Each year, when I begin compiling the list of my favorite local LPs and EPs, I initially question how I will ever make it to 25: Were there even 25 great "local" releases this year? Ones that hung together beyond including a notable song or two? Ones that I will remember when the calendar soon flips?
A few weeks later, though, I invariably start whittling down, reducing a roster that sometimes swells beyond 50 to the 25 spaces I've allowed. And so it went this year, when I had to cut at least 15 area titles I liked a lot in order to get to my list's upper limit. To compensate, at least, I've included a list of honorable mentions—necessary, it seems, during a year when compelling music and stories seemed to emerge from every corner of the Triangle.
BEDOWYN, Blood of the Fall; BODY GAMES, Local Love Vol. 1; CALAPSE, You Know How I Feel; DEMON EYE, Tempora Infernalia; FLESH WOUNDS, In the Mouth; GNØER, Tethers Down; JACK THE RADIO, Badlands; KOOLEY HIGH, Heights; KNURR & SPELL, Ought; LILAC SHADOWS, Brutalism; MAGNOLIA COLLECTIVE, An Old Darkness Falls; SAGAN YOUTH, Cela; THE WYRMS, At Wizard Island
Four years after forming, Raleigh quintet Necrocosm went for grandeur with its late-arriving debut LP, the 10-track Damnation Doctrine. Anchored by a rhythm section that's fluid but forceful and accented by a two-guitar tandem that locks into thick riffs before peeling off to spiral into pealing solos, Necrocosm delights with its melodic death metal revivalism. Like a harder, more guarded Skeletonwitch, Necrocosm hangs out serrated-voice hooks and then drives them in deep.