Dark Juan’s Top 10 releases of 2021

Dark Juan’s Top Ten Releases Of This, The Year Of Our Lord 2021 (Otherwise Known As The Year Of The Fucking Plague, But At Least Donald Trump Fucked Off, Innit?)
Unsurprisingly Written by Dark Juan (who Appears To Be On One Today!)

(Beth here… Hold onto your hats people! Here’s Dark Juan’s thought on the year and music…)

Hello, boys, girls and young people of all other genders. And Otherkin too, although I don’t see how you could possibly identify as say, a weather system, and expect to be taken seriously. Ditto that girl who was interviewed a while ago who identified as a cat. I would have had more respect if she didn’t use human language, have a boyfriend (which really does make me wonder just WHAT his ACTUAL desires were, indicating to me he was after pussy of an ENTIRELY different kind), ate from a bowl on the floor and shat in a box full of sawdust. Clearly she liked to pretend to be a cat occasionally, which is absolutely fine, but saying, “I am a cat and everyone should help me perpetrate my delusion” is not right. If you look like a human, talk like a human, are not covered in fur and are shaped like a human, you’re fucking human. You can’t lick your own arse. Or if you can, message me! You don’t get wildly stoned on catnip. You don’t climb up the curtains and sleep on the rail. You don’t go and cause fights that wake up entire neighbourhoods with your screaming at 3am. You don’t bring back little eviscerated presents for your owners because they are shit hunters and you have taken pity on them. YOU ARE NOT A CAT.

Yes, 2021. A year that has been most unusual because the full horror of Brexit has dropped upon our unsuspecting Great British heads and caused great misery and mayhem for millions, both at home and abroad, (regardless of what that bunch of posh, untrustworthy, lying motherfuckers and their class traitor apologists say in Westminster), COVID-19 has caused an indelible stain on history, causing us Brits to lose some liberty (temporarily) in order to make sure people didn’t die in even greater numbers, yet there was a lunatic bastard fringe out there who yelped (and still are) pitifully that wearing their mask infringed on their rights (Wrongly. They have the right to not wear masks, but refuse to understand everyone else has the right to not serve them, or help them or anything, for fear of infection), and that vaccinations variously made you a walking 5G transmitter (how come I can only still get 4G in Yorkshire, you fucking dribbling twatmonkeys?), enabled Microsoft (I’m sure the evil overlord that is Bill Gates is enjoying controlling the wheelchair bound Mrs Gladys Pendragon, 87, of Myrthyr Tydfyl) to control you and make you buy £47 million worth of Amazon products, or would make you grow twenty-seven heads and fifteen arms and that you would devolve into a pile of steaming, gently rippling slime 17 minutes after having it administered, and that it’s all a huge conspiracy to control you and that some drooling, half-insane fuckwits on Twitter, YouTube and Telegram know more than the worldwide scientific community, the World Health Organisation, medical experts and virologists, and that we should listen to their crackpot shitbuggery rather than actual fucking authorities who have planned for this sort of business, whereas two minutes on a search engine of your choice will tell you everything you need to know about vaccination programmes and recombinant DNA, and you’ll be both educated and edified. Also, try being socially fucking responsible instead of a selfish bastard, right? And you’ll see the clickbait generating cockwombles for what they are… I’ll give you a clue. They are not truth-tellers.

Sorry. I REALLY needed to get that off my chest.

And now, for your edification, here are what I consider to be the top ten finest musical releases of the year. It has, because of the rather inconvenient virus that has tanked entire economies, been what can only be described as a renaissance for extreme music and metal. Bands, not able to perform live, have developed an absolute laser focus on honing their sounds, their concepts and their recordings, and this has been an utterly VINTAGE year for releases. I have never awarded so many high marks and full scores, and I am a right picky bastard when it comes to music because that’s my job.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

10. Fractal Generator – “Macrocosmos”

Faceless Canadian-based intergalactic wanderers master human instruments and proceed to record something that just rips the faces off anyone within a five mile radius. Released all the way back in January, this album takes the idea of Technical Death Metal, rips it wide open, stuffs it full of solid-state alien electronics, fires the fucker back up, and just watches it rampage through the unsuspecting ears of writers and critics. Speedy, clinical, science fiction meets metal that took a moribund genre and turned it on its head and into something new, vibrant, and exciting. And probably poisonous too.

Macrocosmos Album Cover Art


9. Dead – “You’ll Never Know Pleasure… 25th Anniversary Reissue”

The soundtrack to a lost youth of punishing the parents who forced you to listen to country and reggae throughout your formative years with a) superior wattage and b) pornogrind. Still surprisingly uncompromising and raw today, and an essential listen for anyone who wishes to explore the genesis of grindcore and goregrind with added (distinctly unsexy) sexy times from a trio of seriously sexually disturbed German men. Would probably make a superb soundtrack for a sojourn into the darkest recesses of someone’s BDSM torture chamber for a bit of genital interaction with added pain, suffering, and some girlish squealing.

You'll Never Know The Pleasure... Album Cover Art


8. Lair Of The White Worm – “EP1”

Uninspiring titling does nothing to detract from the Extreme Blackened Industrial output from Napalm Deathster John Cooke’s one-man musical project. Heavier than a pair of plutonium knickers, as dangerous as trying to remove said knickers from an unwilling nubile young lady trained in martial arts, and as dirty and filthy and smoke belchingly polluting as an endless military parade of armoured vehicles and missile transporters, this is Industrial as it should be. No polished, shiny metal here, just grinding, harsh, painful noise. And it is wonderful.

EP1 Cover Art


7. Schysma – “Schysma”

Absolutely and gloriously batshit Italian Gothic Metal with a vocalist who appears to have decided that all singing should be done at outrageous pitches and tones, and sounds like she is only just on the right side of controlling her egregious pipes. The rest of the band have clearly agreed with the “nothing is too big or overblown” concept and proceed to hammer you senseless with an overwhelming barrage of complex Gothic Metal played at the kind of speed that would make even Yngwie Malmsteen think twice about attempting the solos. Spectacularly unhinged, utterly demented, and possessed of a killer instinct not normally associated with goffiks.

Schysma Album Cover Art


6. In Veil – “Lunatic”

Canada gives birth to an insane mix of schlock horror, KMFDM, Zombie Girl (the electronic industrial one) and Rob Zombie and animates it with electric shocks and sends it stumbling forth to both beguile and horrify in equal measure. In turns savage and sexy and frequently both at the same time, In Veil serve Industrial Rock and Roll in industrial quantities for us all to slake our collective thirst on. Imbued with a keen sense of humour and more than a little bizarre carnival and burlesque leanings, In Veil are the calliope soundtrack to serial killers in clown makeup butchering innocents in brightly striped tents.

Lunatic Album Cover Art


5. Darkthrone – “Eternal Hails…”

Seemingly immortal Scandinavian Black Metal legends Fenriz and Nocturno Culto serve up another ultra cold, ultra heavy slab of Blackened Doom Metal that is a world away from the primal Black Metal Darkthrone initially played, yet somehow, despite being much slower and even more bleak, manages to exude the same sense of menace and danger. Long songs (all over 7 minutes in length) allow for exploration and extrapolation of themes in a way that classic, hyperspeed black metal would never permit, and Darkthrone are all the better for it.

Eternal Hails Album Cover Art


4. Send More Paramedics – “The Final Feast”

The final studio release for these Leeds based zombie flesh eating Thrashers is a real pleaser. The fastest and bounciest Thrash Metal is welded to an ineffable sense of humour as they cavort on one final recording rammed to the rafters with magnificent riffs and rapid fire, punchy songs before all their limbs fall off and they can’t play anymore. Or something. Fast, fun and frequently furious, Send More Paramedics would love it if they could “kick your ass, and then eat your brain”. I’d love it if they would tour just one more time because my young gentlemen wrangling got in the way of it last time.

The Final Feast Album Cover Art


3. Epoch Of Chirality – “Nucleosynthesis”

Science fiction instrumental metal. With cinematic, soaring keyboards that easily cause your imagination to run riot with imagery involving large space battles or James Bond-esque night runs through the Italian Alps being chased by shitloads of baddies. When neon and blacklight tinged Synthwave slams into primal, muscle bound Heavy Metal at ridiculous velocities, Epoch Of Chirality are the chimeric result that strides purposefully from the wreckage. Without even a mark on its impeccable Gieves and Hawkes suit.

Nucleosynthesis Album Cover Art


2. Baron Crâne – “Les Beaux Jours”

Demented and uber-talented French trio of Jazz-infused Heavy Progsters bring the instrumental noise. OK, there’s occasional vocals, but Baron Crâne brought an uncommon sense of melody and timing to record that is chock-full of Very Good Things. Supremely intelligently arranged and played with a rare mix of both precision and passion, this is heavy music for the seasoned listener. Rabid tempo changes and syncopations abound as these French masters take you on a rocket-fuelled ride of exploration. Baron Crâne ran The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara close for record of the year. It’s that good.

Les Beaux Jours Album Cover Art


1. The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – “Full Spectrum”

Record of the year for the sheer scale and inventiveness of it all. TCOMAS delivered a tour de force of music transmuted into something magical. Taking elements from all over the musical spectrum (from Industrial, Djent, Metal, Ambient and Electronic) and welding it to poetry, Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi transcended genre gatekeeping and gameplaying with names to create a meisterwerk of Extreme Music, with a strong socio-political component and a glorious disregard for any musical convention whatsoever. Simply breathtaking in scope and execution.

Full Spectrum Album Cover Art


So there you have it. A fine selection of some incredible music. It has been an extremely tough choice with some very notable mentions this year – Lament Cityscape and Null Cell brought back old school Industrial and made it special again, Lucid Sins played superb Blues-tinged Psychedelic Rock and Roll that had a tendency to wander off and turn the middle eight into a middle thirty-two, and Duncan Evans, both solo and with WaxWorm. A fine gentleman and a superb songwriter and performer, who misses out on the top ten releases by not quite being heavy enough for a metal website, but for whom I hold a deep and lasting regard as a songwriter.

Bring on 2022 and let’s hope it is plague-free, this time. Have a drink for me. I’m going to walk Hodgson. I may be some time…

Read Dark Juan’s original album reviews here:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Fractal Generator – Macrocosmos

Fractal Generator – Macrocosmos
Everlasting Spew Records
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Running Time: 42:18
Review by Dark Juan

Greetings and salutations, dear friends! I trust I find you busily subverting the Church of lies and its nefarious teachings? Yes, yes, I know it is Sunday evening and ‘I’m A Celebrity’ is on and if you’re from Gogledd Cymru you’re very excited because its being filmed at Gwrych Castle and you might get a glimpse of those two tiny Geordie psychopaths PJ and Duncan or Liz off of Coronation Street. That’s no excuse. Myself, I prefer to flagellate myself with twigs of gorse whilst looking at pictures of Saoirse Ronan and tighten my Satanic cilice around my thigh a couple more notches rather than watch that lowest common denominator shite. I like it when the red water comes out…

And I have appeared to happily happen (pleasingly alliterative) upon an album that is a mightily satisfying soundtrack to all manner of self-punishment for the Devil’s benefit. Yes, I am currently blasting my brain to jelly with Fractal Generator’s latest offering and it is a jolly splendid piece of experimental death metal with the odd tinge of black and industrial just for shits and giggles. Hailing from fuck knows where because their Facebook “About” section is in binary (subsequent investigation says they are from Sudbury, Ontario so they are based in Canada. Allegedly – This could be deliberate misinformation and they are really a bunch of extraterrestrial robot assassins) and this already has my antennae quivering. It is well known that I am a big fat sucker for showmanship and gimmickry and performance and Fractal Generator do not disappoint in this regard, being mere numbers with a visual aesthetic not unlike Watchmen’s Looking Glass character, being faceless and masked in mirrored fabric. All’s going well so far then. How’s the music?

Fuck me, this music is savage. FG appear to have harnessed the sheer violence of The Berzerker, toned down the sheer insanity of those worthy Australian nutters and formed some kind of mesmerising new hybrid of death metal and atmospherics. You have all the elements of classic DM – earthshaking guttural vocals, the kind of drumming that should not be physically possible by a human drummer and some spiky as fuck riffing, but added to this there are electronic passages, strange little guitar parts that add a quality of uneasiness (discordant notes and strange chords) to the music and quite frankly the most fucking demented piece of cello playing I have ever heard and will ever likely be played. Cello played at death metal speed? FUCK YEAH, BABY!

The opening offering on this possibly magnum opus is also the title track and begins (briefly) with the sound of Leviathan (if you’ve watched Hellbound: Hellraiser II you’ll know what I’m on about) before dispensing with the pleasantries and just launching itself teeth first at your throat and hanging the fuck on in there for the next 42 minutes, ripping and tearing at breakneck speed with mechanical servo noises whining as it struggles for purchase on your blood soaked body. This is not a record that is in any way subtle, even though there are some quite sublime moments on it. The ultraviolence of the opening song and title track is staggering, with keyboard and industrial noise overlaying the kind of classic death metal not heard since Deicide were still good. Add into that some interesting key changes and the vocal interplay between 040118180514 and 102119200914 (no, this is not some of the usual stream of consciousness bullshit that masquerades as my sense of humour. This is actually the given names of twin vocalists and bassist and guitarist respectively. The drummer is called 040114090512, fact fans. There will be a test later.) Nine songs in (‘Ethereal’) there is a step change from sheer battering speed and a more mid tempo grind comes into play, with an intro that is very reminiscent of Emperor in their later days, until the middle eight after the solo where the band have clearly downed a shit load more billy and decided to get on with it again and the speed builds to some utterly magnificent death metal riffing over single piano notes, which ends the album in an excellent fashion. My personal highlight though, is track two, entitled ‘Aeon’, which isn’t so much a song as a musical journey through all manners of extreme metal from proggy Emperor style riffing to pure unadulterated death metal, to some of the heaviest industrial I have heard to almost romantic black metal. To pull that off without it sounding like four songs in one is fucking staggering, technically speaking and as a really, REALLY shit guitarist it just makes me want to cry like a little baby because it is absolutely fucking insane and I would lop off testicles to have written and played it. And it is faster than a trip to the lavatory after eating California Reapers too. And possibly equally as painful. ‘Contagion’, four tracks in, is another fine song with echoes of “Chapel Of Ghouls” era Morbid Angel in the keyboards and a little proggy guitar riff just to get your attention.

Both vocalists also go straight for the jugular. Each appear to have a throat made out of gravel, pitch and barbed wire and both emit tarry, sepulchral grunts capable of removing faces at three hundred yards. There’s no fucking about from either of them and this is to their credit, because I have missed the absolute war and thunder of a proper death metal vocal. However, the one demerit I can find on this record is the production, which is best described as “rudimentary”. The bass is extremely difficult to hear, even while wearing cans, and the guitar is sometimes a bit choppy. The drums are ok though even though I could only really hear the crash cymbal properly and sometimes the more experimental sounds overwhelm the rest of the music. Funnily enough, though, I cannot say it is a bad thing because Fractal Generator and their music have made me develop this idea of them and their music in my mind, which is some kind of amorphous biomech hellbeast, rotating slowly through forms, sometimes organic, sometimes mechanical and sometimes both but always absolutely lethal and supremely dangerous. And this idea has come about because of the visceral nature of the production as well as the different musical styles welded together on this most mighty of records.

It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a fan. This is extreme metal as it should be played. Crushingly, stupendously heavy, ballcrushingly intense, staringly demented and savage and absolutely fucking unmissable. To see Fractal Generator and The Berzerker on the same bill would be sex wee central. Luckily for the Hounds of Smell and Mrs. Dark Juan and the good burghers of Elland, this time I have rigged up a sex wee extraction system and underground pipeline to large storage tanks off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska. I had a feeling that there might be floods.  Yet another band have utterly fucked up my top ten of the year and now I’ll have to do it AGAIN. Thanks, numbers. You’re fucked if you

think I am typing those again in this review, boys. Assuming you are boys. There’s no way of telling with those masks. Anyway, well done, assumed gentlemen. Well done.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour les Canadiens Francaises. De rien) awards Fractal Generator a humungous 10/10 for a record that has excited it as very few records do. It would have been hundreds of millions out of ten but Esteemed Editor, Metal God, and Mighty Smiter Of Dickhead Record Reviewers Rick “Fists Of Steel” Tilley said I’m not allowed to do that anymore.

01. Macrocosmos
02. Aeon
03. Serpentine
04. Contagion
05. Chaosphere
06. Shadows Of Infinity
07. Pendulum
08. Primordial
09. Ethereal

040118180514 – Bass, vocals
102119200914 – Guitar, vocals
040114090512 – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.