Demon Pigeon’s Joyeux Noël Extravangaza 2012!!

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Editor’s Note:

Fuck 2012.

Here’s how fucking sick we are of reading about how great the Olympics were, and about Gangnam Fucking Style, and about the The Apprentice Factor’s Got Talent:

Very Fucking Sick.

Yes, 2012 was yet another year rife with ironic novelty shit and over-weening pageantry to help disguise the progessive unravelling of Great Britain’s social fabric. So while the Government takes a machete to the social contract, we’re all kept enraptured and titivated by the movements of a bunch of thick inbreds. I might be talking about Team GB, or One Direction or even Josh Weeden’s Avengers Assembly but I’m not. I’m talking about the royal family. It can’t be a coincidence that nobody except Nicholas Witchell has given this much of a shit about the royals since the Tories were last in power.

Still, let’s keep trucking on, eh? Everything will be okay. At least we’ve got Mrs Brown’s Boys and Peep Show to laugh about! ahahahahahahaha :[

For quite some time, it’s been dawning on us here at Demon Pigeon that with each passing day, we become more and more alienated from what passes for popular culture. We don’t know our Tulisas from our Kardashians, and neither do we care enough to investigate; and we’ve yet to determine our feelings about Taylor Swift, but we know we don’t hate her. To be honest, we don’t even know what she’s for, never mind what she looks like.

So instead of all that bollocks, let’s take a look back over what we did pay attention to. That’s right, it was a load of ‘Hard Rock Music’, about which the rest of the world could not give a fuck less. One day soon though, it will come back into fashion, and we will be crowned King Fuzz of Mt Riff.

LIST BEGIN

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  • The Tony Danza Tapdance ExtravaganzaDanza IV

Should have been entitled Danza Jumps The Shark. The utterly hamfisted and underwhelming end to the Danza saga.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • ConvergeAll We Love We Leave Behind

Just like all the other Converge albums, and yet somehow more so. Equal parts bafflingly brilliant and worryingly pedestrian.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • NeurosisHonor Found In Decay

We were going to review it, then we found this review which summed it up perfectly and thought “why bother?” Depressingly average from the kings of depression.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Royal ThunderCVI

Opulent blend of stone rock and grown up people’s music with lovely lady vocals.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • Orange GoblinA Eulogy for the Damnned

Splendid stonking stone rock from the men who knew how to do it right the first time round. In 2013, they’re joining Clutch for a romp around the United States, and that’s pretty good going for a 15-year old band.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • SoundgardenKing Animal

A return so achingly depressing in its bloated cynicism that it’ll make you vomit your childhood memories into your hands and smear them all over your tear-streaked, wailing face.

NOT ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • DeftonesKoi No Yokan

Who cares about the fucking Deftones? It’s 2012, not 1997. Oh, as it turns out, we do. Who knew?

Deftones In Making Consistently Excellent Album Shocker: Wherein our titular heroes remember that an album should be more than a collection of odds and sods they found laying around in the studio and consequently end up writing their best album in over a decade.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Every Time I DieEx Lives

Continuing adventures in Party Hardcore from the most dependably dependable of metalcore bands.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • Dinosaur JrI Bet on Sky

It turns out that nobody on the DP staff has actually heard this. So…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Wo FatThe Black Code

Riff riff riff. More riff. More. NO, MORE. Fuck it, just dump all the riff in there.

Shit, now it’s broken.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • AmenraMass V

Disappointed by the return of Neurosis? Wanting to fill your little black heart with hatred and bile? Look not further than this horrifying slab of filthy doomy grimness.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Black BombainTitans

Four songs lasting over an hour with no song structures, endless guitar noodling and absolutely no point at all. In other words the perfect album for the Demon Pigeon staff.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • OMAdvaitic Songs

A great record for people like us, who hate tunes. Advaitic Songs is what this picture would sound like if you put it on a turntable:

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ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Bloody HammersS/T

Just because someone thinks the key to livening up depressingly sub par trad doom is to infuse it with Hammer Horror wannabe imagery does not necessarily make it so. Although Noel really liked this so go fucking figure.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • The SwordApocryphon

You can diss The Sword for somehow being either not cool enough for you, or too cool for you, but you cannot deny their albums are pretty mega, and have become more so at every step. This continues the tradition, and is better than anything you’ve done this year.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Karma To BurnSlight Reprise

Re-release of the instrumental Stone Rock gods’ first album but without the vocals of the original. The only person in the world who wouldn’t like this would be the aforementioned vocalist. Or Noel.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • Vision of DisorderThe Cursed Remain Cursed

The cursed remain cursed, but the legendary are rendered bland. Generic out of date hardcore from once mighty hardcore pioneers.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Devin Townsend ProjectEpicloud

Widdly widdly widdly scream, widdly widdly sarcastic lyric, widdly widdly self deprecatingly childish lyrics, widdly widdly widdly.

Repeat until bored to tears. Can you stop for a bit now please, Devlin? Just sit down and have a Double Decker or something.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • DownDown IV, Part 1: The Purple EP

An EP with a title more tortuous than a Harry Potter film, and content duller than an evening watching Harry Potter films.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • CryptopsyS/T

You know when you accuse death metal bands of selling out you sound really really dumb, don’t you? You do know that, right?

Anyway, Cryptopsy drop the experimentation with ‘THAT’S NOT bR00TULz METULZ!’ and instead deliver a crushingly brilliant death metal opus.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • UnsaneWreck

Unsane continue to sound unlike anyone else. Well done them.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • UfomammutORO Opus Primum/Opus Alter

Italian doom lords mark their move to the big time with an utterly delirious two-part masterpiece filled with space riffs, vocals recorded through a pillow and a low end deep enough to rupture time.

We almost reviewed both parts of this in full, but to be honest this is all you really need to know about ORO: The second half may lack the first’s heady brilliance, but overall, if it weren’t for Colour Haze, this would actually be a genuine contender for…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Old Man GloomNO

This is either the most wantonly self indulgent of half arsed hipster-doom twaddle, or a blinding return to form from the most exciting collective in metal. Possibly it is both.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • MeshuggahKoloss

As much as it appears that on the face of things, the new Meshuggah album is a dizzying new high in tech metal, what you are actually experiencing is a massive dissociative state, because it is actually as exciting as standing in line at the chippy while they cook your cod. With no 3G signal.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • High On FireDe Vermis Mysteriis

“Grroooooooooooowwwllllllllllgrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrooowlllllllllllllllgrrroowaaallllllll. BELLOW.” – Matt Pike, 2012.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • BaronessYellow & Green

Just utterly lovely prog-pop noodlings from bus journey unfortunates. Noel wasn’t that keen, but who cares what that miserable sack of guts thinks?

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • 16Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds

Do you like the monotony of Hatebreed, but find the pace just that little bit too fast? Try New “Sludgy Hardcore” from 16 instead! You’re guaranteed to be mildly diverted for its duration, and with no lingering aftertaste, or even any memory of its intrusion into your life! Order now and receive two for the price of one!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • The Mars VoltaNoctorniquet

Noctorniquet?! Are you for real? Further adventures in navel gazing self indulgence from world’s foremost experts in tedium.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • The Smashing PumpkinsOceania

Oh Billy.

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  • Sigur RósValtari

If I could listen to this on endless repeat while my life passed me by, I probably would. An excellent attempt by Iceland’s biggest exporters of coffee table-friendly music to utterly shed their mainstream commercial appeal. By refusing to play any ‘songs’ or have any ‘melodies’, Sigur Rós have ended up making a beguiling, haunting and beautiful album.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Death GripsThe Money Store

Have you ever listened to modern hip hop and thought ‘What this needs is to be sonically unfathomable and delivered by a rapper who both looks and sounds like a meth ridden tramp’? Then The Money Store is for you.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • PelicanAtaraxia Taraxis EP

How to make the Post Rock Sound Intolerable Boring Part Four, by Pelican. We were going to write about this as well, because we found out that Pelican don’t even live anywhere near each other, and record all their music remotely using the Dropbox app on iPad.

That was well worth mocking, we thought, but then we realised it’s absolutely impossible to get a joke out of a band this fucking dull.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • Black BreathSentenced to Life

Just about the least sophisticated bunch of angry nonsense, and also the most fun.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • ISISTemporal

Not content with pissing all over their legacy with a seemingly endless spew of badly-recorded live albums, ISIS mark their sad passing with a rummage through a box of old tapes and demos Aaron Turner found under his sofa. Then they pad it out with yet more shitty live recordings. Utterly worthless.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

  • KylesaFrom the Vaults Vol 1

If ISIS’s collection of odds and sods at least makes sense in the context of their break up, then releasing a collection of songs while your band is still together—songs good enough to appear on what have been, at best, okay albums—seems the ultimate act of hubris.

Except it isn’t. The ultimate act of hubris is to call the resulting shower of shite Vol 1, thus causing fear of a sequel.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

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  • Colour HazeShe Said

Holy fuck what a record. Why aren’t you listening to it right now? A beautiful mulch of stone rock riffs, booming big-bum bass and jazzed-up drums. All this is rounded out by strings, rhodes piano, horns, conga drums, theremin, some sort of panflute thing, probably, and God only knows what else. Add in a production job that practically forces you to crank it up and wallow until your hearing is begging for mercy, and you’ve got an album that we can’t—for the life of us—put down.

ACTUAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR!

Right. See you next year, tossers.

Damnation Festival 2012

Editor’s note: We had hoped to cover Damnation in some official capacity, but then Noel went and employed the rather frowned-upon weapon of ‘flippancy’ in a preview article, and thus wrecked our chances. Quite beside ourselves we were. But then Will Downes, one of our other magnificent writers, happened to be reminded of a practice called ‘purchasing a ticket’, something that is apparently quite the rage with persons who have not yet managed to find a corner of the internet to spew their godawful opinions into.

We bid him do so and sent him into the field. 

Ah Damnation, one of the few “festivals” that can boast genuinely interesting and varied line-ups that don’t seem to be based purely on flavourofthemonthisms (yes that is a word). My day started in the only way these kind of days can, with a beer, and off I went to see the first band of the afternoon. Ravens Creed were, from what I dimly recall, so-so and the room was absolutely packed. Sorry, that’s about all I can remember.

Another beer and act two, The Atrocity Exhibit. Again, it was okay but nothing that blew me away. To be honest, at this stage of the day the beer part of the equation was winning over metal, assisted by its good friend conversation, so apologies to those bands I missed. Actually, I’m not that sorry, because I paid like any other bastard and that means I can talk to who I want to, OKAY MUM?

I had planned on going to see DSHS but I got distracted by the aformentioned booze, a lady and a very welcome surprise in Winterfylleth. I would also like to add that the Jägermeister stage was incredibly awkward to get to and I really only saw one band on that stage all day.

Winterfylleth were  not what I was expecting. Who was this hardcore band with the odd moniker that looked like George RR Martin had tripped over his typewriter?  And what were they doing being one of the best black metal bands I’ve ever seen live?  It is testament to their performance that they became the band I made the most effort to acquire in digital format upon my return to my hovel.

Extreme Noise Terror really didn’t excite me, and having seen them previously this was the perfect time to get some munch happening upstairs in the supermarket bit, where I purchased a ridiculous hot dog and struggled to eat it. My stomach was very full. Full of beer and Winterfylleth riffs.

In some slight discomfort I headed to see Bossk as fellow pigeonaut Paul would have been mightily cross if I hadn’t. They were not at all what I expected but it certainly fell into the category of Paul-music. They had the most diverse crowd of the day and it was easy to see why as they played a soundtrack to the end of the world and the crowd swayed as one, an odd moment of beauty in a day otherwise filled with mansweat.

Next off to the Terrorizer Stage where I would pretty much set up shop for the remainder of the day. Vreid came next and it was another dose of Black Metal and to be honest it was just a bit meh for me. But others seemed to enjoy it. Never mind. Beer!

From there to one of the genuine few surprises for a jaded metal-head like me. Aura Noir were a real shock. For starters they’re a thrash band that I’d never listened to before. I wasn’t actually sure that was possible. If I could remove all the wasted time I spent on listening to Trivium et al hoping they might play something metal and replace it with this, then I would bite their hands off. This band are so tight it was almost flawless and they put the so called Big Four to shame. Brilliant. If you like thrash then you should get everything by this band. Immediately.

Now to the solitary occasion that I trudged to the Jägermeister stage. It lay beyond the massive merch area and was surprisingly the largest stage area. Which made it quite a shame all it had to muster was My Dying Bride. Ah, My Dying Bride… I know that goths exist and are real people with feelings and that, but this was just boring. The highlight of their set was watching some goth dude grinding on his ‘girlfriend’. I left hastily and perused the merch area.

(Side note: the merch area was surprisingly reasonably priced throughout. Well done!)

Back to the Terrorizer stage to catch Belphegor, for which I was not holding out much hope. I have most of their albums, but there are none that I genuinely love and regularly listen to – but that could change after this performance. Hooray for death metal! The sound was perfect and the band completely on form. Lovely!

Lastly but by no means least came Pig Destroyer. This is why I was here, everything else in the day was just foreplay to this moment. Would they finish me off and give me the happy ending that my heart so desired? Yes, of course they fucking would.

A massive issue with sound midway through the set couldn’t dampen a performance that showed why these guys are the masters of grind. Stupidly complex drums, groove laden guitar, amusing samples and a very, very, very angry man make PD essential viewing and listening.

And I’m spent…

So in conclusion, Damnation 2012 was a ‘damn’ fine time. Let’s see if next year they might let us back in an official capacity. You know, unless Noel manages to piss them off again of course, which is entirely possible.

www.damnationfestival.co.uk