Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.
Beastwars: Tower of Skulls seven-inch (Destroy, 11/17/12)
An eclipse is creeping closer. You see a desolate landscape, lonely monoliths in the middle of the desert, and a vague sense of foreboding. Either all that fake Mayan stuff about 2012 was right, or it’s a new video from Beastwars.
Hailing from New Zealand, stoner-sludge outfit Beastwars has been making music that’s as much an assault on the senses as an assault on nature, borne and bred out of isolation at the bottom of the earth. Without regard for classification, these dudes are playing heavy tunes for heavy times, contributing to a musical landscape built around social and political commentary.
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/BEASTWARS_Damn_the_Sky.mp3|titles=Beastwars: “Damn the Sky”]
Morrow: Hailing from New Zealand, Beastwars is a four-piece stoner/sludge-metal outfit that specializes in down-tuned guitars, deep grooves, and gruff wailing. The group remains unsigned for now, but after hearing this self-titled album (which you can do for free at Beastwars’ Bandcamp page), it’s only a matter of time before an indie label picks them up. (Hello, Tee Pee?)
The music isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a fist-pumping, head-banging good time — part Unsane, part old-school Soundgarden, and part High on Fire.
Hajduch: There is a major, major grunge influence at work here. “Lake of Fire” sounds a whole lot like a burlier “School” by Nirvana. The way the vocals interact with these huge riffs carries a definite Pacific Northwest influence. There’s also something about the riffs that remind me of Undertow-era Tool but with more of a classic-metal gallop to them.
I’m definitely shocked at how little exposure this band has gotten. This is a really solid stoner-metal album that should appeal to everybody who even slightly likes this kind of thing.