Top Five Comics

5. Hellboy In Hell
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Mike Mignola returns to writing and drawing his signature title and creates a world that’s somehow more metaphysical than ever. Plus, he still manages to find room for Hellboy to punch things.

4. Über
Uber

On the verge of defeat the Nazis crack the super-soldier formula. One brave British double-agent manages to retrieve the formula for the Allies, and World War II continues thanks to a super-human arms race. Bonkers revisionist history.

3. Invincible
Invincible

For the record this is my favourite ongoing series. Yeah The Walking Dead is good, but this is Robert Kirkman’s lead book as far as I’m concerned. It continues to break and rebuild the image of the superhero over and over again.

2. Batman: Endgame
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I’m a big fan of the Scott Snyder / Greg Capullo Batman stories arcs, but this is the first one that can be mentioned in the same breath as The Long Halloween and The Dark Knight Returns. Savage and beautiful.

1. Providence
Providence

Much like how everything in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a literary reference, everything in his new series Providence is a reference to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Full of creeping dread like a knife slowing being dragged across flesh, it succeeds on all levels.

Other Mentionables: Crossed+100, Descender, Harley Quinn, Sandman: Overture, We Stand On Guard, Saga

Top Five Albums

5. Christian Mistress - To Your Death
ToYourDeath

As far as modern bands go, no one embodies the spirit of classic metal and hard rock more than Christian Mistress. Their latest album pulses with a heavy groove and a smirking morbidity that hasn’t been seen since the seventies. Have a listen to my interview with vocalist Christine Davis.

4. Bones - Banshee / HermitofEastGrandRiver
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This guy has put out six releases this year alone ranging in length from twelve minutes to nearly an hour. These two are my favourites from bunch. Space-age rap and R&B with crazy samples ranging from Tori Amos to Burzum. All his stuff is free.

3. Enslaved - In Times
InTimes

People have labeled Enslaved as the black metal version of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and Tool for years. This six track album makes it officially true. The best way to learn more is to watch my recent interview with the band.

2. Jess and the Ancient Ones - Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes
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The psychedelic hard rock revival is in full swing. As far as trends go I’m not gonna start complaining. On their second full-length release JatAO take all their past offerings and combine them into one. From occult metal to surf rock, it’s covered. Listen to the whole album.

1. Grave Pleasures - Dreamcrash
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The band formerly known as Beastmilk loses and adds a few members and opts for perhaps a more universally palatable name before dropping this perfect gothic post-punk tribute to Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, and The Misfits. Watch the video for “New Hip Moon.”

Other Mentionables: Jazz Cartier - Marauding in Paradise (Interview), Ghost - Meliora, Fuck The Facts - Desire Will Rot (come to the show), Dir En Grey - Arche (Interview), Lindemann - Skills In Pills, Lucifer - Lucifer I (Interview), Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors, Shining - International Blackjazz Society, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz - S/T

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Photo by Andrew Epstein

I’ve just posted my latest interview with guitarist Kaoru of the Japanese art rock legends Dir En Grey. Check out the Interviews section for our chat (through a translator) about their new album, bringing back the visual aspect of the band, and his continued outspokenness about the continuing effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. 

WithinTemptationTZV

Good interviews never die. So as my holiday gift to you I’m proud to introduce the first installment of The Zombitrol Vaults, featuring an interview with Within Temptation vocalist Sharon den Adel. Watch it now in the Interviews section.

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Photo by Sesse Lind

My latest interview for Alan Cross' A Journal of Musical Things is with John Famiglietti of the Los Angeles bombastic noise rock sensation Health. Listen to it in the Interviews section.