Playlist: Ben Smasher

Ben Smasher, besides being an all-around rad guy (that I finally got to meet at Gilead Fest back in the Spring), is also one of the main dudes behind the impossibly awesome metal label Pagan Flames, which has put out amazing records by Panopticon (which includes Kentucky, the label's first vinyl release), Njiqahdda, When Bitter Spring Sleeps, Brulvahnatu, War Plague, and Satan's Almighty Penis, which Ben also happens to play in. Despite the potentially off-putting name, though, SAP are awesome.


*Cromlech - and Darkness Fell  [ This demo has more Swedish melody than you can handle.  Perfectly recorded and played, I keep this in my back pocket whenever I need to pig out on some melody. ]
*Panopticon - Kentucky  [ If you haven't heard this you have little frame of reference for how immensely passionate, intricate and vast this album is.  This doesn't set the bar higher, it created a new bar. ]
*Amebix - Sonic Mass  [ This has been a really refreshing listen.  I never thought I'd become an Amebix fan but this is killer. ]
*Eyes of Ligeia - A Fever Which Would Cling to Thee Forever [ A classic that I often revisit.  Its one of my favorite doom albums.  The perfect combination of being extremely musical and atmospheric.  Totally original. ]
*Alrakis - Alpha Eri  [ This really hits the spot, somewhere between Wolves in the Throne Room and Darkspace, only its all very slow paced and simmering. ]
*Nawaharjan - Into the Void [ Well done traditional German BM.  This is a very promising demo with an alluring nefarious style to it. ]
*Panphage - Ursvoll  [ Somewhat in the same vein as Nawaharjan but akin to a more mature Arckanum.  Killer song writing with riffs that get stuck in my head for days. ]
*Water Borders - Harbored Mantras [ Not my typical bag but there has been some incredible electronic albums coming out on Tri-Angle Records, this is one of them. Perfect when I want something different to listen to. ]
*Internecine - Book of Lambs [ What a fucking nightmarish maelstrom of death metal. I'll take this over newer Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, or Nile any day. ]
*Mighty Sphincter - the New Manson Family [ Obtuse and just plain bonkers 80's horror punk.  I love the obnoxious riffing and busy drumming. ]
*Brulvahnatu - Menstrual Extraction Ceremony [ This is a massive and challenging album to tackle, but I cant stop coming back to it.  It satisfies something new in me every time I play it. ]
*Suburban Lawns - Suburban Lawns [ One of the only punk bands I can stand, but way more punk than anything traditionally meant by the term.  This stuff was so out there for its time. ]
*Love Sex Machine - Love Sex Machine [ What a gargantuan mammoth of a debut.  I love cranking this all the way up and rattling my bones.  Sort of a hypnotic and groovy doom album with CRUUUUSHING guitar tone. ]
*Mgla - With Hearts Towards None [ Pure unrefined hate filled polish black metal.  This is no bullshit dark and melancholy stuff with no added filler or fluff.  Gloomy and reflective. ]
*Celestia - Apparitia - Sumptuous Spectre [ Another perennial favorite of mine.  This stuff is dynamic, a bit melancholic and highly atmospheric traditional black metal.  Goes well with a good cheeseburger. ]

Rock Bottom [ Haven't hit it yet, but getting closer to it has been refreshing and invigorating.  Struggling to rebuild is a great reminder that we are incredible and capable humans. ]
Positivity [ Trying to make the effort to be more helpful, positive, kind, generous and selfless whenever the opportunity arises.  There is enough negativity in this stupid world. ]
Community [ Immersing myself in a newer community of creative people has inspired me beyond my imagination. ]
Kentucky: [ Got to spend some quality time in Louisville with Austin from Panopticon in June which was probably the best vacation I will ever enjoy. ]

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