Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


CVLT Nation’s
Top Bay Area
Releases of 2013 – LP’s, Demo’s & More!

This list is in dedication to the bands from the Bay Area that have put out collections of sound over the last year that I think are worthy of recognition and praise. This is not a competition, so there is no particular order with these choices – they all fucking rule and deserve to be listened to.

I am breaking these up into a few subcategories, first up is my favorite Full-Length Albums.

Autopsy, from Oakland, released a new album called “The Headless Ritual” this year. For the better part of the last few decades, Autopsy has been one of the most respected bands in the genre. They are seasoned veterans that understand how to write a good album. Autopsy puts out consistently great records that are the top shelf of Death Metal. There doesn’t get better than Autopsy. They are the true Kings of Death Metal. The Headless Ritual is a sickening infested nightmare that is gruesomely great from front to back. Killer Riffs, Insane Vocals and an all around enjoyable experience. Peaceville Records released the album.

Vastum followed “Carnal Law”, with “Patricidal Lust” in 2013. In the early stages of recording this album, Jeff “Leppard” Davis, the man responsible for recording this album was involved in a fatal motorcycle collision while riding with his wife in San Francisco. After some time, the band was able to retrieve their files by a family friend to pick up where they left off at Earhammer Studios with Greg Wilkinson taking over the master controls in Oakland. This record is heavy, punishing, and is very well thought-out in it’s construction of melody, content & lyricism. Death Metal for fans of true death metal. 20 Buck Spin did a great job with this record. I dropped into Aquarius Records last week and snapped a picture of our records together on the wall in great company along with Inquisition – right beneath the Melvins poster – that is the alternative local only LP cover in all it’s glory.

Fell Voices – “Regnum Saturni”. Fell Voices is a band that has members in Oakland, Santa Cruz and New York. Their drummer who lives in New York also plays in a few other killer metal bands worth checking out called Ruin Lust and Vorde. “Regnum Saturni” is one of the most aggressive albums that Fell Voices has written to date. Intrinsic song writing, hypnotic riffs, and some of the most relentless drums in extreme metal. Year in and year out this band continues to impress me with their releases and performances. Another great record by them to add to the collection. Gilead Media released this record so you know it is going to be of the highest of quality.

Fuzz is a Rock band from San Francisco. Their debut “Fuzz” is a sonic trip and features very cool cover artwork. Psychedelic rocking music with Garage influences and Pop sensibilities. Fuzz pays tribute to the Masters of Reality in heavy doses throughout the musical journey.

Lycus – The Doom Titans from Oakland, have returned with a followup to their debut titled, “Tempest”, which was put out by 20 Buck Spin. Featuring incredible artwork by the Italian painter Paolo Girardi. This record is HUGE, with cavernous tones that translate into a nasty subsonic pit of disparity and subliminal beauty throughout it’s three track journey. This recording also features a closeout collaboration with Sutekh Hexen. This was recorded at Earhammer Studios with Greg Wilkinson on the helm. Fuck Yeah Dudes!

Vhol, from San Francisco, had their S/T debut released this year through Profound Lore Records. This is a daring release that amplifies the melting pot of brilliant musicians involved in this project. This band features Ludicra and Hammers of Misfortune alumni and is led by their frontman Mike Scheidt(YOB) and his twisted tongues and otherworldly wails. This is a very interesting and provocative release that blends elements from 80’s metal along with the band’s undeniable fascination with Discharge and the grey metal sound that they all helped develop. \m/

Moving on to the next category – sometimes the best releases are short bursts of greatness. These are my favorite split’s, 7″s & EP’s I heard this year from local artists.

Noothgrush/Coffins – It is the year 2013 and Noothgrush is officially back! Over the last few years they have played a handful of killer shows, some of which I was fortunate enough to be apart of including their first house show in the last decade as well as their first hometown show in San Jose in over 15+ years. Noothgrush is one of my favorite bands, so the opportunity to see them, much less get to play with them, has been a dream come true. They have solidified their lineup with the latest addition of Dino Sommese on vocals and are going full steam ahead with their onslaught of devastation. These are the first tracks they have recorded together with this lineup. Their tracks on this split are Mammoth Crushers. “Humandemic” is the first track off the album and it is followed by a new recording of their classic track, “Jundland Wastes” with Dino spewing venom all over it and they tie off their side with a tribute to friend and longtime supporter Cy “Thoth”. Noothgrush just got back from touring Japan alongside their split mates Coffins. Two of the Heaviest bands working together can only produce great things. Southern Lord has a great release on their hands with this musical joint. The Coffins side of this split is monstrously thunderous and crushing, much like to be expected of any release by these Japanese destroyers. They are one of the finest bands on the planet playing Heavy music and are certainly one of my favorites. Coffins understands the right balance needed of crucial Riffs, Crust attitude, and perpetual heaviness. Total Support for this release!

DEADPRESSURE is a hardcore punk/powerviolence band from San Jose, California. This is their first 7″ called “Dead Side Story Volume One” released by Hash Crimes. This record is ferocious, DP is an all out relentless band bent on absolute destruction. Pitiless pissed hardcore – the way it should be.

Augurs is a Bay Area Metal/Punk band with hardcore influences. “Old Ways” is a collection of utter contempt and years of pent up frustration unleashed through sonic frequencies. This band blends the lines of Extreme Metal and the nastiness of Bay Area Punk to create some truly filthy sounds. This recording was captured by Billy Anderson and mastered by James Plotkin. Highly recommend this band *Gollum vocals at 1:12 of “Drunk”*.

Crimson Scarlet released a 7″ titled “The Window”. This is a band made up of members from the dbeat punk scene playing an upbeat more danceable death rock. The title track is infectious and the bands tone and sound is honest and genuine.

Negative Standards/Whitehorse split – Negative Standards from Oakland teamed up with Whitehorse from Australia and Vendetta Records in Germany to put together a great split LP. Featuring artwork crafted by Kevin Gan Yuen and a complete package mastered by James Plotkin. The Whitehorse side is thick with muddy depths of translucent under-rhythms and headbangable grooves. There’s tons of layers of noise and they offer a very heavy dose of Australian Crush.

The Negative Standards side of this split is the Heaviest they’ve been so far and the whole piece feels massive as it develops over a number of passages that include blasts of black metal harmony, atmospheric dissonance and pummeling crust. The meticulous riffs that lay on top of enormous drums with gravel throated tortured vocals and low end heaviness make for a great endorphin rush. They recorded at Earhammer Studios.

Limbs is a Death Metal band from Oakland that have an obsession with scatology and nauseating grindcore. “Ultra Limbs” is the followup to last years “Rancid Rage”. Limbs has been busting their asses playing tons of shows locally and being active in other bands such as Mortuous & Augurs. This is my favorite recording of theirs so far, it’s punishing but not too smothering, just enough to remind you that they are more than capable of grinding and constructing some solid metal tracks. This record is like taking a good shit and not having to wipe that much.

The next category is one of my favorite ones – Demo Tapes. Demo Tapes are great because it is the main time you get to hear a band’s genuine sound, never is a demo tape impacted by some record exec telling a band they have to sound a certain way because Demos are usually put out by bands and artists that don’t want to deal with that sort of bullshit. So coming across a great Demo Tape is very rewarding. These are all relatively raw and refreshing Demo Tapes that came out this year.

Dispirit released “111112” as a followup to their first cassette “Rehearsal at Oboroten”. I wrote about this recording earlier this year and it has withheld it’s stature of being one of my favorite and most listened recordings of this year. This an an absolutely stunning release by one of the best bands in the Bay Area.

Femacoffin – “Demo 2013”. Warcrust featuring Brian and Tony from Enslaved Era Stormcrow. Femacoffin encapsulates the sound that resonates so profoundly within Oakland – dirty, disgusting and charged angry punk. This is their first demo and it was recorded at Earhammer studios with Greg Wilkinison.

Pancake Lizard is a newer hardcore punk band from the Bay Area. Their name is a reference to Aphex Twin. “Demo 2013” is their first release and they appeared in a skate film earlier this year called “Apocalypse Concord“. Look into it. Nasty and lofi sounding music played by total spazz’s. Hash Crimes put them out this year.

Dead Man is a Metal band from Oakland. “The All Too Well Known” is the followup to their S/T debut cassette that came out in 2011. Vandals and Thieves Records released “The All Too Well Known” earlier this year and instantly upon listening to this the riffs were getting stuck in my brain. This band is filthy, their sound is grimy and groovy and completely blackened. Massive Riffs, deranged vocals and impressively tight playing.

Ritual Control is a new hardcore band from Oakland. They released a great cassette called “Demo 2013” that was recorded at Dutch Oven in Oakland. Charged up, pissed off hardcore with vicious vocals and a seasoned lineup of Hardcore Alumi featuring members from No Statik, & Effluxus. Great first release by a killer band, I caught footage of them earlier that you can check out by clicking here. This is one of the best local punk/hardcore releases that I heard this year from the Bay Area.

Mortuous – “Demo 2012” cassette. I released this through Transylvanian Tapes, a label that I created to put focus on demos and early releases by upcoming bands within the Underground that I think are worthwhile on a physical analog format.

Mortuous began as a one man project based out of San Jose by Colin Tarvin as a teenager. He also played in another essential Heavy band called Bruxers. Al, who was already a frontman in a band with Colin transitioned incredibly on vocals when the opportunity arose in this band. When the original Mortuous demo made it’s way to the hands of Mike Beams(Exhumed) and Col Jones(Repulsion) they jumped on board wanting to collaborate with Colin – and the band Mortuous was born. Now capable of playing live shows – they started getting great reactions. Naturally they wanted to record their hard work and they decided on recording at the Heaviest Studio in the Bay Area. Mortuous was the first Death Metal band to record at Earhammer Studios in Oakland. The results were Colossal. This is hands down one of the best Death Metal demos I have ever had the chance of hearing. Shortly after this was released the band went through some lineup changes and now this looks like one of the only representations of the band and their incredibly strong early work. Mortuous is one of the best Death Metal bands to have graced the Bay Area Underground, it meant a lot to me to be able to put this out and to be able to share with everyone else what I thought was an incredible recording.

There was also a number of releases that were self released to the internet that haven’t seen a physical release yet that I also really appreciated this year. Here are my top 6 Digital Releases from local Artists.

Ritual Chamber is a Death Metal band from SF. This was released to the internet in late November. This is a one man band from San Francisco. The prolific Dario Derna/Numinas is the main man behind this project. He has also spent time in Infester, Krohm, Evoken, and many more quality bands. “The Pits of Tentacled Screams” is a vicious smothering storm of catastrophic misanthropy.

Digma is a Radical Filipino Hardcore band from SF. “MMXIII” is a collection of super pissed off politically charged songs. This is an awesome release by some extremely intelligent HxC activists! I am definitely looking forward to hearing more from them.

Xenotaph is a new Black Metal band from Hayward. “Vitae Iactura” was recorded with Greg at Earhammer Studios in Oakland. The band released this digitally earlier this year. “Vitae Iactura” is a very promising debut from a group of young musicians with an appreciation for quality darkness.

Ordo Obsidium is a studio project from Oakland that was created by the entity known as Balan, who also plays in Palace of Worms. This new recording features an impressive throat shredding vocal performance by Sean from Badr Vogu. His bellows are inhumane and give great weight to the depth of this recording. This was recorded by Jef Leppard in San Francisco and mixed and mastered at Earhammer in Oakland.

Hornss is a psychedelic rock band from San Francisco. They released, “No Blood, No Sympathy” to the internet in early December. This is a collection of songs that pay tribute to the greats of Stoner Rock, while standing thunderously groovy on their own. This was recorded at Earhammer Studios in Oakland with Greg Wilkinson, so you can be assured this is an extra Heavy experience. Late release but definitely worth checking out if you have an appreciation for Rock’n’Roll.

Hollow Mirrors are a Psychedelic Rock band from San Francisco, California. They self released “II” earlier this year and unfortunately played their final show as well. Hopefully this will see a proper release at some point. I am a big fan of this group of musicians and I really enjoyed this release, much like their very solid S/T debut. There’s an organic feel of natural energy and chemistry that flows in their music and artwork, with a focus on grandscapes and deep symmetry. They are truly a hypnotic band. One of my favorite releases of the year, not just from the Bay Area.

Thanks for taking your time to check out some quality bands from The Bay Area!



  1. Courtland Miles

    December 26, 2013 at 7:31 am

    awesome list, thank you. enjoyed a lot of these artists!

  2. Jeremy

    December 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    If anyone is interested in the RITUAL CONTROL demo you can order it here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


via Lazer Horse There’s nothing funny about death really. But there is a lot of certainty to it. There’s not a person who’s ever...

Black Metal

During the first year of CVLT Nation, I was turned on to this unreal band from Wales called GHAST. Their release Terrible Cemetery was...

Black Metal

More Chaos! More Fury! More Rancid Riffs! only begins to tell you how CVLT Nation’s Blackened Everything Vol. IX is going to get you...


By Sascha via Behold The Blessed Wax Trial – Moments Of Collapse LP, 1986 This is not a write up about the Straight Edge...

Copyright © 2020 ZoxPress Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.