Sunday, November 25, 2012

Best metal albums 2012 #40-31

It has been a while since I updated my blog, so I decided to pick up where I left. This year has been great with lots of surprises, disappointments and totally mind blown albums. This year I decided to write a review only for the top 20 albums, but I will publish my picks from #40.

40. Oak Pantheon: From A Whisper
 (Folk / Black Metal, USA)

Preview: It

39. Eternal Helcaraxe: Against All Odds 
(Pagan Black Metal, Ireland)

Preview: We Assist Death

38. Evadne: The Shortest Way
(Death Doom, Portugal)

Preview: Album Teaser

37. Wodensthrone: Curse
(Black Metal, United Kingdom)

Preview: Battle Lines

36. Barren Earth: The Devil's Resolve
(Death Doom, Finland)

Preview: The Rains Begin

35. Process Of Guilt: Fæmin
(Doom/Sludge, Portugal) 

Preview: Faemin (Full Album)

34. Sigh: In Somniphobia
(Avant-garde Black Metal, Japan)

Preview: The Transfiguration Fear

33. Okera: A Beautiful Dystopia 
(Death Doom, Australia)

Preview: A Beautiful Dystopia

32. Wildernessking: The Writing Of Gods In The Sand 
(Black Metal, South Africa)

Preview: Rubicon

31. My Dying Bride: A Map Of All Our Failures
(Doom Metal, United Kingdom)

Preview: Poorest Waltz 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

January 2012 Surprise Of The Month

The 11th Hour: Lacrima Mortis

Lacrima Mortis is the follow-up for their debut Burden Of Grief released in 2009. The dutch multi instrumentalist Ed Warby is a very ambitious and self-demanding guy, who is well known for his contribution in e.g. Demiurg, Hail Of Bullets, Star One and Ayreon. The 11th Hour is his own project and he has put a lot of work and effort to please us with his music.

When I first heard Ed's crisp and theatrical clean vocals, they didn't connect me on emotional level. His singing technique is stellar, but what left me cold at first was the tone of his voice. However, with repeated listens I found out that the phrasing might be done on purpose to contemplate the growls. The harsh vocals on this album are done by Pim Blankenstein from Officium Triste and he does a great job. On a sidenote: if you are not familiar with Officium Triste before, do yourself a favor and get to know to this great death/doom band. 

What you will hear immediately is that the production is very well done: powerful, crisp and heavy. Some might complain it is too sterile, but I wouldn't go there. The guitars, bass and drums sound as they should to my ear for a doom metal record. The songs are versatile, clocking from five minutes to eight making the total album length 52 minutes. Lacrima Mortis doesn't push the boundaries of death/doom metal into another level, but this album is very fresh and interesting listen. The melodies and vocals harmonies are done masterfully and I can warmly recommend this to any doom lover.

Check out
Rain On Me

January 2012 Best Cut Of The Month

Alcest: Les Voyages De L'Âme

Alcest was introduced to me by a very good friend and I am glad he did. Alcest has been around from 2005 and made its breakthrough with their 2007 debut album Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde. They started with raw black metal, but soon evolved into black metal with strong post-rock and shoegaze influences. As you can tell the lyrics are in French and that is a fresh twist in their music.

The 26 year-old mastermind Neige (Stéphane Paut) does the vocals and plays all the instruments on the album except drums. You could describe their sound as fragile, light and down-toned. The vocals are mainly soft and subdued but Neige does also harsh vocals on only a couple tracks on this album. However, he has stated that on the next album growls will most likely be all gone as he intends to take the music into another direction. Les Voyages De L'Âme is a journey consisting of eight beautifully crafted melodic and moving songs which send you exactly to the fairyland where everything is possible and nothing can harm you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Top Metal Albums 2011 #66-51


I will be posting over the next few weeks my picks of some of the finest metal released in 2011.

#66 Tombs: Path Of Totality
Sludge metal (USA)

#65 The Atlas Moth: An Ache for the Distance
Sludge metal (USA)

#64 Peste Noire: L'ordure à L´état pur
Black Metal (France)

#63 Midnight: Satanic Royalty
Black/Heavy metal (USA)

#62 Hammers Of Misfortune: 17th Street
Heavy Metal (USA)
Hammers Of Misfortune made my top 66 list mostly because of The Grain.
Recommended for fans of traditional heavy metal.

#61 Before The Dawn: Deathstar Rising / Black Sun Aeon: Blacklight Deliverance
Death Metal (Finland)

#60 Krallica: Diotima
Black Metal (USA)

#59 Amorphis: The Beginning Of Times
Heavy/Progressive Metal (Finland)

#58 Witch Mountain: South Of Salem
Doom Metal (USA)

#57 Belphegor: Blood Magick Necromance
Black/Death Metal (Austria)

#56 Einherjer: Norron
Viking Metal (Norway)
Landing at #56 on my top 2011 list is Einherjer. The band disbanded in 2004, but return to form in 2008.

Norrøn is their first album in eight years and Balladen Om Bifrost is the closer of the album. It has definitely that Bathory vibe to it and sums up the album pretty nicely: this is viking/pagan metal at its finest in 2011, take it or leave it!

#55 In Solitude: The World, The Flesh, The Devil
Heavy Metal (Sweden)

#54 Portrait: Crimen Lasae Majestatis Divinae
Heavy Metal (Sweden)

#53 Uriah Heep: Into The Wild
Heavy Metal (UK)

#52 Pentagram: Last Rites
Traditional Doom (UK)

#51 Vallenfyre: A Fragile King
Death Metal (UK)
When you lose someone dear to you, how do you express sorrow, anger and grief? If you do it the Gregor Mackintosh way after losing his dad suddenly, you fulfill your dream to make that death metal album you always wanted.

True to old school DM roots, Vallenfyre manages to capture all the elements making a fine debut album filled with downtuned guitar, decent growls and Paradise Lostish riffs making my list at position 51.

Top Metal Albums 2011 #50-41

#50 Loss: Despond
Funeral Doom (USA)

#49 Krisiun: The Great Execution
Death Metal (Brazil)

#48 Symphony X: Iconoclast
Progressive Metal (USA)

#47 Havok: Time Is Up
Thrash Metal (USA)

#46 Argus: Boldly Stride The Doomed
Traditional Doom (USA)

#45 Blood Ceremony: Living With The Ancients
Doom Metal (Canada)

#44 Necros Christos: Doom of the Occult
Death/Doom Metal (Germany)

#43 Anthrax: Worship Music
Heavy/Thrash Metal (USA)

#42 Colosseum: Chapter 3: Parasomnia
Funeral Doom (Finland)
Funeral Doom is one tough genre to master. I am slowly learning and beginning to understand why at times it is the perfect way for someone to express solitude, isolation and paganism.

Colosseum's final act was released one year after Juhani Palomäki's passing (RIP) and On The Strand Of Nightmares is the perfect funeral march in his honour. Colosseum make my list at #42.

#41 Machine Head: Unto the Locust
Thrash Metal (USA)

Top Metal Albums 2011 #40-31

#40 Mastodon: The Hunter
Progressive Metal (USA)

#39 Devin Townsend Project: Deconstruction
Progressive Metal (Canada)

#38 Isole: Born From Shadows
Doom Metal (Sweden)

#37 Brymir: Breathe Fire to the Sun
Pagan/Folk Metal (Finland)

#36 Sólstafir: Svartir Sandar
Metal (Iceland)

35 Vader: Welcome To The Morbid Reich
Death Metal (Poland)
If there is one thing I have learnt about Vader, it is that they don't let you down. Peter and his crew have been around since the 80's and they show no signs of fatigue.The latest, entitled Welcome To The Morbid Reich, has all the qualities of a stellar death metal album: furious guitar riffs, ballsy vocals and relentless drumming.

The opener Return To The Morbid Reich pretty much tells you the name of the game. Vader enters my list at #35.

#34 Novembers Doom: Aphotic
Death/Doom Metal (USA)

#33 Alghazanth: Vinum Intus
Black Metal (Finland)

#32 Comatose Vigil: Fuimus, Non Sumus...
Funeral Doom (Russia)

#31 Fleshgod Apocalypse: Agony
Brutal Death Metal (Italy)