And the Winner of the ToH Community AOTY 2K17 Is…
When the Toilet ov Hell made its presence known on the interweb over three years ago, little did we know that it would help play a part in cultivating a few internet heavy metal talents into crafting a doozy of an album that would go on to garner critical acclaim from several fans and communities worldwide. You voted, Disqus tallied up the score, and now it’s my honor to present the award for readers pick of 2017: Horrid Dominion, the debut album by Arizona’s Winds of Leng.
There are countless veterans in the death metal community who can keep pumping out albums of consistent greatness (Cannibal Corpse, Exhumed) and newer bands introducing as many weird elements of progression as possible in efforts of carving a niche in this rusted community (hop over to I, Voidhanger’s Bandcamp page for good examples); but when can a band of newcomers drop a debut bomb so simultaneously classic and fresh that it leaves us all scratching our heads in surprise? In the year of our Lord 2017, that’s when.
There’s “Chaosborn”, one of my favorites from the record. How many albums this year contain straight-up only rippers, no fillers? Horrid Dominion offers eight choice cuts of OSDM quality to make up our readers’ choice of the year. It begins with a foreboding intro and a somewhat doom-y first song, but efficiently rips the listener to shreds for each and every track until we end with “Lord of the Dead”, whose brutality grinds up bones to create the icing on an already macabre cake.
Since befriending reader Scrimm around three years ago, I was given the opportunity to hear their early demos… which helped steer me down the path to eventually meet them and witness part of their recording process. But more importantly I must tell you that because I got to know the members of the band, it’s with a MORE critical eye to which I hold them up to scrutiny. Winds of Leng bring it hard – with tracks like “The Colour” – proof of their ability to mix old-school sensibility with the right amount of intricate songwriting to win over a modern metalhead’s appetite for a stellar recording.
Horrid Dominion contains flesh-ripping vocals, brutal yet catchy riffs, and some of the most tasteful songwriting you’ll hear this year. And let’s not forget a flawless mixing process by none other than Dan Swano, providing the perfect amount of crunch and clarity to its sound. To make it a more well-wounded package, I must also mention that amazing, horrific artwork by Alex Tartsus. All these items combined make up the must-listen-to album of 2017. It’s been a long time coming, Scrimm will tell you around a decade, and the wait has paid off in spades. To quote reader Positronic Brain, “And not just because it’s a hometown ToH favorite, the album fucking RIPS.”
The entire top 10:
10. Lör – In Forgotten Sleep
9. Archspire – Relentless Mutation
8. Elder – Reflections of a Floating World
7. Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper
6. Pyrrhon – What Passes for Survival
5. Artificial Brain – Infrared Horizon
4. Spirit Adrift – Curse of Conception
3. The Back Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers
2. Power Trip – Nightmare Logic
1. Winds of Leng – Horrid Dominion
2K16’s AOTY – Vektor – Terinal Redux
2K15’s AOTY – Mgła – Exercises in Futility
2K14’s AOTY – Artificial Brain – Labyrinth Constellation