Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Top 10 of the Year

I've got a bit of time between exams so I'm taking a few hours to write this list. It won't be very long and if I've reviewed it in my very tiny archive I'll mention some basics and then post a link to the original review. So let's stop beating around the bush and get down to this because I've got to get back to my linear algebra studying.

In no particular order...

Sunbather by Deafheaven
It's a post-rock, shoegaze, black metal... thing. I don't know, it's like the Frankenstein's monster of music, just taking bits and pieces from everywhere until you get some hideous deformed creature with a weirdly good sense of taste. I will tell you this though, it's a damn good album and deserves all the support it gets, despite being "hipster metal". It's such a niche thing, and definitely not for everyone. Black metal purists will hate it (if it's not Darkthrone, it's made of dicks), the indie rock crowd won't call it music because of the screams, but the one lone group that will like it are the people that like metal as well as other things! Like me! Or a rational fucking human being!

Volition by Protest the Hero
I already talked about it, it's badass and I listen to this thing a lot. It's catchy, intense, stupidly fast and just good times. Click here to read it. Or don't. This link just keeps gooooooooooooooing.

One of Us Is The Killer by The Dillinger Escape Plan
Man, three entries in and it's already the second prog album. There shouldn't be any more though, don't worry! At least, I think there isn't any more...

If you know the Dillinger Escape Plan, then you know what this is going to sound like. Loud, atonal chords, weird-ass rhythms and really good tunes! An odd move was to make a pseudo-clean song, and it's the title track. It's damn good, probably my favourite on the entire album, especially if you start listening to the album at "Crossburner". That way you get a completely different song style to break up and contrast everything else and just seems even better. I'm not going to focus on one measly (but fantastic song), and the rest is pump-you-up-to-break-some-faces-or-run-in-fear prog-metalcore. You want to get up and move when you listen to this, making it perfect fight music, but if you try to headbang to it, you're going to look like you're having a seizure because these guys love changing time signatures.

Infestissumam by Ghost (or Ghost B.C. if you're going to be a nitpicky copyright junkie)
For those that don't understand the copyright thing, Ghost is, well, Ghost everywhere in the world except for North America due to copyright issues so they go as Ghost B. C. But we still call them Ghost. Because it's a dumb fucking reason.

Infestissumam is probably the most evil album I've heard in my life, because it's all about Satanism, demonic summoning and worshiping a Satanic Pope. And I can't get enough of it. Ghost plays doom metal as if it was played in 70's, pulling heavily from Black Sabbath in style and jumping off from there. Apart from the melodic and atmospheric music, which is weirdly good at making you chant along to Satanic lyrics, part of what made Ghost stick out from the doom crowd was the image the band had made. It's formed by five people cloaked in black, complete with leather armour, masquerade masks and hoods and finally, the pope, Papa Emeritus II. The cool bit is that nobody knows anything about them, apart from that one of them is a guy. The rest could be women, we have no idea! But even if they didn't have that, if we knew them all by name and could see their faces, the music would still be mind-blowingly haunting and beautiful. Just go listen to this.

Meir by Kvelertak
Goddamn is that song catchy! Kvelertak is a Norwegian hardcore/black metal/hard rock (yes, another genre mashing band is on this list) outfit and this is their second album. Their first one is really energetic, but less melodic. I prefer this one, because I like melody sometimes. But these guys kick so much ass because they're absolutely crazy! They've got 3 guitars, one of which fingerpicks, the lead singer wears a stuffed owl on his head for some songs, and they're playing on a roof, Beatles style. But with fire!

These's lots of great songs on this album like "Apenbaring", "Bruanne Brenn" and "Tordenbrak" but they all switch up the style enough to be really interesting. And yes, all of their material is in Norwegian. I don't know how to end this one because it's past midnight as I writing this so butts. Just butts. Butts. Butts butts butts butts.

Serpents Unleashed by Skeletonwitch
This is actually the album that got me into Skeletonwitch, and these guys are crazy! They play blackened thrash so it's fast, screamey and blasphemous! A bit. Okay, not really, but people chant "Worship the witch!" at their shows and that's good enough for me.

It's hard for me to describe their sound. Imagine a gritty, melodic Kreator and you're getting close. But with tremelo picking and more blast beats and double bass. Or you could watch the video next to this paragraph, either one.

Part of what's really cool to me is that they keep the music melodic, even with that black metal scream. I know that may be a weird thing to imagine for the non-metalheads, but in that case what are you doing reading this? How did you get here if you weren't looking for metal reviews?

The Wild Hunt by Watain
More black metal! Except it's actually black metal and not just inspired by it. Considering that this is my first year exploring more genres of metal, this is again, an album that got me into black metal. Sure, it's kind of melodic, especially compared to first wave black metal like Darkthrone or Mayhem but it's awesome! I know purists will shake their head like they did at Deafheaven because Watain is pretentious as hell when it comes to black metal sensibilities. I mean, just read this crazed, Manson-esque bullshit, said by Erik Danielsson, the frontman of the band. "To me, it's an art form that demands everything. If you want to be in a black metal band, you take yourself as an adversary of society, because that's what black metal is. That has to go beyond just playing songs. That has to reflect on every aspect of your life if you really want to place your focus on this movement." Erik, what are you smoking? And can I have some?

What I really like about this, is that they also have an acoustic-ish song and a calm song. "They Rode On" is really good, and could easily be given a non-metalhead if you tell them that it's a dark alt-rock song. This is one of my favourite songs from their album, and it's also their first music video! Good idea waiting for 15 goddamn years to get around to that!

The Wither Fields by Woccon
This was the first album I reviewed, and it's just fantastic. Go read my review already!

Deceiver of the Gods by Amon Amarth
Some might say that every single album by them is the same, and I kind of agree. I've come up with a formula for Amon Amarth songs! Fast power chord based riff, then fast riff involving changing between two strings and a lot of downstrokes, then tremelo picked chorus, etc. But it still sounds good so I'm not complaining. They could stand to vary up their formula a bit, it's getting a little tiresome, but at least it isn't bad. As long as they don't go into Nickelback territory and rerelease a song with different lyrics we'll be fine.

It's a good album, get a copy if you like giant bearded Swedish men growling into your ear while playing fast, crazed metal all about Vikings, Norse mythology and general badassness!

Hail to the King by Avenged Sevenfold
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA not a chance in hell! I don't put cover albums on top ten lists.

The Burden of Sorrow by Pyrithion
This would cause controversy if I actually had an audience because it's a generic death metal EP with vocals and spearheaded by Tim Lambesis, who is currently under trial for trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife. But why it's important to me is because this is the EP that got me into death metal. This list, this blog and the music I play would not exist if I hadn't picked up this EP. Looking back at it now, it's nothing special but it opened up a world of metal to me, and kind of changed my life. Not in a deep philosophical way, I just wouldn't be who I am if I didn't get this thing.

So that's my list. Yes, I know I didn't include the legendary Carcass, but I haven't listened to the album yet, so screw you. Besides, this is a metal list, nobody has the same one, because there's way to many indie bands to count and everybody knows enough of them to make a top ten. Imagine a whole list made up of bands with the amount of exposure of Woccon and you'd pretty much have those. It'd be hell!

1 comment:

  1. Mitchell,

    I love you

    I love you

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    I love you

    I love every single cell in your body