever heard.
#2 Royal Thunder – CVI: A
Mindy Parsonz, if you're reading this, my offer of marriage still stands. I offer one urban goat as dowry. He is not housetrained.
#1 Churchburn – Self Titled EP
After departing Vital Remains, Dave Suzuki has taken a turn towards blackened sludge. His inclinations towards brilliant, spiraling guitar harmonies, however, seem to tail him everywhere he goes. Force marched into the most lightless depths, the listener is then exalted on rich melodic compositions in what is one of the best overall releases of the year.