Friday, July 17, 2015

Back Door to Asylum - Cerberus Millenia

A little under three years ago, I wrote a review of the debut album by the Russian technical death outfit Backdoor to Asylum (of which you can read HERE). Nothing too outstanding for myself personally, but nonetheless fairly solid and promising. So having decided to stick with the mighty Amputated Vein Records for their second release, we now have the sophomore release by this brutal Russian quintet, titled Cerberus Millenia. Amputated Vein was my gateway into the underground world of the much more brutal side of death metal and grindcore. By showing me bands such as Pathology, Disentomb, Bloodboil, Cease of Breeding, Eden Beast, Visceral Disgorge, Mucopus, and many other bands (most of which only released one album before completely dropping off the face of the earth without a single word), this label has become very important to me and I still follow them very closely.

Now that this band has been around for a bit longer and have gained some amount of popularity, we know more about them. Back when I wrote that review on their first album, I knew next to nothing about them. Two years later, they have some credibility and a name now. The production on this album is much, much better than their first. You can hear everything clearer and it doesn’t sound like they recorded it in their garage. Their first album had some guest vocal spots from some other underground vocalists (Fleshbomb, Gorgasm, etc.) whereas this new album has some bigger names lending their vocals, namely the vocalist for French brutal death band Benighted. But of course, to keep things underground, they have a vocal spot from the Internal Suffering vocalist and a guest guitar slot from some Russian guy that’s played in a bunch of bands I’ve never heard of.

The artwork is fantastic, and was done by a Ukrainian guy that also has done the artwork for the most recent albums by Aborted Fetus, Fleshbomb, Delusional Parasitosis, Epicardiectomy, Cremated Lives, and most recently, the new upcoming album by The Black Dahlia Murder.

A huge fad in this genre as of lately has been doing whatever possible to be as technical and as fast as humanly possible. Bands like Brain Drill, Rings of Saturn, Slaughterbox, Spawn of Possession, Deformatory, and countless others have been introducing some of the fastest and most technical recordings ever heard. Many of them have even been challenged with accusations of recording at half-speed or using computerized instruments in the studio and then speeding them up. But Back Door to Asylum does everything 100% and keeps their music raw and pure. If there’s one thing I can say about this band, it’s that they have matured immensely since their debut. And because of that, and the fact that they play technical death in its purest form with a little bit of added brutality, this is a great album if you are looking for a solid example of what pure technical death SHOULD sound like.

Like I just said above, this band has matured and developed their sound immensely. The artwork is amazing, the music is brutal as all fuck, and the uniqueness of the basslines are unforgettable. The vocals are deep and on-point, the guitars have just the perfect amount of technicality, and the overall vibe of the album stays consistent throughout all of the songs. I would recommend this to all fans of death metal and even to some that are looking to discover some lesser-known artists. This album gets my score of 16/20. 

Decapitated - Blood Mantra

Last year, Polish technical death band, Decapitated, released the highly anticipated follow-up to their critically-acclaimed Carnival is Forever. Since their debut release in 2000, this band has developed a reputation of being fairly consistent with the style of each release, as well has never really having any poor albums. Having gotten much better over time (their first two releases were better than average, but nothing compared to the three that followed), it’s safe to say that they are very much among the much better and most popular bands in there genre. One of the main reasons that I waited to write this review is because I felt that the initial reaction to this album of almost everyone (myself included) was kind of exaggerated and overly judgmental. Those of you that remember the release of the title track from this album know exactly what I’m talking about.

Blood Mantra, the title track off of the most recent Decapitated album took everyone by surprise with its (as most people described it) nu metal vibe. Upon the first 5 listens, I could hear this nu metal vibe loud and clear; and like most people, I was honestly not too attracted to this choice of direction. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t still get the album and listen to it every once in a while, but it was definitely a major letdown after Carnival is Forever. But now, fast-forward one year, and a few days ago I decided to give it another honest listen, because usually if you don’t like something the first time, it’s never a bad idea to give it a few weeks (or months) before picking it up again. Because you never know how much different it’ll sound the second time.

In retrospect, yes, the album DOES have some groove and some bounce, but not that of a nu metal band, but more so like the kind you hear from a thrash death band like DevilDriver, Battlecross, or Soulfly (no, not their first three albums). But other than that, there really hasn’t been that much change, so I think that the world heard some extra groove on that new single, someone called out “nu metal!” and the world overreacted. But that bounce is still present.

The sound of the guitar distortion can have a huge effect on what a metal album sounds like. One thing that I loved about Carnival is Forever is that the band abandoned the really loud, metallic, sawblade-like guitar distortion for a much fuzzier distortion. Well, I guess that was just a one-time thing because they’ve returned to their usual obnoxious metallic distortion, except this time sounding a bit more polished and refined (probably to help compliment the extra groove this album has). The drumming is a bit more chaotic, as I said in my review of Carnival is Forever, this is the best vocalist that Decapitated has had yet and I really hope he sticks with them, and the band for the most part is very tight as they have always been.

Although not remarkable, this is a good solid technical death album and I would recommend it to just about anyone. There isn’t anything bad about it; it’s just nothing like Carnival is Forever, Negation, or Organic Hallucinosis. Hopefully they continue making quality death metal and we see more of them in the future. I’m extremely excited to FINALLY be seeing them later this year with Soulfly and Soilwork. To conclude this article, I am going to give this album an above-average score of 14/20. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thy Art is Murder - Holy War

If you want to read my review of their major breakthrough album that I wrote (totally by coincidence) exactly two years ago, click HERE. If you’re lazy, I’ll give you a recap. Deathcore band releases album in 2010 (The Adversary) that gets them really super popular in the underground scene of the genre, Nuclear Blast notices and scoops them up. They then re-release their most recent album at the time; Hate (originally released a year before in 2012). After that, literally everything changes for this band. In a mere 2 years, Thy Art is Murder have gone from being one of the newbies to being one of the biggest bands in the genre. They went from being the first or second band on the tour to headlining entire tours not only in their home country of Australia, but also in North America and Europe; several shows selling out. Please understand that a spike in popularity THIS big is in no way a common occurrence. And it didn’t just come on its own; Thy Art is Murder played a total of over 340 shows in support of Hate. So now the Hate hype has died down a tiny bit, what is probably one of the most anticipated releases in the history of this young genre is now upon us.

My personal prediction of Holy War was that it would basically be Hate pt. 2 since the sound that Hate has ended up giving them their big break. Either that or they would take the easy route and release a collection of 4-minute breakdowns. I don’t do this very often, but I decided to watch a few of the studio update videos that the band was posting on their social media accounts. Some of the things that were said intrigued me; mainly something the drummer said. If you read my review of Hate, you get to see a lot of me gushing over how amazing and near perfect their drummer is and how that he’s the star of the show in my eyes. One of the things in particular I LOVE about Lee Stanton, aside from his ability to execute, is his style of playing. But apparently what we heard on Hate isn’t necessarily “his” style. The way he was talking in the studio made it seem like he didn’t exactly have a particular style that he preferred to stick with. So without being locked into an “I am perfect at playing fast and technical with lots of blast beats so I’m just going to keep doing that” state of mind, Lee mentions that on this album, he’s aiming to implement more of a groove into his patterns instead of just playing straight blast beats and crushing breakdowns.

Whether or not this means we will have a loss in brutality on this album is unknown to me. And honestly, I’m okay with him branching out like this because I trust that he will know how to deliver it properly without compromising too much of what people love about his playing. Now that I’ve listened to the album over and over again, he definitely did what he said he was going to do. The one thing that I want to point out to you that may be a bit worried is that he DOES still do EVERYTHING that he did on Hate. There’s plenty of pummeling blast beats and crazy ass fills to go around; it’s just that the majority of the main patterns have a bit of bounce to them instead of just being straight-forward.

Two minor things that I would like to mention before moving on are the production and the logo. Since they decided to work with the same producer, everything pretty much sounds exactly the same as Hate, making for actually a very good follow-up to the breakthrough album. Second, their new logo is a million times better than their old one. I love a good looking logo; I don’t give a fucking crap about legibility, if it looks cool, I’ll dig it. But the old Thy Art logo just looked stupid in my opinion. And yeah, I know that Nuclear Blast has a history of convincing bands to change their logos to more legible ones (i.e. Fleshgod Apocalypse, Annotations of an Autopsy, Keep of Kalessin, and a few others I probably can’t think of at the moment), but this is one of the only cases, along with Keep of Kalessin, where the new logo is a billion times better than the old one. Instead of looking like someone spilled a bucket of paint and then slipped in it, Thy Art is murder truly has what I think is one of the coolest logos in modern extreme metal.

I hear a lot of love for CJ’s vocals all the time nonstop. And yes; he’s one of the best…not even deathcore vocalists; he has one of the best death growls I’ve ever heard. But what I see is too many people saying “fuck the rest of the band, check out their vocalist!” And although I can understand how easy it is to do that with this band, I really want to be careful to talk about the talent that the whole band has as a group because I don’t see much talk about that aspect as I’d like.

The same guy that wrote all the music on all of their other releases also wrote this album. Now comes some negativity that I must cover before concluding this review. Although all of the songs on Hate generally carried the same mood and sound, making the album as a whole very strong, many (actually most) of the songs were VERY memorable to me personally. Whether it was a certain breakdown, an intro, whatever it was, many of the songs carried something very special that made them get stuck in my head after I was done listening to the album. All of the tracks on Holy War are fantastic. Everything is totally on-point; the musicianship, the creativity, the skill, everything. I’m just not getting anything memorable from any of the songs this time. I don’t know why…maybe something will start to reach out at me in a couple of years, but nothing came out and instantly grabbed me by the throat like many of the songs on Hate did.

Overall, this is still an album I would recommend to anyone curious about their music. I do think that they really outdid themselves and maybe even set the bar too high with the last album (not saying that’s a bad thing). Holy War has most everything you could ever want from a deathcore band delivered in the best possible way. Although going somewhat downhill, Thy Art is Murder still lives and is going to continue growing and getting bigger until they have bands like Whitechapel and Born of Osiris opening for them. Holy War gets my score of 16/20. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Breaking Benjamin - Dark Before Dawn

It’s been a while since I last felt motivated to write something. And I apologize to those of you that enjoyed reading my reviews. Those of you that know me are aware that Opeth is the only reason that Breaking Benjamin is not still my favorite band. Taking my undying love for this band into consideration, when this album was announced, I told myself that I was not going to let that cause me to just blindly love this album just because of who wrote/performed it. I was lucky enough to see Breaking Benjamin live at the fucking top of their game with their full previous lineup. Unfortunately, it was the last tour that lineup would ever do together. I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over what happened after that tour, but long story short, everyone except for their frontman and songwriter exited the band (two were fired, one left voluntarily). That was in 2010; five fucking years ago. Fast-forward to this year, Benjamin Burnley had obviously written a shitload of material during that hiatus, and has now completely rebuilt the lineup. The million dollar question begs what the hell the new Breaking Benjamin was going to sound like.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly too optimistic about Ben completely re-creating the lineup. The musicianship and talent of the individual members was a huge part of my love and respect for this band. Especially that of bassist Mark and drummer Chad. But that all started to change as my doubt gradually turned into slight optimism and intrigue, starting with a YouTube video of Shaun Foist playing some Breaking Benjamin covers. Why this guy? Well about half of those videos had “Breaking Benjamin drummer performing (insert BB song title)” as the title of the video. He managed to capture and properly maintain the chaotic and technical drumming style that has been tied to all of Breaking Benjamin’s previous albums. But of course, those were just covers. I can cover songs by The Black Dahlia Murder on bass guitar, but that doesn’t mean I have the ability to write something of that level. So although I wasn’t fully convinced, I was a little less worried about the future of their sound as far as the drums go.

Then of course, in April, Hollywood Records posted the first new Breaking Benjamin song in over 6 years; Failure. No one had any idea what it was going to sound like. My main concern was that they would turn into another power-chord driven radio rock band because all of the musicians that Ben had recruited came from a radio rock background. But really, to my surprise, this sounds EXACTLY like the old lineup. I actually cannot tell the difference between the two lineups. And this made me realize how much Ben really does write; this is his work. Hearing this song was not only a huge refresher, but proof that Breaking Benjamin is truly back and was never going to die out.

The first album reviews I ever wrote (back in 2009) were of the first 4 Breaking Benjamin albums, believe it or not. And six years later, after all of my reviewing experience, with the announcement of this new album, I re-visited the band’s discography from a reviewer’s perspective and realized things about them that I (obviously) didn’t fully have a grasp on back in 2009. Some things I will touch on in this review, but there’s one in particular that I’m going to spend some time talking about because I don’t think that many people understand this about Breaking Benjamin unless it is clearly explained to them, despite it being right in front of their fucking faces.

Alternative metal is such an interesting genre; bands walking the line between hard rock/grunge and heavy metal as if it were some sort of tightrope. Some bands, like Crossfade, Three Days Grace, Cold, and CKY favoring the rock side much more, but still implementing distortion heavy enough and breakdowns dark enough to be considered metal by some. Then there’s the bands that are much more metal than rock, such as Avenged Sevenfold (no, not including their first two albums), Trapt, Seether, Taproot, and Wovenwar. Breaking Benjamin is the most unique out of all of these.

Instead of having a mix of some metal songs and heavy rock songs, Breaking Benjamin perfectly weaves through the two, crossing the line between the two styles multiple times in a single song. It’s impossible sometimes to decide what they play because they will start a song off with one of the heaviest riffs you’ve ever heard that fucking crushes you into the pavement before sliding into a verse that sounds like a generic radio rock song. There are bands that do that, but nowhere near the level and cleanness that these guys do.

Another thing that makes Breaking Benjamin stand out from the rest of these mainstream metal and rock acts is the complexity. Yes, Seether and Taproot are great, but let’s be honest; they’re using simple drum pattern, generic song structures, and power chords. Now take Breaking Benjamin and listen to the level of complexity in the instrumentation compared to their contemporaries. Not only does this just make the music more interesting, it gives it substance and makes it a hell of a lot heavier. That, I think, is fucking metal. The only radio rock thing about these guys is the mainstream-friendly song structures and the melodic verses. Other than that, with the exception of a few songs here and there, what they play is too heavy and too dark for me to call rock. I can’t listen to Evil Angel and Had Enough and fucking call that shit rock, I just can’t.

Back to my original point, though, this band..well…Benjamin Burnley himself has one of the most diverse and colorful musical palettes the world has ever heard. Yes, they always tour with other mainstream rock acts, yes the majority of their fanbase groups them in with those bands, but they are so much more than that. The sheer power and color of their music is far more emotional and heavy than all of these other bands. The level of creativity overpowers every other band in their genre, whatever you consider them to be. It’s just not something I can just simply ignore right now.

As I said before, instrumentally, this sounds exactly like Breaking Benjamin. It’s kind of hard to fully wrap my head around how perfectly Ben fucking pulled this off. First, Breaking Benjamin is now a five-piece. Wait? Their music has always been vocals/rhythm guitar (Ben), bass, lead guitar, and drums, right? Yeah, except here’s what the new lineup is: vocals/rhythm guitar (Ben), lead guitar, rhythm guitar/backing vocals, bass/backing vocals, and drums. So they went from having one vocalist and two guitars to having three vocalists and three guitars. I don’t know what’s with all of these bands having three guitarists nowadays but whatever, I guess if it makes you happy. Maybe he has an extra rhythm guitarist for further complexity in the guitar section or to just simply have a stronger brick wall behind the lead guitarist…the world may never know why these bands have three guitarists (other bands include Whitechapel and Periphery). Obviously Ben still does the lead vocals, but instead of harmonizing with himself, he has two other people harmonizing with him, which could probably end up sounding very…uncomfortable (I can’t think of a good word, it just wouldn’t sound right). But truth be told, you can’t even fucking tell that the harmonizing singers are someone other than Ben. It’s starting to freak me out how perfectly he’s managed to pull this together.

The styles of vocal harmony that appear in many of the songs are very similar to the ones heard in Lights Out from Dear Agony. I don’t know what the word is for it but it’s very unique and works really well with Ben’s voice. But there’s a lot of playing around with that style of harmony in songs like Breaking the Silence, Close to Heaven, and Bury Me Alive. After watching a few recent live videos, it seems that the main backing vocalist is the bassist, Aaron Bruch. But because of Aaron’s (I’m assuming it’s him) higher range and Keith’s lower range, the vocals are all over the fucking place on this album, making it much more interesting and unexpected for the listener.

Something that’s also being brought back from the We are not Alone and Phobia days is breakdowns. Yes, I know they’re not the type of breakdowns you’d hear from a deathcore band, and that’s because (surprise!) Breaking Benjamin is not a deathcore band! But in just about all of the songs, there is a nice crunchy breakdown towards the end. Once again, a major METAL element that they use in their sound.

This album is unbelievable beyond what I can conceive. I love everything about it. I honestly didn’t get my hopes up too high with this whole new lineup thing; I didn’t think Ben would pull through. But he fucking did, and together as a band they have managed to pick up right where they left off six years ago without losing ANY ground what so ever. Breaking Benjamin is a band that can satisfy both metal and rock fans alike. They have the heaviness and complexity of a metal band while also having the traditional song structure and verse styles of a rock band. This is by far one of the best comeback albums ever released and gets a perfect 20/20 score from me. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Acrania - Totalitarian Dystopia

Crinn is fucking sick of hearing about this band. Sick of every deathcore fan he knows bugging him about this album. Acrania is a British deathcore band that is going to get very big once they start doing some serious touring. As if the hype generated by this album wasn’t enough, once they get on some major festival or tour like Maryland Deathfest or Summer Slaughter, they’re going to find themselves in a similar place that Thy Art is Murder is currently in. And it’s not just the diehard underground metalheads that are raving over this album, I’m seeing this band mentioned by mainstreamers (people that only seem to know the biggest deathcore bands) as well, which of course is a good sign for them, but in all honesty, I don’t think that they are as good as people are holding them up to be. But regardless, let’s jump into this.

Their drummer is of a very fast, highly triggered, over-compressed, and artificial-sounding style similar to that of Infant Annihilator, but is mostly heard by technical death bands like Brain Drill, Slaughterbox, Rings of Saturn, and Vale of Pnath. So in reality, this style and sound of drumming is still very new to the deathcore world. Whether or not that is a GOOD thing, I will leave up to you since my opinion on it is fairly neutral. What I can say about their drummer is that, like the rest of his band mates, despite being very young and having very little professional experience, demonstrates a ridiculous level of skill. But skill alone has started to become a little too acceptable lately, the creativity element becoming less of a concern amongst the metal community. As long as you are able to play something that most other people are physically unable to play, people will buy your music. The Acrania drummer does demonstrate some creativity, especially with fills, but 90% of what he has going for him is just pure skill. Like his blast beats that can be heard in every song (especially in the beginning of the first song, an instrumental similar to that of Fleshgod’s In Honour of Reason), they’re phenomenal, but not unique in the slightest bit. And that leads me to the point of the overall structure of the songs.

The structure of each song is weak. There, I said it. Shoot me if you like, but to me, the songs sound…..confused. They’re either way too predictable or they’re so unpredictable that the band sounds confused. Luckily for Acrania, the different sections and structural elements that they use have enabled them to just slap any of them together at random and still have it sound pretty good. But it still sounds aimless, which is in a way okay because this band is brand new and they have eons to improve their creativity and songwriting skills. Because the key to writing good songs is structuring them in a way that gives them a lot of replay value and just makes the songs memorable in general. None of the songs on this album have that in any sort of way. I gave this a listen because I recognized the Par Olofsson artwork and decided “why not?” and I completely forgot what it sounded like after those first two initial listens. Whereas plenty of other bands have songs where I will replay it over and over after the first listen because I can’t get enough of it and then I will remember what the song(s) sounded like for at least a week after that first session. So weak structure and an overall lack of memorability is the big issue that this album has, NOT FORGETTING that this is only their first album and they can easily fix that in the next round.

Although none of this stuff is very memorable, I will say that their vocalist is excellent. He has a VERY wide vocal range and he fucking uses it. He can make a lot of different sounds and he fucking makes all of them. He is an example of a musician that literally takes his performance to his full capability and strives to do everything he can do and then some. When I am listening to this album, his vocals are the main attraction, and is probably why Unique Leader have been making some money off of them. Almost any sound you could imagine being used by a death metal vocalist is used in this album. Even sounds that aren’t familiar with deathcore music. As well as that, many different speeds are used, which is something that A LOT of death metal vocalists attempt and fail at. Many will either just go balls-out fast 24/7 or just go along with the chugging of the guitars. But this guy is fucking good at everything he does and he’s pretty much the only reason that I would listen to their next release.

The guitars have nothing about them that I want to waste my time typing about. Survival Sequence has some pretty cool guitar work, but that’s the only thing about them worth mentioning that I can think of. Just thank fuck they aren’t over-compressed like 80% of all the other deathcore albums being released nowadays.

Acrania have brought forth what is obviously to their full potential for the time being. It’s not super impressive, but it sure as hell has been making a dent all over the world because people won’t shut up about it. The songs are either too predictable or just fucking confused, but their knowledge of different deathcore song elements has helped the confusion and inexperience work in their favor. All this band is right now is skill. Their drummer is so good that it’s almost hard to believe that this is first actual legit album. If you’re a diehard fan of deathcore or downright brutal music in general, give this a listen because it’s fucking powerful. But I’m looking for something a little less…boring, per say. 10/20 as a good solid average score for this one. Let’s see if they can improve their creativity next time. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Agalloch - The Serpent & the Sphere

Not being the type that keeps in close touch with their fans through frequent social media and website updates and interview appearances, Agalloch has proven to be a somewhat difficult band to follow. Their tours are always small and there is never a significant amount of effort put into promoting them. Yet their dedicated cult following that reaches all ends of the globe fills every venue that they perform in and spend time and money searching for their often times hard-to-find albums and merchandise. The announcement of their latest album appeared almost out of nowhere, with no prior teaser or warning. But woe, and behold, The Serpent & the Sphere appeared on shelves during the summer of last year, marking their second release through Profound Lore Records. This also continues the 4 year gap pattern in between releases (obviously the band takes their time in crafting their works of art), and in effect ending a very bothersome and impatient wait for myself since discovering them a year after they released The Marrow of the Spirit in 2010.

Due to the fact that they aren’t nearly as sporadic and seemingly lost like most progressive and experimental bands in the world appear to be, there will forever be endless opportunities for Agalloch to take their musical direction in without compromising any major aspects of what they have already established. Some progressive bands strive to do something completely new with each album; a risky, but bold step. When listening to each of Agalloch’s albums in order, you can hear the gradual turns their sound takes over the course of time. Pale Folklore being literally the raw blueprint of their sound, and after going in a much more folk-oriented direction with the two following albums, swing to the other end of their spectrum, their black metal side. The Marrow of the Spirit toned down the acoustic and folk stuff that had attracted all the hipsters and put much more emphasis on their actual metal side. More distorted guitars, more blast beats, but still having that beautiful melodic atmosphere. The Serpent & the Sphere basically takes that step even further, with more raw instrumentation that doesn’t get caught up in guitar and vocal effects.

The reason for this direction is a total mystery to me. Usually, when musicians start playing around with their guitar pedals too much, they get lost in it and rarely ever choose to turn back and go to their roots (aka Alcest). The vocals on this album (for the most part) seem to be totally void of any reverb or other effects, which makes it sound like a lot of the amateur underground local band demos and EPs I have in my collection. Not implying that it’s a bad thing, but it just sounds like the vocals from a low-budget EP. But regardless, it gels fairly well with the polished guitar distortion and soft drums. There’s also the increased use of whispered lyrics during softer parts that almost always grow into full-on screaming that’s then followed by the rest of the band picking up.

The Serpent & the Sphere is the first album by this band where I can hear the bass guitar at all times. Even when listening to it on shitty earbuds or laptop speakers, I can still hear the growl of the bass guitar strings vibrating against the frets. Agalloch is a black metal band, so production and sound quality isn’t going to be something that has a lot of time and effort invested in. But for some reason they had the bass guitar mixed in a very common way in which it basically blends in with the rhythm guitar and adds a massive lower end to it. But on this album, it’s totally separate. Once again, not sure why they felt that this was the album to do it on, but it’s nice to actually have an audible reminder that they have a bass guitarist. As far as what the bassist actually does is mostly just those Steve Harris-style triplets following the drums and base chords with the occasional sweep or walk that breaks away from the primary chord structure.

I know this is my first review in at least five months, so I apologize if my writing is a bit choppy and unorganized. If you haven’t seen it already, The Serpent & the Sphere is the fifth best album of 2014 according to my year in review list. What Agalloch will do next will remain a total mystery and, if the pattern continues, we won’t find out until 2018. But until then, I will be here, eagerly awaiting their next masterpiece. This album, obviously, gets 20/20. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 in review: Albums

The best albums of 2014:

10. As the Stars - Woods of Desolation (Depressive Black Metal)

9. Misery - Disentomb (Brutal Death)

8. The Flesh Prevails - Fallujah (Progressive Death)

7. Something Supernatural - Crobot (Hard Rock)

6. Different Shades of Blue - Joe Bonamassa (Blues)

5. The Serpent & the Sphere - Agalloch (Progressive Black)

4. Pale Communion - Opeth (Progressive Metal)

3. The Joy of Motion - Animals as Leaders (Progressive Metal)

2. Shadows of the Dying Sun - Insomnium (Melodic Death)

1. Z2 - Devin Townsend Project (Progressive Metal)

The other best albums of the year in no order:

The Singularity - Scar Symmetry (Melodic Death)

No Peace - Trash Talk (Hardcore Punk)

Inked in Blood - Obituary (Death Metal)

Ominously Reigning Upon the Intangible - Relics of Humanity (Brutal Death)

Hornwood Fell - Hornwood Fell (Black Metal)

Massive Cauldron of Chaos - 1349 (Black Metal)

Nedom og Nord - Iskald (Black Metal)

Oathbreaker - Hoth (Black Metal)

Dirges of Elysium - Incantation (Death Metal)

Faen I Helvete - Den Saakalde (Black Metal)

Tibi et Igni - Vader (Death Metal)

Elder Giants - Sun Worship (Black Metal)

Urzeigeist - Raunacht (Black Metal)

Venereal Dawn - Dark Fortress (Black Metal)

Cthulhu - Ceremonial Castings (Progressive Black)

Fimbulwinter - Satanic Warmaster (Black Metal)

Best EPs and Demos of the year in no order:

Abandoned [EP] - Fuck the Facts (Grindcore)

Kulde [EP] - Taake (Black Metal)

Demo 2014 - Numenorean (Black Metal)

WORST albums of the year in no order:

Eternal Enemies - Emmure (Deathcore)

Issues - Issues (Metalcore)

Siren Charms - In Flames (Alternative?)

Redeemer of Souls - Judas Priest (Heavy Metal)

Babymetal - Babymetal (Progressive Metal)

Life Through a Window - Structures (Metalcore)

Guilty Pleasure - Attila (Deathcore)

Putreseminal Morphodysplastic Virulency - Epicardiectomy (Brutal Death)

Feeding the Crawling Shadows - Sargeist (Black Metal)

Best/Most memorable songs of the year in no order:

War Eternal - Arch Enemy
Tooth and Claw - Animals as Leaders
Another Year - Animals as Leaders
Morning Hoarfrost - Basarabian Hills
Corduroy - Bones
March of the Poozers - Devin Townsend Project
Silent Militia - Devin Townsend Project
Celtos - Eluveitie
Carved from Stone - Fallujah
Feels like Forever - Of Mice & Men
River - Opeth
Sweet Tea - Polyphia
Where Angels Weep - Vader
Heartache Follows Wherever I Go - Joe Bonamassa
Arise and Purify - Sanctuary
The Devil in I - Slipknot
Well Run Dry - Phat Phunktion
Devil Man - Blues Pills

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 in review: Concerts

I haven't really had it in me to write reviews much this year. And since these reviews are my personal reviews, I'm never going to force myself to write. So I'm not done writing reviews, but I can't say when I'll ever write one again. Here is a list of MOST of the concerts I went to this year
(Not pictured: Nile, Northwest Deathfest, Sanctuary)